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Philippines: A Land of Superlatives

With over 7,100 islands, there's no doubt the Philippines got breathtaking resources. This is precisely our reason why we named our company Cultureight Travel. We believe that people, once properly introduced to the Philippines (Culture) could fall in love with the country forever (eight). Here, we list endemic qualities as well as achievements that can make us proud of what has been bestowed to us. Hopefully, you can share this and share your own too.

  1. As early as 1908, Filipinos has been swinging golf clubs in Ilo-Ilo. In fact, the oldest golf and country club in the Philippines can be found there.
  2. The world’s longest underground river system - two kilometer navigable underneath a karst or limestone mountain formation - accessible to man can be found in the Puerto Princesa, Palawan. It is the center of a huge protected area declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 1995. It also features centuries old stalactites and stalagmites.
  3. The largest Philippine wild animal, the tamaraw, is a seriously endangered specie of the buffalo that is similar to the carabao. It is found only in the island of Mindoro. It is also the reason behind the declaration of Mts. Iglits and Baco National Park (mindoro) as ASEAN Heritage Sites.
  4. Filipinos celebrate the world’s longest religious holiday. The Christmas season begins on September 1st, as chillier winds and Christmas carols start filling the air, and ends on the first week of January, during the Feast of the Three Kings.
  5. Paskuhan Village in the province of Pampanga is Asia’s only Christmas theme park and the third of its kind in the world.
  6. The great Christmans lanterns of San Fernando, Pampanga can reach as big as 40 feet in diameter, using as many as 16,000 glowing bulbs.
  7. The popular toy, the yoyo, was invented by 16th century hunters in the Philippines.
  8. The word "boondocks," which is now a part of the English language, dictionary, and vocabulary, comes from the Tagalog word "bundok," meaning "mountain."
  9. The Philippines became the first Asian country to win FIVE major international beauty pageant crowns — two for Miss Universe, in 1969 and 1973, and three for Miss International, in 1965, 1970, and 1979.
  10. The Philippine flag is the only flag in the world which is hoisted upside-down when the country is in war.
  11. Diving paradise Anilao, in the province of Batangas, is the theme of a picture book that bagged the International Prize for Underwater Images at the 27th World Festival of Underwater Images in France in November 2000. “Anilao" book creators and Filipino scuba divers Scott Tuason and Eduardo Cu Unjieng defeated big names in underwater photography such as Jacques Mayol, Pascal Kobeh, Monique Walker, and Alessandro Tommasi.
  12. The biggest game preserve and wildlife sanctuary in the Philippines is located on Calauit Island in Palawan, which has the largest land area among the Philippine provinces.
  13. The antibiotic erythromycin — used to treat a wide variety of bacterial infections, such as respiratory tract infections, middle ear infections, and skin infections — was created by Filipino scientist Abelardo Aguilar, and has earned American drug giant Eli Lilly billions of dollars. Neither Aguilar nor the Philippine government received royalties.
  14. Philippines Herald war journalist Carlos P. Romulo was the first Asian to win a Pulitzer Prize in Journalism in 1942. He was also aide-de-camp to General Douglas MacArthur in World War II; Philippine resident commissioner in the U.S. Congress from 1944-46; and the first Asian to become UN President in 1949.
  15. The largest fish in the world, the Whale Shark, locally known as Butanding, regularly swims to the Philippine waters.
  16. The world’s shortest and lightest freshwater fish is the dwarf pygmy goby (Pandaka Pygmaea), a colorless and nearly transparent species found in the streams and lakes of Luzon. Males have an average length of 8.7 mm. and weigh 4-5 mg.
  17. There are 12,000 or so species of seashells in the Philippines. The Conus Gloriamaris or "Glory of the Sea" is the rarest and most expensive in the world.
  18. Of the 500 known coral species in the world, 488 are found in the Philippines.
  19. Of the eight species of marine turtles worldwide, five are reported to be found in the Philippines: the Green Turtle, Hawkbill, Leatherback, Olive Ridley, and Loggerhead.
  20. Of the eight known species of giant clams in the world, seven are found in the Philippines.
  21. The Basilica of San Sebastian is the only steel church in Asia and was the second building to be made out of steel, next to the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
  22. The largest bell in Asia hangs at the belfry of the 221-year old Panay Church. It is 7 feet in diameter and 7 feet in height, and weighs 10.4 tons. Its tolling can be heard as far as 8 km. away. It was casted from 70 sacks of coins donated by the townspeople as a manifestation of faith and thanksgiving.
  23. The World Cup, which was instituted in 1965, is contested annually by the national champions of the Federation Internationale des Quilleurs (FIQ). The highest number of wins is 4, by Filipino bowler Rafael “Paeng” Nepomuceno: 1976, 1980, 1992, and 1996.
  24. Camiguin province holds the distinction of having the most number of volcanoes per square kilometer than any other island on earth. It is also the only place in the Philippines which has more volcanoes (7) than towns (5).
