The capital of Manila is well-known for its waterfront promenade and Intramuros, which was a walled city during colonial times. Manila is located on Luzon where it spreads along the east shore of Manila Bay and at the mouth of the Pasig River.
The current President is Rodrigo Duterte, and the official languages are English and Filipino. Perhaps you already knew that?
But did you know that you can reach the capital of Manila by plane in 90 minutes from Hong Kong or 14 hours from Canada and the US? In this post, we list some unknown trivia and fun facts about the Philippines to get you better acquainted with this fun and one-of-a-kind country.
The Country Has 87 Regional Dialects
One of the top facts about the Philippines is that while the national language is Filipino, the country features at least 87 regional dialects.
While the Philippines was under colonial rule, Spanish was the official language and remained the lingua franca for almost 3 centuries.
English, which is widely spoken and understood, is used primarily for legal transactions and business. Hokkien, Mandarin, and Cantonese are spoken by older people in the Filipino-Chinese community.
The Best Time To Stay Cool And Dry Is From November Through February
The Philippines experiences a dry and hot season from the month of March to May and a damp typhoon season that spans from June to October.
But from November to February, the weather is normally cool and fair. So if you have plans to visit, try to head there during these months.
The Capital’s Former Name Was Maynilad
One of the facts about Philippines is that the capital’s former name was Maynilad, derived from the name of the flowering nilad plant that at one time grew profusely along the banks of the Pasig River.
Over time, the name was shortened to Maynila, and then finally to the current form, Manila.
Manila Has Been The Capital For Over 400 Years
The country’s main port of entry and an industrial center, Manila has been the principal city for the Philippines for over four hundred years. In the 16th century, it was a walled Muslim settlement.
The Spanish governor-general destroyed the city in 1571 and built the infamous Intramuros fortress which through the centuries developed into present-day Manila. But you can still see the remains of the Intramuros fortress if you visit Manila.
Manila Has Some Of The Heaviest Traffic Congestion In The World
Here’s one of the not so fun Philippines interesting facts. The city of Manila is one of the most traffic-congested places in the world! No matter if you are traveling by car or public transport, and no matter if you visit at day or night, you will always need at least a few hours to drive from one side of the city to another!
Bamboo Grows In The City Parks
Plants such as palms, acacias, and banyans dot the city landscape and bamboo grows in many of Manila’s city parks.
Domestic mammals can also be seen in the form of water buffalo as well as dogs, horses, goats, and pigs. Manila Bay abounds with such marine life as barracuda, snappers, tuna, mackerel, sardines, and anchovies.
Exploration of the capital itself will help you in finding out a number of fun facts about the Philippines on your own.
Makati City Is The Selfie Capital Of The World
Research conducted by Time Magazine in 2014 showed that Makati City in Metro Manila had 258 selfie-takers for every 100,000 people. And so it was ranked as the ‘Selfie Capital of the World’.
Makati beat Manhattan and Miami which ended up in second and third spots.
The study also showed that Cebu City, Quezon City, and Iloilo City ranked quite high. Tech-savvy and social media friendly, Filipinos have proven that they’re the top selfie-takers in the world!
Jollibee Is Probably The Most Popular Fast Food Restaurant
The best known fast-food chain in the Philippines is Jollibee. The restaurant serves up such specialties as the Amazing Aloha Burger made with bacon and pineapple toppings and tuna pie.
Beginning as an ice cream parlor in 1975, Jollibee evolved into a fast-food chain selling burgers and hot dogs. The restaurant chain has a busy bee mascot to represent the Filipino spirit, one that is hardworking, positive, and “jolly.”
Public Transports Includes Jeepneys And Tricycles
The modes of transportation used here are one of the Philippines interesting facts that you won’t find in an encyclopedia. For instance, locals get around by public transport called Jeepney public buses. The name, which is derived from the words “jeep” and “knee,” refers to the crowding in the vehicles, because you’re literally sitting with your knees touching others.
The Jeepney buses were first made from US military jeeps that were abandoned during and after the Second World War. They have since developed into primary forms of transportation.
Colorful tricycles are also used for getting around the metro area and the country. These tricycles come in the form of a motorbike that features a sidecar to transport passengers. Because the tricycles’ engines are not powerful, passengers normally need to get out and walk when the tricycle has to climb a steep hill.
Karaoke Is Used To Promote Supermarket Specials
Although a Japanese musician known as Daisuke, invented the karaoke machine in 1971; the karaoke sing-along system was patented in 1975 by Filipino Roberto del Rosario before being commercialized.
This form of entertainment is so popular in the Philippines that it is also used to promote the sale of grocery items in supermarket locations. It’s the one thing about Filipino culture that is unique to the Philippines!
Naia International Airport In Manila Features A “No Wang Wang” Zone
To stamp out problems with cutting through heavy airport traffic, certain areas in the Naia International Airport in Manila are known as No Wang Wang Zones.
This cultural reference and phrase are derived from the sounds that police sirens make when they are in hot pursuit or responding to an emergency. However, some people in Manila would cut through heavy traffic by mounting police sirens on their cars.
In turn, the wang-wang mentality was a catchphrase coined by President Benigno Aquino III to describe this abuse of power. So, the listing of an area as No Wang Wang zone is a preventative measure meant to ensure cooperation from airport travelers and is meant to discourage cutting in queues.
The Filipino Flag Shows Whether The Country Is At Peace Or War
A cool fact about the Philippines is relating to the meaning of the Philippine flag. The banner features a white triangle with a sun circled by three golden stars.
