“It’s more fun in the Philippines.” This is the tourist slogan of the Philippines which is really true since the country is known for its hospitality. Long ago, when the Spaniards came to Manila, a little town named Maynilad was enhabited by Muslims and ruled by sultan Rajah Sulayman. Maynila was small but it soon became a successful trading port because it is situated between two large bodies of water, the Pasig River (the longest river in the Philippines) and Manila Bay.
The native Filipinos are well-known as courageous and high-spirited. The natives who fled in Bagumbayan and Tondo fought again to retake their land. However, they were defeated a second time by the troops of Martin de Goiti. Maynilad was proclaimed as the country’s capital on June 24, 1571 and become the permanent headquarters of the Spaniards.
Manila underwent a lot of war, conquerors and damage. The capital region has been destroyed on several occasions, especially during World War II. Manila’s history is also the history of the Philippines. Even though it was culminated in a worse way, today Manila is one of the most visited and busiest place in the country.
Manila is composed of 17 cities and 5 towns. The major cities are Manila, Makati, Quezon, Marikina, Pasig and Las Pi?as. The 5 towns are Calabarzon which consists of Calamba, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon Province. These provinces are just a few hours away from Metro Manila. So if you want to experience a provincial atmosphere, Metro Manila is very accessible to nearby provinces.
Among the provinces and districts in South East Asia, Metro Manila is deemed as vulnerable to climate change. The temperature in the city is higher than those in the provinces. Rainfall usually occurs during the second week of May until October. The best months to visit Manila are September to December. The Philippines is known for an extended period of Christmas celebration. Christmas songs can be heard everywhere, in the mall, riding a taxi, in the streets etc.
January to April is considered as summer in the Philippines. This is the hottest period reaching 25 degrees Celcius or hotter. If you are not fond of the hot temperature, you can easily travel to Baguio City, one of the most popular summer destinations. The city is located in the mountains where temperatures are much lower. Despite the pleasing climate in Baguio during summer, expect a large crowd of tourist who like to spend summer vacation there.
People and Language
Metro Manila is populated with over 12 million people who are really hospitable and industrious. Asking directions will never be difficult for a foreigner because almost everyone can speak English. English is their second language and they are really good at it. Koreans visit the Philippines to study English because the language is taught at the primary level and is used in the government, employment, schools and everyday communication. In addition, foreign call center companies invest in the Philippines because of minimal teaching of the English language needed for the job.
Tagalog is the primary language of the Filipinos. Most of their words are derived from the Spanish language. The Filipinos are really respectful to elders. They use po and opo when talking to their elders. They use kuya pertaining to an older brother or guy elderly and ate for an older sister or girl elderly. In general, the Filipino people are honest and trustworthy. If you forget your wallet, passport or other object in a taxi, you can usually count on the taxi driver making every attempt to return it to you.
Colorful Festival Celebrations
Be sure to make note of important festivals that will take place during your visit to Metro Manila so that you can take part in them. Filipinos are really into festivals. They prepare several months in advance for these celebrations. Most of their festivities are religious in nature. One of the most popular event is the Quiapo fiesta which is dedicated to their Black Nazarene. The Black Nazarene travels across Manila through a parade of devotees. It is said that the Black Nazarene provides miracles. That is why a lot of people want to be close enough to touch it.
Flore de Mayo is celebrated during the month of May. It is to give honor to Mother Mary. This celebration was introduced by Spaniards and became a part of the Filipino tradition. It is celebrated all over the country. A day long activity includes women dressed in gowns led by the Virgin Mary. They are paraded through the villages, barangays, towns and cities. Flowers are also offered to the chapels as a sign of remembering the Mother Mary.
Cuisine and Delicacies
The country offers a wide range of food choices from regional dishes to Asian and American cuisine. Fast food establishments are everywhere. You will find McDonalds, Burger King, KFC, Pizza Hut, Shakeys and others. Jollibee is a local version of McDonalds and it is very popular in the country. There are also some fine dining restaurants if you prefer to take your time.
If you are into adventure, street food is also available everywhere although precaution is needed. Quail eggs or kwek-kwek is a well-known street food. It’s a boiled egg covered in flour with food coloring. Another street food popular to travelers are Balut (boiled duck embryo)and barbecue (marinated porks and chicken feet).