0

Discover Philippines: Interesting Facts about Pampanga (That is Definitely More than its Cuisine!)

ffffffffffffff

“Travel is rebellion in its purest form. We follow our heart. We free ourselves of labels. We lose control willingly. We trade a role for reality. We love the unfamiliar. We trust strangers. We own only what we can carry. We search for better questions, not answers. We truly graduate. We, sometimes, choose never to come back” –Author Unknown

 

Regarded as the culinary epicenter of the Philippines (and heralded as the local land of talented cooks and chefs with a unique flair for reinventing local dishes) Pampanga is a province that offers you more than just scrumptious sisig and other Filipino delicacies.

Although it is undeniably that one go-to place for food enthusiasts, Pampanga is also an avenue for unique adventures. Furthermore, the place is replete with historical structures such as ancient churches which make for a riveting retelling of the Philippine saga that took place in the local province. Indeed, the province is deeply entrenched with history and blessed with natural and man-made scenery—so much so that it has something to offer for every individual who might wish to visit.

Living up to its name of being “The Culinary Center of the Philippines, one can also expect a string of homegrown restaurants and cafes that feature some of the province’s known and beloved dishes. These are presented to you by individuals who are proud of their culinary prowess—some of which consider to be a heritage. San Fernando, the capital city is nationally acclaimed for its distinct Easter tradition which involves a re-enactment of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ—an event which tourists from all over the world would come by to witness. However, the crucifixion re-enactment is not the only event that has garnered intrigue and sparked interest. San Fernando is also known for its popular Pampanga Christmas lanterns that are not only gigantic in size but are colorful and would sing as well. There are quite a lot of things to do in Pampanga that it has been considered one of the leading Philippine provinces slated for economic growth. Apart from the colorful history and unique culture, the province is rife with tourist destinations as well as nightlife attractions.

 

HOW TO GET THERE

As Pampanga gets a regular influx of visitors to the city each day, you can expect a series of buses plying to the different parts of the province daily from the metropolis. You do not need to worry about strict time schedules either as they usually leave on an hourly basis. If you wish to head towards San Fernando City, look for buses such as Saulog Transit and Victory Liner. However, if Angeles City is your destination, catch a Philtranco bus.

SIGHT-SEEING ATTRACTIONS TO VISIT

History enthusiasts and culture buffs would be pleased to know that the province of Pampanga has quite a lot to offer them in terms of tourist attractions. Some of the ancient churches one should visit is the San Guillermo Church, Betis, and St. Peter the Apostle Church. Individuals who have a penchant for natural sights would enjoy visiting the Scenic Candaba Swamps and Mt. Arayat. Meanwhile, history and culture aficionados should definitely drop by the Museo Ning Angeles.

FOOD TO TRY

As Pampanga is known to be the culinary capital of the country, it would be a shame if you did not at least try some of their most famous food offerings. Apart from giving the iconic restaurant Atching Lilli’n’s a visit and of course, trying the world-famous sisig, you should definitely try some of Pampanga’s more exotic food offerings. If your stomach can take it (and if you have the nerve to try), go ahead and sample Pritong Palaka (fried frogs), adobong balut (sautéed fertilized duck egg), deep-fried camarus (Deep fried mole crickets) and yummy heart beat. Kick your trip up a notch by turning it into a gastronomic adventure. Sure, they might not exactly be food fares that you would normally eat on an everyday basis, but you might find that you actually have the palate for them.

FESTIVAL AND EVENTS

If you like scheduling your trips to parallel festival and event dates, then it is best to know what the events and festivals you can potentially witness in advance. Some of Pampanga’s well-known and beloved events include Ibon Ebon Festival which is held every February 8 through 10. It is dedicated to the Candaba Swamp which would serve as a temporary settlement to a flock of migratory birds from the different parts of the world. If you have a unique interest for our avian friends, you might want to witness this event. Alternatively, you can also opt to witness the Philippine International Hot-Air Balloon Festival which falls roughly at the same time on February (usually on the second Thursday). It features events such as hot-air balloon competition, aircraft maneuvers, and a series of other aerial demonstrations.

