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THE PRESIDENT



THE VICE PRESIDENT



THE SECRETARY OF THE FOREIGN AFFAIRS


     
ABOUT THE PHILIPPINES

GENERAL INFORMATION
COUNTRY NAME : Republic of the Philippines

FORM OF GOVERNMENT : Democratic

CAPITAL : Manila
 


INTRODUCTION


The visitor to Metro Manila commonly sees the Philippines as the most westernized of Asian countries and in many ways, it is. But there is also a rich underlay of Malay culture beneath the patina of Spanish and American heritage. National cultural life is a happy marriage of many influences, as the indigenous Malay culture is assimilated and adapted to different strains in a practice typical of Malay temperament. An upsurge of Philippine nationalism stimulated a desire to preserve the ancient heritage without restricting its openness to foreign artistic influence.

 

The Philippines is an archipelago of 7,641 islands that are categorized broadly under the three main geographical divisions from north to south: Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. It stretches from the south of China to the northern tip of Borneo. The country has over a hundred ethnic groups and a mixture of foreign influences which have molded a unique Filipino culture.

 

Before the Spanish explorers came, Indo-Malays and Chinese merchants had settled here. In 1521, the Spaniards, led by Ferdinand Magellan, discovered the islands. The Spanish conquistadores established a colonial government in Cebu in 1565. They transferred the seat of government to Manila in 1571 and proceeded to colonize the country. The Filipinos resisted and waged Asia's first nationalist revolution in 1896. On June 12, 1898, Emilio Aguinaldo declared the Philippines independent from Spain and proclaimed himself president. After ruling for 333 years, the Spaniards finally left in 1898 and were replaced by the Americans who stayed for 48 years. On July 4, 1946, the Americans recognized Philippine independence.

 

The Philippines is the third largest English-speaking country in the world. The country is divided into three geographical areas: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. It has 18 regions, 81 provinces, 145 cities, 1,489 municipalities, and 42,029 barangays. (Barangay - The smallest political unit into which cities and municipalities in the Philippines are divided. It is the basic unit of the Philippine political system. It consists of less than 1,000 inhabitants residing within the territorial limit of a city or municipality and administered by a set of elective officials, headed by a barangay chairman or punong barangay).


GEOGRAPHY


The Philippines is an archipelago composed of about 7,500 islands with a total land area, including inland bodies of water, of approximately 300,000 square kilometers (115,831 sq mi). Its 36,289 kilometers (22,549 mi) of coastline makes it the country with the 5th longest coastline in the world. It is located between 116° 40', and 126° 34' E longitude and 4° 40' and 21° 10' N latitude and is bordered by the Philippine Sea to the east, the South China Sea to the west, and the Celebes Sea to the south. The island of Borneo is located a few hundred kilometers southwest and Taiwan is located directly to the north. The Moluccas and Sulawesi are located to the south-southwest and Palau is located to the east of the islands.

Most of the mountainous islands are covered in tropical rainforest and volcanic in origin. The highest mountain is Mount Apo. It measures up to 2,954 meters (9,692 ft) above sea level and is located on the island of Mindanao. The Galathea Depth in the Philippine Trench is the deepest point in the country and the third deepest in the world. The trench is located in the Philippine Sea.

The longest river is the Cagayan River in northern Luzon. Manila Bay, upon the shore of which the capital city of Manila lies, is connected to Laguna de Bay, the largest lake in the Philippines, by the Pasig River. Subic Bay, the Davao Gulf, and the Moro Gulf are other important bays. The San Juanico Strait separates the islands of Samar and Leyte but it is traversed by the San Juanico Bridge.

Situated on the western fringes of the Pacific Ring of Fire, the Philippines experiences frequent seismic and volcanic activity. The Benham Plateau to the east in the Philippine Sea is an undersea region active in tectonic subduction. Around 20 earthquakes are registered daily, though most are too weak to be felt. The last major earthquake was the 1990 Luzon earthquake.

