The Best of Belgium - Its Cultural Diversity, the People and Places to Stay

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Waiting for a bus ride @Antwerp (Photo taken by travel_man1971 aka Ireno Alcala or IAA on 21-26May2010)Travel Man @ one of Filipino Karaoke Bar  in Antwerp (IAA)Filipinas @ Davaoenas Resto-Bar in Antwerp having all the laughs (IAA)Father Bago (wearing a spectacle or eyeglasses) - Antwerp's Filipino Chaplain @ Seaman's Center & Philippine consul personnel (IAA)Filipina friends, dining onboard ship (IAA)Belgian couple-missionaries providing us bits of theGospels from the Holy Bible (IAA)
Waiting for a bus ride @Antwerp (Photo taken by travel_man1971 aka Ireno Alcala or IAA on 21-26May2010)
Waiting for a bus ride @Antwerp (Photo taken by travel_man1971 aka Ireno Alcala or IAA on 21-26May2010)
Travel Man @ one of Filipino Karaoke Bar  in Antwerp (IAA)
Travel Man @ one of Filipino Karaoke Bar in Antwerp (IAA)
Filipinas @ Davaoenas Resto-Bar in Antwerp having all the laughs (IAA)
Filipinas @ Davaoenas Resto-Bar in Antwerp having all the laughs (IAA)
Father Bago (wearing a spectacle or eyeglasses) - Antwerp's Filipino Chaplain @ Seaman's Center & Philippine consul personnel (IAA)
Father Bago (wearing a spectacle or eyeglasses) - Antwerp's Filipino Chaplain @ Seaman's Center & Philippine consul personnel (IAA)
Filipina friends, dining onboard ship (IAA)
Filipina friends, dining onboard ship (IAA)
Belgian couple-missionaries providing us bits of theGospels from the Holy Bible (IAA)
Belgian couple-missionaries providing us bits of theGospels from the Holy Bible (IAA)

Geeting the 'feel' with Belgium

Aside from my early knowledge about Belgium history during my Social studies subject in elementary grades, I just grasped the moniker "The Land of Flemings and Walloons" referring to one of the groups of inhabitants to associate it with this country that once tagged as 'Low Places' in Europe, including Netherlands and Luxembourg. In high school, I was starstruck with Jean-Claude Van Damme (Jean-Claude Camille Fran├žois Van Varenberg in real life), a famous Hollywood martial arts actor who's origin is from Brussels. Aside from that, who will not like the beers and the chocolate (pralines, dark or bitter chocolates with brands like Godiva) being produced there? I'm sure you'll never forget the famous Belgian waffle and the french fries (french means cut into slivers) that actually originated in the said country.

Belgium is a trilingual country, with Dutch as the official language and French and German, the other two dominant dialects due to the presence of this three races. The country has more than 10 million population, considered to be the most dense or populated country in Europe.

It was on May 20th, 2009 when our vessel docked at the commercial port of Antwerp to discharge our cargo. Eager to explore the city, personnel of the local seaman's club invited us to go there. So right after our dinner (usually 5 pm), my fellow cook, electrician and I walked the service road of the port down to the bus stop then rode unto the downtown of Antwerp. My chief cook was a veteran in the area, so, we didn't find it hard to rekindle friendship with the locals there, especially Filipino immigrants who own some 'watering holes' or karaoke-beer garden in the city.

Rekindling friendship with fellow Filipinos and discovering important places in the area are my goals whenever I go ashore.

Note: Please check my YouTube video (my account: MrMusicman1971)about our stay in Antwerp for a week (May 21-26,2009)


Antwerp...What a Place!(Music: Honky Tonk Angel-Whitey Morgan & The 78s ) c/o MrMusicman1971

Visiting Antwerp: Best for Night Clubbing

A world trading center for centuries, Antwerp is now the world diamond capital and a well-known international port. It is also famous for fashion designers and had been marked on the map due to its historical sites.

I took a photo of the Notre-Dame Cathedral (I was nearly hit by a cab), the largest monument in Belgium for a souvenir then went along with my two companions.

We stopped at the first karaoke-bar-restaurant owned by a Filipina who migrated there. My chief cook inquire something about his old flame, then we proceeded to another club where we stayed until 12 in the morning. We drank some bottles of beer, then some karaoke songs but mainly passed the time with lovely jokes and conversations about life in the city and life back in the Philippines.

The next day was as fruitful as the first. We dropped by the Angels Bar, also owned by a Filipina, who frequented our ship. As usual, we had a long conversation with them, exchanging jokes about life, did some karaoke and some drinks. We even visited a Moroccan disco pub where his friend is currently working.

Local merchants went onboard the ship selling perfumes, chocolates, especially electronic gadgets (cameras, laptop computers, etc.) .

Last but not the least to be mentioned were religious missionaries (of different affiliations) giving us audio and visual materials, including the Holy Bible copies.

It was in Antwerp that the Philippine consul team visited our ship, conducted registration on absentee voting.

Three famous cities in Belgium

show route and directions
A markerAntwerp, Belgium -
Antwerp, Belgium
[get directions]

World Diamond Capital...Notre Dame Cathedral plus Ruben's House, zoos, museum with multi-cultural cuisines ranging from Belgian, Asian and Morrocan.