- Each of thee stars represents the three island groupings; Luzon in the North, Mindanao in the South, and the Visayas in the centre.
- The golden sun with its eight rays represents the different Philippine provinces.
- The white triangle represents equality, fraternity, and liberty, much like France!
- The blue and red strips that are a major part are unique elements in the Philippines flag.
Why is the Philippine flag unique?
The banner of the Philippine flag is the only emblem in the world that shows whether the country is at peace or war based on the way it is flown.
When the Philippines is at war, the red stripe is featured on the top. When the country is at peace, the blue strip is featured on the top.
You Get Banana Ketchup In The Philippines
Here’s one of the unusual interesting Philippines facts! They have banana ketchup!
Made from mashed bananas, vinegar, spices, and sugar, the sauce was created during World War II when there was a shortage of tomatoes. The Filipinos eat the banana sauce with everything; fried chicken, chips, omelets, fish and other meats.
There’s An Volcano On An Island Inside A Lake On An Island In The Philippines
Did you even think this was possible? On the island of Luzon, there is an ancient volcanic crater that is filled by Taal Lake. And within Taal Lake, there is another island called Volcano Island. And in the middle of that is the Yellow Lake is the Vulcan Point.
Too hard to comprehend? It’s one of the few third-order islands in the world. So it’s basically an island in a lake in an island in a lake on an island. It has to be one of the most interesting Philippines facts there is!
The World’s Largest Shoes Were Made Here!
Added to the Guinness Book Of World Records in 2002, the City of Marikina made the world’s largest shoes. Measuring 8 feet wide and 17.4 feet long, the shoes took 17 days to complete and cost 77 million Philippine Pesos. They’re still on display for visitors!
San Miguel Beer Is Filipino, Not Spanish!
Did you ever grab a can of San Miguel beer and raise a toast for that Spanish creation? Well, here’s an interesting fact! The famous San Miguel Beer is a Philippine creation by Kirin Holding that was formed in 2007.
Although it’s a part of the erstwhile San Miguel Brewery founded by a Spanish Charter in 1890, the beer is essentially Filipino!
The University of Santo Tomas in Manila Is Older Than Harvard
The University of Santo Tomas in Manila founded by Dominican monks on 28 April, 1611. It is older than Harvard which was founded in 1636. It’s the largest Catholic University in the world that’s located on just one campus.
Duck Embryo Is A Popular Street Food
It seems too gory to be true, but duck embryo is a popular street food here! Called balut, the duck egg with a half-formed chick inside is boiled and served as food!
The Philippines Is The Second Largest Producer Of Coconuts!
After Indonesia, the Philippines is the second-largest producer of coconuts in the world! Over 15 million coconuts are harvest every year, and go into the production of products like coconut oil, desiccated coconut and dried coconut.
The Monkey-Eating Eagle Is The National Bird
The national bird of the Philippines is the Monkey-Eating Eagle or the Philippine Eagle, an endangered species. It stands up to 1 meter (102 cm) tall, has a wingspan of over 2 meters (220 cm), and weighs 4 to 8 kg.
Although it’s called a monkey-eating eagle, in addition to monkeys it also eats snakes, colugos, monitor lizards and hornbills. It was made a national symbol in 1995.
The Puerto Princesa Was The Longest River In The World
Up until 2007, the Puerto Princesa River in Palawan was thought to be the longest river in the world. The river is 8.2 km or 5 miles long. It was only eclipsed in length by the discovery of a 6-mile long underground river in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.
Check out best tours in the Philippines:
Other Interesting And Unusual Facts About The Philippines
- The most beautiful place in the Philippines is El Nido.
- Here’s one among the interesting Philippines facts and figures; the country covers an area of 300,000 square kilometers in size.
- With a population of over 109 million, the Philippines is a bit crowded too. In fact, it’s the 13th-most populated country on the planet.
- The archipelago known as the Philippines was named to commemorate King Philip II of Spain. The islands stretch from the tip of Batanes to the southernmost isle of Tawi-Tawi.
- Over 25% of the overseas nurse population in the world comes from the Philippines.
- Indigenous tribes called Negritos are thought to have settled here in 30,000 BC.
- Spider fighting games are popular among the young.
- Cock-fighting and basketball are equally popular in the Philippines.
- The tinkling and sigil are traditional dances.
- In addition to breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the Filipinos also have the merienda, a tea time meal.
- The Conus Gloriamus, the most expensive seashell in the world that sold at $5000 was from the Philippines.
- The world’s longest snake, the reticulated python is found in the Philippines.
- Since it was colonized by the Spanish, even after they left the country, over 91% of the population stayed Roman Catholic.
- The Pilandok or Philippine mouse-deer only grows 15.8 inches tall.
- After South Africa, the Philippines have the largest gold deposits in the world.
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Did you know any of these fun facts about the Philippines? Do you know any other Philippines interesting facts? Share your thoughts in the comments!
This was such a fun read! Great post Karolina & Patryk! One of our best friends is actually from the Philippines and we have been seeing so many beautiful pictures of Philippines that we definitely want to go here.
Having a Filipino friend we have done countless Karaokes :P but loved the fact that they EVEN do karaoke at Supermarkets? :O that is just so much fun haha.
Off to reading more of your posts <3
and happy to have come across your website!
I interested to read about your blog and I enjoyed reading it. It’s because you portray our rich culture and sceneries also I truly admired your effort in writing about this article.. I hope to read more about your blog.. :)
Never thought I would read a guide like this from someone who didn’t even came from our country! I really enjoyed reading this facts as i’m from the Philippines and I don’t know most of these!