|Philippines||Introduction||Back to Top|
Philippines, Republic of the, republic in the western Pacific Ocean, made up of the Philippine Islands and forming in physical geography a part of the Malay Archipelago. Situated about 1,210 km (750 mi) east of the coast of Vietnam, the Philippines are separated from Taiwan on the north by the Bashi Channel. The republic is bounded on the east by the Philippine Sea, on the south by the Celebes Sea, and on the west by the South China Sea. The country comprises about 7,100 islands, of which only about 460 are more than 2.6 sq km (1 sq mi) in area. Eleven islands have an area of more than 2,590 sq km (1,000 sq mi) each and contain the majority of the population. These islands are Bohol, Cebu, Leyte, Luzon, Masbate, Mindanao, Mindoro, Negros, Palawan, Panay, and Samar. The total area of the Philippines is about 300,000 sq km (115,830 sq mi). Manila is the capital and largest city of the Philippines.Official Name - Republic of the Philippines
|Philippines||Provinces||Back to Top|
73 provinces and 61 chartered cities*; Abra, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Aklan, Albay, Angeles*, Antique, Aurora, Bacolod*, Bago*, Baguio*, Bais*, Basilan, Basilan City*, Bataan, Batanes, Batangas, Batangas City*, Benguet, Bohol, Bukidnon, Bulacan, Butuan*, Cabanatuan*, Cadiz*, Cagayan, Cagayan de Oro*, Calbayog*, Caloocan*, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Camiguin, Canlaon*, Capiz, Catanduanes, Cavite, Cavite City*, Cebu, Cebu City*, Cotabato*, Dagupan*, Danao*, Dapitan*, Davao City* Davao, Davao del Sur, Davao Oriental, Dipolog*, Dumaguete*, Eastern Samar, General Santos*, Gingoog*, Ifugao, Iligan*, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Iloilo, Iloilo City*, Iriga*, Isabela, Kalinga-Apayao, La Carlota*, Laguna, Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Laoag*, Lapu-Lapu*, La Union, Legaspi*, Leyte, Lipa*, Lucena*, Maguindanao, Mandaue*, Manila*, Marawi*, Marinduque, Masbate, Mindoro Occidental, Mindoro Oriental, Misamis Occidental, Misamis Oriental, Mountain, Naga*, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, North Cotabato, Northern Samar, Nueva Ecija, Nueva Vizcaya, Olongapo*, Ormoc*, Oroquieta*, Ozamis*, Pagadian*, Palawan, Palayan*, Pampanga, Pangasinan, Pasay*, Puerto Princesa*, Quezon, Quezon City*, Quirino, Rizal, Romblon, Roxas*, Samar, San Carlos* (in Negros Occidental), San Carlos* (in Pangasinan), San Jose*, San Pablo*, Silay*, Siquijor, Sorsogon, South Cotabato, Southern Leyte, Sultan Kudarat, Sulu, Surigao*, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Tacloban*, Tagaytay*, Tagbilaran*, Tangub*, Tarlac, Tawitawi, Toledo*, Trece Martires*, Zambales, Zamboanga*, Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur.
|Philippines||People||Back to Top|
The people of the Philippines are called Filipinos. Their ancestors, who were of Malay stock, came from the southeastern Asian mainland as well as from what is now Indonesia. From the 10th century, contacts with China resulted in a group of mixed Filipino-Chinese descent, who account for a minority of the population. A small percentage of Chinese nationals also live in the country. Spanish-Filipinos and Filipino-Americans may be distinguished by their fairer complexion, taller stature, and aquiline nose structure. The relatively small numbers of emigrants from the Indian subcontinent added to the population's racial mixture. There are small numbers of resident U.S. nationals (excluding military personnel) and Spaniards. The aboriginal inhabitants of the islands were the Negritos, or Pygmies, also called Aetas or Balugas; they now constitute only a small percentage of the total population.
Estimates of the total number of native languages and dialects spoken in the Philippines differ, but scholarly studies suggest that there are some 70 of them. These languages are all closely related, belonging to the Austronesian (Malayo-Polynesian) family of languages. Traditionally, eight major linguistic groups are identified. These are (1) the Tagalog group, concentrated in Manila, central and south central Luzon, and the islands of Mindoro and Marinduque; (2) Cebuano, in Cebu, Bohol, eastern Negros, western Leyte, and parts of Mindanao; (3) Ilocano, dominant in many parts of northern Luzon; (4) Hiligaynon (Ilongo), spoken in parts of Panay and western Negros; (5) Bicol, spoken in southern Luzon and on the island of Catanduanes; (6) Waray–Waray, spoken in Samar and Leyte; (7) Pampango, spoken in parts of central Luzon; and (8) Pangasinan, spoken in central Luzon. Other notable languages are Magindanao and Maranao, spoken in parts of Mindanao, and Aklanon, spoken in Panay.
|Philippines||History||Back to Top|
The first humans in the Philippine Islands are thought to have come from China and the Malayan Archipelago some 250,000 years ago, during the Ice Age, but few remains from that time have been discovered. Afterward, other peoples migrated to the islands, among them Negritos, who probably arrived about 25,000 years ago.
