Fondly known as the "Pearl of the Orient," the Philippine Islands are strategically located between the South China Sea, the Philippine Sea and the Celebes Sea. Because of its prime location, it has served as a major trading hub for Chinese, Malay and Indian, a colony of Spain for 300 years, as well as an American military outpost for many decades.
As a result, the Philippines has become a cultural melting pot, a crossroads of the Eastern and Western world. Throughout the country, it is common to eat Chinese cuisine in a Spanish-inspired dwelling while conversing in a medley of words sprinkled with Tagalog and English. This interesting mix of cultures which had evolved over generations has created a vivid and rich tapestry that is distinctly Filipino.
The Philippines have also birthed amazing artists, musicians and writers. Even before the colonization of the Spaniards, Filipinos were known as talented potters and weavers. The rich biodiversity of the region allowed them to use natural resources such as abaca, pineapple and bark cloth to create colorful adornments for their body and their home. Explore the beautiful native products only found in the Philippines.
- One traditional Philippine snack is balut, a boiled, fertilized duck egg with a half-formed chick inside. It is believed to be an aphrodisiac.
- Yoyos were said to be used by Filipino hunters in the 16th century as dangerous weapons, outfitted with studs and flung to a prey like a slingshot.
- The Philippines has the longest Christmas season in the world, with Christmas decorations seen as early as September and lasting until the Feast of the Three Kings in January.