Trivia, Information, Records About the Philippines

The Bible Also Mentions the Philippines

It can be easily understood that no verse in the Bible carried the term
Philippines, since the Bible was written two thousand years ago or centuries
before the Spaniards came here. However, there are verses in the Bible
that prophesy about the Philippine archipelago and other islands in
the Pacific. In the chapter 24 of the Book of Isaiah, verses 15 to 16
read “Therefore in the east give glory to the Lord; exalt the name of
the Lord, the God of Israel, in the islands of the sea. From the ends
of the earth we hear singing: ‘Glory to the Righteous One.'” The Philippines
is the only Christian archipelago in the Pacific covering East Asia.

Arroyo and Sukarnoputri Share Similarities

Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of the Philippines and Megawati Sukarnoputri
of Indonesia have remarkable similarities. Both are 54-year-old women
who had been vice-presidents before becoming presidents in place of
their predecessors who were ousted in the year 2001. Both of them were
daughters of former presidents of the world’s two largest archipelagos
who lost the presidency in 1965 to dictators. Both women have three
children and their husbands were being pursued by controversy. Both
visited Washington in their first year as presidents and met US President
George W. Bush, another offspring of a former president who also assumed
power in 2001.  Arroyo and Sukarnoputri are not entirely similar
though. The former is a Catholic Christian from the world’s fifth largest
Christian country while the latter is a Muslim from the country with
the world’s largest Muslim population.

Bulacan Produced Queens

Marcelo del Pilar, the father of Philippine journalism; Francisco Balagtas,
the father of Philippine literature; Jose Corazon de Jesus, father of
balagtasan; Nicanor Abelardo, father of kundiman; Francisca Reyes-Aquino,
mother of Philippine dances; Gerry de Leon, a father of Philippine movies;
Guillermo Tolentino, one of the fathers of Philippine arts; Jose Reyes,
a father of Philippine medicine; and Dely Magpayo, a mother of Philippine
broadcasting, were all born in Bulacan province. Atang dela Rama, the
mother of Philippine theater, lived in Bulacan. Aside from national
fathers and mothers, Bulacan also produced queens, namely: Lydia de
Vega, Asia’s former sprint queen; Regine Velasquez, Asia’s song bird;
and Michelle Aldana, Miss Asia-Pacific beauty queen.

Babe Ruth Scored Homeruns in RP 

Babe Ruth, the American baseball legend who had over 200 homeruns in
his professional career, once played in the baseball field of the Rizal
Memorial Sports Complex. In 1934, Ruth and another baseball great, Lou
Gehrig, selected an All-Star team that toured Asia where they played
18 games. The All-Star selection stopped in the Philippines and played
at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex from December 2 to December 9.
Gehrig beat Ruth when he scored the first recorded homerun at the Rizal
complex on December 2. Ruth scored the 2nd homerun on the same day and
4th homerun on December 9. The other players of the same selection who
also scored homeruns at the Rizal complex were Earl Averill and C. Gehringer. 

7 Cabinet Officials Were from Harvard

In a speech before an American delegation early in 2002, President Gloria
Macapagal-Arroyo has claimed that her Cabinet officials include seven
Harvard graduates and three Wharton alumni. The 54-year-old president
added that four of her economic managers had been top executives on
Wall Street prior to joining government service in the Philippines.
President Arroyo, herself, has a Ph. D. in Economics, which she earned
from the University of the Philippines (UP). Before this, she had studied
for two years at the Georgetown University where she had former US President
Bill Clinton as a classmate.

Manila Played Host To Big Events

Manila served as a host to some of the world’s biggest events in the
past several decades. On November 22, 1995, the country hosted 21 world
leaders, including former US President Bill Clinton, during the 4th
Economic Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). In
1974, Former First Lady Imelda Marcos ordered the construction of the
Folk Arts Theater to be the site of the 23rd annual Miss Universe beauty
pageant on July 19. The prestigious beauty contest was held again in
the country in 1994. On October 1, 1975, the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon
City was the venue of the infamous “Thrilla in Manila”, the thrilling
boxing match between Heavyweight champions, Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier.
Manila also hosted other international sports events such as the Asian
Games in 1954 and the Southeast Asian Games in 1981 and 1991. In 1980,
the Marcos administration ordered the construction of the grand Coconut
Palace to host John Paul II during his Manila visit. The head of the
Vatican state visited Manila again in January 1995.