 

Indeed, if you want to experience a little bit of everything, try visiting Pampanga, Philippines. In just one trip, you will already experience a fraction of the very best the Philippines can offer—from the food to the activities.

Image Source

Advertisements
0

Discover Philippines: The Five Best Outdoor Activities to Try in the Philippines

lionheartv

“Some people choose activities which give them pleasure, while others seek pleasure in every activity they perform.”-Sukant Ratnakar

 

A tropical country of all sorts, the Philippines is known and well-regarded to be a holiday destination for thalassophiles who wish to indulge their craving for the ocean and saltwater.

However, while this Southeast Asian country is mostly known (and loved) for its summer capitals, scenic beaches, and picturesque mountainsides, it is also a known destination for thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies alike. With the country’s diverse landscape complemented by the dense and lush countryside, it is poised to become Southeast Asia’s next premier thrilling adventure destination. As a result, an influx of foreign travelers and tourists alike can be seen swarming in the country during the summer season. The Philippines plays host to a myriad of outdoor activities with each one promising a different kind of rush. Some would bring you over the edge, or allow you to conquer your fears. Regardless of what it is, each activity would give you a euphoric rush of adrenaline and excitement. With its wide range of activities, you are sure to find one that would cater to your fancy. From the physical activities suitable for kids and adults in the Sandbox Pampanga to jumping off cliffs to beds of water in Cebu, there is quite a lot for you to discover and experience.

Whether you are a meandering tourist looking for your next big adventure or a local who is seeking out new thrills or basically just someone who wishes to get out of their beds and their house, here are some of the outdoor activities in the Philippines you ought to try:

 

Mountaineering

If you are unafraid of heights and cliffs, then mountaineering is definitely an activity you have to try. The Philippines has an abundance of mountain ranges which you can explore and discover. Satisfy your climbing cravings or choose to conquer your fear of heights and deadly cliffs by embarking on a mountain climbing journey. As the Philippines has a lot of beautiful mountains to climb, you need not travel far just to realize that dream. More often than not, you would not even need to book an airline ticket just to indulge your fancy. One good tip before going on this adventure though is to make sure to take a lot of photos when you get there. The spectacular views are breathtaking and one-of-a-kind. Plus, they will definitely make for an interesting addition in your Instagram feed.

Mud Karting

You might want to skip this outdoor activity if you do not wish to get any dirt on your clothes. However, if you are not opposed to getting a little dirty then mud karting is an outdoor activity you might want to try. Indulge the adrenaline junkie in you and ride a dune buggy through an obstacle course full of mud. Just be sure to bring extra clothes though, as no one ever gets out of this activity with their clothes spotlessly clean. Expect to get really really dirty. If you wish to give this activity a try, head on over to the Holy Child School in Santo Nino which is located just outside of Puerto Galera and on the way to White Beach.

Sand Boarding

Sand dunes are not exclusive to the Middle East as the Philippines even has a local rendition of its own. In fact, the sand dunes of Ilocos Norte would rival the ones that can be found in the Middle East. Head on over to Laoag La Paz Sand Dunes in Ilocos Norte and engage in this outdoor activity that can be ridden alone or with a companion. Just remember, while you are enjoying this activity it is imperative to keep your mouth shut (No shouting allowed!), lest any sand gets in. So, go ahead and plan that road trip. Pack your bags and bring your hippest shades and go surf on the sand.

Sky Cycling

Available in Davao, Laguna and even in Negros Occidental, Bacolod, Sky Cycling is an activity that requires you to balance your body on a wire cable while being suspended mid-air. To some, the activity might be a daunting prospect, but once you get the hang of it, you would find that it can actually be pretty enjoyable. Furthermore, the resorts offering this activity have gone through extraordinary measures to ensure that the cables are not only safe but stable. So, if you want a different take to ordinary cycling, you might as well try this activity out.

