Traveling Tuesdays this week is visiting a country starting with the letter P. We are heading to the Philippines.
Officially the Republic of the Philippines, the Philippines is a an island country of Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. It is an archipelago made up of over 7,600 islands that are divided into three main geographical divisions. From north to south the three areas are Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.
The Philippines gets its name from Philip II, who was king of Spain during the Spanish colonization of the islands during the 16th century. The Philippines was under Spanish rule for 333 years. After the outbreak of the Spanish-American War, the Treaty of Paris was signed on December 10, 1898 and Spain ceded the Philippines to the United States. The United States formally recognized the independence of the Republic of the Philippines on July 4, 1946.
The flag of the Philippines is made of silk. It has a white equilateral triangle at the left containing a sunburst of eight rays at the center. The white triangle stands for Filipino hope for equality and the sun stands for liberty. The sunburst of eight rays are for the first eight provinces to take up arms against Spain. There are three five-pointed stars – one at each angle of the triangle. The three stars for the three island groups of the Philippines – Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. The upper stripe of blue stands for peace, truth and justice; while the lower red stripe stands for patriotism and valor.
The national gem is called “Philippine Pearl”.
A fisherman from the island of Palawan had kept this 75-pound pearl under his bed as a good luck charm after finding it while fishing in the sea. The fisherman initially found the pearl after throwing his anchor down while sailing off the coast of Puerto Princesa. When he noticed that his anchor was stuck beneath a shell, he swam down to get the anchor free, bringing the pearl back to the surface with him.
The pearl measures at approximately 1 foot wide and 2.2 feet long, making it significantly larger than the 14-pound current record holder Pearl of Allah, which was also found off the coast of Palawan in 1934.
The capital of the Philippines is Manila located in Luzon. I had the opportunity to travel to Manila in 1978 to attend the Baptist World Alliance Youth Conference.
The event was held in the Philippine International Convention Center.
The PICC made history as Asia’s first international convention center and was formally opened in 1976, two years before I had to opportunity to attend a conference in this gorgeous building. The conference center is built on reclaimed land in Manila Bay.
Traveling about Manila was another new experience for me. We had the opportunity to ride in a Jeepney as well as to use the metro.
We had a bus tour out of the city to see a bit of the country and I remember seeing homes built on stilts and stopping along the roadside to buy some pineapple.
I have wonderful memories of my trip to Manila but I realize now I just caught a glimpse of this country. Sharing my stories here in this blog makes me want to return for another visit should that opportunity come my way. I hope you have the opportunity to travel to this lovely country.
Be sure and come back next week as we travel to a place starting with the Letter ‘Q’.