The following are several interesting facts about the Philippines:
- The Philippines was named in honor of King Philipp II of Spain. During his expedition in 1542, explorer Ruy López de Villalobos named the islands of Leyte and Samar Felipinas after the then-Prince of Asturias which later on became the king of Spain. The name was later used to refer to the entire archipelago.
- The Philippine Archipelago is made up of about 7,641 islands, of which only about 2,000 are inhabited and more than 5,000 are yet to be named.
- The Philippines is the third largest Roman Catholic nation in the world next to Brazil and Mexico. 81% of the population belong to the Roman Catholic church.
- Three of the 10 largest shopping malls in the world are located in the Philippines. Two are in Metro Manila and one in Cebu, and all are SM malls by SM Prime Holdings.
- Jeepney is an iconic symbol of the country. You know you are in the Philippines when you see these colorfully painted public vehicles plying the streets, even in the province and remote villages. While these jeeps were originally made from U.S. military jeeps left from World War II, Filipinos learned to build their own thus giving birth to the jeepney industry in the country.
- The Philippines was one of the first colonies to achieve independence in 1945 and became one of the founding members of the United Nations.
- The Philippine flag is the only one in the world wherein its usage indicates whether the country is at peace or war. It is normally flown with the blue side on top indicating that the country is at peace. When flown upside down with the red side on top, it means the country is at a state of war.
- While the country has two primary languages: Filipino and English, there are a total of 182 national languages spoken throughout the country. The four most popular with over 9 million speakers are Filipino, Cebuano, Ilocano, and Hiligaynon.
- The Philippines is the biggest supplier of nurses in the world with over 70% of nursing graduates preferring to go abroad to work due to limited job opportunities and low compensation of nurses in the country.
- The Philippines is the world’s largest producer of coconuts.
- The Philippines is one of the world’s largest exporters of coconuts and other tropical fruits including bananas, mangosteens, and papayas.
- Currency rankings show that the most popular Philippines Peso exchange rate is the USD to PHP rate.
- The world’s largest pearl, known as the “Pearl of Lao Tzu” or “Pearl of Allah, was discovered by a Filipino diver in 1934. It weighs 14 pounds (6.35 kg) and measures 9.5 inches (24 cm) long, and 5.5 inches (.4 cm) in diameter. Believed to be over 600 years old, it’s value is over $40 Million USD.
- The Philippine eagle is the world’s largest eagle in terms of length and wing surface. It stands up to 3.3 feet (1 m) and has a wingspan of almost 7 feet (2 m). Officially declared as the Philippine national bird in 1995, the Philippine eagle is considered critically endangered with only between 180 to 500 eagles currently surviving in the Philippines.
- A crocodile in the Philippines named Lolong is the largest reptile and saltwater crocodile ever caught and placed in captivity. He measured 6.17 m (20.2 ft) long and weighed 1,075 kg (2,370 lb). He died in 2013 though.
- Around 20 tropical cyclones enter the Philippines area of responsibility (PAR) every year. Five of which have the potential to develop into destructive typhoons. The country is even referred to by Time Magazine as “the most exposed country in the world to tropical storms”.
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