Smallest in the Philippines Trivia World's Smallest Volcano Taal Volcano, a 406-meter-high crater, is said to be the

world's smallest volcano. It is described as "a crater within an island within a lake" because it stands as an island at Taal Lake. The lake was formed after the volcano, which used to be much larger, collapsed. The ridges around Tagaytay City, which overlooks the lake, are believed to be part of the crater of the old volcano. These ridges now serve as the border of the 18-mile-diameter Taal Lake and stretch 32 kilometers from Mount Batulao to Mount Sungay. Also considered as one of the world's most active volcanoes, Taal Volcano has erupted over 20 times since 1572. Smallest Bat in the World The Philippines has at least 56 species of bats. It is home to the smallest among the 1,000 known bat species in the world. The smallest bat in the world is the Philippine bamboo bat (vespertilionid), which belongs to the vespertilionid family. This bat measures about four centimeters (1 1/2 inches) in length and has a wingspan of 15 cm. Approximately, it weighs 1.5 grams (1/20 ounce). Smallest Mammal in the World South of Palawan, lies the Balabac Island, home of the world's smallest hoofed mammal - the Philippine mouse deer. Locally known as Pilandok (Tragalus nigricans), this ruminant stands only about 40 centimeters at the shoulder level. In other countries, it is called chevrotain, or simply mouse deer. Contrary to its name, pilandok is not a member of the deer family. It belongs to the family Tragulidae in the mammalian order Artiodactyla. The male species has no antlers like those of a real deer. Instead, it uses its large tusk-like canine teeth on its upper jaw for self-defense; in the same way a deer uses its antlers. Aside from the Pilandok, other mouse deer species include the Malay mouse deer or napu and the African water chevrotain. They are found in Southeast Asia, Sri Lanka, and India. While the mouse deer are widely distributed across Asia, their dwindling population has alarmed the World Conservation Union, which declared them as endangered in 1996. Smallest Monkey in the World In many respects, the Philippine tarsier (Tarsius syrichta) is different from other animals. Considered as the world's smallest primate, it measures only about twelve centimeters in length. Its two big eyes cannot move and do not have a tapetum the upper protective tissue. Because of this, the Philippine tarsier has learned to turn its head 180 degrees. It has also two grooming claws on each foot and an almost bald tail extending about nine inches. Found in the islands of Samar, Leyte, Bohol and Mindanao, the Philippine tarsier got its name from its elongated tarsus bone. An ordinary tarsier weighs between 117 and 134 grams. It is able to move between trees by leaping as far as three meters. It also has keen senses of hearing and sight. Today, there are only about 1,000 tarsiers inhabiting the wilds of Corella town in Bohol province where the biggest concentration of these rare animals was once reported. Ensuring the continued existence of the Philippine tarsiers is the Philippine Tarsier Foundation Inc. Smallest Fish in the World The world's smallest freshwater fish is found in the Philippines. The dwarf goby (Pandaka pygmaea) measures 1.2 centimeters or less than half of an inch, the tiniest known vertebrate. American Ichthyologist Albert Herre first discovered it in Malabon River in 1925. The Philippines is also the home of sinarapan, the world's smallest commercial fish. Sinarapan, scientifically known as Mistichthys luzonensis, is a goby found only in Lakes Bato and Buhi in Camarines Sur province. Sinarapan grows to an average length of 1.25 centimeters, only slightly longer than the dwarf goby. Today, unabated fishing in the two lakes threatens the population of sinarapan. Smallest Shell in the World Pisidum, the world's tiniest shell, can be found under Philippine waters. Pisidum measures less than 1 millimeter long. Smallest Town in Terms of Population The town of Kalayaan, a group of small islands in the Pacific Ocean west of Palawan province, had the smallest population among municipalities at 223 as of 2000. Smallest Painting in the Philippines Miniaturist Norris Castillo created what is perhaps the smallest piece of painting in the country. Known as "the Harvest", the oil-on-canvas painting measures 1/4 inches in width and 3/8 inches in length. It is now exhibited at the National Museum. Castillo claimed that he has created more than 10,000 pieces of painting. (Source: Panorama magazine) Smallest Province in the Philippines The smallest province in the Philippines is Batanes, with only a total land area of 209 square kilometers. Longest in the Philippines Trivia Longest Serving Editor in the World Sy Yinchow, an 84-year-old Filipino-Chinese journalist living in Manila's Binondo district, is perhaps the world's longestserving, living editor-in-chief of daily newspapers. As of 2003, Sy was still serving the chief editor of the United Daily News, a leading Chinese-language daily in the Philippines. He has been an editor-in-chief of Manila-based publications for 58 years since 1945, surpassing the record of Sir Etienne Dupuch who had served as the editor-in-chief of the Nassau Daily Tribune in the Bahamas for only 53 years from 1919 to 1972. Aside from his colorful journalism career, Sy has written 20 books and translated over 100 English and 72 French poems into Chinese. He is an honorary president of the Hong Kong-based World Association of Chinese Writers and a fellow of the International Writing Programme of the University of Iowa.

Longest Barbecue in the World On April 30, 2002, about 50,000 people participated in the "Kalutan ed Dagupan" festival in Dagupan City (Pangasinan province, Northern Luzon, Philippines) to help grill and partake of the 1,001-meter long barbecue, that broke the previous World Record of 613 meter-long barbecue grilled in Canchia, Peru on November 13, 1999. The people of the city used hundreds of grills, each measuring 1.2-meter long, to cook the barbecue. The grills' total measure was about 800 meters long, enough to surpass the Peruvian record. The barbecue consisted of bangus (milkfish), pork, chicken, vegetables and cold cuts. A video footage was sent to the Guinness Book of World Records for validation. (Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer) Longest Mat in the World The people of the agricultural town of Basey, Samar own the distinction of having weaved the world's longest mat, or "banig" in the local parlance. During the town's Banigan-Kawayan Festival on September 29, 2000, hundreds of people paraded the mat, which extended for more than a kilometer. The one-meter wide mat has been weaved for several weeks by groups of people from the different barangays of Basey. While the mat was not submitted as an entry to the Guinness Book of World Records, Basey Mayor Wilfredo Estorninos described the feat as a source of pride for all Basaynons. Each year, the town, which has weaving as its prime industry, comes to life when it celebrates outlandishly the feast of St. Michael, its patron saint. The highlight of the feast is the Banigan-Kawayan Festival, where the women of Basey weave a variety of intricately designed mats from sedge grass locally known as tikog (Fimbristylis milliacea). This tradition was handed down from many generations. The Church of Basey was built in 1864. Longest Bridge in the Philippines The country's longest bridge is the San Juanico Bridge, a steel structure connecting the islands of Samar and Leyte. Built in 1973 under the Marcos administration, the 2.16-kilometer bridge crosses over the picturesque San Juanico Strait as a part of the Maharlika Highway. Also known as Marcos Bridge, San Juanico Bridge has 43 spans rising 41 meters above the sea. Bunton Bridge in Cagayan province is said to be the country's second longest bridge. The title of the longest bridge, however, may soon belong to a bridge, which will be built in the Manila Bay. This cable suspension bridge will link Metro Manila to the provinces of Bataan and Cavite. It will be patterned after the Tokyo Bay Aqualine, which connects Kawasaki City in Kanagawa Prefecture to Kisarazu City in Japan. Among the longest bridges in the world are the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in New York, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, the East Bridge-Great Belt Fixed Link in Denmark, the Hoga Kusten in Sweden, and the Tsing Ma Bridge in Hong Kong. Longest Traffic Buildup in the Philippines On the night of May 26, 2003, the northbound and southbound lanes of the North Luzon Tollway from Bocaue, Bulacan to Balintawak, Quezon City turned into a parking lot of thousands of vehicles trapped in floods. Rains induced by tropical storm Chedeng caused the garbage-infested Malhacan River in Meycauayan to rise above the street level. The traffic buildup that extended to EDSA left thousands of commuters stranded for a whole night. A bus that left Cubao, Quezon City at 4 p.m. of May 26 reached Bocaue, Bulacan at 2 a.m. of the next day. The usually 15minute ride from Camachile to Bocaue turned into a grueling and nerve-wracking 8-hour saga for drivers and commuters. Thousands of office workers that left Makati City at 5 p.m. of May 26 were lucky to reach their homes in Bulacan at 4 a.m. of the next day. Others spent the night under the rain while catching for a ride along EDSA. Third Longest Coastline The Philippines, one of the world's largest archipelagos, also has one of the longest combined coastlines in the planet. The total length of the country's coastlines is 36,289 kilometers or almost twice that of the United States. It is said to be the third country with the longest combined coastlines, after Canada and Indonesia. Longest Cave in the Philippines The 15-kilometer St. Paul Cave in Palawan province is considered as the longest natural cave in the country. Other notable caves in the Philippines are the 8.9-kilometer Odloman Cave in Mabinay, Negros Oriental; and the 7.7-kilometer Odessa Tumbali Cave in Penablanca, Cagayan. In terms of vertical range, the deepest cave is the Sumaging-Latipan-Lomyang Crystal Cave in Sagada Mountain Province. Its deepest point is 163 meters from its mouth. Longest Underground River in the World Palawan's St. Paul's underground river is said to be the world's longest underground river. The navigable part of the river inside the cave of the 4000-acre St. Paul Subterranean River stretches 8.2 kilometers in length (5 miles). However, this title is being disputed in Vietnam where an underground river known as Son Trach River reportedly extends 7 miles in length. Filipino explorers, however, claimed that once fully measured, St. Paul's total length would reach 15 kilometers. Longest River Cagayan River or Rio Grande de Cagayan, with a total length of 353 kilometers, is the longest and widest river in the Philippines. It bisects the Cagayan Valley from north to south. Also considered as the mightiest watercourse, Cagayan River sources its water from smaller rivers and streams in the mountain ranges of Sierra Madre, Caraballo, Cordillera, and Balete Pass. The other notable rivers in Luzon are Chico, Abra, Pampanga, and Bicol. In the south, the principal rivers are Mindanao (known in its upper course as the Pulangi) and Agusan. Meanwhile, the underground river of St. Paul's Natural Park in Palawan is considered as one of the world's longest subterranean rivers. The world's longest rivers are the Nile River in Egypt and Amazon River in South America. Also worth mentioning are the Yangtze River in China, Mekong River in Vietnam, and Euphrates River in Iraq. Longest Mountain Range The longest mountain range in the country is Sierra Madre, which stretches from Cagayan province in northeastern Luzon to Aurora province in southern Tagalog. Longest Underground Railway The country's first subway remains to be built, but this early, passengers of MRT3 (Metro Rail Transit) had the chance to know what it is like to travel underground. The MRT line, which spans from North Avenue in Quezon City to Taft Avenue in Pasay City, passes through an underground tunnel, measuring hundreds of meters, along EDSA corner Buendia Avenue in Makati City.

The MRT is a US$565 million project, involving 60 Czech-made trains. At present, it has 10 stations, which were built at key road intersections in Metro Manila. The average distance between stations is 1.300 kilometer. There were plans to build a 100-kilometer railway system from Fort Bonifacio in Makati City to Clark in Pampanga. Based on the plan, five to seven kilometers of this railway will be elevated while 10 kilometers will be laid underground, making it the first true subway in the country. Biggest in the Philippines Trivia Biggest City in the World The residents of Davao City claim they live in the world's largest city. They are talking about the land size of the city that covers 2,212 square kilometers. Most of these areas, however, are distributed as forests, coconut groves and rice fields. In comparison, New York, the largest city in the United States, has an area of only 787 square kilometers while the whole of Metro Manila covers only 636 square kilometers. Davao City lies at the mouth of the Davao River near the head of Davao Gulf. It encompasses about 50 small ports in its commercial sphere. Davao has large banana plantations, whose produce are exported to Japan and other countries. The city also boasts of a modern international airport. Puerto Princesa City, a chartered city of Palawan province, is disputing Davao City's title. It claims to have a total land area of 2,539 square kilometers encompassing 66 barangays. In terms of population and land area, the world's truly largest cities are Tokyo, Mexico City, Sao Paolo, New York City, Bombay, Shanghai and Los Angeles. Biggest Coliseum in the World At the time it was completed in 1959, the Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, Quezon City was touted as the world's largest covered entertainment center. Otherwise known as the Big Dome, it has a floor area of 2,300 square meters and a seating capacity of 33,000 people. Biggest Shoes in the World Marikina City owns the distinction of having crafted the world's largest pair of shoes, each measuring 5.5 meters long, 2.25 meters wide and 1.83 meters high. The heel alone measures 41 centimeters or 16 inches. The P2-million shoes can reportedly fit to a 37.5-meter or 125-foot giant. Around 30 people could put their feet into the colossal shoes simultaneously. The world's largest shoes were made from materials that could produce about 250 pairs of regular-sized shoes. It reportedly took 10 shoemakers, led by Ernesto Leano, 77 days to cut 30 square meters of leather for the upper lining and 7.4 square meters for the socklining. Also used were 250 kilograms of vegetable tanned leather for the insole, 270 kilograms for the outsole, 80 kilograms for the welt, 225 kilograms of adhesive and 1,000 meters of thread for 200,000 stitches. The Marikina-made shoes broke the old record of 3.12-meter shoes made by Zahit Okurlar of Konya, Turkey. A representative of the Guinness Book of World Records attended the First Sapatero Festival on October 21, 2002 where the giant shoes were displayed. In December 2002, the Guinness Book of World Records has recognized Marikina City for crafting the world's largest pair of shoes. Largest Shoe Collection Former First Lady Imelda Marcos was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the woman with the largest collection of shoes. Reports said that when the Marcos family fled to Hawaii during the People's Power Revolution in 1986, around 3,400 pairs of shoes were discovered in one room at Malacanang Palace. They were the First Lady's collection. Biggest Golf Tournament in the World According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the biggest amateur golf tournament takes place in Baguio City, Philippines every year. Dubbed as the Fil-Am Golf Championship since 1949, the 72-hole golf tournament attracts close to 1,000 amateur golfers from all over the archipelago. The sites of the prestigious event are the challenging par-69, 5,001yard Camp John Hay golf course and the par-61, 4,038-yard Baguio Country Club. Among the top contending teams in the event are the Canlubang, Southwoods, Calatagan, and Wack Wack. Biggest Christmans Lantern in the World On December 24, 2002, the city of San Fernando in Pampanga province switched on the world's largest Christmas lantern a P5-million structure with 26.8 meters in diameter. Biggest Aerobics Exercises in the World On February 16, 2003, some 107,000 Filipinos joined a 30-minute aerobics exercise supervised by the Department of Health (DOH) at Rizal Park in Manila, which could be the largest synchronized exercise in the world. Thousands of people also gathered at different venues in Cebu City and Davao City to participate in the exercise simultaneous with the Manila event. The new record broke the previous Guinness Book of World Records set at a park in Guadalajara, Mexico by some 38,633 people who joined the massive aerobics exercises in June 1998. Biggest Catholic University in the World The University of Santo Tomas (UST), an academic institution founded by the Dominicans in Sampaloc, Manila is considered as the world's largest Catholic university located in one campus in terms of student population. Biggest Money in the World In 1998, during the Philippine Centennial celebration of independence, the Central Bank asked the Guinness Book of World Records to accredit its P100,000 commemorative bills, measuring 8 1/2 inches wide and 14 inches long, as the world's largest legal tender. The commemorative bills were called Brobdingnagian bills. Biggest Bamboo Organ in the World The bamboo organ at St. Joseph Church in Las Pinas City is arguably the world's largest bamboo organ. The centuries-old musical instrument was constructed between 1792 and 1819. It has 174 bamboo pipes, 122 horizontal reeds of soft metal, a five-octave keyboard, and 22 stops arranged in vertical rows. Biggest Volume of Text Messages Smart Communications, one of the two giant mobile phone networks in the country, claimed that the volume of text messages passing through its network reached 240 million daily as of 2001. This excluded text messages sent via the other

networks. Such volume of text messages is said to be larger than those sent in the entire European continent during the same year. Biggest High School in the World The Rizal High School in Caniogan, Pasig City (eastern Metro Manila) is said to be the world's largest high school in terms of student population. The school has more than 20,000 students. Biggest Flower in the World In February 2002, an environmental organization discovered what could be one of the world's largest flowers in the 5,511hectare Sibalom National Park in Antique province. Measuring about 22 inches in diameter, the endangered flower, locally named as "Uruy", (Rafflesia sp.) has no stem and leaves. (Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer) Biggest Salad in the World The residents of Baguio City took pride in having tossed what was believed to be the world's largest salad - a three-ton mix of assorted vegetables. On September 29, 2002 during the Tossed Salad Festival in commemoration of the city's 93rd charter anniversary, 67 students and members of the Baguio Association of Hotels and Inns (Bahai) mixed 2,976 kilograms of lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, bell peppers and other vegetables in a tin and wrought iron bowl measuring 20 feet long, 10 feet wide and 2 feet deep. Some 13,657 people were able to partake of the P1.5 million mixtures. They paid P20 for each serving of the tossed salad with Thousand Island dressing and another take-out bowl of salad with a gourmet vinaigrette dressing consisting of apple cider vinegar and olive oil. The city broke its own record set a year earlier. On September 16, 2001, a 917-kilogram of salad was able to feed 4,861 residents and tourists of Baguio City. On September 14, 2002, a religious group prepared a giant Caesar's salad that fed only 1,000 people in Salt Lake City, Utah. Biggest Candy in the World On March 15, 2002, 25 people in Davao City spent six hours to cook, mold and roll the world's largest durian candy bar - a 6-meter, 200-kilogram delicacy made of durian, a smelly but sweet fruit commonly associated with the name of the city. (Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer) Biggest Pearl in the World A Filipino diver discovered what is now described as the world's largest pearl in a giant Tridacna (mollusk) under the Palawan Sea in 1934. Known as the "Pearl of Lao-Tzu", the gem weighs 14 pounds and measures 9 1/2 inches long and 5 1/2 inches in diameter. As of May 1984, it was valued at US$42 million. It is believed to be 600 years old. Biggest Province in the Philippines Palawan is considered as the largest province in the country. It has a total land area of 14,896.3 square kilometers distributed in 1,769 islands and is composed of one city, 23 municipalities and 431 barangays. The next largest provinces in the country are Isabela, with a land area of 10,664 square kilometers; and Cagayan, 9,002 square kilometers. Biggest Mass Wedding On February 14, 2003, Mayor Reynaldo Malonzo officiated what could be the largest gathering of couples who exchanged their vows at 10th Avenue in Caloocan City. There were 900 couples who attended the wedding ceremony. Biggest Chair in the Philippines In April 2003, furniture makers in Ilagan, Isabela province completed what could be the largest armchair in the country. Measuring 5.5 meters in length and 3 meters in height, the armchair called "Botaka ni Goliath" was made of narra and rattan. Around 1,600 board feet of uncut wood were used. During assembly, 15 people had to carry the chair's feet and arms. Biggest Shabu Haul On December 9, 2002, Valenzuela City police discovered P2.2 billion worth of methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu at a warehouse that was razed by fire. The 656 kilograms of shabu, 195 kilograms of liquefied shabu and 200 kilograms of unfiltered shabu in the warehouse on Malinis Street in Lawang Bato, is said to be the largest narcotics haul ever. Biggest Income In December 2002, the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) has ordered American recruitment agency Brown and Root and its local partner Asia International Builder Corp. to pay 1,975 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) over US$609 million in back wages, damages and retirement pay. Biggest Mall in Asia The Philippines is home to one of the largest shopping malls in Asia. The SM Megamall located at the Ortigas commercial business district (CBD) boasts of world-class facilities that have a combined floor area of 331,657 square meters and built on a 10.5-hectare site. The shopping complex is comprised of two buildings connected by air-conditioned bridges and a tunnel. The mall had a total of 550 retail, service shops and dining outlets while its 12 film theatres had a combined seating capacity of 11,074. The mall's indoor and outdoor parking facilities can accommodate up to 3,000 cars. The SM Megamall, however, may no longer be the country's largest. Sy dreams of constructing the "world's largest indoor shopping mall" soon. Dubbed as "Mall of Asia", the project will be built on his five-hectare Manila Bay reclamation property. Biggest Convention Center One of Asia's largest convention facilities is the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), which has 4,000 seats. PICC is located at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) complex, which sits on a 21-hectare reclaimed area at the Manila Bay. Biggest Amphitheater in the Philippines The Freedom Ring Giant Amphitheater in the controversial Expo Filipino in Pampanga province is considered as the largest amphitheatre in the country. It can hold as many as 35,000 people at a single event. Expo Filipino, however, has yet to become fully operational. Biggest Hospital in the Philippines The Philippine General Hospital in Manila is considered as the country's largest medical institution. The hospital has over 1,000 in-patient beds and receives 3,000 outpatient visits per day. It was established on September 1, 1910.

Biggest Church in the Philippines The Gothic-designed basilica of Saint Martin of Tours in the heritage town of Taal in Batangas province is said to be the largest Catholic Church in the country. Biggest Dam in the Philippines If completed, the San Roque Dam in Pangasinan province would become the country's tallest and largest dam. Built on the lower Agno River, the US$1.2 billion dam would measure 200 meters in height and is expected to generate 345 megawatts of electricity. Its construction began in 1998 while completion is expected by 2004. Biggest Gas Field in the Philippines The Malampaya gas field located northeast off Palawan contains what could be the Philippines' largest deposit of natural gas. The gas field was discovered in 1989, and since then the giant oil company, Shell Philippines has engaged in a multi-billion project in the area. Some US$4.5 billion were allocated to complete the project that is said to be the single biggest foreign investment in the Philippines. The Malampaya gas field reportedly contains not less than 2.5 trillion cubic feet and 85 million barrels of condensate, a by-product of natural gas that is used as fuel to run gas-fired turbines. These reserves are enough to serve the fuel requirement of a 3,000-megawatt (MW) combined-cycle power plant for 20 years. The project took off in May 1998. It involved the construction of a 504-kilometer pipeline from the area to Tabangao, Batangas. Biggest Tree in the Philippines The oldest and tallest tree in the Philippines is found at the entrance gate of Magallanes town, east of Butuan City in Agusan del Norte province. This "Bita-og" tree (Calophyllum inophyllum), which was declared as the country's official tree in 1998 by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), is said to be five centuries old. The tree, which was first recognized on December 7, 1980, measures 305.585 centimeters in bole diameter. Biggest Coconut Palace What can be considered as the country's largest coconut building is the so-called Coconut Palace, an architectural wonder made from the coconut tree mixed with other indigenous material. About 70 percent of the structure is made from different parts of the coconut tree. It consists of seven rooms. It is located at the CCP Complex. Biggest Strawberry Cakes The people of La Trinidad town in Benguet province baked the country's largest sponge cake - a 1.2-metric ton, seven-foot structure that fed 10,000 people during the annual Strawberry Festival on March 18, 2002. It took four bakers nearly 16 hours to complete the cake. On March 22, 2003, the people of La Trinidad surpassed the record by baking two giant strawberry cakes, one of which cost P110,000 to produce and measured 8 1/2 in diameter, six feet long and six feet high. Eric Espadero and three other chefs used 800 kilograms of fresh strawberries, 6,600 eggs and 920 kilograms of flour for the two cakes. In November 2001, the Benguet province baked its own giant carrot cake. Biggest Calamay In March 2003, around 3,000 people of Candon City in Ilocos Sur province tasted what could be the largest calamay or rice cake that has ever been baked in the country. The giant calamay measured five meters in diameter and two inches thick. About 40 women prepared the calamay made from 184 kilograms of malagkit or ground glutinous rice, grated meat of 800 coconuts, 480 kilograms of brown sugar, and 160 more coconuts that were grated to produce gata or coconut milk. Biggest Binallay On May 29, 2003, around 1,000 residents of Ilagan, Isabela partook the country's biggest binallay or native rice cake during the town's 317th founding anniversary. The cake measured 3.7 meters tall and 0.6 meter in diameter. Biggest Bounty In May 2002, the United States embassy in Manila raised US$5 million as a bounty against five leaders of the Muslim extremist Abu Sayyaf group that has held an American couple as hostages from May 2001 to June 2002. Abu Sayyaf snatched the American couple along with 18 others from a beach resort in Palawan province on May 27, 2001. On June 7, 2002, a military rescue operation led to the death of one of the American hostages. Two weeks later, the military announced the death of the leader of the Abu Sayyaf faction responsible for the abduction of the American couple. Biggest Mural in the Philippines In 1953, when the Philippines hosted the International Fair, Carlos "Botong" Francisco was contracted for P39,000 to paint a mural measuring 88 meters long and eight meters wide. The giant mural, which depicted 500 years of Philippine progress, later appeared in colored center spread of Newsweek magazine. Biggest Painting in the Philippines Juan Luna's Spolarium is considered as the largest painting in the country. It measures 4.6 meters wide and 7.72 meters long and is now on display at the National Museum in Manila. Biggest Companies in the Philippines In terms of gross revenues, the National Power Corp. (Napocor) topped all companies in the country with P116.6 billion in the year 2000. The next nine largest corporations were Meralco, with total gross revenues of P108 billion; Texas Instruments, P95 billion; San Miguel Corp., P90 billion; Petron Corp., P87 billion; Shell, P84 billion; PLDT, P63 billion; Caltex, P56 billion; Fujitsu, P49 billion; and Metrobank, P44 billion. In terms of net income, Southern Energy topped the list with P8.5 billion in 2000. It was followed by Pagcor, with P8 billion; San Miguel, P6.8 billion; Southern Energy Quezon, P6.2 billion; and SM, P4.2 billion. Biggest Park in the Philippines The Sierra Madre national park in northern Luzon is the country's largest natural park. The 359,000-hectare park is the home of endangered species such as pawikan (Chelonia mytas), bayakan or giant bat, Philippine eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi), wild boar (Sus philippinesis), Philippine brown dear (Cervus marianus), cloud rat (Ratus mindorensis), flamebreasted fruit dove, kalaw (Philippine hornbill), bukarot (Philippine crocodile), and native owl. Biggest Lake in the Philippines Laguna de Bay, an inland body of water covering 900 square kilometers, is the country's largest lake. Located between the provinces of Rizal and Laguna, the lake receives its water from 21 river systems. In the middle of the lake lies the island of Talim, a heavily populated settlement of mostly fishermen. The second largest lake in the country is Lake Sultan-Alonto in Mindanao. Commonly known as Lake Lanao, the lake covers an area of 355 square kilometers. Meanwhile, the world's largest inland body of water is the Caspian Sea, which is actually a lake in the boundary of Europe and Asia and covering an area of 143,240 square miles. Lake Superior (North America), Lake

Victoria (Africa), the Aral Sea (Russia) and Lake Huron (North America) are also among the world's largest lakes. Biggest Eagle in the World Also known as the monkey-eating eagle, the endangered Philippine eagle is one of the largest in the world. With scientific name Pithecophaga jefferyi, the Philippine eagle lives in the rainforests of Isabela, Samar, Leyte and Mindanao. It has similarities with Papua New Guinea's Harpy Eagle (Harpyopsis novaeguinea). Measuring about one meter in height, the average Philippine eagle has a 76-centimeter highly arched, powerful bill. It lives on large snakes, hornbills, civet cats, flying lemurs and monkeys - the reason why it is also called monkey-eating eagle. It creates its nests in large trees some 30 meters from the ground. Biggest Bats in the World The Philippines has at least 56 species of bats. It is home to the largest among the 1,000 known bat species in the world. The three-layered virgin forest of Subic Bay and Bataan is home to the world's largest bats: the giant flying fox (Acerodon jubatus) and the golden crown flying fox (Pteropus vampyrus). Over the years, these two species of giant fruit bats have roamed around the 10,000-hectare Subic Forest National Protected Area, which is considered the biggest roosting site of bats in the world. Biggest Endangered Animal in the Philippines People used to call Mindoro as the "Land of the Tamaraws". About 10,000 heads of these unique pygmy water buffalos were roaming around the island-province of Mindoro in the 1900s. But that was a century ago. Today, the Tamaraws in the province are in danger of extinction, and Mindoro might lose the symbol that it once proudly introduced to the world. The Tamaraw, scientifically known as Bubalus mindorensis, is endemic to Mindoro. Belonging to the family of buffalos, the same categorical group of the Philippine carabao, the Tamaraw is the largest endangered land animal in the Philippines today. In 1996, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) listed it as one of the ten most endangered species in the world.

