From Festivals

Boryeong Mud Festival: Budget Travel Guide

Summer is when the Korean city of Boryeong gets down and dirty.

It’s not what you’re probably thinking. We’re talking about the Boryeong Mud Festival. It all started in mid-1990s when a cosmetics brand launched products using the mineral-rich mud found at Boryeong mud flats, which is believed to be good for the skin. In 1998, as part of a massive promotional campaign, the company trucked the mud to Daecheon Beach and initiated mud games, thereby launching the first ever Boryeong Mud Festival. Almost 20 years later, it remains one of the biggest summer celebrations in South Korea. It is held over a period of two weeks in July.

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The Budget Travel Guide to Pahiyas Festival in Lucban, Quezon

The first thing I said to myself when I stepped in the town of Lucban was “OMG, I belong.” I’ve always loved anything bright and vibrant. It’s like if I die and I get reincarnated into a Philippine Festival, I’d probably be Pahiyas. (Not that festivals are living things. But you get the point.)

The Pahiyas Festival is celebrated every May 15 in Lucban, Quezon, in honor of the municipality’s patron saint, San Isidro Labrador (St. Isidore the Farmer). It’s the locals’ way of giving thanks for the bountiful harvest over the past year. After an early morning mass at Lucban Church, a parade goes around town, passing by houses that are adorned with vegetables, fruits, handicrafts, and kiping, leaf-shaped paper-like decors made from rice. The grander, the better. The more colorful the house is, the more people it attracts.

If Pahiyas is your kind of festival too, make sure that you’re well-prepared for a visit.

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In Photos: Thailand Tourism Festival 2016

Earlier this year, I was fortunate to have been invited to witness and participate in the 36th Thailand Tourism Festival, which was held at Lumpini Park for the second straight year. The theme for this year is “Discover Thainess. Enjoy Amusement of Siam.”

The country’s largest domestic travel fair, the festival featured the five great regions of Thailand (North, Northeast, Central, East and South) and their respective cuisines, tourist attractions, and cultural heritage. We were there on its opening day, which started at noon and ended late at night. The inauguration ceremony started with cultural processions, followed by a special performance highlighting the Thai way of life.

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German Christmas Market at Umeda Sky Building, Osaka, Japan

That night was especially cold in Osaka. It was my first Christmas Eve away from home; I had always celebrated the occasion with family. That night, however, there won’t be any noche buena or wine or reunions for me.

I picked up my luggage at the hotel and made my way to Umeda Sky Building where I would catch the overnight Willer bus to Tokyo. I would be welcoming Christmas on the road. Merry Christmas to me indeed.

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Asian African Carnival 2015 in Bandung, Indonesia

At one point during our walk, I thought I’d be stuck there. Flooding the historic Asia Afrika Boulevard, the crowd was too thick, and I struggled to squeeze myself into whatever little gap I could find to make it through to the next block.

Thankfully, I was not alone. Alfi, an Educator at SMK Telkom Bandung, patiently waited for me on the other side. Alfi is one of the thousands of souls who offered help to make the Asian African Conference a success. It is Bandung’s biggest event, one that locals and tourists alike had been anticipating for years.

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Sagada Bonfire Fest in Mountain Province, Philippines

People, with drinks in their hand, danced to the loud music as the light flickered in the middle of the place. While it sounds like a scene from your favorite club in the city, that is how one would describe the bonfire event that happens in Sagada every year. Except, the dance is native, the music is created by traditional percussion instruments, and the light is coming from a big bonfire that burns gloriously at the center of the site.

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How We Enjoyed Pahiyas Festival for Only P1000

But first, a backgrounder. The Pahiyas Festival is celebrated every May 15 in Lucban, Quezon in honor of the municipality’s patron saint, San  Isidro Labrador (St. Isidore the Farmer). To participate in the festival, residents decorate their houses with vegetables, fruits and kiping, leaf-shaped paper-like decors made from rice. (Kiping can be eaten raw, by the way.) The best decorated house will win the Pahiyas contest.

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