100 Interesting Facts About Philippines That Will Blow Your Mind

aerial shot of palawan

While the Philippines is known all over the world as one of the best travel destinations for having pristine beaches and historic places, there are also facts about Philippines that every traveler must know.

Some of it, you might know already, while some could blow your mind!

What’s inside this blog?

We’ve listed all the facts about Philippines and arranged them per category as seen below:

Read on to discover the interesting facts about Philippines culture, facts about Philippines history, and more! We’ve rounded up a total of 100 facts about the Philippines that will be helpful for you.

Philippine Islands

palawan

Because we want you to gain lots of useful information, we’re not just giving you top 10 amazing facts about Philippines! Here we’ll start with the Philippines facts and information about the islands and other famous destinations. 

  1. The Philippines is made up of 7,641 islands.
  2. Only 2,000 of these islands are inhabited and nearly 5,000 still unnamed on global maps.
  3. The Philippines’ fertile land accounts for the more than 900 species of orchids representing 100 genera that have been found. 
  4. The sampaguita is the national flower. An interesting part of the top 10 amazing facts about Philippines, right?
  5. There are more than 200 volcanoes in the Philippines, 24 are active.
  6. In the island province of Camiguin, there are more volcanoes (7) than towns (5), and Camiguin has the most number of volcanoes per square kilometer in the world. This is another mind-blowing historical fact about Philippines.

Must-read: 15 Camiguin Tourist Spots You Shouldn’t Miss If You Want An Awesome Vacation

racuh a payaman batanes
  1. Batanes is the smallest province in the Philippines.
  2. Palawan is the largest province in the Philippines by land area of 17,030.75 square kms.
  3. Batanes is closer to Taiwan than to the northern tip of Luzon.
  4. Banaue Rice Terraces was made by Ifugaos thousands of years ago. A mind-blowing information to end our top 10 amazing facts about Philippines!
  5. The rice planted at Banaue Rice Terraces is for family consumption only.
  6. Mayon Volcano in Bicol is considered the world’s most perfect cone-shaped volcano.
  7. Mt. Pinatubo in Luzon created the largest mushroom cloud in the world when it erupted on June 15, 1991. Its eruption ejected 10 billion metric tons of magma and 20 million tons of sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere.
  8. The highest peak in the Philippines is Mt. Apo stands at 2,954 meters above sea level, which is located in Mindanao.
  9. Mindanao Trench, which is located near the Philippines, is one of the deepest ocean trenches in the world, with a depth reaching 6.5 miles.
  10. Laguna de Bay is the largest lake in the Philippines. It is located between Laguna and Rizal, and measures 900 square kilometers.
  11. Boracay, Palawan, and Cebu were recognized by several international travel magazines among the world’s best islands.
  12. Cebu City, known as the ‘Queen City of the South’, is considered the oldest city in the country.
  13. Temple of Leah in Cebu is dubbed the Taj Mahal of Cebu because businessman Teodorico Adarna dedicated the temple to his late wife, Leah, of 54 years.
  14. The Ruins in Bacolod is considered the Taj Mahal of the Philippines. Don Mariano built the mansion in honor of his beloved wife. And as proof of his unwavering love for Maria, he had their initials molded on every post of the mansion. You’ll see the two Ms, facing each other, that stands for Mariano and Maria.

