Category: More Trivia

Endemic Species of the Philippines

Here are some interesting trivia from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources or DENR, which placed advertisements on several newspapers on June 5, 2009.

DENR claims that in terms of biodiversity resources, the Philippines was 5th in the world in number of plant species; 8th in the world list of endemic plants; 4th in bird endemism; 5th in mammal endemism; and 8th in endemic reptiles.  These species include Philippine tarsier, the world's smallest primate; mouse deer, the smallest deer; Pandaka pygmea, the smallest fish; Rafflesia, largest flower; whaleshark, the largest fish, and Philippine eagle, the largest bird.

The Philippines has 52,177 species of which more than half are found nowhere else in the world.  Of the 10,000 to 15,000 plant species in the Philippines, more than half are found only in the country.  There are 9,000 species of flowering plants in the Philippines.  About 558 of the 1,137 terrestrial species are unique to the Philippines.

There are 3,000 tree species in the Philippines, and 77 species of mangroves.

Filipino Inventions

Anti-cancer cream

In November 2005, Filipino inventor Rolando dela Cruz won the gold medal for his "DeBCC" anti-cancer cream at the prestigious International Inventor's Forum in Nuremberg, Germany. The "DeBCC" cream, developed from cashew nuts and other local herbs, was chosen over 1,500 entries as the "most significant invention" of the year.

According to Mr. dela Cruz, the cream was a simple answer to basal cell carcinoma (BCC), the most common type of skin cancer worldwide. BCC affects around 800,000 Americans every year, according to the Skin Care Foundation. BCC also affects 500,000 Europeans and 190,000 Australians every year.

New regimen

With newfound freedom in 1946, Filipinos elected Manuel A. Roxas, leader of the Liberal Party and one of the seven members of the Constitutional Convention who drafted the 1935 Constitution, as the first president of the independent republic in April 1946. His presidency was focused on rebuilding the cities and municipalities torn by the war, redistributing lands as wealthy landowners returned to reclaim their estates, and confronting the Hukbalahap, which by this time was tagged as a socialist-communist organization. The economy grew at a rapid pace, immediately after the war.

Special Treatment

Close economic ties between Manila and Washington continued after the war on the back of agreements providing for preferential tariffs for American exports and special treatment for US investors in the Philippines. In the 1946 Philippine Trade Act, the Americans were granted duty-free access to the Philippine market and special rights to exploit the country’s natural resources. Because of the Trade Act, the Philippines suffered a huge trade deficit with the influx of American imports. In 1949, the Philippine government was forced to impose import controls, after getting the consent of Washington.

Filipino Actors in Hollywood

Alex Tizon – Pulitzer Prize winning journalist
Amapola Cabase – singer, actor
Angela Perez Baraquio – Miss America, 2001
Anna Bayle – international Model
Anthony Begonia – producer
Anthony Ruivivar – actor
Billy Joe Crawford – singer, actor
Bobby Chouinard – baseball player
Camille Velasco – Final 12, American Idol Season 3
Charo Ronquillo – 2nd runner up, 2005 Ford Supermodel of the World
Cheryl Burke – grand champion, Dancing with the Stars, 2006

Another Filipino wins Pulitzer

Another Filipino won the much-coveted "Pulitzer Prize" for journalists in the United States, joining the elite group of famous Filipino journalists such as Carlos P. Romulo.

Antonio Vargas, a 27-year-old political reporter of the Washington Post, was a part of a group of reporters who won the prize for best breaking news reporting category for the Post's April 2007 coverage of Virginia Tech Massacre, where Korean student Seung-Hui Cho shot and killed 32 people before turning to himself. Vargas wrote two stories on the shooting incident.
Vargas, who was born in Antipolo, Rizal and grew up in Pasig, migrated to the United States when he was only 12 years old. He went studied in Mountain View High School in California and attended college on scholarship at San Francisco State University.

Filipino Scientists

Jose Rodriguez discovered methods of controlling Hansen’s Disease commonly known as leprosy. In 1974, he received the Damien Dutton Award.

Josefino Comiso was the first to have discovered a recurring polynya (semipermanent area of open water in sea ice) in the Cosmonaut Sea, south of the Indian Ocean.

Fe del Mundo is the first Asian to have entered the prestigious Harvard University's School of Medicine. She is credited for her studies that led to the invention of incubator and jaundice relieving device. Since 1941, she has contributed more than 100 articles to medical journals in the U.S., Philippines and India. In 1966, she received the Elizabeth Blackwell Award, for her "outstanding service to mankind". In 1977, she was bestowed the Ramon Magsaysay Award for outstanding public service.

Filipino Physicists

Diosdado Banatao, a native of Iguig, Cagayan and an electrical engineering graduate from Mapua Institute of Technology in Manila is credited for eight major contributions to the Information Technology.

Banatao is most known for introducing the first single-chip graphical user interface accelerator that made computers work a lot faster and for helping develop the Ethernet controller chip that made Internet possible.

In 1989, he pioneered the local bus concept for personal computers and in the following year developed the First Windows accelerator chip. Intel is now using the chips and technologies developed by Banatao. He now runs his own semiconductor company, Mostron and Chips & Technology, which is based in California's Silicon Valley.

Filipino Astronomers

In March 2006, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in the United States acknowledged Christoper Go, a Cebu-based astronomer, for making new astronomical discovery – a red spot on the planet Jupiter. Go discovered the red spot on the planet using an 11-inch telescope and a CCD camera on February 28, 2006. NASA later called the new red spot "Oval BA," or the Red Spot Jr.

On June 25, 2002, the provincial government of Cavite awarded Edward Caro a plaque of recognition for his 42 years of service at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in the United States where he helped launch the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission or the Explorer. Caro, a native of Cavite retired from NASA in 2001. In return, NASA during the same year conferred Caro the Distinguished Science medal, reportedly the highest honor it gives to its employees.

American Colony

The Americans entered the scene because of its conflict with Spain over Cuba. With the outbreak of the Spanish-American war in the Pacific, the Philippines had to be taken by the US, lest other European countries such as Britain, France and Germany would fight for their next Southeast Asian colony. On June 12, 1898, Aguinaldo, first backed by American forces, declared the independence of Kawit, Cavite, the seat of the revolutionary Filipino government at that time, from Spanish rule. The Americans took possession of Manila on August 13, 1898.

While armed clashes with Spanish forces continued in other parts of the country, the Americans and the Spaniards were negotiating for the purchase of the Philippines for US$20 million. In the Treaty of Paris in 1898, Spain ceded the Philippines, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Guam to the US.

Filipino in NBA

The first and only Filipino to have ever played in the National Basketball Association or NBA is Raymond Townsend, whose mother is from Balayan, Batangas and whose father is an American.  Standing six feet and three inches tall, Townsend played for the NBA from 1978 to 1982 for the Golden State Warriors and later for the Indiana Pacers. What we are excited about this time is that Townsend himself announces that he has Filipino blood running through his veins.

Raymond Townsend is regarded as the first Fil-Am and only Asian American to have ever been drafted in the first round of the NBA draft, according to the articles at Wikipedia and Asian Journal.  Townsend (using, in an email to txtmania, confirmed that he is a proud Filipino.

His email reads: "My name is Raymond Townsend. I am a former UCLA All-American basketball player of Filipino-American ancestry. I am a 'proud Pinoy' who is the first and only Filipino-American to ever play in the NBA."

"I broke the barriers for other Filipinos to reach that goal of representing our culture as a player in the NBA.  I believe Eric Spoelstra should be there also as he is the first Filipino-American to ever coach in the NBA."