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Republic of the Philippines

Republika ng Pilipinas
Flag of the Philippines
Location of  Philippines  (green)in ASEAN  (dark grey)  —  [Legend]
Location of  Philippines  (green)

in ASEAN  (dark grey)  —  [Legend]

Capital Manila
Official languages Filipino (based on Tagalog)
Demonym(s) Filipino/Filipina
Government Unitary presidential constitutional republic
• President
Benigno Aquino III (LP)
Jejomar Binay (PDP-Laban)
Juan Ponce Enrile (PMP)
Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. (LP)
Maria Lourdes A. Sereno
Legislature Congress
House of Representatives
April 27, 1565
• Declared
June 12, 1898
March 24, 1934
July 4, 1946
February 2, 1987
• Land
299,764 km2 (115,740 sq mi) (72nd)
• Water (%)
0.61%[2] (inland waters)
• 2010 estimate
94,013,200 [3] (12th)
• 2007 census
• Density
306.6/km2 (794.1/sq mi) (43rd)

The Philippines is an archipelago country with around 7,000 islands. It is in the Pacific Ocean and about 100 kilometers southeast from Asia. Spain (1521-1898) and the United States (1898-1946), colonized (controlled) the country. The Philippines, South Korea, and East Timor are the only nations in East Asia where most people practice Christianity. The Philippines achieved independence after United States left in 1946.

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. On the eastern side of the Philippine Sea is Palau.


Human fossils were found proving that many people settled in the Philippines for thousands of years. The Negritos crossed prehistoric land or ice to settle in the islands' land. Many groups of Austronesian people began to come to the Philippines in the first millennium, pushing the aboriginal population into the interior or perhaps absorbing them through intermarriage.

Chinese merchants arrived in the 8th century. The rise of powerful Buddhist kingdoms enabled trade with the Indonesian archipelago, India, Japan and Southeast Asia. Factional fighting among the kingdoms of Southeast Asia weakened their strength. In the meantime, the spread of Islam through commerce and proselytism, much like Christianity, brought traders and missionaries into the region; Arabs set foot in Mindanao in the 14th century. When the first Europeans arrived, led by Ferdinand Magellan in 1521, there were rajahs as far north as Manila, who historically were tributaries of the kingdoms of Southeast Asia. However, the islands were essentially self-sufficient and self-ruling.

The Spanish led by Conquistador Miguel Lopez de Legazpi claimed and colonized the islands in the 16th century and named it Filipinas after King Felipe II. Roman Catholicism was immediately introduced. The Philippines was ruled from New Spain (Mexico) and a trade began in the 18th century began using galleons across the Pacific Ocean. Some rebellions and violence started in the towns near the ocean and during the next three centuries because of some unfairness of the government.

In 1781, Governor José Basco y Vargas founded the Economic Society of Friends of the Country to make the Philippines independent of New Spain.

The country opened up during the 19th century. The rise of an ambitious, more nationalistic Filipino middle class and the Chinese mestizo community, signaled the end of Spanish colonialism in the islands. Enlightened by the Propaganda Movement to the injustices of the Spanish colonial government, they asked for independence. Jose Rizal, the most famous propagandist, was arrested and put to death in 1896 for acts of subversion. Soon after, the Philippine Revolution broke out, led by the Katipunan, a secret revolutionary society founded by Andres Bonifacio and later led by Emilio Aguinaldo. The revolution nearly succeeded in ousting the Spanish by 1898.

That same year Spain and the United States fought the Spanish-American War, after which Spain gave up the Philippines to the United States for US$20 million. The Filipinos had declared independence by that time and the assertion of American control led to the Philippine-American War that officially ended in 1901, but fighting continued well into 1913. Between 1899 and 1913 the American-Philippines war waged, about one million Philippines and well over 5500 American soldiers (including missionaries& private contractors, military families) lost their lives, tens of thousands more were wounded. Most of the Philippine's casualties came from starvation, injuries, diseases, lack of clean living. Hostilities continued until 1914 when Philippines was promised future independence.

President William McKinley was killed by anarchist Leon Czolgosz because Czolgosz believed president McKinley was against good working people, he considered McKinley responsible for falsifying the reasons for the war, and approving and waging an illegal, devastating Philippines war.

The American regime imposed the English language as the lingua franca in the islands through free public education. The status of the country was turned into that of a US commonwealth in 1935, which provided for more self-governance.

Independence was finally given in 1946, after the World War II. The years right after that had many post-war problems. People were also not happy during the unpopular dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos, who was made to leave the presidency in 1986. Later, the continuing problem of communist insurgency and Moro separatism.


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. 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 Provinces

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).

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).


Region Designation Regional center
Ilocos Region Region I San Fernando, La Union
Region II Central Luzon Region III San Fernando, Pampanga
CALABARZON ¹ Region IV-A Calamba, 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 Davao Region Region XI Davao City
SOCCSKSARGEN ¹ Region XII Koronadal, South Cotabato
Caraga Region XIII Butuan
Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao ARMM Cotabato City
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 7,107 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. In the Visayas, Cebu City is the largest city. In Mindanao, Davao City is the largest city.

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 taking 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.[6]


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%.[7]

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. 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 by Filipinos.


Before the Spanish arrived, the Filipinos did not think of themselves as one culure. Most of the Philippines were Buddhist, Muslim and Hindu empires. 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 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.[8] 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 which of Malay tradition. And most of Filipino cuisine is also, of Malay influence for the most part.[9]

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.


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 small percentage of the people are Protestants (many diverse Christian denominations) (17%), Members Church of God International (3%), Iglesia ni Cristo (2%), Muslims (5-10%), Buddhists (2%). There are also some Hindus and some other minor religions with fewer adherents (with 6.6%).

Other pages

Other websites

Official websites



  1. "Republic Act No. 8491". Republic of the Philippines. Archived from the original on 2007-12-05. Retrieved 2008-09-30. Link was revisited on November 19, 2010
  2. 2.0 2.1 Central Intelligence Agency. (2009-10-28). "East & Southeast Asia :: Philippines". The World Factbook. Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved 2009-11-07.
  3. Department of Economic and Social Affairs Population Division (2010). National Statistics Office 2000 Census-based Population Projection. 2010 revision. Philippine National Statistics Office. Retrieved 2011-05-21.
  4. United Nations Development Programme. (2011). Table 1 – Human Development Index and its components. Human Development Report 2010 – The Real Wealth of Nations: Pathways to Human Development. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 9780230284456 90101.
  5. Lucas, Brian. (August 2005). "Which side of the road do they drive on?". Retrieved 2009-02-22.
  7. IMF, Report for Selected Countries and Subjects

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