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  • All right Palau. If you want the quick summary

  • once upon a time, there was a custody battle with a child between the US And Japan...

  • but also the Philippines too kind of.

  • And for some reasons, Spain and Germany were arguing.

  • And the baby was technically descended from Taiwan who had no claim over it.

  • It gave them a lot of money because they didn't want China to get too cozy.

  • And they make great barbecue.

  • *It's time to learn Geography NOW!*

  • Everyone, I'm your host Barbs.

  • Ah! I love Oceania. The world's least talked about an explored region.

  • Palau is a nation that's just starting to make its debut on the vacation getaway list.

  • People are now just starting to talk about it. Each island kind of tells a different story.

  • Let's jump into the map now, shall we?

  • Palau has gone through so much chaos.

  • And yet is still kind of... lucky.

  • Lucky in the sense that unlike their other Micronesia cousins.

  • Geographically, they kind of have a sweet spot close to the major landmasses.

  • For one, the country is located between the Philippine Sea and the North Pacific.

  • It is essentially the furthest western part of the Carolina islands...

  • ...and the Pacific Ocean region known as Micronesia.

  • Not to be confused with the Federated States of Micronesia...

  • ...which is a country within Micronesia. And it is the closest to major landmasses of Asia and Australasia.

  • The nation is just east of the Philippines, and north of the West Papua region of Indonesia shared with Papua, New Guinea

  • It is made up of over 340 Islands, some say as much as 500 if you include smaller rocks and islets.

  • The largest one being Babeldaob island, which holds the capital Melekeok, or "Ngerulmud".

  • Yeah, that's how you pronounce it, which is the least populated capital in the world with only about 400 people.

  • Cool capital building though. You can also find the largest airport. Most people fly into being Roman Tmetuchi International.

  • However, there are also small airstrips that serviced the Anguar and Peleliu islands.

  • Nonetheless, the largest city is Koror, which is on a separate island.

  • Just south of babble dub, which is where most of the commerce and action happens.

  • The country is further divided into sixteen states, each with their own little flag.

  • Don't forget these little islands way down south known as the Southwest islands also belonging to them as well.

  • The Hatohobei based state is the farthest one, made up of Tobi and the Hellen Reef.

  • The southernmost point nearly 400 miles or 640 kilometers from Babeldaob.

  • Populated by only about 43 people, making it the least populous first-level administration in the world.

  • Hellen Reef only has like three people living on it.

  • Most of the country is interconnected through a series of water taxis and ferries that hop between islands.

  • Malakal Harbor being the largest shipping port.

  • However, at about 68 kilometers or 38 miles, Babeldaob Island is the only one

  • with an extensive roadway network that goes all the way to cone lay, the northernmost point of the country.

  • Crossing over into core, the other Koror-Babeldaob Bridge.

  • Whereas to other islands, Meyungs and Malakal, are also connected the bridge.

  • Speaking of Palau geographic uniqueness,

  • It's also important to note that just like we mentioned in the Marshall Islands and Federated States of Micronesia episodes.

  • Palau is the third and final Compact of Free Association state with the USA.

  • What is compact free association?

  • Ken, explain.

  • A compact free association means that Palau ends Marshallese,

  • and Micronesians not only have access to certain US social services like mail, education

  • but there are also allowed to freely enter and move about the USA and live there with no issues.

  • Citizenship also comes easy if they wish to apply for it.

  • Annnnd...Thank you, Ken.

  • You'll notice a lot of the buildings and sites have plaques dedicated to the countries that have funded or invested in them.

  • The bridge was built by the Japanese

  • The capital was built by the Taiwanese, but inspired by Capitol Hill in Washington DC.

  • The list goes on.

  • Otherwise, I talked to some of you guys the Palau and geography,

  • (Yes, We have people from Palau that watch this show.)

  • And many of you gave me a list of notable places to check out. In case if you decide to visit.

  • Such as...

  • the National Museum,

  • the Etpison Museum,

  • the neural mud capital building,

  • the stone face monoliths of Ngarechlong,

  • the Tet el bad Stone coffin,

  • the Yapese quarries site sunken stone,

  • the Bloody nose ridge,

  • So many World War 2 Japanese sites, including a Shinto shrine,

  • Thousand man cave in Peleliu,

  • Milky Way rock islands,

  • the Kayangel Atoll,

  • Yeah, I can tell how there's kind of like a lot of World War 2 and Japanese stuff lingering around.

  • Yeah, we'll explain how it got that way in a sec.

  • But first! Let's go swimming with some non-poisonous jellyfish, shall we?

  • Yeah, they have a cool lake with non-poisonous jellyfish you can swim with it.

  • It's like one of their top tourist destinations.

  • However, due to overcrowding the government limits visits to avoid harming the fragile ecosystem.

  • And that's the thing, Palau is a front-runner in oceanic conservation efforts.

  • About 60% of it is marine area is protected territory.

  • We're getting a little ahead of ourselves though.

  • First off, Palau essentially sits right on the Ring of Fire at the Palau Trench...

  • ..., which is an offshoot crack near the Mariana Trench, not too far from Challenger Deep, the deepest oceanic depth discovered.

