20 Interesting Facts About Philippines

From beautiful emerald rice fields to bright sandy beaches, the Philippines is a paradise with friendly people and vibrant cultural experiences just waiting to be explored. 

Here are some fascinating facts about the country and its people.

Filipinos Love Basketball

It’s not unusual to see makeshift basketball hoops and courts even in the most remote and rural villages. Basketball is a way of life for Filipinos. It is mainly because it’s a team sport that is as popular as it is acceptable. The professional league is known as the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), which is also the second oldest in the world just after the NBA.

The Text Capital Of The World  

The country is known as the “texting capital of the world” because of the usage of mobiles in the country. It’s one of the most unusual facts about Filipinos, but they will not hesitate to send a lot of text messages. It’s estimated that Filipinos send around 400 million text messages every day. This number is more than the combined number of daily text messages sent in Europe and the United States together.

The Philippines Is The Second Largest Producer And Exporter Of Coconuts  

Around 19.5 million tons of coconuts are shipped off each year to countries such as Japan, Germany, China, and the United States. Making coconuts is one of the most important contributors to the local economy. Also referred to as the tree of life, coconut trees provide livelihoods for around a third of the Philippine population.

The Philippines Are A Great Destination For Buying Pearls  

Three of the largest pearls known in the world have been found in the Philippines. The biggest of all is the Pearl of Lao Tzu, found in Brooke’s Point, Palawan in 1934 by a Filipino diver. The Pearl of Lao Tzu is 9.45 inches in diameter, and weighs a shocking 14 pounds.

One Of The Most Devastating Volcanic Eruptions Ever Happened In The Philippines  

On June 15, 1991, the Philippines suffered one of the most devastating volcanic eruptions in the history of the world. Located just a few hours away from the capital of Manila, the blast of Mount Pinatubo was so powerful that it sent 10 billion metric tons of magma to the air. The blast caused global temperatures to change by 1 degree.

The Philippines Are Home To One Of The Longest Subterranean Rivers In The World  

Before the discovery of a 10 km underground river in Mexico, Palawan’s Puerto Princesa Subterranean River was recognized as the longest subterranean river in the whole world.

Erythromycin Was Invented In The Philippines  

Erythromycin, a well-known antibiotic in the global medical community, was invented by a Filipino named Dr. Abelardo Aguilar back in 1949. This is one of the important facts about the Philippines because erythromycin has saved millions of lives.

13 Is An Unlucky Number  

A great number of Filipinos think that the number 13 is a bad omen. As a result, they believe that 13 people should not sit at a table. They also believe that it is bad to travel on Holy Thursday or Good Friday, as this increases the likelihood of accidents. It’s one of the most unusual facts about Filipinos, but many still believe these.

The Philippines Are Considered A Dangerous Country For Journalists  

The Philippines is considered to be one of the most dangerous places for journalists, despite being a democratic country. It is third on the Impunity Index, which is used to gauge the number of journalist deaths in each population, ranked next to Iraq and Somalia. In 2017, the Philippines were included in the list of the top 5 most dangerous countries for journalists alongside other countries including Mexico, Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan.

Christmas Is The Longest Holiday In The Philippines  

The Christmas season usually starts in September, as malls already play holiday songs and shopping bazaars begin to sprout throughout the city. Filipinos love celebrating Christmas so much that homes already have decors as early as September. Additionally, there are also several religious activities that Filipinos take part in throughout the Christmas season.

Religious Beliefs

Even though the Philippines are predominantly Catholic, Holy Week celebrations in the country get bloody and gory. This is because Catholic beliefs are already so intertwined with ancient customs, one of which is a tradition called penitensya which is a form of asking forgiveness from the gods by whipping oneself bloody. The act is meant to mimic the scene of Jesus’ suffering on the cross before his execution. What’s even more unusual is that penitents can also ask to be crucified on the cross voluntarily. It may seem like a gruesome ritual, but many foreigners enjoy observing the spectacle during Holy Week.

The First LGBTQ Political Party In The World  

The Philippines gave us the first LGBTQ political party in the world! Back in 2003 the AngLadlad (meaning “out of the closet” in Filipino) was created by writer, Danton Remoto. In doing so, Danton created the only LGBTQ political party that we know of in the world.

Jollibee Is As Popular In The Philippines As McDonald’s Elsewhere  

In the Philippines, Jollibee is considered iconic. It is the fast-food equivalent of McDonald’s in the Philippines, a well-known chain that is loved so much that several branches have opened up abroad especially in locations popular with overseas foreign workers. Jollibee’s mascot, a bright red bee, is said to represent the Filipino spirit: always jolly and optimistic.

Jeepneys: A Fun Ride Across The Country  

Jeepneys are a unique form of transportation in the Philippines use every day. They were born from the thousands of army jeeps that the U.S. military left after World War II. Resourceful Filipinos extended the cabs to accommodate about 18 passengers for hot, bumpy and dusty rides through the streets. As time went on, drivers adorned the jeepneys in colourful and creative designs to help them stand out. They don’t have set routes, so passengers just jump on a jeepney going in their direction, pass a coin forward to the driver, and ring a bell when they want to get off.

Filipinos Are Polite

Politeness is an art form in the Philippines. Most foreigners will be referred to as “sir” and “mam” no matter their age. You’ll see younger people refer to the women and men a little bit older as “ates” and “kuyas” (sort of like older sister or brother, respectively). Their politeness can go a little too far, as you’ll rarely hear a Filipino come out with a direct “no” answer when you ask them a question, a trait that can create many challenging and hilarious situations for a foreigner.

Do you know which is the happiest country in the world?

Karaoke: Popularised By A Filipino  

Whilst it was a Japanese musician (Daisuke) who first invented karaoke in 1971, it was Filipino, Roberto del Rosario who first patented the “Karaoke Sing Along System” in 1975 and subsequently commercialised it. Karaoke is so popular in the Philippines that it is even used commercially to promote grocery items in supermarkets.

English Is Widely Spoken  

Getting the information, you need when you’re traveling around the country is easy because English is widely spoken, even when it’s broken at best.

Filipinos Love Manny Pacquiao   

Whenever world-famous Filipino fighter Manny Pacquiao has a televised fight, it seems like a national holiday throughout the country due to the absence of cars on the road and even people in the mall. This is because Filipinos are glued to the television set, excitedly anticipating the win of Manny Pacquiao. The Philippine National Police has even reported that there is a drop in crime in Metro Manila each time Manny Pacquiao has a fight.

National Symbol

The national symbol of the Philippines is also the national bird: the incredible monkey-eating eagle, also known as the Philippine eagle. It is considered the largest among all eagles, and its wingspan can be as large as 7 feet wide.

Many Tagalog Words Have Spanish Origin  

Because the Philippines was under Spanish rule for over 300 years, many of the Tagalog words used today are actually derived from the Spanish language. It’s estimated that around 20% of Tagalog words are actually Spanish. Common Tagalog words that are actually Spanish are: gwapo (handsome), kwento (story), pamilya (family), sapatos (shoes), and much more.

So, now you are aware of the weirdest things and beliefs of the country. Look out for these facts whenever you visit the beautiful Philippines.