The Princess and I’s Cast: Albert Martinez, Lara Quigaman, Enrique Gil, Kathryn Bernardo, and Gretchen BarrettoImages: Lara Quigaman’s instagram account (@laraquigaman) & Princess and I’s Facebook fan page 
Things are getting challenging in the primetime scene. With new concepts cropping up, the pressure is on in  terms of audience share. This is possibly why production seems to be big for upcoming teleseryes. One of which is Kathryn Bernardo’s comeback project, The Princess and I. With a stellar cast including Enrique Gil, Albert Martinez, Lara Quigaman, and Gretchen Barretto, this royalty-themed series shows great potential to reign in the ratings game.
As of the moment, we only know very little about the show’s plot of a long-lost princess bound to discover her real identity. At the same time, not many of us are familiar with the much-talked about shooting location abroad. News and social media reveal the team flew all the way to a culturally rich country to establish the story.
Bhutan (center: Kathryn Bernardo & Enrique Gil)
Images: Lara Quigaman’s instagram account (@laraquigaman) & Princess and I’s Facebook fan page

This early, we suggest you ease your way into the fictional Kingdom of Yangdon through its real basis. Check out some interesting tidbits with our random Bhutan 101.

Bhutan 
Images: Lara Quigaman’s instagram account (@laraquigaman) & Princess and I’s Facebook fan page
RANDOM INFO:
  • Also known as The Land of The Thunder Dragon (Druk Yul), Bhutan is a small kingdom located in the Himalayas, between India and China. The country whose capital is Thimphu has special relations with India. Population count is estimated to be 708,427 in 2011. [source: indexmundi.com]
Images: Wikipedia Commons + goway.com
  • Climate in Bhutan varies depending on an area’s elevation. It is tropical in the southern borders, temperate in the center, and cold and snowy in the high Himalayan regions.
  • The Royal Government of Bhutan is constitutional monarchy. While the King is the head of state, executive, legislative, and judiciary powers are exercised through a parliamentary system.
    • In 2011, a real-life love story unfolded in Bhutan as a 21-year old commoner turned into a queen upon marriage. Boston-educated King Jigme Khesar married Jetsun Pema, daughter of an airline pilot. Khesar is the world’s youngest king and tagged as the Asian Elvis because of his hairstyle. [source: abcnews.go.com]
The King and Queen of Bhutan
Images: bhutanobserver.bt, indiandefence.com, jamyangtashi2009.blogspot.com
  • The Buddhist faith influenced the development of the nation significantly.  The state religion is Drukpa Kagyu, a branch of Mahayana Buddhism.
Rinpung Dzong in Paro, Bhutan (a Drukpa Kagyu Buddhist monastery)
Image: wn.com
  • Dzongkha is the official language of Bhutan, derived from Tibetan language. However, in schools, English is the medium of instruction and commonly spoken nationwide.
    • Sample Dzongkha sentences you may want to learn:
      • Hello – kuzo zangpo la
      • How are you? – Ga de bay ye?
      • Goodbye – legshembe joen (if you’re the one staying) and legshembe shug (if you’re the one leaving)
      • Yes – ing; No – me
      • Thank you – Kadrin chhe
    • Note: Vowels are pronounced as a in cat, e as in egg, i as in bit, o as in go, and u as in “oo” in look.  [source: asiarecipe.com]
Image: norbubhutan.com
  • Bhutanese are said to be food lovers. Based on their manners, one says “meshu meshu” while covering the mouth in refusal when offered food but gives in on the second or third offer.
    • Their cuisine is known for chili (ema) and cheese (datse) (locals are passionate about this spice!). The chili-and-cheese combination is popularly known as “ema datse.
    • Rice (chum) is also an important feature of their meals. Five (5) kilograms per head per week is the normal consumption of this staple. In the urban areas (Thimphu, Paro, and Phuntsholing), white rice is used while the rural areas consume red rice.
    • In the eastern region, wheat noodles known as puta” are part of the diet.
    • For non-vegetarians, yak meat is also a staple.
    • To wash down their spicy meals, Bhutanese drink tea. Two of the famous ones are the butter tea suja and locally brewed wine ara.
    • In terms of dining out for travelers, international cuisine is limited but standard Chinese and Indian meals are available. While locals drink tap water, it is recommended that visitors drink only bottled water. [source: asiarecipe.com, drukasia.com, and triptobhutan.com]
Bhutanese Food 
Left group: ema datse – cheese and chilired rice, puta – wheat noodles, ara – local wine

Image: culinaryworlds.com, jugalbandi.info, lotsafood.blogspot,com, bhutanmajestictravel.com, travelbhutan.net
  • Bhutanese men and women are required to wear their national clothing in public. Men wear the knee-length wrap-around “gho” while women don the ankle-length dress “kira.
    • For travelers, a layered wardrobe (due to the varying climate) and good walking shoes are recommended.
Gho and KiraImage: daz-augsburg.de
  • Bhutanese currency is Ngultrum (Nu.) which is pegged to the Indian Rupee. Indian Rupee is also accepted in Bhutan except Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denominations. [source: triptobhutan.com]
    • Credit cards have limited acceptability.
    • ATMs in Bhutan currently operate only with their respective Bhutanese banks. Since the machines do not function with outside banks, visitors cannot use the ATM facility.
    • As of this writing, the exchange rate is US$1 = Nu.50.52 and US$1 = Rs.50.585.         [source: Yahoo!Converter]
Bhutan Ngultrum
Image: dreamstime.com
  • Popular souvenirs from Bhutan are postage stamps, handwoven textile, jewelry, carved masks, woven baskets, handmade paper and wooden bowls. It is important to note that buying and/or selling of antique items (any object that is over 100 years old) is illegal[source: triptobhutan.com]
Bhutanese souvenirsImages: ebay.com + hotel.bt
  • Visa is required for travel to Bhutan (a two-week visa costs US$20). DrukAir (Royal Bhutan Airlines) is the country’s national carrier.
DrukAir (Royal Bhutan Airlines)
Image: avionics-intelligence.com
  • Bhutan is known for its Buddhist architecture and breathtaking mountain views. Activities for travelers include sightseeing, trekkingbird watching, and festival viewing. Visitors are commonly part of package tours.
Images: tourism.gov.bt
  • Bhutan is the only country in the world where import and sale of all tobacco products are totally banned. Visitors are allowed to bring in a certain number of cigarettes but a 100% import duty will be charged. Smoking is banned in all public places. [source: triptobhutan.com] 
Image:technorati.com
  • March and October are the peak travel period in Bhutan. For nature lovers, spring (March-May) is the best time to visit the country where flowers would be on full bloom (specifically end-April or May). For those into trekking, the best months would be February and October.               [source: drukasia.com]
  • Cited as one of the World’s 10 Happiest Places in 2010 by the Lonely Planet, Bhutan measures the country’s Gross National Happiness (GNH) instead of just the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Every two years, the country conducts surveys among its people to check the quality of life and social progress. This indicator is promoted in an effort to achieve a balance between the spiritual and the material.  [source: lonelyplanet.com, abcnews.go.com, and bbc.co.uk]
Images:guardian.co.uk & globalvoicesonline.org
  • Bhutan only has one timezone throughout the nationManila is two (2) hours ahead of Bhutan.
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