1. The Philippines is the only country in the world that hangs its flag upside-down when at war. Blue at the top, all’s good. Red at the top… watch out!
2. The Philippines once missed New Year’s Eve (but perhaps not the hangover). In 1844 the Philippines went straight from December 30 to January 1, 1845. The move was made to realign the colony from Spanish time to the timezone of the region.
3. More new animals continue to be discovered in the Philippines than in any other country. In the past 10 years, 16 new species of mammals have been identified (and that’s to say nothing about the birds and bees, and spiders and lizards).
4. During Manny Paquiao’s 12-round fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr in May, 2015, the police recorded no crime whatsoever within Metro Manila. The same phenomenon was noticed during his fights against Chris Algeiri in 2014 and Juan Manuel Marquez in both 2008 and 2011.
5. In 2002, the world’s largest pair of shoes were made in Marikina City. They are about 5.3 meters in length, 2.4 meters in width, and almost two meters in height. They cost two million pesos to make.
6. When Pope John Paul II offered a mass to about five million Filipinos at Rizal Park, Manila, in January 1995, it was the biggest papal mass ever held.
7. The world record for most women breastfeeding simultaneously was set in Manila in May, 2006. There were 3,541 mothers taking part.
8. Camiguin island has more volcanos than towns – seven of the former, five of the latter. Fortunately, there hasn’t been an eruption since the 1950s.
9. The Philippines is the world’s largest supplier of nurses, blessing humanity with about 25 per cent of all overseas nurses worldwide.
10. The American-English word “boondocks” is derived from the Tagalog word for mountain, bundok. Nobody is quite sure when the word first took hold in the USA, but it was presumably either after the Spanish-American War or World War II.
11. A Filipino named Roberto del Rosario patented a machine called the “Sing Along System” in 1975. The Japanese later renamed it “karaoke,” which means ‘empty orchestra’.
12. The world’s largest pearl was discovered in Palawan in 1934. Known as the “Pearl of Lao Tzu,” or “Pearl of Allah,” the gem weighed 14 pounds and was valued at more than $40 million.
13. When Mount Pinatubo erupted on June 15, 1991, it created the largest mushroom cloud ever witnessed by humankind. Its eruption ejected 10 billion tons of magma and 20 million tons of sulphur dioxide.
14. The yo-yo began as a Filipino hunting weapon attached to a 20ft rope. The modern yo-yo was invented by a Filipino American. Its name comes from the Ilocano language and means “come back”.
15. About 25 years before the first book was printed in the USA, The Tagala, the first Filipino-Spanish dictionary, was printed in 1613.
16. The Philippines has two universities that are older than Harvard. Manila’s University of Santo Tomas was founded in 1611 and the University of San Carlos in Cebu was founded in 1595. Harvard was founded in 1636.
17. There’s an islet in the Philippines within a lake on an island within a lake on an island. The islet is Vulcan Point, which is within the main crater of Taal Volcano, on Volcano Island, that’s within Lake Taal Lake, which is on the main island of Luzon.