Camel Wrestling Near Ephesus

Camel Wrestling Near Ephesus

Camel Wrestling Near Ephesus

It’s hard to imagine anything more exciting than the camel wrestling near the ancient city of Ephesus in modern day Selcuk, Turkey. The fresh camel sausages, the betting, the horn players and banner wavers. To win, the fuzzy camels must push the other out of the designated ring. To win, you simply have to go. It’s magnificent.

Vagabond Travel Museum – It’s More Fun in the Philippines

Girls working in the Philippines

There’s no doubt about it, it’s more fun in the Philippines.

The Philippines is one of the best destinations in the world.  With friendly people, great food, amazing diving, beautiful islands (more than 7000) of them, fascinating indigenous cultures, and lots of diversity in city, mountain, beach, countryside, fresh water, sea water, Muslim, Christian, or Tribal.

I’ve been there and it’s still on my top list of destinations I want to visit because there is so much more to be seen. To celebrate that, this week’s travel museum is all about the stories, videos, and photos we’ve gathered to make your trip to the Philippines a great one.


Honda Bay Tour in Puerto Princessa

Lakes of Coron on Palawan

Luxury Resorts of Ilocos Del Norte

Getting to Palawan

The Ati-Atihan Festival of the Visayas

Dave Stamboulis: Around the World through a Photographer’s Lens: Philippines

White Beach – Fire Spinners and Beach Bars

Faces of Bicol

Tarsiers, Chocolate Hills, and Dolphins

Travel Museum of the Philippines #1

7 Places Not to Miss in the Philippines

Top 5 Beaches in the World You May Not Know

La Fiesta Mama Negra in Ecuador

By Melissa Ruttanai

While the northern hemisphere hunkers down for cool autumn months, Ecuador blooms with warm breezes, clear skies, and the beginning of the festival season in October.

Peru FestivalsDown the spine of the Andes Mountains just one hour south of Quito, the city of Latacunga fills its streets with streamers and parades the cathedral’s statue of the Virgin and Child through several neighborhoods.

Locals and visitors alike gather in the main plaza. They snap pictures and dance to the bands. They buy snacks and pop open bottles of Pilsener beer. Horses enter the courtyard and astride one is the figure of Mama Negra, the city’s protector against volcanic eruptions and destructive weather. The band strikes a fast beat and Mama Negra herself unveils a black bottle and sprays the crowd in a ritual cleansing.

At the Fiesta of Mama Negra, prepare yourself for dancing in the streets and non-stop festivities.

On each plaza corner, bands whip up festival-goers with hip swinging music. All year long, musicians and townspeople have been saving up for this event.

And they don’t hold anything back. Pastel-hued colors burst across the promenade. Pink coats and blue skirts twirl to the melody. Costumed men carry portal altars on their backs, offering devout tokens of respect to the patroness that include a dozen bottles of whiskey, roasted chicken, smoked guinea pig, and one immense BBQ pig.

Ribbons decorate the spaces in between as each man hews the altar down the parade route. Even small boys get involved as each one carries a miniature sized offering.

While bands blast trumpets and beat drums, each parishioner dances euphorically through the streets of Latacunga. In between altars and bands, they strut their choreographed hips through the cobbled avenues.

With handkerchiefs men guide their partners through the routine, hollering and celebrating each step. The women purse pink lips, swirling with the beat and smiling with pride. At the Fiesta de Mama Negra, the parade snakes up and down the streets for miles.

For hours, the bands march and dancers dip and twirl their partners. Mama Negra sprays the crowd with alcohol and gangs of masked men cleanse innocent bystanders with branches of green leaves. In the crowd, onlookers share beer and whiskey. They cheer and push each other into the midst of the dancing parade. Amongst friends and family and strangers, they jest and joke from noon past midnight.

Latacunga, a city high in Ecuador’s Andes, offers an authentic insight into everyday life in the mountains and is a great cultural extension either in between the usual tours to the Galapagos and Machu Picchu.

The Art of Travel

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