Short and Simple: EL NIDO’S ECO-TOURISM DEVELOPMENT FEE

Island-hopping is the highlight of your El Nido1 adventure, and there are four standardized tour packages to choose from, with slight changes that started on the 27th of November 2018. Read a related post: Now You Know: EL NIDO TOUR PACKAGES THEN AND NOW

Did you know that part of the price you paid for your stay is the Eco-Tourism Development Fee (ETDF), or simply eco fee/tax?

It started in 2008 to finance the Eco-Tourism Development Fund geared towards environmental and tourism-related projects.

A non-Palawan resident is charged PHP200 and is then issued a receipt in their name, valid for 10 days, or PHP500 for more than 10 days.

A Palawan2 resident must pay PHP100, valid for 10 days, but a Palawan resident-student is only required to pay on PHP50, valid for 10 days.

Do not be surprised if you will be charged this amount as part of the tour fee even before you board your tour boat for your first island hopping tour. Actually, all visitors are required to pay this fee before going to any tourist destination within El Nido.

The municipality3 claims that it would cost PHP10 million a year to effectively protect El Nido’s environment – all 92,000 hectares, 45 islands, 2,645 hectares of mangrove forest, 447 species of coral, 888 species of fish, 5 species of marine turtles, and  114 species of birds.4

The breakdown of the ETDF is as follows: 50% goes to environment and tourism-related projects, 10% to barangay5 eco-tourism projects, 10% to the Protected Area Management Board, 10% to the general fund of the municipal government, and 20% to implementing costs.4

The ETDF Task Force manages the collection and disbursement of this fee, composed of representatives of government office, non-government organizations, and people’s organizations.4

So, to all El Nido visitors, just be glad that you are enjoying the beauty of El Nido and that part of what you paid for your tour will be used to preserve the environment, for the future generations to enjoy as well.

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These footnotes are specially made for foreign viewers and those who want to know more about the terms below:

1El Nido is a first class municipality3 in the province6 of Palawan2, in the Mimaropa Region7, in the Philippines, known for its white sand beaches, crystal clear waters, and awesome landscapes.8 It is considered the country’s last frontier, with the nickname “Heaven on Earth”. It was founded in 1916, has 45 islands9 and 18 barangays5. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “El Nido, Palawan”.10

2Palawan is a provincelocated in theMimaropa Region7 of the Philippines and was founded in 1818. It is called the Philippines’ Last Frontier and its capital is Puerto Princesa, according to the Wikipedia page “Palawan”.11. It was chosen as the “World’s Best Island of 2017”12 and of 201613, as well as of 2013, by Travel + Leisure travel magazine.14 As early as 2007, National Geographic Traveler’s magazine chose Palawan as one of the Best Travel Destinations in the World.15

3A municipality is a small, single urban administrative division, or local government unit (LGU), in the Philippines which has corporate status and powers of self-government or jurisdiction as granted by law. It is a unit under a province6, subdivided into barangays5, and is locally called “bayan”. In the Philippines, a municipality is headed by a mayor, a vice mayor and members of the Sangguniang Bayan (legislative branch). It can enact local policies and laws, enforce them, and govern its jurisdictions. It can enter into contracts and other transactions through its elected and appointed officials and can tax as well. It enforces all local and national laws.

There are almost 1,500 municipalities in the Philippines and there are 6 income classes of municipalities in the Philippines: first class municipality (with at least 55 million pesos annual income; second class municipality (between 45-less than 55 million pesos annual income); third class municipality (between 35-less than 45 million pesos annual income); fourth classmunicipality (between 25-less than 35 million pesos annual income); fifth class municipality (between 15-less than 25 million pesos annual income); and, sixth class municipality (at almost 15 million pesos annual income). The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Municipalities of the Philippines”.16

4www.elnidoparadise.com

5A barangay is the smallest administrative division in the Philippines, headed by a barangay captain, aided by a Sangguniang Barangay (Barangay Council). It is the native Filipino term for a district or village. It was formerly called a barrio. In a metropolitan area, a barangay is an inner-city neighborhood, a suburb, or a suburban neighborhood. The word barangay originated from the term “balangay”, a kind of boat used by a group of Austronesian people who migrated to the Philippines. A number of barangays grouped together is called a district. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Barangay”.17

6A province in thePhilippines is divided into cities and municipalities3 (or towns), which in turn, are divided into barangays5, formerly called barrios, according to the Wikipedia page “Provinces of the Philippines”.18

7The Mimaropa Region is an administrative region of the Philippines. Mimaropa is an acronym for its constituent provinces6: Mindoro (Occidental and Oriental), Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan2. It was designated as Region IV-B until 2016. It is now also called the Southwestern Tagalog Region. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Mimaropa”.19

8www.gmanetwork.com

9www.philstar.com

10“El Nido, Palawan,” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Nido,_Palawan.

