The Philippines: A Tale of the Big and Small
by Ping Bayani
December 2016

The Philippines has long been acknowledged as one of those rare places where unique flora and fauna can be found. It's not an isolated case when one reads about a new species being discovered in Palawan or in one of the other 7,000 plus islands that comprise this island nation. Below are some of those rarities, including a bonus item about Davao, the current Philippine president's bailiwick and springboard of power. These are only a dozen of many items that make the Philippines unique. There are many more you can learn via the internet.

1. The world’s longest snake and longest reptile which can be found in the Philippines and nearby areas is the Reticulated Python (Python reticulatus). Adults grow to a maximum of over 28 feet or 8.7 meters in length.

2. The Philippine Mouse Deer (Tragalus nigricans) of Balabac Island in Palawan is the world’s smallest hoofed animal. It is locally known as Pilandok and stands only about 40 centimeters at the shoulder level.

3. The largest eagle in the world is the Philippine Eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi). It is formerly known as Monkey-eating Eagle.

4. The Philippine Tarsier (Tarsius syrichta) is considered as the world’s smallest primate. It measures only about twelve centimeters in length. Its two big eyes cannot move and do not have a tapetum – the upper protective tissue.

5. The Saltwater Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus), which can be found in the Philippines and nearby countries, is considered as the world’s largest reptile.

6. The Dwarf Goby (Pandaka pygmaea) is the world’s second smallest freshwater fish. It measures 1.2 centimeters or less than half of an inch, the 2nd tiniest known vertebrate.

7. The world’s smallest commercial fish is "Sinarapan" (Mistichthys luzonensis). It can only be found in Lakes Bato and Buhi in Camarines Sur. It grows to an average length of 1.25 centimeters, only slightly longer than the Dwarf Goby.

8. The largest bat in the world is the Giant Golden-crowned Flying-fox (Acerodon jubatus). It is a rare and endangered fruit bat that can be found in the Philippines. It has a wing span of at least 1.5 m (5 ft) and weighs approximately 1.2 kg (3 lbs) and is also known as the Golden-capped Fruit Bat.

9. The world’s tiniest shell which can also be found under Philippine waters is the Pisidum. It measures less than 1 millimeter long.

10. The Giant Clam (Tridacna gigas) found off the shores of the Philippines is the largest living bivalve mollusk and can weigh more than 200 kilograms (440 pounds), measure as much as 1.2 meters (4 feet) across and have an average lifespan in the wild of 100 years or more.

11. An endangered flower, locally named as "Uruy," (Rafflesia) has no stem and leaves is one of the largest flowers in the world. It measures about 22 inches in diameter. It can be found in Sibalom National Park in Antique province and other places in Southeast Asia.

12. Davao City, with an area of 2,212 square kilometers, in southern Philippines is regarded as one of the world's largest cities. 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.