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History Trivia

I hope certain American historians and other writers will soon come to their senses.  They have been ignoring the contributions of Filipinos to the US and the world, rendering their products fetid.  Oh, Father History, the truth shall prevail.  (WARNING: The history section may require you years to read.  You are hereby advised to scroll down first to the entertainment/sports section.)

America derived its name from Amerigo Verpucci.  {Written Aug 15 99

Philippines was named in honor of Spain's King Felipe II.{Written Aug 15 99

The Philippines has 850 species of birds, more than do Australia, Japan and other Asian countries.  The world's 2nd largest eagle, with a wingspan of over two meters, is the monkey-eating eagle of Mindanao.  Katala, a native Filipino bird, can sing and talk like a human.{Written Aug 15 99

"What's still most impressive to me about the Philippines is the friendliness of the people, their sense of humor...," wrote veteran journalist John Griffin of Honolulu in a 1998 visit to the Philippines.{Written Aug 15 99

Distinguished British traveler-writer A. Henry Savage Landor, thrilled upon seeing a Bicol landmark in 1903, wrote: "Mayon is the most beautiful mountain I have ever seen, the world-renowned Fujiyama (Mt. Fuji) of Japan sinking into perfect insignificance by comparison."  Mayon has the world's most perfect cone.{Written Aug 15 99

Taal, smallest volcano known to man, is in the Philippines...  The smallest monkey ever - tarsius - and smallest deer - Palawan's pilandut mouse deer - both live in the Philippines.  {Written Aug 15 99

Where can we find sinarapan, the world's smallest commercial fish and the huge whale shark, the world's largest fish?  In Philippine waters.  {Written Aug 15 99  The smallest and largest shells are also located in the same country...  The largest natural pearl in existence, found in Palawan by a Muslim diver in 1934, is now in California, USA.  {Added Fall 99...  Philippine archipelago is reputed to have more scuba diving sites than any other country.

In terms of land area, the Philippines has the world's two largest cities - Puerto Princesa City in Palawan (254,000 hectares) and Davao City (244,000 hectares).  It is home also to the planet's longest discontinuous coastline, and is the best seat of marine biodiversity.  Plus, the longest underground river system accessible to man is in St. Paul National Park, Palawan.{Written Aug 15 99, Revised Fall 99

At 10,057 meters below sea level, the Philippine Deep (Mindanao Trench) is the world's fourth deepest spot.  It contains many hidden mineral energy resources.  {Written Aug 15 99, Revised Summer 00...  Philippines has the largest deposit of deuterium, fuel from water now used for cars and jet planes in Sweden, Canada, Germany and other countries.

Zambales, Philippines is the biggest source of high quality chrome in the world and Surigao del Norte has Asia's largest nickel deposit.  Surigao's 600 million tons of marble, if fully-developed, can also make the Philippines the world's top producer of marble.  {Written Aug 15 99, Revised Fall 99...  PI is currently the 8th biggest gold producer globally.  Additionally, it ranks No. 1 in the output of pineapple, coconut and hemp products.

If placed end to end, the Ifugao Rice Terraces in Luzon, Philippines would extend 14,000 miles - about ten times more than the Great Wall of China.  This engineering marvel was carved out of the harsh Cordillera mountain range by native farmers over 2,000 years ago.  UNESCO has listed it as a World Heritage site.  {Written Summer 99

On October 17, 1587, the first Filipinos to set foot in North America arrived in Morro Bay, along the central California coast.  Their leader was Spanish Captain Pedro de Unamuno.  (UCLA's AMERASIA Journal, Winter 1995-1996)

America's first Chinese reached Massachusetts in 1847 when they were brought by a missionary for schooling.

Filipinos had their first taste of Mexican chili and corn during the Manila-Acapulco galleon trade of pearls, pottery, silk, spices, wool and silver (1573-1811). In return, the Latinos had their initial taste of tamarind, Manila mango and a luscious Filipino banana called racatan.{Written Aug 15 99, Revised Spring 00...  Hawaii's first mango seedlings were brought from Manila, Philippines between 1800 and 1825 on the brig Kamehameha.  Other plants that made their way to Hawaii from the Philippines include saluyot, alokon, calamansi, horseradish, mabolo, pili nut, narra, mangrove and Mindanao eucalyptus trees.  {Added Fall 99

The first Asians to live in Mexico were native Filipinos - Pedro Balinguit, Calao, Agustin Manuguit, Pitongatan and Felipe Salonga.  Many Filipino seamen permanently stayed in Acapulco during the galleon trade and married local women.  A few Chinese from Manila later followed.  {Added May 18 00  Los Angeles, California was co-founded in 1781 by a Filipino named Antonio Miranda Rodriguez, along with 43 Mexicans.  {Written Aug 15 99

Among the many Philippine-born enlistees during the American Civil War (1861-1865) were Caystana Baltazar, Antonio Ducastin, Manuel Santos and Leon Zapanta.  {Added May 29 00

Barataria Bay settlements in Louisiana were founded by Filipinos from Mexico in 1762.  These "Luzon Indios" pioneered America's dried shrimp industry and also joined Jean Lafitte in fighting the British in the Battle of New Orleans in 1815.  Among the recorded settlements were San Malo (destroyed in 1965 by Typhoon Betsy), Manila Village (renamed Jefferson Parish), Bassa Bassa, Bayou Colas, Alombro Canal, Leon Roxas and Camp Dewey.  Lafcadio Hearn wrote in the March 31, 1883 issue of the New York-based Harper's Weekly an account of Filipino-Americans who intermarried with Creoles and local Cajuns.{Written Aug 15 99, Revised Winter 99

According to American historians William and Roberta Mason in the July 1976 Westways Magazine, 20 Visayan sailors were given the sacrament of confirmation in the 1770s in Mission Carmel in what is today Monterey County in California...  In the 1996 book "Filipinos in Alaska: 1788-1958" (Aborigines Press), Thelma Buchholdt wrote that groups of Manila men were brought to Alaska in 1789 via ships commanded by American fur trader Simon Metcalfe and his son Thomas.  Most Filipino gold miners in the 1920s also married Alaska's natives...  In 1846, "two men from Manila" applied for Hawaiian citizenship from King Kalakaua.

