Getting Accepted Gastronomically in the Philippines


Westerners have been present in the Philippines for over four hundred years, and many Filipinos are aware that a Westerner’s ways are different. You see it more prominent when a Filipino married a Westerner. The outgoing hospitality of Filipinos, along with their willingness to adapt to foreign guests, make it too easy for them to “be themselves”, but then the cultural gap will only be emphasized, and their stay in the Philippines will remain that of spectators and outsiders.

A foreigner who makes the effort to “get into” the culture, on the other hand, is much appreciated because Filipinos always make a distinction between an outsider, who could even be a fellow Filipino, and one of their particular kin group. When you are offered boiled duck’s egg with a half-incubated chick inside, you will not offend if you decline gently and politely, but you will have missed the opportunity of…

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Batanes Island – Its History


Batanes Pinterest by Arnel Lumanog

Batanes – Photo Credit – Pinterest by Arnel Lumanog

Continuing from last week. . .

The ancient inhabitants of Batanes, the native Ivatans, were divided into small pagan kinship groups inhabiting the mountains near or on the rocky natural fortresses known as ijangs. Clans were in a more or less constant state of tribal war. These people traded with the inhabitants of the nearby Babuyan Islands, the north shores of Luzon (Cagayan and Ilocos) and what is now Taiwan. Goods were bartered or gold was used as a medium of exchange.

Since they believed in life after death, they buried their dead with tools, food, pots, and bowls for use in the next world. They believed that the souls of the upper classes were taken up to heaven and became stars, but the souls of the poor wandered over the world as anitos (spirits).

Ivatans had lived in grass and…

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Batanes – The Philippine’s northernmost remote islands


This photo of Batanes is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Beyond the northern tip of Luzon is the mountainous Batanes, Home of the Winds, and the Philippine’s smallest province, both in land area and population. Flanked by the Pacific Ocean on the east and the South China Sea on the west, the islands are lashed by gale-force winds six months of the year. Between July and September, the islands are hit by typhoons quite frequently. The Batanes are bleak and inhospitable from July through December. Rains and cold winds often continue through February, but from March through June, the islands transform into a veritable paradise when the winds are calm and the sea smooth. Buildings have been structured accordingly – the residents live in low dwellings with massively thick walls. A roof net is used to hold down the roof in typhoons.

The islands’ original inhabitants were probably a mixture of Malay…

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The Grand Union Flag

A great history lesson for everyone!

Nope, we’re not talking about a Civil War flag. We’ve moving about four score years farther back on the historic timeline this month to discuss flags used by the Americans during the War for Independence.

Today’s featured flag has historically been considered the first flag national flag of the United States. The design – approved by the Continental Congress – was widely used in 1776 and 1777 prior to the adoption of the “Betsy Ross Flag” which is usually associated with the conflict.

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The Timelessness of July 4th

Happy 4th of July! Enjoy your day and remember those who fought to give us this independence we have today!

Pacific Paratrooper




HARK, hark the sound of war is heard,
And we must all attend;
Take up our arms and go with speed,
Our country to defend.

Our parent state has turned our foe,
Which fills our land with pain;
Her gallant ships, manned out for war,
Come thundering o’er the main.

There’s Charleton, Howe and Clinton too,
And many thousand more,
May cross the sea, but all in vain,
Our rights we’ll ne’er give o’er.

Our pleasant homes they do invade,
Our property devour;
And all because we won’t submit
To their despotic power.

Then let us go against our foe,
We’d better die than yield

We and our sons are…

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The Galleon Trade


Acapulco Acapulco in 1628 – Photo Credit: Wikipedia 


The Manila Galleons were Spanish trading ships which linked the Philippines with Mexico when both were part of the New Spain. Until 1821, the Philippines was administered by the Viceroy of Mexico; direct rule by Spain only started in 1821.

The Manila-Acapulco galleon trade began when Spanish navigators Andres de Urdaneta and Alonso de Arellano discovered the eastward return route from the Philippines to Mexico in 1565. The Manila-Acapulco galleon trade lasted until 1815 when the Mexican War of Independence broke out.

Sailing as part of the expedition commanded by Miguel Lopez de Legazpi to conquer the Philippines in 1565, Urdaneta and Arellano were given the task of finding a return route. Reasoning that the trade winds of the Pacific might move in a gyre as the Atlantic winds did, they had to sail north to the 38th parallel north, off…

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Philippine Sea – What, Where and Its Place in the Philippine History


Phil Sea 1

The blue area is the Philippine Sea. To its left is the Philippine Islands.

Phil Sea 2

Can you visualize the location of the Philippine Sea within the vast Pacific Ocean? The long elongated island to the extreme middle left is The Philippines.

Philippine Sea is a section of the western North Pacific, lying east and north of the Philippines. The floor of this portion of the ocean is formed into a structural basin by a series of geologic folds and faults which protrude above the surface in the form of bordering island arcs.

The Philippine sea is bounded as follows:

On the southwest by The Philippine islands of Luzon, Samar and Mindanao

On the southeast by Palau, Yap and Ulithi of the Carolines

On the east by the Marianas, including Guam, Saipan and Tinian

On the northeast by the Bonin and Volcano islands (Iwo Jima)

On the north by the Japanese islands…

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