Last night, while I was researching for my visa requirements for the EU, I typed in Filipino because, well, that’s what I am (there are specific requirements for every nationality hence the specificity). For some reason, maybe a glitch, google indexed travel blogs GOING TO the Philippines, not the other way around, to my pleasant surprise because, hey I get to appreciate my own country.
My country is beautiful, no doubt. But it’s weird. Like any other country I suppose but I did not really look into my country like this before, from a distance. I honestly don’t consider myself a citizen of my country sometimes because, well, I feel like I can belong anywhere now (unless visa restrictions remind me which is a ballache). It’s all the same stuff packaged in different material. You know. I just need to find the best packaged goodies.
Anyway, looking at your country from another country with a different perspective is something wonderful. It definitely gives you a sense of being a tourist. I’m humbled. When you go out of your country, you become an ambassador. You have a burden to uphold your citizens and motherland while you walk around the globe because you carry their name on your passport and in that passport it says they are begging for other nations to help you when you’re in dire situations. It’s cool.
Anyway, here goes my discovery the blog True Nomads.
And my reactions in italics. Lah! #pundit
1. The Philippines has a population of more than 90 million people and an annual growth rate around 2%, making it one of the most populous and fastest growing countries on Earth. Hence we need that family planning law the church is banning. They are banning it because the heavens won’t let us in if we use condoms – E.
2. According to the customs and traditions in Philippines, it is not considered good manners to open gifts immediately when they are given. Tell that to my nephew! Well, I didn’t know this was Filipino. I thought everyone in the world did this! This explains the boyfriend’s reaction when I delayed opening my birthday gift (silver elephant anklet which I dearly miss) last year. I’m sorry babe, I didn’t mean to offend, it’s cultural! I always feel like a prick for saying “It’s not my fault, it’s cultural”
3. The original inhabitants, the Negrito, now number only about 30,000. Local versions of our Native Americans and Aborigines. Colonists are powerful aren’t they?
4. The karaoke was invented in the Philippines and not Japan. HAHAHAHAHAHA! Filipinos and karaoke should be up there with the generalities like milk and honey, coffee and cream, ebony and ivory.
5. The Philippines is made up of 7,107 islands, totaling about 300,000 sq. km. (117,187 sq. mi.). Right, okay we are surrounded by water. I can’t swim though. Screw that.
6. The Philippine islands are mountainous, and seismically active. Earthquakes are common, and a number of active volcanoes dot the landscape, such as Mt. Pinatubo, the Mayon Volcano, and the Taal Volcano. The Philippines is also one of the newest landforms to have sprouted from the bowels of Earth, thanks to its volcanic activity. I fear that we will sink soon though, because of global warming. If that were to happen, it’s as if the Philippines didn’t exist in the world cosmically speaking. Aw.
7. Philippines boasts of a coastline of 36,289 kilometers. However, it still ranks fifth in the world for having the longest coastline. This fact would be interesting for me if I can find this useful. I used to have a seaweed farm. With a coastline of 36, 000 km location won’t be a problem, right? Wrong. Most of the beaches are cantilado – meaning it has an immediate steep drop that’s not safe. That made my parents extremely paranoid about me going to the beach (we lived by the beach and I was kept on strict watch), hence I can’t swim. This makes most beaches unsafe for having fun but man wildlife thrives very well, making the Philippines’ biodiversity very rich. It also fends off tourists and investors (my seaweed farm!) which preserve the natural beauty of it all, so overall, no complaints.
8. Philippines is the only country in the world whose flag is hoisted upside down when the country is at war. This is one of the things you learn in Grade One. It is indoctrinated to you every morning when you sing the national anthem and be a flag raiser. You can never put the red part of the flag up unless you want war, or in a war, or else you’re gonna be at war with your teacher. This fact is so ingrained in my mind as a big boo boo that whenever I see a Philippine flag having the wrong side up, I get the bejeebies, like I’m gonna get punished by my Grade One teacher.
9. Ferdinand Magellan claimed the Philippines for Spain in 1521. During the next 300 years, Spanish Jesuit priests and conquistadors spread Catholicism and Spanish culture across the archipelago, with particular strength on the island of Luzon. I have a godmother who travels around the globe. She is, I think, a professional student. Anyway, when she was in Portugal, she got me this book called First Man Around The Globe, which talks about Enrique, Magellan’s Filipino slave who went back to Spain after his master died (HAHAHA). He is the man who brought Magellan, who is Portuguese and not Spanish, to the Philippines. Of course, that meant Spain colonizing our country.
10. On July 4, 1946, the Republic of the Philippines was established. The early governments struggled to repair the damage caused by World War II. Trivia time: The Philippines celebrated Independence Day on July 4 like America. Technically, on July 4, 1946 American colonization ends here, or at least the Americans say so in The Treaty of Manila. Of course they chose July 4 to coincide with theirs making us feel like we are still Americans. Diosdado Macapagal changed that in 1962 stating that we were independent and free [from Spanish rule] since June 12, 1898. I don’t know why American and Japanese colonization was overlooked but hey ho. I does look good being independent for a longer time.
11. The nation got its ‘Philippines’ name after King Philip II of Spain. Because Magellan was commissioned by this guy.
12. The “Conus Gloriamaris”, which the rarest and most expensive seashell in the world, is one of the 12,000 species of seashells found in the Philippines. And about 488 coral species, out of the 500 coral species known worldwide, are found in the archipelago. Biodiversity is synonymous to Philippines. End of story.
13. Mount Apo, found on the island of Mindanao is the highest point in Philippines. The height of this mountain is 2,954 m. This is the land of shorties, as even the tallest peak is short compared to other countries’ tallest peaks.
14. The yoyo was invented as a hunting weapon by the ancient Filipinos, probably in the Visayas. I didn’t know this prior to reading this article. How badass is that?
15. Philippines is known as the ‘text capital of the world’ because of the large number of texts sent to-and-fro by the people in one day. We love to talk. Texting is effective, fast, and cheap. All things Filipinos like.
16. There are 175 individual languages in the Philippines, 171 of which are living languages while the 4 others no longer have any known speakers. This explains why the country is never united. There are language barriers that exist EVERYWHERE. This is also why Filipinos can adapt anywhere in the world because, well, when you have a different language, you have a different set of traditions, values and well, culture. We are trained in our homeland to be intercultural already.
17. Manila, the Philippine capital, is the world’s most densely populated city in the world. With a population of 1,660,714 and an area of 38.55 km², it has a population density of 43,079/km². Manila is too packed, too dirty, too noisy but it’s filled with happy, smiley and friendly people you can never meet anywhere else in the world. It all balances out.
18. The Philippines is the largest supplier of nurses in the world. We are good at taking care of people. In fact, we love taking care of people.
19. The Philippines is home to the Rice Terraces in Northern Luzon, often called the 8th wonder of the world. Haven’t seen this so I can’t give an honest “OH IT’S TRULY BREATH-TAKING!” kinda opinion. Looks good in pictures though.
20. Erythromycin was invented (Discovered) by Filipino Dr. Abelardo Aguilar in 1949. He sent a sample to Eli Lilly, who promptly stole the idea and patented it. Erythromycin is used for people are allergic to penicillin, and saved millions of lives. We are also a nation of doctors. The first Asian woman pediatrician who graduated from Harvard is a Filipino named Fe de Mundo (how apt her name is Fe of the World).