World's Smallest Volcano
Taal Volcano, a 406-meter-high crater, is said to be the world's smallest volcano. It is described as "a crater within an island within a lake" because it stands as an island at Taal Lake. The lake was formed after the volcano, which used to be much larger, collapsed. The ridges around Tagaytay City, which overlooks the lake, are believed to be part of the crater of the old volcano.
These ridges now serve as the border of the 18-mile-diameter Taal Lake and stretch 32 kilometers from Mount Batulao to Mount Sungay. Also considered as one of the world's most active volcanoes, Taal Volcano has erupted over 20 times since 1572.
Smallest Bat in the World
The Philippines has at least 56 species of bats. It is home to the smallest among the 1,000 known bat species in the world.
The smallest bat in the world is the Philippine bamboo bat (vespertilionid), which belongs to the vespertilionid family. This bat measures about four centimeters (1 1/2 inches) in length and has a wingspan of 15 cm. Approximately, it weighs 1.5 grams (1/20 ounce).
Smallest Mammal in the World
South of Palawan, lies the Balabac Island, home of the world's smallest hoofed mammal - the Philippine mouse deer. Locally known as Pilandok (Tragalus nigricans), this ruminant stands only about 40 centimeters at the shoulder level.
In other countries, it is called chevrotain, or simply mouse deer. Contrary to its name, pilandok is not a member of the deer family. It belongs to the family Tragulidae in the mammalian order Artiodactyla. The male species has no antlers like those of a real deer. Instead, it uses its large tusk-like canine teeth on its upper jaw for self-defense; in the same way a deer uses its antlers.
Aside from the Pilandok, other mouse deer species include the Malay mouse deer or napu and the African water chevrotain. They are found in Southeast Asia, Sri Lanka, and India. While the mouse deer are widely distributed across Asia, their dwindling population has alarmed the World Conservation Union, which declared them as endangered in 1996.
Smallest Monkey in the World
In many respects, the Philippine tarsier (Tarsius syrichta) is different from other animals. 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. Because of this, the Philippine tarsier has learned to turn its head 180 degrees. It has also two grooming claws on each foot and an almost bald tail extending about nine inches.
Found in the islands of Samar, Leyte, Bohol and Mindanao, the Philippine tarsier got its name from its elongated tarsus bone. An ordinary tarsier weighs between 117 and 134 grams. It is able to move between trees by leaping as far as three meters. It also has keen senses of hearing and sight.
Today, there are only about 1,000 tarsiers inhabiting the wilds of Corella town in Bohol province where the biggest concentration of these rare animals was once reported. Ensuring the continued existence of the Philippine tarsiers is the Philippine Tarsier Foundation Inc.
Smallest Fish in the World
The world's smallest freshwater fish is found in the Philippines. The dwarf goby (Pandaka pygmaea) measures 1.2 centimeters or less than half of an inch, the tiniest known vertebrate. American Ichthyologist Albert Herre first discovered it in Malabon River in 1925.
The Philippines is also the home of sinarapan, the world's smallest commercial fish. Sinarapan, scientifically known as Mistichthys luzonensis, is a goby found only in Lakes Bato and Buhi in Camarines Sur province. Sinarapan grows to an average length of 1.25 centimeters, only slightly longer than the dwarf goby. Today, unabated fishing in the two lakes threatens the population of sinarapan.
Smallest Shell in the World
Pisidum, the world's tiniest shell, can be found under Philippine waters. Pisidum measures less than 1 millimeter long.
Smallest Town in Terms of Population
The town of Kalayaan, a group of small islands in the Pacific Ocean west of Palawan province, had the smallest population among municipalities at 223 as of 2000.
Smallest Painting in the Philippines
Miniaturist Norris Castillo created what is perhaps the smallest piece of painting in the country. Known as "the Harvest", the oil-on-canvas painting measures 1/4 inches in width and 3/8 inches in length. It is now exhibited at the National Museum. Castillo claimed that he has created more than 10,000 pieces of painting. (Source: Panorama magazine)
Smallest Province in the Philippines
The smallest province in the Philippines is Batanes, with only a total land area of 209 square kilometers.