Must-read: Top 8 Bacolod Tourist Spots Every Traveler Must Not Miss

puerto princesa underground river
  1. Puerto-Princesa Subterranean River in Palawan is one of the longest underground rivers in the world.
  2. SM City North Edsa in Quezon City ranks 9th among the largest malls in the world.
  3. The University of San Carlos in Cebu (founded in 1595) and the University of Santo Tomas in Manila (founded in 1611) are older than the Harvard University (founded in 1636).
  4. Centro Escolar University, established in 1907, is the oldest women’s university in the Philippines.
  5. The first state university used to be in Barasoain Church.
  6. The UP Chapel, also known as The Parish of Holy Sacrifice, is home to works of four National Artists
  7. Forced labor built the St. Jerome Parish Church in Morong, Rizal, one of the most popular churches in Rizal Province. According to the Morong municipal government’s website, the St. Jerome Parish Church was constructed not only by men, but also women and children under forced labor. The people had to dig stones from a hill they called Kay Ngaya; lime from the stones of a mountain called Kay Maputi; and sand and gravel from the Morong River. The timber that was used to construct the church was also contributed by the townspeople.
  8. The bell tower of Paoay Church in Ilocos Norte was an observation post, used by Filipino fighters from different eras of the country’s colonial past.
  9. The San Juanico Bridge that connects Leyte and Samar is the longest bridge in the Philippines. It is 2.162 km. in length and 10.620 m. in width.
  10. The largest bamboo organ in the world is found at St. Joseph Church in Las Piñas City.
  11. Manila Hotel is the first air conditioned building in the country.
  12. Harrison Plaza and other areas in Manila used to be cemeteries.
  13. The Chinatown in Binondo, Manila is the oldest in the world.
  14. Escolta boasts of many firsts in the Philippines: the first ice cream store in the country (Clarke’s Ice Cream Parlor), the first movie house (Salon de Pertierra), the first electric cable car (Tranvia), the first American-style department store (Beck’s), and first elevator (at the Burke Building). 
  15. Manila City Hall is shaped like a coffin with a cross on it when viewed from the top.
  16. The Manila Cathedral is the first-ever cathedral in the country and has survived seven tragedies.

Related article: A Guide to Intramuros Tour: 10 Places That Will Let You Travel Back in Time

intramuros makasaysayang lugar sa pilipinas
  1. San Agustin Church in Manila is the oldest church in the Philippines and the only church which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Manila. 
  2. Baluarte de San Diego used to be a drowning chamber during the Spanish era.
  3. Rizal Park, also known as Luneta Park and Bagumbayan, is considered the largest urban park in Asia.
  4. Baclayon Church in Bohol was made of coral stones and millions of white eggs were said to have been used as cement.
  5. The world’s largest pearl was discovered by a Filipino diver in the Palawan Sea. The 75-pound pearl is valued at $100 million.
  6. Of the eight known species of giant clams in the world, seven are found in the Philippines.
  7. World-renowned Boracay, one of the top Philippine destinations, was closed for six months under the Duterte administration for rehabilitation.

Related article: Boracay Tips: Everything You Need to Know Before Traveling to Boracay

  1. Kayangan Lake in Coron, Palawan is considered the cleanest lake in the Philippines and one of the cleanest in Asia.

Animals

vayang rolling hills batanes

Now this part is truly enjoyable for all ages. These Philippines facts for kids and adults will definitely delight everyone who loves animals.

  1. Carabao is the national animal.
  2. Eagle is the national bird. 
  3. Among the Philippines’ fauna are some endangered species like the Philippine Eagle, the tarsier, and the mouse deer.
  4. The tarsier, one of the smallest primates in the world, is found in the Philippines alone. You can see it in the provinces of Bohol, Leyte, Samar, and parts of Mindanao.
  5. Tawilis is endemic to Taal Lake. This trivia about history of the Philippines will make you want to go to Tagaytay already and try that fried tawilis.
  6. The Mindoro dwarf buffalo, commonly called tamaraw, is a critically endangered mammal that can be only found in Mindoro.
  7. Sinarapan, the world’s smallest food fish, can be only found in the Philippines, particularly in the Bicol River, and in Lakes Manapao, Katugday, Bato, and Buhi in Camarines Sur.
  8. The smallest hoofed animal in the world is the Philippine mouse deer, commonly known in the country as pilandok. It is only found in Balabac in Palawan.
  9. Jellyfish Lake in the Philippines contains more than 13 million jellyfish.

History

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fort santiago manila

If you’re someone who loves to dig facts about Philippines history, you’re in for a treat! Here we’ve listed all the interesting trivia about history of the Philippines.

