Despite its name, the Filipino beef morcon is not a thick chorizo but a roulade made of round-cut beef flank steak, marinated in a soy sauce mixture with spices, and stuffed with hard-boiled eggs, dill pickles, chorizo slices, ham, and sometimes cheese and/or bacon. The roulade is then braised, baked, roasted, or slow-cooked, then served in a thick tomato-based gravy.
Usually served during festive occasions, the beef morcon remains a household favorite for its unique and flavorful taste. This dish may involve a lot of prep, but it is definitely worth the work!
Preparing the Filipino beef morcon is not as hard as you think. If you know how to fry and simmer, then serving this dish for your next holiday dinner parties won’t be a problem.
If you think Boracay, Baguio, and Palawan are all the Philippines has to offer, think again. From up north to down south, the Philippines is filled with wonders spread all over the thousands of islands that comprise the country. What if you were to consider exploring the second largest island in the Philippines? That means you can only marvel at an endless list of adventures waiting for you there! Dubbed by many as the Land of Promise, Mindanao is famous for its rich land and various indigenous tribes untouched by colonizers. In case you didn’t know about any of the awe-inspiring locations in Mindanao, check out this list of some of the sights that the Southern Philippines has to offer. Explore Mindanao!
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Many locals believe that the Enchanted River is home to supernatural spirits responsible for the river’s unique color. Diving expeditions have found that the river is in fact part of a vast underwater cave system that has yet to be fully explored. From January to April 2017, the local government closed the river for rehabilitation. When it reopened, swimming was no longer permitted, and a separate swimming area has been provided nearby. Guests can still view the blue lagoon from the viewing area.
To explore Mindanao means to marvel at Islamic wonders. One of the most popular landmarks of amazing Cotabato City in Mindanao is the Grand Mosque of Cotabato, which is also widely famous as the Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Masjid. The mosque is indeed an incredible place, and you simply can’t stop admiring the impressive architecture of this mosque. Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei funded the mosque at a reported cost of US$48 million. It is the largest mosque in the Philippines!
You never fully explore Mindanao without climbing its highest point. Mount Apo, King of Philippine Peaks, is one of Southeast Asia’s highest mountains, and it’s right here in Davao. The mountain’s peak reaches an elevation of 10,311 feet, which is 3,144 meters above sea level. A 500-meter-wide crater lake created by volcanic activity waits for you at the top. The mountain is home to rubber plantations, a 150-meter-tall waterfall called Tudaya Falls, and wild boar and deer.
Lake Sebu, the municipality, features an ecotourism destination. The town itself rests 1,000 meters (over 3,000 feet) above sea level. The T’boli, Severa, and other indigenous groups, as well as three majestic lakes and an equally majestic ecosystem, call Lake Sebu home. There are many activities you can do in Lake Sebu, but the most popular are the trek to the Seven Falls and boating in any one of the area’s three lakes. Also notable is the T’boli Museum, which showcases the culture of the tribe.
This 95-meter-wide waterfall plunges 55 meters high from the top of the three-tiered waters that look like a huge white curtain! There is a bamboo raft on the side of the pool, and you can ride it to approach the falls. If you have more time, you can follow the staircase beside it. It will bring you to the second and third levels of the waterfalls. The falls in both levels are smaller, but the beauty is still incomparable due to its unique formation. Farther from the three-tiered waterfalls, a smaller one hides near the entrance.
Mosques are sacred sites, but this pink mosque (Masjid Dimaukom) of Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao, makes mosques more approachable to non-Muslims! Painted bright pink, its minarets stand out among all the mosques in the country. Datu Saudi Ampatuan’s mayor, Samsudin Dimaukom, who financed the building, said that he and his wife chose the color because, first, Dimaukom’s wife considers it her favorite color and, second, because they said that pink symbolizes peace and love.
Located off the coast of Surigao del Norte, Siargao is also known by its other name: the Surfing Capital of the Philippines. There are several resorts on the island offering a good place to spend the night after a day of surfing. However, surfing is not the only thing you can do here. The island’s natural attractions, such as the largest mangrove forest in Mindanao and the coral reefs teeming with rich marine life, also draw in visitors. Catch the annual surfing competition, the Siargao Cup, every September!