Sabah Once Belonged to Sultan of Sulu

Sabah, an oil-rich region forming the northern part the great Borneo
Island, used to be a property of the Sultan of Sulu. Its 73,620-square-kilometer
land area is about twice the size of Switzerland and teems with incomparable
natural resources. The territory is still being claimed by the Sultan
of Sulu, Jamalul Kiram III. The Sulu sultanate was founded by Rajah
Baginda in 1430. According to the present sultan, his claim goes as
far back as 1704 when the Sultan of Brunei ceded part of then North
Borneo which now comprises Sabah to the Sultan of Sulu in the southern
Philippines for his help in suppressing a rebellion. There are about
500,000 Filipinos, most of them Muslims, living in Sabah. They fled
to the territory in the 1970s during heavy fighting between Muslim rebels
and the government troops. Sabah is only four hours by boat from the
southernmost island-province of Tawi-Tawi in the Philippines.

Coconut Workers Own San Miguel Corp.

There are 3 million hectares planted to coconut trees, the second largest
agricultural area after rice fields (4 million hectares). The coconut
industry employs about 3.4 million Filipinos. Some 18 to 20 million
more Filipinos depend on the industry for their livelihood, according
to the United Coconut Associations of the Philippines (UCAP). About
90 percent of those employed in the coconut industry are small farmers,
who earn P10,000 a year or P25 a day. 

Coconut farmers are among the most exploited segments
of Philippine society. Driven to squalor by Marcos cronies who thrived
on the so-called coconut levies, the coconut farmers represent the oldest
sector of the domestic economy. In 1642, the Spanish colonial government
forced each Filipino to plant 200 coconut trees, because Spanish shipbuilders
had a large need for charcoaled coconut shells and coconut husks. Coconut
products have gradually become the country’s top export, accounting
for 35 percent of all exports in the 1950s and 1960s. In the 1970s,
coconut products were the country’s leading exports of raw materials.
New economic policies initiated under the Aquino administration led
to a slow-phased shift to industries, which eventually put the coconut
industry at the tailend of government priorities. In 2001, coconut exports
represented only 1.6 percent of the country’s total exports.

In 1971, the dictatorial government of the late President
Ferdinand Marcos established the Coconut Investment Fund (Cocofund)
by imposing a levy of P15 per 100 kilograms of copra for nine years
between 1973 and 1982. Supposedly, the fund should serve as subsidy
to coconut products for domestic consumption. However, the cocofund,
which amounted to a total of P9.695 billion by August 1982, was turned
into a private fund used to finance three financial institutions, including
the United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB). The cocofund was also used
to acquire the majority shares of San Miguel Corporation, the country’s
largest food and beverage conglomerate. A known Marcos crony, Danding
Cojuangco, still retains the chairmanship of both UCPB and San Miguel
until today. The fund, which is estimated at over P100 billion today,
has yet to be transferred to the accounts of the coconut farmers. (Source:

A Mayor Held Office for 5 Decades

No other local official had the distinction of serving an elective post
for almost half a century. Pablo Cuneta, the late mayor of Pasay City
and father of popular actress, Sharon Cuneta, died at 90 on September
27, 2000 after serving the government for 50 years. In 1947, then President
Elpidio Quirino appointed him vice mayor of Pasay City. In 1955, he
was elected mayor, a post which he held until 1967 when he lost to Jovito
Claudio in the mayoralty election. He emerged victorious in the 1972
elections and served his constituents in Pasay City until 1986 when
he was ordered ousted by the Aquino administration. Cuneta won in the
1988 mayoralty election and served his post uninterrupted until 1997
when his health began to fail. He was awarded a golden trophy for his
50th year in public service in the same year. 

A Priest Took Up Arms Against Americans

From 1900 to 1902, Catholic priest Gregorio Labayan Aglipay took up
arms against American soldiers in Batac, Ilocos Norte. Aglipay founded
the Liwanag branch of the Katipunan in Victoria, Tarlac, attended the
Malolos Congress and became the ecclesiastical governor of Nueva Segovia
(Ilocos) in 1899.  In his religious role, Aglipay is considered
as the Martin Luther of the Philippines for founding the Iglesia Filipina
Independiente or the Philippine Independent Church, which celebrated
its centenary on August 3, 2002. A century earlier, the Union Obrera
Democratica, a confederation of 10 labor organizations headed by Isabelo
de los Reyes, broke ties with the Vatican and designated Aglipay as
the Obispo Maximo (supreme bishop) of their new religion. The Catholic
Church then excommunicated Aglipay. An American general called Aglipay
a better soldier than a bishop. (Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer)

