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The beautiful Philippines – why not your next destination?

Any plans yet what should be your next destination? If you haven’t picked what country to visit next, try adding Philippines to your list! It is not a typical vacation detination, where most of the people go. But no matter what you are up to or what your idea of a perfect holiday is, the Philippines will probably have it..

  1. AMAZING PEOPLE 

The Filipinos are some of the happiest people in the world, as reported by many reports including on by the Business Insider. Filipinos are very friendly, open toward foreigners, helpful and very curious and also respectful. They always seem to be happy and smiling. They love to sing and to dance whenever there is an occasion to celebrate.

  1. GOOD FOOD

Philippian cuisine is not that famous around the globe, and I also have never seen a Filipino restaurant outside of the country. But that doesn’t mean that the food tastes bad! It’s quite different from other Southeast Asian cuisines. Rice has always been the staple food in Filipino cuisine. Even McDonald’s serves rice with some of their value meals. Filipinos are meat lovers so almost everything contains either pork or chicken. If you love fresh seafood, from lobster to crabs or tiger prawns, you will find it all for very low prices. If you are into juicy mangoes and pineapples, the Philippines are the place for you. You can have them everywhere fresh and cheap. Filipino food is a diverse blend of Oriental, European and American culinary tastes.Philippines 2

  1. PARADISE BEACHES AND LANDSCAPE

Being one of the largest archipelagos in the world, it’s not surprising that the Philippines have an incredible amount of awesome beaches. If you are into white sandy beaches and turquoise crystal-clear waters, you’re in the right country. The queen of all the beaches is probably the White Beach in Boracay, constantly rated as one of the Top 10 beaches in the world. It’s not hard to find your dream beach or a pristine island over there and having it all for yourself.

  1. EVERYBODY SPEAKS ENGLISH

A big advantage compared to other Asian countries is that in the Philippines over 90% of the population speaks English. It’s the language of the government and the preference for written communication, be it in school or business. It really makes travelling through the country a lot easier, and it will allow you to interact with the locals who will be able to recommend things and places you would have never otherwise heard of.

5.CLIMATE AND WEATHER

With average daily temperatures ranging from 25 to 28 degrees the Philippines have a very pleasant tropical climate. November to April is the peak season there and promises the best, driest weather. They also have a monsoon season over there and loads of rain between June and October. This doesn’t mean it rains all day though – most days it will just pour down pretty hard for an hour or two while the rest of the day it could be clear skies.

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  1. AMAZING NATURAL BEAUTY

Philippines have one of the most diverse wildlife in the world. It is home to a diverse range of birds, plants, animals and sea creatures. There are nearly 200 mammal species in the Philippines. They boat more than 600 species of birds, 300 species of reptiles and amphibians and at least 400 coral species.

The Philippines have some stunning surroundings, the fantastic and probably weirdest landscape you will ever see: the Chocolate Hills in Bohol. But also the Rice Terraces in Banaue and the incredible Archipelago of El Nido. You can climb on one oft he 37 volcanoes, for example the Mount Pinatubo, or see the world’s smallest volcano of Taal and also discover caves, lakes and waterfalls.

  1. IT’S CHEAP

There in the Philippines, your money will go a long, long way! Budget travellers will definitely have no problem making their way through here. Taxi rides around town cost approximately 3€, a decent meal costs 1.50€ and a bucket of beers will barely run you 5€. Not to mention the country’s budget airlines offer some of the cheapest fares in Asia.

  1. SHOPPING, SHOPPING, SHOPPING!

Out of the largest shopping malls in the world, five of them are in Manila. Shopping in the Philippines can be quite a worthwhile experience. There are a lot of places where you can go, it just depends on what you intend to buy or on how much is your budget. Even if you spend a whole day walking through there you will probably not be able to see it all.

 Author: Maike Schüssele

Between Green Landscapes and Pints of Guinness in Ireland

When I told friends and professors I planned to spend part of my spring break in Ireland the most common reaction was – Why Ireland? But I say, ‘Why not’?

Ireland might not have renown monuments like the Eiffel tower or Big Ben, but it does have its own charm ranging from vast emerald landscapes to the malty and bitter taste of a pint of Guinness.

My advice? Go to Dublin with an open mind to experience the city as it unfolds to you.

First, visit the temple bar district in central Dublin. This is the most famous district of the city and deserves a visit from your part both during the day and during the night. Visit the pubs around this area to experience Irish music ensembles and enjoy a pint of Guinness. The Irish vibe provided by the lively music and people singing is truly a highlight. I would avoid Temple bar itself, and suggest you to go to The Long Hall, Fallon’s, and Whelan’s instead.

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If you do wake up the next day, head over to Trinity College and admire the architecture and gardens of this over 400 year old campus. Continue your architecture hunt towards Dublin Castle and admire this iconic construction situated in the middle of a bustling city. You also can’t miss the cathedral and the St. Patrick’s church while walking through the city center.

The highlight of your stay in Dublin will definitely be the tour of the Guinness brewery and storehouse. The tour lasts around 3 hours and students pay 12 euros, which includes a Guinness pint which you will be serving. The tour starts by introducing you to Guinness’ history in Ireland and the original processing involved in crafting this malty beverage. Later on, you are taken to sample small shot sized glasses of Guinness after smelling the different aromas this beverage has. This ignites both your smelling senses and tasting buds, which enables you to taste the different flavors, from hops to the creamy malt. At the end of the tour you are taught how to serve a Guinness and after you served your perfect pint you receive a certificate stating your new abilities. Finally, you get the chance to savor your pint at the storehouse’s sky bar with a breathtaking view of Dublin.

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Ireland is not only about Dublin and Guinness. Our adventure to the famous cliffs of Moher starts at 7am as you drive west towards Galway. Before you reach the cliffs the tour stops at Dunguaire Castle. After a morning of driving through picturesque green landscapes you will most likely arrive to the cliffs at around 3 p.m. We were lucky enough to visit the cliffs on a sunny and clear day, which is unfortunately unusual. The cliffs are not only unique for their breathtaking views, but also for their beautiful and picturesque green landscapes that really portray the essence of Ireland.

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No, of course I did not forget food! Here I have a few suggestions for where to go when you need some energy or a break from beer. At ‘’Super Miss Sue’’ or SMS students) can get a large portion/box of Fish and chips for only 6,50 euros. English speaking countries in Europe are famous for their Indian restaurants and fusion cuisine and Ireland is not an exception. Go for lunch to ‘’Kathmandu Kitchen’’ to experience a delicious and inexpensive full set Indian-Nepalese lunch for under 10 euros.

Even if Ireland is not on your bucket list, plan to visit this majestic country. I promise you will not be disappointed, but rather surprised by how diverse and exciting Ireland actually is. Wait, I forgot to ask you, what are you waiting for? Go explore the emerald isle and broaden your horizons!

Author: Mauro Ortiz