The Philippines is a country in Southeast Asia. This country is home to plenty of different cultures and ethnicities. Slightly less than 110 million people live here.
The Philippines is known for its many islands, the Chocolate Hills and the Banaue Rice Terraces. This country is also the number one supplier of nurses in the world. Filipinos speak more than 120 languages and have the highest social media’s usage in the world.
In a continent dominated by Hinduism and Islam, the Philippines is kind of an outcast. This is the only predominantly Christian country in Asia. Up to 92.5 percent of the population considers itself Christian.
The Spanish explorer Ferdinand Magellan was the first one to bring Christianism into the country. According to the story, he landed on the island of Cebu in 1521. Magellan soon met the ruler of the island, Rajah Humabon, who asked him to help his ill grandson. He soon managed to cure the young boy, and in gratitude, Humabon agreed to get baptized together with 800 of his subjects. And this is how Christianism started to spread in the country.
Largest supplier of nurses
The Philippines is the largest supplier of nurses worldwide. In 2007, this country had about 460 nursing colleges offering a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Approximately 20,000 people graduate from these universities every year. But because of the job-scarce environment in the Philippines, most nurses have to move abroad to find a job. That’s why in the last few years, most nurses left the country to work in the US and Saudi Arabia.
More than 120 languages
Filipinos are a polyglot population. According to recent data, more than 120 languages are present in the country. The national ones are Filipino, a standardized form of Tagalog, and English. When arriving in the Philippines, most tourists are surprised to find out that people speak English fluently. The truth is that almost everyone in the country can have a basic conversation using this language.
One of the largest archipelagos in the world
The Philippines is the second-largest archipelago in the whole world. They are second only to Indonesia and have a total of 7,640 islands. The population lives on only about 5,500 of them, and the remaining ones are inhabited. More than half of the islands do not have a name, meaning that several Filipinos currently live on unnamed islands.
The chocolate hills are a unique rock formation in the Bohol province. We still do not know the exact number of hills present in the area, but they range from 1,260 to 1,776. These hills are made of limestone covered in green grass. Their name derives from the fact that during the wet season, their grass turns brown. The diameters range from 30 to 50 meters, and they can reach a height of 120 meters.
Highest Social Media Usage
Filipinos have the highest social media usage worldwide. On average they spend 4 hours and 15 minutes every day on social media. The most popular platforms are Youtube, Facebook, and Messenger. The average internet usage in the country is also incredibly high. People here tend to spend 11 hours every day on the internet. This is 60% higher than the world average.
Banaue Rice Terraces
The Banaue Rice Terraces are one of the main tourist attractions in the country. They are located in the Banaue mountains, in the Ifugao province. The ancestors of the Igorot people carved these terraces more than 2,000 years ago. People at the time did not have the right tools and had to build these terraces mostly by hand. The Banaue Rice Terraces are still used nowadays, and locals regularly plant veggies and rice here.
Asia’s first basketball league
Few people know that from 1901 to 1935, the Philippines was ruled by the US. During this period, the Americans brought basketball into the country. This sport became immediately popular in the Philippines.
In 1975, Filipinos decided to found their league, the PBA, the second oldest basketball league after the NBA. The regulations of the PBA are a mix between the NBA and the FIBA. Today basketball is still very popular in the Philippines, with many players working overseas.
Sinulog Festival is a Christian celebration to commemorate the arrival of Santo Niño in the country. Santo Niño refers to the child image of Jesus Christ, the patron of Cebu City.
Some of the main events at the Sinulog Festival include a parade, a dance ritual, and a procession. Every year, this event gathers from 1 to 15 million people from all over the world. Sinulog Festival takes place on the third Sunday of January in Cebu City.
Many Filipinos would agree that adobo is the most popular dish in the country. It consists of a sauce made with garlic, bay leaves, soy sauce, vinegar, and black peppercorns. All the ingredients are mixed and used to marinate certain types of food. These can vary from meat, seafood, or even veggies for a vegetarian version. Every area in the country prepares adobo with its specific cooking technique.
We cannot talk about the Philippines without mentioning Jeepneys. They are the most popular way of transportation in the country, and both locals and tourists use them. They have become a symbol of the country and are famous for their bright colors.
Unlike public transport in the west, they do not have specific stops. To be 100% honest, they do, but nobody cares. Drivers stop when they find someone needing a lift or if a passenger has to disembark.
Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park
Puerto Princesa Subterranean River is the most popular national park in the Philippines. It features limestone karst landscapes and the second longest underground river in the world. This river ends in the ocean and is subject to ties. The park has an area of 22,202 hectares, and its river is 8.2 km long. This is a UNESCO site, and only 900 people can visit the river each day.
A unique flag
The Philippine flag is one of the few in the world that changes based on the circumstances. It consists of a white triangle on the left side, with a sun and three stars. The right part is cut in two by a horizontal line. The top stripe is blue, while the bottom one is red. But when the country is at war, the colors switch. In this case, the blue will go on the bottom, and the red will go on top.
The Philippines is home to several animals that cannot be found anywhere else. For instance, the tamaraw. This species is a small water buffalo living exclusively on the island of Mindoro. Another example is the Pilandok, also known as deer-mouse. This weird animal has the size of a mouse but the shape of a deer. It’s endemic to Balabac, Bugsuk, and Ramos islands. Last but not least, the beautiful Palawan Peacock-Pheasant. These birds have stunning colors and can be seen on Palawan island.
Jollibee is the Philippine version of Mcdonald’s. This fast-food chain is popular worldwide and has 1,500 shops in Europe, North America, and Asia. The story of Jollibee started in 1975 when Tony Tan Caktiong opened an ice cream shop in Cubao.
Customers would often ask for a warm dish to accompany their ice cream, so the owner decided to add a food menu. Tony decided to open a fast-food restaurant when the food became more popular than ice cream. And that’s how Jollibee was born!
This is the most awarded festival in the Philippines. Dinagyang Festival attracts more than a million visitors every year. It is held after the Sinulog Festival on the fourth Sunday of January. Three main events take place during the celebrations. The Ati Tribe Competition, the Dagyang sa Calle Real, and the Miss Iloilo Dinagyang. The most popular one is the Ati Tribe Competition during which dancers from all over the country perform. The dances feature colorful costumes, low drum beats, and traditional chants.
The perfect volcano
Mayon volcano has been often referred to as the perfect volcanic cone. If you look at a picture, you will immediately understand why. This volcano is perfectly symmetrical and is 2,463 meters tall. Despite its beauty, the Mayon volcano is very dangerous. On November 30, 2006, one of its eruptions killed 1,200 people.
This is the most active volcano in the Philippines, and it erupted several times in the last decades.
Mayon volcano is also a sacred entity in Philippine mythology. According to legends, it grew from the ashes of the two lovers Magayon and Panganoron.
Humongous shopping malls
Filipinos love shopping, and their country is home to some of the largest shopping malls in the world. For instance, SM City North EDSA opened in 1985 and has an area of 120,000 m². This is the eleventh largest shopping mall worldwide, with more than 1,000 shops.
But SM Mall of Asia is even bigger! It has a floor area of roughly 489,891 m² and welcomes an average of 200,000 people every day. SM Mall of Asia is currently the third-largest shopping mall in the world.
One of the world’s largest coconut producers
The Philippines is currently the second-largest coconut producer in the world, after Indonesia. The country has 3.6 million hectares of coconut trees in 68 out of its 81 provinces. About 25 million Filipinos are directly or indirectly dependent on this industry. The Philippines is also the largest exporter of virgin coconut oil together with Sri Lanka.