The last few months have seen an unexpected upending of the modern way of life. Countries all over the world have been instituting quarantine and lockdown efforts in order to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, now named COVID-19 by the World Health Organization (WHO). COVID-19, first described as a “pneumonia of unknown origin,” was first discovered in Wuhan, Hubei Province in China in late December 2019.
After its spread through mainland China and other countries, it was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern by WHO on January 30, 2020. By March 11, WHO declared it was a pandemic, urging countries to ramp up their responses to the virus in order to curb the spread. As of April 3, 2020, COVID-19 has infected over 1 million people worldwide, causing 53,238 deaths, affecting 204 countries and territories.
Traveling is an opportunity to visit areas that are off the beaten path. With access to different areas in the world steadily growing thanks to improvements in transport and tourism, more people have the opportunity now to explore hidden gems. More than just seeing the sights or checking out the most Instagrammable spots, travelers should use the experience to enrich themselves and learn more about a place’s history and culture.
The Philippines is home to a long and rich history of excellence in visual arts. This tradition started as early as the 19th century with Damian Domingo, also known as the Father of Filipino Painting, who was the first Filipino to paint a self-portrait. He was followed by greats such as Juan Luna, who painted the world-renowned Spoliarium, andFabián de la Rosa, uncle and mentor to Fernando Amorsolo.
Mastery of the visual arts has been passed down through the decades, and the Philippine government has sought to reward that through the Order of National Artists. The Order of National Artists, also known as Orden ng mga Pambansang Alagad ng Sining, is the highest national recognition given to Filipinos who have made significant contributions to the growth and development of arts in the Philippines. Jointly administered by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), it’s an honor conferred by the President of the Republic based on recommendations by both institutions. Here’s a list of the greatest names in Philippine visual arts who have been given this honor.
The culture of drinking in the Philippines has continued into the present, with different bars, pubs, speakeasies, restaurants, and the like serving a wide variety of liquor and alcoholic concoctions. If you’re looking to explore locally-made spirits and wines made from native ingredients and rooted in cultural history and tradition, here’s a list of common Filipino drinks worth trying out.
Last June 2019, PAGASA officially declared the start of the rainy season in the Philippines. Preparing for days, even weeks, of heavy rain is certainly something Filipinos aren’t new to — PAGASA says much of the Philippine climate is characterized by heavy rainfall. With a tropical and maritime climate, rain is something that all regions experience, but to varying degrees. For example, Baguio City, Eastern Samar, and Eastern Surigao usually experience the most amount of rain, while the southern portion of Cotabato experiences the least.
Living in a society means that there are certain social rules or norms that you need to abide by in order to keep the peace. In a modern nation-state, these norms are codified into laws. According to the University of Melbourne Southeast Asian Legal Research Guide, the Philippine legal system in particular is a mixture of customary laws, civil laws, Islamic laws, and the Anglo-American system. The main sources of Philippine law are:
The 1987 Constitution – the highest law of the land
Statutes – Acts of Congress, municipal charters and legislation, court rules, administrative rules and orders, legislative rules, and presidential decrees or issuances
Judicial decisions – decisions of the Supreme Court, which are binding in all other courts
Given the Philippines’ rich cultural history, including influences from religious customs, Spanish rule, and American colonization, laws in this country can go from the standard rules that every society needs to function, to some truly wacky regulations. Let’s take a look at some of the laws still in force today that would make anyone reading them do a double-take.