How to Party Filipino Style

If you’re a woman, be ready to wear your best outfit for the night as your friends are thinking the same thing. You don’t want to be underdressed and not get noticed at all.

Don’t show up in the venue too early or on time. You might end up waiting for hours, getting grumpy, make-up all spoiled and melted. Filipinos are never on time. They love hair-raising arrival and get noticed as they love attention.

Tardiness is usually the woman’s fault because most of Filipino women are “maarte”. Maarte pertains to people, mostly girls, who care too much about certain things, mainly about their looks. Filipino women can spend an hour in the shower and another half beautifying themselves. They have to be flawless from head to toe for the party.

Don’t eat too much for the day if the party is at night time to spare an empty portion of your tummy. Filipinos love to cook and eat. Expect to see the popular Filipino party dishes such as pancit (chowmein), lumpiang shanghai (spring rolls-pork, beef or chicken), skewered red hot dogs, Filipino Style Spaghetti, menudo, kaldereta, adobo, crispy fried chicken, ceviche, rice and a whole lot more. Filipinos prepare more than enough amount of food and it wouldn’t be a Filipino party if the table is not covered with their popular dishes.

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Karaoke machine or Magic Sing is the highlight of the evening. Filipinos love to sing. Sometimes they end up hoarding the microphone for the whole night. They take pleasure in singing too much and fail to think to share to others the microphone. If you like to sing and would like to showcase your voice in the party, make a list of your favourite songs and get the chance to sing right away. Filipinos spend ages just by browsing the songbook.

Games are also common. The popular ones are Newspaper Dance, Trip to Jerusalem, Banana Eating Contest, Charades and a whole lot more. If it’s a field party, the common ones are basagan ng itlog (breaking of eggs), kalamansi sa kutsara, Sack race, flour blowing whistle and Hang ’em

Make sure you’re dressed up really well as the venue will turn into a photo studio after the meal. Picture picture as what they call it. The girls love it. They love posing for the camera. They demand different shots in the same spot with the same pose until they get appeased with how they look in the photo.

In a group picture, make sure you’re always ready for the flash. You might end up seeing your captured grumpy face in Facebook posted by your friends. They don’t really care if you look hideous in the photograph as long as they look stunning and alluring in it.

During the party, men will be babbling about their jobs, sports like boxing and basketball, and sometimes about their recent travels and their wives. Women will retreat into a gossip circle and talk about a scandal of a friend not present in the party. So if you’re invited, attend otherwise you’ll be the subject of tittle-tattle.

Filipinos love to drink. There will always be liquor of any kind. Men loves whisky, brandy and beer while women loves wine and flavoured vodka. Don’t drink too much if you’re not a pro, you’ll end up being the gossip for next day.

If you have a southern Philippines accent, don’t gab too much if you don’t want to be the clown of the night unless you don’t mind. Filipinos tend to switch letter v to b and f to p. It’s a common occurrence in a Filipino conversation. Some members of the circle might take it too rib-tickling and end up rolling on the floor laughing.

If you are the reason of the party, make sure you prepare something to entertain your visitors as they will force you to either sing or dance for them.

Last but not the least, you’ll be bringing doggy bags home for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the next day. So make sure to use your biggest purse and have a plastic bag ready. You can bring plastic wares too if you want. If not you’ll end up carrying a paper plate oozing with grease.

Did I forget something?

Typical Pinoy Breakfast

“Mom, what’s for breakfast?”

Filipinos love to eat. We can have five to six meals in a day.  Breakfast, lunch and dinner are the three major meals and 2 or 3 snack times in between. We love waking up early in the morning for a pre-breakfast snack. “Pandesal” or sweet buns with white cheese or a sandwiched slice of Dairy Cream butter dipped in a cup of coffee is the usual appy at around 6 o’clock in the morning. The moms usually prepare for the main meal while the rest of the family enjoys the early morning treat. On rainy days, we love going back to bed after a nice and satisfying “pandesal” treat.

