Christmas isn’t over…

… because I still haven’t written about my trip to Pampanga for the Giant Lantern Festival with Culture Shock PH 🙂

One weekend in December (the 15th to be exact), I visited Pampanga for Ligligan Parol – the province’s annual giant lantern festival. Guido Sarreal, one of the people behind both Trail Adventours and Culture Shock PH, invited me to join the tour group so that I could make a video for them.

I liked the idea behind Culture Shock PH ever since I first heard about it from Guido. It’s a tour & travel company that designs trips specifically to show off the Philippines’ diverse culture and heritage – be it food, festivals, architecture, or people. And I’ve always loved the logo! So yeah, why not?

Here are some screencaps from the videos I took, a visual version of our itinerary:

At Atching Lillian’s home. She’s one of the most well-loved cooks to come from Pampanga, and for good reason. She taught us how to make San Nicolas cookies a.k.a the cookies that our ancestors from Spanish times ate.

We visited two churches, the San Guillermo Church and the Betis Church. Both of them were visit-worthy in their own way but I enjoyed the San Guillermo Church more 🙂 Living evidence of the Mt. Pinatubo eruption. And they have a beautiful, half-sunken mausoleum at the back.

Betis Crafts Inc. – where world-class furniture is made. Literally, world-class. Their furniture is exported all over the world. Sad part is, no one knows it comes from Pampanga.

Ate a frog AND a cricket. WHAT UP. At Everybody’s Cafe, the Home of Authentic Kapampangan Cuisine. Everyone’s right. Frog does taste like chicken.

One of the participants of the Giant Lantern Festival. The lanterns are about 20 feet high :O And each of them lights up manually through rotors. How, who knows? It’s obvious though that it’s a craft that the people from Pampanga work to take care of.

Interesting stories, beautiful things to see, food I thought I’d never eat. It was definitely a good trip and I’d go out with Culture Shock PH again if I could.

If you’re even slightly interested in Philippine culture or you want to try something new, check them out 🙂 A bonus is that, good tourism means the world to the locals. Just through being curious, you’re honoring their life’s craft, their passion, and their way of life. You’re encouraging them to keep on working at it, and to stay where they are rather than migrate to the city. Guido put it as, affirming their dignity. Nice, right?

A trip that takes me out of my comfort zone and encourages local culture to thrive? Sign me up.

P.S. For a better blog on the trip, check out Ivan Cultura’s blog, one of the people I was with on the tour group.

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