  1. What better way to start our list of Philippine history trivia facts list than with the founding of the country itself? The Philippines was named after King Phillip II of Spain.
  2. Spain ruled the Philippines for more than 300 years (1565-1898).
  3. Intramuros, also known as the Walled City, was built to keep the pirates and Moros at bay. It took 150 years to finish this wall. The end result was an eight foot-thick, three-mile-long wall, with two forts and a bastion, 370 guns in place, manned by a force of 5,000 men and 10,000 reserves.
  4. Intramuros stood as a perfect illustration of the discrimination at that time against the natives called Indios. 

Related article: A Guide to Intramuros Tour: 10 Places That Will Let You Travel Back in Time

  1. Although it was built by Indio workers and Chinese artisans, Intramuros was meant only for the clergy and the Spanish nobility. The natives could not enter Intramuros except to work as servants. This is definitely one of the facts about Philippines history that will truly shock you.
  2. Doctrina Christiana is the first book published in the Philippines.
  3. Tomas Claudio from Morong, Rizal is the first Filipino-American war hero and also the only Filipino casualty of World War I.
  4. The Philippines is the first Southeast Asian country that became independent after World War II.
  5. Another trivia about history of the Philippines that will shock you: Dr. Jose Rizal is considered widely as the national hero of the Philippines. However, the Philippine government has not yet proclaimed Rizal as the official national hero of the Philippines. According to the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCAA), there is no law, executive order, or proclamation that has been enacted or issued proclaiming any Filipino historical figure as a national hero.
  6. General Douglas MacArthur served as Manila Hotel’s “General Manager.”
  7. The original Philippine flag was sewn in Hong Kong.
  8. The eight rays of the sun on the Philippine flag symbolizes the eight provinces—Manila, Cavite, Bulacan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Bataan, Laguna, and Batangas—” which declared themselves in a state of war almost at the very start of the uprising” during the Philippine revolution. 
  9. The three stars on the Philippine flag don’t represent Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. The stars represent the three principal islands of this archipelago—Luzon, Mindanao, and Panay in which the revolutionary movement broke out. This is one of the historical facts about Philippines that everyone must know.
  10. When the Philippine flag is raised with the red side on top, it means the country is under war.
  11. Former Dictator Ferdinand Marcos ruled the Philippines for 21 years (1965-1986) and was ousted through the EDSA People Power Revolution.
  12. Even though President Ferdinand Marcos has been dead for almost 20 years, his body has never been properly buried—it remains “on ice” while officials quibble about whether he should be buried in the cemetery reserved for Filipino heroes and past presidents. But on November 18, 2016, just months after Duterte became president, Marcos was buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani where many have protested about. This is really one of the Philippine history trivia facts tagalog that everyone must know.
  13. Corazon “Cory” Aquino is the first female President of the Philippines. She is the wife of Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr. who was assassinated at the Manila International Airport on August 21, 1983, upon returning from his self-imposed exile. 
  14. Manny Pacquiao is regarded as one of the greatest professional boxers of all time.
  15. The world’s biggest pair of shoes was made in Marikina City in 2002. The wingtips measured about 17.4 feet (5.3 m) in length, 7.9 feet (2.4 m) in width, and almost 6.6 feet (2 m) in height. Their cost was 2 million Philippine pesos.

Culture and People

bayanihan kaugalian ng mga pilipino

Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

To complete our list of 100 facts about the Philippines, we’ll now give you interesting facts about Philippines culture.

  1. As of writing, the Philippines ranks 13th among the most populous countries in the world.
  2. The Philippines is considered the “text capital of the world.” Around 450 million text messages are sent daily by the 35 million mobile users in the country. Are you surprised about this interesting fact about Philippines culture?
  3. The Filipino people are basically of Malay stock with a sprinkling of Chinese, American, Spanish and Arab blood.
  4. The bayanihan or spirit of kinship and camaraderie which Filipinos are famous for, are still alive. This is definitely one of the best facts about Philippines that people know about.
  5. Before, the Filipino men used to serenade (harana) a woman he was courting.
  6. Filipinos call their older siblings “ate” for older sisters and  “kuya” for older brothers to show respect.
  7. Filipinos love celebrations. In fact, they have a lot of Philippine Festivals where they celebrate town fiestas usually in honor of the patron saint.
  8. Ivatans have a traditional way of serving food—vunung. They wrap the meal on Kabaya leaves. Usually, these are served on special occasions like weddings where people help hand in hand in the preparations without compensation. You must take note of this Filipino food trivia if you want to visit Batanes soon.
  9. There’s almost zero crime rate in Batanes.
  10. Ivatans still perform the age-old fishing tradition Kapayvanuvanua where they offer animal sacrifices to spirits of the sea to bless them with safe and bountiful fishing season. 