Biggest Fish in the World Donsol, a fishing town in Sorsogon province, serves as a sanctuary to a group of 40 whale sharks (Rhincodon typus), which are considered as the largest fish in the world. Locally known as "butanding", whale sharks visit the waters of Donsol from November to May. They travel across the oceans but nowhere else have they been sighted in a larger group than in the waters of Sorsogon. They measure between 18 to 35 feet in length and weigh about 20 tons. In 1996, a marine biologist discovered that whale sharks are ovoviviparous, which means that the females produce live offspring from eggs hatched in the uterus. The Philippine government declared whale sharks as endangered species in 1998, thereby banning its plunder and exploitation. Right now, the Department of Tourism is promoting eco-tourism to protect the whale sharks in Donsol. Biggest Shells in the World Tridacna gigas, one of the world's largest shells, can be found under Philippine waters. Tridacna gigas grows as large as one meter in length and weighs 600 pounds. Meanwhile, a shell called glory of the sea (Connus gloriamaris), considered as one of the most expensive shells in the world, is also found in the Philippines and . Biggest Reptile in the World The saltwater crocodile, which can be found in the Philippines and other Asian countries, is considered as the world's largest reptile. Scientifically known as Crocodylus porosus, it is different from Mindoro's freshwater crocodile (Crocodylus mindorensis), which is a relatively smaller species. An adult saltwater crocodile measures between six to seven meters (20-23 feet) and weighs about two to three tons. There were tales that a 27-foot saltwater crocodile was killed near Lake Taal in Batangas in 1823. It reportedly took 40 men to bring the body ashore. When the men cut the crocodile's body open, they found the body of a horse in seven pieces. The largest crocodile ever sighted was a 33-footer in Borneo in 1920. It was believed to be 200 years old. Biggest Filipino Boxing Champion Ceferino Garcia was the heaviest and biggest Filipino ever who became a world-boxing champion. Known for his bolo punch, he captured the world middleweight title on October 2, 1939 when he knocked out Fred Apostoli in New York. He defended his crown against top rivals twice (Americans Glen Lee and Henry Armstrong) before losing his title in May 1940. Before he switched to the middleweight division, Garcia became a welterweight champion when he knocked out boxing legend and war hero Barney Ross in 1937 and Henry Armstrong in 1938. He was born in 1912 and grew up in Tondo, Manila. In 1977, Ceferino Garcia was inducted into the Ring Magazine Hall of Fame and into the World Boxing Hall of Fame in 1981. Biggest Lead in a Basketball Game The Philippine team registered what could be the world's biggest lead in an amateur basketball game when it clobbered Brunei Darussalam, 160-19, at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium on July 2, 2000. The 141-point lead could be the biggest for any amateur basketball team since basketball was introduced in the Philippines by the Americans. During the game, the Philippine national team limited the Brunei squad to only 19 points. It later won the Southeast Asian Basketball Association (SEABA) Young Men's Tournament crown against Malaysia. Tallest in the Philippines Trivia Tallest Building in the Philippines What can be considered the country's tallest building is located along Ayala Ave. corner Herrera Street in Makati City. In the group of skyscrapers at Makati's financial district, PBCom (Philippine Bank of Communications) Tower dominates with its 241-meter height. The building, which rises 55 floors from the grounds of Ayala Avenue, was designed by Skidmore, Owens and Merill (SOM) and developed by property giant Filinvest. The PBCom tower, which was completed by the end of 2000, surpassed the height of Petron MegaPlaza that soars 45 stories

from the grounds of Gil Puyat Ave., also in Makati City. But the record may soon belong to a building that remains to be built. The Moldex Realty Marketing Inc. (MRMI) said it plans to build a 57-storey tower at 1322 Roxas Boulevard in Pasay City. The title of the world's tallest building belongs to Malaysia's twin Petronas Towers that rise 451.9 meters from the street level (including its pinnacle). Other world famous high-rise buildings include Chicago's Sears Tower and New York's Empire State Building and the former World Trade Center buildings. Tallest PBA Player The tallest PBA player is Edward Joseph Feihl of TJ Hotdogs. Feihl who stands seven feet tall is half German. With his height, Feihl could bang bodies with the centers in the NBA. Feihl was part of the Philippine Centennial Team, which won third place in the 1998 Asian Games. Feihl is at least three inches taller than other PBA centers like Marlou Aquino, Paul Asi Taulava, James Walkvist, Andy Seigle and Bonel Balingit. Meanwhile, the tallest basketball player who has played in the NBA is Gheorghe Muresan (7'7 or 2.31 m). But the tallest basketball player in the world was Suleiman Ali Nashnush (8'1/2" or 2.45 m) of the Libyan team. The tallest man in history was Robert Wadlow (8'11 or 2.72 m). Highest Mountain Towering at a height of 2,954 meters (9,692 feets), Mount Apo is the highest peak in the country. Located 25 kilometers south of Davao City, the mountain which forms part of the Mount Apo National Park is blessed with hot springs, sulfur pillars, geysers, lakes, rivers and waterfalls. It is home to a number of endemic animals such as the Philippine eagle, falconet and mynah. Its peak can be reached on a four-day hiking trip. Apo means "grandfather of all mountains". Scientists classify it as a semi-active volcano. Materials from previous eruptions have made the soil around the mountain extremely fertile. The mountain's base covers 72,796 hectares of mountain ranges that extend from Davao del Sur to Misamis Oriental. While the mountain's peak looks snow-capped, the white appearance is actually caused by the presence of sulfur. Highest Waterfalls The highest waterfall in the country is the 388-meter-high Aliwagwag Falls, in Cateel town, Davao Oriental province. The cascade has 13 rapids and looks like a stairway with 84 steps of varying heights. The second highest waterfall is located in Barangay Rogongon, 54 kilometers from Iligan City. Limunsudan Falls, a twotiered fall, has a combined height of 870 feet. Its lower cascade alone measures 400 feet, higher than the entire height of Maria Cristiana Falls. Maria Cristina Falls, also in Iligan City (Lanao del Norte), towers at 320 feet. Also known as the "Mother of Industry", Maria Cristina Falls supplies 80 percent of the total energy requirement of the Mindanao region. Another breathtaking waterfall in Iligan City is the Tinago Falls, located 13 kilometers from the city proper. As its name implies, this 420-foot waterfall lies hidden in a deep ravine. The world's highest waterfall is the Angel Falls in Venezuela. As a tributary of Caroni River, this waterfall has a total elevation of 3,281 feet. Oldest in the Philippines More Trivia Oldest Province Aklan, originally known as Minuro it Akean, is considered as the oldest province in the country and believed to have been established as early as 1213 by settlers from Borneo. Its first ruler was Datu Dinagandan. In 1399, Kalantiaw grabbed the throne. In 1433, Kalantiaw III formulated a set of laws that is known today as the Code of Kalantiaw. Oldest Town Unisan, Quezon could be the oldest town in the Philippines. The people of Unisan claimed that their town is now 481 years old, having been established in 1521, the same year that Ferdinand Magellan discovered the Philippines. All other towns in the country were established not earlier than 1565, when Spain formally occupied the Philippines as a colony. A Malayan queen named Ladya reportedly founded Calilayan, the old name of the town. In 1876, Calilayan was renamed Unisan which was derived from the Latin word uni-sancti, meaning "holy saint". (Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer) Oldest City Cebu City is considered as the oldest city in the country, as this was the site of the earliest European settlement established by Spanish conqueror Miguel Lopez de Legazpi in 1565. Oldest Fort The first Spanish settlement in the country, Villa del Santisimo Nombre de Jesus, was located inside Fort San Pedro in Cebu City. The fort's construction began in 1565. Oldest Street Calle Colon in Cebu City is considered as the oldest street in the country. Named after explorer Christopher Columbus, Calle Colon was first constructed in 1565 by men of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi. Oldest Stone Church The Baclayon Church in Bohol is considered as the oldest stone church in the Philippines. But some historians disagree, claiming that San Agustin Church in Manila deserves the title. Church historians claim that the cornerstones of San Agustin Church were laid as early as 1571, 25 years before Baclayon Church was built in 1596. But most people believe the title should be kept by the latter, since it is situated in the island first occupied by the troops of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, the country's first Spanish governor general. Bohol was where a friendship was sealed with blood between chieftain Rajah Sikatuna and Legazpi. The event is known today as ''The Blood Compact.'' Oldest Hospital The San Lazaro Hospital could be the oldest hospital in the country. According to Pampango historian Zoilo Galang, the San Lazaro hospital was established in 1578; Enfermeria de Naga, 1583; and Hospital de San Juan de Dios, 1596. Oldest Church Bell

The oldest church bell in the country is said to be the one found in Camalaniugan, Cagayan. That bell was reportedly forged in 1595. Oldest Bridge The Jones Bridge, formerly known as Puente de Espana, was first built in 1701. It was rebuilt by the Americans in 1916 and renamed after Atkinson Jones. Oldest University The University of San Carlos (USC) in Cebu City is considered as the oldest school in the country and in Asia. Formerly known as the Colegio de San Ildefonso, it was founded by the Spanish Jesuits on August 1, 1595. This makes the Cebubased university older than the University of Santo Tomas (1611) in Manila and Harvard University (1636) in the United States. The University of Santo Tomas, however, contests this title. Formerly known as the Colegio de Nuestra Señora del Rosario, UST was the first school, which got a university status in 1645. USC became a university in 1948. UST also claimed that the original USC was closed in 1769 as a result of the expulsion of the Jesuits. It reopened in 1783 under a new name and ownership. But the USC officials stick to their claim. The university observed its 400th foundation day on August 21, 1995. Oldest Vocational School The Don Honorio Ventura College of Arts and Trades (DHVCAT) in Bacolor, Pampanga is said to be the oldest vocational school in Asia. Augustinian Friar Juan Zita and civic leader Don Felino Gil established the vocational school on November 4, 1861. Oldest Company Ayala Corp., one of the largest conglomerates in the country, is also the oldest existing company around. It was established in 1834 by sugar barons Domingo Roxas and Antonio de Ayala. It was later renamed as Casa Ayala, then as Ayala y Compania and recently as Ayala Corp. Oldest Bank In 1881, Domingo Roxas, an ancestor of the Ayala family, became one of the first directors of Banco Español-Filipino de Isabel II, which was founded by virtue of a royal decree issued by Queen Isabel II. The bank issued the country's first currency notes the following year. Considered as the first private commercial bank in the country, the bank came to be known as the Bank of Philippine Islands in 1912. The oldest savings bank was Monte de Piedad, which was established in 1882. Oldest Military Supply Shop The oldest military supply shop in the country was said to be Alfredo Roensch and Co. Oldest Rizal Monument What can be considered as the oldest Rizal monument in the country is a 20-foot metal structure standing at a park in Daet, Camarines Norte. Its construction reportedly began on December 30, 1898 and was finished in February 1899. In comparison, the Rizal monument at the former Luneta park was built in 1912. Oldest Vice The earliest vice among native Filipinos, according to historians, was the chewing of betelnut or "nganga". It was said that Filipinos had been chewing betelnut for 3,000 years. Oldest Insurance Firm Insular Life Insurance Company was established on November 26, 1910, becoming the oldest insurance agency in the country. Oldest Epics In a 1962 study, E. Arsenio Manuel said the country had at least 19 epics, which were passed to the present generation from our early ancestors through oral chanting. Among these so-called ethnoepics were 13 epics among pagan Filipinos, 2 among Christian Filipinos, and 4 among Muslim Filipinos. These included the Ilocano epic Lam-ang, Manuvu's Tuwaang, Sulod's Hinilawod and Maranaw's Bantugan. First in the Philippines More Trivia First Circumnavigator of the Globe Although many historians considered him as the first circumnavigator of the globe, Ferdinand Magellan never completed his voyage around the planet. Magellan, a sea captain, commanded a fleet of five wooden Spanish ships with 241 men on board and embarked on what is now considered as "the greatest of all epics of human discovery". Christopher Columbus, the Italian explorer who discovered America for Spain, traveled 8,000 miles aboard a Spanish ship across the Atlantic Ocean. But Magellan's men embarked on an expedition that brought them 42,000 miles around the planet. The voyage began on September 20, 1519. Magellan and his three remaining ships reached the Philippines on March 17, 1521. On April 27, he was killed by the men of Lapulapu, chieftain of Mactan Island in the Philippines. Only one ship, the Trinidad, with 18 European crewmen led by Sebastian del Cano and four Malay crewmen (maybe Filipinos) completed the trip around the world and arrived in Seville, Spain in 1522. First Landing On March 16, 1521, Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan in service of Spain landed at Samar. First Mass On March 31, 1521 (Easter Sunday) Spanish friar Pedro Valderama conducted the first Catholic mass in Limasawa, Leyte. Rajah Kolambu, who forged a blood compact of friendship with Magellan two days earlier, attended along with Rajah Siagu. First Filipino Christians On April 14, 1521, Rajah Humabon, Rajah Kolambu, and 400 other Filipino natives were baptized into Christianity during a ceremony administered by friar Pedro Valderamma. First Filipino Priest In 1590, Martin Lakandula was ordained as an Augustinian priest, becoming the first native Filipino to serve as a friar. In

1906, Jorge Barlin became the first Filipino bishop under the Roman Catholic Church. The first Filipino archbishop was Viviano Gorordo while the first Filipino cardinal was Rufino Cardinal Santos. First Chair It was said that Filipinos first used a chair in April 1521 when Ferdinand Magellan gave Rajah Humabon of Cebu a red velvet Spanish chair. According to Halupi, a book of essays on Philippine history, early Filipinos used to sit on the floor. First Spanish Monument Also on April 14, 1521, Ferdinand Magellan planted a huge cross in Cebu. It was here where friar Valderama baptized Rajah Humabon, Rajah Kolambu and 400 other Filipinos into Christianity. First Battle On April 14, 1521, the first battle between Filipinos and the European conquerors took place in Mactan, Cebu. Filipino chieftain Lapu-lapu defeated Magellan and his men. After Magellan was killed, Sebastian del Cano led his men back to Spain, completing their voyage around the planet. First Religious Order The Franciscans were the first Catholic religious order to establish their presence in the Philippines. The Franciscans came here in 1577; Jesuits, 1581; Dominicans, 1587; Recollects, 1606; Paulists, 1862; Sisters of Charity, 1862; Capuchins, 1886; and Benedictines, 1895. First Spanish-Filipino Marriage In 1585, Spanish soldier Pablo Alvarez married Nicolasa de Alvarez, a native of Lubao, Pampanga. First Muslims Makdum, Rajah Baguinda and Abu Bakar propagated Islam in the Philippines in the 15th Century. First Spanish Governor General Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, who founded the first European settlement in Cebu City in 1565, is considered the first Spanish governor general in the Philippines. He founded the city of Manila and declared it the capital of the archipelago on June 3, 1571. The last Spanish governor general in the Philippines was Riego delos Rios in 1898. First Archbishop Domingo Salazar was the first archbishop of the Philippines, which was regarded as a single diocese in the 1580s. First Filipina Directress According to Pampango historian Zoilo Galang, Sor Candida Ocampo was the first and only Filipino who became a directress of an Spanish institution in the Philippines. In 1594, Ocampo, who was born in Camarines Sur, was appointed as the directress of Colegio de Santa Isabel. First Cannon Maker Even before the Spaniards came to the Philippines, Filipino natives had already learned the trick of making cannons, perhaps from Chinese traders. Historians claimed that Panday Pira who lived between 1483 and 1576 had devised the cannons which Muslim leader Rajah Sulayman used to protect Manila against the invading Spanish troops. Panday Pira was from Tarlac. First Chinese Kingdom After attacking Manila, Chinese conqueror Limahong established a kingdom near the mouth of Agno River in Pangasinan province on December 3, 1574. Agno was the seat of the old civilization. Historians have mentioned one Princess Urduja who ruled Pangasinan before the Spaniards came. In 1660, Filipino leader Malong attempted to establish another kingdom in Pangasinan. First Revolt The first attempt to rise against Spanish colonial rule was carried out by chieftains of Bulacan led by Esteban Taes in 1587. On October 26, 1588, Spanish authorities discovered a plot by Magat Salamat of Hagonoy who tried to enlist the support of his relatives in Borneo. First Filipino in Exile Felipe Salonga of Polo, Bulacan (now Valenzuela City) became the first Filipino who was put in exile by Spanish authorities for starting a revolt in Bulacan in 1587. He was exiled to Mexico. First Mention of King of Tagalogs New historical writings have mentioned the name of one Raha Matanda or Rajah Ache (Lakandula) who ruled over Tondo, a kingdom encompassing an area that now includes Bulacan, Metro Manila, Rizal and Quezon in the 16th Century. Rajah Matanda was the heir to his father's throne and was a grandson of Sultan Siripada I (Bolkeiah I) of Borneo. In 1643, Don Pedro Ladia of Borneo who claimed to be a descendant of Rajah Matanda started a revolt and called himself the king of the Tagalog. He was executed in Manila. Historians said that when the troops of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi attacked Manila in 1571, the men of Rajah Soliman - the king of Manila - rose up in resistance. In 1847, Apolinario dela Cruz of Tayabas was considered king of the Tagalogs. Bernardo Carpio, a mythical giant character, was also regarded as a king of the Tagalogs. In the 1900s, the revolutionary government proclaimed Macario Sakay as the president of the Tagalog Republic. First Chinese Revolt On October 3, 1603, the Chinese rose in revolt in Manila and was driven away to San Pablo, Laguna where they made their last stand. First Juan dela Cruz A certain Pantaleon Perez led the Pangasinan revolt on November 3, 1762. Perez assumed the name Juan dela Cruz Palaris. It was mentioned that on November 11, 1849, most illiterate Filipinos during the administration of Spanish governor general Narciso Claveria y Zaldua were given the Christian surname dela Cruz. Our great ancestors, who could not read and write, drew a cross as their signature on documents and so were known for their dela Cruz surnames. In contrast, Filipino descendants of rajahs and noble men were given the option to keep their names. Among the clans, who were also

exempted from forced labor and paying taxes under the Spanish rule, were the Lakandulas, Solimans, Gatmaitans, Gatbontons, Salongas, Layas, Lapiras, Macapagals, Salamats, Manuguits, Balinguits, Banals, Kalaws, among others. First Filipino The first man who used Filipino as a title of citizenship was Luis Rodriguez Varela, a Spaniard who was born in Manila. He preferred to be called El Conde Pilipino in 1795. (Source: Halupi) First Map The first Philippine map was drawn in 1734 by Nicolas dela Cruz and Francisco Suarez under the instruction of Jesuit historian Pedro Murillo Velarde. The original map was 27 inches wide and 42 inches long. First Dutch Presence On June 10, 1647, a Dutch fleet arrived in Manila Bay and later attacked Cavite province. First British Presence On October 4, 1762, British forces invaded Manila. They took possession of Intramuros until May 31, 1764. First Filipino Printer The Spaniards introduced the art of printing in the Philippines, almost half a century before the Americans learned how to use it. It is believed that the first book in the country was Doctrina Christiana en letra y lengua China, which was printed in 1593 by Juan de Vera, a Filipino-Chinese. In 1948, Fray Jose Gonzales of the Dominican Order discovered this book in the Vatican Library. Tomas Pinpin is regarded as the first Filipino printer. He was born in Abucay, Bataan but records about his birth were lost after the Dutch invaders destroyed the town of Abucay in 1646. Pinpin learned the art of printing from the Chinese artisans when he worked in the shop of Filipino-Chinese printer, Luis Beltran. Among his works were Arte y Reglas de la Lengua Tagala (1610) and the Librong Pag-aaralan nang mga Tagalog nang Uicang Castila (1610) printed in Bataan. From 1609 to 1639, Pinpin printed more than a dozen titles. Other literary pieces, which appeared during this period were the poems of Pedro Bukaneg (1590-1626), Fernando Bagongbanta (1605), and Pedro Ossorio (1625). The art of modern printing was discovered by German scholar Johannes Gutenberg (1394-1468). The Chinese, however, are credited for having developed their own system of printing, hundreds of years before Gutenberg was born. First Newspaper In 1637, Tomas Pinpin published Successos Felices (Fortunate Events), a 14-page newsletter in Spanish that is now widely regarded as the first Philippine newsletter. On December 1, 1846, La Esperanza, the first daily newspaper, was published in the country. Other early newspapers were La Estrella (1847), Diario de Manila (1848) and Boletin Oficial de Filipinas (1852). The first provincial newspaper was El Eco de Vigan (1884), which was issued in Ilocos. First Magazine and Journal Seminario Filipino, the first religious magazine in the country, was first issued in 1843. Meanwhile, El Faro Juridico became the first professional journal in the country when it saw print in 1882. First Guide Book According to Pampango historian Zoilo Galang, the first guidebook in the Philippines (Guia de Forasteros) was printed in 1834. First Novel According to literary expert Bievenido Lumbera, the first Filipino novel was Ninay, written by Pedro Paterno and published in 1880. Jose Rizal's Noli Me Tangere was published in 1887 while El Filibusterismo came out of the press in 1891. The first English novel written in English by a Filipino was Zoilo Galang's A Child of Sorrow. First Woman Writer and Poet According to Pampango historian Zoilo Galang, the first Filipino poetess was Leona Florentino of Ilocos while the first Filipino woman writer was Rosario de Leon of Pampanga. The first Filipino woman novelist, Galang added, was Magalena Jalandoni from Visayas while the first Filipino woman who wrote an English novel was Felicidad Ocampo. First Non-Catholic Marriage The first non-Catholic marriage in Manila under the Spanish control took place in the early 19th Century when American Henry Sturgis, who arrived in the country in 1827, married Josephina Borras of Manila. They were wed aboard a British warship at the Manila harbor. First Bakery In 1631, the Spanish government established and operated the first bakery in Manila. First Drugstore Botica Boie is considered the first drugstore in the country, having been established by Dr. Lorenzo Negrao in 1830. First Lighthouse In 1846, the Farola was built at the mouth of Pasig River, becoming the first lighthouse in the country. First Electric Lamp The first electric lamp in the country is said to be the one designed by Ateneo students in 1878, 12 years before Thomas Houston Electric Co. installed Manila's first electric street lights. First Botanical Garden In 1858, Governor General Fernando Norzagaray ordered the establishment of the Botanical Garden. It can now be found beside the Manila City Hall. First Waterworks Manila had its first centralized water system in July 1882 following the completion of the Carriedo waterworks, whose reservoir was in Marikina.

First Railroad In 1892, a railway connecting Manila and Dagupan was completed. It was operated by the Manila Railroad Company. First Telephone System The first telegraph line was opened in 1873 while the country's first telephone system was established in Manila in 1890. Electric lines were first installed in 1895. First Mining Firm In the early 19th Century, Johann Andreas Zobel founded the first iron and copper mining firm in Bulacan and Baguio. The first Zobel in the country was Jacobo Zobel Hinsch, a German who went to Manila in 1849. One of the Zobels - Jacobo Zobel Zangroniz latter married Trinidad Ayala de Roxas, an heir of the rich Ayala and Roxas families. First Calendar The first calendar with a Philippine almanac was first released in 1897. The first issue of the calendar was titled "La Sonrisa". First Filipino Chemist Johann Andreas Zobel also founded the first chemical laboratory in the country. Meanwhile, Anacleto del Rosario is considered as the first Filipino chemist. First Philanthropist Dona Margarita Roxas de Ayala, a daughter of Domingo Roxas, is considered as the first philanthropist in the country. She assumed the control of the family's Casa Roxas in 1843 and was one of the founders of La Concordia College. First Social Club The first social club was established in Manila in 1898. It was the Filipino Independiente, a circle of educated and rich Filipino nationalists. It succeeded Jose Rizal's La Liga Filipina, which was more of a movement. World's First Steel Church The steel church of San Sebastian, now Basilica Minore, is considered as the world's first-ever all-steel basilica. Designed by Don Genaro Palacios in 1883, this small, jewel box church was prefabricated in Belgium. The steel plates, weighing about 50,000 tons were brought to the Philippines in six ships. The walls were filled with mixed gravel, sand and cement to fortify the structure. Stained glass windows from France were later installed. The church, an earthquake-proof structure, was completed in 1891. There were arguments that French architect Gustavo Eiffel, who designed the Eiffel Tower of Paris and Statue of Liberty in New York, was also the one who designed the San Sebastian Church. First Hotel It is believed that Hotel del Oriente in Binondo, Manila was the first hotel built in the Philippines. The hotel was a two-story building with 83 rooms fronting the Plaza de Carlos III. It was a first-class hotel constructed in the 1850s just beside the famous landmark, La Insular Cigarette and Cigar Factory. The national hero - Jose Rizal - reportedly stayed at Room 22 of that hotel, facing the Binondo Church. Hotel del Oriente was among the crown jewels of the old Binondo (or Minondoc as it was earlier known) which was named after binundok. It was part of the Provincia de Tondo (now Manila) and was declared one of its districts in 1859. Both Hotel del Oriente and La Insular were burned down during the Japanese Occupation. The Metrobank building now occupies the former site of the two buildings. The oldest surviving hotel in the country is the Manila Hotel, which was built in 1912. The world's first hotel was the Tremont, which opened in Boston in 1829. It had a dining room for 200 people, 12 public rooms and 120 bedrooms. First Republic Early Philippine republics were Kakarong de Sili republic in Pandi, Bulacan; Tejeros Convention in Malabon; and Biak na Bato republic in San Miguel, Bulacan. Historians, however, wrote that the first real Philippine republic was established in Malolos, Bulacan on January 21, 1899. Two days later, the First Philippine Republic was inaugurated while General Emilio Aguinaldo was declared its first president. First President of Katipunan It was Deodato Arellano who became the first president of the Katipunan, a revolutionary movement against Spanish rule in the Philippines. First Vice President Mariano Trias is considered as the first Filipino vice-president who assumed the post in 1897. First Army Chief General Artemio Ricarte served as the first captain general of the Philippine Army which was established by the Tejeros Convention on March 22, 1897. Ricarte was replaced by General Antonio Luna on January 22, 1899. First Calendar The first calendar with a Philippine almanac was first released in 1897. The first issue of the calendar was titled "La Sonrisa". First Protestant Mission The first Presbyterian mission arrived in the country in April 1899. American couple Dr. and Mrs. James Rodgers led the mission. First Filipino Protestant Minister Nicolas Zamora, a former Catholic priest, later became the first ordained protestant minister in the Philippines. First Election The first municipal election in the Philippines was held in Baliuag, Bulacan under the supervision of American military governor general Arthur MacArthur on May 6, 1899.

First Ice Cream Parlor In December 1899, Clarke's Ice Cream Parlor became the first ice cream parlor in the Philippines when it opened its store at Plaza Moraga in Binondo, Manila. Metcalf Clarke owned it. First Autonomous Region Before the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and the Cordillera Autonomous Region (CAR) were formed in the 1980s, Panay Island used to have "Cantonal Republic of Negros". The Americans, however, abolished the republic and turned Negros into a regular province on April 30, 1901. First American Civil Governor The first American civil governor in the Philippines became the 27th president of the United States. William Howard Taft, who served in the Philippines from 1901 to 1903, was also the only man who became a US president (1909-1912) and then a Supreme Court chief justice (1921-1930). Known for his weight of over 300 pounds, Taft became a very notable person in the US and the Philippines. One of the largest road networks in Metro Manila, the Taft Avenue, was named after him. President McKinley sent him to head the Philippine Commission in 1900. His task was to form a civil government in a country disrupted by the Spanish-American War and the rebellion led by General Emilio Aguinaldo, whom local historians called the country's first president. First Superintendent of Manila Schools Dr. David Prescott Barrows, one of the passengers of American ship USAT Thomas, was appointed the first superintendent of schools for Manila and later the first director of the Bureau of Education. USAT Thomas was named after General George Henry Thomas, a hero of the Battle of Chickamauga during the American Civil War. American journalist Frederic Marquardt coined the term Thomasites to refer to American teachers who came to the Philippines aboard USAT Thomas in 1901. (Source: Panorama Magazine) First Filipino Superintendent Camilo Osias was the first Filipino division superintendent of schools. Osias later became a senator. First American College The Philippine Normal School (PNS) was the first college established in the country under the American government. PNS opened its campus to Filipino students in Manila on September 1, 1901. It became the Philippine Normal University on January 11, 1992. First Concrete Building According to Pampango historian Zoilo Galang, the Kneedler Building was the first concrete office building in the Philippines. First Filipino Chief Justice In 1901, Cayetano Arrelano became the first Filipino chief justice of the court. First Registered Professionals A friend of Jose Rizal, Dr. Trinidad H. Pardo de Tavera, holds the distinction of being the first doctor to sign in the Book I of Registered Professionals on January 25, 1902. Pardo de Tavera, a scientist, was a part of the first Civil Government in the 1900s. Among the members of the Pharmacy profession, it was Dr. Leon Ma. Guerrero who appeared as the first registrant on the second earliest compiled Book I. The date was May 22, 1903. Guerrero is known in history books as the first among many Filipinos to put the Philippines on the scientific map of the world. In Book I of Dentistry, it was Dr. Wallace G. Skidmore who first registered on September 21, 1903. The Board of Dentistry was the first board of professionals created in 1899. The idea of organizing the boards of professionals came from the Americans who occupied the Philippines in 1899. (Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer) First Inventor In 1853, the Spanish colonial government awarded a gold medal to Candido Lopez Diaz, a Filipino who invented a machine for Manila hemp or abaka. First Filipino Chemist Johann Andreas Zobel also founded the first chemical laboratory in the country. Meanwhile, Anacleto del Rosario is considered as the first Filipino chemist. First Dentist Bonifacio Arevalo is widely considered as the first Filipino dentist. In 1908, he was the founding president of Sociedad Dental de Filipinas, the first dental organization in the country. In 1912, Colegio Dental del Liceo de Manila became the first dental school. The first woman dentist was Catalina Arevalo. First Economist According to Pampango historian Zoilo Galang, the first Filipino economist was Gregorio Sanciangco. First Pilot Leoncio Malinas is considered as the first Filipino pilot. He first flew his plane on April 20, 1920. First Accountants Vicente Fabella is considered as the first Filipino certified public accountant (CPA) and Belen Enrile Gutierrez, the first woman CPA in the country. First Cardiologist The first Filipino cardiologist was Dr. Mariano Alimurung, who became an honorary member of the Mexican Society of Cardiology. First West Point Graduate Vicente Lim was the first Filipino who graduated from the prestigious West Point Academy, a military school in the United States. First Female Professionals Among Filipino women, it was Maria Francisco de Villacerna who became the first lawyer; Honoria Acosta-Sison, first physician; Catalina Arevalo, first dentist; Encarnacion Alzona, first historian; Celia Castillo, first sociologist; Filomena

Francisco, first pharmacist; Belen Enrile Gutierrez, first CPA; Socorro Simuangco, first dermatologist; Carmen Concha, first film director and producer; Criselda J. Garcia-Bausa, first paleontologist; Felipe Landa Jocano, first anthropologist; and Ali Macawaris, first oceanographer. A visitor of this website said that Elena Ruiz Causin of Cebu could be among the first female lawyers in the country. First Railroad The Manila-Dagupan Railroad was completed in 1901, becoming the country's first railway system. First Automobile In 1900, La Estrella del Norte shipped from France to the Philippines a "George Richard", the first ever automobile to have landed on the native soil. Its owner was one Dr. Miciano, a rich doctor. The first shipment of automobiles for sale in the country was in 1907, with Bachrach Motors, an affiliate of American firm Ford Motor Co. as the importer. First Labor Union Isabelo delos Reyes, a writer, established the Union Obrera Democratica, the first organized labor union in the country on February 2, 1902. First Political Party On November 6, 1902, Pedro Paterno, a writer, scholar and former prime minister of President Emilio Aguinaldo, founded the Liberal political party. First Opera In 1905, Magdapio, the first Filipino opera, was staged at Zorilla Theater. Pedro Paterno wrote the opera, which was set to the music of Bonus. First Convention of Governors For the first time on October 2, 1906, the governors of Philippine provinces met in a convention in Manila. Sergio Osmena presided the convention. First General Elections The country's first general elections were held on July 30, 1907 under the American government. The people elected the members of the First Philippine Assembly. First Speaker The first speaker of the Philippine Assembly, whose members were elected in 1907, was Sergio Osmena. First Actor in Politics Before Lito Lapid became governor of Pampanga and Bong Revilla assumed the governorship of Cavite, Jose Padilla Sr., a movie actor in the 1930s, had served as the provincial governor of Bulacan. The first actor who invaded the senate was Rogelio dela Rosa. First Diplomats Benito Legarda and Pablo Ocampo were the first Filipino resident commissioners to the Unites States. First Labor Day The first Labor Day in the Philippines was celebrated on May 1, 1913 during the first National Labor Congress in Manila. First Film The first Filipino-produced film, "La Vida de Rizal" was released in 1912. Jose Nepomuceno produced the first Filipino fulllength film "Dalagang Bukid" in 1919. First Actor in Politics Before Lito Lapid became governor of Pampanga and Bong Revilla assumed the governorship of Cavite, Jose Padilla Sr., a movie actor in the 1930s, had served as the provincial governor of Bulacan. The first actor who invaded the senate was Rogelio dela Rosa. First Movie Theater Salon de Pertierra, the country's first movie theater, was built in Escolta, Manila in 1897. A short French film was first shown in the threater. First Comic Stip "Kenkoy" is considered as the first comic strip in the Philippines. Cartoonist Tony Velasquez first published the comic strip in 1929. First TV Station Alto Broadcasting System (ABS) Channel 3, the first television station in the country, went on the air in 1953. First Woman Cabinet Officials Sofira Reyes de Veyra served as "social secretary" under the Quezon and Roxas administrations. In 1941, former President Elpidio Quirino named Asuncion Arriola Perez as the secretary of the Bureau of Public Welfare. First Woman Senator Geronima Pecson was elected to senate in 1947, opening the doors for Filipino women who wanted to join national politics. First Olympian David Nepomuceno, a Filipino serving in the US Navy, was the first Filipino Olympian. A sprinter, Nepomuceno was the country's sole representative to the 1924 Olympics, which was held in Paris.