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At 7 o’clock, breakfast is already served. School time is early and moms are used to preparing easy-to-cook recipes. The typical Filipino breakfast is usually fried rice and sunny side eggs with any of the basic breakfast favourites such as beef tapa, tocino, fried chicken, sweet sausage or “longganisa”, red Tender Juicy Hotdogs, marinated-deboned-fried milk fish, corned beef with minced potatoes, embutido and salted fish or “tuyo”. Spiced vinegar, banana ketchup, sliced tomatoes and pickled papaya are always good on the side.

Cooking the above mentioned favourites is a piece of cake, effortless. It’s just about heating a frying pan,  a tablespoon of canola oil and fry any of the dishes in 5-10 minutes.

ImageTapsilog means “Tapa + Sinangag + Itlog” (marinated tenderloin beef tips fried to perfection, garlic fried rice and sunny side eggs). Pampanga’s Best is a good brand for processed breakfast goodies or if you want you can make your own beef tapa as well. Tapa are slices of beef flank or tenderloin cut into thin strips marinated for 12 hours with a mixture of soy sauce, garlic, sugar, salt, lime and black pepper. It’s almost similar to beef jerky. The meat soaks all the flavours after immersion.

ImageTocilog means Tocino + Sinangag + Itlog”. Tocino is cured slices of pork shoulder blades that has a sweet taste. They are available in Filipino Stores as well but I prefer making it myself to avoid nitrites in our meal. I use the Mamasitas Tocino Marinade Mix, it makes my life easier. I sometimes add more sugar to the mixture to make it even tastier. It’s lovely with vinegar and soy sauce.

ImageLongsilog means “Longganisa + Sinangag + Itlog”. Longganisa came from the Spanish word Longaniza which pertains to a spicy pork sausage. Well, I don’t know how to make this one. It’s a bit complicated for me and Neil. It can be bought from a wet market in the Philippines and is also available in Filipino Stores. Longganisa is made up of ground pork mixed with minced garlic, sugar, black pepper, vinegar and salt. The combined ingredients are pushed into a hog casing and tied in knots at even intervals. Some are called “Skinless Longganisa” which are molded and without the sausage skin. They make different flavours such as sweet, garlicky, spicy and regular.

ImageCornsilog means Corned Beef + Sinangag + Itlog.”  We add diced potatoes and lots of onions to it. Sometimes we add a tablespoonful of soy sauce and brown sugar to make it more enjoyable.

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 Bangsilog means “Bangus + Sinangag + Itlog”. The Bangus also known as Milk Fish is scaled and cut into a butterfly form and marinated for hours with a mixture of vinegar, soy sauce, black or white pepper and chopped garlic. After marinading for hours, it is fried until crispy. It’s one of my favourite. Pancake House serves the best Bangsilog, pricey but worth it.

ImageHotsilog means Hot Dog + Sinangag + Itlog”. The famous red Tender Juicy Hotdog in the Philippines is the best hotdog I’ve ever tasted. They have the brown ones as well with cheese in it and it was just divine. Any brand of hotdog would do to have Hotsilog for breakfast. This is the easiest one to prepare. It’s best when you have UFC Banana Ketchup on the side.

The other types of Silogs are : Chiksilog (fried chicken), Embusilog (embutido – sausage like) and Litsilog (lechon kawali), Spamsilog (spam), Dangsilog (with “Danggit” or rabbitfish) and Chosilog (chorizo).

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Aside from “Silogs”, Filipino’s also likes porridge. It’s not the oatmeal one but the sweet chocolate rice porridge. We call it Champorado. We have acquired it from the Mexican traders who stayed in our country in the early years. It is made by boiling a special kind of mucilaginous rice with cocoa powder or Milo (popular chocolate drink in the Philippines) which gives a chocolatey color. We usually add milk and sugar to make it taste sweeter and yummier. Some would add Tuyo or salted dried fish which contrasts the sweet taste of Champorado making it more enjoyable.

Filipinos love to have coffee as well with the breakfast and fruits are served after the meal.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day for Filipinos. A heavy breakfast gives us energy to get through the summons ahead. A good breakfast gives brain power.

Pinoy breakfast is one of the world’s best. Simple buy delicious and satisfying.

