LapuLapu, the national hero There was great resistance of the local people. In the battle that took place that day, the locals with their leader LapuLapu succeeded in forcing the Spaniards to retreat to their ships, after their leader, Magellan, was killed by the spears of the LapuLapu warriors. LapuLapu became the first Filipino hero.
volcanoes The Philippines is an archipelago of more than 7100 islands. Most of these islands are of volcanic origin. There are 37 volcanoes in the Philippines, of which 18 are still active volcanoes. It means that an eruption occurred in the last decennia and that a new eruption can be expected in the future. All the other volcanoes are 'sleeping' or 'dead' volcanoes. Scientists think that an eruption of these volcanoes is unlikely. The most known volcanoes in the Philippines are Mount Pinatubo, Mount Mayon and the Taal volcano. They are all located on the Northern island Luzon.
In the coral waters around the island The Philippines is situated in Southeast Asia in the Western Pacific. The Western Pacific is known for having some of the warmest waters on the planet. In the warm, shallow waters around the islands, we find the corals and the coral reefs. Corals are micro organisms, so, they are the smallest animals you can imagine. These 'microscopic small' organisms produce (secrete) lime which form miniscule small holes (cavities). These miniscule small holes serve as their living room. The corals use their tentacles to trap passing plankton. Plankton is the food for corals. As generations of corals die, the lime skeletons of the dead micro organisms will build-up the coral reefs. It takes a coral reef 5 years to grow one inch. The forms of the reefs we can see today, are the result of a natural process of millions of years. These limestone forms are the environment (the habitat) for the many different en coloured tropical fish.
The disaster of 1991 On November 5, 1991, a great natural disaster occurred. In Ormoc City (on the west coast of the island of Leyte) a destroying flash flood killed within less than one hour approximately 8000 people and left thousands of people homeless. In the days after the flood almost 5000 Filipinos were found dead and about 3000 were missing. Nobody of these 3000 persons were ever found and are also presumed dead. Probably brought to the sea by the 'killing flood'.
Ormoc City, 1991 A great part of the city was destroyed and thousands of houses vanished in the fast and devastating water and mud streams. A Typhoon was one of the main actors in this drama. The water and mud streams came downwards from the hills and mountain areas in the central part of the island to the lowlands around Ormoc City and the city itself.
More disasters in the future? In the last twenty years more and more natural disasters have occurred. The future will probably bring more troubles. That is what the World Watch Institute (WWI) wrote in one of their reports.
Tropical rainforest Forests in the tropics have a rich biodiversity. More than half of all the plants and animals in the world are to be found in the rainforests. More than 3500 species of plants and animals! The constantly high temperatures and the continuously high humidity in the tropics make this biodiversity possible. The temperature is in most tropical rainforests between 25 and 35 degrees Celsius.
Threats Unfortunately, the forests are threatened. Worldwide only 20 percent of the original tropical forests is left. The main reasons are the commercial logging and the cutting of trees by local people, who need plots for agriculture activities.
Typhoons in the western Pacific Though it is said that there is not a true typhoon-season, most of the typhoons in the Western Pacific occur in the period June - November. Especially in the month August. Coming from the south-east, the typhoons can have a speed of 119 to more than 240 kilometres per hour.