In 1903, the first batch of 104 young Filipino scholars or pensionados were brought to the US to get an American education and return to serve in the Philippine bureaucracy.  Among them were Justice Jose Abad Santos and Dr. Honoria Acosta Sison, the first female Filipino physician...  In 1906, about 125,000 Filipinos, mostly Visayans called sakadas, were shipped to Hawaii to work in sugar cane plantations (ratio: 1 woman to 14 men)...  Philip VeraCruz, a Filipino, was co-founder of the United Farm Workers of America.{Written Aug 15 99...  In California, the most explosive anti-Filipino riot occurred in the Watsonville agricultural area in 1930, set in motion by the Chamber of Commerce, which passed resolutions harassing Filipinos.  D. W. Rohrback, who was Northern Monterey County Justice of the Peace, denounced Filipinos as "the most worthless, shiftless, diseased, semi-barbarians that ever came to our shores."  Two Filipinos killed as a result of racism in America include Fermin Tobera in the 1930s and Joseph Ileto in 1999.

The first Filipino saint was Lorenzo Ruiz...  The Philippines is predominantly Roman Catholic.  It is one of the most populous Third World countries...  Most Filipino billionaires in 1996 were Chinese in ancestry. The July 15, 1996 issue of Forbes Magazine listed 9 billionaires: Tan Yu, Jaime Zobel de Ayala (and family), George Ty, Andrew Gotianun, Lucio Tan, John Gokongwei Jr., Henry Sy (& family), Manuel Villar (& family) and Eugenio Lopez (& family).

In Japanese tradition, committing suicide in the face of shame is the ultimate apology or atonement.  32,860 Japanese killed themselves in 1998...  Just as Indians consider cows sacred and don't eat beef, Muslim Filipinos don't eat pork.

Filipino writer Dr. Jose Rizal could read and write at age 2.  He grew up to speak more than 20 languages - 18 of them fluently - including Sanskrit, Latin, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Russian, Japanese, Chinese and Arabic.  What were his last words?  "Consummatum est!"  (It is done!){Written Aug 15 99, Revised Fall 99

The first female president of the Philippines was Corazon Cojuangco Aquino who took oath in 1986 and was named Time Magazine's "Woman of the Year."  Her maiden name is Chinese.{Written Aug 15 99...  In a March 31, 1997 article, The New York Times reported that the CIA manipulated Philippine elections: "(CIA operative Col. Edward Lansdale) essentially ran the successful presidential campaign of Defense Minister Ramon Magsaysay in the Philippines in 1953."

Who is the personal physician of US Pres. Bill Clinton?  Dr. Eleanor Concepcion (aka Connie) Mariano, who is Filipina.  She was the youngest captain of the US Navy.{Written Aug 15 99, Revised Fall 99...  Many cooks and other workers in the White House are Filipino, including popular steward Bayani Nelvis...  In the 1990s, the Brussels-based Monde Selection awarded the world's most prestigious dessert prize, Palm d'Or, to the Filipino ice cream Magnolia Ube Supreme.

Who's the Filipina senator popular for her colorful jargon, delivered in mile-a-minute speed and weird Harvard-meets-Ilonggo accent?  Atty. Miriam Defensor-Santiago.{Written Aug 15 99

America's first Filipino governor, Atty. Benjamin Cayetano, was elected in 1994 and re-elected in 1998.  His father, Bonifacio Marcos, illegally entered Hawaii by impersonating a cousin (the real Cayetano) from Pangasinan.

In 1985, Irene Natividad became the first Asian to be voted as president of a national political organization in the US - the National Women's Political Caucus (NWPC).  She was also chosen as one of the "100 Most Powerful Women in America" by Ladies Home Journal.  Her editorials have appeared in USA Today, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and many other publications. 

The first Philippine-born general in the US Armed Forces was Edward Soriano.{Written Aug 15 99

The US Army's Philippine Scouts fought in World War 1...  US Army Pvt. Jose B. Nisperos was the first Asian-American to receive the Medal of Honor in 1911, followed by US Navy Fireman 1st Class Telesforo Trinidad in 1915. US Army Sgt. Leroy A. Mendonca also took the award in 1951.

The second world war began when Adolf Hitler and his Nazi German troops attacked Poland on September 1, 1939...  On December 8, 1941, Japan bombed the American naval base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and the American air base in Angeles, Pampanga Philippines...  During the notorious Bataan Death March of April 1942, about 11,000 American and 62,000 Filipino soldiers were forced by their Japanese enemies to march 120 kilometers without food, water and medicine from Mariveles, Bataan to Camp O'Donnell in Capas, Tarlac.  Approximately 16,000 Filipinos and 1,200 Americans died.