One should not attend even the end of the world without a good breakfast.” 
― Robert A. Heinlein, Friday

Photo credits to the following :

http://kuboresto.com/, http://www.islakulinarya.blogspot.com, http://www.yelp.com, http://www.flicker.com, www.bubblenews.com, http://www.angsarap.nethttp://www.mommyandmatt.blogspot.com

The Blissful Province Life

I was browsing my iphoto library and I thought it could be interesting to write about the life in the provinces of the Philippines.

I grew up in the province of Aurora which is located in the Eastern part of Central Luzon Region facing the Philippine Sea. Aurora province is filled with gorgeous beaches. It is subdivided into 8 municipalities and my family and I lived in one of the small towns. Neil and I spent most of our holidays last February in the province. He met some of my relatives and he had experienced the blissful province life.

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People in the small towns get so excited when there’s a visitor from other places specially from other country. When Neil and I arrived in the farm house the kids in the neighborhood are all so ecstatic, they would stand outside our fences to catch a glimpse of us. Neil and I were so excited as well to meet the neighborhood. Those little kids four years ago before I left the country were all grown up. I can hardly recognize them. I have to ask who their parents are as these kids would come to me, call my name and I don’t even know them. Neil had a picture with the kids. They like posing with the visitor. When the sun sets, these kids would never leave unless their mom and dads would come and pick them up for supper. The usual time for supper is 6 o’clock. After supper, the family would relax for a bit and give the tummy the time to digest the lovely dinner.

My mom rented a Karaoke machine. The family loves karaoke, it’s one of the necessities when there’s something to celebrate. Neil and I sang a few songs. The sound system was pretty loud but the neighbors don’t mind. Sometimes they like listening to good music, unfortunately the singers are out of tune. I hope they were not swearing at us while we were singing. It’s 7 o’clock and the kids outside our fences would watch us sing. We asked them to dance and they would dance. The relatives would come over and sing with us. Everybody sings and dance. The night was filled with joy and laughter.

We wake up early in the morning. We hear the rooster singing Rock-a-doodle, dogs barking, neighbors gossiping, poot-poot boy passing by with the big basket of freshly baked sweet buns honking his customer magnet, pigs squealing, people shouting and a whole lot more. It’s so nice to wake up and feel the early morning breeze. Coffee and buns are all served. The helpers cooking our breakfast. Breakfast served at 8 o’clock. What a life.

tender juicy hotdog tilapia salted egg with tomatoes

Red hotdogs, fried tilapia, salted egg with tomatoes and fried rice. A very lovely breakfast. Some families would have noodles, fried sundried fish or any vegetable they can grab from their back garden. People in the provinces likes planting vegetables in the back garden, raising hogs and poultry. If they have no cash, they can just grab it from their garden or from the pig pen. People there are very resourceful even the families living in poverty can make up something just so the family can have three meals in a day.

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The above photo is an example of what is in the back garden. Goose, ducks, pig pen, poultry place and a vegetable garden. During our stay, my cousins slaughtered one of my moms piggy. I felt bad for the poor thing but I’m willing to eat after anyway. They planned to slaughter two of them, one for main recipes and one whole thing for “Lechon” or roasted pig but they ended up doing just one. They realized two is too much. We heard the squealing piggy begging for his life. My cousins finished the slaughtering in 30 minutes. They’re kinda good at it. Master slaughters. They started cooking the pork meat and made lots of dishes. My favourite is the “Lauya” which means pork soup. I like soup a lot that’s why I specifically requested for that one. They cooked “Dinuguan” or blood pudding stew, Ceviche, MenudoKaldereta and some other dishes that I can’t even remember. Those dishes are all tasty and savoury. Those are specialty dishes in the Philippines. It’s very common to have those yummy pork goodies during celebrations like birthdays, weddings, christmas, new years, house blessings and even welcoming visitors. Since my mom and dad missed me so much, they threw a huge celebration for our arrival or maybe it’s only for house blessing. I would like to think it’s for both.

