50+ Interesting Facts About the Philippines

  1. The Philippines is an island country in Southeast Asia. It is surrounded by the Philippine Sea, South China Sea, Celebes Sea, and the Sulu Sea.
  2. The Philippines is an ethnically diverse country. The largest ethnic group is Tagalog, which comprises 25% of the population.
  3. Christianity is the main religion in the Philippines, with nearly 90% followers. Around 80% are Roman Catholic Christians.
  4. The Philippines is one of a few Christian-majority countries in Asia. It has the world’s 3rd highest Roman Catholic population, after Brazil and Mexico.
  5. The Philippines came under Spanish rule in 1565, and they founded Manila in 1571. It was the only Southeast Asian country without any central government before the colonization of European power.
  6. Spain handed over the Philippines to the USA in 1898 after its defeat in the Battle of Manila Bay (part of the Spanish-American War) and internal rebellion. 
  7. The USA granted independence to the Philippines on July 4, 1946. It was the first country to gain independence after WW2.
  8. The Philippines has faced two major armed conflicts after independence. The Moro insurgency and the communist rebellion started in 1968 and 1969, respectively. Both these conflicts have not ended yet.
  9. MV Dona Paz, a Philippine passenger ferry, sank on December 20, 1987, after colliding with an oil tanker 110 miles south of Manila. Both the vassals caught fire and resulted in the deaths of more than 4,300 passengers. It is known as the deadliest civilian maritime disaster in history.
  10. The 1991 Mt. Pinatubo eruption in the Philippines is the 2nd largest volcanic eruption of the 20th century and the largest eruption of that century in a populated area. This eruption affected an area hundreds of miles across. 
    Eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991
    Philippines has faced the 2nd largest volcanic eruption of the 20th Century

  11. There are more than 7,600 islands in the Philippines; around 2,000 have a human presence. The country has the second most islands in Asia after Indonesia.
  12. The Philippines has the 5th longest coastline in the world, with a length of more than 36,000 km. (Source)
  13. The Philippines produces nearly 2,000 MW of geothermal energy, the 3rd highest after the USA and Indonesia. (Source)
  14. Philippine Trench is the 3rd deepest oceanic trench on earth after Mariana Trench (36,197 ft.) and Tonga Trench (35,702 ft.). Its maximum depth is 34,580 ft.
  15. Less than 25% area of the Philippines is forested. The country lost 50% of its forest cover from the mid-20th century to the early 21st century.
  16. The Philippine eagle, endemic to the Philippines, is the national bird of the country. It is the longest species of eagle. Killing this critically endangered bird is a punishable offense in the Philippines.
  17. The Philippines is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change. It is facing earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, and other natural disasters. Capital Manila is especially vulnerable due to its large population and poor infrastructure. (Source)
  18. The Philippines is a unitary republic under a presidential system. The Bangsamoro in the southern Philippines is the country’s only autonomous region.
  19. The Philippines is the world’s biggest importer of nickel ore and gold-clad metals. The country is also the biggest importer of copra. (Source)
  20. The headquarter of ADB (Asian Development Bank) is in the Philippines. A total of 68 countries from the Asia-Pacific region and other areas are members of ADB.
  21. Philippines Airlines (PAL) was founded in 1941. It is the oldest existing airline in Asia.
  22. Filipinos spend the most time on the internet in the world. People in this Southeast Asian country spend more than 10 hours daily on the internet. (Source)
  23. According to estimates, Filipinos send 400 million text messages daily due to the affordability of SMS. Due to this reason, the country is famous as the “text capital of the world”.
  24. The Philippines is the largest supplier of nurses in the world. These nurses fulfill the requirements of Saudi Arabia, the USA, and the UK. (Source)
  25. The Philippines became the first tropical country to participate in Winter Olympics during the 1972 Games in Japan. It was the first Winter Olympics held outside Europe and North America.
  26. Manny Pacquiao, a Filipino politician and former boxer, was named the “fighter of the decade” from 2000 to 2010 by several international boxing associations. He has made several boxing records.
  27. Puerto-Princesa Subterranean River System is famous for its natural beauty. It contains one of the longest underground rivers and Asia’s largest limestone forest.
  28. The Philippines is the 5th largest English-speaking country in the world. Nearly 60% of Filipinos can speak and understand English as an additional language.
  29. The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) is Asia’s first basketball association. It is the second oldest continuously existing basketball association after the NBA (USA). (Source)
  30. A Filipino fisherman discovered the world’s largest (26 in. long, 12 in. wide, and 75 lbs. weigh) and most expensive ($100 million) pearl near Palawan Islands in the Philippines. The discovery place of the previous largest pearl in 1934 was also the same area. (Source)
  31. The Philippines face typhoons year round, with the peak season from May to November. The strongest typhoon devastated the central Philippines due to wind speeds of 195 mph. It is one of the strongest typhoons ever recorded. (Source
    Typhoon Goni in Philippines in 2000
    Philippines face strong typhoons year round