Zipline

Over the years, ziplining has taken over the country’s adventure scene by storm. In fact, it is highly likely that you and your friends have experienced it at some point in your lives (unless you have an irrational fear or aversion for heights of course). In any case, ziplining can be done not only in the Philippines but in almost every part of the world. However, what sets the Philippines apart is the wide range of choices and places where you can do this activity. Furthermore, the Philippines is known to have the longest zipline in Asia which can be found in Oriental Mindoro. It has been said that the zipline is so long that you would be zipping from one line to another.

 

Image Source

0

Travel EATinerary: Four Iconic Kapampangan Dishes for the Foodie in You

rg-kapampangan-boodle

“I am not a great cook, I am not a great artist, but I love art and I love food, so I am the perfect traveler.” –Michael Palin

It has been said that in order to truly get to know a foreign place, you have to eat your way through it.

As a result, so many travels now are centered on one goal: To sample and taste a foreign destination’s finest and most popular food offerings. The glamorous rise of food travels can be attributed to the almost ubiquitous presence of food in social media pages—so much so that people are willing to pay an airfare ticket just to indulge the foodie in them as well as satisfy their avid curiosity. In the Philippines, the most well-known and beloved food destination is none other than Pampanga. As a matter of fact, apart from being well-regarded as the gastronomic capital of the Philippines, the province is famed for its food crawls—one of the many things you can do in Pampanga. The unique talent and skill of the many cooks and chefs of Pampanga are from the resulting tutelage and training by the Spaniards during the colonial period. Fortunately, these cooks are not selfish with their unique prowess and have passed on their culinary expertise from generation to generation. For this reason, recipes for authentic Kapampangan dishes are still in existence and could still be tasted today. Among the Filipinos, it has been said that none can rival the Kapampangans passion for food and cooking which is why they always come up with exemplary and stellar dishes. This very passion they have for cooking is echoed in dishes such as the ubiquitous Filipino beer match, sisig as well as their cooking and preserving techniques distinct only to them.

In any case, if you have slated Pampanga to be your next food destination, here are some of the iconic and noteworthy Kapampangan dishes you should definitely try:

 

Tocino or Pindang

It has been said that the most delicious tocino comes from Pampanga. In fact, it is one of the famed products of the province and since then, it has become a Filipino breakfast staple for years. To the uninitiated, tocino is basically cured or processed pork meat that is sweet and savory at the same time. The fusion of flavors, as well as its unique tanginess, makes it the perfect pair for rice and sunny-side-up eggs. Fortunately, tocino can be found in almost every Filipino grocery store. But, you should never miss out on the chance to taste authentically prepared Kapampangan tocino that is offered only in the province which is referred to as “Pindang Damulag”—thinly sliced carabao meat cured with vinegar and seasonings.

Sisig

Of course, no list would be complete without this well-known and revered Kapampangan food item. Locally recognized as the perfect beer match, sisig is a well-loved dish that found its roots in Pampanga. Although it can be found in most Filipino restaurants, none can compare to how its creators really make it. To those who have not heard of the dish, sisig is a sizzling dish consisting of different pig parts—from the face to the liver (Filipinos are known not to waste any part of the animal, after all). A visit to Pampanga would be incomplete if you do not at least sample an authentic Kapampangan sisig.

Betute and Camaru

What is a food travel if it is not peppered with a little bit of adventure? Of course, a food travel excursion would not be complete without at least sampling one exotic dish. Apart from testing your fortitude and your drive to try new things, you might actually find that you would like it. Betute and Camaru are two dishes available only in Pampanga as the province is known to have expansive rice fields throughout the province. Inevitably, critters such as crickets and frogs would find themselves being considered as a snack at some point. While frogs are most notably attributed to being a French delicacy, Kapampangans are also known to serve this delicacy. However, they eat the frog whole by stuffing it with ground pork meat and deep frying it. Sure, eating insects and frogs might not rank so high in your list, but just think about the bragging rights it would afford you when you have successfully done it.

Buro

Buro is not for the faint of heart and definitely not for the unimaginative eater. The dish is basically fermented rice mixed with either shrimp of fish—a popular Kapampangan condiment. However, owing to its pungent smell and appearance, many individuals would rather steer clear away from it. But, if you can get past the thought of eating fermented rice, you might find that the dish is actually taste—especially when mixed with boiled vegetables or deep fried catfish.

