The Republic of the Philippines P is an island nation consisting of an archipelago of 7,107 islands lying in the tropical western Pacific Ocean about 100 kilometers southeast of mainland Asia. The country is the only predominantly Catholic nation in Asia and one of the most westernized. Spain and the United States, who have both colonized the country, have been the two biggest influences on Philippine culture—a unique a blend of Asia and the West.

The Philippines used to be one of the most developed countries in Asia following World War II, but has lagged behind other countries because of poor economic growth and a widespread perception of corruption. Currently, the country enjoys a moderate economic growth, buoyed by remittances by its large overseas Filipino workforce and increased investments due to a fast-developing Information Technology industry and cheap labor in other sectors. The country's major problems are a significant Muslim separatist movement in Mindanao and the ongoing problem of corruption in the government.

The Philippine Islands lie between 116░ 40' and 126░ and 34' E. longtitude, and 4░ 40' and 21░ 10' N. latitude. 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 is the Malaysian part of Borneo, to the east at 7.5░ N. latitude, on the eastern side of the Philippine Sea is Palau and directly north is Taiwan.

Republika ng Pilipinas
(In Detail) (In Detail)
National motto: Maka-Diyos, Maka-Tao, Makakalikasan at Makabansa'' (Filipino: “For Love of God, People, Nature and Country”)
Official languages:Filipino and English
Largest City:Quezon City
President:Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
 - Total:
 - % water:
Ranked 70th
300,000 km▓
 - Total (2000):
 - Density:
Ranked 13th
Independence Declared: June 12, 1898
Recognized: July 4, 1946
Currency: 1 peso (piso) = 100 centavos (sentimo).
ISO 4217 code—PHP.
Time zone: UTC +8
National anthem: Lupang Hinirang (Beloved Land)
Internet TLD:.PH
Calling Code63

Table of contents
1 History
2 Politics
3 Regions and Provinces
4 Geography
5 Economy
6 Demographics
7 Culture
8 Miscellaneous Topics
9 External Links


Main article: History of the Philippines

The Philippines had been home to a greatly diverse population, trading with China and the Indonesian archipelago for many centuries when the first Europeans arrived, led by Ferdinand Magellan, in 1521. The Spanish claimed and colonized the islands and named it after Philip II. Catholicism was introduced into the islands, although unsuccessfully in Mindanao, while trade was mostly with New Spain (Mexico) across the Pacific.

The country opened up during the 19th century with the rise of a Filipino middle class whose sons studied in Europe and enlightened Filipinos through the Propaganda Movement to the injustices of the Spanish colonial government. JosÚ Rizal, the most famous propagandist, was arrested and executed in 1896 by the Spanish government for acts of subversion. Soon after, the Philippine Revolution broke out, pioneered 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 year Spain and the United States fought the Spanish-American War, after which Spain sold the Philippine Islands to the United States. The Filipinos had by then 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 post-war problems; civil unrest during the unpopular dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos, ousted in 1986; and later, an increasing problem of Muslim separatists in Mindanao.


Main article: Politics of the Philippines

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 or she 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 terms.

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 the president.

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), 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

Main articles: Regions and Provinces of the Philippines

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.


¹ Names are capitalised because they are acronyms, containing the names of the constituent provinces or cities (see Acronyms in the Philippines).


Main article: Geography of the Philippines

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.


Main article: Economy of the Philippines

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.


Main article: Demographics of the Philippines

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.

A total of one hundred seventy-two native languages and dialects are spoken, all belonging to the Austronesian linguistic family. Foreign languages spoken include English, Chinese (Mandarin and Hokkien), Arabic (especially among the Muslim population), and Spanish (with its local creole, Chavacano).

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, education and commerce.


Main article: Culture of the Philippines

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 30 Bonifacio Day Andres Bonifacio
December 25 Christmas Day Araw ng Pasko
December 30 Rizal Day José Rizal
December 31 New Year's Eve

Miscellaneous Topics

External Links

Official Sites

News Sites

Other Sites

Countries of the world  |  Asia
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