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Republika ng Pilipinas
The Philippines /ˈfɪlɨpiːnz/ (Filipino: Pilipinas [ˌpɪlɪˈpinɐs]), officially known as the Republic of the Philippines (Filipino: Republika ng Pilipinas), is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam. The Sulu Sea to the southwest lies between the country and the island of Borneo, and to the south the Celebes Sea separates it from other islands of Indonesia. It is bounded on the east by the Philippine Sea. Its location on the Pacific Ring of Fire and its tropical climate make the Philippines prone to earthquakes and typhoons but have also endowed the country with natural resources and made it one of the richest areas of biodiversity in the world. An archipelago comprising 7,107 islands, the Philippines is categorized broadly into three main geographical divisions: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Its capital city is Manila.
With an estimated population of about 94 million people, the Philippines is the world's 12th most populous country. An additional 11 million Filipinos live overseas. Multiple ethnicities and cultures are found throughout the islands. In prehistoric times, Negritos were some of the archipelago's earliest inhabitants. They were followed by successive waves of Austronesian peoples who brought with them influences from Malay, Hindu, and Islamic societies. Trade introduced Chinese cultural influences which remain to this day.
The arrival of Ferdinand Magellan in 1521 marked the beginning of an era of Spanish interest and eventual dominance. In 1543, Spanish explorer Ruy López de Villalobos named the archipelago Las Islas Filipinas in honor of Philip II of Spain. Miguel López de Legazpi arrived in the Philippines in 1565 and consolidated Spanish rule in the islands, which remained a colony of Spain for more that 300 years.
Manila became the Asian hub of the Manila–Acapulco galleon fleet. Christianity was widely adopted. As the 19th century gave way to the 20th, there followed in quick succession the Philippine Revolution which spawned the short-lived First Philippine Republic, the Spanish-American War, and the Philippine–American War. In the aftermath, the United States emerged as the dominant power. Aside from the period of Japanese occupation, the United States retained sovereignty over the islands until the end of World War II when the Philippines gained independence. The United States bequeathed to the Philippines the English language and a stronger affinity for Western culture. Since independence the Philippines has had an often tumultuous experience with democracy, with popular "People Power" movements overthrowing a dictatorship in one instance but also underlining the institutional weaknesses of its constitutional republic in others.
The metatarsal of Callao Man is reported to have been reliably dated by uranium-series dating to 67,000 years ago thereby replacing the Tabon Man of Palawan, carbon-dated to around 24,000 years ago as the oldest human remains found in the archipelago. Negritos were among the archipelago's earliest inhabitants but their appearance in the Philippines has not been reliably dated. There are several opposing theories regarding the origins of ancient Filipinos. F. Landa Jocano theorizes that the ancestors of the Filipinos evolved locally. Wilhelm Solheim's Island Origin Theory postulates that the peopling of the archipelago transpired via trade networks originating in the antediluvian Sundaland area around 48000 to 5000 BCE rather than by wide-scale migration. The Austronesian Expansion Theory states that Malayo-Polynesians coming from Taiwan began migrating to the Philippines around 4000 BCE, displacing earlier arrivals. Whatever the case, by 1000 BCE the inhabitants of the archipelago had developed into four kinds of social groups: hunter-gathering tribes, warrior societies, petty plutocracies, and maritime-centered harbor principalities.
Trade between the maritime-oriented peoples and other Asian countries during the subsequent period brought influences from Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam. During this time there was no unifying political state encompassing the entire Philippine Archipelago. Instead, the islands were divided among competing thalassocracies ruled by various datus, rajahs, or sultans. These thalassocracies were composed of autonomous barangays which were independent to or allied with larger nations. Among them were the kingdoms of Maynila, Namayan, and Tondo, the confederation of Madyaas, the state of Ma-i, the rajahnates of Butuan and Cebu, and the sultanates of Maguindanao and Sulu. Some of these societies were part of the Malayan empires of Srivijaya, Majapahit, and Brunei. Islam was brought to the Philippines by traders and proselytizers from Malaysia and Indonesia. By the 15th century, Islam was established in the Sulu Archipelago and by 1565 had reached Mindanao, the Visayas, and Luzon.
In 1521, Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan arrived in the Philippines and claimed the islands for Spain. Colonization began when Spanish explorer Miguel López de Legazpi arrived from Mexico in 1565 and formed the first European settlements in Cebu. In 1571, after dealing with the local royal families in the wake of the Tondo Conspiracy and defeating the Chinese pirate warlord Limahong, the Spanish established Manila as the capital of the Spanish East Indies.
