Some things to do when in Belgium

Summer Time

Untitled-61.Try to be a law-abiding Filipino citizen. My first itinerary was to show up to the municipal office of Dworp, a beautiful town in Beersel where my sister and brother in-law live, as required by the Belgian Embassy in Manila

2. …but this didn’t stop me from making pa-selfie
to places that looked new to me such as these commercial structures.

bvdine3. Dine in one of the restaurants in Brugges. Me here with my husband Kit, sisters Danette and Christabel, niece Gabrielle and brother in-law Marcel having lunch at the TaverneBrugeoise Brasserie

Brugges is a stunning, medieval city, latticed with canals and loaded with 13th century buildings and great art collections is a must-see, in spite of the inevitable tourist hordes that will share the streets with you.  Source:


The Belfry is one of the more striking. Partly because of the way it stands out over the rest of the city. Partly because of the way it flares out at the corners. And partly because the thing is leaning to one side. It is 80 meters tall and leans a full three-feet to one side. Part of the reason might be the 27-ton carillon at the top. Originally, the Belfry was where the town's important documents were stored. Later it became a textile warehouse. Today it is a museum, and people are free to climb the 366 stairs to the top. The Belfry faces a square which was once an open-air market. This market was held every weekend for 998 years from 985 until 1983. Source:

4.Feed the birds while they are within your reach.

Taken in one of the parks in Antwerp. Photo on the right shows my brother in-law Gilbert, niece Gabrielle and my son Kyle

Taken in one of the parks in Antwerp. Photo on the center shows my brother in-law Gilbert, niece Gabrielle and my son Kyle

Antwerp, the diamond capital in the world, is the city unjustly neglected by tourists,IMG_6722 Antwerp is a lively, pretty old port with a long history and an amazingly diverse collection of architectural styles from medieval to art nouveau. It’s also home to a young, dynamic and good value European fashion scene and plenty of night moves.


5. Do the things you love to do.


The things I love would have to do with arts and leisure (i.e. checking out the cinemas and news stands, buying a painting or two and yes, shopping for pasalubongsJ)

La Grand-Place in Brussels is a remarkably homogeneous body of public and private buildings, dating mainly from the late 17th century. The architecture provides a vivid illustration of the level of social and cultural life of the period in this important political and commercial centre.

Justification for Inscription

The Grand-Place is an outstanding example of the eclectic and highly successful blending of architectural and artistic styles that characterizes the culture and society of this region.

La Grand-Place

La Grand-Place

Through the nature and quality of its architecture and of its outstanding quality as a public open space, the Grand-Place illustrates in an exceptional way the evolution and achievements of a highly successful mercantile city of northern Europe at the height of its prosperity.


6. Grab every chance to flaunt those winter clothes you’ve been keeping in your closet in Manila.

Ironically, we were in Belgium in summertime (June 2009) but the fact that summer in Belgium is defined as “weather temperature  of around 16-18 degrees celsius” justifies our attire.

Summer Time

Summer Time

7. Bring lots of English lingo twangs in your pocket — you’ll need a lot of those… but no worries about the wrong grammar because very few Belgians speak English. Major languages here are Dutch, French and Flemish.

With me here are Uncle John and Aunt Elvire. With Kit is Daniel (Marcel’s older brother). With Kyle are Gabrielle, Bethany and Cathlene’s kids

With me here are Uncle John and Aunt Elvire. With Kit is Daniel (Marcel’s older brother). With Kyle are Gabrielle, Bethany and Cathlene’s kids

8.Finally, remember what brought you here. —- (in my family’s case,  the wedding celebration of my sister held at the Gravenhof Castle on June 4, 2009).

Gravenhof Castle

Gravenhof Castle

A Few Interesting Fun Facts on Belgium

  • Belgium is known as the “Essence of Europe”. This country is famous for different flavors of beer, chocolates, and waffles. Here are a few fun facts on Belgium.
  • One of the interesting facts about Belgium that is noteworthy is the annual production of chocolates. Approximately 220,000 tons of chocolate are manufactured in Germany each year. The National Airport in Brussels, Belgium, is the world’s biggest selling point of chocolates.
  • One of the countries in the world to legalize the gay and euthanasia marriages, and to ban forced marriages is Belgium.
  • The first country in the world to ban cluster bombs is Belgium. The parliament of Belgium has the maximum number of female ministers in the world.
  • Belgium is one of the few countries that gives importance to education. Education is mandatory for all citizens up to the age of 18.
  • The Belgian motorway system is the only man-made structure that is visible from the moon.Do you know oil paints were invented in Belgium in the 15th century? One of the hobbies of the rich Belgians is to collect various forms of art and paintings. Like the Americans, Belgians love to collect discount coupons .


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About the author /

Denice Christine Garcia-Pilla is a freelance published writer and editor in between her profession as a market research professional. Her works have appeared in numerous print and online publications in Asia and the United States including the Asia Pacific Business Guide, Launch Asia, Quantum Spirit, Men Zone, The Philippine Star and Lifestyle Asia. She has profiled a number of CEOs, Presidents, entrepreneurs and tycoons of top corporations in the Philippines, as well as renowned international authors such as Mark Victor Hansen of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series and Philip Kotler. After a decade of hiatus from the writing scene with motherhood taking center stage of her schedule, Denice is once again picking up from where she left off via the Side Tripper, where she shares her travel adventures and side trips through the lens of photographer Kit Elton Pilla, also known as her husband and father to her son Kyle David.

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