The Philippines is an island country in Southeast Asia in the Pacific Ocean. It has 7,641 islands. Spain (1521-1898) and the United States (1898-1946), colonized (controlled) the country and Palau, which is on the eastern side of the Philippine Sea. The capital city of the Philippines is Manila.
Republic of the Philippines
Republika ng Pilipinas (Filipino)
"Maka-Diyos, Maka-Tao, Makakalikasan at Makabansa"
"For God, People, Nature, and Country"
Anthem: Lupang Hinirang
|Largest city||Quezon City|
|Recognized regional languages|
|Other recognized languages||Official and national sign languageb|
Filipino Sign Language
|Ethnic groups |
(masculine or neutral)
(colloquial masculine or neutral)
|Government||Unitary presidential constitutional republic|
|Vicente Sotto III|
|Lord Allan Velasco|
|House of Representatives|
|Formation of the republic|
|June 12, 1898|
|December 10, 1898|
|January 21, 1899|
|March 24, 1934|
|May 14, 1935|
|July 4, 1946|
|February 2, 1987|
|300,000 km2 (120,000 sq mi) (72nd)|
• Water (%)
|0.61 (inland waters)|
• 2015 census
|336/km2 (870.2/sq mi) (47th)|
|GDP (PPP)||2020 estimate|
|$933.913 billion (27th)|
• Per capita
|GDP (nominal)||2020 estimate|
|$367.362 billion (31st)|
• Per capita
|Gini (2015)|| 40.1|
medium · 44th
|HDI (2017)|| 0.699|
medium · 113th
|Currency||Peso (₱) (PHP)|
|Time zone||UTC+8 (PST)|
• Summer (DST)
|UTC+8 (not observed)|
|ISO 3166 code||PH|
The Philippine Islands are surrounded on the east by the Philippine Sea, on the west by the South China Sea, and on the south by the Celebes Sea. Borneo island is a few hundred kilometers to the southwest, Vietnam is to the west, and Taiwan is directly north.
The government of the Philippines, is similar to the Government of the United States of America. The President of the Philippines works as the head of state, the head of government, and the commander in chief of the Military of the Philippines and the armed forces. The president is elected by voting just as in America except by popular vote as there is no electoral voting. He stays as the president for 6 years. He is the leader of the cabinet.
The bicameral Philippine legislature, the Congress of the Philippines, consists of the Senate of the Philippines and the House of Representatives of the Philippines; members of both are elected by popular vote. There are 24 senators serving 6 years in the Senate while the House of Representatives consists of no more than 250 congressmen each serving 3-year terms.
The judiciary branch of the government is headed by the Supreme Court of the Philippines, which has a Chief Justice as its head and 14 Associate Justices, all appointed by the president.
The Philippines is a founding and prominent member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). It is also an active participant of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), a member of the Group of 24 and one of the 51 founding members of the United Nations on October 24, 1945.
Regions and StatesEdit
Local Government. The parts of Philippines are "local government units" (LGUs). The province is the top unit. There are 79 provinces in the country (2002). In the provinces there are cities and municipalities (towns). In these municipalities there are smaller barangays (villages). The barangay is the smallest local government unit.
All provinces are in 17 regions for administration (organisation). Most government offices have regional offices for the provinces. The regions do not have a separate local government, except for the Muslim Mindanao and Cordillera regions, which have their own power (autonomous government).
|Ilocos Region||Region I||San Fernando, La Union|
|Cagayan Valley||Region II||Tuguegarao, Cagayan|
|Central Luzon||Region III||San Fernando, Pampanga|
|CALABARZON ¹||Region IV-A||Laguna, Quezon|
|MIMAROPA ¹||Region IV-B||Calapan, Oriental Mindoro|
|Bicol Region||Region V||Legazpi, Albay|
|Western Visayas||Region VI||Iloilo City|
|Central Visayas||Region VII||Cebu City|
|Eastern Visayas||Region VIII||Tacloban|
|Zamboanga Peninsula||Region IX||Pagadian, Zamboanga del Sur|
|Northern Mindanao||Region X||Cagayan de Oro|
|Davao Region||Region XI||Davao City|
|SOCCSKSARGEN ¹||Region XII||Koronadal, South Cotabato|
|Cordillera Administrative Region||CAR||Baguio|
|National Capital Region||NCR||Manila|
¹ Names are capitalized because they are acronyms, containing the names of the constituent provinces or cities.
The Philippines has 7,701 islands. Together there are about 300,000 square kilometers of land. The islands are in three groups: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Luzon is the largest island and Mindanao is the second largest. The Visayas are the group of islands in the central part of the Philippines. The busy port of Manila, on Luzon, is the country's capital and it is the second-largest city after Quezon City. Cebu City and Davao City are the largest cities in Visayas and Mindanao, respectively.
