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4 Things You Didn’t Know About the Philippines
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June 5, 2019
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Matt Harding
Matt Harding is a magazine writer, photographer and former newspaper reporter who loves to travel.
asia

With more than 100 million people, the Philippines is the 12th largest country in the world. It’s made up of varied ethnic groups: primarily Visayan (33 percent), Tagalog (30 percent), Moro (10 percent), and Ilocano (10 percent). With 19 recognized languages and all those people, it’s hard to believe the country is only 120,000 square miles of land. Of course, the Philippines consists of about 7,641 islands, so maybe its diversity and population is a given. With all that said, here are some interesting Philippines fun facts.

It’s Quite Urbanized

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The country has experienced significant growth in the last 10-20 years, and the urbanization of the Philippines has happened quickly because of it. The capital Manila is only the second largest city by population, but is the densest. In fact, it’s the densest in the entire world, with 43,000 or so people per square kilometer. It’s also an economic hub for the country, with major centers of finance, tourism and transportation.

Naturally Diverse

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The country is ethnically diverse among humans, but also its waters reportedly have the highest level of marine biodiversity in the world. The Philippines is a hotspot for land animal diversity as well. It has among the highest rates of discovery in the world, with 16 new species of mammals discovered in the past decade. The country’s endemism (those animals and plants native and exclusive to a particular region), also among the world’s highest, is expected to rise because of all the new discoveries.

There’s a Lot of Water

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It’s the second-largest archipelago in the world, second only to Indonesia. Of its 7,641 islands, only about 2,000 are inhabited, meaning nearly 5,000 are unnamed on global maps and home to some pristine beaches and crystal-clear water (yes, despite the pollution problem in the country).

There’s More Rice Than You Could Imagine

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Rice paddies are obviously all over the Philippines and many Asian countries. However, the extent to which rice is a part of the Philippines is truly impressive. A whopping 2.1 million rice farmers are there, and they’re mainly producing rice only – 80 percent of their income comes from it, while other crops make up the rest. Rice in the Philippines accounts for 2.8 percent of the world’s rice production (ninth place overall), but even after producing all that rice, they are the world’s largest rice importer. How can that be? Filipino people eat a mind-boggling amount of the food. It’s the staple item in nearly all households and typically makes up around 25 percent of a household’s total food budget.