Eat And Explore: The ULTIMATE Balikabayan Bucket List


‘Welcome home!’ as loud cheers and laughter greet your balikbayan relatives, the warmth in your faces alight as presence of your loved ones who are now finally home again brings back old memories you have shared together as one big family. There will be a sleepless night on the first day ofvtheir arrival at your home as all of you are sure to be thrilled to hear stories you never had the chance to talk about, other than in your momentary virtual communications. While you are looking forward to spending days with them while visiting other relatives in nearby cities or towns, another question kicks in, ‘they’re here! But what do we do in the days ahead to ensure we don’t bore them to death?’

Fret not relatives! We have gathered the ultimate balikbayan activities just for you to seal a meaningful, well-spent family bonding.

Discover the inner artist in all of you at Quezon City’s Sip and Gogh

Does its name ring a bell? This paint and sip art studio is inspired by the creative genius of Vincent Van Gogh. A first-of-its-kind location for the balikbayans who are fascinated by art, Sip and Gogh is the ideal art entertainment area for the entire family who wants to have a drink, chat or paint all in one place! The studio provides you with canvas, brushes, paints, palette, apron, and easel for a worry-free frenzy of art, creativity, and enthusiasm.

If this is your kind of activity, reserve your spot now as schedules are filling up!


Visit one of the Seven Wonders of Nature at Puerto Princesa, Palawan

If you desire a vacation away from the hustle and bustle of city life, head West of Palawan and be amazed by the wonder of nature when you explore the Puerto Princesa Underground River or the Subterranean River National Park. In 2010, small waterfalls and cave dome were discovered inside the cave along with various rock formations and river channels. The city is one of the most popular destinations in the Philippines among locals and tourists, and has been recognised several times for being the greenest and cleanest city in the country.

Linger around museums for a real taste of art and culture

Some balikbayans would travel for food; others would crave for art exhibits or both. If the glorious sight of the Money Museum which serves as a repository for the Philippines’ old and new currencies is not your ideal activity, or gawking at art pieces in the confines of Philippine National Museum is out of your itinerary, then drive down towards the Northern Luzon Island in the city of Pines – Baguio. Its cool climate does not only make it a comfortable destination for family bonding, it also houses unique dining locations that could satisfy your growling stomach and insatiable pining for art such as the Ili-Likha Artists Village which is an echo-architecture space that celebrates the rich culture of the city. Additionally, it also features a bunch of food stalls in which budget-friendly meals are served.


Lose yourself in one of the oldest China Towns in the world – Binondo

Binondo Church is one of the oldest churches in the Philippines. It was originally built in 1595 and has undergone numerous renovations except for the Bell Tower which remained untouched in its 16th Century structure. When you’re done admiring its beauty, explore your way out around the area and feast on seemingly endless food stalls and fast food restaurants where foreigners and locals flock, from Dong Bei dumpling workstations to Café Mezzanine and Chuan Kee Fastfood which was acquired by the popular Eng Bee Tin bakery. These places are truly more than just a solution to your cravings. While this is the common area to find the best hopia incarnations, Binondo can definitely serve every craving at very affordable prices which makes it a must-try for balkbayan families.

Have you mapped out your day yet? These activities are surely a great way to kick off your vacation. Explore your home town and eat your heart out as you fall in love with the city once again.

Images via Shutterstock / Kim David / N8Allen / View Apart

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