A pink mosque and now a pink beach? The beach at the Great Santa Cruz Island in Zamboanga offers quite a unique experience. What makes this beach pink? Crushed red organ pipe corals (Tubipora musica) wash ashore and blend well with the white sand, making it look pink in broad daylight. Walking along the beach, you’ll find some of these corals brought in by the waves. This pink beach is said to be the only one of its kind in the country and is part of a marine protected area, so trips to the island are regulated. No overnight accommodations are available. Aside from swimming and snorkeling, we also recommend bird watching, especially in the lagoon.
In the 1870s, a volcano nearby erupted, sinking the cemetery along with the capital city surrounding it below sea level. In order to commemorate this place of loss, people built the looming cross in remembrance. Visitors all over the Philippines and the world come to admire this man-made wonder filled with legend and enchantment. It has been more than a century since the cemetery sank, so it isn’t at all surprising how marine life has taken over—from different varieties of colorful fish and other sea creatures to healthy corals and giant glowing clams. This is a memorial park decorated with marine gardens.
Considered as a diving paradise located in the northern part of Zamboanga, there is so much to see and to do here! Explore Mindanao in Dakak Park and Beach Resort, a resort acknowledged for its beautiful coral reefs and the rich, scenic refuge it provides to diverse marine flora and fauna. In addition to that, Dapitan is also famous for its Rizal Shrine and inspiring Historical Walking Tour. Another popular destination is Gloria’s Fantasyland, the best go-to destination for families with kids (or childish adults). It’s a world-class commercial center and amusement theme park comparable to Disneyland! Featuring 35 rides, Gloria’s Fantasyland is the biggest theme park outside Metro Manila. It’s usually best to visit the theme park at night so you can enjoy the scenic wonders, light combination, and stage performances.
In the district of Toril in Davao City, you’ll find Eden Nature Park at the foot of Mount Talomo. Across 80 hectares, you’ll have a chance to explore a wildlife sanctuary full of exotic birds, plants, flowers, and insects. This nature park is actually 95% man-made, but it has jaw-dropping scenery, including 100,000 tall forest trees and 100,000 pine trees. It smells so fresh! If your feet grow tired from exploring the 80 hectares, hop on their 45-minute shuttle tour, which ensures that you see the very best that this park has to offer.
Do not confine your trips in Luzon and Visayas. Mindanao is a huge paradise to make adventures in. Explore Mindanao this summer!
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Ah, the Philippine summer—trips to the countryside replete with palm trees, to our very own sugar sand beaches, to our grandparents’ nostalgic towns. Summer is indeed our most awaited time of the year for enjoying the great outdoors. But for the young ones, summer break is two months long, and although they waited for it to come after toiling in school for a good 10 months, it doesn’t take long for human nature to sink in. Weeks in and the summer break becomes boring for the kids—lying in bed all day as if the house doesn’t feel like an oven. The bills start to skyrocket as they bathe more than usual to beat the heat or use the computer all day without breaks.
It may get hard to come up with new ideas to keep them busy. Would you spend a ton of cash at a crowded resort or bring the fun indoors and save money at the same time instead? Here are ideas anytime you need something different to keep kids busy during their summer break!
Experts say boredom is essential for learning creativity, but boredom also often leads to other forms of mischief. Here are suggestions for fun activities that you can do at home.
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Now is the time to teach them responsibility with a chore chart. This could include daily chores like making their beds, feeding the family pet, etc. Or you could step up your game a notch with commission-based paid chores, like watering the plants for 5 pesos a day. It’s a great way to teach kids responsibility and help them start managing their own money.
You don’t need to drive to camping grounds for this. If you have a tent, set it up in the backyard and sleep outdoors with your kids. You can also let them play in the tent during the day, as long as you don’t forget to pack up on the mosquito repellents. They could turn the tent into a fort, a spaceship, or anything else they imagine.
Grab the couch cushions, pillows from the beds, and kitchen chairs and make an obstacle course through the house. Kids get a huge kick out of the novelty of using common items in new ways and it’s great for gross motor development.
Print out pictures of common items, cut them out from a magazine, or draw them yourself, then set your kids on the hunt! Hide some cool little toys or healthy treats around the house, along with some little clues to help the kids. Give them a list of what they’re looking for and get them searching high and low for treasure. You can even set up rewards based on how much treasure each kid finds.
Classics like Snake and Ladders, Millionaires Game, and UNO are only a few better ways to while away an afternoon with siblings. Young kids learn cooperation, sportsmanship (we hope!), and taking turns; and older kids can gain critical thinking skills. Board games can also be done out on the front yard! They will only need chalk or tape to create their very own life-size board game, where they act as the pegs themselves and decide what obstacles, themes, and rules to throw in.
