The Philippines is a wonderfully diverse and simply gorgeous cluster of islands. Far too many to see in my short month there, but I did my best. One thing you can count on, are the odd things that even your wildest imagine couldn’t conjure up. I won’t give anything away, but they sure do have some weird, well… Just see for yourself!

1. Banaue Rice Terraces

The Cordillera area of North Luzon (which is the largest island in the Philippines) is mostly widely known for the incredibly impressive and stunning rice terraces. Miles and miles of cascading golden, green, or brown, stairs of land flank the mountainside of this region.The 2,000-year-old Banaue Rice Terraces in the province of Ifugao, which are part of the Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras, are considered as the “Eighth Wonder of the World” by Filipinos.

Banaue Rice Terraces, Rice Terraces of the Cordilleras, North Luzon, Banaue, Ifugao, Philippines

Banaue Rice Terraces, Rice Terraces of the Cordilleras, North Luzon, Banaue, Ifugao, the PhilippinesImages credit: Storm Crypt (top) and  Andy Hares (bottom)

If you can bare to whisk yourself away from the beautiful scenery, you should see the slightly creepier side. Don’t worry, the surroundings are still quite magical, but you just might see dead people.

2. Kabayan Mummies

Mummys are not only in Egypt, there’s some right here in the Philippines in Kabayan. Made by the Ibaloi Tribe, the Kabayan Mummies have been wrapped up since 1200-1500 A.D. in caves.When the Spanish came around 1500 A.D., the practice quickly died out. It’s one of the National Treasures of the Philippines, and is also considered one of the most endangered sites in the world. Many of the mummies have been stolen or desecrated, but the protection efforts have escalated.

The Kabayan Mummies, also known as Fire Mummies, Benguet Mummies, Ibaloi Mummies, Benguet Province, the Cordillera Mountain Ranges of northern Luzon, the Philippines

Ready for more dead people? Yep. Super creepy, yet also intriguing.

3. Hanging Coffins

The Hanging Coffins in Sagada are actually really incredible. I have personally been here myself, and it’s certainly on my “super odd things I have seen” list. After taking a short hike through some brush and making your way down to Eco Valley, you stumble upon a rock. This rock just so happens to have coffins literally hanging from it. There are strict requirements on who can have such an honor. You must be old, and being “old” means having grandchildren. You must also be a good person and a Sagada native. So no hopes on you getting this high honor, pun intended.

Sagada, Hanging Coffins, Mountain Province, PhilippinesImage credit: Gino Mampin

Let’s make our out way out of the Cordillera part of the Philippines. Quick… what continent comes to mind first after you read these words: giraffe, antelope, elephant, zebra, impala, waterbuck…

Did you answer Africa? Probably. Except this is an article about the Philippines, so what’s going on?

4. Calauit Safari Park

The Calauit Safari Park is actually a sanctuary for African animals, and it’s located on Calauit Island in the north of Palawan. These animals were brought here in efforts to save the African wildlife during the war and drought in Kenya in the late 1970’s. I was so close to going here, but hey, not everything can get checked off the first time you visit a country.

Calauit Safari Park, Calauit Island, Busuanga, Palawan, Philippines, giraffe

Let’s get a bit weird with food.

5. Balut or Tamilok, Anyone?

These are certainly not for me, being a vegetarian and all, but what about a nice snack of balut. It’s just a duck embryo…Yeah, a duck embryo that you sip the broth out of then crunch down on the beak, feathers, feet and all!

balut, weird foods, philippines cuisineImage credit: urbanfoodie33

Still hungry? Nosh on some tamilok while you are visiting Palawan, a local delicacy of…woodworm! It’s fat and slimey. Bon Appetit.

tamilok, woodworm, Palawan, philippinesImage credit: erwin oliva

Bonus:

The jeepneys are the oddest and coolest thing you will see everywhere. Riding on one is an interesting and fun experience, not to mention dirt cheap. I rode on many jeepneys in the Philippines and I literally met someone new every time who was sweet and helped me on my way. Besides the experience, they are all decorated wildly.

jeepneys, philippinesImage credit: Jeff Jacinto

There’s plenty more weirdness in the Philippines, and around the world for that matter.


What’s the weirdest place you have ever been??