  32. Mayon Volcano in the Philippines is famous for being the perfect cone-shaped volcano due to the symmetry of its shape.
  33. Makati City and Pasig are known as the “selfiest cities” in the world. There are 258 selfie-takers per 100,000 people in these cities, which is the highest in the world. (Source)
  34. The position of the flag indicates war or peace in the Philippines. The upside-down flag with the red portion over the blue shows that the country is at war. (Source)
  35. Nearly 7 million people attended a papal event in Manila in 2015. It is the largest papal crowd ever. (Source)
  36. The Philippines holds the record for the world’s longest Christmas celebrations. The Filipinos celebrate this religious festival for more than four months. (Source)
  37. San Fernando in the Philippines is known as Asia’s Christmas capital. Its fame is due to the Giant Lantern Festival held annually for the past 80 years. (Source)
  38. Rice terraces in the northern Philippines developed around 2,000 years ago. The descendants of minority Igorot people still inhabit these terraces.  
  39. The University of Santo Tomas (founded in 1611) is one of the oldest continuously operating universities in Asia. It is older than Harvard University, established in 1636. 
  40. The Philippines’s capital Manila has the highest population density in the world. Two other Philippines cities, Pateros and Mandaluyong, are in the 2nd and 3rd place on this list. (Source)
  41. The world’s oldest Chinatown is in Manila. It was established in 1594 by the Spanish colonial government. (Source)
  42. The shape of the Manila City Hall is similar to a coffin. A large cross is also visible when viewing the hall from space.
  43. The people of Sagada in the Philippines traditionally bury their dead in coffins hanging inside the caves or outside cliffs. This ritual is 2,000 years old and known as the hanging coffins of Sagada.
  44. Kayangan Lake in the Philippines is famous as the cleanest lake in Asia.
  45. Tojoman and Francisco lagoons in the Philippines are known as Jellyfish lagoons due to the abundance of these animals. They are considered to be stingless but contain stings harmless for humans. (Source)
  46. The Philippines is named after King Phillip II of Spain. He ruled Spain from 1527 to 1598.
  47. Ferdinand Marcos remained the President of the Philippines from 1965 to 1986. He is infamous for his corruption and authoritarian regime. He died in 1989 but was buried in 2016 due to various controversies.
  48. There are 6 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Philippines. These include 3 cultural and 3 natural sites. (Source)
  49. The world’s biggest pair of shoes was built in Marikina, Philippines. These 17 ft. long and 8 ft. wide shoes took 77 days to complete.
  50. People in the Philippines speak around 150 languages. Filipino and English have official status.
  51. A Japanese inventor developed the first karaoke machine in 1971. However, the patent for the instrument belongs to a Filipino inventor who built the karaoke system in 1975. (Source)
  52. Carlos P. Romulo, a Philippine diplomat, was the first President of the UN General Assembly from Asia. He remained in this position from 1949 to 1950.

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