  25. The Cagayan River or Rio Grande de Cagayan is the Philippines’ mightiest watercourse – the longest and widest river in the country. Small streams originating form Balete Pass, Cordillera, Caraballo and Sierra Madre Mountains meet other streams and rivers and flow to the Cagayan River.
  26. Angono Petroglyphs – This cultural heritage site dates back to circa 3000 B.C. and is the most ancient Filipino, or more aptly, prehistoric Filipino work of art. Besides being the country’s oldest “work of art” it also offers us an evocative glimpse into the life of our ancestors. The site has been included in the World Inventory of Rock Art under the auspices of UNESCO, ICCROM and ICOMOS and nominated as one of the “100 Most Endangered Sites of the World.
  27. Tagala - the Philippines first Filipino-Spanish dictionary which was printed in 1613, 25 years older than the first book printed in the United States.
  28. Mayon is the most beautiful mountain I have ever seen, the world-renowned Fujiyama (Mt. Fuji) of Japan sinking into perfect insignificance by comparison. British traveler-writer A. Henry Savage Landor
  29. San Juanico Strait - said to be the narrowest yet the most navigable strait in the world
  30. Halo-Halo! Halo-halo literally means, "mix-mix". And its is just that: a mixture of sweetened fruits and beans, lavished with pinipig (crisp flattened rice flakes), sugar and milk, topped by crushed ice and ice cream. You know its summertime when halo-halo stand start sprouting by the roadside and by the beach, all whipping up their heavenly concoctions of such a refreshingly divine dessert. You can make your own by selecting and mixing your ingredients to make a perfect Halo-Halo. Halo-Halo is uniquely, unforgettably Filipino!
  31. Waling Waling Orchids - With some 800 to 1,000 species of orchids, the Philippines has one of the richest orchid floras in the world. Philippine orchids come in an amazing array of shapes, sizes and colors. Most grow only in old-growth forest, often on branches of huge trees dozens of meters above the forest floor.
  32. The world's largest pearl was discovered by a Filipino diver in a giant Tridacna (mollusk) under the Palawan Sea in 1934. Known as the "Pearl of Lao-Tzu", the gem weighs 14 pounds and measures 9 1/2 inches long and 5 1/2 inches in diameter. As of May 1984, it was valued at US$42 million. It is believed to be 600 years old.
  33. The world's second deepest spot underwater is in the Philippines. This spot, about 34,440 feet (10,497 meters) below the sea level, is known as the Philippine Deep or the Mindanao Trench. The Philippine Deep is in the floor of the Philippine Sea. The German ship Emden first plumbed the trench in 1927.
  34. Lipa City in Batangas is dubbed as the “Rome of the Philippines” because of the number of seminaries, convents, monasteries, retreat houses, and a famous cathedral located in it.
  35. Kibungan is known as the “Switzerland of Bengued” because of the frost during the cold months
  36. Both Tridacna gigas, one of the world's largest shells, and Pisidum, the world's tiniest shell, can be found under Philippine waters. Tridacna gigas grows as large as one meter in length and weighs 600 pounds while Pisidum is less than 1 millimeter long. A shell called glory of the sea (Connus gloriamaris) is also found in the Philippines and considered as one of the most expensive shells in the world.
  37. Seahorses are small saltwater fish belonging to the Syngnathidae family (order Gasterosteiformes), which also includes pipefish and sea dragons. Most seahorse species, probably the most peculiar creatures in the water, live in the Coral Triangle. There are at least 50 known seahorse species in the world. They inhabit temperate and tropical waters but most of them are concentrated in the warm coastal waters of the Philippines.
  38. Donsol, a fishing town in Sorsogon province, serves as a sanctuary to a group of 40 whale sharks (Rhincodon typus), which are considered as the largest fish in the world. Locally known as "butanding", whale sharks visit the waters of Donsol from November to May. They travel across the oceans but nowhere else have they been sighted in a larger group than in the waters of Sorsogon. They measure between 18 to 35 feet in length and weigh about 20 tons.
  39. The Philippines is home to some of the world's most exotic birds. 
One of the most endangered species is the exotic Kalangay or the Philippine cockatoo (Cacatua haematuropygia), which belongs to Psittacidae or the family of parrots. Some cockatoos can live up to 50 years. They are known for mimicking human voices. Most of them measure 33 centimeters in length and weigh 0.29 kilogram.
  40. Palawan bear cat is neither a bear nor a cat. Known in Southeast Asia as binturong, the bearcat is a species of its own, with population in the forests of Palawan, Borneo, Burma and Vietnam. It belongs to the family of Viverridae (civets). The Palawan bearcat has a long body and a pointed face leading to the nose. Its head and body measure 61 to 96 centimeters in combined length while its tail is almost as long. It weighs 9 to 14 kilograms and lives up to 20 years. It uses its tail for climbing and holding on to branches of trees.