B markerBrussels, Belgium -
Brussels, Belgium
[get directions]

This is where martial arts expert and Hollywood actor Jean Claude Van Damme came and the famous Brussels sprouts plus five-star hotels in the city.

C markerLeuven, Belgium -
Leuven, Belgium
[get directions]

Home to the oldest Catholic university in Europe and center of music around the world due to its Lemmens Institute-the famed Conservatory of Music

Sightseeing in Antwerp, Belgium (All photos by travel_man1971 except Norte Dame & Little Castle)

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Notre Dame Cathedral @ Antwerp (Photo by : Johan Mares)The little castele at the entrance of the city of AntwerpThe  Central Station @ Antwerp (IAA)Typical house @ Antwerp near the port (IAA)Italian-inspired apartment (IAA)I love this car!!! (IAA)One of the display windows I've seen  in Antwerp (IAA)Who wants pralines chocolate? (IAA)C/V Utviken-my vessel -the venue of fights scenes in the movie "US MArshalls" starring Tommy Lee Jones & Wesley Snipes (IAA)
Notre Dame Cathedral @ Antwerp (Photo by : Johan Mares)
Notre Dame Cathedral @ Antwerp (Photo by : Johan Mares)
The little castele at the entrance of the city of Antwerp
The little castele at the entrance of the city of Antwerp | Source
The  Central Station @ Antwerp (IAA)
The Central Station @ Antwerp (IAA)
Typical house @ Antwerp near the port (IAA)
Typical house @ Antwerp near the port (IAA)
Italian-inspired apartment (IAA)
Italian-inspired apartment (IAA)
I love this car!!! (IAA)
I love this car!!! (IAA)
One of the display windows I've seen  in Antwerp (IAA)
One of the display windows I've seen in Antwerp (IAA)
Who wants pralines chocolate? (IAA)
Who wants pralines chocolate? (IAA)
C/V Utviken-my vessel -the venue of fights scenes in the movie "US MArshalls" starring Tommy Lee Jones & Wesley Snipes (IAA)
C/V Utviken-my vessel -the venue of fights scenes in the movie "US MArshalls" starring Tommy Lee Jones & Wesley Snipes (IAA)

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Comments 12 comments

Sandyspider profile image

Sandyspider 6 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

Such a complete hub on the best of Belgium. Nice work.


travel_man1971 profile image

travel_man1971 6 years ago from Bicol, Philippines Author

Thanks, Sandy. I wasn't able to update the text tool on 10 best places to stay..so I published it anyway. I added it later.


gunther desaever 6 years ago

Hi,

Nice article. I'm from Belgium but since 10 years I live in Florence (Italy). The explanation about the french fries isn't really correct. The story is the following: In Belgium we have a long tradition of fried potatoes. It was during the first world war that the Americans in Belgium saw this speciality for the first time. Because they saw it in the french part of Belgium where the local people talk french they thought they were french and that's the reason why our Belgium speciality is called French fries.

Greetings and nice work


travel_man1971 profile image

travel_man1971 6 years ago from Bicol, Philippines Author

@gunther desaever: Thanks for the clarification. It's nice to have a Belgian in my hub relating what's good in his country. I feel in love with Belgium. If only I could live there for good.

P.S. Maybe you could expound more about what I've missed about your country. Thanks again!!!


Russell-D profile image

Russell-D 6 years ago from Southern Ca.

Don't forget the great orders served of Mussells, 2 or 3 dozen per glass topped platter, served in Brussell's restaurants and the wonderful draft beer that comes with it. It's the best, tasiest food bargain you'll ever eat. Also the hotel, The Barge, is the most unique hotel you'll ever sleep in. With breakfast that will set you for the day. David Russell


travel_man1971 profile image

travel_man1971 6 years ago from Bicol, Philippines Author

@Russell-D: Thanks David! Yeah, I forgot the mussells with draft beer served by our Filipina friend. The Barge, I'll keep it in mind once I happen to be in Brussells. Brussels sprouts came from the city, I think, huh?


E.E. 6 years ago

That picture of the "cathedral" isn't the cathedral. It looks more like the central railway station. You'll find an image of the cathedral here: http://www.belgiumview.com/belgiumview/tl3/view000...

Also: the "castle" in the port is just an ordinary house. Here's a real castle in Antwerp: http://www.trabel.com/antwerp/antwerp-steen.htm


travel_man1971 profile image

travel_man1971 6 years ago from Bicol, Philippines Author

Thanks, E.E. I stand to be corrected. Anyhow, Belgium, especially Antwerp still fascinates me.


earthbound1974 profile image

earthbound1974 5 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

I wish I could go there in Belgium someday. They say, there are lots of Filipino residents there.


travel_man1971 profile image

travel_man1971 5 years ago from Bicol, Philippines Author

Yes, you can go there if you want, earthbound. People are kind and hospitable, like Filipinos. It is a small country but a very rich one.


Dink96 profile image

Dink96 4 years ago from Phoenix, AZ

We are headed to Europe this fall, starting/ending in Brussels. Looking forward to it; thanks for the info!


travel_man1971 profile image

travel_man1971 4 years ago from Bicol, Philippines Author

@Dink96:Thanks. I hope my collated info helps. :D Good luck!

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