First Balagtasan The first balagtasan, a local term for poetic debate in honor of Francisco Balagtas, took place in Manila on April 6, 1924. The first participants were Jose Corazon de Jesus and Florentino Collantes. First International Opera Singer Before Lea Salonga became famous in London, New York and Paris for her portrayal of Kim in the musical Miss Saigon, a Filipino woman had long gained international recognition in the world of theater. Jovita Fuentes became famous in Europe for her opera lead roles in Madama Butterfly, Turandot, La Boheme, Iris, Salome and Li Tae Pe in the 1930s. First Grand Opera Noli Me Tangere, an adaptation of Jose Rizal's first novel became the first Filipino full-length or grand opera in 1957. First Woman Barber In June 1927 issue of Philippine Free Press, Martina Lunud from Olongapo City was featured as "Manila's Lady Barber" who could also be the first professional woman barber. She had to find her niche in the male-dominated profession and worked for La Marina barbershop and People's barbershop in Sta. Cruz, Manila later. "This is not a girl's work, I think, but I have done my best to a certain extent, and my customers like my work," the Free Press quoted Lunud as saying. (Source: Ambeth Ocampo, Philippine Daily Inquirer) Asia's First Airline The Philippine Airlines (PAL), which was established in 1941, takes pride in being Asia's oldest commercial airline. However, huge financial losses forced its owner Lucio Tan to close the airline in September 2000. It resumed operations a few months later. The first commercial flight in the country was recorded on March 15, 1941 when a twin-engine Beech Model 18 owned by PAL carried five passengers from Manila to Baguio City in 45 minutes. First Senate President The country's first senate president was Manuel Quezon (1917-1935) under the US government. The senate has produced a number of presidents and political luminaries such as Manuel Roxas, Sergio Osmena, Claro M. Recto, Jose Laurel, Camilo Osias, Eulogio Rodriguez, Juan Sumulong, Quintin Paredes, Lorenzo Tanada, Jose Diokno, Benigno Aquino, Ferdinand Marcos, Arturo Tolentino, Gil Puyat, Jovito Salonga, Joseph Estrada and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. First Female Justice Cecilia Munoz Palma became the first woman to top the bar exam with a score of 92.6 percent in 1935. Palma also became the first female prosecutor in 1947, the first woman judge at the Court of First Instance in the 1950s, first female justice of the Supreme Court in 1973 and first female president of a constitutional commission in 1986. First House Speaker Under Republic Eugenio Perez of San Carlos, Pangasinan became the first speaker of the House of Representatives under the Republic in 1946. Among the laws passed during his tenure were the Magna Carta for Labor, the Minimum Wage Law, the Rural Bank Law and the Central Bank charter. First Woman Cabinet Officials Sofira Reyes de Veyra served as "social secretary" under the Quezon and Roxas administrations. In 1941, former President Elpidio Quirino named Asuncion Arriola Perez as the secretary of the Bureau of Public Welfare. First Woman Senator Geronima Pecson was elected to senate in 1947, opening the doors for Filipino women who wanted to join national politics. First Woman Battalion Commander Lt. Col. Ramona Palabrica-Go became the first woman battalion commander in the history of the male-dominated Philippine Army in January 2003. She was appointed as commander of the elite Aviation Battalion under the Light Armor Brigade based at Fort Magsaysay in Laur, Nueva Ecija province. She was 45 years old and had three children at the time of appointment. First National Celebration of June 12 The first national celebration of June 12 as Independence Day took place in 1962 under the Macapagal administration. Former President Diosdado Macapagal signed the law moving the celebration of the holiday from July 4 to June 12 on May 12, 1962. Quezon Representative Manuel Enverga was the one who proposed the law. First US President To Visit Manila US President Dwight Eisenhower became the first incumbent American president to have visited the Philippines when he arrived in Manila on June 14, 1960. First National Artist Fernando Amorsolo, a painter, was the first national artist declared by the Philippine government. The award was conferred on Amorsolo in April 1972, several days after his death. First American Multinational Firm Computer chips manufacturer Intel Philippines Mfg. Inc. claimed that it was the first American multinational company that established a branch in the Philippines in 1974. Today, the Philippine branch of Intel is one of the top exporters of semiconductor components in the country and contributes significantly to the cash flow of its mother company in the US, which is said to be the world's largest corporation in terms of gross income. First Aeta Lawyer At 26, Wayda Cosme became the first Aeta to become a lawyer when she passed the bar exam in 2001. Cosme, a law graduate from Harvadian Colleges in San Fernando City, Pampanga, works for the Clark Development Corp. (Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer) First Woman President In February 1986, Corazon Cojuangco Aquino, widow of the late Senator Benigno Aquino, became the country's first woman president and the country's 11th president. In January 2001, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, a daughter of the late President Diosdado Macapagal, became the 14th president of the Philippines and the second woman to assume the government's highest post.

First President in Prison Deposed President Joseph Estrada, who lost the presidency to a military-backed people's revolt, was arrested on charges of plunder and corruption in April 2001. His arrest fomented the now infamous May 1 mob revolt that was suppressed by government forces. As this was being written, the trial of Estrada was still ongoing at the Sandiganbayan or the anti-graft court. First Muslim Justice Secretary In January 2003, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo appointed Simeon Datumanong, a Muslim, as the secretary of the Department of Justice, replacing Hernando Perez, who resigned on corruption charges. First Award of Ancestral Domain In what the Arroyo government described as a historic event and the first in the world, it awarded on July 20, 2002 a certificate of ancestral domain title (CADT) for the town of Bakun in Benguet province where some 17,000 Kankanaey and Bago people live. The title covers some 29,444 hectares of ancestral land. Only in the Philippines Trivia Richest Biodiversity A great number of rare and exotic animals exist only in the Philippines. The country's surrounding waters reportedly have the highest level of biodiversity in the world. But this distinction was soon overshadowed by the fact that the Philippines has been dubbed as the "hottest of the hotspots" by no less than the Conservation International. The Philippines is considered as a mega diversity country and a global biodiversity hotspot. In the 2000 Red List of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), 418 of the country's 52,177 species were listed as threatened. The country is home to about 9,000 species of flora, a third of which is said to be endemic to the country. It hosts 165 species of mammals, 121 of which can be found only in this part of the world. The Philippine Biodiversity Conservation Priority-setting Program (PBCPP) described these 165 endemic mammal species as endangered or critically endangered. There are also 332 species of reptiles and amphibians living in the country, 215 of them endemic to the archipelago. It is said that less than 14 of the 114 total species of snakes in the country are poisonous. Several species of frogs and other reptiles remain to be documented. Unfortunately, several species were believed to have vanished without being studied. In 1953, Albert Herre identified 2,117 species of fish in Philippine waters. These included 330 species of endemic freshwater fish. Whales, dolphins and whale sharks have also been visiting Philippine waters near the islands, allowing sightings by both marine scientists and commercial fishermen. About 500 of the 800 known coral reef species in the world are found in Philippine waters. The country also has the highest concentration of birds and butterflies in the world. There are some 86 species of birds and 895 species of butterflies in the country. About 352 species of butterflies are endemic to the Philippines. Many of these biological wonders are now in danger. The main culprit is human's indiscriminate use of the country's natural resources, resulting in an unabated denudation of the Philippine rainforests. In the last 500 years, the Philippines saw the destruction of over 93 percent of its original forest cover. Only about 5 percent of the country's 27,000 square kilometers of coral reefs were in excellent condition. According to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the country's total forest size dwindled to 6.7 million hectares in 1990 from 30 million hectares in 1930. At the same time, the forest-to-man ratio shrank to 0.1 hectare per Filipino in 1990 from 1.13 hectares per Filipino in 1930. By 1996, experts claimed that only 1.8 million to 2.4 million hectares or 6 to 8 percent of original vegetation were remaining. A study by the Philippine Congress said that 123,000 hectares of the country's forest cover are lost every year. The study added that by 2036, there would be no forest left in the Philippines, unless reforestation is started. In January 2003, a study by the Green Tropics International (GTI) claimed that the Philippines would need P30 trillion to reforest country's denuded mountains in over 85 years. Rhinoceros and Elephants With the discovery of different animal fossils in the past century, scientists believed that elephants, rhinoceros and stegodons used to live in the Philippines. Two species of elephants and one species of rhinoceros were identified, namely: Elaphas beyeri, Elaphas cf. namadicus and Rhinoceros philippinensis. Four species of stegodons were also listed by scientists, namely: Stegodon cf. trigonocephalus, Stegodon luzonensis, Stegodon cf. sinensis and Stegodon mindanensis. All of them are now believed extinct. One of the World's Largest Eagles Also known as the monkey-eating eagle, the endangered Philippine eagle is one of the largest in the world. With scientific name Pithecophaga jefferyi, the Philippine eagle lives in the rainforests of Isabela, Samar, Leyte and Mindanao. It has similarities with Papua New Guinea's Harpy Eagle (Harpyopsis novaeguinea). Measuring about one meter in height, the average Philippine eagle has a 76-centimeter highly arched, powerful bill. It lives on large snakes, hornbills, civet cats, flying lemurs and monkeys - the reason why it is also called monkey-eating eagle. It creates its nests in large trees some 30 meters from the ground. With an estimated population of 100 to 300 today, the Philippine eagle is in danger of extinction. It is one of the 400 exotic bird species in the Philippines, which, if not protected, would disappear from the face of the Earth. Along with the Philippine cockatoo, Palawan peacock pheasant, Mindoro imperial pigeon, Sulu hornbill and Cebu black shama, the Philippine Eagle might follow the Cebu flowerpecker which is now presumed extinct. The Philippine Eagle has come to symbolize all efforts by the Filipino people to save the remaining rainforests in the country and preserve the wealth of the nation for the future generation. Flying Lemur One of the most distinct creatures on Earth lives in the Philippines. It doesn't have wings but it can glide across 100 meters of space in a single leap. Like the lemurs of Asia, it moves around at night. Its head resembles that of a dog while its body has similarities with the flying squirrel of Canada.

In Mindanao, people call it "kagwang". Around the world, it is known as colugo or the flying lemur. Zoologists, however, claim that it doesn't fly and it is not a lemur, a large-eyed nocturnal mammal found only in Madagascar and Comoro Islands. The truth is that kagwang or Cynocephalus volans is one of only two species belonging to the primitive order Dermoptera. The other species is the Cynocephalus variegatus or the flying lemur of Malaysia. An ordinary kagwang weighs from 1 to 1.7 kilogram and ranges in length from 14 to 17 inches. It has a wide head with small ears and big eyes. Its 12-inch tail is connected by a patagium, a membrane stretching from forelimbs to tail. This well-developed membrane enables kagwang to glide to a distance of 100 meters or more to escape from predators like the Philippine Eagle. The continuous denudation of tropical forests in the country threatens the remaining population of kagwang, which used to abound in the wilderness of Basilan, Leyte, Samar, Bohol and Mindanao. The exact number of the remaining kagwangs remains to be determined. Alarmed by the situation, the Philippine government declared kagwang as an endangered species and banned its commercial exploitation. Largest and Smallest Bats The Philippines has at least 56 species of bats. It is home to the smallest and the largest bats among the 1,000 known species in the world. The smallest bat in the world is the Philippine bamboo bat (vespertilionid), which belongs to the vespertilionid family. This bat measures about four centimeters (1 1/2 inches) in length and has a wingspan of 15 cm. Approximately, it weighs 1.5 grams (1/20 ounce). The three-layered virgin forest of Subic Bay and Bataan is home to the world's largest bats: the giant flying fox (Acerodon jubatus) and the golden crown flying fox (Pteropus vampyrus). Over the years, these two species of giant fruit bats have roamed around the 10,000-hectare Subic Forest National Protected Area, which is considered the biggest roosting site of bats in the world. An ordinary giant flying fox weighs up to 2.5 pounds (1.1 kilograms), heavier than a golden crown flying fox. The golden crown measures six feet in wingspan, the largest among all bats. The giant flying fox and the golden crown are just two of the 15 species of fruit bats in the country. In other parts of the country, several bat species are now believed extinct. Among them were bare-backed fruit bat or Dobsonia chapmani, which reportedly disappeared from the forests of Negros and Cebu in 1964 and the Panay fruit bat or Acerodon Lucifer which was last seen in 1892. The Philippine tube-nosed bat, Nyctimene rabori of Negros is considered highly endangered. Scientists warned that this breed would disappear before 2015 unless action is taken to protect its remaining population. Last Remnants of Dinosaur Age Scientists call sea turtles as the only living remnants of the dinosaur age, but maybe not for long. Unless sincere efforts are undertaken, sea turtles might follow dinosaurs into extinction. Sea turtles, popularly known in the Philippines as pawikan, belong to the sub-order Cryptodira, and to the families Dermochelyidae and Cheloniidae. There are more than 220 species of turtles in the world, but only seven are considered marine (saltwater). Five of these species are present in the Philippines, namely: Green (Chelonia mydas), Hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata), Loggerhead (Caretta caretta), Olive Ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea) and Leatherback turtles (Dermochelys coriacea). A typical Philippine Sea Turtle weighs between 180 to 210 kilograms and, unlike land turtles, cannot retract its head and limbs under its streamlined shell. The most common species in the Philippines is the Green Sea Turtle, which grows up to 1.5 meters long and weighs up to 185 kilograms. The largest species is the Leatherback Turtle, which grows more than two meters in length. World's Smallest Hoofed Mammal South of Palawan, lies the Balabac Island, home of the world's smallest hoofed mammal - the Philippine mouse deer. Locally known as Pilandok (Tragalus nigricans), this ruminant stands only about 40 centimeters at the shoulder level. In other countries, it is called chevrotain, or simply mouse deer. Contrary to its name, pilandok is not a member of the deer family. It belongs to the family Tragulidae in the mammalian order Artiodactyla. The male species has no antlers like those of a real deer. Instead, it uses its large tusk-like canine teeth on its upper jaw for self-defense; in the same way a deer uses its antlers. Aside from the Pilandok, other mouse deer species include the Malay mouse deer or napu and the African water chevrotain. They are found in Southeast Asia, Sri Lanka, and India. While the mouse deer are widely distributed across Asia, their dwindling population has alarmed the World Conservation Union, which declared them as endangered in 1996. Most Endangered Deer One of the world's rarest mammals lives in the dwindling forest of Panay Island. It is the Philippine spotted deer (Cervus alfredi), considered by many as the most endangered deer in the planet. The Philippine spotted deer is only about 80 centimeters in height (shoulder) and has soft and moderately long hair covering its spotted dark brown body. Its most distinct physical characteristic is its oval yellowish white spots on its back and sides. This species has long been classified as endangered, which means they have been reduced in number to a critical level, or whose habitats have been damaged, altered or reduced. By 1985, a survey reported that only a small population of the Philippine spotted deer was found in the remote regions of Panay. Calamian Deer Calamian Islands, north off Palawan province, keep a species of deer that cannot be found elsewhere. Scientists referred to the hog deer in the islands as Calamian deer in order to distinguish them from other hog deer in the world. An ordinary Calamian deer measures 105 to 115 centimeters in length and 60 to 65 centimeters high at the shoulder and weighs about 36 to 50 kilograms. It is said to have longer and darker legs, compared with other hog deer. From a relatively large number in the 1940s, the population of Calamian deer dropped to "dangerously low levels" in the 1970s. By 1996, its population further declined to only about 900, prompting conservationists to declare it as an endangered species. Largest Endangered Animal People used to call Mindoro as the "Land of the Tamaraws". About 10,000 heads of these unique pygmy water buffalos were roaming around the island-province of Mindoro in the 1900s. But that was a century ago. Today, the Tamaraws in the

province are in danger of extinction, and Mindoro might lose the symbol that it once proudly introduced to the world. The Tamaraw, scientifically known as Bubalus mindorensis, is endemic to Mindoro. Belonging to the family of buffalos, the same categorical group of the Philippine carabao, the Tamaraw is the largest endangered land animal in the Philippines today. In 1996, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) listed it as one of the ten most endangered species in the world. The Tamaraw measures between five to six feet in length and weighs about 300 kilograms. While it shares many similarities with the carabao, the Tamaraw is most known for its horns, with a "V" form, unlike the horns of the carabao, which take a curved shape. The Tamaraw's horns grow about 14 to 20 inches long. From 10,000 heads in the 1900's, the Tamaraw population went down to 369 heads in the late 1980's. Today, reports say there are as few as 20 heads roaming in the wild. World's Smallest Monkey In many respects, the Philippine tarsier (Tarsius syrichta) is different from other animals. Considered as the world's smallest primate, it measures only about twelve centimeters in length. Its two big eyes cannot move and do not have a tapetum the upper protective tissue. Because of this, the Philippine tarsier has learned to turn its head 180 degrees. It has also two grooming claws on each foot and an almost bald tail extending about nine inches. Found in the islands of Samar, Leyte, Bohol and Mindanao, the Philippine tarsier got its name from its elongated tarsus bone. An ordinary tarsier weighs between 117 and 134 grams. It is able to move between trees by leaping as far as three meters. It also has keen senses of hearing and sight. Today, there are only about 1,000 tarsiers inhabiting the wilds of Corella town in Bohol province where the biggest concentration of these rare animals was once reported. Ensuring the continued existence of the Philippine tarsiers is the Philippine Tarsier Foundation Inc. Neither A Bear Nor A Cat Palawan bearcat is neither a bear nor a cat. Known in Southeast Asia as binturong, the bearcat is a species of its own, with population in the forests of Palawan, Borneo, Burma and Vietnam. It belongs to the family of Viverridae (civets). The Palawan bearcat has a long body and a pointed face leading to the nose. Its head and body measure 61 to 96 centimeters in combined length while its tail is almost as long. It weighs 9 to 14 kilograms and lives up to 20 years. It has thick black fur, which hunters use for making clothes and caps. It is usually awake at night when it finds food and uses its tail to climb tall trees where it hides among the leaves. Like other wild animals, Palawan bearcat's population is threatened by human activities. Endangered Cockatoos The Philippines is home to some of the world's most exotic birds. Scientists have documented 577 bird species around the Philippine archipelago. Of this number, 185 species are endemic to the country. The Bird Life International listed 116 of them as "threatened" or "near-threatened". One of the most endangered species is the exotic Kalangay or the Philippine cockatoo (Cacatua haematuropygia), which belongs to Psittacidae or the family of parrots. Some cockatoos can live up to 50 years. They are known for mimicking human voices. Most of them measure 33 centimeters in length and weigh 0.29 kilogram. The remaining population of kalangays, between 1,000 and 4,000, is now restricted to Palawan, particularly in St. Paul's Subterranean River National Park, Pandanan Island and El Nido Marine Reserve. World's Largest Fish Donsol, a fishing town in Sorsogon province, serves as a sanctuary to a group of 40 whale sharks (Rhincodon typus), which are considered as the largest fish in the world. Locally known as "butanding", whale sharks visit the waters of Donsol from November to May. They travel across the oceans but nowhere else have they been sighted in a larger group than in the waters of Sorsogon. They measure between 18 to 35 feet in length and weigh about 20 tons. In 1996, a marine biologist discovered that whale sharks are ovoviviparous, which means that the females produce live offspring from eggs hatched in the uterus. The Philippine government declared whale sharks as endangered species in 1998, thereby banning its plunder and exploitation. Right now, the Department of Tourism is promoting eco-tourism to protect the whale sharks in Donsol. World's Smallest Fish The world's smallest freshwater fish is found in the Philippines. The dwarf goby (Pandaka pygmaea) measures 1.2 centimeters or less than half of an inch, the tiniest known vertebrate. American Ichthyologist Albert Herre first discovered it in Malabon River in 1925. The Philippines is also the home of sinarapan, the world's smallest commercial fish. Sinarapan, scientifically known as Mistichthys luzonensis, is a goby found only in Lakes Bato and Buhi in Camarines Sur province. Sinarapan grows to an average length of 1.25 centimeters, only slightly longer than the dwarf goby. Today, unabated fishing in the two lakes threatens the population of sinarapan. Herbivorous Marine Mammal Dugongs or sea cows, the only herbivorous marine mammals, are often sighted in Philippine waters, particularly near Palawan province and southern Mindanao. According to marine scientists, an ordinary dugong grows up to three meters in length and weighs 400 kilograms. It feeds on sea grass so it always reaches for the bottom of the sea. Whether dugong's appetite has something to do with its long life remains to be verified. It is said that a dugong can live more than 70 years. The Philippine government has banned the commercial exploitation of dugong since 1991. Exotic Seahorses More than 500 of the world's 700 coral species are found under the waters of the Philippines, which is a part of the Coral Triangle - a region in the Pacific Ocean. Seahorses are small saltwater fish belonging to the Syngnathidae family (order Gasterosteiformes), which also includes pipefish and sea dragons. Most seahorse species, probably the most peculiar creatures in the water, live in the Coral Triangle. There are at least 50 known seahorse species in the world. They inhabit temperate and tropical waters but most of them are concentrated in the warm coastal waters of the Philippines.

The seahorse's scientific genus name, Hippocampus is a Greek word, which means, "bent horse." Seahorses range in length from about 2 inches to 14 inches. They are known for their small compressed body covered with 50 rectangular body plates. At least 47 nations and territories around the world are involved in buying and selling seahorses. The largest known importers are China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Among the largest exporters is the Philippines. Largest and Smallest Shells Both Tridacna gigas, one of the world's largest shells, and Pisidum, the world's tiniest shell, can be found under Philippine waters. Tridacna gigas grows as large as one meter in length and weighs 600 pounds while Pisidum is less than 1 millimeter long. A shell called glory of the sea (Connus gloriamaris) is also found in the Philippines and considered as one of the most expensive shells in the world. World's Largest Reptile The saltwater crocodile, which can be found in the Philippines and other Asian countries, is considered as the world's largest reptile. Scientifically known as Crocodylus porosus, it is different from Mindoro's freshwater crocodile (Crocodylus mindorensis), which is a relatively smaller species. An adult saltwater crocodile measures between six to seven meters (20-23 feet) and weighs about two to three tons. There were tales that a 27-foot saltwater crocodile was killed near Lake Taal in Batangas in 1823. It reportedly took 40 men to bring the body ashore. When the men cut the crocodile's body open, they found the body of a horse in seven pieces. The largest crocodile ever sighted was a 33-footer in Borneo in 1920. It was believed to be 200 years old. Endemic Plants The Philippine archipelago also teems with different types of plants. It is said that as many as 9,000 flowering plants can be found in the country, including 200 fruit trees. Among the endemic fruit trees in the Philippines are durian, mabolo, pili and bignay. They Were Vanishing Vanishing were not only the animals endemic to the Philippines, but also several things and cultural traditions that Filipinos in the 1950s grew up with. Among the items that are no longer found in the Philippine market are bakya, banig and salakot (If you still remember them). Bahay kubo is also disappearing in towns and barangays and it would be hard to find a house, with a batalan today. Who still observe cultural traditions like harana, bayanihan and balagtasan. And where did the makata go? Important Dates Trivia January 1 - a holiday in the Philippines; revelry starts on the night of December 31. January 20, 2001 - Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo replaced President Joseph Estrada via a military-backed people's revolt. January 23, 1899 - The First Philippine Republic was inaugurated in Malolos. February 5, 1899 - Emilio Aguinaldo, president of the First Philippine Republic, declared war against the United States. February 17, 1872- Three Filipino priests - Jose Burgos, Mariano Gomez and Jacinto Zamora - were executed in Bagumbayan. February 18, 1565 - Miguel Lopez de Legazpi landed in Samar; took possession of the island. February 22-26, 1986 - Filipinos launched the so-called People Power revolution that led to the ouster of Ferdinand Marcos. March 11, 1942 - General Douglas MacArthur fled from the Philippines; vowed to return. March 16, 1521 - Ferdinand Magellan discovered the Philippines; landed in Samar. March 23, 1901 - President Emilio Aguinaldo surrendered to American forces in Palanan, Isabela; later took an allegiance to the Americans. March 29, 1942 - Luis Taruk organized the Hukbo ng Bayan Laban sa Hapon (Hukbalahap), an underground guerilla movement. March 31, 1521 - The first mass was held in Limasawa Island. April 9, 1942 - Bataan fell to Japanese forces. April 11, 1899 - By virtue of Treaty of Paris, Spain ceded the Philippines to the US; sold for US$20 million. April 26, 1898 - The United States and Spain declared war against each other over the Philippines, Cuba, Guam and Puerto Rico. April 27, 1521 - Battle of Mactan; Magellan was killed by men of Lapu-Lapu. April 30, 1937 - Filipino women won the right to vote during a plebiscite. May 1, 1913 - The first Labor Day was celebrated in the country. May 1, 2001 - Some 20,000 supporters of deposed President Joseph Estrada attacked Malacanang Palace in what is now known as the mob rebellion. May 6, 1899 - The first municipal election was held in Baliuag, Bulacan under American supervision. May 6, 1942 - American and Filipino forces in Corregidor Island surrendered to Japanese forces. May 10, 1897 - Andres Bonifacio was executed at Mount Buntis in Maragondon, Cavite by men of Emilio Aguinaldo.

