Things To Do - Visual

Cinemas are widely available and show all the latest releases, albeit a bit behind the USA release. Prices are very reasonable with prices from Php40 to 80 typically. Local films in Tagalog do not tend to have subtitles in English.

Cable/Satellite TV is available in major cities with Manila having the best service with numerous operators. Places like Cebu no longer have any choice, since the smaller operators all got bought out by SkyCable franchise. Satellite TV is another option but has a higher initial outlay for the dish and the satellite receiver.

Videos/VCD's and DVD's are available but the "pirate" market is slowly being closed down, just when the cost of hardware is falling to really affordable prices. NTSC is the format for the TV service. Most modern TV's are capable of playing multi standard video inputs these days.

Beauty Pageants are a passion. There are even beauty pageants, serious ones, for gay men. These are taken very seriously and even shown on day time television. I would bet there are more beauty pageants per capita here than in any other country in the world. In 2001, a young lady of Filipina parents was crowned Miss America (but she was a US citizen however, not Pilipino).

Art Exhibits bound in the big Cities like Manila, Cebu, and Davao. Baguio is often called an artist colony. And many writers and painters head for the magnificent rice terraces north of there. Filipino artists deserve more recognition and their high quality work is relatively inexpensive compared to similar works in other parts of the developed world.

Cockfighting is deeply ingrained in Filipino culture. Sabong, as it is known in Tagalog, is a national pastime that knows no social distinctions. Not a sport of the faint-hearted, it pits two roosters of comparable weight that fight each other until one is killed or turns tail and flees. The bout is usually brief and bloody. Razor-sharp spurs called tari are attached to the birds" legs. With neck feathers ruffled, the birds dance around each other, testing each others strength. There's a swish of blades and swirl of feathers, roars rise from the gallery, and in a few minutes it’s all over. If both birds are still alive after ten minutes of skirmishing, the bout is declared a draw. Cockfighting, like horse racing, has specialist bookies and touts. Bets can go as high as 1,000,000 pesos and are paid immediately after each fight. It is said that houses, land titles, jewelry and car registrations have been wagered at cockfights and gaming tables. If you wish to see a cockfight, check the newspapers for the stag derbies. It is advisable to go with a guide or someone knowledgeable about the game, who can explain the intricacies of the betting. Cockfights take place in Metro Manila almost every day. In Cebu there are cockfights at least three times a week. Elsewhere, cockfights are held on Sundays and public holidays. You can tell there's a cockfight on when a small red flag is fluttering from a slim bamboo pole outside the sabungan or gallera, as well as the huge amount of noise from the shouting and cheering crowds.

Casinos are available in all major cities. Some are lavish like those in Vegas and elsewhere in the world.

Lotto is the gambling outlet for those with little to spare and dreams of instant wealth. Each game only costs Php10 to take part in, but the only 100% sure method is to save what you would have blown on the lotto tickets and open the savings box a few years later - a guaranteed pay back! With the 6/49 Super Lotto currently on "rollover" to a jackpot of Php121M, it is too powerful a lure for so many, with so little.