The Osmena Clan Is the Oldest Political Dynasty

The Osmena clan is perhaps the oldest and the most dominant political
dynasty in the country. This political dynasty began when Sergio Osmena
Sr. replaced Manuel Quezon as president of the Commonwealth government
during the war. His son, Osmena Jr. became a senator and his grandson,
Osmena III is now an incumbent senator. John Osmena, a former mayor
of Cebu City, is also a senator today. Lito Osmena, a long-time governor
of the province of Cebu, vied for the presidency in the 1998 presidential
election. Tomas Osmena was a mayor of Davao City.

Six Vice-Presidents Became Presidents

Six former vice-president became presidents, namely: Sergio Osmena,
Elpidio Quirino, Carlos Garcia, Diosdado Macapagal, Joseph Estrada and
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Three Senate Presidents Became Presidents

Three former senate presidents became presidents, namely Manuel Quezon,
Manuel Roxas, and Ferdinand Marcos.

Two Speakers Became Presidents

Two former House speakers became presidents, namely: Sergio Osmena Sr.
and Manuel Roxas.

Three Presidents Died in Office

Three Philippine presidents were not able to finish their terms of office.
They were Manuel Quezon who died in New York City on August 1, 1944;
Manuel Roxas who died of a heart attack on April 15, 1948; and Ramon
Magsaysay who died in an air accident on March 17, 1957.

First 3 Beauty Queens Married Pinoys

The first Miss Universe, Armi Kuusela of Finland won the crown in 1952
and married Virgilio Hilario of Tarlac the following year. The first
Miss International (1961), Maria Stella Marquez Zawadsky of Colombia,
married Filipino millionaire, Jorge Araneta. The first Miss Asia (1965),
Angela Filmer of Malaysia, married Jose Faustino, also a Filipino.

A Filipino Spread Love Bug Virus

In May 2000, the so-called “love bug” computer virus spread worldwide
and infected millions of computer files. The virus, quickly infiltrated
government and corporate computer systems around the world. Described
as the worst computer virus ever created, the “love bug” wrought damages
amounting to US$10 billion. It could not have been big news in the Philippines,
if not for the fact that the suspected creator of the virus is a Filipino.
He was identified as Onel de Guzman, a student of AMA Computer College
in Quezon City.

Caloocan City Has Two Separate Parts

Caloocan City is the only city in the Philippines with two areas set
apart from each other by other towns and cities. Its first area, known
as the urban portion, covers Monumento and is bounded on the south by
Manila, on the west by Navotas and Malabon and on the north by Valenzuela
City. Its second area, known as Caloocan II, is a hilly portion between
Bulacan province and Quezon City.

Orchids Breeds Were from RP

Waling-waling or Vanda sanderiana, is described as the “Queen of Philippine
Orchids”. One of the largest species in the world, waling-waling was
discovered by German Taxonomist Heinrich Gustav Reicheinback in Mindanao
in 1882. Since then, it has become the most sought-after flower in Mindanao
and helped in the flourishing of the world’s multibillion-dollar orchid
and cutflower industry. The massive deforestation in Mindanao threatens
the region’s wildlife, including waling-waling which used to abound
in the tropical forest of Mount Apo and its surrounding areas. Today,
it is believed that Waling-Waling has more species abroad, particularly
in Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong and Hawaii.  Of the 9,000 flowering
plants in the world, about 3,500 are endemic to the Philippines. Human
activities, however, pose a great threat to their existence. 

Romulo Coined “I Shall Return”

It was Carlos P. Romulo, who coined the famous phrase “I shall return”
by General Douglas MacArthur. Romulo was MacArthur’s press officer at
that time.

Romulo Put RP in UN Map

According to Beth Day Romulo, Carlos P. Romulo literally put the Philippines
on the world map. “When the UN official seal which depicts the world
was being selected, Romulo asked ‘Where is the Philippines?’ 

The answer came, ‘It’s too small to include. If we
put the Philippines, it would be no more than a dot.’ 

‘I want that dot,’ Romulo insisted.” The UN seal now
has a tiny dot for the Philippines.