Excluding Filipinos, the US has supported all soldiers from many other countries who fought under the Stars and Stripes during World War 2.  Most Filipino veterans, who were US nationals when conscripted into the US Army by Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1941, have been dying without receiving the due honor and GI benefits from the Department of Veteran Affairs...  Japanese-Americans who were incarcerated in US concentration camps during WW2 received apology from the US government and $20,000 each in reparations.  

World War 2 atrocities committed by the Japanese Army against innocent Filipino civilians include throwing babies in the air and stabbing them with bayonets, capturing and raping women, sticking lit cigars up women's private parts while they were tied to posts, beheading men kneeling with rosaries, and baling groups of men with wire and throwing gasoline and hand grenades on them.

Few Americans are aware of the Philippine-American War where the atrocities committed by US soldiers dwarf those in the Vietnam War.  During the war, Americans massacred Filipino civilians in Balangiga, Samar.  On October 23, 1901, Brig. Gen. Jacob Smith ordered a battalion of 300 US marines, under the command of Maj. Littleton W. Waller, to make Samar "a howling wilderness". "I want no prisoners. I wish you to kill and burn, and the more you kill and burn the better you will please me. I want all persons killed who are capable of bearing arms in actual hostilities against the United States," declared Smith, setting the minimum age limit at ten.  Samar's population dropped from 312,192 to 257,715.  Balangiga church bells were taken to Cheyenne, Wyoming as a war booty...  600 Moro (Spanish term for Muslim) Filipinos were slaughtered in 1906 by US troops.  They were trapped in the volcanic crater of Mount Dajo in Jolo, Sulu and fired upon for four days until all were killed - men, women and children. Gen. Leonard Wood was the commanding officer involved.  Famous American writer Mark Twain responded in his autobiography: "This is incomparably the greatest victory that was ever achieved by the Christian soldiers of the United States.

Mark Twain (born Samuel Langhorne Clemens in Florida, Missouri) didn't graduate from elementary school.    

In 1999, about 50% of active US military personnel categorized as Asian/Pacific Islander were of Filipino extraction, with 60% in the Navy.{Written Aug 15 99, Revised Fall 99...  The first Asian-American to become US Army chief of staff in mid-1999 was Hawaii's Eric Shinseki, a grandson of Japanese immigrants.

Subic Bay Naval Station in Olongapo City, Zambales Philippines was the largest US naval facility outside American soil prior to its vacation in 1992. Together with Clark Air Base in nearby Angeles City Pampanga, it played an ancillary role in the US intervention in Vietnam in the 1960s and early 1970s.  During the reign of Ferdinand Marcos, the US pledged loans and economic aids which the Philippine government called US base "rental".  In addition, Americans were allowed to retain Philippine property and exploit the natural resources.

With American military advice and training, the Philippine military once adopted inhuman Vietnam-style tactics in fighting insurgents in Mindanao.

What University of the Philippines fraternity lets its neophytes run in the buff on the Diliman campus?  Alpha Phi Omega.{Written Aug 15 99...  Asia's first Greek-letter fraternity was UP's Upsilon Sigma Phi.

Filipinos established the first banks in Asia, the first universities and colleges, the first newspapers, public health system and other innovations.  Founded in 1595 by Spaniards, the University of San Carlos (originally San Ildefonso College) in Cebu City, Philippines is older than Harvard and is the oldest existing university in Asia.  The University of Santo Tomas in Manila, established in 1611, is Asia's second oldest.{Written Aug 15 99, Revised Fall 99...  The first weather center in Asia is the Observatory of Manila, founded in 1865.  {Written Aug 15 99

At one time, Asia's longest bridge was the San Juanico Bridge connecting the Philippine islands of Samar and Leyte.

Was Ferdinand Magellan (Fernao de Magalhaes) or Sebastian del Cano the first man to go around the world?  Neither.  Before Magellan could complete his voyage back to Spain, he was killed in war against the group of Filipino warrior Lapulapu.  That honor should have been given to Henry (Enrique de Molucca), the Visayan-speaking slave he bought in the Malacca slave market.{Written Aug 15 99, Revised Fall 99

The first man to scale Mount Everest (>29K feet) solo was Italy's Reinhold Messner in 1980 at age 36.  He was also the first to conquer all of the world's 14 mountains of over 26¼K feet without resorting to bottled oxygen.{Added Summer 99

The Philippines' highest peak, Mount Apo in Mindanao is 10,311 feet above sea level...  Lanao del Norte's Maria Cristina Falls is 100 feet higher than North America's majestic Niagara.

The first inhabitants of the Philippines before Indonesians and Malays immigrated were the Aetas or Negritos...  During the Spanish occupation of the Philippines, all Filipinos were subdued except interior mountain and Muslim Filipinos.{Written Aug 15 99

Despite 333 years of Spanish rule, there still are thousands of native, non-Hispanic Filipino names today like Bayani, Cabuhat, Liwayway, Macapagal, Maglaya and Palpallatoc.{Written Aug 15 99

Filipino economist Miguel Cuaderno was the first Asian to act as president of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in 1952.  {Added May 18 00...  Who was the first Filipino-American to assume a seat in US Congress?  Virgiña Rep. Robert Cortez-Scott, a Harvard graduate and ex-Army reservist{Written Aug 15 99, Revised Fall 99...  The first Asian-American to become a US Mainland governor in 1996 was Boston University law graduate Gary Locke of Washington, son of a Chinese immigrant and US Army veteran.  Twenty-two years earlier, Hawaii elected its first Asian-American governor - George Ariyoshi. 

