As the Filipino people bade farewell to the old year on Dec. 31, they also began using a new calendar for the next 365 days.
Every Christmas season signals the advent of a new year, probably the most common gift given away by people, especially those in business, is the calendar.
And most probably too, the recipient may consider the "gift as noting special but just pieces of paper containing the list of the dozen months and 52 weeks comprising the incoming year."
The fact is that a calendar, no matter how simple it maybe, is among the very few gifts that usually last throughout the year - from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31. It is indeed very useful in people's day-to-day existence. This is why families, even the poorest ones maybe, are sure to keep a calendar at home.
The dictionary defines calendar as "a systematic arrangement of subdivisions of time, as years, months, weeks, days, etc.; an almanac; a schedule or list of things or events classified or chronology arranged."
One such calendar that I found very useful and helpful is the 2017 Mercury Drug Corporation calendar marking 72 years of its "Helping Keep the Nation Healthy: The Spirit of Service Continues."
Aside from the year's table of months, weeks and days, the 2017 Mercury Drug calendar carries the pictures of current President Rodrigo R. Duterte and his 15 predecessors, as well as the country's latest map containing its 18 regions and 81 provinces.
The past Philippine leaders featured in the calendar are (from the most recent) former Presidents Benigno S. Aquino III (June 30, 2010-June 30, 2016); Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (Jan. 20, 2001-June 30, 2010); Joseph Ejercito Estrada (June 30, 1998-Jan. 20, 2001); Fidel V. Ramos (June 30, 1992-June 30, 1998); the late Corazon C. Aquino ) (Feb. 25, 1986-June 30, 1992); , Ferdinand E. Marcos (Dec. 30, 1965-Feb. 25, 1986) Diosdado Macapagal (Dec. 30, 1961-Dec. 30, 1965); Carlos P. Garcia (March 18, 1957-Dec. 30, 1961); Ramon Magsaysay (Dec. 30, 1953-March 17, 1957); Elpidio Quirino (April 17, 1948-Dec. 30, 1953); Manuel Roxas (May 28, 1946-April 15, 1948); Sergio Osmena Sr. (Aug. 1, 1944-May 28, 1946); Jose P. Laurel (Oct. 14, 1943-Aug. 17, 1945); Manuel L. Quezon (Nov. 15, 1935-Aug. 1, 1944); and Emilio F. Aguinaldo (Jan. 23, 1899-April 1, 1901).
Mercury Drug Corporation said all data and information contained by the calendar are accurately based on researches conducted by the Malacanang Museum.
Meanwhile, the map shows that the Philippines currently consists of 81 provinces, 145 cities, both chartered and components ones, 1,489 municipalities or towns, 4,036 barangays, and 7,107 islands.
Based on data from the Philippine Statistics Authority or PSA, the country had a total population of 100,981,437 as of 2015.
One of the country's 18 regions is the Metropolitan Manila or National Capital Region (NCR) which is composed of 16 cities and one municipality: Caloocan, Las Pinas, Makati, Malabon, Mandaluyong, Manila, Marikina, Muntinlupa, Navotas, Paranaque, Pasay, Pasig, Quezon, San Juan, Taguig, Valenzuela, and the lone town of Pateros.
The country's youngest province is Davao Occidental which belongs to Davao or Region 11.
The latest regional cluster is the Negro Island Region (NIR) which was formed by weaning and merging Negros Occidental from Region 6 or Western Visayas and Negros Oriental from Region 7 or Central Visayas.
The 16 other regions and their respective provincial components are:
-- Cordillera Administrative Region or CAR - Abra, Apayao, Benguet (including BaguIo City), Ifugao, Kalinga, Mountain Province.
-- Region 1 or Ilocos - Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Pangasinan.
-- Region 2 or Cagayan Valley - Batanes, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino.
-- Region 3 or Central Luzon - Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac, Zambales.
-- Region 4-A or CALABARZON - Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon.
-- Region 4-B or MIMAROPA - Mindoro Occidental, Mindoro Oriental, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan.
-- Region 5 or Bicol - Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Mabate, Sorsogon.
-- Region 6 or Western Visayas - Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, Iloilo.
-- Region 7 or Central Visayas - Bohol, Cebu, Siquijor.
-- Region 8 or Eastern Visayas - Biliran, Eastern Samar, Leyte, Northern Samar, Samar, Southern Leyte.
-- Region 9 or Zamboanga Peninsula - Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga Sibugay.
-- Region 10 or Northern Mindanao - Bukidnon, Camiguin, Lanao del Norte, Misamis Occidental, Misamis Oriental.
-- Region 11 or Davao - Compostela Valley, Davao del Norte, Davao Occidental, Davao del Sur (including Davao City), Davao Oriental.
Region 12 or SOCCSKSARGEN - North Cotabato, Sarangani, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat.
Region 13 or CARAGA - Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur.
-- Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao or ARMM -- Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi.
Source: Philippines News Agency