11 “Palawan,” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palawan.

12https://philnews.ph/2017/07/12/travel-leisure-magazine-ranked-palawan-worlds-best-island-2017/

13https://www.travelandleisure.com/worlds-best/islands#palawan-island-philippines

14https://issuu.com/filjapmag/docs/filjap_issue__10

15https://www.gmanetwork.com/news/lifestyle/content/71504/palawan-listed-among-world-s-best-tourist-sites/story/

16“Municipalities of the Philippines,” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Municipalities_of_the_Philippines.

17“Barangay,” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barangay.

18“Provinces of the Philippines,” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Provinces_of_the_Philippines.

19“Mimaropa,” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mimaropa.

Short and Simple: OATH FOR A BETTER BORACAY

All tourists who will visit Boracay starting October 26, 2018, its soft opening day, will be asked to sign an oath – the “Oath for a Better Boracay” – as follows: *

“I hereby solemnly swear, as a visitor of Boracay island, that I will, to the best of my ability, help ensure its preservation and sustainable development, and follow/observe environmental laws and regulations.”

This oath is a tourist’s solemn promise/pledge regarding his/her actions/behavior as a responsible visitor of Boracay. If all visitors are responsible tourists, there will be a positive impact on the community and the island as a whole. Let us see if this will really help make a better Boracay.

This oath was created by the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF), consisting of  three government departments – the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Department of Tourism (DoT), and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).

DoT Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat said: “We encourage everyone who sets foot in Boracay to be the best and most responsible tourist that you can be. Practice sustainable tourism and respect the island, and you’ll just keep it more fun for the generations to come.”*

Dear tourists, by affixing our signatures, we are giving our word of honor that we will abide by the environmental laws/regulations of this destination.

Meanwhile, can the stakeholders of the other tourist destinations, nationwide, get their act together, benchmark from the Boracay experience, and adopt the same tourist oath or make their own oath to make visitors affirm their commitment to help in the destinations’ preservation and sustainable development?

See related posts: Seniors, Now You Know! – BORACAY: UPDATED LIST OF DOT-ACCREDITED ACCOMMODATION ESTABLISHMENTS AS OF OCTOBER 25, 2018Say, Say, Say: WHAT CAN WE EXPECT DURING THE REOPENING OF BORACAY ON OCTOBER 26, 2018?Short and Simple: WHAT IS THE TOURIST CARRYING CAPACITY FOR BORACAY’S 2018 RE-OPENING? and Say, Say, Say – BORACAY: PARADISE CLOSED TO BREATHE, TO HEAL! (April 26 – October 25, 2018)

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*www.philstar.com

Short and Simple: WHAT IS THE TOURIST CARRYING CAPACITY FOR BORACAY’S 2018 RE-OPENING?

We, Filipinos, have only seriously considered the carrying capacity of our tourist destinations when the very popular island of Boracay was closed on April 26, 2018. The truth hurts, dearest Seniors, and yes, tourism inevitably impacts on tourist destinations!

So, tell me, do we really know what tourist carrying capacity is? Well, just to be sure, and before the October 26 re-opening of Boracay, read on.

The Tourist Carrying Capacity, according to the World Tourism Organization, is the process of determining the maximum number of people that may visit a tourist destination at the same time, without causing the destruction of the physical, economic, socio-cultural environment and an unacceptable decrease in the quality of visitors’ satisfaction.1

Former Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo stated that the carrying capacity of Boracay was set at 25,000 tourists, but, in recent years, it went as high as 75,000!2 Wow, that was triple the set capacity, no wonder the island had problems!

But what is an acceptable carrying capacity for a particular destination? It seems that acceptable conditions are a matter of human judgment and not an inherent quality of a particular site. It is difficult to calculate the maximum number of visitors since this is also dependent on other factors, amidst an unstable and unpredictable world.

