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The Philippines is one of the countries in the world with the most diverse and unique culture that relatively created a one-of-a-kind history. Here are some intriguingly unique facts about the Philippines you might want to know.
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1.) Some Filipinos may not be aware that some of our Filipino brothers and sisters are descendant of the Aztecs of Mexico and the Mayans of Central America. In 1565, Miguel Lopez de Legazpi brought with him some Aztec and Mayan warriors that eventually settled in the town of Mexico in the province of Pampanga. Traces of Aztec and Mayan influence can still be found in the many chico plantations in the area. This fruit is native only to Mexico.
2.) Lapu-lapu is not only recognized in the Philippines as a hero. He is also recognized internationally. A Street in the South of Market neighborhood of San Francisco, California in the United States is named after him.
3.) There are scores of recognized Filipino heroes but Andres Bonifacio and José Rizal are the only two implied national heroes of the country. At present, no Filipino is officially and explicitly recognized as a national hero of the Philippines by law.
4.) Do you still remember the symbolic names of some of the great Filipino heroes like Andres Bonifacio, Emilio Aguinaldo, Artemio Ricarte and Emilio Jacinto? Just to refresh your memory, Bonifacio's symbolic name was Maypagasa, Aguinaldo was Magdalo, Ricarte was Vibora and Jacinto was Pingkian.
5.) One of the oldest provinces established by the Spaniards is Pampanga and in 1571, Mexico became the capital of Pampanga. The original name of Pampanga was “Masangsang”. Mexico was named in honor of the place where the first Spanish Governor General Miguel Lopez de Legazpi founded his new life.
6.) Aztecs, Mayans and Toltecs migrated in Mexico, Pampanga as by-product of the Manila Galleon trade between Mexico and the Philippines. The capital of Pampanga was moved to Bacolor after the widespread Kapampangan Revolt of 1660 led by Don Francisco Maniago. Presently, the capital of Pampanga is San Fernando City,
7.) Many Filipinos are not aware that the Philippines became a British colony for a short period of time in the 18th century. Great Britain ended their occupation by sailing away from Manila and Cavite on April 1764. As a result, scores of Indian soldiers known as Sepoys that served for the British deserted the British forces and settled down in the town of Cainta, Rizal. This incident in Philippine history explains the uniquely Indian features of generations of Cainta residents.
8.) Do you know the first ever bank established in the country? The first Philippine bank is the Banco Espanol – Filipino de Isabel II founded on August 1, 1851 which is now known as Bank of the Philippine Islands or BPI. The bank was also granted the power to print a Philippine peso for the first time.
9.) One of the greatest and most intellectual Filipino heroes was Marcelo Del Pilar. Several months before the Philippine revolution, Del Pilar circulated in Manila and neighboring provinces his political works entitled La Patria and Ministerio de la Republica Filipina in preparation for his return to personally lead a revolution. Unfortunately, on July 4, 1896, Marcelo Del Pilar perished of TB or tuberculosis in Barcelona, Spain.
10.) During the Filipino-American war, about 126,000 American soldiers engaged in the conflict and 4,234 Americans died. On the part of the Filipinos, at least one million lost their lives as a direct result of the war with as many as 200,000 who died as a result of the cholera epidemic at the end of the war.
11.) Jose W. Diokno, a former Senator of the Philippines, was 1st placer in the 1945 bar exams and tied with Mr. Jovito Salonga. He was under-age when he took the exam. He also placed number 1 in the 1940 CPA Board exams. This double number 1 feat may never be paralleled.
12.) Cesar L. Villanueva from the Ateneo Law School placed second in the 1981 Bar Exams and second again in the 1982 CPA Board Exams, the closest to Diokno’s achievement.
13.) Two bar examinees topped the bar exams without officially graduating from any Philippine law school. The first was Jose W. Diokno. He was 1st placer in the 1945 bar exams. The second was Carolina C. Griño-Aquino - former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. She was 1st placer in the 1950 bar exams.
14.) Claudio M. Teehanke is Ateneo Law School's only summa cum laude graduate. He placed number one in the 1940 Bar Exams. His son, Manuel Antonio graduated also at the top of his Ateneo Law School class although not as summa cum laude, he also placed first in the 1983 bar exams. Enrique, a cum laude graduate from the UP College of Law is Claudio Teehanke’s nephew. He, like Caudio and Manuel Antonio also placed number one in the 1976 bar exams.
15.) Philippine Law Schools with the most bar topnotchers or 1st placers from 1913 to 2010 are as follows; University of the Philippines College of Law with forty-six (46) bar topnotchers, Ateneo de Manila Law School with twenty (20) bar topnotchers and San Beda College of Law with seven (7) bar topnotchers.
16.) From a plain housewife, she became the first woman president of the Philippines – Corazon C. Aquino.
17.) Elected as vice-mayor of Quezon City in 1988, Vicente Sotto II, more popularly known as Tito Sotto in the movie industry, he was elected as a one of the country’s senators.
18.) Jejomar Binay, the former City Mayor of Makati – the country’s business center, was catapulted to the second highest political position in the country – Vice President of the Philippine Republic.
19.) Vilma Santos, from movie actress to city mayor of Lipa City, eventually became the provincial governor of the province of Batangas.
20.) The Japanese occupied the Philippines during the Second World War. After their unconditional surrender in 1945 most Japanese deserted the country. But do you know that there are about 200,000 Japanese in the Philippines today?