The residents of Davao City claim they live in the world's largest city. They are talking about the land size of the city that covers 2,212 square kilometers. Most of these areas, however, are distributed as forests, coconut groves and rice fields. In comparison, New York, the largest city in the United States, has an area of only 787 square kilometers while the whole of Metro Manila covers only 636 square kilometers.
Davao City lies at the mouth of the Davao River near the head of Davao Gulf. It encompasses about 50 small ports in its commercial sphere. Davao has large banana plantations, whose produce are exported to Japan and other countries. The city also boasts of a modern international airport. Puerto Princesa City, a chartered city of Palawan province, is disputing Davao City's title. It claims to have a total land area of 2,539 square kilometers encompassing 66 barangays.
In terms of population and land area, the world's truly largest cities are Tokyo, Mexico City, Sao Paolo, New York City, Bombay, Shanghai and Los Angeles.
Biggest Coliseum in the World
At the time it was completed in 1959, the Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, Quezon City was touted as the world's largest covered entertainment center. Otherwise known as the Big Dome, it has a floor area of 2,300 square meters and a seating capacity of 33,000 people.
Biggest Shoes in the World
Marikina City owns the distinction of having crafted the world's largest pair of shoes, each measuring 5.5 meters long, 2.25 meters wide and 1.83 meters high. The heel alone measures 41 centimeters or 16 inches. The P2-million shoes can reportedly fit to a 37.5-meter or 125-foot giant. Around 30 people could put their feet into the colossal shoes simultaneously.
The world's largest shoes were made from materials that could produce about 250 pairs of regular-sized shoes. It reportedly took 10 shoemakers, led by Ernesto Leano, 77 days to cut 30 square meters of leather for the upper lining and 7.4 square meters for the socklining. Also used were 250 kilograms of vegetable tanned leather for the insole, 270 kilograms for the outsole, 80 kilograms for the welt, 225 kilograms of adhesive and 1,000 meters of thread for 200,000 stitches.
The Marikina-made shoes broke the old record of 3.12-meter shoes made by Zahit Okurlar of Konya, Turkey. A representative of the Guinness Book of World Records attended the First Sapatero Festival on October 21, 2002 where the giant shoes were displayed.
In December 2002, the Guinness Book of World Records has recognized Marikina City for crafting the world's largest pair of shoes.
Largest Shoe Collection
Former First Lady Imelda Marcos was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the woman with the largest collection of shoes. Reports said that when the Marcos family fled to Hawaii during the People's Power Revolution in 1986, around 3,400 pairs of shoes were discovered in one room at Malacanang Palace. They were the First Lady's collection.
Biggest Golf Tournament in the World
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the biggest amateur golf tournament takes place in Baguio City, Philippines every year. Dubbed as the Fil-Am Golf Championship since 1949, the 72-hole golf tournament attracts close to 1,000 amateur golfers from all over the archipelago. The sites of the prestigious event are the challenging par-69, 5,001-yard Camp John Hay golf course and the par-61, 4,038-yard Baguio Country Club. Among the top contending teams in the event are the Canlubang, Southwoods, Calatagan, and Wack Wack.
Biggest Christmans Lantern in the World
On December 24, 2002, the city of San Fernando in Pampanga province switched on the world's largest Christmas lantern - a P5-million structure with 26.8 meters in diameter.
Biggest Aerobics Exercises in the World
On February 16, 2003, some 107,000 Filipinos joined a 30-minute aerobics exercise supervised by the Department of Health (DOH) at Rizal Park in Manila, which could be the largest synchronized exercise in the world. Thousands of people also gathered at different venues in Cebu City and Davao City to participate in the exercise simultaneous with the Manila event. The new record broke the previous Guinness Book of World Records set at a park in Guadalajara, Mexico by some 38,633 people who joined the massive aerobics exercises in June 1998.
Biggest Catholic University in the World
The University of Santo Tomas (UST), an academic institution founded by the Dominicans in Sampaloc, Manila is considered as the world's largest Catholic university located in one campus in terms of student population.
Biggest Money in the World
In 1998, during the Philippine Centennial celebration of independence, the Central Bank asked the Guinness Book of World Records to accredit its P100,000 commemorative bills, measuring 8 1/2 inches wide and 14 inches long, as the world's largest legal tender. The commemorative bills were called Brobdingnagian bills.
Biggest Bamboo Organ in the World
The bamboo organ at St. Joseph Church in Las Pinas City is arguably the world's largest bamboo organ. The centuries-old musical instrument was constructed between 1792 and 1819. It has 174 bamboo pipes, 122 horizontal reeds of soft metal, a five-octave keyboard, and 22 stops arranged in vertical rows.
