1· Diving paradise Anilao, in the province of Bat@ngas, is the theme of a picture book that bagged the International Prize for Underwater Images at the 27th World Festival of Underwater Images in France in November 2000. “Anilao” book creators and Filipino scuba divers Scott Tuason and Eduardo Cu Unjieng defeated big names in underwater photography such as Jacques Mayol, Pascal Kobeh, Monique Walker, and Alessandro Tommasi.
2· The biggest game preserve and wildlife sanctuary in the Philippines is located on Calauit Island in Palawan, which has the largest land area among the Philippine provinces.
3· The antibiotic erythromycin — used to treat a wide variety of bacterial infections, such as respiratory tract infections, middle ear infections, and skin infections — was created by Filipino scientist Abelardo Aguilar, and has earned American drug giant Eli Lilly billions of dollars. Neither Aguilar nor the Philippine government received royalties.
4· Fernando Amorsolo was officially the first National Artist of the Philippines. He was given the distinction of National Artist for Painting in 1972.
5· Philippines Herald war journalist Carlos P. Romulo was the first Asian to win a Pulitzer Prize in Journalism in 1942. He was also aide-de-camp to General Douglas MacArthur in World War II; Philippine resident commissioner in the U.S. Congress from 1944-46; and the first Asian to become UN President in 1949.
6· The largest fish in the world, the Whale Shark, locally known as Butanding, regularly swims to the Philippine waters.
7· The world’s shortest and lightest freshwater fish is the dwarf pygmy goby (Pandaka Pygmaea), a colorless and nearly transparent species found in the streams and lakes of Luzon. Males have an average length of 8.7 mm. and weigh 4-5 mg.
8· On January 18, 1995, Pope John Paul II offered mass to an estimated 4 to 5 million people at Luneta Park, Manila, Philippines, making it to the Guiness Book of World Records for the Biggest Papal Crowd.
9· The Philippine Madrigal Singers bagged the 1997 European Choral Grand Prix, the choral olympics of the world’s best choirs. The group, being the only Asian choir, bested five regional champions from all over Europe, earning them the title as the “world’s best choir.”
10· There are 12,000 or so species of seashells in the Philippines. The Conus Gloriamaris or “Glory of the Sea” is the rarest and most expensive in the world.
11· Of the 500 known coral species in the world, 488 are found in the Philippines.
12· Of the eight species of marine turtles worldwide, five are reported to be found in the Philippines: the Green Turtle, Hawkbill, Leatherback, Olive Ridley, and Loggerhead.
13· Of the eight known species of giant clams in the world, seven are found in the Philippines.
14· The Basilica of San Sebastian is the only steel church in Asia and was the second building to be made out of steel, next to the Eiffel Tower in Paris.