In ancient times, the inhabitants of the Philippines were a diverse agglomeration of peoples who arrived in various waves of immigration from the Asian mainland and who maintained little contact with each other. The Philippines is the only nation in Southeast Asia that became subject to Western colonialism before it had had the opportunity to develop either a centralized government ruling over a large territory or an advanced elite culture. Chinese traders were known to have been resident from about AD 1000, and some cultural influences from South Asia, such as a Sanskrit-based writing system, were carried to the islands by the Indonesian empires of Srivijaya and Majapahit; but in comparison with other parts of the region, the influence of both China and India on the Philippines was of little importance. The peoples of the Philippine archipelago, unlike most of the other peoples of Southeast Asia, never adopted Hinduism or Buddhism.
A Mongoloid people from Southeast Asia followed about 10,000 years later. All are thought to have reached the islands across a land bridge that no longer exists. Larger groups of people from the regions of present-day China and Vietnam arrived from about 7000 bc to 2000 bc. The largest migrations to the islands, however, probably occurred after the 3rd century bc. The last arrivals were people from the Malay Peninsula and the Indonesian archipelago. These migrants brought with them their iron tools and a technology that included glassmaking and tie-and-dye weaving.
|Philippines||Culture||Back to Top|
The existence of a number of different languages, dialects, and religious traditions has meant that the Filipinos developed no single national culture. Over many centuries of Philippine history cultural development has been local in nature, enriched by influences from China, Malaysia, Europe, and the United States. Indigenous folk elements find expression in literature and music as well as other cultural forms. Traditional sports include arnis, a kind of fencing with wooden sticks, and sipa, a game much like volleyball, except that the players use their feet rather than their hands and arms. Such sports as cockfighting and boxing are very popular, and American influence is seen in the wide popularity of baseball and basketball.
Philippine society is an incongruous blend of diversity and homogeneity. Geographically the country is part of the East, but in culture it is strongly Western. Forces of assimilation have constantly worked to overcome differences caused by the relative physical isolation of various groups of people throughout the archipelago who had come over time from disparate ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Nearly four centuries of Western rule, however, left the most indelible imprint on the country, serving as a conduit for the introduction of Western culture and as the catalyst for the emergence of a sense of Philippine political and cultural unity. The Christian churches built by the Spaniards and the mosques in the Muslim areas provided a spiritual anchor, while the educational system established by the United States and expanded by the Filipinos became a strong factor for socioeconomic progress. Nonetheless, traditionally strong family ties and other Asian moorings have remained. The revival of the barangay as the smallest unit of government has contributed to the revival of ancient traditions; and Asian and African history and literature—neglected in the past—have received more attention. Thus, the Philippines has been strengthening its Asian ties without abandoning its Western cultural acquisitions.
One of the most notable characteristics of the Filipino society is the tradition of strong family loyalty. This is reflected in the absence of such institutions as retirement homes and orphanages. Since precolonial times Filipino women have held high positions in the society, and today many businesses are managed by women.
|Philippines||Life||Back to Top|
The term Filipino originally denoted a person of Spanish descent born in the Philippines and was comparable to the term Creole in the Spanish-American colonies. Since the 19th century it has been used to refer to the Christianized Malays who constitute the bulk of the Philippine population. The aboriginal inhabitants of the archipelago were pygmy Negritos. During the prehistoric period Malayan peoples invaded the islands in successive waves beginning about 200 bc. The present Filipinos, principally descendants of the Malay invaders, are divided mainly according to language and religion. The most important numerically are the Visayans, living primarily in the central portion of the archipelago, and the Tagalogs, in central Luzon. The Ilocanos (also spelled Ilokanos), the third most important group, live mainly in the Cagayan Valley on Luzon. People of Spanish and Chinese descent constitute the chief non-Malay groups. In the southern portion of the archipelago, particularly in western Mindanao, the Sulu Archipelago, and southern Palawan Island, are Moro Muslim groups. Mestizos, people of mixed Filipino and white or Chinese descent, form a small but economically and politically important minority.