Biggest Volume of Text Messages
Smart Communications, one of the two giant mobile phone networks in the country, claimed that the volume of text messages passing through its network reached 240 million daily as of 2001. This excluded text messages sent via the other networks. Such volume of text messages is said to be larger than those sent in the entire European continent during the same year.
Biggest High School in the World
The Rizal High School in Caniogan, Pasig City (eastern Metro Manila) is said to be the world's largest high school in terms of student population. The school has more than 20,000 students.
Biggest Flower in the World
In February 2002, an environmental organization discovered what could be one of the world's largest flowers in the 5,511-hectare Sibalom National Park in Antique province. Measuring about 22 inches in diameter, the endangered flower, locally named as "Uruy", (Rafflesia sp.) has no stem and leaves. (Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer)
Biggest Salad in the World
The residents of Baguio City took pride in having tossed what was believed to be the world's largest salad - a three-ton mix of assorted vegetables.
On September 29, 2002 during the Tossed Salad Festival in commemoration of the city's 93rd charter anniversary, 67 students and members of the Baguio Association of Hotels and Inns (Bahai) mixed 2,976 kilograms of lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, bell peppers and other vegetables in a tin and wrought iron bowl measuring 20 feet long, 10 feet wide and 2 feet deep.
Some 13,657 people were able to partake of the P1.5 million mixtures. They paid P20 for each serving of the tossed salad with Thousand Island dressing and another take-out bowl of salad with a gourmet vinaigrette dressing consisting of apple cider vinegar and olive oil.
The city broke its own record set a year earlier. On September 16, 2001, a 917-kilogram of salad was able to feed 4,861 residents and tourists of Baguio City. On September 14, 2002, a religious group prepared a giant Caesar's salad that fed only 1,000 people in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Biggest Candy in the World
On March 15, 2002, 25 people in Davao City spent six hours to cook, mold and roll the world's largest durian candy bar - a 6-meter, 200-kilogram delicacy made of durian, a smelly but sweet fruit commonly associated with the name of the city. (Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer)
Biggest Pearl in the World
A Filipino diver discovered what is now described as the world's largest pearl in a giant Tridacna (mollusk) under the Palawan Sea in 1934. Known as the "Pearl of Lao-Tzu", the gem weighs 14 pounds and measures 9 1/2 inches long and 5 1/2 inches in diameter. As of May 1984, it was valued at US$42 million. It is believed to be 600 years old.
Biggest Province in the Philippines
Palawan is considered as the largest province in the country. It has a total land area of 14,896.3 square kilometers distributed in 1,769 islands and is composed of one city, 23 municipalities and 431 barangays. The next largest provinces in the country are Isabela, with a land area of 10,664 square kilometers; and Cagayan, 9,002 square kilometers.
Biggest Mass Wedding
On February 14, 2003, Mayor Reynaldo Malonzo officiated what could be the largest gathering of couples who exchanged their vows at 10th Avenue in Caloocan City. There were 900 couples who attended the wedding ceremony.
Biggest Chair in the Philippines
In April 2003, furniture makers in Ilagan, Isabela province completed what could be the largest armchair in the country. Measuring 5.5 meters in length and 3 meters in height, the armchair called "Botaka ni Goliath" was made of narra and rattan. Around 1,600 board feet of uncut wood were used. During assembly, 15 people had to carry the chair's feet and arms.
Biggest Shabu Haul
On December 9, 2002, Valenzuela City police discovered P2.2 billion worth of methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu at a warehouse that was razed by fire. The 656 kilograms of shabu, 195 kilograms of liquefied shabu and 200 kilograms of unfiltered shabu in the warehouse on Malinis Street in Lawang Bato, is said to be the largest narcotics haul ever.
In December 2002, the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) has ordered American recruitment agency Brown and Root and its local partner Asia International Builder Corp. to pay 1,975 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) over US$609 million in back wages, damages and retirement pay.
Biggest Mall in Asia
The Philippines is home to one of the largest shopping malls in Asia. The SM Megamall located at the Ortigas commercial business district (CBD) boasts of world-class facilities that have a combined floor area of 331,657 square meters and built on a 10.5-hectare site. The shopping complex is comprised of two buildings connected by air-conditioned bridges and a tunnel.
The mall had a total of 550 retail, service shops and dining outlets while its 12 film theatres had a combined seating capacity of 11,074. The mall's indoor and outdoor parking facilities can accommodate up to 3,000 cars.