So, tourism, environmental, local government, public works and transportation officials, the local community, and other stakeholders must get their act together to objectively implement the carrying capacity not only of Boracay but of other tourism destinations as well, so the latter will not suffer the same fate as the former.

Anyway, these stakeholders must take into consideration the 4 different forms of carrying capacity: physical3, economic4, socio-cultural5, and biophysical6. A framework for the limits for acceptable change7, developed by The US Forest Service in the 1980s, should also be considered, along with sustainable tourism8 and sustainable transport9.

The international tourism industry has generally accepted guidelines or formulas in determining carrying capacity. Alas, there is no one-size-fits-all checklist. Nonetheless, the bottomline, in all cases, is that the natural features of the tourist area, or the things/places that attract visitors to it, should be preserved for the benefit of its residents and the people who may, in the future, want to visit and enjoy them as well.2

The implementation, or enforcement, of the carrying capacity also takes a lot of political will on the part of the tourist area’s local government executives and stakeholders.3 Let this challenge all local government units in the country!

I pray that the 6-month long Boracay closure be the wake-up-call for national, regional, and other local leaders to redo their tourism development plans for all tourist sites, using all the aforementioned factors and setting stiffer penalties for non-compliance of rules/regulations, especially during peak season, and/or when local officials, or their kin, are also owners of tourist facilities.

So, anyway, after waiting so long from authorities, how many tourists will be allowed to go to Boracay, for example, on a daily basis, taking into consideration its current infrastructure, residents, workforce, and state of natural resources? What are the guidelines for ensuring the tourist carrying capacity? Will there be a maximum number of days to stay in the island? Let us wait for such guidelines/policies.

As of end of August 2018, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) set the tourist carrying capacity of Boracay to 19,000, taking the number of workers and the local population into account. And based on a study done by a multidisciplinary team of researchers from the Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau11 and the University of the Philippines at Los Baños, Laguna,12 the island can only accommodate a total of 55,000 people (local population, workers and tourists, combined).10

Alas, only 3,000-5,000, out of the 15,000 hotel rooms, can be made available to tourists during the reopening date. The remaining accommodation entities still need to comply with the new permits and accreditation set by the multi-agency task force.10

There will be on-going roadwork/sewage rehabilitation and limited accredited accommodations, among others, when Boracay opens on October 26, but I am sure that the first batches of tourists will be excited to see the changes in the island. Instagram and Facebook will surely be filled with such pictures!

Most of the information was taken from the Wikipedia page “Tourism carrying capacity”.1

Did you find this post informative? I would like to hear from you regarding your concerns about tourist carrying capacity and sustainable tourism, not only in Boracay but other tourist destinations in the Philippines. Simply scroll and click “Leave a comment”. Do share this post with your Facebook friends, follow me by clicking on the bottom right corner of your device, and do not forget to like this post.  Thank you!

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1”Tourism carrying capacity,” accessed August 16, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tourism_carrying_capacity.

2www.business.inquirer.net

3The physical carrying capacity (PCC) is the maximum number of tourists that an area is actually able to support. It is the maximum number that can fit on the site at any given time and still allow people to be able to move, i.e., one meter per person. The formula used is: PCC per day = area (in meters squared) x visitors per meter x daily duration. Information is from the Wikipedia page “Tourism carrying capacity”.1

4The economic carrying capacity (ECC) is the level of acceptable change within the local economy of a tourist destination. It is the extent to which a tourist destination is able to accommodate tourist functions without the loss of local activities. It is also used to describe the point at which the increased revenue brought by tourism development is overtaken by the inflation caused by tourism. Information is from the Wikipedia page “Tourism carrying capacity”.1

5The social carrying capacity (SCC) refers to the negative effects of tourism development to the socio-cultural state of a destination. Reduced visitor enjoyment and local tolerance as well as increase in crime rate are indicators that the SCC has been exceeded. Information is from the Wikipedia page “Tourism carrying capacity”.1

6The biophysical carrying capacity (BCC) is the extent to which the natural environment is able to tolerate interference from tourists. This is made more complicated by the fact that because it deals with ecology which is able to regenerate to some extent, so the carrying capacity is when the damage exceeds the habitat’s ability to regenerate. Environmental carrying capacity is also used with reference to ecological and physical parameters, capacity of resources, ecosystems19 and infrastructure. Wildlife sanctuaries, for example, would be better off when there is a set of guidelines for regulating tourism without much disturbance of the wildlife. Information is from the Wikipedia page “Tourism carrying capacity”.1

