(Republic of the Philippines, Repúblika ng Pilipinas)
• Location: Southeast Asia
• Capital: Manila
• Language(s): Filipino, English, Cebuano, Hiligaynon
• Population: 95,332,243
• Total Area: 299,764 sq km
• Currency: Peso
• Curious Alcohol Fact: Tapuy is a local drink made from fermented rice.
• Annual Average Liquor Consumption Per Capita: 6.37 liters
• Most Popular Drink(s): Tea, tapuy and soft drinks.
The Philippines is located in the Southeast corner of Asia in the Pacific Ocean. Like the neighboring Indonesia, the country is also an archipelago but it has far less number of islands although in no way less staggering: over 7,100 islands! Of all these islands, the largest of them all is called Luzon while the second largest island is Mindanao. Being a collection of islands, the country is surrounded by spectacular bodies of water: the Philippine Sea, Celebes Sea and South China Sea. The largest city is Manila and it doubles as the capital of the nation. Not surprisingly, the capital city is located on Luzon. The colonial history of the country is quite flamboyant as it was once ruled by Spain and the United States. In fact, the name of the country was named in honor of King Philip II of Spain, an eloquent testimony to its past.
With over 95 million people, the Republic of the Philippines is one of the most populous countries in the world. One thing that I find very interesting about the country is that although it is made up of over 7,000 islands, more than half of the people live on the island of Luzon, the largest of them all and what that suggests is that there are numerous islands left uninhabited. A substantial number of Filipinos are also found in other countries especially the United States and Saudi Arabia. There are about 70 different ethnic groups in the country speaking almost 180 languages! The largest of these ethnic groups are Tagalog, Cebuano, Hiligaynon, Bisaya, Waray and Bikol. Some of the Filipinos also belong to indigenous tribes such as the Igorot and Bajaw. The Philippines is a predominantly Roman Catholic nation while there is a significant Muslim minority. The country is also one of the few countries in the world to have been led by a female, in the person of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
Eating on the Islands
Eating in the Philippines is sheer enjoyment, and the meals can be described as a masterly blend of Asian, Spanish, American and indigenous culinary flavors. Without any surprise, I learnt that the most popular dish in the country is rice –the pattern is common in the countries of Southeast Asia. Rice is usually served with soup or mixed with cocoa. One meal that you will deeply appreciate is called kalderata and is made from goat and tomato sauce.
In the country, tea is widely consumed and there are different types of teas on the various islands, one of which is made from ginger. Cold soft drinks and fresh fruit juices are also common in the hot and tropical country. There are various alcoholic drinks like tapuy made by locals from rice that has been fermented. Some of the other alcoholic drinks are made in breweries and the popular brands include Red Horse Beer and San Miguel Bar. While staying in the country, getting a bottle of chilled beer poses no problem.
Sports in the Philippines
Talking of sports, water-based sports such as swimming and surfing are quite popular in the Philippines. Other sports include football, boxing, athletics and basketball.
Interesting Things About Philippines
• The United States is not too far from the country.
• The Philippines is one of the few countries in the world to have been ruled by a woman –Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
• One of the very best boxers in the world, Manny Pacquaio is from the island nation.
Story By World By Shotglass
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Special thanks to our contributors:
Adebayo Ahmed Adebola (Ilorin, Nigeria).