MacArthur Was Field Marshall of Philippine Army

Philippine Commonwealth President Manuel L. Quezon appointed American
four-star Maj. Gen. Douglas MacArthur as Field Marshall of the Philippine
Army in 1935. Attached with the appointment was MacArthur’s extra monthly
pay of US$3,980 that made him the highest paid military officer in the
world, according to American historian Carlos D’Este in his book “Eisenhower,
A Soldier’s Life”.

Eisenhower Wrote Quezon’s Speeches

In the book “Eisenhower, A Soldier’s Life”, American historian Carlos
D’Este claimed that Dwight Eisenhower became an adviser and speechwriter
of Commonwealth President Manuel L. Quezon in the Philippines. When
Quezon sought an exile in the US, he met Eisenhower in Washington D.C.
and offered him “a lavish stipend of some one hundred thousand dollars
for services rendered the Philippines during his four years there, which
Eisenhower courteously rejected.” This was before Eisenhower was appointed
as the supreme commander of all allied forces and planned the now infamous
Normandy Invasion in Europe during World War II. Eisenhower later became
a US president.

Filipinos Had Headed International Organizations

Carlos P. Romulo became president of the United Nations 4th General
Assembly; Cesar Bengzon, president of the World Court Justice; Blas
Ople, president of International Labor Organization; Jose Aspiras, president
of World Tourism Organization; Jesus Tamesis, president of World Medical
Association; Arturo Tanco, president of World Food Council; Florencio
Campomanes, president of International Chess Federation; Justiniano
Montano, president of World Boxing Council; Gonzalo Puyat II, president
of International Amateur Basketball Federation; Ramos del Rosario, president
of World Jaycee International; 

Jolly Bugarin, president of International Criminal
Police Organization; Mercedes Concepcion, president of the International
Union for the Scientific Study of Population; Lolita Delgado-Fransler,
president of Association of International College of Women; Modesto
Farolan, president of International Union of Official Tourist Organizations;
Florencio Moreno, president of World Highway Engineers Association;
Quintin Gomez, president of the 8th World Congress of Anaesthesiologists;
Cielito del Mundo, president of World Family Institute Inc.; 

Fe del Mundo, president of International Women’s Medical
Association; Amelito Mutuc, president of World Association of Lawyers;
John Choa, president of Y’s Men International; Roman Cruz, president
of Orient Airlines Association; Manuel Nieto, president of Oriental
Boxing Federation; Rufus Rodriguez, president of World Association of
Law Students; Edward dela Rosa, president of World Association of Pharmaceutical
Distributors; Esther Vibal, president of International Inner wheel; 

Antonio Delgado, chairman of Boy Scouts World Conference;
Marcelo Fernan, secretary general of the Academy of American and International
Law Alumni; Norman Certeza Sr., governor of Kiwanis International; Eduardo
Chuidian, general manager of Association of International Shipping Lines;
Rafael Salas, executive director of the United Nations Fund for Population
Activities; and Dioscoro Umali, assistant director general of the Food
and Agriculture Organization.

Tolentino and Amorsolo Were Classmates

Guillermo Tolentino and Fernando Amorsolo, both national artists in
arts, were classmates at the UP School of Fine Arts. Guillermo Tolentino
was the one who carved the UP Oblation while Amorsolo was known for
his paintings about barrio life and women.

15 National Artists Were from Manila

Aside from Manila, there is no other city or province, which owns the
distinction of having produced 15 national artists. Three of these national
artists – Levi Celerio, Cesar Legaspi and Rolando Tinio – were born
in Tondo, the same district that produced Andres Bonifacio, Emilio Jacinto
and yes, Juan Flavier. Other national artists who were born in Manila
include Fernando Amorsolo, Francisco Arcellana, Ishmael Bernal, Gerardo
de Leon, Nick Joaquin, Arturo Luz, Jose Maceda, Antonio Molina, Juan
Nakpil, Andrea Veneracion, Jose Garcia Villa and Honorata “Atang” dela
Rama. Coming far behind Manila in having produced a great number of
national artists is Bulacan province, the birthplace of six national

Bulacan Produced Great Musicians

Aside from producing heroes and poets, Bulacan is known as the birthplace
of great Filipino composers, singers and dancers. Nicanor Abelardo,
who is widely regarded as the father of kundiman, was born in San Miguel,
Bulacan while Francisco Santiago, another pioneer of kundiman, grew
up in Sta. Maria town. Noted composer Antonino Buenaventura was born
in Baliuag town while contemporary composer Ernani Cuenco was born in
the capital town of Malolos. Honorata “Atang” dela Rama, the great theater
actress before the war, made Bulacan her home and married poet and national
artist Amado Hernandez of San Miguel. 