7The limits of acceptable change (LAC) is based on the idea that any tourist activity has an impact, and therefore visitor management should be based on constant monitoring of the site as well as the objectives established for it. Information is from the Wikipedia page “Tourism carrying capacity”.1

8Sustainable tourism is the concept of visiting a destination as a tourist and trying to make a positive impact on the environment13, society, and economy. Tourism development should always be sustainable but how to achieve this is debatable, according to Wikipedia page “Sustainable tourism”.14

9Sustainable transport, or sustainable mobility, refers to transportation that is sustainable in terms of social, environmental and climate impacts, and the ability to, in the global scope, supply the source energy indefinitely, according to the Wikipedia page “Sustainable transport”.15

10www.news.abs-cbn.com

11The Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (ERDB) is the principal research and development unit of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) focused on 5 major ecosystems20 of the Philippines: coastal zones and freshwater, forests, grassland and degraded areas, upland farms, and urban areas, created on June 1987.16

12www.denr.gov.ph

13The impact on the environment, or environmental issues, refers to the harmful effects of human activity on the biophysical environment17, according to the Wikipedia page “Environmental issue.”18

14“Sustainable tourism,” accessed August 16, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sustainable_tourism.

15“Sustainable transport,” accessed August 16, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sustainable_transport.

16www.erdb.denr.gov.ph

17The human impact on the environment includes the changes to biophysical environments19 and ecosystems20, biodiversity21, and natural resources, caused directly or indirectly by humans, including global warming22, environmental degradation23, mass extinction and biodiversity loss, ecological crises, and ecological collapse, according to the Wikipedia page “Human impact on the environment”.24

18“Environmental issue,” accessed August 16, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_issue.

19A biophysical environment of a population refers to the (living and non-living) surroundings of a population, and consequently includes the factors that have an influence in its survival, development and evolution, according to the Wikipedia page “Biophysical environment”.25

20An ecosystem is a community made up of living organisms and non-living components (air, mineral soil and water), according to the Wikipedia page “Ecosystem”.26

21Biodiversity refers to the variety and variability of life on Earth, according to the Wikipedia page “Biodiversity”.27

22Global warming, or climate change, is the observed century-scale rise in the average temperature of the Earth’s climate system and its related effects, according to the Wikipedia page “Global warming”.28

23Environmental degradation is the deterioration of the environment through the depletion of resources such as air, soil and water; the destruction of ecosystems20; habitat destruction; the extinction of wildlife; and pollution, according to the Wikipedia page “Environmental degradation”.29

24“Human impact on the environment,” accessed August 16, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_impact_on_the_environment.

25“Biophysical environment,” accessed August 16, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biophysical_environment.

26“Ecosystem,” accessed August 16, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecosystem.

27“Biodiversity,” accessed August 16, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biodiversity.

28“Global warming,” accessed August 16, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming.

29“Environmental degradation,” accessed August 16, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_degradation.

Short and Simple: OFFICIAL LOCAL MUSLIM HOLIDAYS IN THE PHILIPPINES

Ramadan 2018 began in the evening of May 16. I featured this special Muslim date in a related post: March – December 2018 Long Weekends … “Byahe Na”! (Travel Now!)

Anyway, dearest Seniors, do you have plans to visit any of these ten provinces – Basilan, Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur – or these five cities – Cotabato, Iligan, Marawi, Pagadian, Zamboanga?

If you answered “yes”, my next questions are: “Will you go there for business? Do you plan to have any bank transaction, or visit a government/private office, during such a visit?

Well, if you answered “yes” again, and just to be on the safe side when you plan such a visit, bear in mind that there are five (5) legal local Muslim holidays1 officially observed ONLY2 in these provinces and cities, according to Article 169 under Book Five, Miscellaneous and Transitory Provisions, Title I (Muslim Holidays) of Presidential Decree 10833.

