Jose Rizal Travels: Fun facts about Jose Rizal's Philippines

The Philippines is the world's second largest archipelago. It is located in Southeast Asia. It is made up of 7,107 islands surrounded on the east by Pacific Ocean and South China Sea on the west. Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao are the country's major island groupings. The northernmost group of islands is Batanes which is only 190 kilometers from Taiwan, while the southernmost island of Tawi-Tawi is a mere 60 kilometers away from Borneo.

Total land area is 115,830 square miles or 300,000 square kilometers which is comparable in size to Italy.

Population: 97.9 million

Official name: Republic of the Philippines

Form of government: Republic with three (3) equal branches of government: executive, legislative and judiciary

Capital: Manila; National Capital Region (NCR) is composed of City of Manila, Caloocan City, Las Piñas, Makati, Malabon, Mandaluyong, Marikina, Muntinlupa, Navotas, Parañaque City, Pasay City, Pateros, Pasig, San Juan, Taguig, Quezon City and Valenzuela

Official language: Pilipino and English

Climate: Tropical with two distince seasons: wet and dry. Dry season: from November to May; Wet season: from June to October. Average year round temperature: 27° Celsius / 81° Fahrenheit.

Currency: Peso (PHP); Denominations: 1,000; 500; 100; 50; 20; 10; 5; 2; 1; 0.50; 0.25; 0.10; 0.05; 0.01


Notable facts

The Philippines has a rich and vibrant culture long before the Spaniards came in 1621.


Sta. Maria Church, 
 Ilocos Sur

It is also a fact that in the early years while the country is a colony of Spain (for 300 years), the country endured enumerable foreign conquests and attacks by Chinese and Dutch pirates and traders alike which explains the fortress-like structures of most churches found in coastal towns such those in central Philippines.

Asia's first: university (University of Sto. Tomas); democratic nation (1896); commercial airline (Philippine Airlines, 1941)

Significant contribution to the world: Jose Rizal (acknowledged as the Greatest Malayan; Feted by Malaysian government with an International Conference on Rizal in 1996); People Power (1986)



The Philippines produces one of the rarest and the most expensive coffee in the world - Philippine Civet or Alamid Coffee. It comes only from the sweetest coffee cherries of the Philippine forest, carefully chosen and eaten by free-roaming civets to give the beans their unique, supreme flavor.


According to,

There are more than 10 million Filipinos living overseas. Of this, about 8 million are OFWs or Overseas Filipino Workers who remit a record high of US$ 17.348 billion to the country in 2009. The bulk of the remittances come from the U.S., Canada, Saudi Arabia, U.K., Japan, U.A.E., Italy, Singapore and Germany, accounting for 10.8% of the country's GDP (Gross Domestic Product).

The karaoke is a Filipino invention, not Japanese. Karaoke meaning "singing without accompaniment" in Japanese was invented by Roberto del Rosario. He called his invention "Sing-Along-System", which was later called karaoke.

The Philippine flag is the only flag in the world that is displayed upside down when the country is in war (red on top and blue at the bottom when in war).

The Philippines is considered the "text capital of the world".

Although the land area of the Philippines is roughly 1/30th of the United States, the country has a total coastline of 36,289 kilometers while the total U.S. coastline is a modest 19,924 kilometers.

The world's rarest and most expensive seashell, the "Conus Gloriamaris" is among the 12,000 species of seashells found in the Philippines. And 488 coral species out of the known 500 coral species worldwide are found in the country.



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- Photo courtesy of Bernadette Willes


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