Summertime means bugs and lots of them. Teach your kids to care for bugs, and let them learn a bit about science in the process by building a bug maze. It’s relatively easy to make. All you need is a medium-sized box, Popsicle sticks, toilet paper tubes, tape or hot glue, and some paint if you choose to decorate the maze. Start by painting the Popsicle sticks different colors (again, this step is optional). Create a maze within the box by putting the sticks on their sides and securing them to the bottom of the box with the tape or hot glue gun. Use the cardboard tubes to create tunnels for added interest.
Next, send your kids out to carefully collect some bugs (caterpillars and beetles work well for this activity). Use this time to teach your kids about being gentle with the bugs, and show them how to handle the bugs carefully so they don’t get hurt.
Gather several small to mid-sized rocks and let your kids draw on them with paint or fine-tipped markers. Higher-quality markers (like colored Sharpies) will work better for this particular project. There are dozens of different ways to paint rocks; you can see a comprehensive list of ideas at Mama in the Now. One fun approach is to paint facial features on each rock. Paint several different types of eyes, noses, and mouths on several rocks, with each rock containing one feature. Then encourage your children to mix and match the rocks to create various funny faces.
The possibilities are endless! Give your child an empty box, some old sheets, rubber puzzle mats, pillows, and random items you think they can use to build a fort and let their imagination run wild. We guarantee this will keep them busy for hours. When you get home from work in the evening, you can join in the fun and hang fairy lights to their fort. By bedtime, get your flashlights and tell them stories. Instead of the usual stories about damsels in distress in Western fairy tales, encourage love for our own culture and identity by telling them about our strong queens and princesses, local fairy tales, and ancient legends. One such interesting story is the story of the bakunawa, the serpent that eats moons, so they can play buwan-buwan the next morning! (Speaking of which, here are tribal games they can play.)
Get your little ones excited to cook or bake by having them choose a recipe that appeals to them, and let them take the lead. You may even spark an interest for a future career as a chef! Challenge them by looking through cookbook recipes with ingredients that can mostly be found in your home. Stick with simple recipes like cookies and muffins, and it can be a lot of fun, not to mention educational. Kids learn about measuring and mixing and also work on gross motor function by stirring and sifting. This may need your supervision, so do this on weekends.
Get kids out of the house and into a healthy pastime with gardening in your backyard. There are a lot of easy-to-grow herbs and plants aside from the usual monggo. Try lettuce, onions, tomatoes, garlic, mint, and peppers. Check this out for tips. Give them some autonomy over this project to really let them get involved. They should be able to help choose the garden layout. But they should also be responsible for weeding, watering, and other garden maintenance. This is a great skill-building activity that can make them proud when they reap what they sow and eat the fruits of their labor. It also encourages appreciation for nature and our country’s hardworking farmers.
If you want to keep your kids really busy this summer break, get them thinking about how to earn, save, and invest money. Young kids can plan for a garage sale late in the summer by sorting through clothes they outgrew and toys they no longer need. “Ice candy,” halo-halo, and fruit shakes are also some of the small businesses that thrive during our summer. Or if they learned to love baking, you can include cookies and puto too.
The saranggola/tabanog never gets old! It’s a wholesome family activity, and as Asians, it is part of our culture and tradition. Manang tinderas sell cheap kites in the streets during summer break, so buy one for each of your kids and one for your own. Better yet, teach your kids how to make their own kites! Let them be as creative as possible in the process. Load up on the sunscreen for a trip to a wide open field, then teach them how to do it!
Your kids might need an activity with more movement to get their excess energy out, but coloring books are a great activity to wind down to the end of the day. Today, local artists have released their own illustrations that kids can color, each with a huge serving of local flavor. You can find cheap ones at National Bookstore. Try Filipino Children’s Book: Learn Counting in Filipino by Coloring, Kulay, or Hoy! A Philippine Islands Activity. There are also downloadable coloring pages online.
A summer break can be an incredible time for children to learn. It even has the potential to shape their lives in very special and unique ways. After all, there’s no other time in life when they’ll have as much freedom and as much energy as they do now. Harnessing both of those things by allowing boredom and structured activities to take place can build character, deepen family bonds, and help create special memories. Don’t forget to take pictures while you have fun! Print them out and create summer break scrapbooks to keep these memories fresh when they’re all grown up.