Fe del Mundo of the Philippines was the first Asian to be admitted to Harvard Medical School.  (She invented the incubator out of bamboo to stabilize conditions of premature babies.) 

The first Asian woman to pass the New York bar examination was Loida Nicolas, an alumna of the University of the Philippines.  In the mid-1990s, she headed the European-based multi-billion dollar business TLC Beatrice International Holdings, Inc.  Time Magazine's Thomas McCarroll noted in October 1996: "She is perhaps the only CEO of a multinational company to greet visitors with a hug rather than a handshake."{Written Aug 15 99, Revised Fall 99

The bureau manager of NBC News Worldwide who won an Emmy Award was Ericson Baculinao.{Written Aug 15 99

The first Asian poet to win recognition in American literary circles was Marcelo de Garcia Concepcion, whose first volume of poems, Azucena, was published in 1925 by G. P. Putnam's Sons.

The daughter of Filipino immigrants, Creators Syndicate columnist Michelle Malkin bore off America's Council on Governmental Ethics Laws (COGEL) Outstanding Service Award in 1998 for exposing campaign finance abuses by Washington state Democrats, Republicans and political organizations.  {Added Jul 25 00

Who was the first Asian to snatch America's Pulitzer Prize in journalism?  Camiling, Tarlac's Carlos P. Romulo in 1941.  (This Filipino author also was the first Asian to be the president of the UN or United Nations General Assembly.)  The first two Filipino-Americans to garner the same award 56 years later were Seattle Times' Alex Tizon and Byron Acohido, who is part-Korean.  Add a Pulitzer in photography won in 1990 by The Oakland Tribune's Gary Reyes{Written Aug 15 99, Revised Spring 00...  Gwendolyn Brooks became the first black writer to win a Pulitzer in 1950...  In 1995, the Dagens Nyheter newspaper claimed that the Nobel Prize committee gave its Medicine award in 1986 to Italian researcher Rita Levi Montalcini because of her company Fidia's $8.4 million lobbying campaign.

In the US, the first Filipina to serve as Newsweek Magazine's general editor was Tita Dioso Gillespie.  {Written Aug 15 99...  Veronica Pedrosa was the first Filipina CNN International news anchor...  Del Superior Govierno was the first newspaper to be edited by a governor-general and printed in the Philippines in 1811.

In 1948, Thomas Dewey was prematurely declared by the Chicago Tribune night edition as the winner in the presidential election.  The final count showed Harry S. Truman defeating him.   

What is the world's 3rd largest English-speaking nation, next to the US and the UK?  The Philippines.  English is the language of instruction in schools, but Filipino is the national language.{Written Aug 15 99...  Richard Pitman, an American linguist, showed in a survey that the Philippines has 55 native languages and 142 dialects, apart from English and Spanish.

The Philippines is the only country in the world with Asian, European, American and Latin/Mexican heritage.{Written Aug 15 99...  Dr. H. Otley Beyer, an American anthropologist, reported that the races of Filipinos are 40% Malay, 30% Indonesian, 10% Chinese, 5% Indian (Hindu), 2% Arab and 13% others, including European and American.

Many Filipinos with Mexican blood include the Macabebes and the Lopezes of Pampanga and other provinces of the Philippines... Sepoys (Asian-Indian soldiers) deserted from the British Army during the occupation of Manila from 1762 to 1764. They settled in Taytay and Cainta, Rizal and married Filipinas.  

The Tagalog dialect has about 5,000 Spanish loan words; 1,500 Chinese words; 400 Sanskrit words; and >100 Mexican words.  Buwisit (Unlucky) is Chinese in origin, asawa (spouse) is Indian, bayabas (guava) is Mexican and bukas (tomorrow) is Arabic.{Written Aug 15 99}  The Filipino name Leila is Arabic in origin.

The USA bought the Philippines, Puerto Rico and Guam from Spain in 1898.  The bloody Philippine-American Independence War from 1899 to 1902 ensued, killing 4,000 Americans and how many Filipinos?  About 16,000 were killed in action and 200,000 civilians died from famine and pestilence.  It was the deadliest war against Filipinos.  (Philippines lost and was colonized until 1946.){Written Aug 15 99

During the American occupation of the Philippines, the only Filipino general who refused to take the Oath of Allegiance to the US was Artemio Ricarte of Batac, Ilocos Norte.

In 1990, Stanley Karnow won the Pulitzer Prize in history for his book In Our Image: America's Empire in the Philippines.

Among Asian-Americans in 1990, Chinese-Americans from Taiwan had the highest percentage of home ownership (79%) and Japanese-Americans were the smallest welfare-recipient group. Filipino-Americans had the highest percentage of professional workers (22%) while Korean-Americans were the largest retail group (30%). Almost 50% of Asian-Indians were degree holders... In the late 1990s, a quarter of Hawaii's population was Japanese; a quarter of Guam's population was Filipino.

On October 12, 1999, Adnan Nevic, born to refugee parents in Sarajevo, became the world's 6 billionth child...  Louise Brown of Britain became the first test tube baby on July 25, 1978.  

