Philippine Facts and Trivias

Posted: 10/06/2009 in The Philippines, Trivia_Corner

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The Philippines is an archipelago located in Southeast Asia (longitude: 122° 00 E and latitude: 13° 00 N ). It is surrounded by water comprising 7,107 islands and islets. On the east is the Pacific Ocean, on the west is South China Sea. See Philippine Map. The northernmost group of islands in the Philippines is Batanes which is only 190 kilometers from Taiwan, while the southernmost island of Tawi-Tawi, is a mere 60 kilometers away from Borneo.

Official Name: Republica ng Pilipinas | Republic of the Philippines

Land area: 115,830 square miles or 300,000 square kilometers. The total land area of the Philippines is comparable in size to Italy.

Highest peak: Mt. Apo in the island of Mindanao is 2,954 meters or 9,691 feet above sea level.

Climate: Tropical with 2 distinct seasons: wet and dry.

Dry season: from November to May

Wet season: from June to October

Average year round temperature: 27° Celsius / 81° Fahrenheit

Population: 88.5 million as of August 2007 (Projected to be 92 million in 2009)

Currency: Peso (PHP) Philippine Peso Currency Converter for the latest exchange rates.

Peso Denominations: 1,000; 500; 100; 50; 20; 10; 5; 2; 1; 0.50; 0.25; 0.10; 0.05; 0.01

Official Languages: Pilipino and English

Capital City: Manila (Metro Manila is the National Capital Region or NCR)

The National Capital Region comprises the cities and municipalities of: the City of Manila, Caloocan City, Las Piñas, Makati, Malabon, Mandaluyong, Marikina, Muntinlupa, Navotas, Parañaque City, Pasay City, Patros, Pasig, San Juan, Taguig, Quezon City and Valenzuela.

Form of Government: Republic with three (3) equal branches of government namely: the Executive, the Legislative and the Judiciary.

Chief Executive & Head of Government: The President. The Executive branch include the Cabinet comprising of Secretaries of each Department.

Legislative: Congress of the Philippines comprising of the Senate (upper house) presided by the President of the Senate and the House of Representatives (lower house) presided by the Speaker of the House of representatives.

Judiciary: Supreme Court of the Philippines comprising the Chief Justice and 14 Associate Justices

More Facts & Trivia About the Philippines

There are more than 10 million Filipinos who live overseas, of this, about 8 million are OFWs or Overseas Filipino Workers. According to the Central Bank of the Philippines, overseas Filipinos remitted an estimated US$ 16 billion to the Philippines in 2008 – more than a billion US dollars each month. This amount is expected to go slightly down in 2009 due to the world economic crisis.

Dr. Jose Rizal, the national hero of the Philippines can read and write at the age of 2. He grew up speaking 20 foreign languages including French, Greek, Chinese, Latin and German.

The karaoke is a Filipino invention, not Japanese. Karaoke meaning “singing without accompaniment” in Japanese was invented by Roberto del Rosario. He called his invention “Sing-Along-System”, which was later called karaoke.

The Philippine flag is the only flag in the world that is displayed upside-down when the country is in war (red on top and blue at the bottom when in war).

The Philippines is considered the “text capital of the world”. Of the estimated 35 million cell phone subscribers in the Philippines in 2006, about 350 to 400 million SMS (Short Message Service) or text messages are sent daily. This figure is more than the total daily text messages sent in the U.S. and Europe combined.

Although the land area of the Philippines is roughly 1/30th of the United States, The Philippines has a total coastline of 36,289 kilometers while the total U.S. coastline is a modest 19,924 kilometers.

The world’s rarest and most expensive seashell, the “Conus Gloriamaris” is among the 12,000 species of seashells found in the Philippines. And 488 coral species out of the known 500 coral species worldwide are found in the country.

* Cebu is the first Philippine City.

* Maria Teresa Calderon – World champion speed reader as listed in the Guiness Book of World Records

* In the Philippines, Filipinos were introduced to the English language in 1762 by British invaders, not Americans. Philippines is the world’s 3rd largest English-speaking nation, next to the USA and the UK.

* Coconuts – the Philippines is considered to be the largest producer of coconuts

* Gemma Cruz was the first Filipina to win an international beauty title – Miss International 1964.

* Dan Inosanto – from Mike Robandido – Pinoy who taught Bruce Lee how to use arnis de mano.

* The second oldest philippine printing press next to Manila can be found in Pila Laguna. The first book printed was named Vocabulario Delengua Tagala – the philippines first filipino – spanish dictionary which was printed in 1613, 25 years older than the first book printed in the United States.

* The Philippine Basketball Association is Asia’s premier and the world’s second oldest professional league.

* After Happy Birthday, the song most sung in the Philippines is Lupang Hinirang, the national anthem.

* Philippine Airlines took to the skies on March 15, 1941, using a Beech Model 18 aircraft amid the specter of a global war. It became Asia’s first airline.

* The world’s largest pearl was discovered by a Filipino diver in a giant Tridacna (mollusk) under the Palawan Sea in 1934. Known as the “Pearl of Lao-Tzu”, the gem weighs 14 pounds and measures 9 1/2 inches long and 5 1/2 inches in diameter. As of May 1984, it was valued at US$42 million. It is believed to be 600 years old.