The father of Levi Celerio, the poet of Philippine
music, was from Baliuag. Francisca Reyes Aquino, the mother of Philippine
dances, was born in the town of Bocaue. Composer and singer Rey Valera
was born in Meycauayan town. At present, three divas from Bulacan –
Regine Velasquez, Jaimie Rivera and Claire dela Fuente own the finest
voices that this country has ever heard.

A Filipino Supervised a Russian Orchestra

Redentor Romero had served as the conductor of the 100-member Moscow
State Symphony Orchestra, which received worldwide acclaim.

Pasyon Was a Poem

The long poem read and chanted by Catholic devotees during the Lent
first appeared in 1704. Entitled Ang Mahal na Passion ni Jesu Christong
Panginoon Nation, the poem was written in octosyllabic verse by Gaspar
Aquino de Belen.

Balagtas Had Other Works

Francisco dela Cruz Balagtas, the 19th Century poet from Bulacan, wrote
more than 100 plays, comedies, awits and koridos. Most of these works,
however, were burned in a fire that gutted his house in Udyong, Bataan
in 1892. Fortunately, copies of three of his works were found elsewhere.
Aside from the well-known awit Florante at Laura, other existing works
of Balagtas were a short farce entitled La India Elegante y e! Negrito
Amante and a full-length komedya entitled Orosman at Zafira.

A Filipino was Declared Emperor

In 1926, Florencio Intrencherado was proclaimed emperor of Negros Occidental
province. In the 1900s, the people of Negros declared a republic in
Panay, which was later abolished by the US government.

A Filipino Refereed Muhammad Ali

In October 1975, Carlos Padilla Jr. served as the referee in the world-boxing
match between Ali and Frazier in what was dubbed as thrilla in Manila.

A Brazilian Became Filipinos’ Darling in 2000

Leila Barros, a fine-looking volleyball player from Brazil, became the
Filipino crowd’s darling in the staging of World Women’s Volleyball
Grand Prix in Manila in 1999 and 2000. Leila, a five-foot-eight player,
led her team to the first runner-up finish in the 1999 event, which
was won by Russia. Brazil won the crown in 1994, 1996 and 1998. The
Filipino audience used to ignore the game of volleyball until they saw
Leila spike the ball with the elegance and style no one else could show.

Inside the court, the 28-year-old Brazilian beauty
was noted for her intensity and leaping ability, which enabled her to
penetrate the stonewall defense of her six foot rivals. Behind the pretty
face was her seriousness and sheer determination to win each game. She
moves with the agility of Martina Hingis and the form of Anna Kournikova.
Not a few Filipino men fell in love with her flash images on television.
Some of those who were lucky to see her personally waved placards proposing
marriage, not knowing that the young, otherwise innocent looking star
player has been married for four years. How sad! Just the same, Leila
moves and jumps with the charm of any 16-year-old girl “oozing with
sensuality”, as one sports columnist put it. At a time the Philippines
was troubled by many problems, all it needed was a little inspiration
from someone like Leila, who reminded the Filipino men of the beauty
of life.

Intel Chips Were Manufactured in RP

Intel Corp., the world’s largest corporation, has been operating in
the Philippines for almost 30 years. Calling itself as the first multinational
company that established a branch in the country, Intel manufactures
processors and chips in its Philippine plant, which is expected to be
Intel’s biggest assembly and testing operations worldwide soon. Other
foreign electronic and IT firms in the country are Texas Instruments,
Toshiba, Trend Micro, Fujitsu, and America Online (AOL).

Marcos Was Last Lawyer President

Eight Filipino presidents were laywers. All former presidents from Manuel
Quezon in 1935 to Ferdinand Marcos in 1986, except Ramos Magsaysay,
had practiced law. Starting 1986, the next four presidents were non-lawyers,
namely: Corazon Aquino, a housewife; Fidel Ramos, a military general;
Joseph Estrada, an actor; and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, an economist.

A Filipino Ruled an Island

In 1956, Tomas Cloma, a Filipino explorer, discovered an island in the
South China Sea. Cloma named the island as “Freedomland” which he tried
to rule by establishing his own government.

