Top 3 Famous Philippines’ Festivals to Experience

The Philippines has been a Spanish colony for more than 300 years, that’s why, even if the Filipinos suffered a great deal during that era, they still have inculcated a lot of Spanish culture. The most notable of it is the religion – Roman Catholicism. The Spanish was successful in converting almost 90% of Filipinos to become Catholics, up until now, the Philippines is a largely Catholic country. Festivities and celebrations are still part of the Hispanic culture, and Filipinos embraced it with open arms. Here are the top 3 famous festivals in the Philippines.

Masskara Festival
Masskara Festival is one of the most colorful festivals in the country, and it is celebrated in Bacolod City. Masskara or mascara is coined from a Spanish word for “face mask”, and every October, these “masskaras” are worn by street dancers together with their colorful headdresses and vibrant costumes. Aside from the intricate designs on the mask, it is, also, always adorned with a smile, thus the term “City of Smiles”. The festival began when the sugar cane industry of the island had hit its all-time low and a tragedy on the sea resulted to loss of lives of a lot of Negrenses. Amidst all of these, the local government thought of a way to pull the people away from the depression brought about by the crisis. The whole city community joined together to create and celebrate the festival of smiles to signify that people in Bacolod will survive and will still triumph over the bad times.

Sinulog Festival
Sinulog Festival is the biggest, grandest and the most celebrated festival in the Philippines, observed every third Sunday of January in the Queen City of the South, Cebu. It is the feast of Santo Niño, and devotees from all over the country flood the city to adore the child Jesus, but aside from the regular devotees, tourist also travel to experience the popular street parties held during the weekend highlights. More than a million participants every year join in the Sinulog dancing, since the term Sinulog came from the Cebuano word “sulog” that means water current, and the famous SInulog dance steps consist of two steps forward and one step backward.

Ati-Atihan Festival
Ati-atihan is celebrated every third Sunday of January, same with Sinulog Festival, since they also celebrate the feast of the child Jesus, Santo Niño. Aside from the religious background, this festival is also a cultural one, with its name derived from the aborigines and first settler of the island called “Atis”, accordingly, “ati-atihan” means to be like Atis. Festivities will mostly last a week with devotees and tourists enjoying the merry-making events here and there. The street dancing is considered to be one of their highlights, and all dancers are painted with black body paint from head to toe to imitate the normal skin color of Atis.

How To Plan a Great Vacation With a Group of Friends

Whether you are a youngster or elder, a student or businessman, a happily married person or just a person who is still looking for their soulmate, one thing is certain – vacation is one of your most anticipated times of the year, isn’t it? It certainly is! Don’t worry, because there is nothing wrong with that. After all, we are all human beings, and as such we all need to take some time off every now and then, which is completely normal. There is a plethora of reasons why people love vacations so much – it is just that everyone has their own set of reasons. With this in mind, if your current job, school or university allows you to take a vacation every few weeks or so, you should consider yourself very lucky, because not many people get a chance to do something like that, you know? This is especially true if you often get a chance to go on a vacation with a group of your friends, because not many people get to do something like that either. This is something that the owners of Harmony Heating & Air Conditioning truly cherish – time away with friends and family to truly recharge and enjoy some down time.

While going on a vacation brings all sorts of benefits for everyone involved, the whole vacation planning process can be pretty boring and mentally exhausting. This is especially the case when you can’t make your plans come to life just because you don’t have enough time or money. So, what could you possibly do to make this whole process easier for both you and your friends? Choosing where you want to go, where you want to spend the night, and who you want to go with can be a pretty time-consuming process. Luckily, we’ve got some tips that should make this entire process much easier for you!

Where Do You Want To Go?
When it comes to traveling with a group of friends, one of the first things that you need to do is decide where you want to go. However, this can be pretty hard to pull off when there are several different minds involved in the planning process. With that said, what you need to do is talk to your friends, calculate how much money you have available, and then make a final decision on where you are going to go.

Don’t Pack Too Much Stuff
Many people consider packing to be one of the most infuriating parts of the preparation process. Keep in mind that packing too much stuff is never a good idea. Only bring what you need to bring, and everything should be alright.

