The Southeast Asian country of the Philippines continues to be a popular tourist destination for Muslim travellers of all ages. The perfect beach getaway and nature lovers paradise, halal friendly Philippines is particularly popular for backpackers, and those looking to enjoy a budget friendly escape where halal hotels, transportation, and the everyday way of life is relatively cheap.
Home to more than 7,000 islands to explore, a friendly culture, and a selection of halal cuisine waiting for you to devour, the Philippines is definitely a country to consider adding to your bucket list. With the holiday getaway becoming more and more popular over the years, here’s 7 fun facts that you probably didn’t know about the Philippines, but may be of interest to you!
The Capital Manila – A City Made of Cities
The Capital of the Philippines, known as Manila, is actually made up of 16 cities! When Muslim travellers talk of the Philippines capital they tend to think of the greater metropolis area, Metro Manila. What they don’t know is Metro Manila is home to 16 cities and a total of 12.8 million citizens, while the actual City of Manila is home to 1.78 million people (as per the 2016 census data). Sounds confusing? We feel you! Prior to Manila becoming the capital in 1976, Quezon City, another city within Metro Manila and the largest city in the Philippines, was known as the capital. Nowadays, it has become the hub of information technology as well as the home to the entertainment industry in the Philippines.
World-renowned Boxer Manny Pacquiao – Senator of the Philippines
Manny Pacquiao is a world-renowned boxer and international celebrity. Regarded by many boxing historians as one of the greatest professional boxers of all time, the 5 foot 5 boxer who has a jaw dropping history in boxing, is also a Senator of the Philippines! Despite being the only eight-division world champion in the history of boxing having won twelve major world titles, as well as being the first boxer to win the lineal championship in five different weight classes, the now 40 year old is currently serving his 2nd year as a politician. Alongside being a popular celebrity in the Philippines he’s also considered the ‘people’s choice’ among the Senators due to his honesty, loyalty and sincerity to the Filipino people. He’s probably the Philippines best example of ‘rags to riches’!
Smallest Monkey in the World – Tarsiers
Tarsiers are the smallest primates in the world and can easily be found in the lands of the Philippines. Tourists flock to Bohol, to witness firsthand, these tiny animals that are no larger than an adult man’s hand. The tiny creatures with big eyes are shy animals, yet are used to Muslim tourists passing by. They tend to stay where they are instead of interacting with humans, but are still friendly enough to be spotted within reach. Though there are other species of Tarsiers found in Indonesia and Borneo, the Tarsius Syrichta species can only be found in the Philippines on the islands of Bohol, Samar, Leyte, and Mindanao.
Social Media Craze – The Highest Selfie Takers in the World
We all know how crazy the social media world can be, but it’s even crazier in the Philippines. Known to be one of the friendliest countries in the world, it won’t come as a surprise that Filipinos love their social media. In fact, the halal friendly country (Makati City to be specific) was ranked by Time Magazine as the highest selfie-takers in the world! New York came in at number 2, while Miami was third on the list. Other cities within the Philippines continued to make it on the list with Cebu City ranking in 9th place, Quezon City at #59 and Iloilo City at #72! If you’re looking to gain a few more followers, simply posting about the Philippines or taking a selfie with a Filipino will get you a lot of attention from the Filipino community.
The Filipino Flag – War & Peace
The Filipino flag may look like any other normal flag, but the special meaning behind it is one that no other flag in the world has. The Filipino flag can determine whether the country is at peace or at war depending on how it is flown. The white triangle with a sun surrounded by 3 golden stars represents the 3 island groups, Luzon in the North, the Visayas in the centre, and Mindanao in the South. However, it’s the strip of red and blue that holds the true message. When the country is at peace, the flag is flown with blue on top, when at war, it’s reversed with the red strip on top. Check out the image below to see for yourself!
Volcanoes > Towns
In the province of Camiguin, an island located in the Bohol Sea, about 10 kilometre off the northern coast of Mindanao, you’ll come across 5 towns. This hidden paradise is home to pristine beaches and paradise like waters not many tourists have yet to discover. However, it’s also home to Volcanoes, a total of 7! That means, Camiguin province is home to more volcanoes than towns! While there hasn’t been an eruption since 1953, it’s pretty obvious why the island has been nicknamed the ‘Island Born of Fire’. Though there are 7 volcanoes only 1 is known as active, however the island has the most number of volcanoes per square kilometer in the world!
Coconut Haven – Largest Producer of Coconuts in the World
If you love Coconuts then the Philippines is the place to be. Home to the largest producer of coconuts in the world, the Philippines produced a whopping 19.5 million tons of fruit in 2010. Known as ‘Buko’ in the Philippines, enjoy the very best and freshest ‘Buko Juice’ or Buko Shake’ wherever you go. Filipinos have many uses for coconuts, whether it be the juice, fruit, of the hard shell, each part is put to good use. Apart from fresh juices and shakes, many of the Philippines most popular dishes use fresh coconut milk to create the perfect creamy and nutty dish!