  • This is basically how the country formed as volcanic activity forged the islands we see today.

  • And along wispy speckled archipelago following the large Babeldaob island...

  • ...which is the second-largest island in Micronesia after Guam.

  • Most of the country is lush and green with tropical vegetation.

  • Most volcanic activity is extinct today. The tallest point Mountain ARELIS lies on Babel Dom

  • In fact, Babeldaob, of course, has all the other extreme physical points, like the largest lake.

  • Lake Ngardok, the largest freshwater lake in Micronesia.

  • There are many small rivers and streams that cross the country, the largest one feeding into the nara madhu bay like these three

  • but the largest one the nur Muskaan river from there the country smears into the ocean with small mostly uninhabited lush green islets and

  • Mangroves enclosed by a giant barrier reef as stretched as 490 square miles or 1260 square kilometers

  • This place is loaded with too many amazing natural sights

  • Like the rock island's a unesco heritage site a bunch of mushroom shaped bulbous islands that pop up out of the ocean like bubble wrap

  • Coral reefs and diving spots are everywhere and even underwater caves the most famous one being the chandelier cave at NarL

  • otherwise, even though the islands only make up about

  • 177 square miles or 460 square kilometers an area the nation's exclusive economic zone extends even further to about two hundred

  • Thousand square miles or over half a million square kilometers of ocean about the size of France in 2009

  • the government signed over about

  • 80% of which to become a marine reserve and the world's first shark sanctuary

  • A fully protected no-take zone in which things like mining and fishing cannot take place

  • although scuffles with their neighbours crossing into their waters have been

  • Documented an ocean pollution coming from said nations have also been an issue from time to time

  • Oh and keep in mind they are generally outside of the typhoon zone and don't usually get hit with them

  • the largest one was typhoon Haiyan in 2013

  • But it only did like a little damage to some houses and there are no fatalities or major injuries reported

  • All right, so that's just about it. It's time for my triple shot of espresso break, which means it's time for

  • Noah

  • My turn Palau is a tropical island nation, so of course no surprise you're gonna find some tropical stuff with their physical makeup

  • They're about 150 species of bird found in Palau

  • Including the national animal the fruit dove over 1,300 species of fish and 700 species of coral in terms of mammals

  • there are less than 20 species most of which are water mammals like dugongs and whales

  • Otherwise on land they have three main bat species including the endemic large Palau flying in the crab-eating macaque a monkey. Economically speaking

  • They're relatively better off than most Pacific island nations as the third wealthiest nation by GDP per capita in Oceania after Australia and New Zealand

  • Nation depends heavily on three main sectors

  • Subsistence agriculture fishing and most important one tourism which in itself makes about 80 percent of the GDP

  • Thanks to the various blessed of diving spots and white sand beaches Palau has become an international

  • Hotspot for visitors abroad over 80 percent of whom come from either Japan Taiwan in the u.s

  • Its employs about three-quarters of the workforce through the service sector the problem is there are more people coming in than the entire population

  • of Palau which in return it's caused a strain on the people's rush to sustain and accommodate in the long run as well as avoid

  • and environmental damage

  • this caused the government to take action and things like

  • Instigating a visa policy limiting the amount of flights and visitors as well as access to certain islands

  • Otherwise everyone's favorite food

  • Now in Palau the staple you can find with many dishes would most likely be either taro yams or tapioca

  • cooked in various ways

  • and of course

  • Fish we ask you guys the Palau and jogger peeps to give a list of some top notable dishes from Palau and some things you

  • Guys mentioned include things like Bell taco soup. Tea NOLA Lulu koi Lau and style. Hollow

  • Hollow fruit bat soup who Gaia and there are so many fruits like passion fruit papaya mango soursop and rambutans

  • And of course many Western and Asian dishes that permeated the mainstream gastronomy

  • You can find sushi burgers and pizza everywhere as well

  • Regardless of all the outside and influence of Palau and people have stuck close to their roots and built a nation that is specifically theirs

  • Which brings us to?

  • Now Palau is strange

  • It's like a kind of American II Japanese e-hybrid Micronesia and confusion fest with some Filipino sprinkled in for good luck

  • It's interesting to see how over time they kind of grew into what they are now

  • First of all, the country only has about 22,000 people and is the fourth least populated nation in the world

  • the country is made up of primarily people that identify with ethnically palawan a Micronesian people group at about 73% about

  • 17% are Filipinos and the rest are other groups mostly Asians and a few whites mostly Americans?

  • They use the US dollar as their currency

  • they use the types a and B plug outlets and they drive on the right side of the road now Palau is interesting because although

  • the majority of people speak either palawan or English

  • There are five official

  • which is including Sun Sol and Toby in spoken by about 600 people on the two islands of sunset all and Toby and the last

  • one

  • Japanese believe it or not. No

  • Yep, it's actually only official on the island of and waar making it the only place outside of Japan in which Japanese is an official

  • Language up to the state level. How did it get that way? Well, long story short world war two. It was kind of like

  • Alright you belong to us now start learning Japanese. Wait, what?

  • All right. Japan's out start learning English 9. You think they know today?