May 14, 1935 - Filipinos ratified the 1935 Constitution. May 19, 1571 - Miguel Lopez de Legazpi defeated Raha Sulayman; claimed Manila for Spain. June 10, 1647 - Dutch fleet attacked Cavite; later lost to Spaniards. June 12, 1898 - Emilio Aguinaldo declared the Philippines' independence from Spain, its colonial master for 333 years. June 19, 1861 - Jose Rizal was born in Calamba, Laguna. July 4, 1901 - William Howard Taft became the first American civil governor in the country. July 4, 1946 - The United States declared the independence of the Philippines. August 8, 1967 - The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) was established, with the Philippines as a founding member. August 21, 1971 - A bomb explosion disrupted a meeting of Liberal Party politicians at Plaza Miranda in Quiapo, Manila. August 21, 1983 - Benigno Aquino on his return from exile in the US was shot dead at the airport. August 23, 1896 - The Katipuneros led by Andres Bonifacio met at Pugad Lawin in Balintawak and tore their cedulas, in defiance to Spanish authority. August 23, 1901 - The US Ship Thomas, with 600 American teachers on board, arrived in Manila. These teachers were later called Thomasites. August 25 - National Heroes Day August 30, 1951 - The RP-US Mutual Defense Treaty was approved under the Quirino administration. September 21, 1972 - President Ferdinand Marcos declared Martial Law; lifted it on January 17, 1981. September 29, 1901 - A US general ordered his troops to "shoot anything that moves" in what is now known as Balangiga massacre in Samar. October 4, 1762 - British forces sieged Intramuros; Spaniard later reclaimed the walled city. October 20, 1944 - General Douglas MacArthur returned to the Philippines via Palo, Leyte. November 1 - a holiday; All Saint's Day November 1, 1542 - Ruy Lopez de Villalobos named the archipelago Felipinas after King Felipe II of Spain. November 1, 1897 - Emilio Aguinaldo and his supporters established the Biak na Bato Republic. November 30, 1863 - Andres Bonifacio was born in Manila. December 10, 1898 - The US and Spain signed the Treaty of Paris; the former acquired the Philippines from the latter for US$20 million. December 10, 1941 - Japanese forces attacked Manila; occupied the city on January 2, 1942. December 14, 1897 - The revolutionary government led by Emilio Aguinaldo signed a peace pact with the Spanish government. Aguinaldo went to Hong Kong. December 25 - Christmas day December 30, 1896 - Jose Rizal was executed in Bagumbayan. December 30, 1937 - President Manuel L. Quezon declared Tagalog as the basis of the national language. Titles of Philippine Places Trivia What's in a Name? The Department of Tourism (DoT) has the habit of using titles as a way of endorsing tourist destinations in the country. However, other countries are also using similar titles. Aside from Filipinos, the Japanese also use the phrase "Pearl of the Orient" to refer to their country. While Filipinos describe the Banaue Rice Terraces as the eighth wonder of the world, the Chinese use the same title for the Great Wall of China and the Cambodians for Angkor Wat. According to Filipinos, Mount Mayon has the most beautiful cone figure among all volcanoes in the world, the same way the Japanese view Mount Fuji and Costa Ricans view Arenal volcano. Davao City is reportedly the world's largest city but other cities in the world protest, including Puerto Princesa City of Palawan. Boracay Island is sold as the world's most beautiful beach resort, but Thailand, Indonesia, Latin American countries and several Pacific islands are ready to contest this title. Aklan - oldest province Angono, Rizal - town of artists Antipolo City - picnic area Apalit, Pampanga - tapayan capital Baclayon Church, Bohol - oldest stone church Bacolod City - city of smiles Bacolor, Pampanga - country's capital in 1762-1763 Baguio City - summer capital Balabac Island, Palawan - land of Philippine mouse deer Baliuag, Bulacan - the first town to have election Banaue Rice Terraces - stairways to the sky Barasoain Church - headquarters of the Malolos Congress

Basey, Samar - town of mat festival Batanes - smallest province; northernmost province Bataan - last stronghold during Japanese occupation Biak na Bato, San Miguel, Bulacan - site of the Biak na Bato republic Binondo - known for Chinatown district Bocaue, Bulacan - firecrackers' capital Bohol - land of chocolate hills Boracay Island - world's finest beach resort Bulacan - land of heroes and beautiful women Bukidnon - pineapple country Calamba, Laguna - birthplace of Jose Rizal Calamian Islands - land of Calamian deer Calauit Island, Palawan - animal sanctuary Camiguin - land of volcanoes Capiz - seafood capital Catanduanes - land of howling winds Cebu City - premiere city in the south Central Luzon - rice bowl Corregidor Island - island fortress; the rock Crisologo Street, Vigan - kamestizoan district Davao City- world's largest city; durian capital Davao Oriental - easternmost province Divisoria - bargain capital Donsol, Sorsogon - sanctuary of whale sharks Gapan, Nueva Ecija - newest city General Santos City - most competitive city; tuna capital Guiginto, Bulacan - cutflower capital Guimaras - mango capital Hundred Islands, Pangasinan - actually composed of 400 islets Iligan City - land of waterfalls Intramuros, Manila - walled city Kabayan, Benguet - land of mummies Kalibo, Aklan - land of ati-atihan Kawit, Cavite - first independent town Laguna - resort province Laguna de Bay - largest lake Lanao del Sur - center of Islam Las Pinas City - land of the bamboo organ Lipa, Batangas - coffee capital Lubao, Pampanga - the birthplace of Diosdado Macapagal Lucban, Quezon - Pahiyas town Luzon - world's 17th largest island Magallanes, Agusan del Norte - site of the oldest tree Makati City - financial center Malolos, Bulacan - site of the First Philippine Republic Manila - capital city Maria Cristina Falls, Iligan City - mother of industry Marikina City - shoe capital Mexico, Pampanga - formerly known as Masicu Meycauayan, Bulacan - jewelry capital Miag-ao Church, Iloilo - fortress church Mindanao - world's 19th largest island Mindoro - land of the tamaraws Mount Apo - highest peak Mount Arayat - legendary home of Mariang Sinukuan Mount Mayon - a volcano with nearly perfect cone Nayong Pilipino - Philippines in miniature. (The theme park was opened in 1972 and closed on June 25, 2002.) Negros Occidental - sugar capital; sports capital Pagsanjan Falls - Philippines' el dorado Palawan - the last frontier; largest province; westernmost province Pampanga - culinary capital of Luzon Paete, Laguna - town of wood carvers Paoay Church, Ilocos Norte - earthquake baroque Paombong, Bulacan - vinegar capital Philippine Deep - world's second deepest spot Philippines - pearl of the orient Rio Grande de Cagayan - longest river Romblon - marble country San Agustin Church, Intramuros - oldest church in Luzon San Fernando, Pampanga - lantern capital of the world San Juanico Bridge - longest suspension bridge San Sebastian Church - the only steel church in Asia Siargao Island - perfect waves island Spratleys - the islands claimed by six countries Sta. Maria, Bulacan - egg nest of the Philippines Sta. Maria Church, Ilocos Sur - outstanding example of Spanish baroque architecture Subic Freeport - American town Taal Volcano - world's smallest volcano Tagaytay City - the next summer capital Tangub City - Christmas symbol capital Tawi-Tawi - southernmost province Trinidad Valley - land of strawberry and vegetables Tubbataha Marine Park - world's richest bio-geographic area Unisan, Quezon - oldest town University of San Carlos, Cebu City - oldest university Vigan, Ilocos Sur - Spanish colonial town Zamboanga Sibugay - newest province Origin of Names of Places

Trivia Abra - abrir, a Spanish term which means opening Antipolo City - antipolo, a tree that used to abound in the area Agusan - agusan, a Tagalog term referring to a spot where water flows Aklan - from Akean River Albay - albaybay, a Bicolano term meaning by the bay Angeles City - Don Angel Pantaleon de Miranda Antique - hantic or large ants Apayao - apayaw, a native word for negotiable river Aurora - Maria Aurora Quezon, wife of former President Manuel Quezon Babuyan Island - babuyan, which refers to a place where pigs are kept Bacolod City - buklod, referring to a hilly terrain Bago City - bago, a large tree in the area Baguio City - bigjiw, an Igorot term for a moss Balagtas, Bulacan - Francisco Balagtas Balanga, Bataan - balanga, referring to a cooking pot Baliuag, Bulacan - maliway, an adjective meaning tardy Basilan - basilan, which means iron trail Batanes - Ivatan, the natives of the area Batangas - batang, or huge logs Benguet - benget, a Nabaloy term meaning head scarf Biliran -biliran, a native grass used for weaving mats Bohol - bool, a village in Tagbilaran City Bulacan - bulak or cotton Bukidnon - bukidnon, referring to the people of the mountain Butuan City - butuan, a sour fruit in the area Cadiz City - named after Cadiz, Spain Cagayan - carayan, an Ilocano word for river Cagayan de Oro City - kalambaguhan, evolved from the word lambago, a type of tree Calamba, Laguna - kalamba, a wide-mouth earthen jar Calumpit, Bulacan - kalumpit, the name of trees, which used to abound in the area Caloocan City - look, meaning interior Camarines - camarine, a Spanish term for granary Camuigin - kamagong, a tree of the ebony family Capiz - kapis, a Visayan term for pearl shells Caraga - caraga, or inhabitants of the area Catanduanes - named after Catandungan river, along whose banks tando trees used to abound Cavite - kawit or hook Cebu - sugbu Cotabato - kuta bato, or a stone fort Dagupan City - nandaragupan, meaning where once stood a commercial center Dapitan City - dapit, a Cebuano term meaning to invite Davao City - daba-daba, a native term for mythical figures Dumaguete City - managuit, a Cebuano term meaning to capture EDSA - Epifanio delos Santos Avenue Guimaras - himal-us, as local inhabitants called the place in the pre-Spanish period Hagonoy, Bulacan - hagonoy, the name of a weed that used to abound in the area Hermosa, Bataan - hermosa, a Spanish word for beautiful Ifugao - pugo, which means hills Ilocos - loco, a Malay term for lowland Iloilo - ilong or nose Isabela - Queen Isabela of Spain Kalinga - kalinga, a native word for headhunters Lanao - lanaw, a term referring to the people of the lake Laguna - la laguna, meaning the lake Laoag City - iluag, meaning clear or light La Union - from the Spanish term union Legazpi City - Miguel Lopez de Legazpi Leyte - hiraite, the name of the place formerly known as Ete Lucena City - named after the town of Lucena in Andalucia, Spain Luzon - lu zung, a Chinese phrase meaning a far away land Makati City - makati na, meaning the tide is ebbing Maguindanao - danao, or flood Malacanang Palace - may lakan diyan, meaning there lives a gentleman or the Spanish words mala cana (bad sugarcane) Mandaluyong City - may daluyong, meaning where big waves roll Manila - may nilad, a phrase referring to a spot where nilad grows. Marinduque - Marina and Garduke, a legendary couple Masbate - masa bati, which means mix and beat as in making bread Mayon Volcano - magayon, a Bicolano term for beautiful Meycauayan - may kawayan, which refers to a place where bamboos grow Mindoro - mina de oro, or gold mine Misamis - kuyamis, referring to sweet coconut Mountain Province - mountain Mount Makiling - Mariang Makiling, a legendary name Mount Pinatubo - pinatubo, a term meaning left to grow Muntinlupa City - monted de lupa, a vernacular phrase meaning hills Naga City - naga, a Bicolano term for narra tree Negros - negros, a Spanish term for black people Norzagaray, Bulacan - Governor General Fernando Norzagaray Nueva Vizcaya - a Spanish phrase meaning New Biscayne Pagsanjan, Laguna - pinagsangahan, or where the river branched out Palawan - palan yu, a Chinese phrase for beautiful harbor Palayan City - palayan, or rice field Pampanga - pampang, which means riverbank Pangasinan - asin, which means salt Panay - pan hay, a Spanish word Paranaque City - para aqui, a Spanish phrase meaning stop here Pasay City - paso hay, a Spanish phrase meaning there is a pass Pasig River - passi, probably evolved from the word mabagsik, meaning violent in force

Pateros - pato, meaning duck Philippines - Philip II of Spain Plaridel, Bulacan - Marcelo del Pilar Pulilan, Bulacan - pulo ng ulan, meaning island of rain Quezon City - Manuel L. Quezon Quiapo, Manila - kiyapo, a cabbage-like weed Quirino - Elpidio Quirino Rizal - Jose Rizal Romblon - lomlon or donblon Samar - zamal Sarangani - sangir, the language spoken by inhabitants of Sarangani Island Silliman University - Dr. Horace Brinsmade Silliman, a philanthropist from New York Siquijor - quipjod, a native term that means the tide is ebbing Sorsogon - solsogon, a Bicolano term meaning to follow the river Sultan Kudarat - Sultan Kudarat, a Muslim ruler in the 17th Century Sulu - sug, meaning water current Surigao - saliagao, a native term meaning to grab Tarlac - tarlac, an Aeta word which refers to a weed Tagaytay City - taga itay, two words which mean cut and father Tawi-Tawi - jaui jaui, evolved from the Malay term jau that means far Tuguegarao City - tuggui gari yaw, an Ibanag phrase meaning it used to be fire Valenzuela City - Pio Valenzuela Visayas - Bisayas, or the name of the people in the area Zambales - zambals, or the name of the inhabitants in the area Zamboanga -samboangan, evolved from the local term sabuan, which refers to a wooden pole. Philippine Natural Wonders Trivia Third Longest Coastline The Philippines, one of the world's largest archipelagos, also has one of the longest combined coastlines in the planet. The total length of the country's coastlines is 36,289 kilometers or almost twice that of the United States. It is said to be the third country with the longest combined coastlines, after Canada and Indonesia. With 7,107 islands, the Philippines lies between two great bodies of water, namely: on the east by Pacific Ocean, the world's largest ocean and on the west by South China Sea, the world's second largest sea after Caribbean Sea. Eighth Wonder of the World The Banaue Rice Terraces in Ifugao province has been dubbed as the "Eighth Wonder of the World". The Ifugaos carved the terraces from the rocky mountain of Banaue, about 4,000 feet above the sea level, hundreds of years ago. The total outline of this architectural wonder, otherwise known as the "stairways to the sky" is about 13,500 miles long, or about half the globe's circumference and ten times the length of the Great Wall of China. To preserve the natural beauty of the spot, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) declared it as a world heritage site. "For 2,000 years, the high rice fields of the Ifugao have followed the contours of the mountain. The fruit of knowledge passed on from one generation to the next, of sacred traditions and a delicate social balance, they helped form a landscape of great beauty that expresses conquered and conserved harmony between humankind and the environment," the UNESCO said. World's Deepest Spots The world's second deepest spot underwater is in the Philippines. This spot, about 34,440 feet (10,497 meters) below the sea level, is known as the Philippine Deep or the Mindanao Trench. The Philippine Deep is in the floor of the Philippine Sea. The German ship Emden first plumbed the trench in 1927. The world's deepest part of the ocean is the Marianas Trench, which is over 11,000 meters below the seal level. Nearly Perfect Cone Mayon Volcano in Albay province has the distinction of having a nearly perfect cone. Towering at a height of 2,462 meters above the sea level, Mount Mayon overlooks Legaspi City. Its name, derived from the Bicolano term Magayon, means beautiful and is associated with a folk legend. The volcano has a base circumference of 62.8 kilometers. Geologists claimed that the stratovolcano developed its cone shape from a pile around the vent of volcanic materials composed of lava, rock and ash. Its first eruption was recorded in 1616, and there were at least 47 more eruptions since then, the last one in February, 2000. In 1911, its eruption killed 1,300 people and buried the town of Cagsawa. World's Smallest Volcano Taal Volcano, a 406-meter-high crater, is said to be the world's smallest volcano. It is described as "a crater within an island within a lake" because it stands as an island at Taal Lake. The lake was formed after the volcano, which used to be much larger, collapsed. The ridges around Tagaytay City, which overlooks the lake, are believed to be part of the crater of the old volcano. These ridges now serve as the border of the 18-mile-diameter Taal Lake and stretch 32 kilometers from Mount Batulao to Mount Sungay. Also considered as one of the world's most active volcanoes, Taal Volcano has erupted over 20 times since 1572. Animal Sanctuary Located northwest off Palawan mainland is Calauit Island, a 3,700-hectare wildlife sanctuary that serves as a host to African and Philippine wildlife. The Philippine government developed the sanctuary in response to an appeal by the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to save the endangered animals. The only one of its kind in the Philippines, Calauit is home to over 600 species of giraffe, impala, topi, gazelles, eland, and zebra and to Philippine endangered species such as the Calamian deer, Palawan bearcat, Philippine mouse deer, tarsier, pheasant peacock, scaly ant-eater and monitor lizard. The island also provides a refuge to sea turtles (pawikan), giant clams and the rare seacow or dugong. Largest Natural Park The Sierra Madre national park in northern Luzon is the country's largest natural park. The 359,000-hectare park is the home of endangered species such as pawikan (Chelonia mytas), bayakan or giant bat, Philippine eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi), wild boar (Sus philippinesis), Philippine brown dear (Cervus marianus), cloud rat (Ratus mindorensis), flamebreasted fruit dove, kalaw (Philippine hornbill), bukarot (Philippine crocodile), and native owl.

Richest Marine Park The Tubbataha Reefs in Sulu Sea is considered as the world's richest bio-geographic area. Derived from two Samal words meaning, "long reef exposed at a low tide", Tubbataha was declared as the country's first national marine park in 1988. The marine park covers 33,200 hectares and contains what is believed to be the world's largest grouping of marine life, per unit area. Scientists claimed that more than 300 coral species, and at least 40 families and 379 species of fish were recorded in the area. Among the species identified in the area were manta rays, sea turtles, sharks, tuna, dolphins and jackfish. In 1993, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) listed Tubbataha Reefs as a world heritage site. Finest Beach Resort Widely known as one of the world's finest beach resorts, Boracay Island has unsullied fine talcum powder-sand beaches. Its tranquil crystal clear waters are perfect for swimming, sailing, fishing and sunbathing. The island also affords visitor a magnificent view of sapphire seas and golden sunsets. The island lies at the northwest tip of Panay, in the west Visayas region, off the Sibuyan Sea. Siargao Island Siargao Island, lying east of Surigao del Norte province, boasts of white-sand beaches and surfing waves comparable to that of Hawaii. The island is a mass of tropical land with scores of reefs, points and white beaches. American surf photographer John Callahan discovered the remarkable waves of the island in 1993. He came back from his trip armed with stories about the lovely sun-drenched island and documented his find with beautiful photographs. Siargao's Cloud Nine break is said to be among the best in the world. Longest Cave The 15-kilometer St. Paul Cave in Palawan province is considered as the longest natural cave in the country. Other notable caves in the Philippines are the 8.9-kilometer Odloman Cave in Mabinay, Negros Oriental; and the 7.7-kilometer Odessa Tumbali Cave in Penablanca, Cagayan. In terms of vertical range, the deepest cave is the Sumaging-Latipan-Lomyang Crystal Cave in Sagada Mountain Province. Its deepest point is 163 meters from its mouth. World's Longest Underground River Palawan's St. Paul's underground river is said to be the world's longest underground river. The navigable part of the river inside the cave of the 4000-acre St. Paul Subterranean River stretches 8.2 kilometers in length (5 miles). However, this title is being disputed in Vietnam where an underground river known as Son Trach River reportedly extends 7 miles in length. Filipino explorers, however, claimed that once fully measured, St. Paul total length would reach 15 kilometers. Longest River Cagayan River or Rio Grande de Cagayan, with a total length of 353 kilometers, is the longest and widest river in the Philippines. It bisects the Cagayan Valley from north to south. Also considered as the mightiest watercourse, Cagayan River sources its water from smaller rivers and streams in the mountain ranges of Sierra Madre, Caraballo, Cordillera, and Balete Pass. This river meets the South China Sea in an impressive expanse known as Aparri Delta. The other notable rivers in Luzon are Chico, Abra, Pampanga, and Bicol. In the south, the principal rivers are Mindanao (known in its upper course as the Pulangi) and Agusan. Meanwhile, the underground river of St. Paul's Natural Park in Palawan is considered as one of the world's longest subterranean rivers. The world's longest rivers are the Nile River in Egypt and Amazon River in South America. Also worth mentioning are the Yangtze River in China, Mekong River in Vietnam, and Euphrates River in Iraq. Highest Mountain Towering at a height of 2,954 meters (9,692 feets), Mount Apo is the highest peak in the country. Located 25 kilometers south of Davao City, the mountain which forms part of the Mount Apo National Park is blessed with hot springs, sulfur pillars, geysers, lakes, rivers and waterfalls. It is home to a number of endemic animals such as the Philippine eagle, falconet and mynah. Its peak can be reached on a four-day hiking trip. Apo means "grandfather of all mountains". Scientists classify it as a semi-active volcano. Materials from previous eruptions have made the soil around the mountain extremely fertile. The mountain's base covers 72,796 hectares of mountain ranges that extend from Davao del Sur to Misamis Oriental. While the mountain's peak looks snow-capped, the white appearance is actually caused by the presence of sulfur. Longest Mountain Range The longest mountain range in the country is Sierra Madre, which stretches from Cagayan province in northeastern Luzon to Aurora province in southern Tagalog. Highest Waterfalls The highest waterfall in the country is the 388-meter-high Aliwagwag Falls, in Cateel town, Davao Oriental province. The cascade has 13 rapids and looks like a stairway with 84 steps of varying heights. The second highest waterfall is located in Barangay Rogongon, 54 kilometers from Iligan City. Limunsudan Falls, a twotiered fall, has a combined height of 870 feet. Its lower cascade alone measures 400 feet, higher than the entire height of Maria Cristiana Falls. Maria Cristina Falls, also in Iligan City (Lanao del Norte), towers at 320 feet. Also known as the "Mother of Industry", Maria Cristina Falls supplies 80 percent of the total energy requirement of the Mindanao region. Another breathtaking waterfall in Iligan City is the Tinago Falls, located 13 kilometers from the city proper. As its name implies, this 420-foot waterfall lies hidden in a deep ravine. The world's highest waterfall is the Angel Falls in Venezuela. As a tributary of Caroni River, this waterfall has a total elevation of 3,281 feet. Largest Lake Laguna de Bay, an inland body of water covering 900 square kilometers, is the country's largest lake. Located between the provinces of Rizal and Laguna, the lake receives its water from 21 river systems. In the middle of the lake lies the island of Talim, a heavily populated settlement of mostly fishermen. The second largest lake in the country is Lake Sultan-Alonto in Mindanao. Commonly known as Lake Lanao, the lake covers an area of 355 square kilometers. Meanwhile, the world's largest inland body of water is the Caspian Sea, which is actually a lake in the boundary of Europe and Asia and covering an area of 143,240 square miles. Lake Superior (North America), Lake Victoria (Africa), the Aral Sea (Russia) and Lake Huron (North America) are also among the world's largest lakes. Towering Cliffs The towering limestone cliffs of El Nido that rise magnificently from the crystal clear waters of South China Sea amidst verdant backdrop are among the most astonishing pictures one can see in the Philippines. El Nido, a secluded group of islands west off Palawan province, is also known as a sanctuary of endangered birds and marine animals.

World Heritage Sites The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) has included four places and four Catholic churches in the Philippines in the list of world heritage sites. These include the historic town of Vigan in Ilocos Sur province, which is known for its Spanish colonial houses; the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park in Palawan province, which boasts of the world's longest underground river; the Tubbataha Reef National Marine Park also in Palawan, which is home to over 300 coral species and 400 species of fish; and the rice terraces in Ifugao province, which cover about 20,000 hectares of the Cordillera mountain range. The four Catholic churches also included in the list of world heritage sites are the Santo Tomas de Villanueva Church in Miag-ao, Iloilo, which the Agustinians built as a fortress-church in Baroque-Romanesque style on a hill in 1786; the Nuestra Se? dela Asuncion in Santa Maria, Ilocos Sur, which is located on a hill surrounded by a stone wall; the San Agustin Church in Intramuros, Manila, which was built as early as 1587; and the Church of San Agustin in Paoay, Ilocos Norte, which was made of coral stone and was adorned like an Asian temple. Signatory to Environmental Pacts The Philippines is a signatory to the following international environmental agreements: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, and Wetlands (Source: US Central Intelligence Agency) Philippine National Records Trivia Most Populated Islands As of 2000, around 56 percent of Filipinos were living in Luzon, while only 23.7 percent were living in Mindanao and 20.3 percent in the Visayas. Most Populated Region Southern Tagalog or Region 4 had the most number of inhabitants at 11.8 million as of 2000, higher than 9.9 million in Metro Manila and 8 million in Central Luzon. The combined population of these three regions made up for around 39 percent of the country's total population. Most Densely Populated Region Metro Manila or the National Capital region is the most densely populated region in the Philippines. As of 2000, there were 15,617 persons occupying each square kilometer of land in the metropolis, or nearly 61 times the population density of 255 persons per square kilometer in the whole country. Region with Most Cities As of 2002, Western Visayas or Region 6 had a total of 16 cities beating Metro Manila as the region with the most number of cities. Metro Manila had only 13 cities, 4 municipalities and 1,694 barangays. Largest Province Palawan is considered as the largest province in the country. It has a total land area of 14,896 square kilometers distributed in 1,769 islands and is composed of one city, 23 municipalities and 431 barangays. The next largest provinces in the country are Isabela, with a land area of 10,664 square kilometers; and Cagayan, 9,002 square kilometers. Most Populated Province Cebu province, including its 6 cities, had a total population of 3.1 million as of 2000, the highest among the country's 79 provinces. Other highly populated provinces were Pangasinan, with 2.434 million inhabitants; Bulacan, 2.23 million; Negros Occidental, 2.14 million; and Cavite, 2.06 million. Most Densely Populated Province As of 2000, Cavite province in Southern Tagalog was the most densely populated among provinces with 1,602 inhabitants per square kilometer while Apayao province in Cagayan Valley was the most sparsely populated with only 24 persons per square kilometer. Richest Provinces In its 2000 survey, the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) identified the ten provinces with the lowest poverty incidence levels. Each of the four districts in Metro Manila, composed of several cities and/or municipalities, was treated as a province in the survey. The 2nd district of Metro Manila (Mandaluyong, Marikina, Pasig, Quezon City and San Juan) topped the list, with a poverty incidence of only 4.1 percent while the 4th district (Las Pinas, Makati, Muntinlupa, Paranaque, Pasay, Pateros and Taguig) came in second with 4.9 percent. Others in the list are Bulacan, with a poverty incidence of 5.4 percent; 1st district of Metro Manila (Manila), 5.8 percent; Batanes, 7.5 percent; Rizal, 8 percent; Laguna, 8.6 percent; 3rd district of Metro Manila (Caloocan, Valenzuela, Malabon and Navotas), 9 percent; Bataan, 9.9 percent; and Cavite, 10.2 percent. Poorest Provinces In its 2000 survey, the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) identified Sulu province (ARMM) as the poorest province in the Philippines, with a poverty incidence level of 63.2 percent. Masbate (Bicol) registered a poverty incidence level of 62.8 percent while Tawi-Tawi had 56.5 percent. Other provinces in the list of the 10 poorest are Ifugao, which had a poverty incidence of 55.6 percent; Romblon, 55.2 percent; Maguindanao; 55.1 percent; Lanao del Sur, 55 percent; Sultan Kudarat, 54.3 percent; Camiguin, 53.1 percent; and Camarines Norte, 52.7 percent. Bulacan Had Highest Human Development Index Provinces near Metro Manila registered the highest human development index (HDI), a gauge of quality living, in the country. Bulacan, a province in Central Luzon and located just north of Metro Manila, topped the list of the 77 provinces, with an HDI of 0.760 in 2000. Bataan, also in Central Luzon, came in second with an HDI of 0.746. Located south of Metro Manila, Cavite (southern Luzon) was third in the list with an HDI of 0.735 while Rizal, also a province in southern Luzon located just east of Metro Manila, came in fourth with an HDI of 0.733. Other provinces in the top ten list are Batanes (Cagayan Valley region), with an HDI of 0.717; Laguna (southern Luzon), 0.709; Ilocos Norte (northern Luzon), 0.684; Batangas (southern Luzon), 0.683; Pampanga (central Luzon), 0.665; and Isabela (Cagayan Valley region), 0.649.