The SM Megamall, however, may no longer be the country's largest. The "Mall of Asia", built on a five-hectare Manila Bay reclamation property is considered the country's largest mall eclipsing the SM Megamall.
Biggest Convention Center
One of Asia's largest convention facilities is the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), which has 4,000 seats. PICC is located at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) complex, which sits on a 21-hectare reclaimed area at the Manila Bay.
Biggest Amphitheater in the Philippines
The Freedom Ring Giant Amphitheater in the controversial Expo Filipino in Pampanga province is considered as the largest amphitheatre in the country. It can hold as many as 35,000 people at a single event. Expo Filipino, however, has yet to become fully operational.
Biggest Hospital in the Philippines
The Philippine General Hospital in Manila is considered as the country's largest medical institution. The hospital has over 1,000 in-patient beds and receives 3,000 outpatient visits per day. It was established on September 1, 1910.
Biggest Church in the Philippines
The Gothic-designed basilica of Saint Martin of Tours in the heritage town of Taal in Batangas province is said to be the largest Catholic Church in the country.
Biggest Dam in the Philippines
If completed, the San Roque Dam in Pangasinan province would become the country's tallest and largest dam. Built on the lower Agno River, the US$1.2 billion dam would measure 200 meters in height and is expected to generate 345 megawatts of electricity. Its construction began in 1998 while completion is expected by 2004.
Biggest Gas Field in the Philippines
The Malampaya gas field located northeast off Palawan contains what could be the Philippines' largest deposit of natural gas. The gas field was discovered in 1989, and since then the giant oil company, Shell Philippines has engaged in a multi-billion project in the area.
Some US$4.5 billion were allocated to complete the project that is said to be the single biggest foreign investment in the Philippines. The Malampaya gas field reportedly contains not less than 2.5 trillion cubic feet and 85 million barrels of condensate, a by-product of natural gas that is used as fuel to run gas-fired turbines. These reserves are enough to serve the fuel requirement of a 3,000-megawatt (MW) combined-cycle power plant for 20 years. The project took off in May 1998. It involved the construction of a 504-kilometer pipeline from the area to Tabangao, Batangas.
Biggest Tree in the Philippines
The oldest and tallest tree in the Philippines is found at the entrance gate of Magallanes town, east of Butuan City in Agusan del Norte province. This "Bita-og" tree (Calophyllum inophyllum), which was declared as the country's official tree in 1998 by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), is said to be five centuries old. The tree, which was first recognized on December 7, 1980, measures 305.585 centimeters in bole diameter.
Biggest Coconut Palace
What can be considered as the country's largest coconut building is the so-called Coconut Palace, an architectural wonder made from the coconut tree mixed with other indigenous material. About 70 percent of the structure is made from different parts of the coconut tree. It consists of seven rooms. It is located at the CCP Complex.
Biggest Strawberry Cakes
The people of La Trinidad town in Benguet province baked the country's largest sponge cake - a 1.2-metric ton, seven-foot structure that fed 10,000 people during the annual Strawberry Festival on March 18, 2002. It took four bakers nearly 16 hours to complete the cake.
On March 22, 2003, the people of La Trinidad surpassed the record by baking two giant strawberry cakes, one of which cost P110,000 to produce and measured 8 1/2 in diameter, six feet long and six feet high. Eric Espadero and three other chefs used 800 kilograms of fresh strawberries, 6,600 eggs and 920 kilograms of flour for the two cakes.
In November 2001, the Benguet province baked its own giant carrot cake.
In March 2003, around 3,000 people of Candon City in Ilocos Sur province tasted what could be the largest calamay or rice cake that has ever been baked in the country. The giant calamay measured five meters in diameter and two inches thick. About 40 women prepared the calamay made from 184 kilograms of malagkit or ground glutinous rice, grated meat of 800 coconuts, 480 kilograms of brown sugar, and 160 more coconuts that were grated to produce gata or coconut milk.
On May 29, 2003, around 1,000 residents of Ilagan, Isabela partook the country's biggest binallay or native rice cake during the town's 317th founding anniversary. The cake measured 3.7 meters tall and 0.6 meter in diameter.
In May 2002, the United States embassy in Manila raised US$5 million as a bounty against five leaders of the Muslim extremist Abu Sayyaf group that has held an American couple as hostages from May 2001 to June 2002. Abu Sayyaf snatched the American couple along with 18 others from a beach resort in Palawan province on May 27, 2001. On June 7, 2002, a military rescue operation led to the death of one of the American hostages. Two weeks later, the military announced the death of the leader of the Abu Sayyaf faction responsible for the abduction of the American couple.
