Named after Philip II of Spain, the Philippines have been called the “Pearl of the Orient”. Endowed with a fertile soil, healthy climate and rich natural resources and fishing grounds. It ranks first in coconut oil and hemp production in the world, second in sugar cane, 7th in gold production (best in Southeast Asia), third in chromite and has one of the world’s largest deposits of nickel, deuterium and copper. Its forest supplies Asia with its finest timbers and forest products.
The Philippines’ delicate rainforests is in abundance of flora and fauna. There are several animals that are unique to the Philippines. One of them is the Philippine Eagle, also called Haribon and Philippine Monkey Eating Eagle, is the second largest in the world and the rarest. In 1995, this mighty bird was declared country’s national bird replacing the tame and gentle Maya. The other animals that are found in the Philippines aside from the great Philippine Monkey Eating Eagle are Pilandok or the Mouse-Deer considered to be the smallest deer in the world, Visayan Spotted Deer, the most endangered and rarest in the world, The Greater Philippine Cloud Rat, thought to have been extinct was rediscovered recently after 112 years, Tamaraw, a peculiar looking dwarf carabao, Leopard Cat, the elusive and only true cat found in the Philippines, and the Kagwang, which has large folds of skin that allows them to glide distances of up to 135 meters and relatives of the flying lemurs.
The Philippines is perhaps the only nation that embraces four rich cultural heritages – Asian, European, Latin and American. Indeed Philippines has a varied and extensive experience and exposure to all four cultures and it is not surprising for a Filipino to have the features of an Oriental/Asian, have Spanish sounding names (first names, middlenames and/or surnames), speak English with an American accent and flair and have a Latin warmth and temperament. Moreover, the Philippines is Asia’s only predominant Christian country in the world and third largest English-speaking country. The Filipinos take pride in their education and literacy (at 90% which is one of the highest in Asia). Tens of thousands of foreign students all over the world come here to take courses in medicine, nursing, dentistry, pharmacists, engineering, etc.
The Philippines is blessed with captivating and world class tourists spots as well that could easily rival her neighbor’s splendors. Among them are Boracay Beach in Aklan, El Nido in Palawan, Hundred Islands in Pangasinan, Magellan Cross in Cebu, Baguio City dubbed as the City of Pines, Pagsanjan Falls, Maria Christina Falls, Banaue Rice Terraces and many more awesome tourist spots spread out all across the archipelago.
Many National Parks in The Philippines are featured on the World Heritage List, either presently included or nominated for future listing. Those presently designated in the World Heritage List include the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River in Palawan, one of the frontrunners in the voting for one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature’s 28 finalists and the Tubbataha Reef Park, which is now considered as the most dense and diverse in the world in terms of numbers of species of marine life in a given area is concern. Sixteen other Philippines National Parks have been submitted on the UNESCO Tentative list for inclusion. These include, Agusan Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary, Angono Triglyphs, Batanes Protected landscapes and seascapes, El Nido Marine Reserve in Northern Palawan, Mt Pulog National Park, Northern Sierra Madre Natural Park, The Tabon Cave Complex and all of Lipuun Point and Turtle Islands Natural Park.