Suggested article: 13 Mind-Blowing Facts About Batanes You Must Haven’t Heard of Yet

hanging coffins in sagada philippines
  1. Igorots in Sagada follow a unique burial ritual. This is one of the coolest facts about Philippines.
  2. Igorots hung the coffins either inside the caves or on the face of the cliffs, near the hanging coffins of their ancestors instead of burying it underground. They believe that the higher the dead were placed, the greater chance of their spirits reaching a higher nature in the afterlife. This tradition has been practiced for over 2,000 years. Another fact about Philippines history that’s great to know.

Must-read: Sagada Philippines: A First-Timer’s Guide to Traveling Sagada

  1. Filipinos are probably one of the few, if not the only, English-proficient Oriental people today.
  2. The Filipinos are divided geographically and culturally into regions, and each regional group is recognizable by distinct traits and dialects: the sturdy and frugal Ilocanos of the north, the industrious Tagalogs of the central plains, the carefree Visayans from the central islands and the colorful tribesmen and religious Muslims of Mindanao.
  3. The Philippines has more than 111 dialects spoken, owing to the subdivisions of these basic regional and cultural groups.
  4. Christianity was introduced as early as the 16th century with the coming of Ferdinand Magellan in 1521.
  5. Protestantism was introduced by the first Presbyterian and Methodist missionaries who arrived with the American soldiers in 1899.
  6. Some 80% of the population is Catholic, Spain’s lasting legacy. About 15% is Muslim and these people can be found in Mindanao. The rest of the population is made up mostly of smaller Christian denominations and Buddhist.
  7. Ethnic Groups: 91.5% Christian Malay, 4% Muslim Malay ,1.5% Chinese and 3% other.
  8. The Philippines has a tropical climate with relatively abundant rainfall and gentle winds. There are three pronounced seasons: the wet or rainy season from June to October, the cool, dry season from November to February, and the hot, dry season from March to May.
  9. The Philippines has two official languages—Filipino and English. Filipino, which is based on Tagalog, is the national language. English is also widely used and is the medium of instruction in higher education.
  10. There are eight major dialects spoken by majority of the Filipinos: Tagalog, Cebuano, Ilocano, Hiligaynon or Ilonggo, Bicolano, Waray, Pampango, and Pangasinense.
  11. There are about 76 to 78 major language groups, with more than 500 dialects.
  12. Filipino doctor Abelardo Aguilar discovered the antibiotic erythromycin that treats many bacterial infections like the respiratory tract infection.
  13. The Philippines is the world’s largest supplier of nurses.
  14. Filipinos observe the world’s longest Christmas season that’s why it’s dubbed as the “Christmas Capital of the World.” As early as September, Filipinos are already preparing for Christmas.
  15. The jeepney is a mode of transportation that is unique to the Philippines.
  16. Every December 31, the Filipinos prepare 12 round fruits for good luck to welcome the New Year.

Sources: Department of Foreign Affairs, CNN, Huffpost, Worldometer, World Atlas, Phivolcs,

Frequently Asked Questions About Facts About Philippines

Q: What is the Philippines known for?

A: The Philippines is known for its pristine beaches, breathtaking mountains and hills, great diving spots, jaw-dropping lagoons and lakes, and great traits and culture. Read our list of facts about Philippines to learn more.

Q: Why is it more fun in the Philippines?

A: It’s more fun in the Philippines because you get to enjoy over 7,000 islands! And what makes it really more fun is the kind locals that are happy to welcome you 24/7.

Q: Is the Philippines open for tourists? 

A: As of writing, the Philippines is not open for tourists. 

For more Philippine travel updates, read this blog: Latest Philippines Tourism News: PH Includes Austria in Travel Ban Due to Threat of New COVID-19 Variant

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