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A region shrouded in mystery and cloaked with an eerie folklore, the Western Visayas is always perceived as a creepy destination for tourists. Some say, it’s the place where mythical creatures lurk even in broad daylight. Whether that’s true or not, no one can deny the fact that it’s one of the most beautiful regions in the Philippines.
The region offers a lush surrounding, pristine ocean, and alpine peaks that will leave you wanting to come back. It is also filled with hospitable people who will make your stay worthwhile.
If you’re unsure which among the six provinces of Western Visayas you should visit first, better start in the Antique Province, where the mountains meet the sea.
The province of Antique lies in the westernmost part of the Visayas. It’s where “the mountains meet the sea,” as it borders the provinces of Aklan in the northeast, Capiz on the east, Iloilo in the southeast, and the Sulu Sea on the west. This is also the reason why Antique holds various tourist spots that are perfect for both trekkers and divers.
But even if you’re neither, you can still visit the province. It is an ideal place to hang out with family and friends or enjoy a peaceful time all by yourself.
Just in case you’re planning to go there, make sure to create a travel itinerary by listing all the tourist spots in Antique that you’d like to visit. If you have no idea where to go, worry not, as this list will help you out.
Here are the top ten tourist spots in Antique you shouldn’t miss during your visit.
Malalison or Mararison Island is a patch of sand in the middle of the sea, situated just behind Boracay, one of the famous beaches in the country. The island, however, is less crowded than the famous Boracay, so you will surely enjoy a quiet stroll along its coast while listening to the soothing sound of the sea waves. Make sure to go there early in the morning so you can still catch the stunning sunrise.
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Tibiao is definitely one of the tourist spots in Antique that thrill-seekers and adrenaline junkies must tick off their bucket list. It boasts a roiling, angry waters in which you can enjoy river tubing or whitewater kayaking. Guides in Tibiao also recommend visiting the river during the rainy season if you’re into more extreme adventures.
After a tiring adventure on Tibiao River, head off to Kawa Inn, a hotel where you can enjoy a relaxing stay and be one with nature. The inn offers a unique room option: a bahay kubo equipped with an air-conditioning unit. There’s also a newly built swimming pool in the area, where you can take a splash while enjoying the breathtaking view of the mountains. Besides that, Kawa Inn also offers an extraordinary hot bath in their large kawa, a local term for cauldron.
The Kawa Inn is a bit far from the Tibiao River, so you might want to check other hotels that are closer to the river. One of the best alternatives is the Caluwag Mountain Resort, a sister establishment of the Kawa Inn. They still offer the same services as the inn, including the kawa hot bath.
The indigenous people of Antique, the Iraynon Bukidnon, pride themselves for making and preserving the Iraynon-Bukidnon Terraces. It is deemed as a cultural treasure, discovered only in 2014 by Emmanuel Lerona, a faculty member of University of the Philippines–Visayas. It is one of the must-visit tourist spots in Antique, but you will have to endure a long trek to get there. So make sure to pack food and water and do some stretches before going to Iraynon-Bukidnon Terraces.
Sibalom Natural Park is home to one of the world’s biggest flowers, the rafflesias, a genus of parasitic flowering plants. However, these flowers only bloom at certain times, and when they do, it lasts for a couple of days only. So before you plan a trip to the natural park, consult the locals and tour guides about the best time to go.
Antique has islands, rivers, rice terraces, and natural parks. Not only that, the province has gorgeous caves too! One of them is the Bayukbok Cave, located on the mountain of Manalmon. You will have to climb up, scramble down, and crawl to get there, so you must condition your body before you go spelunking. You’ll pass by Madlum River as well, where you can watch the summit of Mt. Gola.
If you are craving a relaxed day, there’s no better place to spend it than at Malumpati Cold Spring. Here, you can take a refreshing dip in the cold water spring, chill in a cabana, or enjoy a variety of native food sold at nearby restaurants. Surprisingly, the nearby hotels and restaurants are relatively inexpensive, making the Malumpati Cold Spring a place to be for families and friends who are on a tight budget.
Nogas Island is one of the beautiful tourist spots in Antique. It boasts white-sand beaches with pristine waters where you can snorkel all day long. Apart from that, the island has a kalachuchi flower walkway and an old lighthouse that you can explore. There are fascinating rubber trees and mangrove forests along the shore too.
A cute purple house can be found in San Jose, Antique. The home’s exteriors and interiors are painted purple. Not only that! Its furniture and rooms, kitchen utensils, and home accessories are all purple. The whole house exudes warmth, but you might not be allowed inside since it’s owned by a family residing in the town. However, you can always take a photo of it outside; just don’t forget to ask permission first.