For those who do not know, here they are to guide you in your travels to these destinations.   Please be aware that banks and offices are closed during these dates:

OFFICIAL MUSLIM HOLIDAYS IN THE PHILIPPINES

WHEN OBSERVED

2018 DATES4

Lailatul Istra Wal Mi’raj (Nocturnal Journey and Ascension of the Prophet Muhammad)

the 27th day of the 7th lunar month of Rajab April 13

‘Id-ul-Fitr

(Hari Raya Pausa)

the 1st day of the 10th lunar month of Shawwal, commemorating the end of the fasting season

June 16

‘Id-ul-Adha

(Hari Raja Haji)

the 10th day of the 12th lunar month of Dhu al-Hijja

August 21

‘Amun Jadid

(Islamic New Year)

the 1st day of the first lunar month of Muharram7

September 12

Maulid-un-Nabi (Birthday of the Prophet Muhammad) the 12th day of the 3rd lunar month of Rabi-ul-Awwal

November 21

On April 27, 2018, Nisfu Sha’ban8 (April 30, 2018) was declared in ARMM9 as a special non-working holiday, through April 27 Memorandum Order No. 255.10

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1www.pcw.gov.ph

2Article 170 of PD 1083 states that these Muslim holidays may also be officially observed in other provinces and cities. Please note this provision for your travels in the Mindanao area.

3www.lawphil.net

4www.timeanddate.com

5Id-ul-Fitr is also called Eid-al-Fitr, Eid al-Fitr, Eid ul-Fitr, Id Ul-Fitr, or simply Eid. It marks the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting and prayer. Muslims attend communal prayers, listen to khutba (sermon) and give zakat al-fitr (charity in the form of food) during this day.3

6‘Id-ul-Adha, the Feast of the Sacrifice, is a four-day Islamic festival that commemorates the willingness of Ibraham, a prophet and messenger in Islam, to sacrifice his son.3

7Muharram is the first month in the lunar Islamic calendar known as the month of remembrance or mourning, believed to be the most sacred month. Muslims are not allowed to fight during Muharram.3

8Nisfu Sha’ban is a holiday observed on the night between 14 and 15 Sha’ban11. According to the Wikipedia page “Mid-Sha’ban”, it is regarded as a night when the fortunes of men for the coming year are decided and when God may forgive sinners. In some regions, this is also a night when prayers are arranged for forgiveness from God for one’s deceased ancestors. 12

9ARMM stands for the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, a Philippine region located in the island group of Mindanao, with Cotabato City as its regional center. It has 5 local government units (LGUs): Basilan (excluding Isabela City), Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi. Visit www.armm.gov.ph

10www.mindanao.politics.com.ph

11Shaban is one of the blessed months. It is the 8th month of the Islamic calendar and the last lunar month before Ramadan, according to the Wikipedia page “Sha’ban”.13

12”Mid-Sha’ban,” accessed April 28, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mid-Sha’ban.

13”Sha’ban,” accessed April 28, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sha’ban.

Short and Simple: WHAT IS BLUE SPACE?

Dearest Wandering Seniors, have you heard of “blue space”?

Blue space is the term for visible water needed by people to improve their quality of life.1 Examples of blue spaces are beaches, canals, fountains, harbors, islands, islets, lakes, marinas, ponds, ports, rivers, streams, and waterfront parks.

Seeing a beach, appreciating the clarity of its water, witnessing a beautiful sunrise or sunset along the beach, gazing at the waves and the soothing motion and rhythm of water, hearing the waves hit the shore, feeling the cooling effect even by just wading on the beach, the feeling of walking near the shoreline and smelling the ocean, riding a boat along a body of water and feeling the water with your hand, among others, definitely have a positive, relaxing and soothing effect on people. The refreshing clean, cool air, as you breathe in and out, somehow gives you a re-energized feeling from the polluted air in the city.

Environmental health research as well as environmental psychological studies have revealed that living near, or spending time close to lakes, rivers and the sea, has a positive impact on mental health and promotes physical activity. It reduces stress and improves mental health and one’s well-being.

So, what are you waiting for, urban-based Senior Citizens? This Holy Week, or even just a weekend this summer, go find a “blue space” for your mental well-being! Who knows, I will see you around!

Did you find this post informative? Do you have other travel issues/concerns which you would like me to feature? What is your “blue space” escapde this summer? I would like to hear from you. Simply scroll to the upper right part of this post and click “Leave a comment”. Follow me by clicking the “Follow” box on the lower right corner of your gadget. Thank you!