Image Source

0

Bizarre Eats: Four Philippine Exotic Dishes that are Definitely Worth The Try!

exotic_filipino_foods

“If you are going to a destination where the food might be more exotic than usual, always err on the side of caution.” -Stefanie Powers

There has never been any doubt that the Philippines has an incredibly diverse food scene.

In fact, it can even be argued that the country is a melting pot of several food staples all around the world. After all, you do not get to be a colony of Spain for a century and trade with the Chinese without having a few food derivatives from them. While the Philippines is in by no means a food mecca, it does have its fair share of food staples that are sure to wow tourists and impress travelers. For those individuals who have made their trip into a “foodventure” seeking to try out only the best Filipino epicurean delights and gastronomic offers, then a food trip in Pampanga might be apt. However, if testing your grit, nerve and boundaries for unconventional tastes are what you have in mind, then perhaps sampling some of the Philippines more exotic food offerings might be more of your speed.

In any case, if you have a distinct flavor for the unknown and unusual, then you would be wise to include the exotic Filipino food below in some of your eating itineraries:

1.) Tamilok

To begin the list, let us go with a dish that not even most locals would try. Best eaten raw or kinilaw-style (dipped in vinegar) in Filipino dialect, Tamilok is a wood worm mollusk found in the mangroves. Typically consumed by travelers in Palawan, sampling this delicacy is sure to test your fortitude when it comes to eating rather exotic food. You should never leave Palawan without at least tasting this dish as it would make your trip all the more memorable and enjoyable.

2.) Betute

While your typical serving of French frogs legs no longer holds the same shock value as it did decades ago, the Philippines has offered their own counterpart in the form of stuffed frogs. A well-known Kapampangan specialty, Betutes are deep fried farm frogs stuffed with pork, garlic, and spices. Much like how the French would assert that frogs legs would taste like chicken drumsticks, the Filipinos would also tell you that their local rendition would taste quite like poultry as well. In fact, it might even be more delicious as the harmony of different spices together with the frog meat and pork makes for quite a flavorful dish.

3.) Pinikpikan

Although this dish is relatively tame compared to the other items on this list, quite a few might take issue in its preparation. A rather popular dish in the Cordilleras of the Philippines, Pinikpikan is a warm and hearty chicken soup dish. What makes this soup fare so exotic is how the chicken was prepared which is through the process of “pikpik” from where the dish got its moniker. “Pikpik” means beating the chicken to death and for some animal rights advocates (or at least ones against animal cruelty), this might be a reason for them to forego the dish altogether. However, it has been said that the dish derives its flavor from its unusual mode of preparation. Apparently, the coagulated blood, burned feathers, the skin and the Etag (cured meat that has been aged underground in earthen jars) contribute to the myriad of flavors in this hearty dish. If you have the stomach (and heart) for it, you might want to give this dish a try.

4.) Balut

Balut is the epitome of Filipino exotic food. Not only is it the most popular, but most foreign travelers are quite well-versed about the dish as well. Balut is a fertilized duck egg and is said to have amative capabilities. In fact, locals would tell you that apart from being considered as an aphrodisiac, the delicacy is said to have quite the stimulating effect in men.

Image Source

0

Discover Philippines: Excellent Reasons Why Pampanga Will Be the Next Big Thing in Tourism

logo-copy-450x231

 

“Tourism carries a tremendous potential that must be acknowledged as essential for the future of world heritage. But without proper management, we can easily get out of control.”-Bonnie Burnham

Pampanga, also known as the Philippines’ culinary capital and gastronomic mecca is poised to become the country’s next big thing in tourism.

Scrumptious and delectable aside, Pampanga has a lot to offer to both locals and tourists alike. It boasts of heritage and attractions you should see and also has exciting new developments which you should not miss out on. Furthermore, the province itself is teeming with hidden gems that most tourists do not know of yet so you can be assured that when you visit you can have the place all to yourself. While Pampanga is renowned for its incredibly diverse and vibrant local cuisine as well as its handicraft industry, there is more to this province than its Filipino staple food sisig. Tourists have been arriving by the droves just to see the new developments planned out in the city as well as to reinvigorate themselves with the old treasures and gems located within. As it is only a couple of hours away or so from Quezon City, why not schedule a visit and see what makes this humble province tick and stand out?

