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10 Things You Need to Know when Travelling to the Philippines

Updated on December 1, 2010

The Philippines

A Short History of the Philippines

The Philippines (Filipino: Pilipinas), officially known as the Republic of the Philippines (Filipino: Republika ng Pilipinas), is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam. The Sulu Sea to the southwest lies between the country and the island of Borneo, and to the south the Celebes Sea separates it from other islands of Indonesia. It is bounded on the east by the Philippine Sea. Its location on the Pacific Ring of Fire and its tropical climate make the Philippines prone to earthquakes and typhoons but have also endowed the country with natural resources and made it one of the richest areas of biodiversity in the world. An archipelago comprising 7,107 islands, the Philippines is categorized broadly into three main geographical divisions: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Its capital city is Manila.

With an estimated population of about 92 million people, the Philippines is the world's 12th most populous country. An additional 11 million Filipinos live overseas. Multiple ethnicities and cultures are found throughout the islands. In prehistoric times, Negritos were some of the archipelago's earliest inhabitants. They were followed by successive waves of Austronesian peoples who brought with them influences from Malay, Hindu, and Islamic cultures. Trade introduced Chinese cultural influences.

The arrival of Ferdinand Magellan in 1521 marked the beginning of an era of Spanish interest and eventual dominance. Manila emerged as the Asian hub of the Manila-Acapulco galleon fleet. Missionary work led to widespread Christianity. As the 19th century gave way to the 20th, there followed in quick succession the short-lived Philippine Revolution, the Spanish-American War, and the Philippine-American War. In the aftermath, the United States replaced Spain as the dominant power. Aside from the period of Japanese occupation, the United States retained sovereignty over the islands until the end of World War II when the Philippines gained independence. The United States bequeathed to the Philippines the English language and a stronger affinity for Western culture. Since independence the Philippines has had an often tumultuous experience with democracy, with popular "People Power" movements overthrowing a dictatorship in one instance but also underlining the institutional weaknesses of its constitutional republic in others. (wikipedia)

Publications

The Ultimate Travel Guide to Cebu!

I am currently coming up with a travellers guide to Cebu, which will tell you the best places to go and visit during your stay here in the city. And I'll be releasing it right in time for the Sinulog, the biggest event in Cebu

That dot in the UN Map - and more

The UN Emblem and Check out the dot... :)
The UN Emblem and Check out the dot... :)

At the third UN General Assembly, held in Paris in 1948, the USSR's deputy foreign minister, Andrei Vishinsky, sneered at Rómulo and challenged his credentials: "You are just a little man from a little country." "It is the duty of the little Davids of this world," cried Rómulo, "to fling the pebbles of truth in the eyes of the blustering Goliaths and force them to behave!"

During his meeting with Josip Broz Tito of Yugoslavia, Marshal Tito welcomed Gen. Romulo with drinks and cigars, to which the general kindly refused. Their conversation went as follows:

Tito: "Do you drink?"

Romulo: "No, I don't."

Tito: "Do you smoke?"

Romulo: "No, thank you."

Tito: "What do you do then?"

Romulo: "I etcetera."

At this, Marshal Tito was tickled by his reply and loudly exclaimed around the room, "I etcetera, etcetera, etcetera!"

When the UN official seal, which depicts the world, was being selected, Romy looked it over and demanded, "where is the Philippines?" "It's too small to include," explained US Senator Warren Austin, who headed the committee. "If we put in the Philippines it would be no more than a dot." "I want that dot!" Romy insisted. Today, if you look at the UN seal, you will find a tiny dot between the Pacific Ocean and the South China Sea.

Rómulo was a dapper little man (barely five feet four inches in shoes). When they waded in at Leyte beach in October 1944, and the word went out that General MacArthur was waist deep, one of Romy's journalist friends cabled, "If MacArthur was in water waist deep, Rómulo must have drowned!"

In later years, Rómulo told another story himself about a meeting with MacArthur and other tall American generals who disparaged his physical stature. "Gentlemen," he declared, "When you say something like that, you make me feel like a dime among nickels." (wikipedia)

Davao City Trivia
Davao City Trivia

The Biggest City

although Manila is Populous and Popular it isn't the biggest City...

Fact about Davao

The City of Davao (Tagalog: Lungsod ng Dabaw; Cebuano: Dakbayan sa Dabaw) is the largest and de facto capital city located on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines. It is also one of the Philippines' most progressive cities. Its international airport and seaports are among the busiest cargo hubs in the southern part of the Philippines.

Davao City is also one of several cities in the Philippines that are independent of any province. The city serves as the regional center for Davao Region (Region XI). It has a population of 1,363,330 (2007 census) and is named by the Foreign Direct Investment Magazine as the 10th "Asian City of the Future".[1] In recent years, Davao City has emerged as the business, investment and tourism hub for the entire southern Philippines. The city boasts of some of the finest beaches and mountain resorts in the country and its proximity to the Philippines' most captivating diving spots as well as its highest peak, Mount Apo.

