What if I told you there is a country where over 175 languages are spoken, people text more than anywhere else in the world and boxing fights directly influence crime rates? It sounds pretty much unbelievable, but it’s all true in the Philippines! These are 14 Reasons the Philippines is different from the rest of the world:
1. There are more than 175 spoken languages.
There are two official languages in the Philippines: Filipino (based on Tagalog) and English. Filipino is the most commonly spoken and pop culture language, and the government of the country uses English in their work.
By the way, the Philippines are number five on the list of the world’s top English speaking populations after U.S., India, Pakistan, and the U.K. All this sounds pretty plain and ordinary, but in fact, the diverse linguistic groups living in the country use over 175 languages for their internal communication! Since many of them exist only in spoken form, it’s impossible to calculate the exact amount.
2. Their capital is the most densely populated city in the world.
The nation’s capital, Manila, and its 16 surrounding cities that make up Metro Manila area have a population of 12.8 million people. During daytime, this number gets way higher since many people come here to work.
And while the number doesn’t sound that crazy, take note that all these people live and work in an area of 16.56 square miles! This makes the population density equal to 111,002 people per square mile, and that’s five times higher than in Mumbai or Paris, for example!
3. They have churches in shopping malls.
Shopping malls aren’t merely a place where you buy stuff for Filipinos. They are safe, air-conditioned community hubs with gyms, health clinics, concert halls, nightclubs, parks and even churches inside! So it’s no surprise they are the favorite place to meet up with friends for so many locals. And, 3 of the world’s ten largest shopping malls are located in the Philippines. They are Mega Fashion Hall of SM Megamall, SM City North EDSA and SM Mall of Asia.
4. Filipinos are the number one texting nation in the world.
You already know Filipinos love meeting up with friends at shopping malls, and when they can’t see each other in person, they text! And when they do it, they rarely limit it to “Hey, how r u?” In fact, they send about 400 million texts a day, and that’s around 142 billion texts a year. It’s more than the U.S. and Europe put together. Not exactly a little number for a country of 107 million people!
5. They have a unique form of transportation.
If you visit Manila, you’ll notice some interesting looking vehicles called jeepneys. They are converted US army jeeps that stayed in the country after World War II. Filipinos adapted them to transport up to 18 passengers, who jump on the jeepney going in their direction and ring the bell for it to stop.
There are about 50,000 jeepneys in Manila, and they all look different, with basketball stars, cartoon characters, inspirational quotes, neon lights and what not on them. There are two major problems with jeepneys: safety concerns and pollution. They produce huge amounts of black smoke. So, hurry up if you want a ride before they get replaced with a rapid transit system.
6. One of the islands has more volcanoes than towns.
The Philippines are, without a doubt, a super scenic location. Among all of the islands that are part of it, Camiguin sure stands out, with more volcanoes per square mile than any other island on the planet. The island is 14 miles long and 8.5 miles wide and has 7 volcanoes and 5 towns! And even though earthquakes and eruptions shaped it, volcanoes have been deep asleep since the 50s, so thousands of tourists can safely visit the island these days.
7. Their national flag has a secret meaning.
The national flag of the Philippines has two bands of blue and scarlet, and a white triangle at the hoist with a yellow sun with eight rays, each of them standing for one province of the country. The yellow stars stand for the three largest island groups: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. What makes the flag really unique is that it can be reversed to declare a state of war. This happened during the Filipino Revolutionary War of 1898-1901 and during World War II in 1941-1945.
8. Boxing directly affects crime rates in the country.
Filipinos love boxing and are crazy about their most famous boxer Manny Pacquiao. Whenever he fights, the whole country is glued to its TV sets. And, according to the Philippine National Police (PNP), crime rates in the country drop significantly when he’s in the ring. During his 12-round fight against American boxer Floyd Mayweather, Jr. that went on from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., not a single crime was committed in the whole Manila metropolitan area. It was basically the same during other major fights with the participation of the “People’s champ” Manny Pacquiao.
9. A lot of Filipinos work abroad.
It might be because of their flexible and reliable character, or the fact that they speak great English as a second language, but more than 11 million Filipinos work abroad. It’s around 11% of the population. And, a quarter of all overseas nurses in the world come from the Philippines.
10. Their rice terraces are the Eighth Wonder of the World.
Banaue rice terraces are the oldest in the world and were so smartly designed, they still bring a harvest of rice and vegetables, most of which get exported. And, it is believed if all the terraces had been built end to end, they would stretch half-way around the world. Today, these places bring the country more money as a tourist destination than rice plantations, and thus they play an important role for the economy of the Philippines.
11. They produce a lot of coconuts.
For years, the Philippines had been the number one producer of coconuts in the world. And even though the leadership now belongs to Indonesia, 153,532,000 tons per year is still an impressive number, isn’t it? These coconuts are used to make anything from clothing to beauty products.
12. The first European to visit the Philippines was Ferdinand Magellan.
The legendary explorer made the first record of the archipelago among the Europeans in 1521. He founded the first settlement in Cebu and thus most of the area became a Spanish colony. This explains the fact that around 90% of the population are Christian, unlike most of the country’s neighbors. In 1898, the Philippines went under US rule and later, in 1946, became an independent republic.
13. A Filipino made the first karaoke machine.
If you love to sing along, you ought to thank Filipinos for your favorite pastime! The first karaoke machine in the world was created in 1975 by Roberto del Rosario. He patented it as the Sing Along System and even though there were some attempts to claim his creation, he still remains the only patent holder for the karaoke system.
14. The population is extremely good-looking.
Along with their love for boxing, texting, and shopping, Filipinos are crazy about beauty pageants. It might be the years of American rule that gave them this love for competitive beauty, but the fact remains a fact – they have won in all the major international pageants 15 times. There were four girls crowned Miss Universe, one Miss World, six title-holders of Miss International and four Miss Earth Crowns.
The first official pageant was held within the country in 1908, and since 2001, it’s not just about beauty, but also for promotion of environment protection. Would you like to visit the Philippines or maybe you’ve already been there? Let me know in the comment section below! Don’t forget to rate this article “14 Reasons the Philippines is different from the rest of the world” by Bright Side and share it with your friends!