The “ballsiest” soup in the Philippines: Soup No. 5

We are in the Philippines. Here Soup Number Five is well-known, as are its purported aphrodisiac and healing properties. Originally served by roadside eateries, some men even believe that eating it will give them the virility of a bull: Cebuanos know it as “lanciao” and is believed to give the physical attributes of the animal to anyone willing to take a sip. Or, at least, increase their libido even if, nutrition-wise, a serving of Soup no. 5 gives less zinc (the mineral which increases libido) when cooked. According to others,…

Read More

Manila Cemetery: known as “Beverly Hills of the Dead” is full of luxurious final resting places

Not even death put an end to the luxurious lifestyles of some of Manila’s wealthy Chinese residents. Here, in the capital of Philippines, the dead have better houses than the living ones: the Chinese Cemetery of Manila is a real little neighborhood, with many tombs reaching the size of real mansions, including all their modern amenities. The mausoleums lining either side of two-way streets within the cemetery are equipped with state-of-the-art facilities that many living people can only dream of: they have fully-functioning kitchens and bathrooms with luxury fittings, and…

Read More

Lapu-Lapu: the Philippine hero who killed Ferdinand Magellan

Someone has compared the first circumnavigation of the globe to the first adventures in space. The reason? Magellan and his companions faced the unknown, and seas never crossed by other Europeans before, in territories where unknown and perhaps hostile citizens lived. Although the history of space exploration has had its victims (18 astronauts in all, both men and women women, among the Soviets and the United States), the Magellan expedition ended much more disastrously, at least for the cost in terms of human lives. Ferdinand Magellan (1480-1521) was not very…

Read More

Tuslob Buwa – minced pork liver and brain gravy in the Philippines

We are in the Pasil neighborhood of Cebu City, Philippines. The Philippines is known for having some of the tastiest exotic dishes in the world, and each province having its own “specialty.” In Cebu, one of these dishes is tuslob buwa, a popular street food whose chief ingredients are minced pork liver, innards and brain, which get sautéed with garlic, onions, shrimp paste, and chilis in a wok filled with boiling oil or lard and sometimes soy sauce for extra flavor. The mixture starts out as a watery stock, but…

Read More

#March 9, 1974: the incredible Hiroo Onoda’s One-Man war finally ends

Nearly 30 years after the end of the Second World War Japanese soldier Hiroo Onoda finally surrendered on this day, March 9 1974. His story is curious: he had been waging his own war from a jungle and the mountains. All began in December 1944, when, towards the end of the global conflict, Onoda, an intelligence officer, was sent to Lubang Island in the Philippines. His task was simple: destroy infrastructure on the island and do all he could to thwart enemy attacks. However, when US and Philippine Commonwealth forces…

Read More

21# Puto Bumbong – Philippines

We are in the Philippines, which are home to one of the longest Christmas seasons in the world, stretching from the beginning of September until the end of December. In fact Christmas carols are heard as early as September and the season last until Epiphany, the feast of the Black Nazarene on the second Sunday of January, or at the Feast of the Santo Niño held every third Sunday of January. As a results, months of festivities are dotted by a wide array of delicious, often colorful treats, and among…

Read More

Malinta tunnel: war and ghosts in the Philippines

We are off the coast of the Philippines. Corregidor Island was a strategic place to hold during WWII, in fact the island was seen as the key to Manila, sitting just within its bay. As a result it was fought over by both the US and Japanese military, who both managed to secure the island at differing times. Being a place that was so brutally ravaged by war, Corregidor Island saw mass amounts of bloodshed and death, and it is thought to be one of the most haunted places in…

Read More

The mysterious Hanging Coffins of Sagada, Philippines

In the mists of time, for over 2000 years, the Igorot population has traditionally created wooden coffins and set them overhanging in the rock. The Igorots are an indigenous tribe living still today in Sagada, Luzon Island, Philippines, and this tradition is still present today. The Igorots practise unique funerary customs, in which the dead are buried in coffins which are tied or nailed to the side of cliffs. As tradition requires, everyone builds his own coffin, starting this work when he begins to feel the first signs of weakening…

Read More