The US Commerce Department's Census Bureau released on September 15, 1999 the annual estimates of the American population from 1990 to 1998.  California had almost 4,000,000 Asians/Pacific Islanders and New York had almost a million.  Hawaii ranked third (756,597) and Texas was fourth (556,355), followed by New Jersey (452,524) while Wyoming came last (4,023).  New Mexico had 40.3% of its residents categorized as Hispanic, the highest among all states and California had 31% (10.1 million).  62.3% of the District of Columbia's population were African-American and 17.7% (3.2 million) of New York's were.  Native Americans constituted 16.2% of Alaska's population, 0.9% (308,571) of Californians and 7.9% (263,360) of Oklahomans.  Vermont and Maine had the highest rates of white non-Hispanic Americans at >98% each; Hawaii had the lowest (Portuguese included) @ 33.1%.{Added Summer 99

In January 2000, UN estimates placed the number of Chinese nationals being smuggled into the US at 5,000 annually  {Added Apr 1 00...  The January 26, 1996 LA Times and May 19, 1996 Sacramento Bee reported that Filipinos were the largest Asian-American group in California...  Daly City's population in the late 1990s was more than 25% Filipino; the bulk of Las Vegas, Nevada's Asian-Americans were Filipinos.  It was projected that by the year 2000, the Filipino population in the US would increase to more than 2 million (more than 1 million in California), making Filipinos the largest Asian group in the country.

Josie Natori of New York (born Josephine Cruz in Manila) became the first female vice president of Merrill Lynch in 1975.  She co-built with her husband the $50-million international fashion empire The Natori Company.   

A remarkable Asian woman who broke barriers in the field of investment was Lilia Calderon Clemente.  Also called Wonder Woman of Wall Street, she was named as one of the world's top 15 money managers by Fortune Magazine.  Her sister, Maria Teresa Calderon of Manila, has been the undisputed reading champion of the world.  According to the Guinness Book of World Records, she reads at an unequalled 80,000 words per minute...  India's Shakuntala Devi can correctly multiply 13 random numbers times 13 other random numbers in her head in 28 seconds. 

The first Asian syndicated cartoonist in the US was Francisco Trinidad Jr. (aka corky).  His works appeared in most major publications like Time, Newsweek, The New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times and USA Today, as well as foreign periodicals like the Punch of London, Buenos Aires Herald, Paris Herald Tribune, Philippines Daily Journal, Manila Chronicle and Politiken in Sweden.  He also created "Zeus!", the daily and Sunday comic strip distributed internationally by Murdoch Features and the Register-Tribune Syndicate.{Written Aug 15 99, Revised Fall 99...The first minority winner of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists (AAEC) Ink Bottle Pin was Daniel D'Umuk Aguila (aka eldani), an alumnus of the University of the Philippines.  His "Watergate" created a furor at the Parthenon Hall and was in a book banned in Moscow.

Alongside American artists Maurice Sterne and Rockwel Kent, Venancio Igarta's work was published by Fortune Magazine in 1942.  He became the first Filipino to exhibit at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art two years earlier.     

In Spain's 1884 Exposicion Nacional de Bellas Artes (National Exposition of Fine Arts), the painting "Spolarium" (Roman ampitheater's portion where slain gladiators were taken) won the first gold medal for Juan Luna of Badoc, Ilocos Norte.  Catch his work hanging at the Madrid Senate even today.  {Added Summer 99

Did you know that Venus de Milo was a plumber?  Also, Leonardo da Vinci and Michaelangelo were lefties.  {Added Summer 99

In the Philippines, Filipinos were introduced to the English language in 1762 by British invaders, not Americans.{Written Aug 15 99

Manila town, now a metropolis, was built in 1572.  It is older and more famous than the first US town, Jamestown, founded in 1607.{Written Aug 15 99...  USA has about 10 towns named Manila - including those in Arkansas and Utah...  Cebu is the first Philippine city...  In what Philippine province could we find the town of Sexmoan?  Pampanga.  It had since been corrected to Sasmuan...  US has towns Climax in Colorado and Why in Arizona.

The Philippines is one of the world's richest countries in terms of biological diversity - varied flora, fauna and living organisms that form terrestial, wetland and marine ecosystems.  In fact, its tropical rainforest is the most species-rich ecosystem on Earth...  With a land area of 300,439 sq. km., Philippines is slightly larger than Italy and smaller than Japan.  {Added Summer 99

Financially, the world's wealthiest nation is the USA.  Not!  Switzerland.  Si, señorito/señorita.  {Written Aug 15 99

 

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Entertainment and Sports Trivia

 

English supermodel Kate Moss is only 5'6".  She's taxed as French.{Written Aug 15 99, Revised Spring 00

International supermodel and Manila actress Mimilanie (aka Melanie) Marquez won as Miss International in 1979.{Written Aug 15 99  The first Filipina to be crowned Miss International was political activist-writer Gemma Cruz in 1964, followed by Aurora Pijuan in 1970.  {Added Summer 99

Another belle from Manila who had walked the runways for all the world's major fashion designers was international supermodel Anna Bayle.  Starting in 1975, she worked for Calvin Klein, Chanel, Christian Dior, Christian Lacroix, Donna Karan, Emanuel Ungaro, Gianni Versace, Givenchy, Isaac Mizrahi, Issey Miyake, Karl Lagerfield, Oscar de la Renta, Pierre Cardin, Renato Ballestra, Thierry Mugler, Valentino, Vivienne Westwood, Yves Saint Laurent, etc.  Italy's Harper's Bazaar, marie claire and WWD Best of New York were among the countless fashion magazines she honored as a covergirl before retiring in 1995. {Written Aug 15 99, Revised Fall 99