There are many active volcanoes such as the Mayon Volcano, Mount Pinatubo, and Taal Volcano. The eruption of Mount Pinatubo in June 1991 produced the second largest terrestrial eruption of the 20th century. Not all notable geographic features are so violent or destructive. A more serene legacy of the geological disturbances is the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River, the area represents a habitat for biodiversity conservation, the site also contains a full mountain-to-the-sea ecosystem and has some of the most important forests in Asia.

Due to the volcanic nature of the islands, mineral deposits are abundant. The country is estimated to have the second-largest gold deposits after South Africa and one of the largest copper deposits in the world. It is also rich in nickel, chromites, and zinc. Despite this, poor management, high population density, and environmental consciousness have resulted in these mineral resources remaining largely untapped. Geothermal energy is a product of volcanic activity that the Philippines have harnessed more successfully. The Philippines is the world's second-biggest geothermal producer behind the United States, with 18% of the country's electricity needs being met by geothermal power.  


Luzon is the largest and most populous in the Philippine and the 15th largest in the world. Located in the northern region of the archipelago it is the economic and political center of the nation being home to the country's capital city, Manila, as well as Quezon City, the country's most populous. With a population of 52.99 million as of 2015, it is the fourth most populous island in the world (after Java, Honshu and Great Britain), containing about 53% of the country's total population. It is home to the Cordillera, Sierra Madre, and Caraballo mountain ranges, volcanoes such as Mayon, Taal, and Pinatubo and the country’s largest lake, Laguna de Bay. Luzon is where you will find the capital, Manila. Metro Manila is the seat of government and the premier international gateway. Embracing the capital of Manila and several cities and municipalities, it is the heart of the country’s social, economic and cultural life.


The Visayas, is one of the Philippines' 3 main island groups and characterized by natural and cultural diversity. The beaches of Boracay are regarded as some of the world’s best. In Boracay you will find most of the exotic Philippine hotels and resorts. Cebu is the cradle of Christianity and Bohol has one of the world’s most intriguing geological formations. In Central Visayas, Cebu City’s Spanish colonial architecture includes the triangular Fort San Pedro and the Basilica del Santo Niņo. Bohol Island’s Chocolate Hills are a group of more than 1,000 conical, grass-covered mounds that turn brown in the dry season. In Corella, rare bug-eyed primates called tarsiers are protected at the Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary.


Mindanao is the second largest and southernmost major island in the Philippines. It is also the name of one of the three island groups in the country (the other two being Luzon and the Visayas), consisting of the island of Mindanao and smaller outlying islands. Davao City is the largest city in Mindanao. As of the 2010 census, the island's population itself is 20,281,545 people, while the Mindanao island group has 21,968,174 inhabitants. Davao City is the most populous in Mindanao as 1,632,991 population, and the 2nd is Zamboanga City as 861,799 population, the 3rd is Cagayan de Oro City as 675,950 population, and followed by General Santos City as 594,446 population as of 2015 census.

Parts of south-western Mindanao island group, particularly the provinces of Maguindanao, Basilan, Lanao Del Sur, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi (part of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM)), are home to a sizeable Muslim population, making the island group, along with Palawan, the only area of the Philippines with a significant Muslim presence. The island has seen a communist insurgency as well as armed Moro separatist movements.

Mindanao is considered the food basket of the Philippines. Eight of the top 10 agri-commodities exported from the Philippines come from here. Mindanao is also dubbed with the moniker as The Philippines' Land of Promise.

 


TIME ZONE:

GMT + 8 hours. Check out the Philippine Standard Time


CAPSULE HISTORY


Vintas used in the South of the Philippines

Before the Spanish conquistadores came, a thriving community flourished on the banks of the Pasig River. It was called "Maynilad", after the nilad plant whose star-shaped flowers clustered in abundance along the low-lying river banks.

 

The lord of the riverside kingdom was Raha Sulayman who held court on the south side of the river while his uncle, Lakandula, ruled on the north side. The Spaniards were set on conquering this community. After the savage Battle of Bangkusay, where they overtook the natives with their awesome firepower, the Spaniards conquered Manila. In this Battle, Sulayman was killed.