Biggest Mural in the Philippines
In 1953, when the Philippines hosted the International Fair, Carlos "Botong" Francisco was contracted for P39,000 to paint a mural measuring 88 meters long and eight meters wide. The giant mural, which depicted 500 years of Philippine progress, later appeared in colored center spread of Newsweek magazine.
Biggest Painting in the Philippines
Juan Luna's Spolarium is considered as the largest painting in the country. It measures 4.6 meters wide and 7.72 meters long and is now on display at the National Museum in Manila.
Biggest Companies in the Philippines
In terms of gross revenues, the National Power Corp. (Napocor) topped all companies in the country with P116.6 billion in the year 2000. The next nine largest corporations were Meralco, with total gross revenues of P108 billion; Texas Instruments, P95 billion; San Miguel Corp., P90 billion; Petron Corp., P87 billion; Shell, P84 billion; PLDT, P63 billion; Caltex, P56 billion; Fujitsu, P49 billion; and Metrobank, P44 billion. In terms of net income, Southern Energy topped the list with P8.5 billion in 2000. It was followed by Pagcor, with P8 billion; San Miguel, P6.8 billion; Southern Energy Quezon, P6.2 billion; and SM, P4.2 billion.
Biggest Lake in the Philippines
Laguna de Bay, an inland body of water covering 900 square kilometers, is the country's largest lake. Located between the provinces of Rizal and Laguna, the lake receives its water from 21 river systems. In the middle of the lake lies the island of Talim, a heavily populated settlement of mostly fishermen.
The second largest lake in the country is Lake Sultan-Alonto in Mindanao. Commonly known as Lake Lanao, the lake covers an area of 355 square kilometers. Meanwhile, the world's largest inland body of water is the Caspian Sea, which is actually a lake in the boundary of Europe and Asia and covering an area of 143,240 square miles. Lake Superior (North America), Lake Victoria (Africa), the Aral Sea (Russia) and Lake Huron (North America) are also among the world's largest lakes.
Biggest Eagle in the World
Also known as the monkey-eating eagle, the endangered Philippine eagle is one of the largest in the world. With scientific name Pithecophaga jefferyi, the Philippine eagle lives in the rainforests of Isabela, Samar, Leyte and Mindanao. It has similarities with Papua New Guinea's Harpy Eagle (Harpyopsis novaeguinea).
Measuring about one meter in height, the average Philippine eagle has a 76-centimeter highly arched, powerful bill. It lives on large snakes, hornbills, civet cats, flying lemurs and monkeys - the reason why it is also called monkey-eating eagle. It creates its nests in large trees some 30 meters from the ground.
Biggest Bats in the World
The Philippines has at least 56 species of bats. It is home to the largest among the 1,000 known bat species in the world.
The three-layered virgin forest of Subic Bay and Bataan is home to the world's largest bats: the giant flying fox (Acerodon jubatus) and the golden crown flying fox (Pteropus vampyrus). Over the years, these two species of giant fruit bats have roamed around the 10,000-hectare Subic Forest National Protected Area, which is considered the biggest roosting site of bats in the world.
Biggest Shells in the World
Biggest Fish in the World
Donsol, a fishing town in Sorsogon province, serves as a sanctuary to a group of 40 whale sharks (Rhincodon typus), which are considered as the largest fish in the world.
Locally known as "butanding", whale sharks visit the waters of Donsol from November to May. They travel across the oceans but nowhere else have they been sighted in a larger group than in the waters of Sorsogon. They measure between 18 to 35 feet in length and weigh about 20 tons. In 1996, a marine biologist discovered that whale sharks are ovoviviparous, which means that the females produce live offspring from eggs hatched in the uterus.
The Philippine government declared whale sharks as endangered species in 1998, thereby banning its plunder and exploitation. Right now, the Department of Tourism is promoting eco-tourism to protect the whale sharks in Donsol.
Biggest Lead in a Basketball Game
Biggest Filipino Boxing Champion
Ceferino Garcia was the heaviest and biggest Filipino ever who became a world-boxing champion. Known for his bolo punch, he captured the world middleweight title on October 2, 1939 when he knocked out Fred Apostoli in New York. He defended his crown against top rivals twice (Americans Glen Lee and Henry Armstrong) before losing his title in May 1940.
Before he switched to the middleweight division, Garcia became a welterweight champion when he knocked out boxing legend and war hero Barney Ross in 1937 and Henry Armstrong in 1938.
He was born in 1912 and grew up in Tondo, Manila. In 1977, Ceferino Garcia was inducted into the Ring Magazine Hall of Fame and into the World Boxing Hall of Fame in 1981.