These tourist spots in Antique are just few of the wonders offered by the province. There are more sites you can visit there. Just ask around and the locals will be more than happy to share some tips.
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Philippines has a glut of freshwater fish that Filipinos tend to invent new fish recipes so they don’t surfeit on it. They make sinugno, tinapa, or inun-unan, all having very different taste you wouldn’t even realize you have been eating the same kind of fish for a week.
Regardless, every fish recipe tastes just as good as the rest. Here’s another Pinoy recipe that’s packed with flavors and nutrients—the sarciadong isda.
Sarciadong isda is yet another fish cuisine that derives its name from the Tagalog word sarsa, meaning sauce. Essentially, it’s a fried-fish recipe that’s garnished with sauce.
It’s an authentic Filipino recipe that’s super easy and affordable to make. If you have some fish, tomatoes, eggs, and condiments at home, you are all set to create this delicious dish for the family.
Here’s a list of the ingredients you will need:
Filipino foods are delicious; they are also very simple and affordable, just like this sarciadong isda. It’s a great recipe for midday meals, especially if you pair it fresh hot rice.
If putting up a modern terrace is such a radical overhaul for your home, you can always opt in for a subtler substitute that still offers a view of the outdoors—a balcony. Especially when you have a small space and your home doesn’t really have a rooftop, a balcony is a better option.
Adding a balcony is not too much of a revamp. All you need to know is a good design that will complement the whole feel of your house. If you don’t know your options, worry not, we will lay down some for you to choose from.
A balcony is a perfect spot to read your favorite books or have small talks with friends. And if you need some convincing—or are already planning—to get one, here’s a list of modern balcony designs you can take inspiration from.
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If your house is situated along the coast, a seaside one is one of the best modern balcony designs for your home. This allows a panoramic view of the ocean and sky, and lets you enjoy the setting and rising of the sun, as well as the stars and moon at night. Make sure to use rattan pieces of furniture with blue-tone upholsters to complement the whole beachy aura.
Santorini-inspired modern balcony designs are super easy to achieve since you just need to set up a white-and-blue-themed space. The entire balcony may be painted with white and the furniture sets are blue, so long as you stick to the motif. If you want some contrasts, you can also use wooden chairs and tables, and place some lush small plants.
If you have a tiny space, don’t worry! You can still make use of it and put up a mini balcony. Make sure to use neutral colors for your furniture set, as this can make the area appear larger than its actual size.
Balcony with glass railing creates an illusion that seemingly stretches the length of the area. Plus, this design is simple yet sophisticated enough to make you feel you are on a balcony of a multimillion-dollar home. Don’t forget to enhance the place by using soft-colored couches, throw pillows, and table sets.
Rustic modern balcony designs are the perfect one for nature lovers. The wooden railing and pieces of furniture add to the already-cozy atmosphere brought about by the lush green surroundings. It’s a simple design, but you can set it off with pot plants, vivid-hued pillows and accessories, and a fireplace.
If you fancy minimalist balcony designs, a blanch-hued balcony suits you best! This style uses pale-hued coral furniture sets and accessories, which create a simplistic overall look. Be sure to use leather-fabric or metal fixtures instead of soft textile sets so you spend less time in cleaning the area.
Modern balcony designs can even double as a dining area; you just have to make use of the little or big space you have and place a dining table set with a size that is proportionate to your balcony’s space. In terms of the fixtures and accessories you should use, it’s totally up to you! The dining table is the most important fixture here.
A balcony is somewhere in the middle of indoors and outdoors, which means the sun can still gleam on the plants you are planning to place there. You can set up an archway creeper or a vertical garden to achieve an earthy mood and a distinct presentation. Then add wooden or native fixtures and rustic accessories.
If you have a tight space allotted for your balcony, you can replace the enormous sets of furniture with a swing and other small-size fixtures. By doing so, you can maximize the little area you have and transform it into a beautiful space for relaxation. You can even construct a small vertical garden right behind the swing.
It is every bookworm’s dream to have a well-designed mini-library. But if you don’t have enough space inside your home, why not take it outside? Yes, you can certainly erect a bookshelf on your balcony! Just remember to place a chair adjacent to it so it’s easy for you to grab a book while enjoying a cup of hot coffee.
These are just a few of the modern balcony designs you can incorporate into your own home. Of course, you can always mix and match the aforementioned designs depending on your preference.
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