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The Republic of the Philippines is an island nation consisting of an
archipelago of 7,107 islands lying in the western Pacific Ocean about 100
kilometers southeast of mainland Asia. It is bordered on the east by the
Philippine Sea, on the west by the South China Sea, and on the south by the
Celebes Sea. To the south are found the Moluccas and Celebes in Indonesia,
to the southwest the Malaysian part of Borneo and directly north is Taiwan.
National motto: Isang Bansa, Isang
Diwa (One Nation, One Spirit)
languages: Filipino and English
Area Ranked 70th
Ê- Total: 300,000 km2
Ê- % water: 0.6%
Ê- Total Ranked 13th
Ê- Density: 276/km2
from Spain: June 12,
The Philippines had been home to a
greatly diverse population, trading Independence 1898
from United States:
with China and the Indonesian July 4, 1946
archipelago for many centuries when Currency: Peso (Piso) (PHP)
the first Europeans arrived, led by
Ferdinand Magellan, in 1521. The Time zone: UTC +8
Spanish claimed and settled the National Lupang Hinirang
islands and named them after king anthem: (Beloved Land)
Philip II. Trade was mostly with New
Spain across the Pacific, but the Internet TLD: .PH
country opened up during the 19th Calling Code 63
century when an independence movement,
led by Emilio Aguinaldo, nearly succeeded in ousting the Spanish by 1898.
That year Spain and the United States fought the Spanish-American War, after
which Spain transferred the Philippines to the US. The Philippines had
declared independence and the subsequent assertion of American control led
to the Philippine-American War that ended in 1913. Independence was finally
granted in 1946, after the Japanese had occupied the islands during World
War II. The following period was marred by civil unrest, the unpopular
dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos, who was ousted in 1986, and separatists in Mindanao.
National Government. The government of the Philippines, loosely patterned
after the American system, is organized as a representative republic, with
the president functioning as both head of state and government, as well as
being the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. The president is elected
by popular vote to a term of 6 years, during which he appoints and presides
over the cabinet.
The bicameral Philippine legislature, the Congress, consists of the Senate
and the House of Representatives; 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
The judiciary branch of the government is headed by the Supreme Court, which
has a Chief Justice as its head and 14 Associate Justices, all appointed by
International Relations. The Philippines is a prominent member of the
Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), being one of the founding
members. The nation is also an active participant of the Asia-Pacific
Economic Cooperation (APEC) and a member of the Group of 24.
Regions and Provinces
Local Government. The Philippines is divided into a hierarchy of local
government units (LGUs) with the province as the primary unit. As of 2002,
there are 79 provinces in the country. Provinces are further subdivided into
cities and municipalities, which are in turn, composed of barangays. The
barangay is the smallest local government unit.
All provinces are grouped into 17 regions for administrative convenience.
Most government offices establish regional offices to serve the constituent
provinces. The regions themselves do not possess a separate local
government, with the exception of the Muslim Mindanao and Cordillera
regions, which are autonomous.
Go to the articles on the regions and provinces to see a larger map showing
the locations of the regions and provinces.
* Ilocos Region (Region I)
* Cagayan Valley (Region II)
* Central Luzon (Region III)
* CALABARZON (Region IV-A) ¹
* MIMAROPA (Region IV-B) ¹
* Bicol Region (Region V)
* Western Visayas (Region VI)
* Central Visayas (Region VII)
* Eastern Visayas (Region VIII)
* Zamboanga Peninsula (Region IX)
* Northern Mindanao (Region X)
* Davao Region (Region XI)
* SOCCSKSARGEN (Region XII) ¹
* Caraga (Region XIII)
* Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM)
* Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR)
* National Capital Region (NCR) (Metro Manila)
¹ Names are capitalised because they are acronyms, containing the names
of the constituent provinces or cities.
The Philippines constitute an archipelago of 7,107 islands with a total land
area of approximately 300,000 km². The islands are commonly divided
into three groups: Luzon (Regions I to V + NCR & CAR), Visayas (VI to VIII),
and Mindanao (IX to XIII + ARMM). The busy port of Manila, on Luzon, is the
country's capital and second-largest city after Quezon City.
The local climate is hot, humid, and tropical. The average yearly
temperature is around 26.5¡ Celsius. Filipinos generally recognise 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).
Most of the mountainous islands used to be covered in tropical rainforests
and are volcanic in origin. The highest point is Mount Apo on Mindanao at
2,954 m. Many volcanoes in the country, such as the Pinatubo, are active.
The country is also astride the typhoon belt of the Western Pacific and is
struck by about 19 typhoons per year.
In 1998 the Philippine economy - a mixture of agriculture, light industry,
and supporting services - deteriorated as a result of spillover from the
Asian financial crisis and poor weather conditions. Growth fell to 0.6% in
1998 from 5% in 1997, but recovered to about 3% in 1999 and 4% in 2000. The
government has promised to continue its economic reforms to help the
Philippines match the pace of development in the newly industrialised
countries of East Asia.
The strategy includes improving infrastructure, overhauling the tax system
to bolster government revenues, furthering deregulation and privatisation of
the economy, and increasing trade integration with the region. Prospects for
the future depend heavily on the economic performance of the two major
trading partners, the United States and Japan.
The people of the Philippines are called Filipinos. They live a culture that
is a blend of Asian, Islamic, and Western cultures. Over 90% of the
population is ethnically Malay, descendants of immigrants from the
Indonesian archipelago, and the most significant ethnic minority group are
the Chinese, who have played an important role in commerce since the 9th
century. Small forest tribes live in the more remote areas of Mindanao.
The vast majority of the people are Christians (Roman Catholic 83%,
Protestant 9%) and most were converted and Westernised to varying degrees
during nearly 400 years of Western rule. A large Muslim minority (5%) exists
predominantly on the island of Mindanao and Buddhism and other faiths make
up the remainder.
Over a hundred native languages and dialects are spoken, all belonging to
the Austronesian linguistic family. Since 1939, in an effort to develop
national unity, the government has promoted the use of the official national
language, Filipino, which is based on Tagalog. Filipino is taught in all
schools and is gaining acceptance, particularly as a second language for a
diverse population. English is seen as the second official language and is
used extensively in government, (higher) education and commerce.
Date English Name Local Name Remarks
January 1 New Year's Day Bagong Taon
— Maundy Thursday Huwebes Santo Thursday, date varies
— Good Friday Biyernes Santo Friday, date varies
— Easter Linggo ng Pagkabuhay Sunday, date varies
April 9 Valour Day Araw ng Kagitingan
May 1 Labour Day Araw ng Manggagawa
June 12 Independence Day Araw ng Kalayaan
August 31 National Heroes' Day Araw ng mga Bayani
November 1 All Saints Day Todos los Santos
November 30Bonifacio Day — Andres Bonifacio
December 25Christmas Day Araw ng Pasko
December 30Rizal Day — JosŽ Rizal
December 31New Year's Eve —