The climate is hot, humid (there is a lot of water in the air), and tropical. The average temperature all year is around 26.5 °Celsius. Filipinos usually say there are three seasons: Tag-init or Tag-araw (the hot season or summer from March to May), Tag-ulan (the rainy season from June to November), and Tag-lamig (the cold season from December to February).
The Philippines is in the Pacific Ring of Fire (zone of frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions). Most of the mountainous islands had a lot of tropical rainforests a long time ago. They started as volcanoes. The highest place is Mount Apo on Mindanao at 2,954 m. Many volcanoes in the country, for example Mount Mayon, are active. The country also has about 19 typhoons per year.
Taal Volcano is an island in Taal Lake. It is in an ancient caldera in Batangas Province. It is about 2 hours by bus going south from Manila. The jump-off point in Talisay is suitable for day trips and overnighters.
There are many environmental problems in the Philippines. One of them is overfishing in many areas, which lead to pitiful catches. Another problem is that only ten percent of sewage is treated and cleaned, while the other 90% is dumped back to nature and the ocean, which leads to pollution. Deforestation is a serious problem, and after decades of cutting down forests, illegal logging and forest fires, there is only 3% left of original forest cover. Forest losses have also affected the Philippines with serious soil erosion, which is threatening the Philippines biodiversity.
The Philippines is a developing country. In 1998 the Philippine economy — a mixture of agriculture, light industry, and support services — deteriorated because of the effects of the Asian financial crisis and poor weather conditions. The economy's growth fell to 0.6% in 1998 from 5% in 1997, but recovered to about 3% in 1999 and 4% in 2000. As of 2012, it's estimated at 6.6%.
The government has promised to continue its economic reforms to help the Philippines match the pace of development in the newly industrialized countries of Southeast Asia. The strategies are improving infrastructure, fixing the tax system to help the government income, supporting deregulation (to remove government control) and privatization of the economy, and increasing trade within the region. Future prospects depend heavily on the economic performance of the three major trading partners, China, the United States and Japan.
Around 94 million people live in the Philippines as of 2010. Most people in the Philippines are of Austronesian stock. The ethnic Chinese, who have helped run businesses since the 9th century, also live in the country. Its now 105 million people there. The Negritos live in the mountains of Luzon and Visayas. Luzon has a lot of mestizo people, a Spanish term for someone of mixed Hispanic and native blood.
The people of the Philippines are known as Filipinos. Filipinos are divided into many groups, the three largest are the Tagalogs, Cebuanos, and the Ilocanos. When the Philippines was a colony, the term "Filipino" used to mean the Spanish and Spanish-mixed minority. But now everyone who is a citizen/national of the Philippines is called "Filipino". Even then, it is still has the most diverse ethnic groups in Asia, the other being Indonesia. People also call Filipinos "Pinoy" for short.
Filipino and English are the official languages. Filipino is based largely on Tagalog, a native language spoken in Metro Manila and neighboring provinces. The Filipino language, is a cousin of the Malay language. Other local languages and dialects are Cebuano and Ilocano and many others. English is used in government, schools and business. Other languages are Chinese which is spoken by the ethnic Chinese population and the Chinese-Filipinos. Most of the Muslims living deep in southern Mindanao and the smaller islands off of the southern Philippine mainland near Malaysia's northeastern tip. They also speak Arabic as a second language but to a very small extent. Spanish, once the official language of the Philippines in the 1970s is also spoken by a notable minority of Filipinos.
Before the Spanish arrived, the Filipinos did not think of themselves as one culture. Most of the Philippines were Buddhist, Muslim and Hindu. The Spaniards came in 1565, and brought with them Spanish culture. They soon spread to the islands making forts and schools, preaching Christianity, and converting most of the native people to the Catholic religion. When the United States colonized the islands in 1898, the Americans brought with them their own culture, which has the strongest influence up to now. This makes the Philippines the most Westernized country in eastern Asia. The Spanish culture in the Philippines though, is not directly from Spain but from Mexico, since the Philippines was ruled by Spain, through Mexico. It was governed from Mexico City which explains much of the Spanish influence in the Philippines that one could only find in Mexico and not in Spain. Also, the Spanish that was spoken in the Philippines was Mexican Spanish, not European Spanish. A lot of the foods in the Philippines can also be found in Mexico. Filipinos, as a tradition, usually eat with hands, like that of Malay tradition. And most of Filipino cuisine is also of Malay influence for the most part.
Each year major festivities called barrio fiestas are held. They commemorate the Patron saints of the towns, villages and regional districts. The festivities includes church services, street parades, fireworks displays, feasts, dance/music contests, and cockfights. Circumcision of males is a tradition and a big cultureal event, nearly 91,7% are circumcised.
Most of the people in the Philippines are Christians. About 92% of the people are Christians. Most people in the Philippines belong to the Roman Catholic faith (70%). A sizable percentage of the people are Protestants (many diverse Christian denominations) (17%), Iglesia ni Cristo (2%), Muslims (5-10%), Buddhists (2%). There are also some Hindus and some other minor religions with fewer adherents (6.6%).
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