The Philippines as we know, is made up of 7,107 islands categorized into three main geographical divisions which are Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, as we were taught in school since first grade. But all that may change, as the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA) may have discovered 400 more islands in the country.
With NAMRIA’s latest discovery, the Philippines may now have 7,500 islands in total, since the official count of 7,107 islands in 1945 by the Gazetteer of the Philippine Islands.
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Ramon Paje said this during a speech at the Philippine Environment Summit at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City on February 10.
“Hindi lang tayo 7,101 islands, 7,500 islands na tayo,” Paje said, before summit participants.
NAMRIA confirmed that the agency discovered more than 400 islands using the interferometric synthetic aperture radar (IFSAR) technology conducted in 2013.
Under the DENR, NAMRIA is the agency responsible for providing map-making services to the public, and the central mapping agency, depository, and distribution facility for natural resources data in the form of maps, charts, texts and statistics.
Jose Cabanayan Jr., deputy administrator of NAMRIA, said that majority of the newly-discovered islands are found in Mindanao.
Cabanayan said that to be considered an island, a landmass should be above sea level and high tide at any given time, and can support either plant or animal life, or both.
“Kailangan nakalutang ang lupa at above high tide,” he said.
Cabanayan said that NAMRIA has completed ground validation in Luzon and is currently working in Visayas.
Ground validation is set to be completed by the end of the year, including in Mindanao, Cabanayan disclosed.
Of the 7,107 islands in the Philippines, only about 2,000 islands are inhabited and 5,000 islands still have no names.
Manila, the capital, is located in Luzon island, the Philippines’ largest island and the world’s 15th largest island at 109,965 square kilometers. It is also the 4th most populated island in the world with over 47 million people.
Manila Bulletin Feburary 13, 2016 -- http://www.mb.com.ph