The Philippines All You Need To Know And A Little

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The Republic of the Philippines is situated at 13 degrees North and 122 degrees East in the western Pacific Ocean. It includes the Philippine Islands and a portion of the Malay Archipelago. The Bashi Channel separates it from Taiwan, while it lies approximately 750 mi (about 1210 km) east of Vietnam’s coast. With a total area of about 120,000 sq mi (300,000 sq km), it consists of a group of islands totaling to 7100. Notable among these islands are Luzon, Mindanao, Samar, Negros, Palawan, Panay, Mindoro, Leyte, Cebu, Bohol and Masbate due to their size exceeding an area of 1 sq mi (2.9 sq km). These eleven islands accommodate a significant portion of the population. Manila serves as both the capital city and largest city.

Physical Characteristics: The Philippines are a group of islands situated north of the Malay Archipelago. They stretch about 1150 mi (1850 km) from north to south, between Borneo and Taiwan, with an east-west distance of nearly 700 mi (1100 km). These islands are volcanic in origin and renowned for their mountainous terrain. Mountain ranges in the Philippines span from north to south, housing approximately 20 active volcanoes and experiencing frequent earthquakes. On smaller islands, mountains form a central backbone, while larger ones exhibit a more diverse landscape including broad plains and fertile valleys in the interior. The southeastern peninsula is primarily mountainous with several volcanoes, such as Mayon Volcano located just north of Legaspi which unexpectedly erupted in February 1993. Another significant eruption occurred at Mount Pinatubo, a dormant volcano situated in central Luzon, erupting first in June 1991 followed by another eruption in July 1992.

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The principal islands of the Philippines have large rivers, some of which are passable. On Luzon, the longest river is the Cagayan, along with other important rivers like the Chico, Abra, Pampanga, and Bicol. Mindanao has the Mindanao and Agusan rivers as its main ones. As the Philippine Islands are located within the Tropics, they have an average annual temperature of about 80F (approximately 27C) and an average rainfall of around 80in (about 203cm) per year in the lower lands. The rainy season in most parts of the Philippine Islands occurs from May to November, characterized by a southwest wind. On the other hand, the dry season takes place from December to April when the northeast wind dominates. From June to October, the Philippine Islands can be affected by typhoons, sometimes resulting in significant damage.

The Philippines possesses a wide range of mineral and forest resources. It is rich in minerals such as gold, copper, iron, chromite, manganese, salt, coal, silver, lead, mercury, limestone, petroleum, nickel, and uranium. The country’s forests cover about 23% of the land and consist of various trees including banyan and palm species as well as indigenous trees like apitong, yacal,
ipil white narra red narra mayapis. Bamboo and orchids can also be naturally found in the Philippines. The valuable abaca plantain is extensively used for making cordage textiles hats. Coastal swamps are abundant with mangrove trees nipa palms while uplands have coarse grasses that are not very useful for cattle grazing. Mammals are scarce on the islands but reptiles thrive. There is a diverse bird population totaling 556 species on the islands. The coastal waters have a variety of marine life with mollusks being particularly important in the Philippines.
The Sulu Archipelago is known for its abundance of pearl oysters.
Approximately 32% of the land is dedicated to farming with soils in northern islands originating from volcanic rock while coral limestone plays a crucial role in southern island soils which tend to be generally poor.

The term “Filipino” originally referred to individuals of Spanish descent born in the Philippines, much like the term “Creole” used in the Spanish-American colonies. However, it has since evolved to encompass Christianized Malays, who constitute the majority of the Philippine population, since the 19th century.

The Philippines is home to black natives, who predominantly inhabit the islands. In around 200 BC, Malayan people invaded the islands, giving rise to the present Filipino population, which is mainly composed of descendants of these invaders. Filipinos are divided based on language and religion, with non-Malay groups consisting mostly of individuals with Spanish and Chinese ancestry. In western Mindanao, particularly in the southern part of the islands, there are Moro Muslim groups. Additionally, there is a minority known as mestizos – individuals of mixed Filipino and white or Chinese heritage.

As of 1996, the population in the Philippines was 60,703,206 with an average density of 657 people per square mile (254 per square kilometer). However, population distribution varies significantly across regions; some areas have low inhabitants while others have high population densities. By that same year mentioned earlier, approximately 55 percent of the population resided in urban areas. The recorded annual growth rate for the population in 1997 was 2.1 percent.

Approximately 84% of the Philippine population are Roman Catholics, while about 4% are Muslims. Another 10% belong to Protestant denominations, including the Philippine Independent Church (also known as Aglipayans).

The national language of the Philippines is Filipino, but only around 55% of the population speaks it. English is commonly used for educational, governmental, and commercial purposes.

