The Philippines is a chockfull of historical events, and there’s no doubt about that. The country is also of diverse culture and traditions influenced by its colonizers like Spaniards, American, and Japanese. Hence, it’s a country of many colors and interesting facts.
Here are 15 facts you might not know about the country Philippines:
1. The country – Philippines was the first in Southeast Asia to succeed independence after World War II, in the year 1946.
2. The Philippines has the biggest percentage of the discovery of new animal classes with around 16 new species of mammals identified just in the past decade.
3. The Philippines is named following King Philip II of Spain. The explorer named Ruy López de Villalobos called the Eastern Visayas Felipenas initially, and the name was then referred to the whole archipelago.
4. The world’s biggest pearl was found by a Filipino diver in the sea of Palawan back in 1934. It is known as the “Pearl of Allah,” or the “Pearl of Lao Tzu,” the pearl weighs 6.35 kg (14 pounds) and measures 24 cm (9.5 inches) long and .4 cm (5.5 inches) in diameter. Its value is over $40 million, and it is concluded to be 600 years old.
5. The Philippines is the only country in Asia that has majority Christian. About eighty percent of the population are Roman Catholic.
6. The Mt. Pinatubo of the Philippines in the island of Luzon erupted back on June 15, 1991. The eruption created the biggest mushroom cloud in the whole world. The eruption produced around 20 million tons of Sulphur Dioxide and 10 billion metric tons of magma to the stratosphere.
7. There are around 120 to 175 different languages spoken in the country, Philippines, 171 of which exist while the other are no longer have any identified speakers. The languages English and Filipino, based on Tagalog, are the Philippines two officially known languages.
8. The “antibiotic erythromycin” was developed by a Filipino doctor – Dr. Abelardo Aguilar in the year 1949. He gave a sample to his employer which is the Eli Lilly Pharmaceutical company, which then immediately patented it. The erythromycin is used for individuals who have allergies to penicillin, and it has preserved millions of lives.
9. The country is the second-largest archipelago in the whole world after Indonesia which is just a neighboring country. The country has 7,107 islands found in the South China Sea, Sulu Sea, Celebes Sea, Philippine Sea, and the Luzon Strait.
10. The English terms “Boondocks” and “boonies” are based on the Tagalog/Filipino word for mountain, “bundok.” The words were listed in the North American vernacular way back in the 1940s, presumably brought back by the soldiers who were stationed in the Philippines when World War II.
11. The University of Santo Tomas which was established in Manila, the Philippines by the Dominican monks back in 1611, is the world’s biggest Catholic university based on the population. The University of Santo Tomas and the University of San Carlos in the city of Cebu which was established in the year 1595 are both older than the Harvard University of the US, which was not built until the year 1636.
12. Only the Filipinos celebrate the world’s most extended Christmas season. The playing of Christmas carols starts on the month September and regularly ends in January after Feast of the Three Kings. They celebrate Night Mass “Simbang Gabi” where Catholics participate in the nine services straight until the Christmas Eve. If they attend all the nine masses, it is believed that their wishes will be granted.
13. The jeepney which is also referred to as the “King of the Philippine roads,” is a heritage of the Jeeps of the American troops in the Philippines through World War II. The modern versions of jeepneys have a surround sound system, air conditioning units, and even WIFI access which somewhat resemble minibusses. A jeepney can carry up to 21 passengers.
14. The national dish of the Filipinos may very well be the “adobo,” which is a stew of chicken and pork marinated and cooked in vinegar, soy sauce, bay leaf, black peppercorns and crushed garlic. In Spanish, Adobo meant “seasoning” or “sauce.” The Philippine version is indigenous to the islands, recording back to a dish prepared long before the arrival of Magellan.
15. The famous pop singer Bruno Mars is half Filipino and half Puerto Rican. His nickname was “Little Elvis.” Bruno Mars’ real name is Peter Gene Bayot Hernandez while his stage name was fired by the chubby wrestler named Bruno Sammartino.