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1www.simplicable.com

Short and Simple: THE ANILAG FESTIVAL

The ANILAG FESTIVAL is an annual week-long event of the province of Laguna, in the island of Luzon, in the Philippines, held every second week of March at the Laguna Provincial Capitol grounds in Sta. Cruz (the capital of the province).

This festival started in 2004 during the time of Governor Teresita “Ningning” S. Lazaro. It was renamed La Laguna Festival (called the “The Festival of Life”) on August 1, 2012, after the colonial name of the province, La Laguna, by then Governor Emilio Ramon “ER” Ejercito. However, on January 18, 2016, the Anilag Festival was reinstated by Ordinance No. 2, S. 2016 by the incumbent Governor Ramil L. Hernandez to continue the legacy of its origin.1

“Anilag” is the shortened term for “ANI ng LAGuna” (Harvest of Laguna).

This provincial festival serves as: a celebration of the foundation day of Laguna, a thanksgiving for agricultural prosperity, the promotion of tourist attractions, a showcase of the creativity of its people, and a source of community pride.

This event is called the “Mother of All Festivals in the province of Laguna” because it incorporates in its programs and activities parts and facets of the cultural and economic assets of all cities and municipalities of Laguna.2

Days 1-3

Days 4-6

Days 7-8The activities per year have evolved to appeal to all ages, gender and interests. The pictures above show the seven-day calendar for ANILAG 2018.

The La Laguna Festival or “Festival of Life” was awarded back-to-back the Best Tourism Event of 2011 and 2012, Provincial Category, one of the Best Tourism Practices from the Association of Tourism Officers of the Philippines (ATOP) and then honored as a hall of famer in the Provincial Festival category.3

Did you find this post informative? I would like to hear from you. Simply scroll to the upper right part of this post and click “Leave a comment”. Do not forget to follow me by clicking “Follow” on the lower right corner of your gadget.

Visit a related post: ANILAG FESTIVAL 2018: Hali na! Tara na! Masaya sa Laguna! (Come on! Let’s go! It is happy in Laguna!)

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1www.anilagfestival.ph

2Anilag Festival 2018 Facebook account

3http://www.laguna.gov.ph

 

Short and Simple: EXACTLY HOW MANY ISLANDS ARE THERE IN THE PHILIPPINES?

Do you really know exactly the official number of islands1 in the Philippines, whether it is high tide or low tide?

Admit it, dearest Filipino Seniors, we grew up knowing there are 7, 107 islands in our beloved country. Well, as of 2016, not anymore!

There are currently 7,641 islands in the Philippines, according to the Wikipedia page, “List of islands of the Philippines”!2 An additional 534 islands were added, mostly located in the Mindanao region.3

Now, you might ask: who gave the official announcement and why is this so?

Secretary Ramon Paje of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) made the announcement during the Philippine Environment Summit on February 2016.

It seems that the Philippines embarked on a 2013 Philippine Islands Measurements Project headed by the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA)4 which is responsible for the official count of our islands.5

All these additional islands/islets were detected/located by an Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR or IfSAR)6 and will be included in a new map which will be released soon (how soon, it was not specified!). It seems this new equipment is more advanced to detect landmasses than those used in the past using older technology. These new islands can also be attributed to changing land forms.5

So, dear Seniors, the next time someone asks you how many islands our country has, you know the updated answer: The Philippines officially has 7,641 islands! Better still, tell your friends and relatives, especially those abroad, that there are now 534 new reasons to visit our beloved country!

Go see the following links if you want to know more about the different kinds of landmasses6Short and Simple: ISLAND, ISLE or ISLET? and Short and Simple: ATOLL, SKERRY, CAY and KEY

Did you find this post informative? Do you have other travel trivia which you would like me to feature? I would like to hear from you. Simply scroll to the upper right part of this post and click “Leave a comment”. Follow me by clicking the “Follow” box on the lower right corner of your gadget. Thank you!

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1An island/isle is a large, isolated landmass7 that is surrounded by water but not as large as a continent8, according to the Wikipedia page, “Island”. Source: “Island,” accessed March 3, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Island.

2“List of islands of the Philippines,” accessed March 3, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_islands_of_the_Philippines.

3www.philstar.com

 4The National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA) is a government agency under the Department of National Resources (DENR) in the Philippines responsible for providing mapping services and collection of pertinent data used in facilitating natural resources required in creating charts, maps and statistics. Visit its website: www.namria.gov.ph

5 www.cnnphilippines.com

6Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) is a new high-resolution radar-mapping technique used to generate maps of landmasses4, using a satellite.

