Keep Calm.. and Love the Philippines

Makati City, Philippines
February 01 - 2017


 So, I have been living in the Philippines for about a year and a half now.  Time flies.  Although I have been here many times and granted, I am Filipino by blood, moving here came across as a big culture shock.  Just like any other country, there are so many wonderful and well, not so wonderful things about the Philippines.  Here are my top lists.  Of course, let’s start with the BEST THINGS…
 

1- FILIPINOS LOVE TO CELEBRATE!
Did you know the Philippines has THE longest Christmas period in the world?  It begins in September and ends in January, on the Day of the Three Kings.  If the month ends in “BER,” you know it’s Christmas.  Crazy right?  Aside from the Christian and Muslim holidays, they also have fiestas (festivals) during EVERY month of the year!  These fiestas are usually of Hispanic origin, and date back to the Spanish colonial period.  Now how about that?! Forward Fiestaaaa!!!
2- FILIPINOS ARE VERY FAMILY ORIENTED AND LOVE CHILDREN
After spending time with fellow Filipinos, I have learnt the importance of family, and the importance of spending quality time with them. They absolutely LOVE children here (mhmm..maybe that explains the overpopulation?!).  Also, there is a filipino word, which is “gigil” and is not translatable in English.  It simply refers to the feeling you have when you see something or someone so unbearably cute, usually babies or children!  So yes, the entire nation is super GIGIL!
3-ENGLISH IS SPOKEN IN THE PHILIPPINES
Yeah!  Thank you America!  In 1901, the U.S government sent a group of teachers by vessel all the way to the Philippines, to provide education and teach English. Since then, English has been taught in all schools, and is the lingua franca. This makes it a lot easier for many foreigners to get around, make friends and do business in the Philippines.  However, don't get me wrong, there are many “false friends.”  By this, I mean words and phrases in “Philippine” English that DO NOT have the same meaning in “American,” “British,” or “Australian” English.  More on that in another post!
4-FRESH COCONUT JUICE AND TROPICAL FRUITS
Yeh baby!  Also, might I add that it is SO AFFORDABLE! Holy Coconuts! - Obviously because it is pretty much coconut land here.. The price of coconut water is comparable to bottled water.  However, I really miss my fresh berries (they are SO EXPENSIVE, because they are not tropical enough and are imported, apart from strawberries).. But, I think I’m happy to trade them for mangoes, papayas, coconuts, dragon fruits, lamuts, watermelons, guyabanos, custard apples, and did I mention MANGOES??!!!
5-THE DIVERSITY OF THE ISLANDS AND THE DISTANCE TO OTHER PARTS OF ASIA
Not all of the 7,107 islands of the Philippines are the same. Not all are habitable, not all the people speak the same language, not all practice the same religion, nor have the same cuisine, or even have the same climate.  Some cities are in mountains (like Baguio), and the island of Batanes, north of the islands and close to Taiwan, looks more like Ireland – in pictures!  But that is the beauty of the Philippines.  Such a big nation with so much diversity (more than I thought I knew) yet all celebrate and live together with respect for one another’s differences.
The Philippines is also located in the ideal place if you want to explore other Asian countries.  (e.g, Hong Kong is only an hour and a half's flight away).
6- HOW CHRISTIANS AND MUSLIMS CAN HAPPILY LIVE TOGETHER
The Philippines is a predominantly Catholic country – thanks to Spain. The second largest religion practiced is Islam.  Both Christian and Muslim holidays are observed and celebrated.  It is not unusual to see a Muslim selling Christmas decorations at the markets either!  I LOVE THIS!  

So there you have it.  I have learnt to embrace the country for what it is.  It is a beautiful country with so much diversity, and without sounding bias, but Filipinos really are some of the most hospitable people you will meet. The Philippines after all, is the motherland, and is also where... "Have you eaten?" is commonly referred to as a "Hello."  What are your thoughts on the the Philippines?  #mabuhayangpilipinas