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Cool Things You Need to Know About the Philippines – Part 1

If you’re a pure Filipino, almost all of the cool things I am about to discuss here, you’re already familiar with for sure. Well, not to offend Pinoy’s with foreign blood, but it is quite unusual that you deeply know that Philippines by heart if you have not been in the country for 20 years or so. And even if you’re traveling around the country for quite some time, from North to South, East to West, the cool things are sometimes challenging to be seen or observe.

Why did I say that? It is simply because the real happenings are experienced mostly in the provinces and it is the conversation with the natives that plays a big part in getting to know things in the country by heart. Their stories, verbal proofs, physical samples, and folktales will further tell you it’s the real thing. Needless to explain more on that, this article about cool things in the Philippines will tell you more why.

Museums
Well, almost every country has them. In the Philippines, museums like the National Museum, Ayala Museum and The Mind Museum are among of the most visited and most popular among tourists and locals in the recent years. But did you know that even greater museums are scattered everywhere in the country?
Aguinaldo Shrine in Cavite, Baliuag Museum in Bulacan, and Marcos Museum in Ilocos Norte can be found in Luzon. In Visayas, there you can visit Balay Negrense in Negros Occidental, Museo Sugbo in Cebu, and Museo Iloilo in Iloilo City. In Mindanao, it is the Rizal Shrine in Zamboanga del Norte that people talks about.



Have you been into these museums? Why are they cool? They exhibit the rich culture and tradition of the Filipinos from the past up to the present and that is something a Filipino must be proud of when he or she happens to discover how amazing our history is. The museums mentioned above comprises only a small portion of the big list. Have a look here if you want to know more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_museums_in_the_Philippines

Catholic Churches
In this blog site, I have several blog posts where churches are a part of. Majority of the Filipinos are Catholics and as you know, Philippines was colonized by the Spaniards for over 300 years! According to stories that transfer from generations to generations, many Filipinos became this devoted to Catholicism because of Spain’s coming to the country during the 1600s. Well, it is not cool to say that the past was a tragic and horrible one for many Filipinos – you can see these inconvenient truths from films about Jose Rizal and other national heroes. But speaking of churches, yes, there are something cool about them.



Now the cool thing about these churches can be seen from the structures themselves. They were built without machineries. They were constructed out of hard stones curved out from rivers and mountains. Hard labor called “polo” built these buildings for years. It is also cool to imagine that Filipinos are this religious today because of these living symbols built by hardworking “polistas” or laborers in the pasts. These are the places where traditions like festivals and fiestas point into. Visit these churches which are everywhere in the Philippine island and you’ll discover more cool stuffs inside and outside of them. Every town and cities has a Catholic church built in it.

Rice Cakes and Delicacies
Have you heard these rice cake names: puto, bibingka, biko, suman, bilo-bilo, pinindot, sapin-sapin, and tamales? If your answer is yes, I bet you’ve tasted them too. The taste of these foods alone is cool enough to be justified, right? These cakes and delicacies were prepared mostly by hands with ingredients that are mostly found from nearby towns and provinces. Hey, by the way, my lola or grandmother is an expert in making suman and tamales. I saw since my childhood how cool it is to watch my Lola Sayong making delicious foods as these. Her suman to these days is a best seller in Pasay City.



Rice cakes and delicacies in the Philippines are cool for they come in a variety of colors, have intricate ways to bake or cook, and are made by mostly by people from every province. Sweet delicacies like espasol, ube halaya, turon, cassava cake, buko pie, diningding, kutsinta, and piyaya are among of the must-try specialty delicacies of the Filipinos. It would be even cool if you will try to discover them yourself by going inside our local town markets.

Ancestral Houses
Who doesn’t know about Vigan City. This centuries old city became one of the famous cities in the Philippines mainly because of its being ancestral. Well, what’s cool about ancestral houses is that they are also everywhere in the country. They can be found from heritage towns such as Malolos City in Bulacan, Pila in Laguna, Taal in Batangas, Silay City in Negros Occidental, Carcar in Cebu, Balingasag in Misamis Oriental, and a lot more. How come they are so many? Again, it’s because of the Spanish colonization of the country.



If you want to know more about the life of our Philippine ancestors, take a tour on any of these ancestral homes. Memorabilia like dining sets, photo in frames, furniture, and lamps can be seen here. And isn’t it is cool to have them on your photo gallery too.  Here are some of the ancestral houses we recommend you to stop by sooner or later: Aguinaldo Shrine, Bahay na Tisa, Casa de Segunda, Jose Rizal Shrine, and Bahay ng Paglilitis. Where are these? I’m leaving you the opportunity to find them.

Handicrafts
Philippines is a land of flora. Like of the big countries, there are rain forests, national parks, wildlife reserves, and green mountains and grasslands in this beautiful country too. And what this means to the local people is that there are plenty of things to pick up and create something out of.  It’s the handicrafts. People from different provinces have their own products to showcase and that’s what makes living in this green country cool.



With the abundance of bamboo, rattan, nipa palm, abaca, seashells, coconut, woods, clay, and marbles, native people are able to make baskets, bags, cabinets, clothes, decors, wood carvings, pots, beadwork, figurines, chandeliers, ceramic pots, and more useful handicrafts. While traveling from Manila to southern provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas and Quezon (known as Calabarzoon), certainly you can see those handicrafts displayed or hanging on stores along streets and highways. That alone is cool. Though it is rare to see them nowadays, a caravan of handicrafts is what actually introduces these native products to the consumers during the 80’s and 90’s. It is even more cool to buy those quality handicraft products from the Philippines, trust me on that.

Kape at Pandesal
Thinking on what to eat for breakfast? In the Philippines, there’s an automatic recommendation for you on that. It’s the “kape at pandesal” tandem. So what is a pandesal anyway? It is simply a plain bread made of flour, a little sugar, and milk baked in the “pugon” or oven and there you go with a hot pandesal. It is perfect to eat together with a cup of coffee or kape.



Pandesal has been the number one choice of the Filipinos when it comes to bread, no doubt. Put some butter, scrambled egg, cheese, or evaporated milk and it is going to be a fantastic breakfast. With 3-in-1 coffee mix, you are not only solved with your morning hunger, but you’ll also get alive and energetic for work. There is nothing magical or mysterious about this kape at pandesal thing, but ask the Filipinos why they love this combination and you’ll surely get this cool answer – “panalo” (winner).

So, how do you find this list? Interesting? Amazing? Cool, really?

This is just partial of the big list I am going to share with you on this blog. Truth is, there are lots of cool things we Filipinos are proud of about our country. More probably some of them have been tackled on some of my previous posts – the beaches, the Baguio City, the SM, and the foods.


There will be more cool things to be blogged about soon. But for now, leave a comment below and tell me what it is it that you want to know about the Philippines. I can make a blog about that. Thanks for reading.


UPDATE: Part 2 of this post has been published. Here is the link to the post to read and share.

http://www.projectpilipinas.com/2017/07/cools-things-you-need-to-know-and.html



About the Author
Noriel Panganiban is the founder of ProjectPilipinas.com and Knowriel.com. He's passionate about blogging, education, helping others, business, and planting. He's living the minimalist lifestyle for he believes that you can make more with less. You can get to know more Noriel thru Knowriel.com - a knowledge and information guide for business and career. He's encouraging you to pursue the ambition you have by keep on learning things and living a good life.


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