 

Realizing its strategic position as a trading center and military outpost, Miguel Lopez de Legaspi, head of the Spanish expedition, promptly declared Manila the capital of the new colonies won by Spain. On June 24, 1571, Manila was declared the capital of the entire achipelago. Delighted by this conquest, the King of Spain awarded the city a coat of arms and the grandiose title: "The Noble and Ever Loyal City". Soon, Manila became a replica of a European medieval city. There were churches, palaces and city halls built in the Spanish baroque style. Work began on building a wall around the city to keep the pirates and Moros at bay. It took 150 years to finish this wall. The end result was an astounding eight foot-thick, three mile-long wall, with two forts and a bastion, 370 guns in place, manned by a force of 5,000 men and 10,000 reserves. This walled city became known as Intramuros.

 

Beautiful as it was, Intramuros stood as a perfect illustration of the discrimination at that time against the natives called Indios. Although it was built by Indio workers and Chinese artisans, Intramuros was meant only for the clergy and the Spanish nobility. The natives could not enter except to work as servants. Outside the walls, in the arabales or suburbs, lived the Indios, the Chinese and other foreigners. The diversity of trade and culture in the suburbs made it alive and interesting. Tondo, Binondo, Sta. Cruz, and Quiapo bustled with commerce. These places were home to the merchants, carpenters, blacksmiths, carriage makers, masons, and other artisans.

Over the centuries, the Spanish rule was occasionally threatened by attacks from the sea and by internal uprisings. The Chinese, Dutch and British all tried to lay siege on Manila but were unsuccessful. But the 1880's saw the birth of a reform movement led by Marcelo H. Del Pilar, Lopez Jaena and Jose Rizal (the national hero). This reform movement ultimately led to a revolution and by 1898, the days of the Castilian rule were numbered. The most lasting legacy of the Spanish rule was the Catholic religion which makes the Philippines the only Christian nation in Asia. But as soon as the Spaniards left, the Americans took over. 1902 was the beginning of the American era, a period characterized by the expansion of public education, advances in health care and the introduction of democratic government. The outbreak of war in the Pacific in 1941 disrupted American rule. Manila was declared an open city and the Americans withdrew their defenses. For three years, Manila was occupied by the Japanese imperial forces. Life at that time was made difficult by strict Japanese military rule. When the American troops entered Manila to liberate it, they had to bomb the city to dislodge the tenacious Japanese. Manila was devastated.

On July 4, 1946, a year after the end of the war, the Philippine flag was hoisted signalling the recognition of Philippine independence.


THE PEOPLE


The Filipino is basically of Malay stock with a sprinkling of Chinese, American, Spanish and Arab blood. The Philippines has a population of 76.5 million as of May 2000 (with a projected population of 88.7 million for 2007), and it is hard to distinguish accurately the lines between stocks. From a long history of Western colonial rule, interspersed with the visits of merchants and traders, evolved a people of a unique blend of east and west, both in appearance and culture.

BayanihanThe Filipino character is actually a little bit of all the cultures put together. The bayanihan or spirit of kinship and camaraderie that Filipinos are famous for, is said to be taken from Malay forefathers. The close family relations are said to have been inherited from the Chinese. The piousness comes from the Spaniards who introduced Christianity in the 16th century. Hospitality is a common denominator in the Filipino character and this is what distinguishes the Filipino. Filipinos are probably one of the few, if not the only, English-proficient Oriental people today. Filipino is the official national language, with English considered as the country's unofficial one. The Filipinos are divided geographically and culturally into regions, and each regional group is recognizable by distinct traits and dialects - the sturdy and frugal Ilocanos of the north, the industrious Tagalogs of the central plains, the carefree Visayans from the central islands and the colorful tribesmen and religious Moslems of Mindanao. Tribal communities can be found scattered across the archipelago. The Philippines has more than 111 dialects spoken, owing to the subdivisions of these basic regional and cultural groups. Some 80 percent of the population is Catholic, Spain's lasting legacy. About 15 percent is Moslem and these people can be found basically in Mindanao. The rest of the population is made up mostly of smaller Christian denominations and Buddhist. The country is marked by a true blend of cultures; truly in the Philippines, East meets West. The background of the people is Indonesian and Malay. There are Chinese and Spanish elements as well. The history of American rule and contact with merchants and traders culminated in a unique blend of East and West, both in the appearance and culture of the people of the Filipinos, or people of the Philippines. Hospitality, a trait displayed by every Filipino, makes these people legendary in Southeast Asia. Seldom can you find such hospitable people who enjoy the company of their Western visitors. Perhaps due to their long association with Spain, Filipinos are emotional and passionate about life, in a way that seems more Latin than Asian.

