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8 Reasons The Philippines Is The Best Tropical Destination No One Ever Talks About

There’s an incredible chain of tropical islands in the Pacific that is sprinkled with pink, white and black sand beaches, ultra-relaxing luxury resorts, charming countrysides and villages, exotic foods and an enticing nightlife. You know it exists, but you’ve probably never thought of planning a trip there.

For more beautiful travel photography of the Philippines go here.

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So a year ago I made a pre-colonial Philippines reference post on Tumblr with links to English translated texts from Spanish written accounts of our ancestors during the early colonization, to Chinese accounts, some books and essays, videos, and posts that were already written on the Pinoy-Culture Tumblr blog.

It’s been over a year and since then I have collected more resource material and have finally gotten around to making a whole new updated reference post for those of you interested in reading the material yourselves and enriching yourself with knowledge of our history and cultures.

To read the new updated resources list click here for the blog post on Pinoy-Culture.com

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Travel Diaries | Kalinga

Sitting on sacks of manure and freshly reaped potatoes atop a jeepney, we were on the road to the highlands. The rice terraces that stretched through the Cordillera mountain range cast around us during that four-hour ride. The porters from Tabuk joined in the medley of laughter as they shared a bag of betel nut across the roof. Nganga. Recognizing their burgundy smiles, I asked if I could try. The man beamed. He paused to find his Tagalog and tapped his temples, “Hilo." I turned around chuckling and sat adrift in the greenery.

It was almost 40 days since Miko’s passing as we journeyed to Kalinga in June. Miko and I both dreamed of getting tattooed by Whang-Od, the last original tattoo artist of Kalinga. We were inside a yellow van as we made a vow to go Buscalan before our senior year begins. It was the day before his last. “Promise ‘yan, guys, ah,” his voice echoed in my mind as we entered a tunnel.

We promised to continue our adventure, and there we were fulfilling it.

Anong gusto mo?" asked Whang-Od after letting me skim through the books she handed. "Tubig po.” I pointed at the symbol of their river in one of the books she handed me, but I explained I wanted the element itself. Water. ”Charum,” our guide spoke in Kalinga. She took out her thin rod that was blackened to the tip and drew waves on my wrist. “Ito, tubig.” I smiled and gave a nod to our guide. Whang-Od proceeded with the tapping.

The wind chorused with the birdsong as we cruised down the terraces amidst the morning showers the following day. I had a solo flight from Tuguegarao to Manila at noon to catch, and Kuya Jerry who was prudently driving the motorcycle hailed, ”Sana sinama mo boyfriend mo para masaya.”

I chuckled and closed my eyes. The rain pattered on my skin as the wind rumbled in my ear.

"Kuya Jerry," I uttered, "ano nga po pala ang ‘tubig’ sa Kalinga?”

Charum.”

Charum," I repeated.

The rumble turned into a lull, and I and the rain became one evanescence.

If there’s one thing about Manila that I really dislike, it’s the bad road and transportation system that wastes a lot of people’s time. I am not a transpo engineer or something, and I am not saying that the authorities are not trying their best to solve this worsening problem, but this has got to stop soon.

I want to think that I am lucky to have to commute to the Metro only once a week for my volunteer work, but I just can’t. Lining up for 1 1/2 hours in Quezon Avenue Station kills me everytime; sometimes everything gets so intense to the point that when I go out of train, I find my bra strap already unhooked. This happened three times already, and it’s so appalling to think that the mere pushing and shoving could strip a person off his clothes. When I go back to MRT later in the afternoon, the scenario is still the same. There is no improvement at all.

My (non-existent) MRT experience this afternoon was worse because it was announced that there was no available train bound for North. Being a person who commutes only through MRT when going to Shaw and back, I didn’t know what to do. I panicked at first because I knew that the transpo system in Manila is complicated and I have never really considered MRT emergencies. Fortunately, I was able to find a bus that took me to Philcoa, after an eternity of waiting for a bus which had enough space for me.

I can’t even imagine how everyday commuters get to live like this. I hope that this problem will be fixed soon, because if it won’t, then I don’t know what our country’s future will be.

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