The Philippines is our 126th country out of the 197 that we want to visit on this planet. So many of our close friends are originally from the Philippines.
So, we have been dreaming about coming here! And for good reason. There is so much to explore on these islands. Especially the beaches with their crystal clear water.
During our travels here, we have gathered these 19 interesting and sometimes shocking things about this lovely country.
There are 7,640 Islands in the Philippines! Ok, so maybe this one you already knew. But did you know that only about 2,000 of these islands are inhabited? And the 5,640 remaining islands are not only uninhabited, but also unnamed on most international maps.
I bet they have stunning blue crystal clear water!
2. 175 Languanges
Wow, what?! There are 175 languages in the Philippines and 171 of them are actually being used. However approximately half of the overall population speaks English. The Philippines is actually considered the 5th largest English speaking nation in the world.
3. Volcanoes in the Philippines
4. Family, Food, Faith
Some of our closest friends around the world have ended up being from the Philippines. We are very grateful for these people! Through the years, our observation of the Filipino people’s focus are the 3 Fs. Family, food and faith.
For each individual the order may change but the 3 are heavily intertwined. Since we are mentioning faith – the Philippines are the only Asian nation that is predominantly Christian. 86% of the population is Roman Catholic.
5. Best Time to Go
6.Manila Airport Beware when Transitioning
7. Manila Traffic
The traffic in Manila (especially during the holidays) is atrocious. As a matter of fact, Manila is the world’s 8th city with longest hours spent in traffic. Not knowing, we once spent 3.5 hours in a Grab to only go 9 km. I could have walked faster!
Once I knew that we were in the city and there were only 3 km left, I got out of the car and started walking. I made it there before Rob and the luggage did. The new metro system is quite good, however very overcrowded.
8. Sending Money Back
The population of the Philippines is a bit more than 113 million, yet over 2 million live abroad. They work in other countries and send money (remittances) back to their family. These remittances are almost 10% of the countries’ overall annual GDP (gross domestic product).
9. Biggest Export
10. Food is Meaty
I know we mentioned that food is important for Filipino people. And they love their food! However as a vegan, I found it really difficult to survive here. The fruit was great! Yet, animal products are in everything! Even vegetable dishes are cooked with butter and or some form of meat.
Although the killing of dogs as livestock has been banned in the Philippines since 1998, the act still continues here and is actually thriving.
Unfortunately the dogs are placed in bags, where they slowly run out of oxygen. It is a horrid way to die for the 290,000 or so dogs that go through this torture annually. Soi Dog Foundation has done more here than any other organization to educate people and save the lives of dogs.
If you want to help sign a petition or contribute, the information is here.
As an aside, most Filipinos love dogs and would never eat their meat. However, many are unaware of this practice – therefore education is key!
12. Home to the Longest Underground River
14. Text Capital of the World
Due to the large number of texts that are sent in the Philippines it is considered the “Text Capital of the World“. Honestly, in most shops that we would enter workers were on their phones. I know that this is true for most minimum wage workers in the world. Yet, here it seemed to be amplified.
Everyone is always on their phones!
15. The Largest Pearl
16. Karaoki Culture
Ok, so the word Ma’am comes from the British and most colanized countries do use this word. However no country uses it more than the Philippines. I have been Ma’med 3-6 times in one sentence.
And at times folks get flustered and I would get a Sir Ma’am combination, which would oddly make me feel better than the constant Ma’am. I kind of got used to it after a few days and took it less personaly.
18. Internet Speeds are Slow
19. Marcos Again?!
In 1986, then President Marcos (the leader of the Philippines who ruled for 20 years) was ousted with his family from the country.
Later, a Hawaii court found him liable for human rights violations. $2 billion was awarded from his estate to compensate more than 9,000 Filipinos who filed a lawsuit against him for torture, incarceration, extrajudicial killings and disappearances.
However, in 2022 all was forgotten and Marcos’ son was elected President.
There are so many interesting things about the Philippines! We were amazed by the crystal clear water and amazing beaches in this lovely land.