  • You can see Japanese written and spoken throughout much of the country even outside of a noir

  • Mostly by elders and de-facto speakers as a second language

  • it is taught as an elective in schools and used widely in the tourism industry to accommodate the influx of Japanese visitors the palau in

  • Language though is pretty interesting. It's classified as an Austronesian language

  • It only has ten consonants and six vowels and nobody even knows exactly where the language came from like

  • it's kind of Micronesian but not exactly the CH is just a Galano stop and makes no sound and the ng sometimes sounds like an

  • N can sometimes a hidden Val comes out of nowhere, even if it isn't written. It's confusing

  • Now what exactly makes a palawan palawan? Well, first of all, they are part of the broader

  • Micronesian ethnic group along with their siblings the marshalese Micronesians Colombians and mariana islanders

  • Let's put it this way if the pacific islands were family Palau and Guam would kind of be like the better off lucky

  • Outgoing more connected uncles they have access to international business

  • Whereas their cousins are a little more reserved and less engaging now despite the obvious influence from outside forces like the USA in Japan Palau

  • Still has retained its traditions and customs and with that. Here's random Hana with culture stuff dude. Nobody cares

  • wait, who are you I mean

  • Get out of here husband. Wait, why don't you just share the whole thing together?

  • Okay, it is believed that the original inhabitants Palau came from Austronesian settlers

  • They originated and what is now Taiwan about 4,500 to 5,000 years ago

  • Oke, and now you try the second part just read the teleprompter

  • Okay, Palau ins follow traditions and customs similar to their Micronesian cousins

  • For example, most societies are matrilineal following inheritance through the mother's side

  • Thank you

  • The Yap stones we discussed in the mine

  • aegeon episode were often carved and shipped out from plough some other aspects of pulao and culture include things like

  • Being heavy - where's of betelnut?

  • They have a firstborn child

  • Ceremony in traditional dances women will often wear orange and yellow colored grass skirts with stone bead necklaces and men might be seen wearing dugong

  • Vertebrae bracelets in baseball is the most commonly played sport

  • They won numerous Micronesian game titles and they were the champions of the 2007 Pacific games and baseball

  • Most Palau ones are here - a form of Christianity either Protestant or Roman Catholic

  • however

  • There is a syncretic sect called mone that fuses Christianity with tradition Palau and deities which is practiced by about 8%

  • Of the country if there were two symbols that epitomize palau an identity though

  • It would have to be the circle divided into four symbolizing wealth and the traditional thatched gable house known as the by

  • Elaborately decorated with painted carvings on the posts and walls these structures serve as community

  • Meeting houses and have been constructed before any Western or Eastern involvement. And now we move on to Keith with music

  • No one cares about or wants to see him on screen. What's wrong with Keith? He's a Gators fan Keith must die

  • By the way, I'm wearing a rush t-shirt. This shirt is awesome rush is my favorite band. I love Rush

  • That's my commentary on their band. So therefore they can't sue us for fair use music

  • And Palau is interesting because there are really no intellectual property laws or restrictions

  • So people can kind of just piggyback off of each other without any

  • Repercussions traditionally stick dances and percussion were and still are common especially during events in terms of mainstream modern music

  • Obviously due to the American and Japanese influence many songs from Palau include elements taken from each technique and style

  • They even have their own Palau style of country music

  • Thanks, Keith and Hannah even though Hannah's not here and now history and the quickest way

  • I can put it Austronesian sailor's most likely indigenous from Taiwan and Papua New Guinea come in they mixed together

  • Captain Henry Wilson shipwrecks on Long Island Europeans come in and meet the natives Prince goes to England but dies of smallpox

  • British give islands to Spain introducing Catholicism Spain sells it to Germany Japan invades and takes over in World War two u.s

  • Comes in and fights off Japanese. They become a trust territory of the US

  • 1994 compact free association with the US and independence and there we go

  • Pretty much some famous people you guys suggested we mention include people like Prince Lee boo Geraldo Malik, Gabriella and near mom Cooney

  • WA Nakamura Lisa Sunday Lazarus alley Peoria Koshiba Steve Patrice, Noah et

  • Al UB Messiah Kisha, Noel Kean and Kendall TTML. All right that just about sums up this segment

  • Now we need to pull out through the last segment of this episode. Shall we?

  • Now pull out may be small

  • but they have an interesting way of reaching out to the world a lot of people seem to want to come but they're kind of

  • Like a little inhibited and they kind of want to make sure that things don't get too crazy

  • Filipinos share the same former

  • Colonisation status under Spain and at one point was part of the Philippines for a short period of time under the first Philippine Republic

  • Before breaking away many filipinos live in Palau and the Palau accent even kind of sounds similar to Filipino English

  • The closest family members are of course their fellow Micronesians the Federated States of Micronesia

  • the Marshall Islands Guam and the Mariana Islands these guys culturally share the most in common and they love each other every so often they

  • Also visit each other as well Taiwan on the other hand is one of the few countries that they recognize as opposed to the People's

  • Republic of China they give lots of medical and education assistance to Palau that allows Palau to study in Taiwan