The Philippines reference article from the English Wikipedia on 24-Jul-2004
(provided by Fixed Reference: snapshots of Wikipedia from wikipedia.org)

Philippines

Support a children's charity online
The Republic of the Philippines 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. New Spain (1521-1898), and later the United States (1898-1946), colonized the country for four centuries and are the two biggest influences on Philippine culture. It is the only predominantly Christian nation in Asia and one of the most westernized —a unique blend of East and West.

Republika ng Pilipinas
Flag of the Philippines
The Philippines: Coat of Arms
(In Detail) (In Detail)
National motto: Maka-Diyos, Maka-Tao, Makakalikasan at Makabansa'' (Filipino: “For Love of God, People, Nature and Country”)
image:LocationPhilippines.png
Official languages:Tagalog and English
Capital:Manila
Largest City:Quezon City
President:Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
Area
 - Total:
 - % water:
Ranked 70th
300,000 kmò
0.6%
Population
 - Total (2000):
 - Density:
Ranked 13th
82,841,518
276/kmò
IndependenceDeclared (from Spain): June 12, 1898 (Official)
Declared from the United States: July 4, 1946 (Recognized)
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

The Philippines used to be the most developed country in Asia following World War II, but has lagged behind other countries because of poor economic growth and widespread corruption. Currently, the country enjoys moderate economic growth, buoyed by remittances by its large, diasporic overseas Filipino workforce, increased investments due to a fast-developing information technology industry, and cheap labor in other sectors. The country's major problems include an ongoing Muslim separatist movement in southern Mindanao, communist insurgencies in the north, and environmental degradation due to rainforest depletion and marine and coastal pollution.

The Philippine Islands lie between 116ð 40' and 126ð and 34' E. longtitude, and 4ð 40' and 21ð 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. The island of Borneo lies a few hundred kilometers to the southwest and Taiwan directly north. The Moluccas and Celebes are farther south and on the eastern side of the Philippine Sea is Palau.

Table of contents
1 History
2 Politics
3 Regions and Provinces
4 Geography
5 Economy
6 Demographics
7 Culture
8 See also
9 External links

History

Main article: History of the Philippines

Human fossil records indicate that the Philippines has been inhabited for thousands of years. Its aboriginal population, collectively known as the Negritos or Aetas, crossed prehistoric land or ice bridges to eventually settle in the islands' lush forests. Successive waves of migrants from the Malay and Indonesian archipelagoes, and from Indochina and Taiwan, began to pour in around the turn of the first millennium, pushing the aboriginal population into the interior or absorbing them through intermarriage.

Chinese merchants arrived in the 8th century. The rise of powerful Buddhist kingdoms precipitated trade with the Indonesian archipelago, India, Japan and Southeast Asia. Factional fighting among the kingdoms of Southeast Asia weakened their strength. In the meantime, the spread of Islam through commerce and proselytism, much like Christianity, brought traders and missionaries into the region; Arabs set foot in Mindanao in the 14th century. When the first Europeans arrived, led by Ferdinand Magellan in 1521, there were rajahs as far north as Manila, who historically were tributaries of the kingdoms of Southeast Asia. However, the islands were essentially self-sufficient and self-ruling.

The Spanish claimed and colonized the islands in the 16th century and named it Filipinas after King Philip II. Roman Catholicism was immediately introduced and imposed, sparking deep resistance from tribal groups in the highlands and the Muslim separatism that rages on today. Sporadic rebellions and violence erupted in the coastal populations throughout the next three centuries in response to colonial abuses. The new territory was ruled from New Spain (Mexico) and a burgeoning galleon trade began in the 18th century.

The country opened up during the 19th century. The rise of an ambitious, more nationalistic Filipino middle class, consisting of educated native Filipinos, Philippine born Spaniards and creoles, Spanish mestizos and an economically entrenched Chinese mestizo community, signaled the end of Spanish colonialism in the islands. Enlightened by the Propaganda Movement to the injustices of the Spanish colonial government, they clamored for independence. José Rizal, the most famous propagandist, was arrested and executed in 1896 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 had to ceded the Philippines to the United States for 20 million United States dollars. The Filipinos had by then declared independence and the subsequent assertion of American control led to the Philippine-American War that officially ended in 1901, but fighting continued well into 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, the continuing problem of communist insurgency and Muslim separatism.

Politics

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 founding and prominent member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). It 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

Map 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.

Regions

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

Geography

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 26.5ð 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 Mount Pinatubo, are active. The country is also astride the typhoon belt of the Western Pacific and is struck by about 19 typhoons per year.

Economy

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.

Demographics

Main article: Demographics of the Philippines

Over 95% 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. Mestizos, those of mixed race, form a tiny (2%) but economically and politically important minority. Small communities of expatriates and Negrito forest tribes that inhabit the more remote areas of Mindanao constitute the remainder.

The people of the Philippines are known as Filipinos. Throughout the colonial era the term "Filipino" originally referred to the Spanish and Spanish-mestizo minority. The definition, however, was later changed to include the entire population of the Philippines regardless of ethnic origin. The Philippines is the most ethnically diverse country in Asia.

In the 100 years since the 1903 census, the population has grown by a factor of eleven.

Foreign languages spoken include English, Chinese (Mandarin and Hokkien), Arabic (among some members of the Muslim population), and Spanish which ceased to be an official language in 1973 and is now spoken by less than 0.01% of the population; 2,658 speakers (1990 Census).

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.

See also: Separation of church and state in the Philippines

Culture

Main article: Culture of the Philippines

Throughout Filipino history, no distinct national cultural identity was survived. The reason for this was partly due to the existence of an exorbitant number of languages spoken throughout the country, estimated today to be around 80 distinct languages, in addition to each of their many different dialects. The isolation between neighbouring populations — whether from village to village or island to island — also greatly contributed to this lack of a unified identity.

In addition, the classical literature (José Rizal, Pedro Paterno) and historical documents (national anthem, Constitución Política de Malolos), was written in Spanish, ceased to be an official language. The Philippine writers (Claro Mayo Rectois the most important of them), continued writing in Spanish until 1946.

Nowadays, rather than being national in nature, the cultural development of the Philippines had been local. Despite this and despite their variety, a common aspect that most Filipino cultural traditions share today is that they have all been enriched and influenced both by Asia and the West, from China, Malaysia, Spain and the United States, to Islam and Christianity.

Baroque Churches of the Philippines and Historic Town of Vigan are the cultural World Heritage Sites. However, during World War II, much of the city of Intramuros was destroyed.

See also

External links

Official websites

News websites

Other websites


Countries in Southeast Asia
Brunei | Cambodia | East Timor | Indonesia | Laos | Malaysia | Myanmar | Philippines | Singapore | Thailand | Vietnam

Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
Brunei | Cambodia | Indonesia | Laos | Malaysia | Myanmar | Philippines | Singapore | Thailand | Vietnam
Observer status
Papua New Guinea