Charlene Gonzales-Muhlach became a media darling in the mid-nineties when, as the representative of the Philippines in the Miss Universe 1994 pageant (which was held in Manila), she was asked how many islands the country has. She answered sassily, “High-tide or low-tide?” She then gave the answer we all knew: 7,107. But that may no longer apply as the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA) has discovered 400 more islands, bringing the total to 7,507.
The news was announced by Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Ramon Paje at a speech at the Philippine Environment Summit.
NAMRIA discovered the additional islands, mostly in Mindanao, using interferometric synthetic aperture radar (IFSAR) technology, which they conducted in 2013.
The NAMRIA is the assigned agency to provide map-making services to the public. They are also in charge of maps, charts, texts and statistics of natural resources.
According to Jose Cabanayan Jr., deputy administrator of NAMRIA, for a landmass to be considered an island, it has to be above sea level and high tide at any given time, and has to be able to support plant or animal life, or both.
The agency has finished ground validation for Luzon, and will work on Visayas next. Ground validation for Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao will be completed by the end of the year.
The Philippines’ unique landscape is composed of 7,107 islands. However, only 2,000 islands are inhabitable and have names.
How many islands will they discover next? Share your guess below!