A province rich in heritage sites

Founded by the Spaniards in 1571, Bacolor was considered the colonial capital when Manila was under siege and invaded by Great Britain in 1762. A hundred years or so later, the first Philippine President, Aguinaldo situated the seat of the First Republic in Angeles back in 1899. Apart from these, Jose Rizal was also known to visit San Fernando in a train in 1892—the same train station where the Death March ended in 1942. Lastly, much of the landscapes have changed since the eruption of Pinatubo in 1991—the biggest one yet since Novarupta in 1912.

With all these considered, you can truly see that Pampanga has a wealth of history abound. Indeed, the province is teeming with centuries-old ancestral houses and structures—some of which have architectural structures that could marvel those that can be found in Europe. After all, where else can you find a functional church submerged in lahar to Betis, the Filipino rendition of the Sistine Chapel?

A variety of outdoor adventures

While Pampanga is already a progressive province on its own, being here is like being transported to another world—one without pollution and traffic while being offered the convenience and comforts of the city still. Apart from that, you can truly enjoy the countryside ambiance, fresh air, and lush, verdant greenery without needing to travel far. One of Pampanga’s main attractions is the Sandbox located in Alviera where they offer a myriad of city and countryside adventures alike to patrons. Some of its most popular attractions include the country’s first roller coaster zip line and the Philippine’s Giant Swing.

If you have the nerve for it, you can test your skills on the Aerial Walk Challenge or free fall from the 5-story Adventure Tower and more. In any case, your days would certainly not be dull should you ever plan to visit the Sandbox as an abundance of activities would await you while there.

A wealth of cultural experiences

One of the exciting things about Pampanga is that there is almost always a festival happening somewhere. One such festival of particular notice is called Aguman Sanduk in Minalin which translates to Ladle Brotherhood. It occurs every January where straight men celebrate and honor the women in their lives with a cross-dressing pageant. By the time February sets in, locals and tourists alike would prepare themselves for colorful skies during the Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Festival. During the summer and by the time Easter rolls around, San Fernando draws crowds by the thousands comprising of religious devotees, curious onlookers as well as fans of the macabre yearly religious tradition.

Apart from these, there is a myriad more to experience in Pampanga where you would get a sliver of its cultural experience. From food to religious practices, almost everything is celebrated in this province.

Image Source

0

The Four Benefits of Team Building

team-building

“Teamwork: Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress and working together is success”-Henry Ford

Every employer wants a successful business. After all, their endeavors would all be for naught if they do not see their dealings take off. However, accomplishing success is not a feat that can be done alone, and anyone with a lucrative business venture would tell you that your employees play a pivotal role in achieving and maintaining it.
It is no question that a business or company will be so much more fruitful and successful if its employees exert a concerted effort in ensuring that they deliver only the best results. However, this is only true if your employees can work in cohesion and together as a team and as colleagues. In this regard, they should be able to relate with one another at a professional level.

For this reason, team building activities are incredibly vital in guaranteeing company success as it cultivates the relationships of your employees among their colleagues. Furthermore, team building fosters togetherness by encouraging collaboration and teamwork. By making them engage in fun activities, you are effectively allowing your employees to see each other differently. Should the team building activities be successful, then you would see the same problem-solving tactics, unity and team cooperation translated into the corporate environment. In any case, here are some of the reasons why team building is incredibly important:

1.) Meet new people

If your office is particularly big, there is a likely chance that your employees have not met other employees from other departments. It is even more likely that they have not interacted with everyone in the workplace. Team building addresses this as apart from seeing their colleagues in a different light, it also draws them out of the shell. It brings people together and compels them to interact with each other in order to achieve goals and accomplish tasks. In this regard, one can say that team building is an excellent avenue not only for meeting the rest of the employees but also getting to know them.