Ethnic Groups: 91.5% Christian Malay, 4% Muslim Malay ,1.5% Chinese and 3% other.
 


CULTURE AND ARTS


The major cultural agencies of government are the Cultural Center of the Philippines, the National Historical Institute, the National Museum, The National Library, the Records Management and Archives Office, and the Commission on the Filipino Language. The Heads of these cultural agencies are all ex-officio members of the NCCA Board and all except the Commission on the Filipino Language are together under the National Commission on Culture and Arts.

 

 

 


CLIMATE


The Philippines has a tropical climate with relatively abundant rainfall and gentle winds. There are three pronounced seasons: the wet or rainy season from June to October, the cool, dry season from November to February, and the hot, dry season from March to May.

 

Temperature in Manila ranges from 21°C to 32°C with a 27°C average. The coolest month is January and the warmest is May. Both temperature and humidity levels reach the maximum in April and May, but these are generally good months for aqua sports and mountain trekking. Some of the most colorful festivals are held during these months.


 


LANGUAGE


Two official languages --- Filipino and English. Filipino, which is based on Tagalog, is the national language. English is also widely used and is the medium of instruction in higher education.

 

This is the list of recognized regional languages in the Philippines as ordered and permitted by the Department of Education (Philippines) under the Mother Tongue-Based Multi-Lingual Education (MTB-MLE) strategy:

1.   Aklanon 11. Maguindanao
2.   Bikol 12. Maranao
3.   Cebuano 13. Pangasinan
4.   Chavacano 14. Sambal
5.   Hiligaynon 15. Surigaonon
6.   Ibanag 16. Tagalog
7.   Ilocano 17. Tausug
8.   Ivatan 18. Waray
9.   Kapampangan 19. Yakan
10. Kinaray-a  

The Philippines Department of Education decided to implement the program starting school year 2012. The adoption of regional languages as medium of teaching is based on studies which tend to show that using the mother tongue as the language of instruction in the classroom literacy among Filipinos bolster, comprehension and critical thinking skills of Filipino children in the school and facilitate learning of second language such as English and the Philippines national language called Filipino. Filipino is tagalog-based which means that speakers of Tagalog are speakers of the Philippine national language.

Filipino is that native language which is used nationally as the language of communication among ethnic groups. Like any living language, Filipino is in a process of development through loans from Philippine languages and non-native languages for various situations, among speakers of different social backgrounds, and for topics for conversation and scholarly discourse. There are about 76 to 78 major language groups, with more than 500 dialects.


 


RELIGION


Historically, the Filipinos have embraced two of the great religions of the world - Islam and Christianity. Islam was introduced during the 14th century shortly after the expansion of Arab commercial ventures in Southeast Asia. Today, it is limited to the southern region of the country.

Christianity was introduced as early as the 16th century with the coming of Ferdinand Magellan in 1521.

 

Protestantism was introduced by the first Presbyterian and Methodist missionaries who arrived with the American soldiers in 1899.

 

Two Filipino independent churches were organized at the turn of the century and are prominent today. These are the Aglipay (Philippine Independent Church) and the Iglesia Ni Kristo (Church of Christ) founded in 1902 and 1914, respectively. Recently, the Aglipay signed a covenant with the Anglican Church. The Iglesia ni Kristo has expanded its membership considerably. Its churches, with their unique towering architecture are landmarks in almost all important towns, provincial capitals and major cities.