Province with Most Number of Cooperatives Apart from topping the list of provinces in terms of income and literacy, Bulacan also boasts of its high number of cooperatives estimated as 1,120 with total assets of P3.8 billion as of 1998. The province had also registered the lowest poverty incidence of 17 percent. Sulu Had Lowest Human Development Index Appearing at the bottom of the HDI ladder in 2000 are Mindanao provinces which have been most devastated by decades of armed conflict. The NSCB identified the ten most lagging provinces in terms of human development as Sulu (western Mindanao), Tawi-Tawi (western Mindanao), Basilan (western Mindanao), Ifugao (Cordillera region), Maguindanao (central Mindanao), Lanao del Sur (central Mindanao), Agusan del Sur (northern Mindanao), Western Samar (eastern Visayas), Lanao del Norte (central Mindanao), and Sarangani (southern Mindanao). Province with Most Cities As of 2002, Negros Occidental in Western Visayas had 13 cities, 19 municipalities and 661 barangays. Province with Most Municipalities As of 2002, Cebu province in Central Visayas had 6 cities and 47 municipalities. Bohol, on the other hand, had 1 city and 47 municipalities. Province with Most Barangays As of 2002, Iloilo province in Western Visayas had 2 cities, 42 municipalities and 1,901 barangays. Least Populated Province As of 2000, Batanes province had the lowest population among provinces at 16,467. It was followed by Camiguin, with 74,232 inhabitants; Siquijor, 81,598; and Apayao, 97,129. Most Populated City Quezon City in northern Metro Manila is the country's most populated city. With a total population of 2.17 million as of 2000, Quezon City is composed of numerous subdivisions and has the highest concentration of urban poor residents in Metro Manila. Other highly populated cities in the country are Manila, with 1.58 million residents; Caloocan, 1.18 million and Davao, 1.15 million. The least populated city is Tagaytay City in Cavite province, with a population of less than 45,500. Most Polluted City People go to Baguio City during summer because of its cool weather and fresh air. Ironically, a World Bank study in 2001 has found Baguio City's air as the most polluted in the country. The city's air reportedly had 75.2 micrograms of particles per cubic meter, compared to Metro Manila's 65.8, Cebu City's 45 and Davao City's 39.8. Philippine World Records Trivia The Leaf Musician He became famous around the world for his distinct talent. The Guinness Book of World Records has recognized Filipino National Artist Levi Celerio as the only man who could play beautiful music with a leaf. Celerio appeared in "That's Incredible" and the Mel Griffin show where he played music with a leaf. The Guinness Book of World Records said: "The only leaf player in the world is in the Philippines". As a composer and lyricist, Celerio wrote more than 4,000 songs. The Woman With 3,400 Shoes Former First Lady Imelda Marcos was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the woman with the largest collection of shoes. Reports said that when the Marcos family fled to Hawaii during the People's Power Revolution in 1986, around 3,400 pairs of shoes were discovered in one room at Malacanang Palace. They were the First Lady's collection. In 1987, Mrs. Marcos denied this and claimed she had only 1,060 pairs of shoes. The former First Lady has an eight-and-ahalf inch footwear size. She said her having many shoes is not a symbol of extravagance but an expression of love and appreciation for Filipino-made shoes. Most of her shoes, she added, were bought from Marikina, the shoe capital of the Philippines. For this, Marikina City had acquired 200 pairs of the Marcos shoes and put them on display at the city's shoe museum. Largest Loot in History Much has been said about the late President Ferdinand Marcos being the world's richest man. While this title was not officially designated to Marcos, the late dictator, however, was known as the man who took away the largest loot in history. While deposed President Joseph Estrada faces plunder charges for allegedly amassing some US$82 million in kickbacks and payoffs during his 31-month stint at Malacanang Palace, Marcos had reportedly stolen billions of dollars. There were different versions of the fabled Marcos wealth. The fabled Marcos wealth reportedly consists of billions of dollars and tons of gold bullions deposited in several banks in Switzerland. Government lawyers claimed that Marcos had used dummy foundations to hoard his wealth. Among such foundations that the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) had identified are Sandy, Xandy, Wintrop, and Rayby. Former Senate President Jovito Salonga, who served as the first PCGG chairman under the Aquino administration said the agency had identified 51 Marcos bank accounts in Switzerland, 23 of which are in Credit Suisse; 3 at Swiss Bank Corporation in Fribourg; 15 in Swiss Bank Corporation in Geneva; 6 at Banque Paribas in Geneva; 3 at Hoffman in Zurich; and one each at Lombard Odeii and Trade Development Bank in Geneva. According to former Solicitor General Francisco Chavez, the Marcos family still keeps some US$13.4 billion in deposits at the Union Bank of Switzerland under the account of Irene Marcos-Araneta, on top of a hoard of 1.241 tons of gold at an underground bunker at Kloten Airport in Zurich. Chavez also disclosed that former First Lady Imelda Marcos has 800,000 ounces of gold in unfrozen accounts in Switzerland. Before this, Australian private investigator Reiner Jacobi, who served as a PCGG consultant in 1989, had unraveled the socalled Irene Araneta account and even went to the extent of claiming that the Marcoses had a US$250-billion gold hoard in Switzerland. The PCGG, however, described Jacobi's claims as exaggerated and too fantastic. In October 1999, Filipino businessman Enriquez Zobel, a known crony of the late president told a Senate committee that the Marcos wealth could have swollen to US$100 billion in gold and dollar deposits, the bulk of which is deposited with the US

Treasury. In his sworn testimony, Zobel said the Marcos wealth is distributed to gold deposits, dollar accounts, and real estate properties located in various parts of the world. The Marcos gold deposits alone, Zobel said, may have reached US$35 billion. Zobel had also mentioned the US$13.4 billion Irene Marcos Araneta account at the Union Bank of Switzerland. The gold bars are allegedly kept in various banks in Portugal, Vatican City, Switzerland, Spain, Germany, Solomon Island, and the US. Zobel said Marcos obtained the gold bars after the Liberation (1946) from the Yamashita treasure and from soldiers who sold their gold bars for only US$20 per bar. Another version was that of Rogelio Roxas who claimed that Marcos' men seized the real golden buddha from his house at Aurora Hills in Baguio City on April 5, 1971. The buddha reportedly costs billions of dollars. In February 2001, the Philippine Daily Inquirer disclosed the alleged attempt of Irene Marcos Araneta to launder billions of dollars in deposits under the 885931 accounts from Union Bank of Switzerland to Deutsche Banks in Dusseldorf, Germany. Aside from the Marcos family and the Philippine government, the 9,539 victims of human rights under the Marcos regime have interest in the Marcos wealth. World's Largest Shoes In December 2002, the Guinness Book of World Records has recognized Marikina City for crafting the world's largest pair of shoes - each measuring 5.5 meters (18.2 feet) long, 2.25 meters (7.4 feet) wide and 1.83 meters (six feet) high. The materials for the P1.2 million pair of shoes could produce 250 pairs of regular shoes. World's Largest Golf Event According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the biggest amateur golf tournament takes place in Baguio City, Philippines every year. Dubbed as the Fil-Am Golf Championship since 1949, the 72-hole golf tournament attracts close to 1,000 amateur golfers from all over the archipelago. The sites of the prestigious event are the challenging par-69, 5,001yard Camp John Hay golf course and the par-61, 4,038-yard Baguio Country Club. Among the top contending teams in the event are the Canlubang, Southwoods, Calatagan, and Wack Wack. World's Largest Synchronized Aerobics Exercises On February 16, 2003, some 107,000 Filipinos joined a 30-minute aerobics exercise supervised by the Department of Health (DOH) at Rizal Park in Manila, which could be the largest synchronized exercise in the world. Thousands of people also gathered at different venues in Cebu City and Davao City to participate in the exercise simultaneous with the Manila event. The new record broke the previous Guinness Book of World Records set at a park in Guadalajara, Mexico by some 38,633 people who joined the massive aerobics exercises in June 1998. World's Largest Lantern On December 24, 2002, the city of San Fernando in Pampanga province switched on the world's largest Christmas lantern a P5-million structure with 26.8 meters in diameter. World's Fastest Reader As a student at the Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois, Maria Teresa Calderon became the world's fastest reader. She set the record of having read 80,000 words per hour. Sili King The Guinness Book of World Records recognizes Eriberto Gonzales of Camalig, Albay as the fastest chili eater. In the Philippines, he is known as the "Sili King". Gonzales accomplished his feat in the "Sili-Eating Challenge 1999" in Bicol where he ate 350 pieces of sili in three minutes. (Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer) World's Best Finance Minister In 1997, Roberto de Ocampo who was serving in the Cabinet of former President Fidel Ramos, was recognized as the "World's Best Finance Minister" for overhauling the country's tax system through the Comprehensive Tax Reform Package. World's Best Central Bank Governor In October 2002, international magazine Global Finance named Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Rafael Carlos B. Buenaventura as one of the world's two best central bankers for "his remarkable skill in guiding" the Philippine economy under a trying year. The other central banker named was Reserve Bank of Austalia (RBA) Governor Ian MacFarlane. World Young Business Achievers In 1995, Joseph Donato Pangilinan, president of Manila Pearl, won the World Young Business Achiever Award (WYBA) in London. In 1997, Renato Pangilinan, chief executive officer of Juventus International won the Entrepreneurship Award in Newfoundland, Canada. In 1998, Andrew James Masigan, founder of Dimsum n' Dumpling won the Award of Excellence in Business Strategy. World's Sweetest Fruit What can be considered as the world's sweetest mango is produced in the island province of Guimaras. While other countries have different varieties of the tropical mango (Mangifera indica), none of them tastes like the superbly delicious Guimaras mango, which is a variety of the popular Carabao Mango (Manginera indica). In 1995, the Guinness Book of World records listed the Carabao Mango as the sweetest fruit in the world. In the Philippines, mango ranks third among fruit crops in production, next to banana and pineapple. The country supplies mangoes to Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and recently the United States. In 1995, the Philippines produced 432,322 metric tons of mangoes, with an average production of 6.35 metric tons per hectare and 250 kilograms per tree from a total production area of 68,056 hectares. World's Largest Legal Tender In 1998, during the Philippine Centennial celebration of independence, the Central Bank asked the Guinness Book of World Records to accredit its P100,000 commemorative bills, measuring 8 ½ inches wide and 14 inches long, as the world's largest legal tender. The commemorative bills were called Brobdingnagian bills. World's Largest Bamboo Organ The bamboo organ at St. Joseph Church in Las Pinas City is arguably the world's largest bamboo organ. The centuries-old musical instrument was constructed between 1792 and 1819. It has 174 bamboo pipes, 122 horizontal reeds of soft metal, a five-octave keyboard, and 22 stops arranged in vertical rows. World's Largest City The residents of Davao City claim they live in the world's largest city. They are talking about the land size of the city that covers 2,212 square kilometers. Most of these areas, however, are distributed as forests, coconut groves and rice fields. In comparison, New York, the largest city in the United States, has an area of only 787 square kilometers while the whole of Metro Manila covers only 636 square kilometers. Davao City lies at the mouth of the Davao River near the head of Davao Gulf. It encompasses about 50 small ports in its

commercial sphere. Davao has large banana plantations, whose produce are exported to Japan and other countries. The city also boasts of a modern international airport. Puerto Princesa City, a chartered city of Palawan province, is disputing Davao City's title. It claims to have a total land area of 2,539 square kilometers encompassing 66 barangays. In terms of population and land area, the world's truly largest cities are Tokyo, Mexico City, Sao Paolo, New York City, Bombay, Shanghai and Los Angeles. World's Largest Volume of Text Messages Smart Communications, one of the two giant mobile phone networks in the country, claimed that the volume of text messages passing through its network reached 240 million daily as of 2001. This excluded text messages sent via the other networks. Such volume of text messages is said to be larger than those sent in the entire European continent during the same year. World's Largest High School The Rizal High School in Caniogan, Pasig City (eastern Metro Manila) is said to be the world's largest high school in terms of student population. The school has more than 20,000 students. World's Longest Barbecue On April 30, 2002, about 50,000 people participated in the "Kalutan ed Dagupan" festival in Dagupan City (Pangasinan province, Northern Luzon, Philippines) to help grill and partake of the 1,001-meter long barbecue, that broke the previous World Record of 613 meter-long barbecue grilled in Canchia, Peru on November 13, 1999. The people of the city used hundreds of grills, each measuring 1.2-meter long, to cook the barbecue. The grills' total measure was about 800 meters long, enough to surpass the Peruvian record. The barbecue consisted of bangus (milkfish), pork, chicken, vegetables and cold cuts. A video footage was sent to the Guinness Book of World Records for validation. (Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer) World's Largest Flower In February 2002, an environmental organization discovered what could be one of the world's largest flowers in the 5,511hectare Sibalom National Park in Antique province. Measuring about 22 inches in diameter, the endangered flower, locally named as "Uruy", (Rafflesia sp.) has no stem and leaves. (Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer) World's Largest Salad The residents of Baguio City took pride in having tossed what was believed to be the world's largest salad - a three-ton mix of assorted vegetables. On September 29, 2002 during the Tossed Salad Festival in commemoration of the city's 93rd charter anniversary, 67 students and members of the Baguio Association of Hotels and Inns (Bahai) mixed 2,976 kilograms of lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, bell peppers and other vegetables in a tin and wrought iron bowl measuring 20 feet long, 10 feet wide and 2 feet deep. Some 13,657 people were able to partake of the P1.5 million mixtures. They paid P20 for each serving of the tossed salad with Thousand Island dressing and another take-out bowl of salad with a gourmet vinaigrette dressing consisting of apple cider vinegar and olive oil. The city broke its own record set a year earlier. On September 16, 2001, a 917-kilogram of salad was able to feed 4,861 residents and tourists of Baguio City. On September 14, 2002, a religious group prepared a giant Caesar's salad that fed only 1,000 people in Salt Lake City, Utah. World's Largest Durian Candy Bar On March 15, 2002, 25 people in Davao City spent six hours to cook, mold and roll the world's largest durian candy bar - a 6-meter, 200-kilogram delicacy made of durian, a smelly but sweet fruit commonly associated with the name of the city. (Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer) World's Longest Mat The people of the agricultural town of Basey, Samar own the distinction of having weaved the world's longest mat, or "banig" in the local parlance. During the town's Banigan-Kawayan Festival on September 29, 2000, hundreds of people paraded the mat, which extended for more than a kilometer. The one-meter wide mat has been weaved for several weeks by groups of people from the different barangays of Basey. While the mat was not submitted as an entry to the Guinness Book of World Records, Basey Mayor Wilfredo Estorninos described the feat as a source of pride for all Basaynons. Each year, the town, which has weaving as its prime industry, comes to life when it celebrates outlandishly the feast of St. Michael, its patron saint. The highlight of the feast is the Banigan-Kawayan Festival, where the women of Basey weave a variety of intricately designed mats from sedge grass locally known as tikog (Fimbristylis milliacea). This tradition was handed down from many generations. The Church of Basey was built in 1864. World's Largest Pearl A Filipino diver discovered what is now described as the world's largest pearl in a giant Tridacna (mollusk) under the Palawan Sea in 1934. Known as the "Pearl of Lao-Tzu", the gem weighs 14 pounds and measures 9 ½ inches long and 5 ½ inches in diameter. As of May 1984, it was valued at US$42 million. It is believed to be 600 years old. World's Largest Covered Coliseum At the time it was completed in 1959, the Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, Quezon City was touted as the world's largest covered entertainment center. Otherwise known as the Big Dome, it has a floor area of 2,300 square meters and a seating capacity of 33,000 people. One of the World's Best Hotels In 1983, British magazine Executive Travel named Manila Hotel as one of the ten best in the world while Business Traveler, another British publication named it as one of the top ten business hotels in the world in 1986. In 1992, the Institutional Investor magazine called Manila Hotel as the world's best hotel and in 1993, the Vienna-based Treasury Publishing included it in the list of the most famous hotels in the world. Among the many political luminaries and celebrities who have stayed at the Manila Hotel were Ernest Hemingway, General Douglas McArthur, Marlon Brando, Helen Keller, John Wayne, Rocky Marciano, Richard Nixon, Robert Kennedy, Emperor Akihito, John Rockefeller, Dwight Eisenhower, Neil Armstrong, Anatoly Karpov, Bob Hope, Henry Kissinger, Princess Margaret, Brooke Shields, John Denver, Bon Jovi, Ben Kingsley, Richard Attenborough, Julio Iglesias, Richard Cheney, Garri Kasparov, Sultan Bolkiah, Rod Stewart, Nick Price, Greg Norman, Arnold Parmer, Bill Clinton, Helmut Kohl, Nelson Mandela and Prince Charles. (Source: Panorama magazine)

One of the Best Banks Global Finance, a financial magazine in the US, named the Bank of Philippine Islands, the oldest bank in the country, as the best domestic bank in emerging markets in 1997, 1999, 2000 and 2001. Emerging markets refer to developing economies, mostly in Asia. Asia's Best Business School The Makati-based Asian Institute of Management (AIM) is richly considered as one of the top business schools in Asia. In the year 2001, it received the Beyond Grey Pinstripes Award for having MBA programs that integrate social, environmental and sustainability topics into business training. The award is a joint project of The Aspen Institute Initiative for Social Innovation through Business (Aspen ISIB) and World Resources Institute. Influential Businesswoman In its 2002 list, US-based Fortune Magazine ranked Teresita Sy-Coson, a daughter of Filipino-Chinese tycoon Henry Sy Sr. and executive vice president of SM Prime Holdings, as the world's 39th most influential woman in international business outside the United States. The SM Prime Holdings is a conglomerate engaged in retail, real state, manufacturing, banking and finance. World's Second Most Devastated City The late US President and General Dwight Eisenhower described Manila as the world's second most devastated city during World War II, next to Warsaw, Poland which was reduced to ruins by the Nazi's attack. Before he became president, Eisenhower served in the Philippines under General Douglas Macarthur from 1935 to 1939. Second Largest Geothermal Power Source As of 2002, the Philippines was producing about 1,765 megawatts of geothermal energy, making it the world's second largest geothermal power user after the United States. The Department of Energy said the country could edge out the US at the top by installing a new geothermal power plant with a 900-megawatt capacity. World's Third Largest Banana Producer The Philippines is considered as the world's third largest producer of bananas, after Costa Rica and Ecuador. Large plantations in southern Mindanao produce most bananas exported by the Philippines. Some 30,000 hectares in the region are planted to bananas. The Philippines is also one of the largest producers of coconut, cassava, mango, pineapple, tilapia, tuna, shrimps, and prawns. Filipino Heroes & Artists Trivia Bonifacio Abdon - father of modern kundiman Nicanor Abelardo - master of kundiman Napoleon Abueva - father of modern Philippine sculpture Avelino Galang Adriano - dean of furniture makers Macario Adriatico - father of Manila charter Faustino Aguilar - Alexander Dumas of the Philippines Emilio Aguinaldo - first Philippine president Arturo Alcaraz - father of geothermal energy development Dalisay Aldaba - great little butterfly from the Philippines Benjamin Almeda - father of Filipino inventors Fernando Amorsolo - grand old man of Philippine art Pablo Antonio - renaissance man Cecilio Apostol - prince of poets in Spanish Francisca Reyes Aquino - folk dance pioneer Melchora Aquino - grand old woman of revolution Francisco Arcellana - an artist of a very monster Nora Aunor - superstar Lamberto Avellana - boy wonder of Philippine movies Natalio Bacalso - king of Visayan writers Francisco dela Cruz Balagtas - father of Philippine literature Jose Bautista - giant of Philippine Journalism Ishmael Bernal - the genius of Philippine cinema Andres Bonifacio - the great plebian Pedro Bukaneg - father of Ilocano Poetry Felipe Calderon - author of the Malolos Constitution Patronicio Tagamora de Carvajal - dean of stars in Philippine theater Modesto Castro - prince of Tagalog prose Narciso Claveria - count of Manila Levi Celerio - poet of Philippine music Pilita Corales - Asia's queen of songs Gregoria de Jesus - Lakambini Jose Corazon de Jesus - father of Balagtasan Sharon Cuneta - megastar Atang dela Rama - the once and future star Felipe de Leon - nationalist composer Gerardo de Leon - master filmmaker Narcisa de Leon - grand old woman of Philippine movies Isabelo delos Reyes - father of Philippine labor movement Gregorio del Pilar - hero of Tirad Pass Marcelo del Pilar - father of Philipppine Journalism Bert del Rosario - father of Tagalog short stories Nieves Baens del Rosario - champion of the workingman Geminiano de Ocampo - father of modern ophthalmology in the Philippines Jose Drillon - father of Philippine agribusiness Victor Edades - father of modern Philippine painting Josefa Llanes Escoda - Florence Nightingale of the Philippines Alberto Feliciano - Dr. Filipino Julian Felipe - father of national anthem Juan Flores - dean of Filipino woodcarvers

Germie Fontilla - queen of chess Jovita Fuentes - the Philippines' prima donna Eugenio Juan Gonzales - father of Philippine condominiums Leonor Orosa Goquingco - mother of Philippine theater dance Fernando Ma. Guerrero - prince of Filipino lyric poets in Spanish Leon Ma. Guerrero - father of Philippine botany Luis Guerrero - dean of medicine in the Philippines Wilfredo Ma. Guerrero - pioneer of outreach theater Laureano Guevarra - father of Marikina shoe industry Amando Hernandez - poet for the common man Guillermo Hernandez - dean of Filipino sportscasters Jose Hernandez - dean of Filipino diplomats Graciano Lopez Jaena - prince of Filipino orators Emilio Jacinto - brain of the Katipunan Nick Joaquin - megabuck writer Maximo Kalaw - father of political science in the Philippines Lucrecia Kasilag - tita king Amparo Lardizabal - teacher of teachers Trinidad Legarda - mother of the symphony movement in the Philippines Cesar Legaspi - trailblazer of modern Philippine art Leandro Locsin - a poet of space Jose Luna - official physician of the revolution Apolinario Mabini - the sublime paralytic Joce Maceda - the ethnomusicologist Vicente Madrigal - charcoal king Teresa Magbanua - Visayan Joan of Arc Ramon Magsaysay - champion of the masses Francisco Makabuhos - liberator of Tarlac Jose Malcampo - count of Mindanao Anastacio Mamaril - trumpet king of the Philippines Jose "Pitoy" Moreno - dean of Filipino couturiers Juak Nakpil - pioneer in Philippine architecture Jose Nepomuceno - father of Filipino movies Hernando Ocampo - radical modernist Sergio Osmena Sr. - architect of Filipino nationalism Jose Palma - poet soldier Rafael Palma - apostle of Filipinism Jose Ma. Panganiban - avenger of Filipino honor Valeriano Hernandez Pena - father of modern Tagalog novels Leon Pichay - king of Ilocano poets Fernando Poe Jr. - king of action films Manuel Quezon - father of Philippine national language Carlos Quirino - man for all seasons Dolphy Quizon - king of comedy films Claro M. Recto - Paladin of Philippine nationalism Bobby Regiono - banjo king Jose Rizal - pride of the Malay race Alejandro Roces Sr. - exponent of modern Journalism Lolita Rodriquez - first lady of Philippine movies Carlos P. Romulo - hero of the republic Tessie Rumarao - queen of hula-hoop Lucio San Pedro - creative nationalist Francisco Santiago - father of nationalism in Philippine music Lope K. Santos - laureate of Tagalog literature Vilma Santos - star for all seasons Gloria Sevilla - queen of Visayan movies Diego Silang - liberator of the Ilocos Gabriela Silang - Joan of Arc of Ilocandia Trinidad Perez Tecson - mother of Philippine Red Cross Rolando Tinio - creative genius Guillermo Tolentino - father of Philippine arts Lina Flor Trinidad - dean of Filipino soap operas Lucrecia Reyes Urtula - the woman behind Bayanihan Dance Co. Teodoro Valencia - dean of columnists Luis Rodriguez Varela - the first Filipino Jose Gacia Villa - international poet Gliceria Marella Villavicencio - godmother of revolution Flavio Zaragoza - poet laureate in Ilongo literature Filipino Inventors Trivia Karaoke Inventor Roberto del Rosario, a Filipino is claiming the right for the invention of the Sing-Along-System (SAS) that eventually led to the development of Karaoke, a Japanese term for "singing without accompaniment". Among del Rosario's other inventions were the Trebel Voice Color Code (VCC), the piano tuner's guide, the piano keyboard stressing device, the voice color tape, and the one-man-band (OMB). The OMB was later developed as the Sing-Along-System (SAS). Inventor of Incubator Fe del Mundo, the first Asian to have entered the prestigious Harvard University's School of Medicine, is also credited for her studies that led to the invention of incubator and jaundice relieving device. Del Mundo, an International Pediatric Association (IPA) awardee, is an alumna of the University of the Philippines (UP) College of Medicine. Since 1941, she has contributed more than 100 articles to medical journals in the U.S., Philippines and India. In 1966, she received the Elizabeth Blackwell Award, for her "outstanding service to mankind". In 1977, she was bestowed the Ramon Magsaysay Award for outstanding public service.

Water-Powered Car For more than three decades now, Daniel Dingel has been claiming that his car can run with water as fuel. An article from the Philippine Daily Inquirer said that Dingle built his engine as early as 1969. Dingel built a car reactor that uses electricity from a 12-volt car battery to split the ordinary tap water into hydrogen and oxygen components. The hydrogen can then be used to power the car engine. Dingel said that a number of foreign car companies have expressed interest in his invention. The officials of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) have dismissed Dingel's water-powered car as a hoax. In return, Dingel accused them of conspiring with oil producing countries. Dingel, however, was the not the only man on earth who is testing water as an alternative fuel. American inventors Rudolf Gunnerman and Stanley Meyer and the researchers of the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory have been pursuing similar experiments. Moon Buggy Inventor Filipinos consider Eduardo San Juan as the inventor of the Lunar Rover, or more popularly known as the Moon Buggy. The Moon Buggy was the car used by Neil Armstrong and other astronauts when they first explored the moon in 1969. Eduardo San Juan, a graduate of Mapua Institute of Technology (MIT), worked for Lockheed Corporation and conceptualized the design of the Moon Buggy that the Apollo astronauts used while in the moon. As a NASA engineer, San Juan reportedly used his Filipino ingenuity to build a vehicle that would run outside the Earth's atmosphere. He constructed his model using homemade materials. In 1978, San Juan received one of the Ten Outstanding Men (TOM) awards in science and technology. San Juan, however, was not listed as the inventor of the Moon Buggy in American scientific journals. It said the vehicle was designed and constructed by a group of space engineers. In Poland, the Moon Buggy is attributed to a Polish inventor. Worse, the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) does not recognize Flores in its roster of outstanding Filipino scientists. Space Engineer On June 25, 2002, the provincial government of Cavite awarded Edward Caro a plaque of recognition for his 42 years of service at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in the United States where he helped launch the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission or the Explorer. Caro, 70 and a native of Cavite retired from NASA in 2001. In return, NASA during the same year conferred Caro the Distinguished Science medal, reportedly the highest honor it gives to its employees. (Source: Philippine Star) Fluorescent Lamp Inventor Many Filipinos acknowledge Agapito Flores as the inventor of the fluorescent lamp, which is the most widely used source of lighting in the world today. The fluorescent lamp reportedly got its name from Flores. Written articles about Flores said he was born in Bantayan Island in Cebu. The fluorescent lamp, however, was not invented in a particular year. It was the product of 79 years of the development of the lighting method that began with the invention of the electric light bulb by Thomas Edison. Among the other inventors who claimed credit for developing the fluorescent lamp were French physicist A. E. Becquerel (1867), Nikola Tesla, Albert Hall (1927), Mark Winsor and Edmund Germer. French inventor Andre Claude was recognized for developing the fluorescent tubular lighting systems. Yet, he was not officially recognized as the inventor of fluorescent lamp. It was reported that the General Electric and Westinghouse obtained Claude's patent rights and developed the fluorescent lamp that we know today. According to Filipino scientists, fluorescent lamp was not named after Flores. The term fluorescence first cropped up as early as 1852 when English mathematician-physicist George Gabriel Stokes discovered a luminous material called "fluorspar", which he coined with "escence". The National Academy of Science and Technology also dismissed Flores being the inventor of fluorescent lamp as a myth. "No scientific report, no valid statement, no rigorous documents can be used to credit Flores for the discovery of the fluorescent lamp. We have tried to correct this misconception, but the media (for one) and our textbooks (for another) keep using the Flores example," a Filipino scientist wrote in her column at the Philippine Daily Inquirer. The fluorescent lamps were introduced into the U.S. market in 1938. Still, Filipinos recognize Agapito Flores as the inventor of the product that illuminated the world. Videophone Inventor Gregorio Zara of Lipa City and a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology invented the videophone and developed the Zara Effect or Electrical Kinetic Resistance. He Discovered Erythromycin A Filipino scientist reportedly discovered erythromycin in 1949. He was Dr. Abelardo Aguilar who died in 1993 without being recognized and rewarded for his discovery. Reports said Aguilar discovered the antibiotic from the Aspergillus species of fungi in 1949 and sent samples to Indiana-based pharmaceutical firm Eli Lilly Co. The drug firm allegedly registered the propriety name Iloson for the antibiotic in honor of Iloilo province where Aguilar discovered it. In 1952, Eli Lilly Co. began the commercial distribution of Iloson, which was sold as an alternative to penicillin. Erythromycin, the generic name of Iloson, was reportedly the first successful macrolide antibiotic introduced in the US. Computer Guru Diosdado Banatao, a native of Iguig, Cagayan and an electrical engineering graduate from Mapua Institute of Technology in Manila is credited for eight major contributions to the Information Technology. Banatao is most known for introducing the first single-chip graphical user interface accelerator that made computers work a lot faster and for helping develop the Ethernet controller chip that made Internet possible. In 1989, he pioneered the local bus concept for personal computers and in the following year developed the First Windows accelerator chip. Intel is now using the chips and technologies developed by Banatao. He now runs his own semiconductor company, Mostron and Chips & Technology, which is based in California's Silicon Valley. (Source: Filipinas Magazine) Modular Housing Inventor Edgardo Vazquez won a World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) gold medal in 1995 for developing a modular housing system. Such a system called Vazbuilt is reportedly capable of building within weeks a house with prefabricated materials that can withstand typhoons and earthquakes. Ironically, Vasquez is not getting enough support from the Philippine government to propagate his technology, which could help provide shelter to some five million Filipino families without their own homes. Vazquez is the national president of the Filipino Inventors Society.

