Category Archives: Philippines

Rockstars in Cebu!

Cebu, Philippines – We’re rockstars in Cebu!  Or at least we felt like rockstars – people constantly ask if they could pose with us for a photo.

Like my experience in Macau and Taiwan, a group of two or three would stare at us for a bit, then eventually show us their camera and ask us to take a photo. This made sense to me, because they may have seen me using my SLR camera and assumed I knew what I was doing. I quickly learned that they didn’t want me behind the camera, they wanted me in the photo, with their group, and then they’d each want every possible combination of people in photos with me, and then they’d each want individual shots.

Then their friends would come join – for the below photo their group grew to 40+. We thought it was hilarious!

Rockstars in Cebu, Phillippines
David (from England), Raymond (from Holland), and I (United States), with 40 of our new fans!

Maybe they all thought we were famous?  Shockingly this doesn’t happen to me in the New York City. [sarcasm]

We tried to remain enthusiastic for them, but we had been traveling for 9 hours that day and had already taken 30 photos with this group by the time this pic was taken.

7 Philippine cuisines -Halo-Halo, Adobo, Kare-Kare, Balut

Delicious Pinoy dishes

While the Philippines certainly aren’t known for their food, below are 7 Philippine cuisines that we enjoyed. I’ve listed my 7 top Pinoy dishes that stand out from my month in the country, and one that I absolutely would not try (it’s a duck fetus – scroll the bottom to see Bourdain eat it).

1. Halo-halo! – it’s #1 not for the taste but for the joy people get just saying the name. It might be impossible to pronounce it properly without smiling. I’m serious – I heard it spoken dozens of times in my month in the Philippines, and each time I’d see a wider smile than the last. I really wanted to like it!  Despite the welcomed enthusiasm, I found it to be disappointingly not that tasty.

Halo Halo! Filippino dessert (Philippine cuisines at Visit50.com)
Halo-halo! Filipino dessert from my first day in the Philippines

What’s in halo-halo?  The name translates in english to “mix-mix” and it’s fitting. It’s always made of shaved ice, evaporated milk, and sugar, and then it appears to be whatever they have to throw in. Red beans, coconut gel, jackfruit, tapioca, corn flakes, jelly beans, yams, plantains caramelized in sugar…yeah throw it in!

You may remember Halo-halo! from Top Chef:

Philippine Sunrise Sunsets – Bohol, Boracay, & Malapascua

Boracay, Bohol, and Malapascua, Philippines – some of the best sunsets from my trip were in the Philippines – here’s three from the beach at three different popular islands in the Philippines. Vote for your favorite paradise in the Philippines!

Alona Beach, Panglao, Bohol

Bohol sunset - Philippines - Visit50
My last sunset in Bohol - the views in the Philippines got even better from here

Boracay sunsets had intense, vibrant colors, nearly every day I was there. Here’s one taken from the beach at station two:

Boracay sunset - Philippines
I have tons of better Boracay sunsets - almost every day people would gather to watch the sky's brilliant colors

 

Malapascua – brilliant purple sky!

Purple Sky -- Malapascua sunset (Philippines)
Malapascua was a surprising gem on my trip.

Which sunset (or sunrise) from the Philippines did you like best?

Don’t go to the Philippines – you’ll die!

Is Boracay dangerous?

When considering visiting the Philippines, I kept receiving the same ominous warning each time.  “Don’t go to the Philippines – you’ll die!”  Based on that advice, and considering that it’s not really near anywhere I was going,  I was planning on avoiding the entire country. But is it true? Is the entire Philippines country dangerous?  Is Boracay dangerous?

I kept hearing about the terrible crime problems, and that tourists actually get kidnapped (OMG!). Between that, and how far it was from everywhere else I was planning to go, I initially wasn’t even considering going.

Is Boracay dangerous? It actually has very little crime. The Philippines are relatively safe in the center of the country. I miss the Philippines!
Is Boracay dangerous? It actually has very little crime. The Philippines are relatively safe in the center of the country. I miss the Philippines!

