Spermologer

I used to be a spermologer – a person who collects trivia (according to wikianswers.com and answers.com) – back in high school. I had a few notebooks, scrapbook if you may call it, where I pasted cutouts of Bong Barrameda’s trivia section from the Inquirer. I would sometimes spend hours in bed reading through my collection including another scrapbook of Youngblood articles in high school.

I lost interest when I went to college and more so when I started earning my own keep. Life arrived and learning trivia took a backseat. That is until a few hours ago when I stumbled on a trivia thread on a forum that I frequent. It was like I accidentally found a toy that I lost as a kid.

I will be posting these bits of knowledge in two parts. Let’s start with Philippine trivia. Enjoy!

1. Malacanang Palace (built in 1802) was just a guest house for visiting foreign dignitaries during the Spanish regime. It was until 1869 when Palacio Del Gobernador, seat of government during that era in Intramuros, were destroyed by a quake did the Governor General temporarily resided in it.

2. 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.

3. San Agustin claims the title of being the oldest church not only in Manila but in the entire Philippines.

4. The center aisle of San Agustin Church in Intramuros has a rather curious “secret of sorts”. Remove the carpet and what do you find? Tombstones. Grave markers.

5. Quezon City was the original capital of the Philippines and not Manila.

6. American University of the Philippines was the first name of the University of the Philippines.

7. Casa Roxas was the first company established in the Philippines which is now known as the Ayala Corporation.

8. In 1578, the oldest hospital which is the San Lazaro Hospital was built.

9. There are a total of 23 figures in the famous Bonifacio Monument along Monumento circle in Caloocan City. Including are the figures of the three martyrs (Gomez, Burgos and Zamora) and Gen. Emilio Jacinto.

10. It is believed that the Hotel del Oriente in Binondo, Manila, built in the 1850s, was the first hotel in the Philippines. The two-storey building has 83 rooms and happens to be a first class hotel. It was even reported that the Philippineí national hero had stayed there at Room 22.

11. The height of the three vertical pylons on Manuel L. Quezon’s catafalque along the Elliptical Road is based on his age when he died. According to Architect Fedirico Ilustre it was 66 meters in height.

12. “Marangal na Dalit ng Katagalugan” composed by Julio Nakpil is said to be our original national anthem. But the president Emilio Aguinaldo asked Julian Felipe to create another one which is the “Lupang Hinirang”.

13. Camiguin province holds the distinction of having the most number of volcanoes per square kilometer than any other island on Earth. It is also the only place in the Philippines which has more volcanoes (7) than towns (5).

14. Tagala, the Philippines’ first Filipino-Spanish dictionary, was printed in 1613. It is 25 years older than the first book printed in the United States.

15. Filipinos were introduced to the English language in 1762 by British invaders and not by Americans. The Philippines is the world’s 3rd largest English-speaking nation, next to the USA and the UK.

16. The national personification for Filipinos, Juan dela Cruz, is not a Pinoy idea. It was coined by R. McCulloch-Dick, a Scottish-born journalist working for the Manila Times in the early 1900s, after discovering it was the most common name in police blotters.

17. 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.

18. The first non-Catholic marriage in Manila under the Spanish control took place in the early 19th Century when American Henry Sturgis, who arrived in the country in 1827, married Josephina Borras of Manila. They were wed aboard a British warship at the Manila harbor.

19. Based on the Guinness Book of World Records, the largest legal tender note in terms of size is found in the Philippines. The 100,000 peso bill measures 8.5îx14î. It was issued by the Central Bank in the year 1998 in commemoration of the centennial year of the Philippine Independence. There are only 1,000 copies of the said bill.

20. 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.

21. Of the 500 known coral species in the world, 488 are found in the Philippines.

22. 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.

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