Asian supermodels include Singaporean Gurmitt (runway for Christian Dior and Gianfranco Ferre); half-Korean, half-Anglo Angela Harry (L'eggs pantyhose); Vietnamese-American Navia Nguyen; Fil-Am Valerie Celis; and 1993 discoveries Japanese-American Jenny Shimizu (Anna Sui, Calvin Klein, Gianni Versace and Jean Paul Gaultier) and Chinese Ling Tang.  {Added Fall 99, Revised Summer 00

Marcus Schenkenberg of Sweden was the first ever male supermodel while half-Jamaican, half-Chinese Tyson Beckford was the first black/Asian male supermodel...  Ex-US Pres. Gerald Ford was a male (of course!) model.{Added Summer 99

Two Filipinas, chosen as Miss Universe in 1969 and 1973, respectively, have Ilokano ties.  Gloria Aspillera Diaz is from the Northern Ilocos Region - La Union; Maria Margarita Moran  hails from Southern Ilocos - Pangasinan.  {Written Aug 15 99, Revised Spring 00...  The first woman to be crowned as Miss Philippines in 1947 was Evangeline de Castro of Baguio City.  In 1952, Teresita Sanchez of Bulacan represented the Philippines in the first Miss Universe pageant.  Iloilo's Pura Villanueva became Queen of the Orient during the 1908 Manila Carnival.  {Added Fall 99

As of 1999, Thailand had produced two Miss Universe women while India and Japan had one each.  The first Asian to win the title was Japan's Akiko Kojima in 1959...  First Lady Imelda Marcos called in the Philippine military to seed monsoon clouds in an effort to diffuse the storm during the 1974 Miss Universe pageant in Manila...  In a major racial breakthrough in 1977, Janelle Commissiong of Trinidad-Tobago became the first black woman to win the coveted Miss Universe crown...  From 1951 to 1999, no Asian had ever won the Miss World title except 4 women from India.  (Filipinas began joining the Miss World pageant only in 1966.)  Similarly, from 1960 to 1999, no Asian had ever captured the Miss International crown except 3 women from the Philippines.

Kerstin Haakonson, the first Miss World from Sweden (1951), did not marry a Filipino but the first Miss Universe, 5'4" Armi Kuusela from Finland, did. She tied the knot with Virgilio Hilario, a Filipino.  Interestingly, Jorge Araneta, another Filipino, married the first Miss International who won in 1960 - Maria Stella Marquez Zawadzky of Colombia.  Jose Faustino of the Philippines did the same to the first Miss Asia - Angela Filmer of Malaysia...  Miss Great Britain 1998 Leilani Dowding is half-Filipina, half-English...  The first Asian woman to win as Miss Canada in 1996 was Renette Cruz, a native of Zamboanga City, Philippines...  Angela Baraquio, a brainy balasang (lady) of Asian descent, nabbed the Miss America rhinestones in October 2000.  {Added Oct 31 00 

Marissa Delgado became the first Filipina to pose for US edition Playboy Magazine in 1965.  One of the first Filipinas who appeared as centerfold was Hawaii's Lourdes Estores (June '82).  Other pure or part-Filipinas who were in the magazine include: Pia Reyes (November '88), Motley Crue bassist Nikki Six's wife Brandi Brandt (October '87) and Kim Herrin (March '81), whose mother is Filipina.  Tetchie Agbayani and Josephine Marcan graced European issues.{Written Aug 15 99, Revised Fall 99

A group of Mensans appeared in Playboy in November 1985.

Manila's Lea Salonga, the first Asian actress/singer to win Best Actress Olivier and Tony awards, finished high school as a valedictorian in 1988.  {Written Aug 15 99, Revised Fall 99...  In April 1924, diva Luisa Tapales became the first Filipina to sing the title role of Puccini's "Madame Butterfly" in Italy and went on to conquer other European countries.  Soprano Dalisay Alba debuted at the New York City Opera in 1948 and later performed in Italy, Spain and France.  {Added Fall 99

Who was the Filipino tenor who won the Luciano Pavarotti International Voice Competition?  Noel Velasco, an alumnus of the University of the Philippines.  He also dominated the Liederkranz Foundation Wagnerian Competition.  {Added Summer 99...  In 1998, Amber Pacho Patterson, whose mother is Filipina, became the world's youngest coloratura soprano at age 9.  She could easily perform a song dreaded by most coloratura sopranos - "Queen of the Night."{Added Fall 99, Revised Spring 00

Whole operas were originally written for world-class lyric soprano Evelyn Mandac during her heyday.  A Philippine native from Bukidnon, she introduced "Ines de Castro" to American audiences and "Passagio" to European audiences.  One of her famous quotes: "On stage, everyone loves you, but it ends there.  Now (as a retiree) I have friends.  I've never had friends before.{Added Aug 8 00

Latina-American pop star Christina Aguilera lost to Filipina vocalist Banig Roberto during the International Star Search in 1989.  In a mid-1999 chat with MTV's Elon Johnson, she said that musically competing against someone of Banig's age was "not fair."{Written Aug 15 99

The group Rocky Fellers was the first Filipino act to land a hit on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart in the 1960s.  Sugar Pie deSanto (born Umpeylia Balinton), The Artist fka Prince, Jaya and Enrique Iglesias followed with their No. 1's, Top 40's and/or Hot 100 singles.  Pure Filipinos who conquered minor charts were Jocelyn Enriquez, Buffy, Pinay and (Ella May) Saison.  ("Sukiyaki" by Japan's Kyu Sakamoto reached No. 1 just after The Rocky Fellers hit Top 20.){Added Summer 99

