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Some Interesting Facts About the Philippines and Tagalog Translation


Editor's Note: This post was originally published in April 2014 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

The Philippines is a massive island nation situated in the Southeast Asian region in the Pacific. Tons of islands, different ethnicities, and a varying history make up the fabric of this amazing archipelago.

Tagalog is the official language of the Philippines and has been growing in importance recently, bringing this nation to the forefront of the international community once again. This is due to the Philippines' global economic relations with the US, China, Japan, Germany, and Hong Kong.

The “pivot” of the United States to Asia is a big factor in some of the renewed interested in the Philippines and Tagalog translation. China’s increasing dominance in the region, as well as fishing and land rights, rebel groups, drug trafficking, piracy, Filipino expats communities around the globe, and the fact that the country is set in a vital geopolitical spot also contribute to the Philippines' amplified prominence on the global stage.

This has resulted in a greater need for Tagalog translation in Asia and abroad. Just to whet your appetite a bit, here are a few interesting facts about the Philippines for you to take in:

  • The Philippines is named after King Philip II of Spain.
  • Spanish was the national and official language of the Philippines until 1973. It was replaced by Tagalog as the national language and English as the new official language of the island nation. 
  • Around 103 million people call the Philippines home, which makes it the twelfth most populous country in the word and the seventh most populous in Asia.
  • Three out of 10 of the largest shopping malls in the world are located in the Philippines.
  • The yo-yo was invented in the Philippines, but not as a toy. It was used as a traditional hunting weapon.
  • The word "boondocks" — used commonly in the English vocabulary — is actually a Tagalog loanword. In Tagalog it means mountain. 
  • A Filipino inventor named Roberto del Rosario invented Karaoke. Most people believe the Japanese invited Karaoke, but that doesn't seem to be the actual case at all.
  • The Philippines is the leading producer of coconuts in the world, estimating over 20 million tons per year. 
  • The Philippine Eagle, also known as the “Monkey-Eating Eagle,” is the largest eagle on the planet. Our guess is that monkeys really don’t like this massive bird of prey.
  • The Philippines doesn’t have a ton of land, but it has an extremely large coastline. With 36,289 kilometers of coastline, it’s pretty easy for someone to find a spot by the water.
  • More than 200 volcanoes are dotted all over the Philippines. Thankfully, not all of them are active.
  • The Philippine Cordilleras houses the rice terraces, which were built nearly 2000 years ago and, due to its geographic terrain, remains intact and untouched from pre-colonial times. 
  • People in the Philippines love sending texts. While it seems the USA now sends more instant messages by phone than the Philippines, many still consider the Philippines as the “text capital of the world.”
  • The Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan was the first European to sail to and land upon the shores of the Philippines.
  • The country is home to over 170 spoken languages. 

Need a translation?

Image of Phillippean flag By Mike Gonzalez (TheCoffee) (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons

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Meet the Authors

Brian Gruters

In addition to writing blogs for us, Brian Gruters manages translation projects for corporate clients. He started with Language Translation in 2015.

Brian brings several years of experience as a Spanish to English translator to his work. He has a bachelor’s degree in Spanish from the University of Arizona and a master’s in Environment and Resource Studies from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada.

As a writer, Brian is mostly interested in language, science, and environmental conservation issues. He writes for various publications, as well as his blog,

Jennifer Bustance

Jennifer Bustance is a California-based freelance writer, playwright, and novelist originally from Troy, Michigan. Her plays have been performed all over the country, and her prose has appeared in various online and print publications.

Jennifer is a teaching artist with the Playwrights Project, San Diego Writers, Ink, and UCSD Extension. She is the Playwright in Residence at the Scripps Ranch Theatre and a founding member of their New Works Studio. She has a Master of Fine Arts degree from Columbia University and a BA from Sarah Lawrence College.

Chris Maroulakos

Chris Maroulakos has worked at Language Translation since 2007, and he is currently the director of operations. He has been a blogger and managing editor for the San Diego music blog Owl and Bear since 2008, and he also worked as a blogger and associate editor for NBC San Diego's SoundDiego music blog.

Chris holds certifications in SDL Trados Studio for Translators (Advanced Level), SDL Trados Studio for Project Managers, and SDL MultiTerm for Translators and Project Managers. He is Inbound Certified by HubSpot and also has certifications in Localization and Localization Project Management from California State University Chico, the Globalization and Localization Association (GALA), and the Localization Institute.

He graduated from The Pennsylvania State University with a BA in Communications and with minors in Italian and International Studies.