2.) Build confidence

Team building activities have the propensity to build your employees’ confidence. It enables them to draw strength, not only in themselves but others as well. Initially, stepping out of what they have deemed familiar may seem daunting to them, but accomplishing that feat will give them a confidence boost almost instantaneously. There may be instances in the office where colleagues would be a bit hesitant to work together. Whether this stems from a complete lack of faith in the capability of others or from merely being timid or shy, team building would help them assuage these qualms.

3.) Foster team spirit

It is no question that employees who care about each other will inevitably care about the company more. In this regard, as soon as they begin trusting each other more, they would trust the company as well. In effect, they would no longer see their colleagues as workmates, but a collection of friends who they can count on when it comes to working towards a common objective. With this, your employees would no longer see the company as a source of their paychecks but rather something they are part of in achieving an endeavor. Team building helps your employees see the job as more of a career and the office as a home.

4.) Cultivates teamwork

Lastly, it should be evident by now that team building activities cultivate teamwork. When they have all learned what they can about each other, they will learn to care about one another and trust themselves and each other. As a result, they will trust the company better and would have a better understanding of their role. In this way, they would all then make a concerted effort in working together towards a common goal.

Image Source

0

Affordable Leisure: Five Activities You Can Do on Weekends with Your Family

summer-family-fun-ftr

“No amount of money or success can take the place of time spent with your family.” –Author Unknown

It has been said that family time is not a matter of convenience, but rather a matter of priority. With this sentiment in mind, we should always endeavor to spend some quality time with our families—most especially on weekends where everyone is unencumbered by work obligations or school homework and tasks. Unfortunately, taking time to really have fun with your family can be a little costly—particularly if you wish to give an incredible blowout such as a weekend spent in Alviera. So, you might have to settle on activities you can do at home, but admittedly, spending time watching TV with your kids can be a little repetitive and it is something you can do on any ordinary weekend. So, how do you reconcile spending a fun weekend with your family and being on a tight budget together?

Well, fun does not have to be equated with forking a lot of cash. Here are some of the best alternative weekend activities you can do that virtually cost you nothing:

1.) Visit your local library

If you and your family are voracious readers, then why not visit the local library for a myriad of books of every genre to choose from? Apart from hosting a range of books, most libraries also have an extensive DVD and CD collection which you can out. If your kids are rather young, some libraries host storytelling time for children and if you live in a rather swanky neighborhood, they would also have book clubs, film nights and book readings.

2.) Play board games

In the age of Internet and social media, more and more of us have become rather dependent on technology. So much so, that it would be quite unimaginable to tear our eyes away from screens for at least fifteen minutes. TO address this dilemma, why not take away your eyes and your kids’ eyes from any sort of screen for the weekend and opt to play board games the traditional way instead? Go old school and teach your children how to play classics such as Monopoly and Pictionary. You can also go contemporary by opting to play Uno and similar games instead.

3.) Volunteer

If you wish your children to become more involved with the community, have them volunteer at local community events instead. Regardless of where you might be, there are innumerable volunteering opportunities for you and your family to try. If you have a flair for gardening, then you and your kids might want to sign up for gardening clubs that spruce up plants in public spaces. If you have a penchant for the beach, take them to do a beach cleanup instead or if you and your family are a bunch of animal lovers, volunteer at a local shelter or animal-rescue organizations.

4.) Meet your neighbors

You might have been living in your neighborhood all your life but have not really had the chance to meet them, then you should make a conscious effort to introduce yourself to them. Go for a stroll in your neighborhood and take your kids with you, say hello to your neighbors and stay a bit for a chit chat. You might not know it, but what started out as an afternoon chat could potentially be a lifelong friendship. Furthermore, meeting your neighbors provides a unique avenue for your kids to make friends with other children who are in proximity to them.

5.) Take up a new hobby

Taking up hobbies and developing skills are best done during a child’s formative years. So, if you have been wishing for them to take up a new hobby or perhaps they have expressed interest in a particular hobby then learn it with them. Horseback riding, pottery, ballets and the like are all activities you can do over the weekend with your child. Moreover, watching you learn the skill with them encourages them to do better and will give them that extra push as well.

 

Image Source