A Planetoid was Named After a Filipino

The minor planet Biyo, which has a diameter of four to nine kilometers
and was formerly called planet 13241, was named after Dr. Josette Biyo,
a teacher at the Philippine Science High School in Iloilo City who won
the International Excellence in Teaching Award during the Intel International
Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) held in Louisville, Kentucky
in 2002. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Lincoln Laboratory
in the United States game the name.

Scientists Endorse Four Medicinal Plants

The country’s Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFAR) has included four medicinal
plants – lagundi, sambong, yerba Buena and tsaang gubat – in its list
of drugs. Meanwhile, the Department of Health (DOH) also endorses the
use of the four plants and six others to cure particular ailments or
diseases. The use of lagundi is encouraged to cure cough; sambong, urinary
tract stones; yerba Buena, muscle pains; tsaang gubat, intestinal colic;
niyog niyugan, intestinal worms; bayabas, for wound wash; akapulko,
skin infection; ulasimang bato, uric acid; garlic, high blood cholesterol;
and ampalaya, high blood sugar.

There Were Mummies in the Philippines

A tribe in Kabayan town, Benguet province used to mummify the bodies
of their dead. Until now, the mummified bodies of their ancestors are
hung at the burial rocks in the area. 

Someone Made Magsaysay Famous

The person responsible for making the late President Ramon Magsaysay
famous as the champion of the masses was Jose V. Cruz, a journalist.
At 30 years old, Cruz first served as the press secretary of Magsaysay.

Filipino Doctors Apply as Nurses in the US

So enamored are Filipinos about working in other countries for higher
income that 2,000 doctors are now taking up nursing examination for
the possibility of working in the US. The Philippine Nurses Association
disclosed that in June 2002 alone, at least 100 doctors took the nursing
board examinations. A doctor applying for a nurse in the US said that
he would earn in a month as a nurse in the US what he is earning in
a year as a doctor in the Philippines. Some Filipino nurses earn up
to US$5,000 monthly in New York and California. Reports said the US
would need additional 600,000 nurses until 2010 while Japan would require
1.2 million nurses during the same period. Filipino nurses are also
trooping to Europe, particularly United Kingdom. Ironically, the Philippines
has one of the lowest ratios of doctors and nurses against the population.

Salaried Workers Carry Burden of Taxes

Citing data from the National Tax Research Center (NTRC), Finance Secretary
Isidro Camacho said that in the year 2001, there were 2,605,505 individual
taxpayers who filed their income tax returns and paid a total of P80.42

About 2,079,745 salaried workers, or 80 percent of the income tax payers,
paid a total of P66.3 billion in income taxes, accounting for 82 percent
of the total collection. Professionals or self-employed individuals
contributed only P10.75 billion or only 13 percent of the income taxes
while capital gains tax paid by individuals reached P3.18 billion.

In particular, self-employed individuals or single-proprietors paid
P10.13 billion while professionals paid only P620 million. Based on
these figures in 2001, professionals paid only P20,447 in income tax
while salaried workers paid P31,879.

According to the DOF, this should not be the case since professionals
are actually earning much higher than salaried workers. Citing a 1997
government survey, the DOF said that salaried workers earned only P582.7
billion while professionals received P1.159 billion during that year.
Measured per capita, salaried workers earned an average of P223,642
while professionals earned P2.204 million in 1997.

In the year 2002, for example, only 2.8 million Filipinos of the total
30 million workers, businessmen and professionals paid their income
taxes. As of October 2002, there were over 30 million Filipinos in the
labor force, about 15 million of whom were salaried workers, 11 million
were self-employed and 4 million were unpaid family workers.

One government study showed that over the past 11 years (1991 to 2001),
leakage from the individual income tax amounted to P608 billion. This
was on top of the P610 billion that were lost to leakage in the value
added tax (VAT) scheme.

Americans Are 25 Times Richer

Equitable distribution of wealth would hardly resolve the poverty problem
in the country. In reality, the country’s per capita income or the imaginary
figure referring to every Filipino’s equal share in the country’s total
wealth, is below US$1,000. In comparison, countries like the United
States, Germany, Japan and even Singapore have a per capita income of
over US$25,000. This means that an ordinary American is 25 times richer
than an ordinary Filipino. What would be needed to relieve poverty is
to enlarge the economic pie by drawing more capital and resources into
the country, so every Filipino would get a larger share.