Inventor of Fuel Products In 1996, Rudy Lantano Sr., a scientist from the Philippine Department of Science and Technology (DOST), won the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) gold medal for developing Super Bunker Formula-L, a revolutionary fuel halfcomposed of water. The mix burns faster and emits pollutants, 95 percent less than those released to the air by traditional fuel products. The inventor said his invention is a result of blending new ingredients and additives with ordinary oil products through agitation and mixing, which is a very safe process. The initial plan was to commercially produce two million liters of Alco-Diesel, two million liters of Lan-Gas and an unlimited quantity of Super Bunker Formula-L each day for customers in Luzon. Natural Gas Vehicle The Department of Energy (DOE) has developed a vehicle that runs on natural gas, whose rich deposits remain untapped under the Philippine seabed. The project's main objective is to look into the potential of natural gas as an alternative fuel to conventional petrol and diesel for the transport sector. The natural gas vehicle (NVG) has been road-tested in Isabela where an existing natural gas supply from the PNOC Gas Plant is located. Test runs have also been made in Cagayan, Ifugao and Mountain Province. The test vehicle used was the Isuzu Hi-Lander 4JA-1, direct injected diesel engine. The use of natural gas as a fuel is cheaper. On a gallon-equivalent basis, natural gas costs an average of 15 to 40 percent less than gasoline and diesel. There are over one million NVGs in the world today, according to the International Association for Natural Gas Vehicles. Lamp Fixing Invention A Filipino inventor has developed a technology, which could revive a busted lamp (pundido) and give it more years of functional life than those of new ones. Acclaimed by the Filipino Inventors Society as timely and revolutionary, the Nutec system can prolong the life of fluorescent lamps up to seven years. Nutec was developed by New World Technology, headed by president Eric Ngo and chosen as the "Product of the Year" at the Worldbex 2000 Building and Construction Exposition held at the Manila Hotel. Engineer Benjamin S. Santos, national president of the Inventors Society, called Nutec a timely invention. "Tubig Talino" The Department of Science and Technology claimed that it has developed "Tubig Talino", an iodine-rich drinking water that treats micronutrient deficiencies responsible for goiter, mental and physical retardation, and birth defects. "Tubig Talino" is actually a mixture of 20 liters of water and 15 ml of "Water Plus + I2". Consumption of five glasses a day of this iodine fortification in drinking water is expected to provide 120 micrograms of iodine, which meets 100 percent of the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of a male adult. Mole Remover In 2000, Rolando dela Cruz developed an ingenuous formula that could easily remove deeply grown moles or warts from the skin without leaving marks or hurting the patient. His formula was extracted from cashew nut (Annacardium occidentale), which is common in the Philippines. The formula won for dela Cruz a gold medal in International Invention, Innovation, Industrial Design and Technology Exhibition in Kuala Lumpur in September 2000. In March 1997, dela Cruz established RCC Amazing Touch International Inc., which runs clinics engaged "in a non-surgical removal of warts, moles and other skin growths, giving the skin renewed energy and vitality without painful and costly surgery." Feminine Hygiene Product Inventor Dr. Virgilio Malang won a gold medal for his invention "Psidium Guajava Effervescing Gynecological Insert", a silver medal for his "Patient Side-Turning Hospital Bed", and three bonze medals for his inventions "external vaginal cleanser", "light refracting earpick", and "broom's way of hanging" at the Seoul International Fair in held South Korea in December 2002. There were 385 inventions from 30 countries that joined the competitions. Who Developed Patis? Contrary to popular belief, there was no fish sauce or Patis yet during the Spanish occupation. Patis began to become a part of most Filipinos' diet only after the Japanese occupation. Here is an account of how an enterprising lady discovered the fermentation of Patis. Immediately after the war, the family of Ruperta David or Aling Tentay started a dried fish business. One day, Aling Tentay stored in jars some salted fish that turned into fragments even before they dried. While in jars, the fish fragments turned into a liquid substance that tasted like our Patis today. Thus the beginning of the thriving Patis business of Aling Tentay, which was officially registered in 1949 and is known today as Tentay Food and Sauces Inc. (Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer) A Showcase of Ingenuity Nothing perhaps has been associated with Filipino technology as much as the country's pride - jeepney. The word "jeep" evolved from the military designation, general-purpose or G.P., of a light vehicle first used by the Americans in World War II. Developed by the U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps, this vehicle was powered by a four-cylinder engine and was classified as a quarter-ton truck in carrying capacity. It had served as a command vehicle, reconnaissance car, and ammunition carrier. The American soldiers brought these vehicles to the Philippines in the 1940s. After the war, these vehicles were left by the Americans and converted by the Filipinos into public utility vehicles. Employing artistic and indigenous designs, the Filipinos came up with a longer, well-decorated, techni-colored and sleeker vehicle, which they later called jeepney. From the standard military jeep, the body was extended to accommodate between 20 to 30 passengers. Modern jeepneys now sport very colorful and intricate paintings, fancy adornments, and metallic decors reflective of Filipino sentiments, values, and culture. The town of Las Pinas has been recognized as the jeepney-producing center in the country. Today, public utility jeepneys or PUJs serve as the primary means of transportation in most provinces. For this, the Philippines came to be known as the "land of the jeepneys". Other Noted Scientists Among the other noted Filipino inventors and scientists are Benjamin Almeda who was acknowledged for his food-processing machine; Teodula Afrika for nata de coco; Ramon Agpoon for dragon fire stove; Adriano Alfonso for cultured cement; Laurelio Anasco for "dormitron"; Arturo Baluyot for Philippine-made airplane; Guillermo Barredo for Maharlika water heater; Pelagio Bautista for hydrosil; Dr. George Camara for experiments on teleophthalmology; Carlos Casas, stand-alone amplifier called Voca CDX 1001 Superamp; Gonzalo Catan Jr. for green charcoal; Roberto Celis for multipurpose portable survival kit; Rolando Cruz for emergency water heater; Ernesto Darang for shake-and-serve nurser; Armen Dator for magic street sweeper; Maria Carlita Rex Doran for ampalaya solution against HIV; Jaime Escolano for fiber-processing machine; Pepito Fajicular for multipurpose routing machine; Leonardo Gasendo for salt evaporator; Ramon Gustilo for artificial bone replacement systems; Oscar Ibarra for studies on algorithm and computing; Samuel Ignacio for early warning device for vehicles; Marc Loinaz for one-chip video camera; Jacinto Ledesma for rocking dental chair; Cipriano Lim for safety switch box; Dr. E. V. Macalalag Jr. for universalurinary stone solvent;

Antonio Madrid for charcoal furnace; Felix Maramba for coconut oil-fueled power generator; Jose Navato for digital fever detector; Maria Ylagan Orosa for developing banana catsup and pineapple vinegar; Francisco Quisumbing for Quink pen ink; Jose Rodriguez for research on leprosy; Felipe Santillan for rotary dryer; Cornelio Seno for "Pressure Fuild Machine"; Manuel Silos for siloscope; Juanito Simon for Tribotech; Camilo Tabalba for telephone electronic; Ned Teves for endotracheal tube cardiac monitor; Juan Urbano for fountain pen; Carmen Velasquez for research on Philippine fish species; and Dr. Gregorio Zara for TV-telephone. Needing Support The Council on Philippine Affairs (Copa) has blamed the government for driving Filipino inventors away from the country. At least four cases were cited for this, namely: Ben Santos, the inventor of the "zero oil waste recycling" was subjected to interrogation by the Economic Intelligence and Investigation Bureau (EIIB) for alleged economic sabotage. Rudy Arambulo, the inventor of multi-shock bullet, has failed to convince the national police and the military to purchase his product. Johnson Fong, who has re-engineered carbonless paper, had to export his product first, re-label it and bring it back to the Philippines as an import in order to be accepted in the country. Roberto del Rosario, the inventor of sing-along system, had to fight for his right over the karaoke system which most Filipinos think was a Japanese invention. The Philippines was reportedly the second largest market of karaoke, yet del Rosario did not receive his due share.

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"This is our colonial mentality at work. This reflects how little faith we have in ourselves. We are indeed our own worst enemies. Others may shoot themselves in the foot. We like to chop our own heads in the most unusual way possible," a Copa official said. (Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer) Do You Know That... More Trivia The Bible Also Mentions the Philippines It can be easily understood that no verse in the Bible carried the term Philippines, since the Bible was written two thousand years ago or centuries before the Spaniards came here. However, there are verses in the Bible that prophesy about the Philippine archipelago and other islands in the Pacific. In the chapter 24 of the Book of Isaiah, verses 15 to 16 read "Therefore in the east give glory to the Lord; exalt the name of the Lord, the God of Israel, in the islands of the sea. From the ends of the earth we hear singing: 'Glory to the Righteous One.'" The Philippines is the only Christian archipelago in the Pacific covering East Asia. Arroyo and Sukarnoputri Share Similarities Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of the Philippines and Megawati Sukarnoputri of Indonesia have remarkable similarities. Both are 54-year-old women who had been vice-presidents before becoming presidents in place of their predecessors who were ousted in the year 2001. Both of them were daughters of former presidents of the world's two largest archipelagos who lost the presidency in 1965 to dictators. Both women have three children and their husbands were being pursued by controversy. Both visited Washington in their first year as presidents and met US President George W. Bush, another offspring of a former president who also assumed power in 2001. Arroyo and Sukarnoputri are not entirely similar though. The former is a Catholic Christian from the world's fifth largest Christian country while the latter is a Muslim from the country with the world's largest Muslim population. Bulacan Produced Queens Marcelo del Pilar, the father of Philippine journalism; Francisco Balagtas, the father of Philippine literature; Jose Corazon de Jesus, father of balagtasan; Nicanor Abelardo, father of kundiman; Francisca Reyes-Aquino, mother of Philippine dances; Gerry de Leon, a father of Philippine movies; Guillermo Tolentino, one of the fathers of Philippine arts; Jose Reyes, a father of Philippine medicine; and Dely Magpayo, a mother of Philippine broadcasting, were all born in Bulacan province. Atang dela Rama, the mother of Philippine theater, lived in Bulacan. Aside from national fathers and mothers, Bulacan also produced queens, namely: Lydia de Vega, Asia's former sprint queen; Regine Velasquez, Asia's song bird; and Michelle Aldana, Miss Asia-Pacific beauty queen. Babe Ruth Scored Homeruns in RP Babe Ruth, the American baseball legend who had over 200 homeruns in his professional career, once played in the baseball field of the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex. In 1934, Ruth and another baseball great, Lou Gehrig, selected an All-Star team that toured Asia where they played 18 games. The All-Star selection stopped in the Philippines and played at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex from December 2 to December 9. Gehrig beat Ruth when he scored the first recorded homerun at the Rizal complex on December 2. Ruth scored the 2nd homerun on the same day and 4th homerun on December 9. The other players of the same selection who also scored homeruns at the Rizal complex were Earl Averill and C. Gehringer. 7 Cabinet Officials Were from Harvard In a speech before an American delegation early in 2002, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has claimed that her Cabinet officials include seven Harvard graduates and three Wharton alumni. The 54-year-old president added that four of her economic managers had been top executives on Wall Street prior to joining government service in the Philippines. President Arroyo, herself, has a Ph. D. in Economics, which she earned from the University of the Philippines (UP). Before this, she had studied for two years at the Georgetown University where she had former US President Bill Clinton as a classmate. Manila Played Host To Big Events Manila served as a host to some of the world's biggest events in the past several decades. On November 22, 1995, the country hosted 21 world leaders, including former US President Bill Clinton, during the 4th Economic Meeting of the AsiaPacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). In 1974, Former First Lady Imelda Marcos ordered the construction of the Folk Arts Theater to be the site of the 23rd annual Miss Universe beauty pageant on July 19. The prestigious beauty contest was held again in the country in 1994. On October 1, 1975, the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City was the venue of the infamous "Thrilla in Manila", the thrilling boxing match between Heavyweight champions, Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. Manila also hosted other international sports events such as the Asian Games in 1954 and the Southeast Asian Games in 1981 and 1991. In 1980, the Marcos administration ordered the construction of the grand Coconut Palace to host John Paul II during his Manila visit. The head of the Vatican state visited Manila again in January 1995. Sabah Once Belonged to Sultan of Sulu Sabah, an oil-rich region forming the northern part the great Borneo Island, used to be a property of the Sultan of Sulu. Its

73,620-square-kilometer land area is about twice the size of Switzerland and teems with incomparable natural resources. The territory is still being claimed by the Sultan of Sulu, Jamalul Kiram III. The Sulu sultanate was founded by Rajah Baginda in 1430. According to the present sultan, his claim goes as far back as 1704 when the Sultan of Brunei ceded part of then North Borneo which now comprises Sabah to the Sultan of Sulu in the southern Philippines for his help in suppressing a rebellion. There are about 500,000 Filipinos, most of them Muslims, living in Sabah. They fled to the territory in the 1970s during heavy fighting between Muslim rebels and the government troops. Sabah is only four hours by boat from the southernmost island-province of Tawi-Tawi in the Philippines. Coconut Workers Own San Miguel Corp. There are 3 million hectares planted to coconut trees, the second largest agricultural area after rice fields (4 million hectares). The coconut industry employs about 3.4 million Filipinos. Some 18 to 20 million more Filipinos depend on the industry for their livelihood, according to the United Coconut Associations of the Philippines (UCAP). About 90 percent of those employed in the coconut industry are small farmers, who earn P10,000 a year or P25 a day. Coconut farmers are among the most exploited segments of Philippine society. Driven to squalor by Marcos cronies who thrived on the so-called coconut levies, the coconut farmers represent the oldest sector of the domestic economy. In 1642, the Spanish colonial government forced each Filipino to plant 200 coconut trees, because Spanish shipbuilders had a large need for charcoaled coconut shells and coconut husks. Coconut products have gradually become the country's top export, accounting for 35 percent of all exports in the 1950s and 1960s. In the 1970s, coconut products were the country's leading exports of raw materials. New economic policies initiated under the Aquino administration led to a slow-phased shift to industries, which eventually put the coconut industry at the tailend of government priorities. In 2001, coconut exports represented only 1.6 percent of the country's total exports. In 1971, the dictatorial government of the late President Ferdinand Marcos established the Coconut Investment Fund (Cocofund) by imposing a levy of P15 per 100 kilograms of copra for nine years between 1973 and 1982. Supposedly, the fund should serve as subsidy to coconut products for domestic consumption. However, the cocofund, which amounted to a total of P9.695 billion by August 1982, was turned into a private fund used to finance three financial institutions, including the United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB). The cocofund was also used to acquire the majority shares of San Miguel Corporation, the country's largest food and beverage conglomerate. A known Marcos crony, Danding Cojuangco, still retains the chairmanship of both UCPB and San Miguel until today. The fund, which is estimated at over P100 billion today, has yet to be transferred to the accounts of the coconut farmers. (Source: http://www.virtual-asia.com/ph) A Mayor Held Office for 5 Decades No other local official had the distinction of serving an elective post for almost half a century. Pablo Cuneta, the late mayor of Pasay City and father of popular actress, Sharon Cuneta, died at 90 on September 27, 2000 after serving the government for 50 years. In 1947, then President Elpidio Quirino appointed him vice mayor of Pasay City. In 1955, he was elected mayor, a post which he held until 1967 when he lost to Jovito Claudio in the mayoralty election. He emerged victorious in the 1972 elections and served his constituents in Pasay City until 1986 when he was ordered ousted by the Aquino administration. Cuneta won in the 1988 mayoralty election and served his post uninterrupted until 1997 when his health began to fail. He was awarded a golden trophy for his 50th year in public service in the same year. A Priest Took Up Arms Against Americans From 1900 to 1902, Catholic priest Gregorio Labayan Aglipay took up arms against American soldiers in Batac, Ilocos Norte. Aglipay founded the Liwanag branch of the Katipunan in Victoria, Tarlac, attended the Malolos Congress and became the ecclesiastical governor of Nueva Segovia (Ilocos) in 1899. In his religious role, Aglipay is considered as the Martin Luther of the Philippines for founding the Iglesia Filipina Independiente or the Philippine Independent Church, which celebrated its centenary on August 3, 2002. A century earlier, the Union Obrera Democratica, a confederation of 10 labor organizations headed by Isabelo de los Reyes, broke ties with the Vatican and designated Aglipay as the Obispo Maximo (supreme bishop) of their new religion. The Catholic Church then excommunicated Aglipay. An American general called Aglipay a better soldier than a bishop. (Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer) The Osmena Clan Is the Oldest Political Dynasty The Osmena clan is perhaps the oldest and the most dominant political dynasty in the country. This political dynasty began when Sergio Osmena Sr. replaced Manuel Quezon as president of the Commonwealth government during the war. His son, Osmena Jr. became a senator and his grandson, Osmena III is now an incumbent senator. John Osmena, a former mayor of Cebu City, is also a senator today. Lito Osmena, a long-time governor of the province of Cebu, vied for the presidency in the 1998 presidential election. Tomas Osmena was a mayor of Davao City. Six Vice-Presidents Became Presidents Six former vice-president became presidents, namely: Sergio Osmena, Elpidio Quirino, Carlos Garcia, Diosdado Macapagal, Joseph Estrada and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Three Senate Presidents Became Presidents Three former senate presidents became presidents, namely Manuel Quezon, Manuel Roxas, and Ferdinand Marcos. Two Speakers Became Presidents Two former House speakers became presidents, namely: Sergio Osmena Sr. and Manuel Roxas. Three Presidents Died in Office Three Philippine presidents were not able to finish their terms of office. They were Manuel Quezon who died in New York City on August 1, 1944; Manuel Roxas who died of a heart attack on April 15, 1948; and Ramon Magsaysay who died in an air accident on March 17, 1957. First 3 Beauty Queens Married Pinoys The first Miss Universe, Armi Kuusela of Finland won the crown in 1952 and married Virgilio Hilario of Tarlac the following year. The first Miss International (1961), Maria Stella Marquez Zawadsky of Colombia, married Filipino millionaire, Jorge Araneta. The first Miss Asia (1965), Angela Filmer of Malaysia, married Jose Faustino, also a Filipino. A Filipino Spread Love Bug Virus In May 2000, the so-called "love bug" computer virus spread worldwide and infected millions of computer files. The virus, quickly infiltrated government and corporate computer systems around the world. Described as the worst computer virus ever created, the "love bug" wrought damages amounting to US$10 billion. It could not have been big news in the Philippines, if not for the fact that the suspected creator of the virus is a Filipino. He was identified as Onel de Guzman, a student of AMA Computer College in Quezon City.

Caloocan City Has Two Separate Parts Caloocan City is the only city in the Philippines with two areas set apart from each other by other towns and cities. Its first area, known as the urban portion, covers Monumento and is bounded on the south by Manila, on the west by Navotas and Malabon and on the north by Valenzuela City. Its second area, known as Caloocan II, is a hilly portion between Bulacan province and Quezon City. Orchids Breeds Were from RP Waling-waling or Vanda sanderiana, is described as the "Queen of Philippine Orchids". One of the largest species in the world, waling-waling was discovered by German Taxonomist Heinrich Gustav Reicheinback in Mindanao in 1882. Since then, it has become the most sought-after flower in Mindanao and helped in the flourishing of the world's multibillion-dollar orchid and cutflower industry. The massive deforestation in Mindanao threatens the region's wildlife, including waling-waling which used to abound in the tropical forest of Mount Apo and its surrounding areas. Today, it is believed that Waling-Waling has more species abroad, particularly in Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong and Hawaii. Of the 9,000 flowering plants in the world, about 3,500 are endemic to the Philippines. Human activities, however, pose a great threat to their existence. Romulo Coined "I Shall Return" It was Carlos P. Romulo, who coined the famous phrase "I shall return" by General Douglas MacArthur. Romulo was MacArthur's press officer at that time. Romulo Put RP in UN Map According to Beth Day Romulo, Carlos P. Romulo literally put the Philippines on the world map. "When the UN official seal which depicts the world was being selected, Romulo asked 'Where is the Philippines?' The answer came, 'It's too small to include. If we put the Philippines, it would be no more than a dot.' 'I want that dot,' Romulo insisted." The UN seal now has a tiny dot for the Philippines. MacArthur Was Field Marshall of Philippine Army Philippine Commonwealth President Manuel L. Quezon appointed American four-star Maj. Gen. Douglas MacArthur as Field Marshall of the Philippine Army in 1935. Attached with the appointment was MacArthur's extra monthly pay of US$3,980 that made him the highest paid military officer in the world, according to American historian Carlos D'Este in his book "Eisenhower, A Soldier's Life". Eisenhower Wrote Quezon's Speeches In the book "Eisenhower, A Soldier's Life", American historian Carlos D'Este claimed that Dwight Eisenhower became an adviser and speechwriter of Commonwealth President Manuel L. Quezon in the Philippines. When Quezon sought an exile in the US, he met Eisenhower in Washington D.C. and offered him "a lavish stipend of some one hundred thousand dollars for services rendered the Philippines during his four years there, which Eisenhower courteously rejected." This was before Eisenhower was appointed as the supreme commander of all allied forces and planned the now infamous Normandy Invasion in Europe during World War II. Eisenhower later became a US president. Filipinos Had Headed International Organizations Carlos P. Romulo became president of the United Nations 4th General Assembly; Cesar Bengzon, president of the World Court Justice; Blas Ople, president of International Labor Organization; Jose Aspiras, president of World Tourism Organization; Jesus Tamesis, president of World Medical Association; Arturo Tanco, president of World Food Council; Florencio Campomanes, president of International Chess Federation; Justiniano Montano, president of World Boxing Council; Gonzalo Puyat II, president of International Amateur Basketball Federation; Ramos del Rosario, president of World Jaycee International; Jolly Bugarin, president of International Criminal Police Organization; Mercedes Concepcion, president of the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population; Lolita Delgado-Fransler, president of Association of International College of Women; Modesto Farolan, president of International Union of Official Tourist Organizations; Florencio Moreno, president of World Highway Engineers Association; Quintin Gomez, president of the 8th World Congress of Anaesthesiologists; Cielito del Mundo, president of World Family Institute Inc.; Fe del Mundo, president of International Women's Medical Association; Amelito Mutuc, president of World Association of Lawyers; John Choa, president of Y's Men International; Roman Cruz, president of Orient Airlines Association; Manuel Nieto, president of Oriental Boxing Federation; Rufus Rodriguez, president of World Association of Law Students; Edward dela Rosa, president of World Association of Pharmaceutical Distributors; Esther Vibal, president of International Inner wheel; Antonio Delgado, chairman of Boy Scouts World Conference; Marcelo Fernan, secretary general of the Academy of American and International Law Alumni; Norman Certeza Sr., governor of Kiwanis International; Eduardo Chuidian, general manager of Association of International Shipping Lines; Rafael Salas, executive director of the United Nations Fund for Population Activities; and Dioscoro Umali, assistant director general of the Food and Agriculture Organization. Tolentino and Amorsolo Were Classmates Guillermo Tolentino and Fernando Amorsolo, both national artists in arts, were classmates at the UP School of Fine Arts. Guillermo Tolentino was the one who carved the UP Oblation while Amorsolo was known for his paintings about barrio life and women. 15 National Artists Were from Manila Aside from Manila, there is no other city or province, which owns the distinction of having produced 15 national artists. Three of these national artists - Levi Celerio, Cesar Legaspi and Rolando Tinio - were born in Tondo, the same district that produced Andres Bonifacio, Emilio Jacinto and yes, Juan Flavier. Other national artists who were born in Manila include Fernando Amorsolo, Francisco Arcellana, Ishmael Bernal, Gerardo de Leon, Nick Joaquin, Arturo Luz, Jose Maceda, Antonio Molina, Juan Nakpil, Andrea Veneracion, Jose Garcia Villa and Honorata "Atang" dela Rama. Coming far behind Manila in having produced a great number of national artists is Bulacan province, the birthplace of six national artists. Bulacan Produced Great Musicians Aside from producing heroes and poets, Bulacan is known as the birthplace of great Filipino composers, singers and dancers. Nicanor Abelardo, who is widely regarded as the father of kundiman, was born in San Miguel, Bulacan while Francisco Santiago, another pioneer of kundiman, grew up in Sta. Maria town. Noted composer Antonino Buenaventura was born in Baliuag town while contemporary composer Ernani Cuenco was born in the capital town of Malolos. Honorata

"Atang" dela Rama, the great theater actress before the war, made Bulacan her home and married poet and national artist Amado Hernandez of San Miguel. The father of Levi Celerio, the poet of Philippine music, was from Baliuag. Francisca Reyes Aquino, the mother of Philippine dances, was born in the town of Bocaue. Composer and singer Rey Valera was born in Meycauayan town. At present, three divas from Bulacan - Regine Velasquez, Jaimie Rivera and Claire dela Fuente own the finest voices that this country has ever heard. A Filipino Supervised a Russian Orchestra Redentor Romero had served as the conductor of the 100-member Moscow State Symphony Orchestra, which received worldwide acclaim. Pasyon Was a Poem The long poem read and chanted by Catholic devotees during the Lent first appeared in 1704. Entitled Ang Mahal na Passion ni Jesu Christong Panginoon Nation, the poem was written in octosyllabic verse by Gaspar Aquino de Belen. Balagtas Had Other Works Francisco dela Cruz Balagtas, the 19th Century poet from Bulacan, wrote more than 100 plays, comedies, awits and koridos. Most of these works, however, were burned in a fire that gutted his house in Udyong, Bataan in 1892. Fortunately, copies of three of his works were found elsewhere. Aside from the well-known awit Florante at Laura, other existing works of Balagtas were a short farce entitled La India Elegante y e! Negrito Amante and a full-length komedya entitled Orosman at Zafira. A Filipino was Declared Emperor In 1926, Florencio Intrencherado was proclaimed emperor of Negros Occidental province. In the 1900s, the people of Negros declared a republic in Panay, which was later abolished by the US government. A Filipino Refereed Muhammad Ali In October 1975, Carlos Padilla Jr. served as the referee in the world-boxing match between Ali and Frazier in what was dubbed as thrilla in Manila. A Brazilian Became Filipinos' Darling in 2000 Leila Barros, a fine-looking volleyball player from Brazil, became the Filipino crowd's darling in the staging of World Women's Volleyball Grand Prix in Manila in 1999 and 2000. Leila, a five-foot-eight player, led her team to the first runner-up finish in the 1999 event, which was won by Russia. Brazil won the crown in 1994, 1996 and 1998. The Filipino audience used to ignore the game of volleyball until they saw Leila spike the ball with the elegance and style no one else could show. Inside the court, the 28-year-old Brazilian beauty was noted for her intensity and leaping ability, which enabled her to penetrate the stonewall defense of her six foot rivals. Behind the pretty face was her seriousness and sheer determination to win each game. She moves with the agility of Martina Hingis and the form of Anna Kournikova. Not a few Filipino men fell in love with her flash images on television. Some of those who were lucky to see her personally waved placards proposing marriage, not knowing that the young, otherwise innocent looking star player has been married for four years. How sad! Just the same, Leila moves and jumps with the charm of any 16-year-old girl "oozing with sensuality", as one sports columnist put it. At a time the Philippines was troubled by many problems, all it needed was a little inspiration from someone like Leila, who reminded the Filipino men of the beauty of life. Intel Chips Were Manufactured in RP Intel Corp., the world's largest corporation, has been operating in the Philippines for almost 30 years. Calling itself as the first multinational company that established a branch in the country, Intel manufactures processors and chips in its Philippine plant, which is expected to be Intel's biggest assembly and testing operations worldwide soon. Other foreign electronic and IT firms in the country are Texas Instruments, Toshiba, Trend Micro, Fujitsu, and America Online (AOL). Marcos Was Last Lawyer President Eight Filipino presidents were laywers. All former presidents from Manuel Quezon in 1935 to Ferdinand Marcos in 1986, except Ramos Magsaysay, had practiced law. Starting 1986, the next four presidents were non-lawyers, namely: Corazon Aquino, a housewife; Fidel Ramos, a military general; Joseph Estrada, an actor; and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, an economist. A Filipino Ruled an Island In 1956, Tomas Cloma, a Filipino explorer, discovered an island in the South China Sea. Cloma named the island as "Freedomland" which he tried to rule by establishing his own government. A Planetoid was Named After a Filipino The minor planet Biyo, which has a diameter of four to nine kilometers and was formerly called planet 13241, was named after Dr. Josette Biyo, a teacher at the Philippine Science High School in Iloilo City who won the International Excellence in Teaching Award during the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) held in Louisville, Kentucky in 2002. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Lincoln Laboratory in the United States game the name. Scientists Endorse Four Medicinal Plants The country's Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFAR) has included four medicinal plants - lagundi, sambong, yerba Buena and tsaang gubat - in its list of drugs. Meanwhile, the Department of Health (DOH) also endorses the use of the four plants and six others to cure particular ailments or diseases. The use of lagundi is encouraged to cure cough; sambong, urinary tract stones; yerba Buena, muscle pains; tsaang gubat, intestinal colic; niyog niyugan, intestinal worms; bayabas, for wound wash; akapulko, skin infection; ulasimang bato, uric acid; garlic, high blood cholesterol; and ampalaya, high blood sugar. There Were Mummies in the Philippines A tribe in Kabayan town, Benguet province used to mummify the bodies of their dead. Until now, the mummified bodies of their ancestors are hung at the burial rocks in the area. Someone Made Magsaysay Famous The person responsible for making the late President Ramon Magsaysay famous as the champion of the masses was Jose V. Cruz, a journalist. At 30 years old, Cruz first served as the press secretary of Magsaysay. Filipino Doctors Apply as Nurses in the US So enamored are Filipinos about working in other countries for higher income that 2,000 doctors are now taking up nursing

