The Philippines is an exceptionally unique country in Southeast Asia. For starters, the Filipino family culture is a mishmash of all sorts of influences, from their Malay neighbors, Chinese visitors, to their conquerors from Spain, the US, and Japan.
Imagine all of these countries have contributed to shaping the culture of Filipinos and what is now the modern-day Philippine islands. It’s also one of the very few countries in Asia that has strong European and American presence, from their dominant Roman Catholic beliefs, their grasp of the English language, to even the stunning architecture left behind by the Spanish.
Fortunately, the Philippines offers a lot of beautiful sites that showcase how their heritage was formed. From national museums to the ruins of their history’s most tumultuous times, you can learn a thing or two about this archipelago when visiting these sites. Here are some things to know about Filipino culture and places you definitely should go to!
If there ever was a place in Southeast Asia that looks almost exactly like Europe, it’ll have to be Intramuros city in the capital Manila. Almost all of the buildings, houses, and all sort of other structures are relics of the Spanish of 300 years that happened for more than a century ago.
With such historical significance, most of the establishments here, from churches, hotels, to various restaurants, have their own museums detailing the important events that transpired in the city.
When you go to Intramuros, you’ll notice that it’s a walled-city protected by a strong concrete citadel. This is actually Fort Santiago, an interesting entity in of itself that as built to protect what was once the seat of government of the Spanish-ruled Philippines.
Most of the structure is still complete, and you can take a tour around the fortress to learn how the Spaniards protected themselves against rebels and other external forces. This was also where the Philippines’ national here, Dr. Jose Rizal, was imprisoned before he was executed.
National Museum of National History
The Philippines is an archipelago that’s made up of 7.107 islands, and among them are all sorts of natural wonders and wildlife spectacles. Of course, you’re not going to handle visiting each and every one of them to understand the exquisite nature of this country, but there is still one place where you learn more about the culture of Filipinos.
The National Museum of Natural History, situated in the middle of Manila, is a treasure trove of various information, artifacts, and replicas of some of the Philippine’s most interesting features.
Quezon City Memorial Circle
Quezon City is one of the largest metropolises in the Philippines, and right in the middle of it is the Quezon City Memorial Circle. The central landmark is famous for its Filipino celebrations and traditions, the art-deco tower where former president Manuel L. Quezon is buried.
The structure itself is a museum that showcases the former president’s achievements in office. Around it is several playgrounds, restaurants, and museums that teach all sorts of things, from natural wonders, science, to history and art.
University of the Philippines
Where else will you be educated more about the culture of Filipinos than in an actual university? In this Southeast Asian country, the University of the Philippines is arguably the most open to visitors and has complete resources for one to study the country with.
Its main campus in Diliman, Quezon City, houses several museums and libraries that talk about all the important events in the country’s history. While in the Manila campus, on the other hand, stands the “Museum of a History of Ideas,” a treasure trove of philosophical artifacts and political texts that challenged the norms of the Philippines in its vibrant history.
Pinto Art Museum
For a bit of more modern and Filipino cultural items, head on over to Antipolo city where you can visit the famous Pinto Art Museum. This residence-turned-art gallery houses several pieces from some of the country’s most illustrious painters, sculptors, and visual artists of modern times.
You can learn about the contemporary art scene of Northern Philippines by checking out all the amazing pieces on display here. Furthermore, the museum is also an Instagram-worthy spot, just in case you want to share a little something about your visit on social media.
If you want to learn more about the culture of Filipinos and the indigenous tribes of the Philippines, head on over to the mountainous city of Bagiuo. Here, not only will you get to visit all sorts of museums and libraries that talk a lot about how the ancient Filipinos lived, but you’ll also get to meet their descendants that stayed within the tribe despite all that has happened in the country.
You get to see them in their native clothing and how they go about their lives respecting their original culture. If you do get to see one, treat them with the utmost respect. As far as what Mister Hint suggests, this is one place where you can definitely get lost in.
Corregidor is a deserted island by Manila Bay that’s infamous for being an important fort of the military forces of the countries that conquered the Philippines. It’s even said to be haunted by those who lost their lives battling on the ground, particularly during World War II.
Here, you can tour on the various ruins that were left behind by some of the most violent times in the country’s history. It’s also famous (or infamous) for its Malina tunnel, where various military forces starved to death when they were surrounded by their enemies.
In Cebu, a famous city in the Visayas region of the country, you will find Magellan’s Cross. The shrine houses the first ever symbol of Christianity that ever landed on the Philippines, and was said to be a personal gift of the famous explorer Ferdinand Magellan to the tribal leaders of ancient Philippines.
Today, one can visit and learn more about the Spanish Inquisition that led to the Western discovery of the Philippine islands and the violent path that led the country to be dominantly Roman Catholic.
Even if it seems that the Philippines had too much going on in their past, however, the history and culture of Filipinos can be learned and rediscovered through these magical places. When you visit this Southeast Asian country, make sure to check out how the “Pearl of The Orient” came to be by visiting these amazing sites.