Why is the Philippines Called the Pearl of the Orient Sea?

The Philippines is known for its incredible landscape, delicious fruits, unique culture, and diverse weather.

However, have you ever wondered why this remarkable place is called the Pearl of the Orient Sea?

The phrase is widely known worldwide, but its definition can be challenging.

Being a travel enthusiast, I quickly became intrigued with this “saying” and decided to research the topic. 

Since the 1750s, the Philippines has been called the “Pearl of the Orient Sea” (Perla del Mar de Oriente) because of its elegant organic beauty. This term originated from the thought of Jose Rizal in his last poem Mi último adios.

It shows people back in the 1700s believed this archipelagic country was incredible.

This article will dive deeper into the meaning of “Pearl of the Orient Sea.”

You’ll be surprised that many other locations in Asia are also referred to as this phrase, so let’s find out who and why. 

What Else Does Pearl of the Orient Sea Refer to? 

As mentioned above, various other locations in Asia are also referred to as the Pearl of the Orient Sea.

See below to understand further why these areas have such an extravagant name. 



Located on the largest island in the Philippines is the capital, Manila.

Manila has been crowned the Pearl of the Orient Sea since its development because of its picturesque location and remarkable sunsets. 

Manila was deemed the most beautiful city in Asia until the Second World War.

However, after Asia attacked Warsaw in Poland during the war, destruction soon came from the U.S. forces.

The repercussions of attacking Poland were rather devastating for the nation.

When the U.S. retaliated with their carpet-bombing technique and house-to-house fighting, Manila quickly became flattened and stripped from its beauty. 

But since then, they have been returning this picturesque city to its original state. You’ll be surprised at how cheap it is to visit a city of this caliber.

Although they’re home to many fast-food chains worldwide, such as McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell, you can expect to pay a fraction of the price in Manila.  


On the central coast of China is Shanghai. This is another city that’s deemed the Pearl of the Orient Sea because of its pleasant climate, vibrant cultural scenes, and thriving commercial centers.

Shanghai brings in a lot of the country’s overall revenue and is home to one of the busiest ports in the entire world.

It’s estimated that the port makes roughly 5.2 billion dollars each year.

The reason this port established itself so well was during the coal era.

Around 90% of all the coal harvested worldwide was from China, making this port a vital connection point for many countries. 

However, now the coal times are slowly dying out, China has made itself prominent in the manufacturing industry for many years.

Therefore, the port continues to grow, making it a valuable asset to the country. 

Hong Kong

Since 1997 when the British colony handed back this city to the Peoples Republic of China (PRC), it has been known as the Pearl of the Orient Sea.

As you can grasp from this post, countries, cities, or any location deemed Pearl of the Orient Sea must look aesthetically pleasing. 

So, as you can imagine, Hong Kong was labeled this because of its beauty within the city.

Nowadays, it’s tightly packed with tall, high-rise buildings that tower over people below. During the day, this can look like an eye saw, but at night, a completely different story.

As the sun sets and the skyscrapers light up, you’re transformed into a dreamy city full of color. 


Next on the list is Penang Island, and it is highly known to be a great tourist attraction, honeymoon vacation, and long-term living space.

The locals of this island crowned it the Pearl of the Orient Sea due to the multitude of different visitors it attracts. 

This highly cultural island has beautiful beaches, rice fields, and exotic fruits.

It’s a rich land known by many worldwide and will continue to increase in popularity.

This Pearl of the Orient Sea is worth considering if you’re looking for a getaway that encounters soft sandy beaches, delicious food, and some rather interesting cultural sites. 


Saigon, newly known as Ho Chi Minh City, is located in South Vietnam, and it’s a luscious city filled with beauty and entertainment.

From 1954 to 1975, Saigon was known as the Pearl of the Orient Sea because it held joy and magnificence inside the city. 

However, this was only short-lived due to the communist taking over Saigon and renaming it Ho Chi Minh City.

Soon after the transfer, the communist started to undo the city and destroy everything the South Asians built.

Because of this, the reputation of this city has rapidly declined, and the locals have stripped it from the name Pearl of the Orient Sea. 

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has many nicknames: the teardrop of India, the Dharma, Ceylon, the Resplendent Island, and course, the Pearl of the Orient Sea.

Sri Lanka is filled with rich culture and history from the beginning.

Within this maritime country in Asia, there is an abundance of seamless blends of religion, city, and beaches, making it the perfect place for any travel enthusiast to visit. 


Goa is a state in western India, and it has been named the Pearl of the Orient Sea because of its countless natural beauties.

Many people are unaware of this location, but it is a trendy holiday destination for many people in India and Russia. 

It’s home to beautifully sun-kissed beaches, cashew plantations, prominent historical forts, Portuguese cathedrals, spice farms, festivals, and much more.

The state of Goa is genuinely remarkable, packed with cultural aspects, and flourishing with extraordinary scenery. 


As you can see from the above, many countries, islands, and cities named the Pearl of the Orient Sea.

Although located in different areas within Asia, they all share the same characteristics to gain this title.

This is because they’re all packed with visually pleasing sights, culture, and much other exotic wildlife that comes along with this type of climate. 

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