examination for the possibility of working in the US. The Philippine Nurses Association disclosed that in June 2002 alone, at least 100 doctors took the nursing board examinations. A doctor applying for a nurse in the US said that he would earn in a month as a nurse in the US what he is earning in a year as a doctor in the Philippines. Some Filipino nurses earn up to US$5,000 monthly in New York and California. Reports said the US would need additional 600,000 nurses until 2010 while Japan would require 1.2 million nurses during the same period. Filipino nurses are also trooping to Europe, particularly United Kingdom. Ironically, the Philippines has one of the lowest ratios of doctors and nurses against the population. Salaried Workers Carry Burden of Taxes Citing data from the National Tax Research Center (NTRC), Finance Secretary Isidro Camacho said that in the year 2001, there were 2,605,505 individual taxpayers who filed their income tax returns and paid a total of P80.42 billion. About 2,079,745 salaried workers, or 80 percent of the income tax payers, paid a total of P66.3 billion in income taxes, accounting for 82 percent of the total collection. Professionals or self-employed individuals contributed only P10.75 billion or only 13 percent of the income taxes while capital gains tax paid by individuals reached P3.18 billion. In particular, self-employed individuals or single-proprietors paid P10.13 billion while professionals paid only P620 million. Based on these figures in 2001, professionals paid only P20,447 in income tax while salaried workers paid P31,879. According to the DOF, this should not be the case since professionals are actually earning much higher than salaried workers. Citing a 1997 government survey, the DOF said that salaried workers earned only P582.7 billion while professionals received P1.159 billion during that year. Measured per capita, salaried workers earned an average of P223,642 while professionals earned P2.204 million in 1997. In the year 2002, for example, only 2.8 million Filipinos of the total 30 million workers, businessmen and professionals paid their income taxes. As of October 2002, there were over 30 million Filipinos in the labor force, about 15 million of whom were salaried workers, 11 million were self-employed and 4 million were unpaid family workers. One government study showed that over the past 11 years (1991 to 2001), leakage from the individual income tax amounted to P608 billion. This was on top of the P610 billion that were lost to leakage in the value added tax (VAT) scheme. Americans Are 25 Times Richer Equitable distribution of wealth would hardly resolve the poverty problem in the country. In reality, the country's per capita income or the imaginary figure referring to every Filipino's equal share in the country's total wealth, is below US$1,000. In comparison, countries like the United States, Germany, Japan and even Singapore have a per capita income of over US$25,000. This means that an ordinary American is 25 times richer than an ordinary Filipino. What would be needed to relieve poverty is to enlarge the economic pie by drawing more capital and resources into the country, so every Filipino would get a larger share. Among Questionable Claims Are: 1. The Philippines is the world's second largest English-speaking nation. In reality, most Filipinos do not speak English on the street while the Department of Education is bothered by Filipino students' low English proficiency level. In comparison, English is the main language in the streets of United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and other British territories. 2. The Philippines has the largest Christian population in Asia. China actually has over 80 million Christians and is therefore the country with largest Christian population in Asia. 3. The Philippines was second to Japan in economic prosperity in Asia in the 1950s. Coming out of World War II, most East Asian countries, including the Philippines, were in still in recovery in the 1950s. Some of them had just won their freedom while economic prosperity was a strange phrase during that period. Even our parents would agree that life was harder in the 1950s. The Philippines never became rich and its golden age has yet to set in. Economic situation, however, was less burdening in 1996 and 1997 under the Ramos administration. 4. The Philippines is an agricultural economy. The Philippines is no longer an agricultural country. It cannot even produce enough rice, sugar or wheat to feed its entire population and has to import food from Thailand, Vietnam and the United States. The country's agricultural exports comprised less than 5 percent of its total outbound shipments in 2001. While the agriculture sector employed 37 percent of the workforce in 2001, it contributed only 21 percent to the gross domestic product (GDP). The industrial and services sectors contributed the remaining 79 percent to the domestic economy. 5. Filipinos are the happiest people in the world. The World Values Survey conducted by University of Michigan in 1998 ranked Iceland 1st and the Philippines 12th among 54 countries in happiness index. The Philippines was ranked first among Asian countries though. The truth is happiness cannot be measured. 6. Early Filipinos had a perfect socio-economic and justice system before the Spaniards came. There was never a perfect society in the world and tales about gold abounding in the Philippines five centuries ago remain to be proven. The fact is slavery, war, witchcraft, beheading and human sacrifice were already present in the country before the Spaniards came. 7. The Philippines is a favorite destination of foreign tourists. It could have the finest beach resorts in the world, but the Philippines gets only about 2 million foreign tourists annually. In comparison, smaller Asian countries like Singapore and Hong Kong receive over 8 million foreign guests every year. 8. The Philippines is one of the safest and most peaceful places on earth. That is what the Department of Tourism claims but according to the International Red Cross, the Philippines registered the world's fourth highest number of casualties and injuries as a result of natural disasters and man-made calamities from 1992 to 2001 - 5.8 million cases in all. It was behind China, India and Iran. China and India were expected in the accident list because they have the largest populations in the world. 9. Equitable distribution of wealth would resolve the poverty problem in the country. In reality, the country's per capita income or the imaginary figure referring to every Filipino's equal share in the country's total wealth, is below US$1,000. In comparison, countries like the United States, Germany, Japan and even Singapore have a per capita income of over US$25,000. This means that an ordinary American is 25 times richer than an ordinary Filipino. What would be needed to relieve poverty is to enlarge the economic pie by drawing more capital and resources into the country, so every Filipino would get a larger share.

10. Basketball is the dominant sports in the Philippines. Not any more. Because of the growing youth population and the lack of basketball courts, most Filipino children are now trooping to computer game shops and billiard halls. 11. Filipinos invented the fluorescent lamp that illuminated the world and the Lunar Rover used by American astronauts on the moon. The National Academy of Science and Technology disagrees. Most Profitable Businesses Today Include: 1. Gambling in the form of online lottery or text games 2. Power generation and distribution, thanks to purchased power cost adjustment 3. Mobile phone networks, as long as the country is hooked to texting 4. Beer and wine production as always 5. Drug manufacturing and retail, because medicines here are twice as expensive 6. Computer training centers which promise instant jobs after graduation 7. Kindergarten schools with exorbitant tuition fees 8. Caregiver training centers for people wanting to go to Canada and US 9. Immigration consultancy which offers expensive seminars 10. Job placement agencies 11. Pyramid selling 12. Laundry services for American troops 13. Importing ukay-ukay 14. Selling pirated VCDs and software 15. Kidney buy and sell 16. Smut publishing, as in yellow journalism 17. Billiard tables for rent 18. Computer game shops 19. Money exchange in Basilan 20. Bikini car wash as the one in Iloilo City Outstanding Awards Trivia Filipino Magsaysay Awardees Since 1958, 26 Filipinos and seven Philippine-based institutions have received the Ramon Magsaysay Award, which is widely acknowledged as Asia's version of the Nobel Prize. The Filipino awardees included Hilario Davide Jr., Jose Vasquez Aguilar, Arturo Pineda Alcaraz, Francisca Aquino, Alfredo Bengzon, Jesse Robredo, and Miriam Santiago for government service; Rosario Encarnacion, Silvino Encarnacion, Eva Fidela Maamo, and Pablo Torres Tapia for communist leadership; Angel Alcala, Fe del Mundo, Antonio Fortich, Benjamin Gaston, Cecil Guidote-Alvarez, Gilopez Kabayao, Pedro Tamesis Orata and Rosa Rosal for public service; Lino Brocka, Nick Joaquin, F. Sionil Jose, Raul Locsin, Bienvenido Lumbera, and Zacarias Sarian for journalism, literature and creative communication; and Corazon Aquino for peace and international understanding. Radio Veritas was awarded for journalism while the Asian Institute of Management, Bayanihan Folk Arts Center, College of Agriculture of University of the Philippines-Los Banos, International Rice Research Institute, Operation Brotherhood+ and Press Foundation of Asia were recognized for peace and international understanding. Architect of Brunei's Palace Architect Leandro Locsin designed Istana Nurul Iman, the palace of the sultan of Brunei, which has a floor area of 2.2 million square feet. Most Decorated Filipino Carlos P. Romulo was perhaps the only Filipino who received 82 honorary degrees from different universities and international institutions and 74 decorations from foreign countries, including the U.N. Peace Medal, the World Peace Award, the Four Freedoms Peace Award and the US Presidential Medal for Freedom. In 1945, the African former colonies nominated Carlos P. Romulo for the Nobel prize for peace for espousing "independence" for the former colonies of Asia and Africa. Youngest National Artist The youngest Filipino to become a national artist was Napoleon Abueva. The famous sculptor received the award in 1976 at the age of 46. Nobel Prize Awardee Dr. Frankie Arcellana, a son of national artist Francisco Arcellana, was a member of the governing board of the International Physicians for the Prevention Nuclear War, which won the Nobel peace's prize in 1985. Woman of the Year in 1986 In 1986, former President Corazon Aquino received various international awards such as the Time Magazine's Woman of the Year, the Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Award, the United Nations Silver Medal and the Canadian International Prize for Freedom. She was cited for setting the example of nonviolent movement for democracy, which later was also tested in Burma, South Africa, Poland and Chile. Gold at European Art Contest In 1880, Juan Luna joined the Madrid Exposition where his painting, "The Death of Cleopatra" won the second prize. This masterpiece is now on exhibit at the Museo Nacional de Pinturas in Madrid. In 1884, Luna's huge painting, "Spolarium", won the first Gold Medal at the Exposicion Nacional de Bellas Artes, also in Spain. Coincidentally, another Filipino, Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo won the second prize in the same event for his painting, "Antigone". Luna's Spolarium depicts fallen gladiators being dragged to an unseen pile of corpses in a chamber beneath the Roman arena. Considered as the largest painting in the country, it has a height of 4.6 meters and a length of 7.72 meters. It is now on display at the National Museum in Manila.

Other Filipinas Played Kim With her petite figure and powerful voice, many think that Cezarah Campos Bonner is the perfect version of Kim, the young heroine in the internationally acclaimed musicale, "Miss Saigon". The 27-year-old Cez, who has previously played Kim in the London and Sydney productions of Miss Saigon, shared the role of Kim with Lea Salonga in the Manila staging of the musicale, which run from October 2000 to March 2001. While she admires Lea for her many achievements, Cez says she has developed her own style and would like to be known for it. Her producer, Cameron Mackintosh, believes that Cez is one of the best performers to have played Kim. Since 1989, there are a total of 42 actresses who have assumed the lead role, and among them are Filipinos, Americans, Australians, Japanese, Dutch, and English. Aside from Lea and Cez, the other well-known Filipino "Kims" include Monique Wilson, Jamie Rivera, and Jenine Desiderio. Filipino Woman in Motocross It is hard to believe that Christina del Rosario or simply "Wacky", a 23-year-old beauty, has engaged actively in what can be considered as extreme sports originally meant for men. Her sports list includes motocross, jetskiing, trail riding, boxing, kickboxing, cross-country running, and weight training. And she is all set to dabble in skydiving soon. Wacky, as her friends call her, views life as an adventure. Known on the racetrack as "Pocket Rocket", she has done enough to carve her niche in the male-dominated territory. Among her exploits with her brother was becoming the first Filipino finalist in the 2000 Skat Trak World Jet Ski Finals in Laka Havasu, Arizona. She was ranked 1st and 4th in the two categories she joined at the 1200 Women's Limited in the World Jet Sports in the U.S. Apart from sports, Wacky also has her exploits in business. She manages four companies. She is the general manager of the family-owned Irma Ice Plant group in Navotas; the vicepresident of Irma Fishing and Trading Inc.; and the owner of R6 Construction Supplies and Del Rocket Racing. Unesco's Peace Prize In 1997, former President Fidel Ramos and ex-Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) chairman Nur Misuari received the UNESCO Felix Houphouet-Boigny Peace Prize for ending the MNLF armed struggle in September 1996. Ironically, Misuari broke the peace pact with the government in September 2001 and led another armed rebellion. As this was being written, Misuari was held in a police prison camp in Laguna province. Sarimanok Won Two Golds ABS-CBN's Sarimanok computer-animated station ID has won two gold awards for excellence at the New York TV and Film Festival. It was developed by Mr. Casino. Filipino Film at Cannes Raymond Red's "Anino", a 13-minute film, bested 715 other entries to bag the Palme d'Or for short film at the Cannes Film Festival in the year 2000. Filipino Film at Berlin In 1977, Kidlat Tahimik (Eric de Guia) brought home the International Critics Prize from the Berlin Film Festival for his film "Ang Mababangong Bangungot". Saksi Gets Gold from New York Saksi, the Filipino news program of GMA 7, won the Gold WorldMedal at the New York TV and Film Festival on January 17, 2003. GMA 7 said the medal was its 17th medal from the festival since 1990. Before this, Saksi won as Asia's Best Newscast in the 2000 Asian TV Awards. Peabody Award Winner Jessica Soho, a broadcast journalist at GMA 7, won the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award for her documentaries on the underground "Kidney-for-Sale" business and death sport "Kamao" in the year 2000. Before this, Soho had won a medal from the New York Film and Television Festival for coverage of a breaking story. Filipino Song Had Foreign Versions Freddie Aguilar's "Anak" sold millions of copies around the world and had versions in Japanese, English, French, and German. It is reportedly the most recorded Filipino song worldwide. Filipino Compositions Won Awards Ryan Cayabyab's composition "Kay Ganda ng Ating Musika" won the grand prize at the Seoul International Song Festival in 1978 while his "Mama" won the grand prize at the Kajistan Song of Asia Festival in 1991. His composition "Paraiso" won the top prize at the Tokyo Pop Music Festival in 1992. Award Winning Pianist One of the recordings by Filipino pianist Cecile Licad was awarded as the "Records of the Month" by Time Magazine's Critics Choice in July 1990. Choir of the World In 1995, the UST Singers won the "Choir of the World" grand prize and four other first prizes at the 4th Llangallen International Eisteddfod in Wales, UK. The competition was reportedly the world's oldest international choral competition. In 2001, the UST Singers was voted "Best Choir" at World Choral Festival in Puebla, Mexico. Best Choir in Italy The UP Singing Ambassadors won the Gran Premio 'Citta d' Arezzo in Italy in August 2001. The Italian competition was said to be the Olympics of choral singing. Best Dance Troupe The Bayanihan Philippine Dance Company (IU '65) has bested 21 other dance troupes from around the world to win the Gold Temple Award and the Absolute Gold Award in the 47th International Folk Festival in Sicily "for being the overall best in dance, music and costume." Best Selling Author Veltisezar B. Bautista, a writer and publisher who was born in General Tinio town in Nueva Ecija province, is perhaps the most read Filipino author in the United States. His six non-fiction books won for him two Benjamin Franklin awards and other prestigious awards in the US. Among the titles he wrote and published are "The Book of U.S. Postal Exams: How to Score 95-100% and Get a Job", "How to Build a Successful One-Person Business: A Common-Sense Guide to Starting & Growing a Company", "Improve Your Grades: A Practical Guide to Academic Excellence", and "How to Teach Your Child: Things to Know from Kindergarten through Grade 6." Before he migrated to the US in 1976, Bautista had served as a proofreader, reporter and deskman of the now defunct Manila Chronicle. He also contributed articles to the Free Press.

Award Winning Furniture Designers In May 2001, a group of Filipino furniture designers known as Movement 8 bested over 600 participants from all over the world to win the Editors' Award in the prestigious 2001 International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICCF) in New York. Before this, the group had collected awards from other fairs in Paris, Milan, Germany and Spain. International Teacher In 1958, Concepcion Aguilar was recognized as "International Teacher of the Year". Champion Organist In 1974, Filipino organist Socorro de Castro became a champion in the International Electrone Grand Prix, which was held in Tokyo, Japan. Children's Choir The Mandaluyong Children's Chorus, composed of 30 students aged 6 to 16 years old, from public schools in the city won a silver medal and a bronze medal in the 2nd World Choir Olympics held in Busan, South Korea where 300 singing groups from 100 nations participated from October 19 to 27, 2002. Children's Art Champion In 1988, Cristina Fabian was acknowledged as the supreme gold winner in the International Children's Art competition, which was held in Tokyo, Japan. Math Champions Who said that Filipino students have poor Mathematical skills? In the World Youth Mathematics Intercity Competition held in Lucknow, India in May 2002, a team of 16 Filipino students brought home 2 gold medals, 10 silver medals and 3 bronze medals. The event drew 61 teams from 12 countries such as Hong Kong, Taiwan, Finland, China and India. Filipino winners include gold medallists Alvin Edward S. Gillo (Pasay City Chong Hua High School) and Michael Joseph N. Tan of (Zamboanga Chong Hua High School); silver medallists Jed Ericson C. Lee and Johnson Gamboa (Grace Christian High School), Charles Erick T. Co (St. Peter the Apostle School), David Joseph N. Tan, Jimson G. Ngeo, Kendrick C. Saavedra and Elvis T. Chua (Zamboanga Chong Hua High School), David T. So (Saint Stephen High School), Raymond A. Salvador (Jesus is Lord High School), and David Wan (Philippine Cultural High School); and bronze medallists Richmond C. Saavedra (Zamboanga), Jan Henri Ma (Trinity Christian School) and Roland Joseph Robles (Philippine Cultural). The other contestant, Lloyd Neilsen Chiong won a merit award. Youngest Accountant Jose Gangan became a certified public accountant (CPA) at the age of 18. Award Winning Actor In 1955, Filipino actor Efren Reyes was adjudged as "Asia's Best Actor" in the Asian Film Festival for his appearance in the film "Ifugao". In 1967, Charito Solis was acknowledged as "Asia's Best Actress" for his portrayal in "Dahil sa Isang Bulaklak". Nightingale Awardee In May 1961, the Geneva-based International Committee of Red Cross bestowed the Florence Nightingale Medal and Diploma to Julita Sotejo, a Filipino nurse. Filipino in Holywood Rudy Robles appeared in 50 American movies, and was in the lead cast of at least three of these films. California PIO Former Filipino sportswriter Percy Della later became the Public Information Officer (PIO) of the California State government. Award Winning Furniture Designers In May 2001, a group of Filipino furniture designers known as Movement 8 bested over 600 participants from all over the world to win the Editors' Award in the prestigious 2001 International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICCF) in New York. Before this, the group had collected awards from other international fairs in Paris, Milan, Germany and Spain. International Clothing Brands Filipino clothing brands Bench, Sari-Sari, Ba-yo, Penshoppe, Plains and Prints have already opened stores in other countries. Philippine Disasters More Trivia World's 4th Most Accident-Prone Country According to the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the Philippines was the fourth most accident prone country in the world. The two institutions arrived at this conclusion after finding out that some 5,809,986 Filipinos were killed or injured as a result of disasters or man-made calamities over a ten-year period (1992-2001). If not for its smaller population, the Philippines could have been the world's second most accident-prone country after Iran. Because of its large population, China topped the accident list, with 97,783,301 of its citizens affected by accidents during the ten-year period. It was followed by India, which reported 46,060,125 victims during the period. Both China and India have a population of over 1 billion people. Iran was third in the list, with 6,416,570 victims. Behind the Philippines were Ethiopia, with 3,334,266 victims; and Pakistan, 2,732,032 victims. The global report by International Red Cross said 535,416 people were killed in natural disasters and 86,947 others in industrial, transport and other "technological disasters" worldwide from 1992 to 2001. According to the Philippine Red Cross, 31,835 Filipinos were killed and 94,369,462 others were affected by natural disasters and calamities in a span of 20 years. "The Philippines was a natural laboratory for floods, typhoons, monsoon rains, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and landslides," Philippine National Red Cross governor Dante Liban said. (Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer)

313 Disaster Incidents in 2002 Data from the Disaster Response Operations Monitoring and Information Center (DROMIC) showed that there were 313 disaster incidents in the country in 2002, up from only 199 incidents in 2001. In particular, there were 120 fire incidents that affected 15,430 households in 2002, 63 deportation or relocation incidents, 22 armed conflicts that distressed 8,891 families, 22 bombing incidents or explosions, 22 flashfloods that affected 234,414 households, and 7 destructive typhoons that distressed 568,345 families. Other types of disasters that happened in 2002 were vehicular accidents, sea mishap, tornado, massacre, plane crash, and earthquakes. Worst Disaster in History On July 12, 2000, the Philippines witnessed one of the world's most horrifying images of social tragedy in history. Nearly 500 garbage scavengers who were living literally at the Payatas dumpsite in Quezon City were buried alive under tons of garbage when a 50-foot garbage mountain collapsed on their makeshift houses at the height of torrential rains. It was a tragic commentary on poverty in the Philippines, yet the lesson remains to be learned to this day. Worst Sea Accidents In December 1987, some 4,341 people died when Dona Paz, an inter-island passenger ferry owned by Sulpicio Lines collided with an oil tanker off Mindoro Island. Sadly it was not to be the last sea tragedy in the Philippines, an archipelago of 7,107 islands. In 1988, around 250 people died when Dona Marilyn, another passenger ferry owned by Sulpicio Lines, sank. On April 11, 2002, at least 30 people were killed when MV Maria Carmella, which was bound from the island-province of Masbate for Lucena City in Quezon province, caught fire. Among the most frequently mentioned causes of the sea accidents were overloading of the ship, ageing facilities, badly trained crewmembers, and poor compliance by the vessels with safety precautions and measures. While the Philippines has over 7,100 islands and 10,000 ships or boats, the Philippine Coastguard has only 4,000 men. Worst Air Accidents On April 19, 2000, some 131 people were killed when a commercial airplane from Manila crashed in Samal Island, Davao del Norte province (southern Mindanao). All the passengers and crew, including four infants, of Air Philippines Boeing 737-200 (Flight 541 from Manila) died in what is now considered the worst air tragedy in the Philippines. A local commercial flight bound for northern Luzon crashed into Manila Bay seven minutes after takeoff in the morning of November 11, 2002, leaving 19 people including six foreign tourists dead. Ten people survived. The ill-fated airplane - an ageing Fokker 27 - was bound from Manila for Laoag City in northern Luzon, with 29 passengers and crewmembers on board, when it encountered an engine trouble and crashed one kilometer off the Manila Bay shoreline in Paranaque City. The dead victims include five Australian tourists and a British national. Among the 10 survivors was an Australian tourist. The two Filipino captains of the airplane also survived, along with a flight stewardess and a plane mechanic. On July 2, 2000, an Air Force Nomad plane crashed somewhere in Sulu Sea, killing its 13 crewmembers and passengers, including the late Palawan Governor Salvador Socrates and Western Command chief Maj. Gen. Santiago Madrid. On March 17, 1957, President Ramon Magsaysay died in an airplane crash in Mount Manunggal, Cebu province. Worst Terrorist Attacks No one thought that banditry still exists in the modern era. In April 1995, the Muslim extremist Abu Sayyaf (Bearers of the Sword) group raided the Christian town of Ipil in Zamboanga del Norte province and burned all its houses and establishments. The group also shot dead at least 54 residents of the town. The worst terrorist attack in Metro Manila took place on December 30, 2000, which was a holiday (Rizal Day). A series of bombings rocked the metropolis on that day. The worst explosion happened inside a train of the Light Rail Transit (LRT) in Manila where 22 passengers were killed and hundreds more were wounded. Before this, an explosion nearly killed Philippine Ambassador Leonides Caday in Jakarta, Indonesia on August 1, 2000. Police claimed that an Indonesian national in their custody has admitted responsibility for the bombings in Manila and Jakarta. In March, 2002, a group which identified itself as the Indigenous Federal State Army planted at least 10 hoax bombs around Metro Manila purportedly to demand the establishment of separate governments for Muslim and indigenous people. Investigators, however, denied that such a group exists and blamed the bomb scare to existing rebel groups. On April 21, 2002, 15 innocent civilians were killed while 60 others were injured when a bomb exploded outside a shopping mall in General Santos City (southern Mindanao). The Abu Sayyaf quickly claimed responsibility over the bombing, although the military was convinced that a larger Muslim rebel group could be involved. On October 19, a bomb exploded aboard a public bus, killing three passengers and wounding 19 others in Balintawak, Quezon City. A fragmentation grenade also exploded in Makati City but injured no one on October 17. On October 17, two of the seven bombs planted around Zamboanga City (western Mindanao) exploded, leaving seven people dead and 144 others injured. On October 10, a bomb, which was allegedly planted by an extortion group, exploded inside a bus terminal in Kidapawan City (central Mindanao), leaving 8 people dead and 25 others injured. On the night of October 2, a bomb, allegedly planted by Muslim extremist Abu Sayyaf group, exploded in front of a karaoke bar in Zamboanga City (western Mindanao), killing an American soldier and two Filipinos and wounding 19 others, including another American soldier. September 11 Attacks What is considered as the world's terrorist attack was the September 11 airplane assault on the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York in 2001. About 3,000 people were believed killed in the incident that brought all the floors of the two buildings to the ground. Reports said there were at least 500 Filipinos or Filipino-Americans working at the World Trade Center. There were 80,000 Filipinos living in New York City and another 50,000 in Washington D.C. Worst Fires On March 18, 1996 a fire at Ozone disco along Timog Avenue in Quezon City left 150 people dead and 90 others seriously injured. Around 350 young Filipinos were inside the bar when the fire struck. It was considered the worst nightclub fire since a blaze killed 164 people in Southgate, Kentucky in 1977. On August 18, 2001, a fire gutted Manor Hotel in Quezon City, killing 75 guests and wounding 52 others. The victims, mostly local members of the Dawn Flowers Ministry, a Texas-based Christian evangelical group, were asleep when the fire struck. They were trapped inside their rooms because the hotel's fire exit was blocked.

Worst Bus Accident On November 24, 33 people died while six others were seriously injured when a passenger bus plunged into a 30-foot ravine in Tagkawayan, Quezon province (southern Luzon). The ill-fated Falcon Liner bus was bound for Masbate province (Bicol region) when its driver reportedly lost control of the wheel while negotiating a downhill portion of the Quirino Highway. Most of the passengers were asleep when the accident happened at 12:30 a.m. On November 26, a Victory Liner bus plunged into a 109-foot ravine in Benguet province, killing two of its passengers. Worst Volcanic Eruptions In June, 1991, Mount Pinatubo in Zambales province had the century's second largest volcanic eruption, as it unleashed some 15 million tons of sulfur dioxide into the earth's atmosphere that resulted in slight cooling of the earth's temperature. Thousands of people were believed killed as a result of the eruption and the subsequent lahar flow, which buried several villages in the provinces of Pampanga, Tarlac and Zambales. The eruption also forced American troops out of their bases in Clark, Pampanga and Subic, Zambales. What is considered as the century's strongest eruption is the eruption of Novarupta in Alaska, which released 9 cubic miles of magma towards the earth's surface in June, 1912. Worst Typhoons and Flashfloods As a typhoon codenamed Thelma was passing the Philippines on November 5, 1991, a flashflood hit Ormoc City in Leyte province, killing at least 3,000 people and destroying the homes of 50,000 others. In September 1984, a typhoon codenamed Ike killed 1,300 persons while in 1995 typhoon Angela killed 700 people. On August 3, 1999, heavy torrential rains caused a landslide that killed 58 people and buried over 100 houses at Cherry Hills Subsivision in Antipolo City. On November 9, 2001, a typhoon locally named "Nanang" caused a flashflood that buried 350 residents of Mahinog in the island-province of Camiguin. The highest death toll during a weather disturbance was reported in Bangladesh when a strong cyclone (typhoon) killed nearly 300,000 people in November 1970. Worst Earthquakes On July 16, 1990, an earthquake that registered 7.7 on the Richter scale killed 1,700 people, injured 3,000 individuals and displaced 148,000 more in Luzon. Among the cities that sustained the worst damages were Baguio, Dagupan and Cabanatuan. On August 17, 1976, an earthquake caused a tidal wave or tsunami that killed about 8,000 people in Mindanao, according to the Information Please Almanac. On August 2, 1968, an earthquake caused the collapse of Ruby Tower buildings, leaving hundreds of people trapped underneath the rubble. What is considered as the most damaging earthquake in the 20th Century took place in Tianjin, China where 250,000 people were believed killed. The strongest earthquake, which registered 9.5 on the Richter scale, was reported in Chile on May 22, 1960. Worst Festival Tragedy On July 2, 1993, a pagoda carrying hundreds of Catholic devotees during the annual pagoda festival in Bocaue, Bulacan sank into the muddy Bocaue River. About 279 people, including children, drowned in the incident. One victim, Sajid Bulig, died a hero after saving four children out of the river. Coastal Areas Sinking According to the University of the Philippines' National Institute of Geological Sciences, low coastal areas at the Manila Bay, such as Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas, Valenzuela and several towns in Bulacan, Pampanga and Bataan have sunk one meter in the past 30 years or ten times than the rate of the global sea level rise in the last century. In their paper "Flooding in Pampanga, Bataan, Bulacan and Camanava: Causes, Trends and Possible Solutions", geologists blamed the fast rise of water level at the Manila Bay to too much extraction of groundwater by a growing population and economic activities. There are about 23 million people living around the Manila Bay, who experience flood during the rainy season. Tourist Spots in Philippines Photos and Images Explore the Philippines. Take a peek at Filipinos' history and culture mirrored by century-old churches, ancient forts and modern museums. See the best of nature in our white-sand beaches and three-layered virgin forests. Discover the Philippine islands. Blessed with an extensive coastline, the Philippines is ringed with unspoiled beaches and first-class resort facilities. Its deep-blue, crystal-clear waters offer about 40,000 square kilometers of coral reefs teeming with a wide variety of marine life. Endowed with a temperate climate, the Philippines offers a perfect treat to enjoy the sunlight. Lying in southeast Asia and surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, the Philippines boasts of unsullied beaches, spectacular sunsets, luxuriant pastoral lands, cool mountain weather, brilliant man-made resorts and dazzling islands. The Philippines boasts some of the best beaches and scuba diving waters in the world, supported by golf and an increasingly-impressive inter-island tour and transport system. Witness the vast expanse of nature's splendor under the spell of cool mountain breeze. A perfect setting for romance or nature tripping, the country's mountain villages serve as a perfect hideaway from the lowlands' summer heat. If you have yet to see the Philippines, then embark now to what promises to be a trip to paradise! Feel the breeze of summer at white-sand beaches deemed as among the world's finest; be fascinated at the spectacular view of Baguio and Tagaytay; and take a dip in the refreshing waters of modern resort facilities. Whi te- Sa nd Bea ch es Boracay Island Widely known as one of the finest swimming destinations in the world, Boracay is blessed with unsullied fine talcum powdersand beaches. Its tranquil crystal clear waters are perfect for swimming, sailing, fishing and sunbathing. Boracay also boasts of sapphire seas and spectacular sunsets. Countless hidden coves dot the island and tall coconut trees line up along the beaches. Boracay lies at the northwest tip of Panay, in the west Visayas region, off the Sibuyan Sea. The island is made up of little communities: Yapak in the north, Balabag in the middle, and Manocmanoc in the south. Hilly elevations up to 100 meters above sea level characterize Yapak and Manocmanoc. Intertwining trails link the small villages together but many

