If you are a Filipino, born and raised in the United States, there will come a time that you will re-visit your roots, the Philippines. 

Aside from attending reunions with your extended families in the Philippines, here are 5 activities for your next trip to the Pearl of the Orient!

1. Revisit Philippine-American History

Fort Santiago became the headquarters of the Philippine Division of the United States Army.
(photo by maria_concepcion, uploaded on Choose Philippines

A trip to Manila is not complete without a tour of historic Manila. A 2-hour walking tour will not only let you see remains of the 300-year-Hispanic rule in the Philippines, it will also give you a glimpse of the American rule over the city that dates back in 1898.

(photo from BookMundi

If you have more time, enjoy a Manila Bay cruise and walking tour at Corregidor. Corregidor is one of the important historic and tourist sites in the Philippines. Corregidor is one of the major harbor defense of Manila Bay during the American colonial period. It was heavily bombarded during World War II. It now serves as a military memorial to American, Filipino and Japanese soldiers who served or lost their lives on the battlefield.

Carlos Celdran is one of the biggest organizers of walking tours in Intramuros for as low as 750PHP for students up to 1,500PHP for adults. For Corregidor tours, Sun Cruises organizes Corrigedor Island Historic Tours and you may book your trip through SM Tickets.

2. Eat at the first Jollibee store.

One of Jollibee's first branches located in Quiapo, Manila
(photo from FilipiKnow)

Jollibee is the fastest-growing Filipino food chain in America. It started as a franchise of ice cream parlors owned by Tony Tan Caktiong in the Philippines. Later on, he turned them into a store that fills its customers' stomachs before having the cold treats that they sell. He added burgers and fried chicken which eventually became the main products of Jollibee that changed the fast food game in the Philippines and in the world.

At present, Jollibee Food Corporation has acquired franchising rights for Burger King, Greenwich Pizza, Chinese quick food service - Chowking, Filipino restaurant specializing in chicken barbecue and unlimited rice - Mang Inasal, and its own pastry store - Red Ribbon.

Jollibee's first 2 branches are located in Cubao, Quezon City and in Quiapo, Manila. Both are still in operation. Visit them at the following locations:

Jollibee Cubao
Address: Aurora Blvd, Cubao, Quezon City, Metro Manila
Business Hours: 24 Hours
Tel. No.: (02) 727-8235; 726-4006

Jollibee Quiapo
Address: 1F Manila City Plaza, Quiapo, Manila, Metro Manila
Business Hours: 7:00 AM to 9:00 PM
Tel. No. (02) 734-4635; 734-6286

3. Try authentic Filipino food

(photo from Out of Town blog)

Food trip is a must in any trip! Fortunately, Philippines is one of the main food destinations in Asia. Filipino Cuisine is so culturally diverse, you can eat different varieties of one dish. Seafood is also cheap as the Philippines is surrounded by waters, seafood is abundant.

Street food are also available at almost every corner in the Philippines. These are popular as they are usually budget-friendly. Kwek-Kwek or Tokneneng is the one of the popular street food for Filipinos. These are quail eggs coated with orange flour, dipped in spicy vinegar. Sago't Gulaman is the perfect partner for street food. Other coolers are Buko juice, melon juice, Pandan juice. Filipino street food could price from 10PHP to 30PHP. You can also eat these inside malls, but they could be priced from 50PHP and up.

While summer is a good season to visit as there are many fiestas, santacruzans, holidays and people are mostly out of town, you can check out different towns all-year-round for food festivals.

Saging (Banana) Festival of Siquijor
(photo by Marion Paul Baylado on Flickr)

Visit Northern Luzon for Longganisa Festival in Vigan, Ilocos Norte on January. Bangus Festival is celebrated by residents of Pangasinan every April. You can try the infamous Filipino street food, Balut in Pateros celebrated every January. In Southern Luzon, festivals for harvesting are celebrated. It's like a thanksgiving party for a good harvest. Guimaras celebrates Manggahan Festival every April. On July, Siquijor boasts their banana harvests and products.

4. Buy handmade crafts

A great way to really remember a visit to any country is by taking home a piece of its culture and tradition. Barong Tagalog, also known as Barong, is an embroidered formal shirt. It's feminine equivalent is Baro't Saya. These are considered the national clothes of the Philippines. They made by Piña or fiber from pineapple leaves. They also use leaves from abaca or bananas which are also known as Jusi.

(photo from Muni)

You may head down to Lumban, Laguna and have your very own Barong Tagalog or Baro't Saya tailored by a local seamstress. More conveniently, you may go to Greenhills Shopping Center and choose from a wide selection of ready to wear Piña clothing.

Greenhills Shopping Center
Address: Ortigas Ave, San Juan City, Metro Manila
Business Hours: 10:00AM - 9:00PM
Tel. No.: (02) 7210572

5. Have your skin sun-kissed!

(Google Photo)

Last but not the least, get your skin sun-kissed naturally! Philippines has a good reputation of having paradise-like geography. You may see Boracay on top of the list, but there are other places to check out too!

Rising tourist spots due to Boracay's temporary closure are Palawan, Cebu, and La Union. Backpacker favorites, Zambales and Baler are also a good destination for surfing and camping. Lakes and other water parks in different towns are also gaining popularity as alternatives to beaches.

If you're not a beach person, you might want to consider hiking the Philippines wonderful mountain ranges, For beginners, Mt. Daraitan and Mt. Manabu are good courses. For thrill seekers, Mt. Victoria and Cleopatra's needle might be the best hiking trail for you. Trail Adventours is a company of experienced hikers who can provide you with the thrill of your life without risking your safety.

Which of these activities have you tried? Share with us!

Jan Audrey Francisco

Lyca is a digital content specialist based in Quezon City, Philippines. He specializes in arts and artists contents.

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