* Alto Broadcasting System (ABS) Channel 3, the first television station in the country, went on the air in 1953.

* Fernando Amorsolo, a painter, was the first national artist declared by the Philippine government. The award was conferred on Amorsolo in April 1972, several days after his death.

* The world’s second deepest spot underwater is in the Philippines. This spot, about 34,440 feet (10,497 meters) below the sea level, is known as the Philippine Deep or the Mindanao Trench. The Philippine Deep is in the floor of the Philippine Sea. The German ship Emden first plumbed the trench in 1927. The world’s deepest part of the ocean is the Marianas Trench, which is over 11,000 meters below the seal level.

* The symbolic name for the Philippines, Juan dela Cruz, is not a Filipino invention? It was coined by R. McCulloch-Dick, a Scottish-born journalist working for the Manila Times in the early 1900s, after discovering it was the most common name in blotters

* Mayon is the most beautiful mountain I have ever seen, the world-renowned Fujiyama (Mt. Fuji) of Japan sinking into perfect insignificance by comparison. British traveler-writer A. Henry Savage Landor

* Ilo-Ilo golf and country club is the oldest golf club in the Philippines. It was built at 1908 by Irish Engineers.

* Emilio Aguinaldo lost to Manuel L. Quezon in the country’s first presidential elections in 1935.

* Bagumbayan was the original name of Luneta Park.

* Of the 500 known coral species in the world, 488 are found in the Philippines.

* The Philippines is home to some of the world’s most exotic birds. One of the most endangered species is the exotic Kalangay or the Philippine cockatoo (Cacatua haematuropygia), which belongs to Psittacidae or the family of parrots. Some cockatoos can live up to 50 years. They are known for mimicking human voices. Most of them measure 33 centimeters in length and weigh 0.29 kilogram.

  • Cebu is the first Philippine City.
  • Maria Teresa Calderon – World champion speed reader as listed in the Guiness Book of World Records
  • In the Philippines, Filipinos were introduced to the English language in 1762 by British invaders, not Americans. Philippines is the world’s 3rd largest English-speaking nation, next to the USA and the UK.
  • Coconuts – the Philippines is considered to be the largest producer of coconuts
  • Gemma Cruz was the first Filipina to win an international beauty title – Miss International 1964.
  • Dan Inosanto – from Mike Robandido – Pinoy who taught Bruce Lee how to use arnis de mano.
  • The second oldest philippine printing press next to Manila can be found in Pila Laguna. The first book printed was named Vocabulario Delengua Tagala – the philippines first filipino – spanish dictionary which was printed in 1613, 25 years older than the first book printed in the United States.
  • The Philippine Basketball Association is Asia’s premier and the world’s second oldest professional league.
  • After Happy Birthday, the song most sung in the Philippines is Lupang Hinirang, the national anthem.
  • Philippine Airlines took to the skies on March 15, 1941, using a Beech Model 18 aircraft amid the specter of a global war. It became Asia’s first airline.
  • The world’s largest pearl was discovered by a Filipino diver in a giant Tridacna (mollusk) under the Palawan Sea in 1934. Known as the “Pearl of Lao-Tzu”, the gem weighs 14 pounds and measures 9 1/2 inches long and 5 1/2 inches in diameter. As of May 1984, it was valued at US$42 million. It is believed to be 600 years old.
  • Alto Broadcasting System (ABS) Channel 3, the first television station in the country, went on the air in 1953.
  • Fernando Amorsolo, a painter, was the first national artist declared by the Philippine government. The award was conferred on Amorsolo in April 1972, several days after his death.
  • The world’s second deepest spot underwater is in the Philippines. This spot, about 34,440 feet (10,497 meters) below the sea level, is known as the Philippine Deep or the Mindanao Trench. The Philippine Deep is in the floor of the Philippine Sea. The German ship Emden first plumbed the trench in 1927. The world’s deepest part of the ocean is the Marianas Trench, which is over 11,000 meters below the seal level.
  • The symbolic name for the Philippines, Juan dela Cruz, is not a Filipino invention? It was coined by R. McCulloch-Dick, a Scottish-born journalist working for the Manila Times in the early 1900s, after discovering it was the most common name in blotters
  • Mayon is the most beautiful mountain I have ever seen, the world-renowned Fujiyama (Mt. Fuji) of Japan sinking into perfect insignificance by comparison. British traveler-writer A. Henry Savage Landor
  • Ilo-Ilo golf and country club is the oldest golf club in the Philippines. It was built at 1908 by Irish Engineers.
  • Emilio Aguinaldo lost to Manuel L. Quezon in the country’s first presidential elections in 1935.
  • Bagumbayan was the original name of Luneta Park.
  • Of the 500 known coral species in the world, 488 are found in the Philippines.
  • The Philippines is home to some of the world’s most exotic birds. One of the most endangered species is the exotic Kalangay or the Philippine cockatoo (Cacatua haematuropygia), which belongs to Psittacidae or the family of parrots. Some cockatoos can live up to 50 years. They are known for mimicking human voices. Most of them measure 33 centimeters in length and weigh 0.29 kilogram.

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