Which album featured 1997 Grammy winner Enrique Iglesias' 1999 No. 1 hit "Bailamos"?  The soundtrack of the movie "Wild Wild West" which was supervised by former porn director Barry Sonnenfeld.{Added Fall 99, Revised Winter 99

Freddie Aguilar's song "Anak" (Child), which was No. 1 in Japan in the late 1970s, has been translated into 40 languages worldwide and sold more than 6 million copies.  Aguilar, considered one of the world's most brilliant Asian singers, is Ilokano.  {Added Summer 99

Manila's Pilita Corrales has recorded more than 100 albums to date.  {Added Summer 99...  The first Filipino musician to be featured on the US TV show "That's Incredible" was Levi Celerio, who demonstrated how a leaf could be a musical instrument.  {Added Fall 99

The mother of Grammy-winning US band Metallica's Kirk Hammett is Filipina.  {Added Summer 99

Frank Sinatra had a four-day Manila concert in 1994...  Michael Jackson did a two-day show on December 8 and 10, 1996.  {Added Fall 99, Revised Jun 2 00...  Europe's popular band Beatles performed in the Philippine capital in 1966.  {Added Fall 99

The Filipino native guitar, kudyapi, has Indian origin.  Kites were introduced to Filipinos by Chinese traders.  {Written Aug 15 99

Built in 1818, the Las Piñas Bamboo Organ is the world's only pipe organ made of, well, bamboo.{Written Aug 15 99

Philippine actress Kuh (Ledesma) co-starred with Hollywood superstar Mel Gibson in the Oscar-winning movie "The Year of Living  Dangerously".  She released her international jazz/pop album "Precious" in 1997.{Written Aug 15 99

Dean Devlin, whose mother is Filipina, was writer/producer of highest-grossing American movies like "Independence Day" and "Stargate."{Written Aug 15 99

Vilma Santos won Best Actress at the 1999 Brussels International Film Festival, in a melodrama written by Lualhati Bautista and directed by Chito Roño, who also emerged as Best Director.  Another Filipino artist, Albert Martinez, was Best Actor in 1998...  The first Filipino to be declared  Best Director in a foreign filmfest was Lamberto Abellana...  Eric de Guia's "Perfumed Nightmare" gained the International Critics Prize at the 1977 Berlin Film Festival.  {Added Jul 12 00...  Cannes Film Festival judges first cited a Filipino movie for technical excellence in 1951 - the "Genghis Khan" epic starring Manuel Conde.

O's car for sale!  I mean Oscar.  In one of its May 1996 issues, USA Weekend wrote: "Like political nominations, Academy Award nominations are won with campaigns, and, yes, they are expensive."  {Added Aug 1 00...  Oscar Best Picture "Platoon" was filmed in the Philippines.  Other notable American movies shot in the Philippines include "Born on the Fourth of July," "An Officer and a Gentleman" and "Apocalypse Now."  {Written Aug 15 99

"Jose Rizal" is the highest-grossing and most expensive Filipino film ever.  It was released in 1998 at the Metro Manila Filmfest spearheaded by Metro Manila's 11 cities and six municipalities.  {Added Fall 99, Revised Winter 99

"Star Wars: The Phantom Menace" actor Liam Neeson once told a New York Magazine writer that he didn't want to be interviewed in his apartment because "I have two Filipino girls tied up there."  (An apology was later demanded by the international feminist group coalition GABRIELA, named after the late warrior Gabriela Silang of Ilocos Sur, Philippines.)

The actress wife of American actor Kevin Kline, Phoebe Cates, is half-Filipina.  Other part- or pure-Filipino celebrities in America are Julio Iglesias Jr. (Versace and Gap model, TV actor, singer: Under My Eyes), Nia Peeples (actress: North Shore, Blues Brothers 2000), Lou Diamond Phillips (actor: Stand and Deliver, La Bamba), Rob Schneider (comedian, actor: Judge Dredd, Down Periscope), Neal McCoy (country singer with hit albums: You Gotta Love That, No Doubt about It), Pancho Magalona (actor: Merrill's Marauders, Cavalry Command), Vic Diaz (actor: The Big Bird Cage, The Ravagers), Ernie Reyes Jr. (actor: Red Sonja, Waiting for the Man), Von Flores (actor: Eclipse, A Man in Uniform), Tia Carrere (singer, actress: Wayne's World, Rising Sun) and Paolo Montalban (TV actor: Mortal Kombat, Cinderella).{Written Aug 15 99, Revised Winter 99

In 1999, Manila actress-beauty queen-model Sharmaine Ruffa Gutierrez started hosting many events on American TV under Century Productions.  She is bent on adding her name to Hollywood's list of Oriental actors and actresses.{Added Fall 99, Revised Spring 00...  The first Filipina actress to sign a contract with Hollywood's RKO Pictures was Pacita Totod in 1943.  She sang in "They were Expendable."  {Added Fall 99

Who's the Filipino-American dancer who scored a perfect 1600 on the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT)?  Joyce Demonteverde of California.  {Written Aug 15 99, Revised Summer 00...  Manila-born Kiwi Danao Camara of Hawaii's Punahou School scored over 700 on the SAT verbal portion before age 13. This son of two Filipino physicians skipped high school and entered college at age 14 in 1998.  {Added Fall 99

In 1948, Victoria "Vicki" Manalo Draves of the USA, half-Filipina, half-English, became the first female diver to win 2 golds in a single Olympics when she led both springboard and platform events.{Written Aug 15 99, Revised Winter 99...  Philippine sprint queen Lydia de Vega was crowned Asia's Fastest Woman at the Asian Games in New Delhi in 1982.  {Added Fall 99

Philippines' first Olympic medalist was Piddig, Ilocos Norte's Teofilo Yldefonso who won bronze in Amsterdam, Netherlands in 1928...  Filipino surfer Ronnie Esquivel, who grew up in La Union, Philippines, is one-legged.