Spanish, formerly an official language, is spoken by a decreasing minority. The Philippines has a diverse linguistic landscape with around 80 languages and dialects spoken in the islands.

In terms of education, schooling in the Philippines is free and mandatory for children aged 7 to 13. Filipino is taught in schools alongside local dialects in lower grades. However, English serves as the primary language for instruction.

The literacy rate among adults stands at approximately 95%. In the school year of 1995-1996, there were 11.5 million pupils enrolled in elementary schools,
with another 4.8 million students attending secondary schools and approximately
1.8 million students enrolled in universities and colleges.

The presence of multiple languages, dialects, and religious practices in Philippine society is linked to the lack of a singular national culture. Throughout history, the Philippines has been influenced by China, Malaysia, Europe, and the United States. Arnis and sipa are traditional sports involving wooden sticks and foot-based games respectively. Cockfighting and boxing reflect cultural preferences while baseball and basketball show American influence.

The Filipino society is distinguished by a deep-rooted tradition of unwavering family allegiance, evident in the absence of retirement homes or orphanages. This enduring tradition predates the arrival of European settlers and has led to esteemed roles for Filipino women in society, who now proficiently oversee numerous businesses.

The labor force in the Philippines is comprised of 29.6 million people, with different sectors employing varying percentages. Within these sectors, agriculture, forestry, and fishing account for 46 percent of employment, manufacturing, construction, and mining make up 15 percent, and services employ 39 percent. In terms of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 1996 ($83.8 billion), agriculture, forestry, and fishing contributed to 21 percent of it.

The main crops grown in the Philippines include rice, corn, cassava, sweet potatoes. Additionally, copra bananas and pineapples are major commercial crops cultivated there.Mangoes papayas sugarcane oranges are also grown. Livestock on farms consist of water buffalo,cattle,chickens(goats,horses,and hogs). Unfortunately,the extensive logging has resulted in significant deforestation despite having valuable hardwood trees.The government implemented an export ban on hardwood logs during the1980s;however,enforcement has proven challenging.Despite this,lumber products remaina significant legal export.Bambooand rattanare also cut for use infurnituremaking,baskets,and other products.Marinefishingis acrucialindustryinthePhilippines.Shrimpexports to Japan serve as a major source offoreign trade.The mining industry is a crucial sector of the economy, producing gold, silver, copper, nickel, salt, and coal. Since 1950, manufacturing has greatly expanded in the Philippines. In 1996 specifically, it accounted for 23% of the GDP and focused on processed food, textiles, tobacco products, and other goods. The country generates revenue from various items such as furniture, electrical and electronic goods, non-electrical machinery, transport equipment, refined petroleum products, chemicals construction materials and clothing. Over the years since the 1970s advancements have been made in energy resources including oil reserves geothermal resources hydroelectric power facilities and coalfields. However despite these advancements in energy production capabilities today they are not sufficient to meet their needs leading them to rely on imported petroleum.

Human-Environment Interaction

The Philippines ratified a new constitution in February 1987, which granted universal voting rights to individuals aged 18 and above. In this country, the president is elected directly by the people for a single six-year term, while the vice president can only serve two consecutive six-year terms. As per the Philippine constitution, there is a bicameral legislature comprising of a Senate with 24 members serving six-year terms and a House of Representatives with up to 250 members serving three-year terms.

The highest court in the Philippines is the Supreme Court, which includes a chief justice and 14 other justices appointed by the president for four-year terms. In addition to the Supreme Court, there are other judicial bodies in the country, including the court of appeals, courts of first instance, and municipal courts.

The Philippines is composed of 73 provinces, each with a governor. The National Capital Region is also included in the country. In Mindanao, there are four provinces that form the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, where a governor has limited executive power. Additionally, there are 60 chartered cities and more than 1500 municipalities that function as additional local administrative units.

The Cagayan River valley, a wide plain in northern Luzon, is surrounded by the Sierra Madre mountains to the east, the Cordillera Central mountains to the west, and the Caraballo Mountains to the south. To the south of these mountains lies the Central Luzon Valley, which stretches from Lingayen Gulf to Manila Bay and includes Laguna de Bay, Luzon’s largest lake. The northern plain is drained by the Agno River while the southern part is drained by the Pampanga River. On the southwestern coast are located Zambales Mountains with a narrow and mountainous extension known as Bicol Peninsula towards southeast.

On Mindanao, the largest island of the Philippines after Luzon, is bordered by the Diuata Mountains along its Pacific coast. The valley of the Agusan River lies to the west of these mountains. In southwestern Mindanao, there is a vast lowland area known as the valley of Mindanao. One of the southern Mindanao ranges is home to Mount Apo (2954 m/ 9692 ft), which stands as the highest point in the Philippines. The coastlines of all islands exhibit an irregular shape and have a combined length measuring 22,550 mi (36,290 km).

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