If there’s a celebration in the neighborhood, the most common attitude is the “Come-One, Come-All” thing. Everybody is invited. Even the dogs of the farthest neighbor can come. The Barangay is so small that you’ll know every single individual that lives in one particular house. People sometimes get offended if you missed to invite them. Some people are just too shy to attend gatherings. My mom’s co-teachers are in complete attendance of course, my relatives and a lot of different faces. Everyone enjoyed the food. Pictures taken. Everybody’s talking, gabbing. Everybody was happy. After eating, some would stay for a bit and have a chit chat with the family. Some would go home early with doggy bags. It’s a common tradition to give the family of the attendee something before they go home. It’s common courtesy in our country.

sun beneath the leavesfarmlands

The most common view in our province are the rice fields. Feels like we’re in Vietnam war. Apocalypse Now. A very interesting panorama. People work on rice fields, and get payed by the land owner. That is the most common way of living in there. The rich owns the lands and the low income families works for them.

In our province, people would plant and harvest the rice manually. If the land owner owns hectares of land they hire a lot of head to work for him. They use water buffalos to plow the rice fields. Some would use machines. They harvest rice three times or four times a year.

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During harvest season, they use machineries to separate rice grains from the stalk. One example of the machine is the above photo wherein Neil is posing with the people.

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They would have the sacks of rice grains sundried either on a concrete road or on a private drying area. One common thing you’ll notice in our province are the sacks of rice grains all lined up on concrete road. After everything has been sundried properly, they will then sell them to buyers usually from other provinces. The price of one sack would depend on the weight. The price fluctuates all the time. It peaks during the summer season. Harvest times are happy times. The rich gets richer, the low income families earns money, three meals a day. Everybody’s untroubled. Sometimes the wealthy would give a sack of rice to the low-income relatives.

We went to Baler during our stay in Aurora. We dropped by our house in the downtown area and witnessed the evidence how proud my mom and dad was. Two tarpaulins showing our achievements hanging on 2 sides of our ancient house. One for me and one for my eldest sister. It’s been hanging there for 2 years now. Neil had a picture showing the tarpaulins but I’m too embarrassed to post them. After the stop over, we drove heading to Sabang Beach in Baler.

surf in baler

Baler Bay is an extension of the Philippine Sea. It’s a 30 minute drive from our farm house to the beach. Very accessible pristine beach. It is known for the great huge waves, great place for surfing. A lot of surfers would go to Baler Bay and enjoy what it has to offer. There are lots of hotels and resorts close to the beach as well. It’s one of the most reachable beaches from out town. There are lots of gorgeous beaches down there but it’s 6 hours away from the farm. Sabang Beach is the most popular beach in the province for chilling out. Families would go there on Good Fridays, Black Saturdays and Easter Sundays. Some would just go there to feel the pacific breeze, have a fun time with friends. Some would go for contemplation, meditation etc. Some would go just to spend money.

coconut husk

People in the provinces are very easy going. They’re living a happy life. No stress. The unspoiled nature has to do with it I think. The greens, the ocean, the fresh air, the sea breeze, the virgin forest and the people. Everything you see rejuvenates the soul. It relaxes the mind. It wiped off all the stress we had. Neil and I felt like new people. More relaxed. No worries. No anxiety. The surroundings and the mood of the people are very contagious. Everyone just seemed so happy. They laugh freely, they smile here and there, they greet us nicely. We felt their warm hearts. Everything and everyone was just amusing and gratifying.

grocery in the philippines

The above photo is a grocery shop in our province. That’s me and my cousin in the picture. The market there is a one huge open space wherein each stall is privately owned by individuals. Meat, fish, poultry and vegetables are all fresh, harvested in our very own province land. They are very cheap as well. A kilo of pork will only cost Php100 which is $2.50. Vegetables are even cheaper. Though people there loves meat a lot. Well, who doesn’t. Pork is always on top of a grocery shopping list. The trend is “A family who has pork dish on the table for dinner has earned good money.” Every after harvest season, there’s always pork meat for supper to celebrate.

farmlands

I missed the province life. Neil and I would definitely go back soon. I miss the family, the surroundings, the people, everything. The warm welcome, warm hearts, beautiful smiles, nature talking, the ocean breeze, the great waves, happy meals. People are genuinely happy, no stress, no drama.

