Eager to capitalise on markets that hold great potential, the Philippines Department of Tourism (DOT) is embarking on a new initiative to promote its rich cultural heritage within the Middle East, inviting travellers to absorb the country’s charming culture and natural beauty.
The Philippines DOT will closely collaborate with the Middle East’s outbound travel industry to create and promote tempting holiday packages with numerous cultural activities, including visits to local tribal villages to uncover the local community’s heritage, folklore, traditions, culinary delights and traditional crafts.
The Philippines is made up of 7,107 islands and houses over 175 ethnolinguistic groups. Therefore, travellers have endless opportunities to experience cultural tours to communities that still practice a more traditional way of life. Many of the destination’s tribes continue a seafaring existence and express their culture through beautifully woven cloth and elaborate traditional costumes. Once such tribe is the Badjao, which resides in the islands of Sulu, located next to Mindanao in the South. The majority of the Badjaos practice Islam and continue to perform traditional songs and dance.
Meanwhile, the Igorots are comprised of many tribes that reside in the Cordillera mountain ranges. They are known to be rice-cultivators. The Ifugaos, a variety of the Igorot tribe, built the Banaue Rice Terraces – a famous historical and architectural attraction in the Philippines.
Moving on, the Lumad is a term used to refer to the tribes inhabiting the eastern parts of Mindanao. They are known for tribal music that makes use of unique instruments they have constructed from local materials.
Another popular holiday destination for international visitors is the island of Palawan, which is home to a number of tribes. Palawan is one of the regions in the Philippines that has not completely embraced urbanism, thus making it an ideal destination for culture junkies and those wishing to visiting stunning seascapes and landscapes. The region is home to numerous eco-friendly resorts.
Not far from the major city of Davao in Mindanao is the island of Samal, which can be experienced through a day excursion, where one can visit the tribal village of Tagbaobo. Here visitors are able to join the tribe and indulge in a local feast of locally caught seafood and traditional sweets. Local children also perform traditional dances, while local traditions and folklore passed down through the generations are shared with visitors.
Cultural activities can be combined with tours and activities that highlight the Philippines stunning landscape. These include snorkelling, zip lining through jungle forests and the tasting of many local fruits, plus much more.