Discovered in 1521 by the Portuguese navigator Ferdinand de Magellan, the Philippines, a magical archipelago of 7107 islands, is home to an authentic gentle and hospitable people. Here is some information which will better help you understand the history and culture of this country.
One people, several atmospheres:
The Philippinos are renowned for their welcome and their kindness. You will be pleasantly surprised by the ease of contact and the smile that is reserved for you. Throughout the history of the Philippino people no one cultural identity has appeared. This is largely due to the numerous languages spoken in the country, which is today estimated at 80, and also the great number of dialects spoken. Also, each region you visit has its own identity and atmosphere. The official languages are Tagalog and English.
Please note: in the South of the country, in particular the region to the South East of the island of Mindanao, a political crisis has developed due to the opposition of the Muslim separatists against the authority in Manilla since 1970. The resulting conflicts, sometimes violent and always isolated, are often featured in the media and have tarnished the image of the entire archipelago. Since our arrival in 1991 we have never been confronted with any security problems, or aggression.
One table, several flavours :
The meals that you will be served on site are very varied: inspired by European and Asiatic recipes, the Philippino cuisine is generally refined and plentiful. Breakfasts are often of American style, consisting of eggs, sausages, bacon, bread, jam, mangoes and bananas, coffee and tea, and cereals... Lunches and dinners generally comprise an abundance of salads, meat casseroles, grilled or battered fish, seafood (mussels, oysters, prawns...), rice, pasta and a variety of vegetables. For dessert, there is never a shortage of exotic fruit. Bottled mineral water is recommended even though the Philippinos drink plenty of filtered or distilled water. Ice is perfectly safe for the Occidental stomach. Very few people fall sick due to the food. Contrary to certain countries where it is better to avoid salads, certain fruits and drinks, everything here is permitted. A true paradise for food lovers!
Living their life:
A true national sport, cock fighting is found all over the Philippines. Whether you agree with it or not, consider once to take in the amazing atmosphere. One single cock fight can provide the winning owner with as much as 6 months salary! We can therefore understand why the villages in the countryside are overpopulated with cocks, bred with care and attention, fed each day with vitamin enriched tablets and special feed...this may explain their permanent vigour!
These strange motorbikes, with 100 to150 cc motors, are equipped with a sort of side-car and represent the principal mode of transport for both short and medium distances. You will see these bikes often and will certainly be tempted to take one for an excursion. The side-car seats 2 to 4 people in addition to the rider who is the chauffeur. These tricycles are generally decorated with symbols and phrases of a religious type, with motives, bright colours and often as many yellow lights as can be carried!