The Oldest City in the Philippines - Davao is huge, Manila is the Capital but this is where it all began

Cityscape of Cebu
Cityscape of Cebu

In the 16th century, Cebu City was an area part of the Rajahnate of Cebu with an Islamic, Hindu and Animist populations. On April 7, 1521, Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan landed in Cebu. He was welcomed by Rajah Humabon, the King of Cebu, who together with his wife and about 700 native islanders, were baptized by the Spaniards on April 14, 1521. Magellan, however, failed to successfully claim the Philippines for the crown of Spain, having been killed by Datu Lapu-Lapu, a king in Mactan Island on April 27, 1521 in the Battle of Mactan. On April 27, 1565, Spain colonized the area with the arrival of Spanish explorers led by Miguel López de Legazpi, together with Augustinian Friar Andrés de Urdaneta, sailing from Mexico, arrived in Cebu. The Spaniards established settlements, trade flourished and renamed the city on January 1, 1571, from San Miguel (Saint Michael) to Villa del Santísimo Nombre de Jesús (Village of the Most Holy Name of Jesus). During this six year period of exploration and settlements by the Spaniards, Cebu City was the capital of the Spanish East Indies. In 1898, the city was ceded to the United States after the Spanish-American War and Philippine-American War. In 1901, the city was governed by the United States for a brief period, however it attained the status of a charter city in 1936 and was governed independently by Filipino politicians. Following the end of the Japanese occupation in World War II, the city gained independence from colonial rule in 1946 as part of the Republic of the Philippines. (wikipedia)

Click the picture above to read more about Best Summer Destination: Cebu!

Imeldific Collection
Imeldific Collection

The Largest Shoe Collection by One Single Person

3,400 pairs! So Imeldific!

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-a-half 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. (txtmania.com)

And because of that a word was coined to mean "ostentatious extravagance" coined by no less than Imelda Marcos herself...

Click the picture above for more trivia about the Philippines

A symbol of over 400 years of Christianity and Catholicism in the Philippines
A symbol of over 400 years of Christianity and Catholicism in the Philippines

The Land Foretold in the Bible 2000 years ago

And that land is...

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. (Txtmania.com)

read more about Palawan
read more about Palawan

Largest Province in the Philippines

and one of the most wonderful...

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.

the University of San Carlos in Cebu City
the University of San Carlos in Cebu City

Oldest School in the whole Philippines

and one of the oldest in the world...

The University of San Carlos is a Roman Catholic university governed by the Society of the Divine Word since 1935 in Cebu City. It is one of the oldest catholic schools in Asia, and the oldest in the Philippines, having been established by Spanish Jesuits in 1595. It offers pre-elementary and basic education as well as undergraduate and graduate courses, and a broad spectrum of academic programs through its eight colleges.

It consists of four campuses in different areas of metropolitan Cebu - the Main Campus along P. del Rosario St., the Talamban Campus (a.k.a TC - Technological Center), the North Campus (formerly the Boys High) along Gen. Maxilom Ave., and the South Campus (formerly the Girls High) along corners J. Alcantara St. (P. del Rosario Ext.) and V. Rama Avenue.

World's First Steel Church! - And the one and only in Asia!

A photo from http://akb7.tumblr.com/post/432411374/liezlislove-pinoytumblr-basilica-of-san
A photo from http://akb7.tumblr.com/post/432411374/liezlislove-pinoytumblr-basilica-of-san

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. (TxtMania.com)

When Nobody fought the man who claimed Spratlys Islands - so who owns Spratlys?

The Free Territory of Freedom Land with Flat island as capital
The Free Territory of Freedom Land with Flat island as capital

In 1947, Tomas Cloma, a Filipino adventurer and a fishing magnate, discovered several uninhabited and unoccupied group of islands/islets in the South China Sea. This discovery is the principal basis for justification of Spratly islands territorial claims by the Philippines, along with basis from 1982 UNCLOS archipelagic doctrine. .[1] Cloma, owner of a fishing fleet and a private maritime training institute, the PMI Colleges (formerly known as Philippine Maritime Institute), aspired to open a cannery and develop guano deposits in the Spratleys. It was principally for economic reasons, therefore, that he "discovered" and claimed islands in the Spratleys.[2] The Philippines justifies its Spratly Islands claims principally on Cloma's 1947 discoveries.

On May 11, 1956, together with 40 men, Tomas and his brother Filemon took formal possession of the islands, lying some 380 miles west of the southern end of Palawan and named it Freedomland. Four days later, on May 15, 1956, Cloma issued and posted copies of his "Notice to the Whole World" on each of the islands as a decisive manifestation of unwavering claim over the territory. On May 31, 1956, Cloma declared the establishment of the Free Territory of Freedomland, ten days after he sent his second representation to the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, informing the latter that the territory claimed was named Freedomland. On July 6, 1956, Cloma declared to the whole world his claim and the establishment of a separate government for the Free Territory of Freedomland with its capital on Flat Island (Patag Island). Cloma introduced a distinction between his "Freedomland" and the Spratleys further west. This distinction later became part of Philippine foreign policy[3]

Cloma's declaration was met with violent and unfriendly reactions from several neighboring countries, especially Taiwan. On September 24, 1956 Taiwan reoccupied nearby Itu Aba Island (Also known as Taiping), which it had abandoned in 1950, and intercepted Cloma’s men and vessels found within its immediate waters. The PRC also restated its own claim.[4]

In the 1970s, after being jailed by Ferdinand Marcos, Cloma 'ceded' his claim to the Philippines for one peso.[5] However, we note that this was done after he had already resigned and given all his powers to Prince Jean de Hibbernia Minor. Prince John renamed Freedomland to that of Kingdom of Colonia St John, and he himself became an absolute monarch, now known as King John of Colonia St John. He is aided in his daily affairs by the Supreme Sovereign Council of the Kingdom of Colonia St John. (wikipedia)

Most Profitable Businesses in the Philippines - Starcfraft II anyone?

Ahhh! Money!
Ahhh! Money!

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

Are you coming or what? - Come on! The water is just right!

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    • crinkle profile image

      crinkle 2 years ago from Philippines

      The best list! StarCraft II man dayon! Hahaha