sometimes lead to lush tropical jungles. To get to Boracay, one has to book a flight to Kalibo, the capital of Aklan province. Air-conditioned coasters or public buses offer one-hour-and-a-half drive to Caticlan where one can board a motorized banca for a 30-minute trip to Boracay. Siargao Island This newly discovered island boasts of white-sand beaches and surfing waves compared to that of Hawaii. Lying 800 kilometers southeast of Manila, the tear-shaped Siargao Island is a perfect haven for the sun, sea, and surf buffs. It lies on the eastern portion of Surigao del Norte and on the southeastern tip of Mindanao. The island is a mass of tropical land with scores of reefs, points and white beaches. Its promise as a surfing mecca in the making was discovered in 1993 by American surf photographer John Callahan who went to investigate the rumors of spectacular waves in a little known Mindanao town. He came back from his trip armed with stories about the lovely sun-drenched island and documented his find with beautiful photographs. Siargao opened itself to the international surfing community by playing host to the Siargao Surfing Cup in the municipality of General Luna. Siargao's Cloud Nine break is said to be among the best in the world and foreign sportsmen view "the unparalleled surf of Siargao as a magnet for deep sea fishing, sailing, wind-surfing, kayaking, and sunbathing on miles of white sandy beaches that the reef-ringed island and its rich waters afford the visitor. Samal Island Samal Island offers unending fascination with its white-sand beaches, thick mangroves, coral reefs, rolling hills and rock formations.It is an archipelago of nine islands located in the Davao Gulf about 700 meters south of Davao City. An ideal model for resort and development, Samal Island provides a fabulous site for sunrise and sunset. Samal Island, like the rest of Mindanao, is outside of the typhoon belt, and enjoys relatively calm weather. Its coastline is characterized by tall, swaying coconut trees, white sand beaches, rock formations, mangroves, coral reefs, and small fishing villages, all suggestive of a tropical island paradise. Almost all of the beach areas have white sand, with widths varying from only a few meters to more than 10 meters. It provides ample space for picnic huts, reclining chairs for sun bathing, or for simply relaxing and enjoying the tropical scenery. The water is crystal clear throughout the coastline, which varies in terrain from gently sloping sand beaches to steep cliffs and rock formations. The colors of the coastline at the beach areas transforms itself from the green lush vegetation of coconut trees, to the white sandy beaches, to the dark blue color of the sea, with its deep waters and coral reefs. Among its popular attractions are the Aguinaldo Pearl Farm, the caves of Talikud Island, the White Stone Mountain, and the San Jose Muslim Fishing Village. Bohol's Springs and Beaches Bohol is one of the loveliest islands in southern Philippines. It is situated at the heart of Visayas and with coastline skimmed by gentle coves and white-sand beaches. Many highways snake along sparkling beaches or leafy rivers where one can stop at any point and jump in. With its rolling hills and plateaus, crystal springs and beaches, the province of Bohol is a picturesque province replete with ancestral homes and centuries-old churches. Bohol is composed of numerous isles -Panglao, Pamilacan, Cabilao, Jao, Mahanay and Lapinin, which are excellent dive spots. The Chocolate Hills is but one of the many natural wonders to be found in Bohol. The province is the home of the world's smallest monkey, the tarsier. The size of a fist, the tarsier lives on the hills of Corella, some ten kilometers from Tagbilaran. Other exotic flora and fauna may also be found amongst the forest of Bohol. Bohol's various mountainous and water formations also serve as a natural playground for the adventurous tourist. One can cruise its rivers, hike up the hills, swim the deep waters, or just stroll down the avenues. Bohol is just waiting to surprise you. Tagbilaran, Bohol's capital town can be reached by plane or boat from Cebu and Manila. Numerous tourist inns and excellent resorts are found in Tagbilaran and Panglao island. The Beaches of Palawan The exotic beauty of Palawan remains undefiled. Branded as the country's last frontier, Palawan is a sanctuary to an amazing variety of exotic flora and fauna that are found nowhere else. Palawan is also home to Tubbataha Reef, the only national marine park that made it to the World Heritage List and whose grandeur is comparable to the Great Barrier Reef of Australia. With more than a thousand islands and islets, Palawan boasts of white-sand beaches, scenic rock formations, underwater rivers and magnificent caves. Other well-known attractions include Saint Paul's National Park which boasts of caves that nestle an underground river; El Nido, a world-class resort famous for its awe-inspiring seascape and limestone cliffs; and Calauit island, home of Philippine and African wildlife. Also in Palawan is the primordial island of Busuanga, a perfect starting point for sorties to other nearby islands.In Palawan, each day is promising. The sun rises over the South China Sea and soon everything else sparkles, including the smiles of its people. The Beaches of Glan, Sarangani Glan, the largest town in the Sarangani province, boasts of world-class beach resorts and rich fishing grounds. The terrain of Glan is characterized by flatlands, rolling hills and mountains. Most land areas have been converted to agriculture and fishponds. The town of Glan is bounded on the east by Davao Del Sur, on the north by Malapatan town, on the west by the South China Sea, and on the south by Sarangani Bay. Many foreign and local tourists flock to the area during summer because of its splendid beach resorts. The sorrounding waters, particularly in Gumasa, Baliton and Margus areas are rich fishing grounds. As many as 2,400 species of marine

animals have been found in the bay. The dominant catch include yellow-fin tuna, shipjack, and mackerel. Glan can be reached from Manila and Cebu by airplane going to General Santos City and a 45-minute drive from the airport. Subic Bay Subic, the former US naval base in the Philippines, is now a hub for commerce and tourism. Just two-and-a-half hour drive north from Manila, Subic offers a full view of the blue mountain and sea and of the green background of a three-layered virgin forest. Points of interest include the 18-hole Binictican Golf Course and Clubhouse, a white-sand beach, bowling and arcade center,a ship wharf past a restricted forested area, firing ranges, fishing grounds and an area for bungee jumping. Visitors to Subic can take a 12-hour jungle survival course, visit an Aeta tribal village, take a bay cruise, explore the coves, end up at the white-sand beach of Grande Island, engage in water sports, go horseback riding or simply enjoy the scenic view of the sea. Subic Bay is complete with tourism-support facilities that include a marina, a yacht club, hotels, shopping arcades and food shops. It also boasts of an international airport. Anilao Anilao, a resort village in Mabini, Batangas is considered the summer mecca of diving fanatics. The resort offers accommodations and diving facilities, plus the services of training clubs that provide courses on diving. Situated in the southeast area of Batangas province, Anilao may be reached within three hours from Manila through public buses or jeepneys. From Anilao, one can start diving from the shore or go in bancas to nearby islands. Among them is Sombrero (Hat) Island, a marine preserve where sports activities are regulated. Other dive spots in this side of Batangas are Mapating Rock at Maricaban Island, Caban Cove and Layag Layag Point. Puerto Galera Puerto Galera (which means Galleon Port) is one of the most popular beach resorts in the Philippines. A marine reserve, it is endowed with coves, fine sandy beaches and shallow coral reefs ideal for snorkeling. The place can be reached from the port of Batangas City where a ferry service to Mindoro awaits the tourists. Bancas may be hired to go to Escarceo Point, the best dive spot in Puerto Galera. The area offers positive thrills and guaranteed excitement, with its sudden rushes of strong currents and steep slopes which are a favorite gathering place for large pelagic fish.Diving expeditions are usually organized by certified masters on specific dive spots. Hundred Islands Northern Philippines boasts of white-sand beaches in Pangasinan and Ilocandia. Among the best tourist destinations is the Hundred Islands which can be reached from the Pangasinan town of Alaminos, where the lodging accommodations and restaurants are situated. At Hundred Islands, the visitor may rent an island for one's own private beach for a day. Short boat rides take off from the village of Lucap to the Hundred Islands. Beaches stretch along the western coast of Ilocos region. Among the popular beach resorts are Cresta del Mar, Bali Hai, Cabana and the Coconut Grove in La Union province. Ilocos Norte also has fine resorts such as D'Coral Beach Resort and Fort Ilocandia. Pools an d R eso rt s Aside from beaches and diving spots, the Philippines also has other beautiful places. You can either take a dip in the refreshing waters of modern resort facilities, feel the gush of volcanic hot springs or just have fun under the waterfalls. Pagsanjan Falls A popular tourist destination, Pagsanjan Rapids and Falls is a series of 14 rapids punctuated by mini-waterfalls on the way to the main falls. Pagsanjan is a small Laguna town which served as the setting for Fracis Ford Coppola's film "Apocalypse Now." The terrain towards the main falls offers a lot of exitement. As one negotiates the waterway, the trips becomes wilder, with the river flanked by towering cliffs lush with vegetation. Waters from the Cavinti and Luisiana dams cascade down Pagsanjan Falls and into a segregated part of the river which is about 150 feet deep. Here, one can rent a raft and enjoy riding under the falls. Laguna Resorts Aside from Pagsanjan Falls, Laguna has a lot more to offer. Laguna has one of the Philippines' incredibly beautiful countryside sceneries. The province offers a scenic view of a bay, considered as the largest in the country. The towns of Calamba and Los Baños abound with swimming pools and resorts. Many residents of Metro Manila head for these towns during summer. In Calamba, one can proceed to the ancestral house of National Hero Dr. Jose Rizal. The house now serves as a museum and is a repository of Philippine history and culture. Los Baños, on the other hand, is famous for its numerous hot springs. Considered as a flower basket in Luzon, Los Baños produces a wide variety of flowers and other ornamentals. Mt. Makiling, an extinct volcano, stands guard over the town. Hidden Valley Springs Hidden Valley Springs is one of the most popular resorts in Alaminos, Laguna. The valley nestles at the foot of Mt. Makiling, a mystical mountain associated with local myths.

A number of springs with hot, cold and soda water, lace a forest of huge fruit trees, tropical shrubs and flowering plants. A concrete path connects the pools and leads to the jungle's interior where a waterfall has cut a gorge down the mountainside. The resort has cottages for overnight stay and restaurants. It is an ideal base for visiting the surrounding provincial towns of Laguna and Quezon. Bulacan Resorts Bulacan, a progressive province just north of Manila, offers resort facilities that are generally clean and complete in amenities. The towns of San Jose del Monte, Sta. Maria, Balagtas, Pandi, Malolos, Plaridel and San Miguel boast of resort facilities that draw visitors from Metro Manila and nearby provinces. The rural setting provides a perfect blend of countryside nature and modern facilities for fun and recreation. Among the well known resorts in the province are DJ Paradise Resort in Malolos; Sibul Spring Resort in San Miguel; Grotto Vista in San Jose del Monte; 4k Garden and Lanesca Resort; Latian in Marilao and Villa Christina in Balagtas. Bulacan is just a 30-minute drive from Manila via the North Luzon Tollway or through the Mac Arthur Highway. Villa Escudero Villa Escudero, a coconut plantation village in San Pablo City, was developed by its owners into a tourist destination complete with swimming pools, picnic area, fishing grounds, and modern amenities. Special packages can be arranged to include overnight stay with food and accommodation. The village offers a glimpse of plantation living. The whole area is surrounded by coconut trees and flowering plants. The estate also houses a museum whose collection ranges from fabulous antiquities to kitsch. Bamboo cottages grid a river that flows to a dam where picnickers gather around the tables set up on the water. The village is a one-and-a-half hour drive south from Manila. Puerto Azul Situated on the southern entrance to Manila Bay and opposite Corregidor Island is Puerto Azul, a beach resort that offers a breathtaking sight with all its elegance and mystique. Puerto Azul, a tourists' paradise in the outskirts of Ternate town in Cavite, boasts of flowery bushes, verdant hills and forests, blue sea, and fine sand beaches. Here, one can imagine one's self in the Biblical Garden of Eden (a little bit in the modern era, though). The resort complex, which nestles within a 3,300-hectare nature reserve, houses two entities: the Puerto Azul Beach Hotel and the Puerto Azul Beach and Country Club. The club manages a world-class golf course designed by Gary Player and Ron Kirby and completed in 1978. It is now a popular venue for many prestigious championship tournaments. Though Puerto Azul has always been synonymous with golf and the beach, now there are other things that one can do within the complex. Puerto Azul Beach Hotel has, in fact, prepared 30 fun-filled activities which can be done on one's own or with family. Camiguin Island Camiguin Island, known for its lanzones festival, offers white-sand beaches, spring resorts and magnificent caves untouched by industrial development. The island lies off the north coast of Mindanao. Aside from its beaches, Camiguin boasts of spring resorts and waterfalls. The 62-square kilometer island-province has more volcanoes per square kilometer than any other island on Earth. Most famous of the island's seven volcanoes is Mt. Hibok-Hibok whose last eruption was recorded in 1951. Among its popular attractions are the Ardent Spring Resort run by the Philippine Tourism Authority (PTA), the Mt. HibokHibok itself, Santo Niño Cold Spring, Medano Islet, Mantigue Island and the lanzones festival. There are local flights to Camuigin island. Cool Mo un ta in s Witness the vast expanse of nature's splendor under the spell of cool mountain breeze. A perfect setting for romance or nature tripping, the country's mountain villages serve as a perfect hideaway from the lowlands' summer heat. Baguio City Rising 1,500 meters above the sea, Baguio City enjoys a relatively cool weather throughout the year. On the average, Baguio is at least eight degrees cooler than any place in the lowlands. Not surprisingly, Baguio has become the "summer capital" of the country. It is awarded with a variety of cultural, historical and scenic attractions which make it an important and interesting destination. As early as March, tourists and locals take the six-hour trek up the zigzagging Kennon Road. Within a mile of the city, the sweet scent of pine trees and flowers already permeate the air. Designed by Daniel Burnham during the American occupation, Baguio City is situated in the midst of pine-covered hills and valleys at the southern end of the Cordillera. Among its popular attractions are the well-manicured lawns of Club John Hay, the Mansion House and the Burnham Park. From Baguio City, one can proceed to the Banaue Rice Terraces, also considered as the eighth wonder of the world. An engineering marvel, this "Stairways to the Sky" was constructed by hand by the Ifugaos. Tagaytay

With an altitude of 2,250 feet above sea level, Tagaytay City enjoys a cool climate all year round. This city perched on a ridge is located in the province of Cavite, some 56 kilometers south of Manila. It overlooks Manila Bay on the north, Taal Lake and Taal Volcano on the south, Laguna Bay on the east and the China Sea on the west. The city is linked to the Metropolitan Manila and the province of Batangas by the Aguinaldo Highway. Among its attractions is the Tagaytay Picnic Grove where one can get an unobstructed view of Taal Volcano, which lies within a lake. Taal Volcano, which rises 406 meters from the lake, is reputedly the world's smallest volcano. Taal Lake itself is an immense body of water formed when the old crater collapsed and the walls of the larger volcano caved in and sank. A visit to the Volcano Island can be arranged through the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology in Quezon City which maintains a monitoring station on the island. For visiting tourists, support facilities are readily available in this idyllic city. Tagaytay is the "sister" city of Las Vegas and Nevada, U.S.A; Tainan City, Taiwan; and Bankstown City, New South Wales, Australia. Sagada This Mountain Province town, situated west of Bontoc, boasts of its cool weather and spectacular sceneries. A pastoral upland valley, Sagada provides an endless expanse of mountain ranges which are clothed by fogs in the early morning. Among its attractions are towering limestone cliffs, subterranean caves and unexplored forests. Some of Sagada's caves remain unconquered. Because of their length and depth, Sagada's natives believe that these caves lead to the center of the Earth. Other sites to visit in Sagada are the Kitongan bottomless pit and underground river, Calvary Hill, Bukong Falls and Alipine Lake Banao. Sagada has accommodation facilities and can be reached by public buses from Banaue in Ifugao province or from Baguio City. Banahaw Another popular destination, specially during the Lent period, is Mount Banahaw, an extinct volcano which rises 2,100 meters above sea level. Banahaw towers over the southeastern towns of Laguna and Quezon. Revered as a mystical mountain, Banahaw has become a sanctuary for different religious cults. Up on Banahaw's leafy slopes live members of various religious sects who adhere to what seems to be a mixture of Catholicism, Buddhism, the cabala, animism and other forms of pagan worship. Down below, in the foothill towns, dwell amulet-makers, soothsayers, faith healers, diviners and dedicated UFO watchers. Banahaw comes alive during the Lent when various religious sects re-enact the passion of Jesus Christ. People ascend to Mount Banahaw to experience its cool weather, bathe in its hot springs or simply stand amazed at the sight of nature's beauty. Mount Banahaw can be reached from both east and west. From the east, the ascent starts in Lucban, Quezon, while from the west, in Dolores, Laguna. For both climbs, it is advisable to have a guide to ensure a safe trip. Urban W onde rs Enchanted Kingdom Thousands of people head south of Manila to spend a day of fun-filled relaxation and adventurous excitement within the American-style walls of Enchanted Kingdom, a 17-hectare world class theme park conveniently located in the outskirts of Sta. Rosa, Laguna. Enchanted Kingdom, a short five-minute ride from the Sta. Rosa Tollgate of South Luzon Expressway, brings the closest version of Disney-type leisure in the country. The theme park, managed and operated by Amtrust Leisure Corporation (ALC), offers educational entertainment tours to students and "gastronomic treats" to families. The P1.2-billion park, which has been operating since July 28, 1995 was conceptualized by Landmark Entertainment Group and designed after the Knott's Berry Farm, America's first amusement theme park located in Buena Park, California. It is a member of the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA). As such, it provides visitors with thrilling rides, stunning sights, and wondrous experience. In the words of the Enchanted Kingdom operators, "the place is an active mix of thrills, attractions, entertainment, food service, celebrations and shopping set amidst an enthralling place that presents the past and the future, the quaint and the sophisticated, the picturesque and the dazzling in one unique package." Enchanted Kingdom is an aggregate of seven theme zones: Victoria Park, Portabello, Brooklyn Place, Spaceport, Jungle Outpost, Midway Boardwalk, and Boulderville. These zones serve as enclaves to 21 thrilling rides and attractions meant to provide daring visitors with a sense of flight, twist, twirl, and other acrobatic stunts. The rides include the Grand Carousel, Flying Fiesta, Rialto, Space Shuttle, Log Jam, Wheel of Fate, Condor, Up Up and Away, Roller Coaster, Anchors Away, Dodgem, Stone Eggs, Air Pterodactyl, Swan boats, and Bump n Splash. In the near future, the park is set to introduce other exciting rides such as the Kiddie Train Ride and the Rio Loco River Rapid Ride. Aside from the rides, Enchanted Kingdom also charms its visitors with various treats such as the fireworks show every weekend, dance presentation by the park's in-house talents, theater shows, seasonal shows, well-manicured gardens, classic American brownstone facades and establishments, and a variety of characters and mascots led by the Wizard. Manila Rediscover Manila like you've never seen it before. Be charmed by the city's glorious past mirrored by its century-old churches, gallant forts, classic plazas, ancestral edifices, stately museums, and historic monuments. At the same time, relish the beauty of a modern city rising from the ruins of yesteryears. Beyond Manila's busy streets and crowded commercial centers lie festive joints that celebrate life.

The Old City Manila, which was named after a white-flowered mangrove plant called nilad, was a tiny Malay settlement along the Pasig River ruled by Rajah Sulayman in the 16th century. The Spanish colonizers moved the capital of the Philippines from Cebu to Manila in 1571. They built the walled city of Intramuros, which for the next 300 years, was to become the nerve center of the Spanish rule. Intramuros was the political and commercial center of the Spanish regime. From this walled city, the Spaniards extended their cultural and religious influences to the different parts of the country. They built churches, Catholic-run schools and universities, government buildings, and magnificent artifices, which reflect the Castilian architecture. At the turn of the century, the Americans came and ruled the Philippines for 50 years. They introduced their own architecture, language, education and system of governance. During this period, Manila underwent a facelift. A blend of American and Spanish influences gave way to a new Manila, which was to evolve into a giant urban area known as Metro Manila. Today, Metro Manila is an aggregate of 10 cities and seven municipalities. Intramuros Among the popular attractions in Metro Manila are Intramuros, Rizal Park, Binondo, Malacañang, Malate, the CCP Complex, Nayong Pilipino, Ayala Avenue, the Fort, Ortigas Center, Quezon Memorial Circle, and countless bars and restaurants scattered around the metropolis. Traces of the Spanish influence still loom in Intramuros. A tour of this landmark will provide the visitors a deeper understanding of Manila's rich heritage. Intramuros protects within its walls a number of national treasures like the Fort Santiago (once a prison for revolutionary Filipinos, now a peaceful park-cum-museum), San Agustin Church (the oldest structure in the country with its Baroque interiors and trompe l'oeil murals), Manila Cathedral (a magnificent architectural feat with its intricate stone carvings, stained glass mosaics, and rosette windows), Casa Manila (a former colonial house and now a museum of national relics), and San Juan de Letran school. Intramuros has been restored for the tourists. Today, it houses a museum, art galleries, an open-air theatre, fine restaurants, craft shops and souvenir stalls. It also keeps a park lush with tropical flora and homing pigeons. The park, Puerto Real, is the venue of Saturday musical performances during dry months. Rizal Park Just beside Intramuros is Rizal Park, a 60-hectare conglomerate of gardens, historical markers, plazas, an artist's sanctuary, a 1913 bronze monument of Jose Rizal, a grand stadium, an observatory, an open-air concert hall, a light-and-sound theatre, restaurants, food kiosks and playgrounds, with dozens of fountains. Fronting the northwest side of the park is Manila Hotel, whose lobby is one of the most imposing in the world. Along the park's bayside, tourists can have an unobstructed view of the fabled Manila Bay sunset. A five-minute walk from Rizal Park is the National Museum, the official keeper and guardian of the country's cultural, historical and natural heritage. It houses the representative works of the National Artists, as well as the renowned paintings of Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo and Juan Luna. It puts on display some prehistoric finds, including the Tabon skullcap, pottery, ceramics and other artifacts from China and Indochina and remnants of pre-Hispanic boats that brought Malay immigrants to the Philippines dating to about 1250. Other establishments worth visiting in the area are the Metropolitan Theater and the National Library. Binondo Area Across the Pasig River from Intramuros is the Binondo area, home of Chinatown. The district is filled with all things Chinese from Peking duck and Buddhist temples to gold watches, snake soup, and wonder herbs. The high chords of Chinese songs and the permeating smell of incense complete the uniquely Chinese ambiance. It is said that this quaint district was already a hub of Chinese commerce even before the Spaniards came in 1571. In particular, Ongpin offers a lot of variety: restaurants, pet shops, bakeries, grocery stores, jewelers, traditional medicine shops, acupuncture clinics, kung-fu schools, and mahjong parlors. Ongpin leads to Plaza Santa Cruz, which is where Rizal Avenue curves to meet the MacArthur Bridge. Escolta, now a shadow of its former self, leads off from here. The plaza is dominated by Santa Cruz Church. Malacañang From Escolta, one can proceed to the San Miguel district, known for its Spanish-style houses and the Malacañang Palace, seat of the Philippine government. This ornate Spanish colonial palace, with its arches and balconies, was built as a private country house in the late 18th century and purchased by the government in 1825. At first the governor-general's summer residence, it became his permanent residence in 1863, after the Palacio Real in Intramuros was destroyed by an earthquake. In 1986, the palace museum was opened for the public. Visitors are advised to call first. The telephone number is 521-2307. The CCP Complex The Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) Complex is the arts center of the country. Located along Roxas Boulevard in Pasay City, this is the premier venue for ballet presentations, concerts, stage plays, performances, exhibits and trade fairs. Inaugurated in 1969, the CCP comprises a fine concert hall seating 2,000 plus an intimate 400-seat theater as well as a library, museum, art gallery, and an upscale restaurant. The lobby is opulent, with marble floors, curving staircases, and glass and kapis-shell chandeliers. Also within the complex is the Coconut Palace, an architectural wonder made from the coconut tree mixed with other indigenous material. The Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), the Product Design and Development Center, the Folk Arts Theater, Philippine Center for International Trade and Exhibitions (PHILCITE), Westin Philippine Plaza Hotel and Manila Film Center are also found here. Beside the CCP Complex is the World Trade Center, while fronting it is the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) building. The BSP houses two museums: the Money Museum, which showcases excavated antique gold jewelry and the Metropolitan Museum, a repository of classic Filipino paintings and a host of rotating international art exhibitions. Roxas Boulevard is also lined up by de-luxe and standard hotels, lively nightclubs, and the Cuneta Sport Center, home of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).

Parks and Zoos From the CCP complex, one can proceed to Nayong Pilipino. This 32-acre theme park is also just a 10-minute drive from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). The park features scaled-down replicas of the country's top tourist destinations such as Mayon Volcano, the Banaue Rice Terraces and the Chocolate Hills. A smaller park, which offers a venue for relaxation is also within close distance. The Paco Park, which was built as a cemetery in 1820, is now a frequent site of mini-concerts and musical performance by the country's finest artists. The park is surrounded by trees and plants, which are properly identified. Behind the park is the Paco Hong Giarn Taoist Temple. Nearby are the New Swiss Inn, with bar, restaurant, and delicatessen, and the Park Hotel, with lounge, restaurant, and swimming pool. Not far from the area is the Manila Zoo on Adriatico street. Manila Zoo, the country's largest and oldest, hosts international and indigenous animal species such as the Tamaraw and Philippine crocodile. It is open everyday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. The northern part of Metro Manila takes pride in maintaining two animal sanctuaries, Parks and Wildlife Nature Center and the Malabon Zoo. The former, located at the corner of Quezon Ave. and the Elliptical Road in Quezon City serves as the protection center for exotic animals confiscated from smugglers and illegal collectors. A stone's throw away is the Quezon Memorial Circle, a park noted for its 30-meter-high monument of former President Manuel Quezon. Its underground chambers house the Quezon City Museum and Art Gallery. The Malabon Zoo and Aquarium, located along Gov. Pascual Avenue in Potrero, Malabon also has a collection of interesting fish and animals. It is open everyday from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. In Makati City, an air-conditioned zoo at the Glorietta mall is frequently visited by parents and their small children. The area also has a small playground. Commercial Districts South of Manila is Makati City, considered as the financial capital of the country. Along Ayala Avenue rise modern skyscrapers, which are home to multinational companies, foreign embassies and local banks. The trendiest leisure spots hotels, restaurants, bars, music lounges, fashion boutiques and department stores - converge around the sleek Ayala Center. Across EDSA is the posh subdivision of Forbes Park, home of the country's rich and famous. One area that now competes with Makati in terms of its modern architectural landscape is the Ortigas Center between Mandaluyong City and Pasig City. Home to the Asian Development Bank (ADB), it is also the site of three of the country's richest shopping malls SM Megamall, Robinson's Galleria, and Shangri-la EDSA Plaza.Also within Ortigas is the striking leisure enclave, Saint Francis Square, with its fine restaurants and fashionable music lounges. Suburbs The town of San Juan, just next to Manila, boasts of its large mansions and modern houses. It is home to some of the richest Filipinos, including the present president. Quezon City is the site of many government installations, leading universities, and television stations. Marikina City, on the other hand, is considered as the shoe capital of the Philippines. It takes pride in having maintained a clean river, planked by greens. Las Piñas City in the southern part of Metro Manila has retained much of its provincial appeal. Its main attraction, however, is the world-famous bamboo organ, found in the town's picturesque Catholic church. The centuries-old musical instrument was constructed between 1792 and 1819. It has 174 bamboo pipes, 122 horizontal reeds of soft metal, a five-octave keyboard, and 22 stops arranged in vertical rows. The church is open daily except Sunday morning. Best Buys As a shopping haven, Metro Manila offers almost all kinds of products, from the most fashionable to the rarest items. And they can be found almost anywhere, in the most luxurious department stores as well as in small bargain shops. Depending on the traveler's budget, there is always a place where one can find the best buys. The giant shopping malls, SM, Robinson's, Glorietta, Shangri-la, and Rustan's, carry most of the well-known international labels. They also have stores, which sell the best of Filipino products. Unique souvenirs are being sold at Silahis in Intramuros, and SM Department Store, Makati Commercial Center and Landmark in Makati City. The best place to search for Philippine handicrafts are "Ilalim ng Tulay Market" on Carlos Palanca Street, and the handicraft stalls at Nayong Pilipino. For antique collectors, the best spots to visit are Padre Paura, Ermita and Intramuros. Attractive buys are also available in the metro's flea markets, such as Quiapo, Tutuban and Divisoria in Manila and Baclaran in Parañaque. Bargain-hunters will surely have a feast while picking from the widest collection of fabrics, RTWs, home furnishings, bags, shoes, watches, handicrafts, office supplies and other interesting items.