What My Partner Made Me Love About The Philippines

Recently, I’ve been going through old photos and I realized how much stuff I captured, how much things I want to share.

I have so much backlog - but I told myself I will make it a habit to post here at least once a week, on things that spark joy, on things that remind me why I love the Philippines so much. Sure, there are some stuff that I wish were different - better public transportation system in place, less corrupt government agencies, organized way of waste management, more public parks, cleaner water, whatever.

But behind any country’s ‘not-so-pleasant’ qualities are people, places, things that make it special. That’s actually a lesson that Bobby instilled in me ever since we got together, and ever since we started traveling different provinces. He really showed me why there’s so much love for this country - despite all the things that may seem ‘wrong’ with it.

So let me share to you some of the things & places he’s made me come to love!

Mt. Cloud Bookstore Baguio

Cultural, Filipino-Loving Bookstores

If there’s something I love about this place, it’s how cozy it is.

Mt. Cloud Bookshop is a little nook located in Baguio where they showcase books from local publications. Imagine the gems you can find in here. Every time I’m in Baguio, I make it a habit to visit. I keep my eyes open for new or hard-to-find books that are aligned with my interests.

Most of the time, I look for books that talk about Philippine culture - weaving, traditional tattoos, tribes & traditions, history & cooking (for Bobby), and cute storybooks for Yñigo.


RJ Dancel Plants Philippines

Plants and Other Greens

Who doesn’t love plants? I had a phase when I wanted to fill up our home with lots and lots of greens. Again, another thing influenced by Bobby and his love for greens and nature.

I wasn’t sure if I had a green thumb but I was obsessed with buying seeds, picking out plants, and all that stuff.

We would end up in White Plains. I would always pass by this road, but never really took the time to go down and check out the garden shops that were there! So if you’re in the process of starting your garden or improving the land you have, try visiting Marleina’s Farm. Some plants in their shop include: succulents (P80 to 250), herbs (P120 to 1,200), and fruit-bearing plants and trees (P350 to 2,500).

The whole stretch of White Plains is home to multiple garden shops so take your pick!


Palengke RJ Dancel Philippines

Palengke and Fresh Produce

A palengke is a type of public market common throughout the Philippines.

Not all palengke’s are the same, but I appreciate seeing lots of places where we can shop fresh produce straight from farmers, or other local suppliers. I mean, sure, the convenience of going to malls or big supermarkets pay off - everything’s there. But the real treasures are in palengkes.

As a kid, my Mom would bring me along to help her shop. Bobby passed on the same kind of love - like literally we go to public markets in the different provinces we visit - seeing what each place would offer, and how it would differ from others we’ve visited (oohhhh an idea for a next post).


Food Trip Philippines RJ Dancel

Food Trip Galore

We have a LOT of food choices in Metro Manila alone. For those who are visiting the Philippines for the first time, it pays to search for food parks or not-so-mainstream food joints so you can experience a wide array of flavors that all reflect the Philippines’ famed dishes, and its take on international cuisines.

I personally love eating out with Bobby in not-fancy places. We love going to food parks - para siyang canteen na sosyal, which means more food options. We also love going to eskinitas (tight roads) with food stalls that sell street food (kwek-kwek, isaw, etc), cheap pizza, sago-gulaman, kakanin, and such. Just be careful, especially for those with weak / sensitive stomachs, to check if the food place is ‘sanitary’ enough (it pays to look at the surroundings, or how the food’s being prepared).


that’s it for this. i’ll be sharing more finds, more places, and lots of kwento in the upcoming posts!