|Philippines||Land||Back to Top|
The irregular configuration of the archipelago, the coastline of more than 21,500 miles, the great extent of mountainous country, the narrow and interrupted coastal plains, the generally northward trend of the river systems, and the lakes are the outstanding physical features of the Philippines. The islands are composed of volcanic, coral, and all principal rock formations. The mountain ranges for the most part run in the same general direction as the islands themselves, approximately north to south. The Cordillera Central, the central mountain chain of Luzon, running north to the Luzon Strait from the northern boundary of the central plain, is the most prominent range. It consists of two and in places three parallel ranges, each of which averages 5,900 feet (1,800 metres) in height. The Sierra Madre, extending along the Pacific coast from northern to central Luzon, is the longest mountain range in the country. This range and the Cordillera Central merge in north-central Luzon to form the Caraballo Mountains. To the north of the latter, and between the two ranges, is the fertile Cagayan Valley. The narrow Ilocos, or Malayan, range, lying close along the west coast of northern Luzon, rises in places to more than 5,000 feet and is seldom less than 3,500 feet in height; it is largely volcanic. In the southwestern part of northern Luzon are the rugged Zambales Mountains, consisting of more or less isolated old volcanic stocks (rock formed under great heat and pressure deep beneath the Earth's surface).
|Philippines||Plants and Animal||Back to Top|
Except for rodents, comparatively few varieties of mammals are found in the islands. The most important are the domesticated water buffalo called the carabao, several species of deer, wild and domesticated pigs, the mongoose, and a variety of humped cattle. Reptiles are numerous, and the islands contain 556 species of birds, including colorful parrots. Coastal waters teem with marine fauna, particularly mollusks, for which the Philippines are noted. Pearl oysters are abundant around the Sulu Archipelago, in the extreme southwest, and Sulu pearls are famous.
|Philippines||Economy||Back to Top|
In 1999 the labor force of the Philippines numbered 31.1 million people. Agriculture, forestry, and fishing employed 40 percent of the labor force; manufacturing, construction, and mining, 16 percent; and services, 44 percent. The estimated governmental budget in 1998 included revenues of $11.3 billion and expenditures of $12.5 billion. Gross domestic product (GDP) was $76.6 billion in 1999.
The Philippines is rich in mineral resources. There are major deposits of gold in northern and southern Luzon; iron ore in northern Mindanao and on nearby islands and in central Luzon; copper in west-central Luzon; lead and zinc in western Mindanao; and high-grade chromium ore (chromite) in west-central and southern Luzon, northern Mindanao, and central Palawan. Deposits of silver, nickel, mercury, molybdenum, cadmium, and manganese occur in several other places. Nonmetallic minerals include limestone for cement, found on Cebu, Luzon, and Romblon; salt and asbestos on Luzon; marble on Romblon and Panay; asphalt on Leyte; mineral waters on Luzon; gypsum on Luzon; sulfur on Luzon, Leyte, and Mindanao; guano and phosphate rock on Cebu and Bohol; coal and silica on Cebu and Palawan; and petroleum off the northwest shore of Palawan.
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 about -0.5% in 1998 from 5% in 1997, but recovered to about 3% in 1999 and 3.6% in 2000. The government has promised to continue its economic reforms to help the Philippines match the pace of development in the newly industrialized countries of East Asia. The strategy includes improving infrastructure, overhauling the tax system to bolster government revenues, moving toward further deregulation and privatization of the economy, and increasing trade integration with the region.
|Philippines||Communications||Back to Top|
general assessment: good international radiotelephone and submarine cable services; domestic and interisland service adequate domestic: domestic satellite system with 11 earth stations international: 9 international gateways; satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (1 Indian Ocean and 2 Pacific Ocean); submarine cables to Hong Kong, Guam, Singapore, Taiwan, and Japan
|Philippines||Languages||Back to Top|
English and Filipino (formerly spelled Pilipino), which is based on Tagalog, are the country’s official languages. About 55 percent of the population speaks Filipino. English is commonly used for educational, governmental, and commercial purposes. Spanish, formerly an official language, is spoken by a dwindling minority of the population. About 80 languages and dialects are spoken in the islands, of which about 10, belonging to the Austronesian language family, are of regional importance.