Life brings simple pleasures. Simple pleasures are the most satisfying that life has to offer. The morning coffee, being outside under a blue warm sky, hanging out with love ones after dinner, a beautiful view, having a good laugh, sleeping in on a rainy day. There are lots of things to be satisfied about. The province life is living a simple but carefree life.

Why don’t we start making wonderful memories with the simple pleasures life gives us every morning, everyday?

Blessed Day to Everyone!

Discovering Baler, Aurora

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Baler is the provincial capital of Aurora, Philippines. It is half an hour away from my hometown. It is a town full of history. Franciscan Missionaries founded the town in 1609 and in 1898, after the proclamation of the Philippine Independence, 54 spanish soldiers made the town church their barracks. A movie was made about the legendary story of the 54 spanish soldiers starring Jericho Rosales a fine actor and Anne Curtis an award winning actress both from the Philippines. Baler (movie title), is a story about the Siege of Baler during the time of the Spaniards. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Baler 

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An old photo of the famed church at Baler, where the 54 Spanish soldiers headed by Captain    Enrique de Las Morenas y Fossi was besieged by Filipino rebels on July 1, 1898.

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Baler Church in the modern times

Baler is not only a town full of history but it also have a lot of hidden gems. Aurora is located in the eastern part of the Central Luzon Region and the province is facing the Philippine Sea. There are a lot of gorgeous, untouched and undiscovered beaches. There is the Sabang Beach, Ampere Bay, Dicasalarin Cove, Dinadiawan Beach and a whole lot more.

If you are from Manila, it will take around 6 to 7 hours by car or Genesis Bus Line to Baler, Aurora. The roads have been reconstructed and definitely a smooth drive now. There has been a lot of changes ever since I left home.

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I captured this photo captured from Bay’s Inn.

Sabang Beach has a great, laid-back surfer vibe. There are new developments going on when we arrived. They were building new hotels an a lot of things have changed. The family went straight to Bay’s Inn which is one of the most popular hotel and restaurant of Sabang Beach. We had Mojos! I must say that their Mojos is a definitely must try!

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I’m gonna have this again for sure!

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Even our Baby Flynn loves it.

Bay’s Inn is an average hotel. It is not fancy but if you want to go to Baler and do some surfing, it could be one of the best choice as it is just near the shore and the restaurant is overlooking the beach which is nice and relaxing. Its terrace overlooks the beach, and it’s lulling to sit there and watch the waves. Order an ice-cold-beer and inhale the freshest air you can get in the country! They say Bay’s Inn is also where the surfers hang-out.

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Just sharing an interesting and funny masterpiece that I took, The Five Little Naked Buddies

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This is what’s new! An ongoing construction.

I am not actually sure what the concrete walkway is for but just anticipating what would it look like when it’s all done, I think it will add beauty to the place (just my thought). It was just a narrow and steep walkway before if I am not mistaken. It is really good to see that there’s an improvement.

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Neil testing the warm and sparkling pacific waters.

Below is a photo taken from Ermita Hill. It’s a hill overlooking the serene Baler Bay. This is a great place to contemplate I must say. The hill has it’s own story like the town church. There has been a tsunami that hit and destroyed the town of Baler and only six families survived the catastrophy. They swam to Point Baja which is now known as Ermita Hill.

Ermita Hill nowadays is a beautiful park where you can witness the beauty of nature. There is a grotto near the front edge of the hill where you can say your prayers and make a wish. At the same place, you can see the vast Pacific Ocean, the mountains that surrounds the town, palm trees, fishing boats of the locals and on the other side is the  fish port and Dimanglat Island.

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I captured this photo from Ermita Hill, Baler showing the connection of Sabang Beach and the Reserva River. As you can see, the view is   fascinating.

It’s always nice to go back to my home province in the Philippines.

He who loves not his country  can love nothing.-Lord Byron

Discovering San Agustin Church in Intramuros, Manila

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San Agustin Church is a Roman Catholic church under the umbrella of The Order of St. Augustine, situated inside the legendary walled city of Intramuros in Manila.

