05 Jan Why I Feel I’m A Bit Filipino

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FOREIGN

JUAN SAYS: Sometimes it takes a foreigner to make us realize what we have, to see clearly what we’ve been missing out on. And we at JUAN certainly wish that we wouldn’t be foreigners in our own land. #ItsMoreFunInThePhilippines will just remain as that, a hashtag if we ourselves do not know or explore what we’ve got! Patingin nga kung Pinoy ka. Kumain ka ng balut kahit minsan ng hindi nakapikit! GAME.

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by Tommy Walker

Ever since I first came across the Philippines, I always thought it had this mysterious lure to it. I remember I was planning for my backpacking trip around South East Asia; I had networked with a few travelers. One of them was Filipino. I knew NOTHING of the Philippines and I remember thinking that if one day I made it there, I’d become a real adventurer and explorer. The Philippines isn’t based in the Central circuit of South East Asia like Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia, it’s kind of a little off the beaten track. It has been growing for popularity with backpackers recently but I still find myself ever connected with this country, probably the most out of all the countries South East Asia.

Since 2013 I’ve visited this magical country twice. I remember been busy everyday whilst I was there, always something new to do or to see. It’s one of them countries I will always go back to and I’m planning on heading back there soon enough.

There are many things that I have done which were incredible new experiences for me. I could take all day but I really want to list a few things that I feel make me a little Filipino. I’m British so that is me, I like football and beer, I’m use to the cold weather and I love an English Brekkie, but what makes me a little Filipino?

Banaue

This place is my favourite place for tranquillity and sanctuary in the world. As soon as I saw pictures of them mesmerizing rice terraces I instantly knew I had to go. I feel I was going away to somewhere special. Trapped within the mountains in the North of the Philippines, it feels worlds away, almost like a settlement unfounded by the rest of the world. Of course villages live here and tourism isn’t something new, yet the whole place still has a mystic energy surrounding it’s existence. It’s as if this is a place to retire. The humid heat and the warm rain added to the perfect foggy clouds floating through the rice terraces so low you can walk through them. There is a real local feel about this place and Banaue more than anywhere else in the Philippines connected to me more so.

Filipino people

All Filipinos are just so friendly and have a great warming approach. My friends over at Where 2 Next Hostel (both in Manila and El Nido), El and Vicky were two of the first to give me that impression. They constantly are smiling and laughing and I’ve met up with them again whilst being in Australia. Also at Sinulog 2013 I experienced some real Filipino home cooking with fresh fish and rice. That was incredible, the place was real backstreet Filipino in Cebu but the experience was amazing and I’m forever grateful!

I dated a Filipino for a short time whilst in Melbourne. We connected straight away and still remain friends to this day. As I’ve been traveling for a number of years, single is all I know yet she was the first and last girl I’ve really properly dated in the same place, same time.

During the tragic events of Tacloban 2012, my friend Shye was caught up in that particular storm. I remember calling her at the time worried to see if she was ok. She was trembling at the fright and was staying in a local shelter. I felt I wanted to help and began immediately marketing for donations to be sent to the cause.

Food & Drink

I love Red Horse beer! It’s one of my favourite beers in the whole world. I remember first trying some of that in Manila in a street side shack of a bar. It’s old fashioned and just Filipino, the taste is good and the kick is even better!

The food! I have to say Chicken Adobo as much as it’s a traditional dish it’s still my favourite! Yet everything I tried Filipino is good! Even Balut, the featus egg was real tasty despite the idea been gross!

The Philippines pushes you!

Some of my best most exhilarating moments have been in the Philippines! I’ve came face to face with the world’s smallest primate the Tarsier which was really awesome as I love wildlife. Not to mention one of my most epic adventures yet, snorkelling with Whale Sharks! That was scary but when I look back so amazing! I never even thought I’d do that in my lifetime and that really pushed me on to get into more aqua life based activities. Airels point in Boracay was the highest I’ve ever cliff jumped at 15m. It look me a while to get the courage to jump off but man I do it! What a buzz!

I’ll always come back

As a backpacker I always tend to try keep going to new countries when its affordable and you have the time. I think it’s important to see different things and try new experiences. Some countries you may have had your time there and feel you don’t want to visit again, but the Philippines is somewhere I’ll always go back. Why? There is so much to explore and nowhere near I’ve done any of that yet! I still want to head and scuba dive in El Nido, which is next on the list!

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