7A landmass is a large area of continuous land (i.e., in one piece), mostly surrounded by water (not broken up by a body of water). A landmass can be called an island1 if it is above sea level, and on high tide, it should remain above water at any given time. It should also be capable of supporting plant and/or animal life through hard substrates9.3

8A continental is a very large landmass4 of the world. Recall, Seniors, that there are 7 (largest to smallest): Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Antarctica, Europe and Australia, according to the Wikipedia page, “Continent”. Source: “Continent,” accessed March 3, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continent.

9A substrate is a layer of substance that has something underneath it that goes through a process in which an organism can thrive and live. The NAMRIA4 can collect samples of actual sediments from the surface of a landmass6 through shallow digging.

SHORT AND SIMPLE: England, Great Britain, UK and the British Isles?

I am sometimes confused with these four words and what countries are included: England, Great Britain, United Kingdom and the British Isles. How about you, dear Senior Citizens (SCs)?

Well, it is never too late to know or recall (senior moment?!) so this post was written and we, as SCs, will no longer get confused, or simply smile because we never forgot and our brain cells are still working!

England is a European country bordered by Scotland to the north, the Irish Sea to the northwest, Wales to the west, and the Celtic Sea to the southwest, the English Channel to the south, and North Sea to the east, according to the Wikipedia page, “England1,” accessed November 14, 2017. This country is not a sovereign state. It is the largest country in the United Kingdom and includes more than 100 smaller named islands2. Its capital and largest city is London.

Great Britain is the official collective name of the landmass/island consisting of England, Scotland and Wales, and their associated islands, according to the Wikipedia page, “Great Britain3,” accessed November 14, 2017. It is considered the largest island of Europe that is why the word “Great” is used, but it can also be simple called Britain. Its capital and largest city is London.

The United Kingdom (UK), or more appropriately the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, is the political union of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland (since 1922), according to the Wikipedia page, “United Kingdom4,” accessed November 14, 2017. Its capital and largest city is London. The UK is a sovereign state, made up of these 4 countries in their own right. NOTE: From 1801-1922, the UK also included all of Ireland.

The British Isles is a geographical term which includes the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, 3 Crown Dependencies5, as well as over 6,000 islands scattered around their coasts, according to the Wikipedia page, “British Isles6,” accessed November 14, 2017. NOTE: This term is purely geographical, not pertaining to the nationality of the inhabitants.

Did you find this post informative? Do you have other terms or travel trivia which you would like me to feature? I would like to hear from you. Just scroll to the bottom of this post and type your comment in the designated box. Follow me by clicking the “Follow” box on the lower right corner of your gadget. Thank you!

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1“England,” accessed November 14, 2017, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/England.

2According to the Wikipedia page, “List of islands of England,” accessed March 8, 2018, the top 10 smaller named islands of England (based on area/size, in descending order) include: Isle of Wight, Isle of Sheppey, Hayling Island, Foulness Island, Portsea Island, Canvey Island, Mersea Island, Walney Island, Wallasea Island, and St. Mary’s. SOURCE: “List of islands of England,” accessed November 14, 2017, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_islands_of_England.

3“Great Britain,” accessed November 14, 2017, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Britain.

4“United Kingdom,” accessed November 14, 2017, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Kingdom.

5According to the Wikipedia page, “Crown dependencies,” accessed November 14, 2017, the three Crown Dependencies are independently administered jurisdictions and include: the Isle of Man (in the Irish Sea) and the Bailiwicks7 of Guernsey and Jersey (part of the archipelago called the Channel Islands, located in the English Channel). SOURCE: “Crown dependencies,” accessed November 14, 2017, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crown_dependencies.

6“British Isles,” accessed November 14, 2017, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Isles.

7A bailiwick, according to the Wikipedia page, “Bailiwick,” accessed March 8, 2018,  is an area of jurisdiction of a baliff8, a term still used in British Crown Dependencies5 of the Channel Islands, grouped as such, like the Bailiwick of Guernsey and the Bailiwick of Jersey. SOURCE: “Bailiwick,” accessed November 14, 2017, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bailiwick.

8A baliff is an overseer or custodian who has jurisdiction over a geographical area or territory under a royal writ.