Who Do You Want To Go With?
You should go with someone you actually trust and care about. After all, you don’t want someone to ruin your entire trip just because they don’t like something, do you? You certainly don’t!

How To Improve Your Travel Photography

As an avid travel blogger and world traveler in general, it is safe to say that photography is one of the most important parts of your trips and the content that you share, right? However, taking Instagram-worthy photos is not always an easy thing to do, because there is so much more to it than just a single snap of the shutter. We all know that a picture is worth a thousand words, right? That being said, when it comes to illustrating your tales of travel and adventure, there is nothing better than a set of sharp images that capture the essence of a destination. But as we already said, taking Instagram-worthy photos is not always easy. There is no reason to worry though, because there are some things that you can do to improve the quality of your photos. And now, here are some of those things!

Do Some Research
As soon as you book a flight, the first thing that you need to do is head over to Instagram and use the hashtag search option to find some images of all the must-see tourist attractions in the region that you are going to be visiting. Not only will this help improve your appetite for the trip, but it will also help you understand what kind of shots work the best in those places. Although this is a pretty easy thing to do, that doesn’t mean that it is not important, because it is.

Set Up Before Other People Arrive
When it comes to travel photography, having too many people in the foreground is never a good idea. Although it would make the destination look more alive, it simply wouldn’t make an appealing photo for your gallery. With that said, if you have found a shot that you really want to capture with your camera, make sure to do it before other people arrive.

Talk To Locals
Communication with other people is considered to be one of the best ways to get advice on where to find the most scenic spots in the area. This is why you should never overlook this tip. So, get out there and talk to as many people as you can. It will help improve your travel photography game significantly.

7 Stunning Churches all over the World

There is something about old cathedrals that are fascinating to most people. The intricate architecture, colorful stained glasses, elaborate altars, decorative chandeliers and tall tales of history attract tourists and faithful Catholics alike. They are part of tour itineraries especially in Catholic countries. Here are 5 most stunning Cathedrals in the world.

SAGRADA FAMILIA, BARCELONA

Although unfinished, one can’t deny the beauty of this church. It is a masterpiece of Antoni Gaudi where he combined Spanish Gothic, Catalan Modernism and Art Noveau architectures to create a stunning minor basilica with long slender towers.

PETER’S BASILICA, VATICAN

This magnificent basilica is the official Papal seat and is made by famous artists with the likes of Michelangelo, Gian Lorenzo Bernini and Raphael. The mix of Italian Renaissance and Baroque architectures are evident in one of the largest churches in the whole world. Most popes are buried in its grounds but the most famous grave is of Saint Peter thus the name.

CHURCH OF THE HOLY SEPULCHRE, JERUSALEM

What could be holier than the church built on the place where Jesus Christ was resurrected? Hundreds of Catholic pilgrims journey to visit the tomb of Christ and is a place of worship not only by Roman Catholics but also for Greek and Armenian Orthodox.

SANTA MARIA DEL FIORE, ITALY

It took a century to build this outstanding Florence Cathedral and it is all worth it. By the 1400’s this cathedral was considered to be the biggest and most important building in the whole of Italy. Its architectural design was so majestic that it sparked a new artistic era and inspired artists in the whole of Europe.

BASIL’S CATHEDRAL, RUSSIA

The colorful façade of this cathedral is as colorful as its history. The original structure is composed of 8 churches around a central church, later on a tenth church was also built over the grave of St. Basil. The architectural design of the towers are made to resemble a bonfire.

VINZENZ CHURCH, AUSTRIA

Aside from its beauty, this church is known to have a relic of Jesus Christ – His blood, thus the name of the village Heiligenblut (Holy Blood). A knight by the name of Briccius brought the said relic but, unfortunately, was buried in an avalanche on the site where this stunning church was built.

PAOAY CHURCH, PHILIPPINES

Philippines is popularly a Catholic country and it isn’t a surprise to see Catholic churches in almost every town and city all over the archipelago. With so many lovely churches to see, it is quite hard to choose just one. Notable enough is the church in Ilocos Norte called Paoay Church with its intricate architecture of 24 exterior buttresses and coral belfry on the side.