The Philippines is a populous island nation in Southeast Asia. The official languages are English and Filipino, but there are also 19 separate recognized regional tongues. Additionally, some people speak Spanish or Arabic (which is taught in Islamic schools in Mindanao). The Philippines have a great deal of coastline, and the terrain includes volcanic mountains, rainforests, and subterranean rivers. Overall the country has a tropical maritime climate. The Philippines are considered a megadiverse country, and possess a nearly unparalleled level of biodiversity per unit area. Native animal species include the monkey-eating eagle, the flying lemur, and the Palawan stink badger. Mainstays of the economy include agriculture, services, and manufacturing.
You can go island-hopping and relax on beautiful beaches, but you can also dig into culture and the past. Banaue in Luzon contains the Unesco World HeritageÔÇôlisted Ifugao rice terraces where a pioneering irrigation system was built thousands of years back. Visit Quiapo Church in Manila to look at the much-adored Black Nazarene, an image of Christ that is central to a major religious festival.
Rice, noodles, sweet potatoes, and purple yams are popular starchy staples. Typical vegetables include water spinach, various types of cabbage, eggplant, and sitaw (yard-long beans). Chicken, pork, and beef are common meats, and fish and seaweeds are abundant. Sour flavors can be added to foods, especially seafood dishes, through the use of guava fruit or miso paste. Sinigang na baboy is a pork and tamarind soup. Try pinakbet, a vegetable dish meaning shrunk or shriveled in the Ilokano language, which may have kabocha squash, eggplant, bitter melon, beans, okra, and tomatoes, plus shrimp paste as flavoring.
You can find organic (and often vegetarian-friendly) Chinese, Filipino, and American restaurants, juice bars, local and seasonal foods, and macrobiotic cuisine. There is a large number of natural foods markets. You can find places to drink organic wine while eating vegetable stew. Tropical fruits like bayabas (guavas), mangoes, papayas, and pineapples can really satisfy your sweet tooth.