Spanish rule contributed significantly to bringing political unity to the archipelago. From 1565 to 1821, the Philippines was governed as a territory of the Viceroyalty of New Spain and then was administered directly from Madrid after the Mexican War of Independence. The Manila galleons linking Manila to Acapulco traveled once or twice a year between the 16th and 19th centuries. Trade introduced foods such as corn, tomatoes, potatoes, chili peppers, and pineapples from the Americas. Roman Catholic missionaries converted most of the lowland inhabitants to Christianity and founded schools, a university, and hospitals. While a Spanish decree introduced free public schooling in 1863, efforts in mass public education mainly came to fruition during the American period.
During its rule, the Spanish fought off various indigenous revolts and several external colonial challenges from Chinese pirates, the Dutch, and the Portuguese. In an extension of the fighting of the Seven Years' War, British forces under the command of Brigadier General William Draper and Rear-Admiral Samuel Cornish briefly occupied Manila. They found local allies like Diego and Gabriela Silang who took the opportunity to lead a revolt, but Spanish rule was eventually restored following the 1763 Treaty of Paris.
In the 19th century, Philippine ports were opened to world trade and shifts were occurring within Philippine society. Many Spaniards born in the Philippines (criollos) and those of mixed ancestry (mestizos) became wealthy. The influx of Spanish and Latino settlers secularized churches and opened up government positions traditionally held by Spaniards born in the Iberian Peninsula (peninsulares). The ideals of revolution also began to spread through the islands. Criollo dissatisfaction resulted in the revolt in Cavite El Viejo in 1872 that was a precursor to the Philippine Revolution.
Revolutionary sentiments were stoked in 1872 after three priests—Mariano Gómez, José Burgos, and Jacinto Zamora (collectively known as Gomburza)—were accused of sedition by colonial authorities and executed. This would inspire a propaganda movement in Spain, organized by Marcelo H. del Pilar, José Rizal, and Mariano Ponce, lobbying for political reforms in the Philippines. Rizal was eventually executed on December 30, 1896, on charges of rebellion. As attempts at reform were meeting with resistance, Andrés Bonifacio in 1892 established the secret society called the Katipunan, a society along the lines of the freemasons, which sought independence from Spain through armed revolt. Bonifacio and the Katipunan started the Philippine Revolution in 1896. A faction of the Katipunan, the Magdalo of Cavite province, eventually came to challenge Bonifacio's position as the leader of the revolution and Emilio Aguinaldo took over. In 1898, the Spanish-American War began in Cuba and reached the Philippines. Aguinaldo declared Philippine independence from Spain in Kawit, Cavite on June 12, 1898 and the First Philippine Republic was established the following year. Meanwhile, the islands were ceded by Spain to the United States for US$20 million in the 1898 Treaty of Paris. As it became increasingly clear the United States would not recognize the First Philippine Republic, the Philippine–American War broke out. It ended with American control over the islands which were then administered as an insular area.
In 1935, the Philippines was granted Commonwealth status. Plans for independence over the next decade were interrupted by World War II when the Japanese Empire invaded and established a puppet government. Many atrocities and war crimes were committed during the war such as the Bataan Death March and the Manila massacre that culminated during the Battle of Manila. Allied troops defeated the Japanese in 1945. By the end of the war it is estimated over a million Filipinos had died. On July 4, 1946, the Philippines attained its independence. Immediately after World War II, the Philippines faced a number of challenges. The country had to be rebuilt from the ravages of war. It also had to come to terms with Japanese collaborators. Meanwhile, disgruntled remnants of the Hukbalahap communist rebel army that had previously fought against and resisted the Japanese continued to roam the rural regions. Eventually this threat was dealt with by Secretary of National Defense and later President Ramon Magsaysay but sporadic cases of communist insurgency continued to flare up long afterward. In 1965, Ferdinand Marcos was elected president, his wife Imelda Marcos at his side. Nearing the end of his second term and constitutionally barred from seeking a third, he declared martial law on September 21, 1972. By using political divisions, the tension of the Cold War, and the specter of communist rebellion and Islamic insurgency as justifications, he was able to govern by decree.
On August 21, 1983, Marcos' chief rival opposition leader Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino, Jr. ignored warnings and returned from exile in the United States. He was assassinated as he was taken off the plane at the Manila International Airport (now called the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in his memory). With political pressure building, Marcos eventually called for snap presidential elections in 1986. Corazon Aquino, Benigno's widow, was persuaded to become the presidential candidate and standard bearer of the opposition. The elections were widely thought of as rigged when Marcos was proclaimed the winner. This led to the People Power Revolution, instigated when two long-time Marcos allies—Armed Forces of the Philippines Vice Chief-of-Staff Fidel V. Ramos and Secretary of National Defense Juan Ponce Enrile—resigned and barricaded themselves in Camp Aguinaldo and Camp Crame. Exhorted by the Cardinal Archbishop of Manila Jaime Sin, people gathered in support of the rebel leaders and protested on Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA). In the face of mass protests and military defections, Marcos and his allies fled to Hawaii and into exile. Corazon Aquino was recognized as president.