The 1996 Olympic gold-winning US women's soccer team included member Tiffany Roberts, whose mother is Filipina...  In the 1904 Olympics, 525 out of 681 athletes were from the USA. Under the influence of alcohol, Marathon entrant Thomas Hicks of the US was carried by his trainers over the finish line and grabbed the gold.

US professional volleyball player Liz Masakayan teamed with Karolyn Kirby to win the FIVB (an international volleyball federation) Beach Volleyball World Tour title in 1994. This Quezon City-born Filipina-American was the US Women's Professional Volleyball Association (WPVA) Most Valuable Player in 1992, co-MVP in 1993, top defensive player in 1991 and 1992, and best hitter in 1993 and 1994.  Masakayan also played with Kirby in the 1994 Goodwill Games and took the gold. 

Asia's first International Grandmaster was Eugenio "Eugene" Torre of the Philippines.  In 1974, he won the title at the Chess Olympiad in Nice, France.  Torre also beat World Champion Anatoly Karpov in the 1976 Marlboro-Loyola Kings' Challenge in Manila.{Written Aug 15 99, Revised Fall 99...  Atty. Rosendo Balinas Jr. of Antipolo, Philippines was awarded the Grandmaster title after becoming the second foreigner to win against all Russian players in a 1976 USSR international tournament. His former student Rogelio Antonio Jr. was the third Filipino to be declared as international GM... Maurice Ashley, a New York immigrant from Jamaica, became the first black grandmaster on March 15, 1999.  {Added Fall 99

The 1978 World Chess Championship series was held in Baguio City, Philippines...  In early 1998, Robert Crowley claimed that he lost the South Australian State Chess Championship to Ngan Koshnitsky because he was unable to keep his eyes off her cleavage. 

America's 1969 NFL MVP and Player of the Year Roman Gabriel is half-Filipino, half-Irish.  He was a Los Angeles Rams quarterback.  He claimed that he was hit hardest in a game by another Filipino NFL player - Mark Rivera.{Written Aug 15 99

Bobby Balcena, a Filipino-American, was the outfielder for the Cincinnati Reds in 1957.{Written Aug 15 99...  In the 1990s, Benny Agbayani, part-Filipino and part-Samoan from Hawaii, joined the New York Mets. Another Filipino-American in Major League baseball is Bobby Chouinard of the Arizona Diamondbacks.  

The first world boxing champion from Asia was Pancho Villa (born Francisco Guilledo) of Iloilo, Philippines. He beat Welshman Jimmy Wilde before a crowd of 40,000 at the Polo Grounds, New York in a June 18, 1923 flyweight match.

In 1972, pugilist Ben Villaflor won the WBA lightweight title in Honolulu, Hawaii at age 19, making him the youngest Filipino to become a world boxing champion.

Three-time world heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali (born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr.) defeated Joe Frazier in one of the greatest boxing fights of all time, the "Thrilla in Manila" in 1975.  

Efren "Bata" Reyes of Manila became the world's No. 1 billiards player in 1995.

In 1976, Paeng Nepomuceno of the Philippines became the world's youngest bowler to win the World Cup at age 19 in Iran.  He won again in 1980 in Indonesia, and his third victory in France in 1992 gained him a world record.{Added Fall 99

What is the most popular game among Filipinos?  Basketball.  {Written Aug 15 99...  The Philippine Basketball Association is Asia's premier and the world's second oldest professional league...  When basketball was invented by James Naismith, the basket had no bottom hole.  Someone had to climb up a ladder to remove the ball after every score...  The world's first basketball postal stamp was issued in the Philippines in 1934.  {Added Summer 99

During the 1934 Olympic debut of basketball, judges fraudulently assigned the Philippine team to the fifth place instead of, well, look at this: US won the gold (4 wins, 0 loss) Canada placed second (3-1), Mexico third (3-2), Poland was fourth (1-2) and  Philippines was behind (4-1).  Add this: Filipinos beat Mexicans in the opening round.{Added Summer 99  

Olympic records show that Spencer Haywood of the US men's basketball team scored 145 points in 1968 while Charles Barkley had a point less 24 years later.  Michael Jordan made 137 in 1984.  {Written Aug 15 99

Unless stated otherwise, all tips and trivia on this and the other pages were written by R. Balboa and uploaded in Summer and Fall 1999.  Sources of information on this website include, but are not limited to, the following magazines/newspapers and books: Time Magazine, Filipinas Magazine, The New York Times, Manila Bulletin, Philippine Daily Inquirer, The Philippines: A Unique Nation (Sonia M. Zaide), Pinoy Trivia (Bong Barrameda) and Filipino Achievers in the USA and Canada (Isabelo T. Crisostomo).  Feel free to contact me should you have further question(s).

 

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© by R. Balboa
trivia last added: October 2000