The Most Unique Place On Earth

The highest concentration of unique mammals on earth is found in the Philippines on the island of Luzon (where I am as I write this). There are 7,107 islands in the Philippine Archipelago and the main individual  islands each have their own personality. The meat of this post is copied from “How to Geek” so I do not claim originality for that, only an intense interest since it is one of my favorite places.

[A survey of the Earth reveals, rather quickly, that islands are hot spots of diversity. Cut off from mainland areas, the contained ecosystems of islands offer a place for creatures to evolve, adapt, and thrive. While the big names in island diversity, like the Galapagos islands and Madagascar, are the most likely to spring to mind for most people, recent research has revealed that Luzon Island, the largest island in the Philippines, has the highest number of unique mammals on Earth.

Why Luzon? Not only is it a large island and distant from any mainland area, but it also has several other factors that favor a diverse ecosystem. First, it’s a volcanic island that has never been connected with any continent. Second, it’s quite old (for comparison, it’s at least five times older than the oldest of the Hawaiian islands). Finally, the island is home to many high and separated mountain peaks. These high peaks serve as sky islands of sorts, where mammalian families have split into separate species over time as they adapted to conditions on the different mountains.

cloud rat

As a result of these conditions, researchers found that of the 56 species of non-flying mammals located on the island, like the northern Luzon giant cloud rat seen here, 52 of them are found nowhere else in the world.][Indicates what I copied from “How to Geek”]

No I do not lump the people here into this interesting fact, but they are of special interest to me also. The  majority of the people of the Philippines are Malay and known  as Filipinos. Others include the Negritos (negroid pygmies) and Dumagats (similar to the Papuans of New Guinea). There is a fairly strong influence of Chines splashed throughout, as well as the Spaniards who claimed the Philippines and brought the Catholic religion of which 80% of the population follow today.  Simply traveling around Luzon one notices differences in physical features and cultural attributes, leave Luzon for another Island and more differences are apparent. So if one is trying to find an interesting and unique place to visit both historically and culturally I highly recommend the Philippines.


About asiadiver

Love to travel, love southeast Asia and the people and cultures (and food) SCUBA is a passion but more difficult as I get older so photography and writing have become most important. I have learned more talking with other travelers in local bars in Hong Kong or Bangkok or sharing a tuk tuk than I did in all my years in university. Not a man of the world but an average Joe just being observant, polite and listening.
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