Many tourists state that the Philippines got it all: paradise-like beaches, a variety of yummy traditional foods, but best of all, the Filipinos!
Pinoys (nickname for Filipinos around the world) are well known for their hospitality and friendliness. They are what makes the country so special.
But aside from the warm-hearted people, you will meet in the Philippines, Here are other 20 interesting facts about the incredible country:
1. The Philippines is the second largest archipelago in the world with over 7,500 islands associated and owned by the country with only 2,000 of them inhabited and nearly 5,000 still unnamed on global maps. The islands fall into three geographical divisions: Luzon, Mindanao, and the Visayas. The Philippines has maritime borders with Indonesia, Taiwan, Palau, Vietnam, and Malaysia.
2. There are around 120 to 175 languages in the Philippines depending on how they are classified. The official languages based on the current constitution are English and Filipino. There are 13 languages with at least 1 million speakers all over the country.
Most of the languages spoken were derived from Malayo-Polynesian roots. However, there are also some Filipinos who can speak languages derived from Spanish, Arabic, and Chinese.
3. It is estimated that about 11% (from 9 to 11 million) of the Philippine population work overseas and send money home to support their families.
Remittances sent by overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) represent the largest proportion – almost 14% – of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) – making overseas Filipino workers one of the largest contributors to the Philippine economy.
4. Basketball is everywhere you look in the Philippines. Since it requires little space, no maintenance, no expensive gear, and no required number of players for a social game, basketball carries well across the poverty-stricken country, where it staves off boredom for countless Filipino teenagers.
Their professional league, The Philippines Basketball Association (PBS) is the second oldest in the world after only the NBA.
5. Filipinos also love boxing, and when their most famous native son, Manny Pacquiao fights, it’s like a national holiday.
Boxing is a national pastime that Filipinos enjoy for the thrill and joy of seeing a compatriot fight with skill, savvy, and heart. There lies perhaps its ability to unite a fractious people.
6. The Philippines continues to be one of the leading coconut producing countries and the definitive leader for coconut oil exports, thanks to the country’s vast coconut planting areas and preferential weather conditions.
Over recent years, the growing demand for coconut oil, driven by more health-conscious consumers from around the world has further strengthened the Philippines’ leading position in the global coconut oil market.
7. The Philippines proudly boasts to be the only Christian nation in Asia. More than 86% of the population is Roman Catholic, 6% belong to various nationalized Christian cults, and another 2% belong to well over 100 Protestant denominations.
8. Filipinos have a sense of community that drives them to stay connected. They just love keeping in touch and texting via cell phones allows people to do so. The extraordinary popularity of text messaging in the Philippines has even spawned a subculture the media has dubbed Generation Txt.
9. One of the most remarkable geological formations in the world, the Taal Volcano consists of an island (Luzon) that contains a lake (Taal Lake) with a smaller island in the lake (Volcano Island) with a lake on that island (Main Crater of Taal Volcano) with another tiny islet (Volcano Island) inside!
10. The Philippines now ranks 13th among countries with the biggest population in the world. In 2014, the United Nations (UN) ranked the Philippines as the 12th most populated country with a population of 100 million. With an annual growth rate of about 2%, it’s also one of the fastest growing countries in the world.
11. Manila, the capital city of the Philippines, is the densest city in the world at 46,000 people per square mile – twice the density of New York City. In fact, Manila spans only 24 square miles but has 1,660,714 residents.
12. The tropical paradise of Palawan in the Philippines was consistently voted as the “world’s best island” by Condé Nast Traveler, Travel & Leisure, and other publications, thanks to its jaw-dropping natural beauty.
Visitors can explore white sand beaches, swim in lagoons, enjoy island hopping in Coron and El Nido, find some of the best scuba diving in the world, and even traverse the underground river in the capital, Puerto Princesa, a UNESCO world heritage site and the second longest underground river in the world.
13. The second-largest volcanic eruption of this century, and by far the largest eruption to affect a densely populated area occurred at Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines on June 15, 1991. The eruption produced high-speed avalanches of hot ash and gas, giant mudflows, and a cloud of volcanic ash hundreds of miles across.
Tragically, the eruption killd at least 847 people, injured 184, and left more than 1 million people homeless, as well as forcing an American air force base to be abandoned and relocated soon after. The impacts of the eruption continue to this day.
14. Jeepneys are the most popular way of getting around in the Philippines. They are colorful and crowded. One of the apparent origins of the word jeepney is from the words ‘jeep’ and ‘knee’ because passengers sit so closely together.
They were initially made from the US Military jeeps left over after World War II. They have since been developed into this colorful public service industry ubiquitous throughout the country.
15. Shopping malls in the Philippines are more than just regular shopping malls. They got it all from banks, supermarket, clinics to government agencies, church aside from having a complete catalog online.
Two of the 10 largest malls in the world are located in the Philippines which are SM Megamall and SM Mall of Asia.
16. Even among the countless natural wonders of the Philippines, the island of Camiguin stands out since it’s home to the most volcanoes per square mile of any island on Earth. Only about 14 miles long and 8.5 miles wide, Camiguin holds the distinction as the only island on the planet with more volcanoes (7) than towns (5). It’s now a great tourist destination with white-sand beaches and friendly locals, but don’t worry – the volcanoes have been dormant since the 1950s.
17. Boracay remains one of the best islands in the world, according to surveys conducted by international travel magazine Condé Nast Traveler. Travelers and vacationers flock to the paradise island of Boracay, known for having one of the best beaches with powder-like white sand.
Only 3.98 square miles, the island still receives about 1.5 million visitors from home and abroad every year, making it the most popular destination in the Philippines.
18. Considered one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world, the Philippines is vulnerable to almost all types of hazards – earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and tsunamis. But of all hazards, typhoons are what give Filipinos grief almost every year. In 2013, it was Super Typhoon Haiyan (called Yolanda locally) that ripped through the archipelago. Haiyan brought the strongest winds ever recorded at landfall as well as the strongest one-minute sustained wind speed of 195 mph. Sadly, it was also the deadliest typhoon in Philippines history, klling at least 6,100 people and displacing millions according to government reports (although locals estimate the de@th toll to be closer to 15,000, and a thousand people are still missing).
19. Filipinos are the most helpful and courteous in Asia, according to a survey conducted by Reader’s Digest magazine. The Filipinos are naturally polite and courteous. They greet their parents and elder relatives by kissing their right hands or by touching them against their foreheads. The Filipinos also use polite words when they address their elders. They use titles of respect for all elders like ‘kuya’, ‘ate,’ and the like. When they talk to them, they use the words ‘po’ and ‘opo.’
20. The Filipinos are such warm-hearted and happy people that you will leave craving to return to them. In fact, the Philippines has emerged as one of the happiest countries in the world, according to a global survey by US-based firm Gallup International. Gallup’s 41st Annual Global End of Year Survey shows the Philippines ranking 3rd happiest country in the world, with a net score of +84.