The Church was one of four Philippine churches constructed during the Spanish collonial period. It has been declared by UNESCO as World Heritage Site in 1993. The church has a great baroque style edifice.

In 1587 the impermanent earliest building in wood and palm fronds was replaced by a church and monastery in stone, the latter becoming the Augustinian mother house in the Philippines. As a result the church was richly endowed, with a fine retablo, pulpit, wall paintings, lectern, and choir-stalls. It was the only structure in Intramuros to survive the liberation of Manila in 1945.

The land of the building had been donated by Miguel Lopez de Legaspi, the founder of Manila who had held the expedition to the Philippines from Mexico in 1565.

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An 18th-century pipe organ is located on the upper level of the church.

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The Ceiling is a magnificent piece of art. (above photo)

Below is the statue of the blessed virgin mary on the right wing of the church.

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A few historic and major business leaders are buried inside the crypts and walls of the church. It also contains the tomb of Spanish conquistadors Miguel López de Legazpi, Juan de Salcedo and Martín de Goiti, as well as several early Spanish Governors-General and archbishops. Their bones are buried in a communal vault near the main altar.

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These are wooden chairs carved to perfection!

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I’m not good in describing things especially if it pertains to the interior of a church. The main door is carved, its like an expensive sculpture by itself. When I went inside the church I experienced some goose bumps. The Baroque architecture and design really fascinated me, Neil and my family. The walls and the ceiling are mesmerizing. The ornate chandeliers and the long majestic aisle was breath-taking. The altar has the antique decorations and were so amazing in intricate designed. Everything inside was evident of the Spanish colonization.

I am so lucky to have seen a very historic church. I myself was awed with everything I saw. Neil was so amazed as well. I am so glad to have visited San Agustin Church during our holidays in the Philippines. I can’t be more proud.

I took the photos. I hope you like it.

Holidays in Boracay

Here comes the most awaited holiday of my life. I have been living in the Philppines for 24 years yet I have not seen the stunning beach of Boracay which is now the number 1 tourist destination of the country. I have been away from home for almost 4 years now and I just cannot wait to see my family.

Neil and I arrived in Ninoy Aquino International Airport at around 11 o’clock of February 2nd. I cannot believe my eyes when I saw my mom and dad. They look so much older than when I left the country. I did not know how much I missed them until I hugged them. Oh I have missed them ever since I left home. Love them so much. And we are back together for the meantime!

And then our Boracay Adventure.

Why life is better in Boracay?

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As you can see, the beach was absolutely gorgeous. The sun was shining into the crystal clear water. The fine white sand felt like velvet beneath my feet.

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Food is GORGEOUS and CHEAP.

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I have never witnessed such beauty in a sunset. There are times where the sky is colored neon yellow, orange and pink then it becomes more of a gradient color scheme blending into the wispy clouds and sail boats on the horizon. It looks as if the sky is filled with different tones and texture coming together to form a mass of beauty that is pure and untainted.

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Banana Peanut shake is just heaven! Even the Mango Fruit shake is just divine. Must try Jonahs Fruit Shake as they are supposed to have the best shakes in the island.

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There are so many fun activities to do like the Banana Boat Ride, Parasailing, ATV, Island Hopping, Snorkeling, Helmet Diving and more. I really enjoyed ATV and Banana Boat Ride since the whole family is doing it. It’s just absolutely pure fun!

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This is one of our favorite alright. You can get a good massage for Php 250.00 which is only $ 6 CAD.

My family had lots of fun. We stayed in La Carmela de Boracay at Station 2. The hotel staff are awesome. The hospitality is just priceless. The rooms are nice, clean and well ventilated. We stayed in an Executive Suite for the whole family and the room was spacious.

We had no expectations upon arrival but we fell head over heels in love with this island. I have never seen my mom and dad so relaxed in their entire life and i am so delighted to see them like that. Between the amount of things to do on the Island and such a small price tag associate with the activities, Boracay is the perfect place to go for a beautiful tropical holiday for the family and even honeymooners on a budget.

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Absolutely!

Do you agree?