  41. Calamian Deer - Calamian Islands, north of Palawan province, keep a species of deer that cannot be found elsewhere. Scientists referred to the hog deer in the islands as Calamian deer in order to distinguish them from other hog deer in the world. An ordinary Calamian deer measures 105 to 115 centimeters in length and 60 to 65 centimeters high at the shoulder and weighs about 36 to 50 kilograms. It is said to have longer and darker legs, compared with other hog deer.
  42. World's Smallest Hoofed Mammal - South of Palawan, lies the Balabac Island, home of the world's smallest hoofed mammal - the Philippine mouse deer. Locally known as Pilandok (Tragalus nigricans), this ruminant stands only about 40 centimeters at the shoulder level.
  43. Flying Lemur - One of the most distinct creatures on Earth lives in the Philippines. It doesn't have wings but it can glide across 100 meters of space in a single leap. Like the lemurs of Asia, it moves around at night. Its head resembles that of a dog while its body has similarities with the flying squirrel of Canada. 
In Mindanao, people call it "kagwang". Around the world, it is known as colugo or the flying lemur.
  44. In 1916, in the Philippines, an offensive style of passing the ball in a high trajectory to be struck by another player (the set and spike) were introduced. The Filipinos developed the "bomba" or kill, and called the hitter a "bomberino". (source: http://volleyball.org/history.html)

  45. The PHILIPPINE EAGLE is the 2nd largest bird on the planet (next only to the American Condor)....
  46. The Philippines is 17th in the world rank in total diversity and 15th in the world rank in endemism?
  47. There are 13,500 species of plants found in the Philippine forest which represent 5% of the world’s flora.
  48. There are 576+ species of birds recorded at which 195+species are endemic; 204 + species of mammals, 111+ species are endemic; 101+ species of amphibians, 70+ species are endemic; 258+ species of reptiles, 170+ are known to be found only in the country.
  49. There are 4,951 species of marine plants and animals found in the Philippine coastal and marine areas.
  50. Some of the country's bests are inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List? The Tubbattaha Reef, The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park Churches of Miagao (Iloilo), San Agustin (Manila), Paoay (Ilocos Norte) and Sta. Maria (Ilocos Sur) Vigan Heritage Village, for its outstanding development in architecture, urban planning and landscape design; Hud-Hud, an Ifugao epic, as among the masterpieces of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity.
  51. The world's smallest edible fish, the sinarapan, is found in Lake Buhi, Camarines Sur.
  52. The lurung, a rare freshwater fish (also called the Pacific Salmon), is described as the Presidential fish because it is the country's most expensive fish?
  53. The endangered golden-crowned fox which feed on fruits and can only be found in the Philippines is actually a bat?
  54. The tarsier, the smallest primate in the world can be found in Bohol? It's hairless tail is an integral component of the animal's locomotive system and functions as a fifth limb.
  55. Mount Isarog (Camarines Sur) is home of the Philippine Falconet, which is considered the smallest raptor in the world. This inactive volcano is the highest forested peak in Southern Luzon and is home to 143 kinds of birds, 15 of which are endemic to Luzon.
  56. The Olango Island Bird Santuary (Cebu) is an internationally-recognized bird sanctuary. It is an important stop for flocks of migratory birds on their way to their "summer homes" in Australia and New Zealand.
  57. The Turtle Islands, situated along the national treaty limits, is home to marine green turtles. Of the nine islands of the island group, six belong to the Philippines, and three to Malaysia. And, the Philippines is reported to have five of world's eight marine turtle species.
  58. the Philippines has placed a ban on the catching of whales and dolphins.
  59. In the Philippines, the government placed a ban on the catching of whales and dolphins in 1992, and again in 1997, in an effort to protect and conserve the species.
  60. The highest mountain in the Philippines is Mt. Apo, a dormant volcano found in Mindanao, at 2,954 meters (9,689 feet). Mt. Pulog in Luzon is the second highest at 2,928 meters (9604 feet).
  61. Calbiga Cave is the Philippines’ biggest karst formations and one of the largest in Asia. The 2,968-hectare cave system is composed of 12 caves with wide underground spaces, unique rock formations and sub-terranean watercourse.
  62. Lake Lanao is the second largest lake in the Philippines, probably the deepest in the country and is considered one of the major tropical lakes in Southeastern Asia. The lake is home of endemic cryprinids, the species found only in the lake and nowhere else in the world.
  63. The Hundred Islands National Park in Pangasinan is home to 123-124 islands and islets. About 30 of these were named either after former Presidents of the country or for features unique to each. The 30+ named islands include the three major developed islands: Quezon, Children`s and Governor`s Islands; islands with caves include Marcos, Cuenco, Cathedral, Century, and Virgin; and other relaxing getaways namely, Guiya, Milagrosa, Lopez, Scout, Old Scout, Bangar, Ma. Liza, Clave, Quirino, Ramos, Martha, Braganza, Romulo, Abad Santos, Hernandez, Avelino, Monkey, Cariaz, Sison, Shell, Camantiles, Devil, Sulpot and Turtle.

 
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