Spoiler Alert – I lived, and I’m glad I went! The Philippines ended up being one of my favorite countries I visited. They weren’t even on my initial Asia trip plan, but there was so much I wanted to see and do that I stay there an entire month! That’s longer than anywhere else on my trip.  I give a special thanks to Amanda (from Canada) – when I was diving in SipadanBorneo – she raved about her experiences there. Then I met Jesper and Louise (from Denmark), and they loved it there too, specifically Bohol.  And on and on. So are the Philippines really dangerous?  Here’s what you need to know:

The 10 Best Animal Photos

Best Animal Photos of 2011

The top 10 Best Animal Photos of 2011 – incredibly cute photos from around the world.  It’s not my photography, but rather from some of the best animal photojournalism of the past year. They’re from everywhere from China and the Philippines, to Russia, Slovakia, and Germany. I loved this Ginger Orange Seal, and the chimpanzee nursing a tiger. Which were your favorites?

Ginger orange seal on Tyuleniy Island in Russia. Best Animal Photos of 2011
Ginger orange seal on Tyuleniy Island in Russia – Via: theuniblog.evilspacerobot.com
A baby hippo and his mother. Best Animal Photos of 2011
A baby hippo and his mother

Adorable animal photography.

2 yr old chimpanzee Do Do feeds milk to Aorn, a 2-month-old tiger cub. Best Animal Photos of 2011
2-year-old chimpanzee “Do Do” feeds milk to “Aorn” – a 2-month-old tiger cub. (Reuters / Sukree Sukplang)
A Kamchatka Brown Bear and one of her two three-month-old cubs share a kiss in Hamburg, Germany. (Reuters - Fabian Bimmer). Best Animal Photos of 2011
A Kamchatka Brown Bear and one of her two three-month-old cubs share a kiss in Hamburg, Germany. (Reuters – Fabian Bimmer)
Chengdu - 12 giant panda cubs lie in a crib at the Chengdu Research Base in China. (Reuters China Daily). Best Animal Photos of 2011
12 giant panda cubs lie in a crib at the Chengdu Research Base in China. (Reuters – China Daily)
one-month-old jaguar cub at the Leningrad city zoo in St. Petersburg, Russia. Best Animal Photos of 2011
one-month-old jaguar cub at the Leningrad city zoo in St. Petersburg, Russia

African spurred tortoise with two heads and five legs is displayed in Slovakia Best Animal Photos of 2011

Philippine Tarsier – world’s cutest primate?

Philippine Tarsier – for a moment I thought I met real Gremlins!  Introducing the extremely rare Philippine Tarsier, one of the smallest primates on earth.  Tarsiers have enormous sized eyes, which are as large as their brains. Some call them the cutest “monkey” on earth. What do you think?

Philippine Tarsier in Bohol, Philippines

Other fun facts about these cute primates:  Tarsiers are very shy nocturnal animals, but I managed to get a few photos for you. Look at those eyes!

Philippine Tarsier wrapped up in a bed of leaves, in Bohol, Philippines
Tarsier wrapped up in a bed of leaves

Photos taken by Todd L. Cohen in Bohol, Philippines!

Philippine Tarsier have little tiny hands and feet | Photo taken in Bohol, Philippines
Philippine Tarsier have little tiny hands and feet

The Philippine Tarsier diet is nearly exclusively insects, which they catch by jumping at them (on occasion these little guys also eat birds, snakes, bats, lizards). They’re quick jumpers. Tarsiers look asleep at one moment, and then jump to another branch the next.

Philippine Tarsier are really small | Bohol, Philippines
Tarsiers are really tiny

As you can see, they’re is really tiny – they fit in my hands!  Just 4-6 inches.

Sleeping tarsiers - they're nocturnal primates | Bohol, Philippines | Photo by Todd Cohen | 50and50by50.com
The Philippine Tarsier is a nocturnal primate. Very sleepy!

They say a visit to Bohol is not complete without seeing the famous Philippine Tarsier, and I’d have to agree. They’re unlike anything I’ve ever seen (besides Gizmo from the Gremlins!).