The return of democracy and government reforms after the events of 1986 were hampered by national debt, government corruption, coup attempts, a persistent communist insurgency, and Islamic separatists. The economy improved during the administration of Fidel V. Ramos, who was elected president in 1992. However, the economic improvements were negated with the onset of the East Asian financial crisis in 1997. In 2001, amid charges of corruption and a stalled impeachment process, Ramos' successor Joseph Estrada was ousted from the presidency by the 2001 EDSA Revolution and replaced by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. As a result of the May 2010 elections, Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III was elected president.
The Philippines is an archipelago of 7,107 islands with a total land area, including inland bodies of water, of approximately 300,000 square kilometers (120,000 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 feet) 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 white sand beaches that make Boracay a popular vacation getaway are made of coral remnants.
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, chromite, and zinc. Despite this, poor management, high population density, and environmental consciousness have resulted in these mineral resources remaining largely untapped. Geothermal energy, however, is another product of volcanic activity that the country has 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.
Flora and fauna
The Philippines' rainforests and its extensive coastlines make it home to a diverse range of birds, plants, animals, and sea creatures. It is one of the ten most biologically mega-diverse countries and is at or near the top in terms of biodiversity per unit area. Around 1,100 land vertebrate species can be found in the Philippines including over 100 mammal species and 170 bird species not thought to exist elsewhere. Endemic species include the tamaraw of Mindoro, the Visayan spotted deer, the Philippine mouse deer, the Visayan warty pig, the Philippine flying lemur, and several species of bats.
The Philippines lacks large predators, with the exception of snakes, such as pythons and cobras, and birds of prey, such as the national bird, known as the Philippine eagle. Other native animals include the palm civet cat, the dugong, and the Philippine tarsier associated with Bohol. With an estimated 13,500 plant species in the country, 3,200 of which are unique to the islands, Philippine rainforests boast an array of flora, including many rare types of orchids and rafflesia. The narra is considered as the most important type of hardwood.
Philippine maritime waters encompass as much as 2.2 million square kilometers (850,000 square miles) producing unique and diverse marine life and is an important part of the Coral Triangle. There are 2,400 fish species and over 500 species of coral. The Apo Reef is the country's largest contiguous coral reef system and the second-largest in the world. Philippine waters also sustain the cultivation of pearls, crabs, and seaweeds.
Deforestation, often the result of illegal logging, is an acute problem in the Philippines. Forest cover declined from 70% of the country's total land area in 1900 to about 18.3% in 1999. Many species are endangered and scientists say that Southeast Asia, which the Philippines is part of, faces a catastrophic extinction rate of 20% by the end of the century. According to Conservation International, "the country is one of the few nations that is, in its entirety, both a hotspot and a megadiversity country, placing it among the top priority hotspots for global conservation."
The Philippines has a tropical maritime climate and is usually hot and humid. There are three seasons: tag-init or tag-araw, the hot dry season or summer from March to May; tag-ulan, the rainy season from June to November; and tag-lamig, the cool dry season from December to February. The southwest monsoon (from May to October) is known as the Habagat, and the dry winds of the northeast monsoon (from November to April), the Amihan. Temperatures usually range from 21°C (70°F) to 32°C (90°F) although it can get cooler or hotter depending on the season. The coolest month is January; the warmest is May.
The average yearly temperature is around 26.6°C (79.88°F). In considering temperature, location in terms of latitude and longitude is not a significant factor. Whether in the extreme north, south, east, or west of the country, temperatures at sea level tend to be in the same range. Altitude usually has more of an impact. The average annual temperature of Baguio at an elevation of 1,500 meters (4,900 feet) above sea level is 18.3°C (64.9°F), making it a popular destination during hot summers. Likewise, Tagaytay is a favored retreat.
Sitting astride the typhoon belt, most of the islands experience annual torrential rains and thunderstorms from July to October, with around nineteen typhoons entering the Philippine area of responsibility in a typical year and eight or nine making landfall. Annual rainfall measures as much as 5,000 millimeters (200 inches) in the mountainous east coast section but less than 1,000 millimeters (39 inches) in some of the sheltered valleys. The wettest known tropical cyclone to impact the archipelago was the July 1911 cyclone, which dropped over 1,168 millimetres (46.0 in) of rainfall within a 24-hour period in Baguio City. Bagyo is the local term for a tropical cyclone in the Philippines.