|Philippines||Politics||Back to Top|
People Power Coalition or PPC includes: Aksyon Demokratiko or Democratic Action [Raul ROCO], Lakas-NUCD [Gloria MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, titular head, Teofisto GUINGONA, party president], Liberal Party or LP [Florencio ABAD], Probinsiya Muna Development Initiative or Promdi [Lito OSMENA], and Reporma Party [Renato DE VILLA]; Puwersa ng Masa (Force of the Masses) includes: Laban Ng Demokratikong Pilipino (Struggle of Filipino Democrats) or LDP [Eduardo ANGARA], Laban Ng Masang Pilipino or LAMP (Struggle of the Filipino Masses) [Joseph ESTRADA], and People's Reform Party or PRP [Miriam DEFENSOR-SANTIAGO]; Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (New Society Movement) [Imelda MARCOS]; Nacionalista Party [Jose OLIVEROS]; National People's Coalition or NPC [Eduardo COJUANGCO] Political pressure groups and leaders: NA
|Philippines||Government||Back to Top|
A new constitution was ratified by national referendum in February 1987. Voting is universal beginning at age 18.
|Philippines||Legal||Back to Top|
Legal system: based on Spanish and Anglo-American law; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal Executive branch: chief of state: President Gloria MACAPAGAL-ARROYO (since 20 January 2001) and Vice President Teofisto GUINGONA (since 20 January 2001); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government head of government: President Gloria MACAPAGAL-ARROYO (since 20 January 2001) and Vice President Teofisto GUINGONA (since 20 January 2001); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president with the consent of the Commission of Appointments elections: president and vice president elected on separate tickets by popular vote for six-year terms; election last held 11 May 1998 (next to be held 16 May 2004) election results: results of the last presidential election - Joseph Ejercito ESTRADA elected president; percent of vote - approximately 40%; Gloria MACAPAGAL-ARROYO elected vice president; percent of vote - NA%; note - on 20 January 2001, Vice President Gloria MACAPAGAL-ARROYO was sworn in as the constitutional successor to President Joseph ESTRADA after the Supreme Court declared that President ESTRADA was unable to rule in view of the mass resignations from his government; according to the Constitution, only in cases of death, permanent disability, removal from office, or resignation of the president, can the vice president serve for the unexpired term Legislative branch: bicameral Congress or Kongreso consists of the Senate or Senado (24 seats - one-half elected every three years; members elected by popular vote to serve six-year terms) and the House of Representatives or Kapulungan Ng Mga Kinatawan (204 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve three-year terms; note - additional members may be appointed by the president but the Constitution prohibits the House of Representatives from having more than 250 members) elections: Senate - last held 11 May 1998 (next to be held 14 May 2001); House of Representatives - elections last held 11 May 1998 (next to be held 14 May 2001) election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - LAMP 12, Lakas 5, PRP 2, LP 1, other 3; note - the Senate now has only 22 members with one seat vacated when Gloria MACAPAGAL-ARROYO became vice president and another seat vacated upon a senator's death; the two seats can only be filled by election and will remain open until the next regular election in May 2001; House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - LAMP 135, Lakas 37, LP 13, Aksyon Demokratiko 1, other 35 Judicial branch: Supreme Court (justices are appointed by the president on the recommendation of the Judicial and Bar Council and serve until 70 years of age)
|Philippines||organization||Back to Top|
APEC, ARF, AsDB, ASEAN, CCC, CP, ESCAP, FAO, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, NAM, OAS (observer), OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNMIK, UNTAET, UNU, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO
|Philippines||Education||Back to Top|
Education in the Philippines is free and compulsory for children ages 6 through 12. Although Filipino is taught and, in the lower grades, local dialects are also used, English is the main language of instruction. Some 99 percent of the adult population is literate. In the 1997-1998 school year 12.2 million pupils were enrolled in elementary schools, and 5 million students attended secondary schools. Approximately 2 million students attended universities and colleges, such as the University of the Philippines (1908), in Quezon City; Adamson University (1932), the University of the East (1946), Far Eastern University (1928), Feati University (1946), and the University of Santo Tomás (1611), all in Manila; Bicol University (1969), in Legaspi; the University of Mindanao (1946), in Davao; Saint Louis University (1911), in Baguio; and Southwestern University (1946), in Cebu.
|Philippines/B>||Defence||Back to Top|
Military branches: Army, Navy (includes Coast Guard and Marine Corps), Air Force
Military manpower - military age: 20 years of age
Military manpower - availability: males age 15-49: 21,220,191 (2001 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service: males age 15-49: 14,942,363 (2001 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually: males: 848,181 (2001 est.)
|Philippines||International Disputes||Back to Top|
involved in a complex dispute over the Spratly Islands with China, Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam, and possibly Brunei; claim to Malaysia's Sabah State has not been fully revoked
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