travel & lifestyle blog by ruth dela cruz


Someone Asked Me to Visit Spain (Visita Espana)!

February 14, 2014

Whenever I meet people from different geographies, they read me as someone from Spain. I do not have the mestiza look that can land me a good career in the entertainment industry, but my last name – dela Cruz gives a good touch of Spanish descent.

But, we, Filipinos know our history, and our last names origins. But I wouldn’t say no when Spanish and Latino friends adopt me for my last name.

Visit Spain! An invite is not for a honeymoon or a cultural date. I could only wish – as Spain is one of the most beautiful countries in the world.

Last week, we were invited to the Spain Tourism Board Dinner and we got to know experience Spain through the presentations of speakers and ambassadors who – even are speaking in English, evidently has a fluid Spanish accent. Interestingly, even if history connected Philippines and Spain in so many ways, there are still alot to know about this beautiful country.

Let’s start..

  • Spain remains to be on the top 3 most visited destinations in the world – and it is such a shame if we Filipinos, who is a Spanish colony will not get a chance to see this beautiful country. 
  • Biggest arrival figures in Spain came from United Kingdom, Germany and France. 
  • Spain became a gastronomical destinations for its traditional food and modern-innovative dishes. Some of the popular dishes from Spain – Chocolate Con Churros, Fideua, Paella, Tapas, and modern food like Parmesan Spaghetti (and this I got to taste!).
  • The very basic ingredients we use for cooking are also used in Spain – oil and garlic!
  • Spain is considered the home of the Best Restaurants in the World and many of the Michelin-starred chefs. 
  • Markets, like in the Philippines, are also popular in Spain – the Tourism Office of Spain suggested two destinations in Madrid – Mercado San Miguel and Mercado de San Anton
Click Read More to know more about Spain..

  • FIBA Basketball Cup 2014 is happening in Spain this year! Basketball fans (I know how die-hard basketball fans Filipinos are!) Mark the dates – August 30 to September 14, 2014.
  • Spain as a colorful country has also a lot of colorful festivities – 
    • Running of the Bulls (July 7 to July 14 in Pamplona) 
    • Tomatina (which sounds like a fun event!) – runs every last Wednesday of August in Bunol, Valencia.
    • Fallas (March 17 to 19 in Valencia)
  • Having strong ties and beliefs in Catholism, Spanish old churches are a must-see in Spain:
    • San Jeronimo El Real Church (Madrid)
    • Cathedral de la Almudena (Madrid)
    • Sto Nino de Atoca Church (Madrid)
    • Convent of Las Descalzas Reales
    • Santiago de Compostela – which is a favorite destination for pilgrims. 
This lady just stood up on time when I was waiting for information on shopping! Spain is a haven for shoppers. Although most of the brands are now locally available in the Philippines – like Zara, Bershka, Mango, Camper, etc. the local taxes would kill us with the tag price. We seriously need a healthy wallet once we visit Spain, but the good thing is, Spain offers GST Refund to its tourists (like Singapore!) yay. Spain has a highest tax refund in Europe!

  • Madrid and Barcelona ranked 2 and 3 respectively as the best cities for shopping in all Europe. 
  • El Conte Ingles’ is the leading shopping center in Spain for over 60 years. 
  • Spain does know how to take care of its tourists by offering discount, tax refund and even a welcome aperitif. 
  • Wondering what to buy in Spain? We got a tip! We can get the best leather goods and cologne in Spain. 

I am so ready to book a flight to Spain, but we needed to brush up on our Spain knowledge. A fun contest about Spain and its linkage to the Philippines. Our table one bottle of wine. 
Spain Ambassador, Jorge Domecq aims to increase the Filipino visits to Spain in 2014 – and I am so looking forward to being part of the figures. 
We got to experience more of Spain that night through an upbeat and lively Flamenco dance!
I always wanted to try this dance because it is playful and sexy at the same time. 
Maybe I should start learning so I can try dancing with a cute Latino once I land in Spain 😉

You want to see more of Spain? Check this out: 
Ready to go to Spain? We can cross geographies and timezones from Manila to Spain through Qatar Airways. 

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