Among Questionable Claims Are:

1. The Philippines is the world’s second largest English-speaking
nation. In reality, most Filipinos do not speak English on the street
while the Department of Education is bothered by Filipino students’
low English proficiency level. In comparison, English is the main language
in the streets of United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and
other British territories.

2. The Philippines has the largest Christian population
in Asia. China actually has over 80 million Christians and is therefore
the country with largest Christian population in Asia.

3. The Philippines was second to Japan in economic
prosperity in Asia in the 1950s. Coming out of World War II, most East
Asian countries, including the Philippines, were in still in recovery
in the 1950s. Some of them had just won their freedom while economic
prosperity was a strange phrase during that period. Even our parents
would agree that life was harder in the 1950s. The Philippines never
became rich and its golden age has yet to set in. Economic situation,
however, was less burdening in 1996 and 1997 under the Ramos administration.

4. The Philippines is an agricultural economy. The
Philippines is no longer an agricultural country. It cannot even produce
enough rice, sugar or wheat to feed its entire population and has to
import food from Thailand, Vietnam and the United States. The country’s
agricultural exports comprised less than 5 percent of its total outbound
shipments in 2001. While the agriculture sector employed 37 percent
of the workforce in 2001, it contributed only 21 percent to the gross
domestic product (GDP). The industrial and services sectors contributed
the remaining 79 percent to the domestic economy.

5. Filipinos are the happiest people in the world.
The World Values Survey conducted by University of Michigan in 1998
ranked Iceland 1st and the Philippines 12th among 54 countries in happiness
index. The Philippines was ranked first among Asian countries though.
The truth is happiness cannot be measured.

6. Early Filipinos had a perfect socio-economic and
justice system before the Spaniards came. There was never a perfect
society in the world and tales about gold abounding in the Philippines
five centuries ago remain to be proven. The fact is slavery, war, witchcraft,
beheading and human sacrifice were already present in the country before
the Spaniards came.

7. The Philippines is a favorite destination of foreign
tourists. It could have the finest beach resorts in the world, but the
Philippines gets only about 2 million foreign tourists annually. In
comparison, smaller Asian countries like Singapore and Hong Kong receive
over 8 million foreign guests every year.

8. The Philippines is one of the safest and most peaceful
places on earth. That is what the Department of Tourism claims but according
to the International Red Cross, the Philippines registered the world’s
fourth highest number of casualties and injuries as a result of natural
disasters and man-made calamities from 1992 to 2001 – 5.8 million cases
in all. It was behind China, India and Iran. China and India were expected
in the accident list because they have the largest populations in the

9. Equitable distribution of wealth would resolve the
poverty problem in the country. In reality, the country’s per capita
income or the imaginary figure referring to every Filipino’s equal share
in the country’s total wealth, is below US$1,000. In comparison, countries
like the United States, Germany, Japan and even Singapore have a per
capita income of over US$25,000. This means that an ordinary American
is 25 times richer than an ordinary Filipino. What would be needed to
relieve poverty is to enlarge the economic pie by drawing more capital
and resources into the country, so every Filipino would get a larger

10. Basketball is the dominant sports in the Philippines.
Not any more. Because of the growing youth population and the lack of
basketball courts, most Filipino children are now trooping to computer
game shops and billiard halls.

11. Filipinos invented the fluorescent lamp that illuminated
the world and the Lunar Rover used by American astronauts on the moon.
The National Academy of Science and Technology disagrees.

Most Profitable Businesses Today Include:

1. Gambling in the form of online lottery or text games

2. Power generation and distribution, thanks to purchased power cost

3. Mobile phone networks, as long as the country is hooked to texting

4. Beer and wine production as always

5. Drug manufacturing and retail, because medicines here are twice as

6. Computer training centers which promise instant jobs after graduation

7. Kindergarten schools with exorbitant tuition fees

8. Caregiver training centers for people wanting to go to Canada and

9. Immigration consultancy which offers expensive seminars

10. Job placement agencies 

11. Pyramid selling

12. Laundry services for American troops

13. Importing ukay-ukay

14. Selling pirated VCDs and software

15. Kidney buy and sell

16. Smut publishing, as in yellow journalism

17. Billiard tables for rent

18. Computer game shops

19. Money exchange in Basilan

20. Bikini car wash as the one in Iloilo City

The lists of questionable claims and most profitable businesses today only reflect the author’s opinion. The author does not in any way encourage anybody to engage in the most profitable businesses listed above. Both lists were made for satirical purposes.

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