 

Population by religious affiliation (2010)

Affiliation

Number

Roman Catholicincluding Catholic Charismatic

80.58

74,211,896

Islam

5.57

5,127,084

Iglesia Ni Cristo

2.45

2,251,941

Aglipayan

1.00

916,639

Seventh-day Adventist

0.74

681,216

Bible Baptist Church

0.52

480,409

United Church of Christ in the Philippines

0.49

449,028

Jehovah's Witnesses

0.45

410,957

Church of Christ

0.28

258,176

Jesus is Lord Church

0.23

207,246

United Pentecostal Church (Philippines) Inc.

0.18

169,956

Philippine Independent Catholic Church

0.15

138,364

Union Espiritista Cristiana de Filipinas Inc.

0.15

137,885

Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints

0.15

133,814

Association of Fundamental Baptist Churches in the Philippines

0.12

106,509

Evangelical Christian Outreach Foundation

0.10

96,102

Convention of the Philippine Baptist Church

0.07

65,008

Crusaders of the Divine Church of Christ Inc.

0.06

53,146

Buddhist

0.05

46,558

Lutheran Church of the Philippines

0.05

46,558

Iglesia sa Dios Espiritu Santo Inc.

0.05

45,000

Philippine Benevolent Missionaries Association

0.05

42,796

Faith Tabernacle Church (Living Rock Ministries)

0.04

36,230

Evangelicals (PCEC)

2.68

2,469,957

Non-Roman Catholic and Protestant (NCCP)

1.16

1,071,686

Other Protestants

0.31

287,734

Tribal Religions

0.19

177,147

Other Baptists

0.17

154,686

None

0.08

73,248

Others

0.33

299,399

TOTAL

 

92,097,978

Source: Philippine Statistics Authority

 


GOVERNMENT


The new Philippine Constitution was ratified in early 1987, signaling the country's return to democracy.


 


EXECUTIVE BRANCH:


Chief of state: President Rodrigo Roa Duterte (since 30 June 2016) and Vice-President Maria Leonor "Leni" G. Robredo (since 30 June 2016); 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 10 May 2016.


 


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 (214 seats: members elected by popular vote to serve three-year terms. 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 16 May 2016 (next elections to be held on May 2019); House of Representatives - elections last held 16 May 2016 (next elections to be held on May 2019) .


 


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).


 


ECONOMY


The Philippines is currently one of the most dynamic economies in the East Asia region, with sound economic fundamentals and a globally recognized competitive workforce. Growth has been robust in the past five years, registering an average 6.2 percent from 2010-2015, significantly higher than average 4.5 percent annual growth in 2000-2009.

A new administration entered office on June 30, at a time when the economy grew at the fastest pace among its East Asian peers. The Philippine economy grew at an annual rate of 6.9 percent in the first half of 2016, up from 5.5 percent during the same period in 2015, exceeding growth of China, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. On the production side, the services and industry sectors remained the main engines of growth, while agriculture further weakened due to the lingering effects of El Niņo. On the demand side, growth was driven by robust private consumption and capital formation. This was further supported by more than 10 percent expansion in public spending in the first half of 2016. Net exports, however, caused a drag on growth due to weak external demand.    



INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION PARTICIPATION


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, 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


 


EDUCATION


Education in the Philippines is managed and regulated by the Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). DepEd is responsible for the K–12 basic education; it exercises full and exclusive control over public schools and nominal regulation over private schools, and it also enforces the national curriculum that has been put in place since 2013. CHED and TESDA, on the other hand, are responsible for higher education; CHED regulates the academically-oriented universities and colleges while TESDA oversees the development of technical and vocational education institutions and programs in the country.

 

Classes in Philippine schools start in June and end in March. Colleges and universities follow the semester calendar from June-October and November-March. There are a number of foreign schools with study programs similar to those of the mother country.


POPULATION


For more info, visit http://www.popcom.gov.ph/

 

 


Base from the 2015 CENSUS of Population: 100,981,437

Basis: 2015 PGR of 1.72


You can get pertinent information on procedures and requirements, as well as download the forms for each type of service you require.  If your particular query is not covered in this section, please feel free to write us at islamabad.pe@dfa.gov.ph or isdpe@isb.comsats.net.pk for general questions.  For specific questions on any of the services please go to our Contact Us page for particulars to that Department.



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