MANILA, Philippines -- More than 15 million Filipinos were estimated to have joined Earth Hour on Saturday night and a total of 647 cities and town participated, making the Philippines number one among all the countries that joined the global event, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Philippine representative said on Sunday.
"Earth Hour Philippines is an astounding success," said Yeb Sano, WWF Philippines campaign manager, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer by phone.
Sano said the country ranking was based on the initial reports of WWF offices the world over.
Greece was second with 484 participating towns and cities.
Sano said the WWF Philippines noted a "very significant drop" in power consumption during Earth Hour but that the group was still "validating exact figures" from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.
Earth Hour was a global effort encouraging people from all over the world to turn off electricity from 8:30 to 9:30 pm to raise awareness about the effects of climate change and global warming.
Only a million Filipinos were estimated to have joined the 2008 Earth Hour and the 10-fold jump in the number of participants in 2009 was attributed by Sano to the Filipinos' increasing awareness about climate change and its effects.
Sano added that WWF also stepped up its campaign for the 2009 Earth Hour.
He said the group networked with several other non-government organizations, government agencies, schools, a thousand private corporations as well as the media, which proved to be an effective strategy to disseminate information about Earth Hour.
Sano said WWF Philippines was still gathering data as reports from various parts of the country continued to come in as of Sunday afternoon.