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Republic of the Philippines
Repúblika ng Pilipinas
FlagCoat of arms
"Maka-Diyos, Maka-Tao, Makakalikasan at Makabansa"[1]
"For God, People, Nature, and Country"
Anthem: Lupang Hinirang
Chosen Land
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14°35′N 121°0′E / 14.583°N 121.000°E / 14.583; 121.000
Largest cityQuezon City
Official languages
Recognised regional languages
Optional languagesa
GovernmentUnitary presidential constitutional republic
 - PresidentBenigno Aquino III
 - Vice PresidentJejomar Binay
 - Senate PresidentFranklin Drilon
 - House SpeakerFeliciano Belmonte, Jr.
 - Chief JusticeMaria Lourdes Sereno
 - Upper houseSenate
 - Lower houseHouse of Representatives
Independence from Spainb and the United States
 - EstablishedApril 27, 1565 
 - DeclaredJune 12, 1898 
 - Self-governmentMarch 24, 1934 
 - RecognizedJuly 4, 1946 
 - Current constitutionFebruary 2, 1987 
 - Total300,000 km2 (73rd)
120,000 sq mi
 - Water (%)0.61[4] (inland waters)
 - Land298,170 km2
115,120 sq mi
 - 2014 estimate99,436,800 (12th)
 - 2010 census92,337,852
 - Density331.46/km2 (43rd)
858.47/sq mi
GDP (PPP)2013 estimate
 - Total$456.418 billion[5]
 - Per capita$4,682[5]
GDP (nominal)2013 estimate
 - Total$272.018 billion[5]
 - Per capita$2,790[5]
Gini (2009)43.0[6]
medium · 44th
HDI (2013)0.654[7]
medium · 114th
CurrencyPeso (Filipino: piso) (₱) (PHP)
Time zonePST (UTC+8)
 - Summer (DST)not observed (UTC+8)
Date formatmm/dd/yyyy
Drives on theright[8]
Calling code+63
a.^a The 1987 Philippine constitution specifies, "Spanish and Arabic shall be promoted on a voluntary and optional basis."[9]
b.^b Philippine revolutionaries declared independence from Spain on June 12, 1898, but the Spanish claim of sovereignty was passed from Spain to the United States in the Treaty of Paris. This led to the Philippine–American War.
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Republic of the Philippines
Repúblika ng Pilipinas
FlagCoat of arms
"Maka-Diyos, Maka-Tao, Makakalikasan at Makabansa"[1]
"For God, People, Nature, and Country"
Anthem: Lupang Hinirang
Chosen Land
Sorry, your browser either has JavaScript disabled or does not have any supported player.
You can download the clip or download a player to play the clip in your browser.
14°35′N 121°0′E / 14.583°N 121.000°E / 14.583; 121.000
Largest cityQuezon City
Official languages
Recognised regional languages
Optional languagesa
GovernmentUnitary presidential constitutional republic
 - PresidentBenigno Aquino III
 - Vice PresidentJejomar Binay
 - Senate PresidentFranklin Drilon
 - House SpeakerFeliciano Belmonte, Jr.
 - Chief JusticeMaria Lourdes Sereno
 - Upper houseSenate
 - Lower houseHouse of Representatives
Independence from Spainb and the United States
 - EstablishedApril 27, 1565 
 - DeclaredJune 12, 1898 
 - Self-governmentMarch 24, 1934 
 - RecognizedJuly 4, 1946 
 - Current constitutionFebruary 2, 1987 
 - Total300,000 km2 (73rd)
120,000 sq mi
 - Water (%)0.61[4] (inland waters)
 - Land298,170 km2
115,120 sq mi
 - 2014 estimate99,436,800 (12th)
 - 2010 census92,337,852
 - Density331.46/km2 (43rd)
858.47/sq mi
GDP (PPP)2013 estimate
 - Total$456.418 billion[5]
 - Per capita$4,682[5]
GDP (nominal)2013 estimate
 - Total$272.018 billion[5]
 - Per capita$2,790[5]
Gini (2009)43.0[6]
medium · 44th
HDI (2013)0.654[7]
medium · 114th
CurrencyPeso (Filipino: piso) (₱) (PHP)
Time zonePST (UTC+8)
 - Summer (DST)not observed (UTC+8)
Date formatmm/dd/yyyy
Drives on theright[8]
Calling code+63
a.^a The 1987 Philippine constitution specifies, "Spanish and Arabic shall be promoted on a voluntary and optional basis."[9]
b.^b Philippine revolutionaries declared independence from Spain on June 12, 1898, but the Spanish claim of sovereignty was passed from Spain to the United States in the Treaty of Paris. This led to the Philippine–American War.

The Philippines (Listeni/ˈfɪlɨpnz/; FI-lə-peenz; Filipino: Pilipinas [ˌpɪlɪˈpinɐs]), officially known as the Republic of the Philippines (Filipino: Repúblika ng Pilipinas), is a sovereign island country in Southeast Asia situated in the western Pacific Ocean. It consists of 7,107 islands that are categorized broadly under three main geographical divisions: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Its capital city is Manila while its most populous city is Quezon City; both are part of Metro Manila.

To the north of the Philippines across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan; Vietnam sits west across the South China Sea; southwest is the island of Borneo across the Sulu Sea, and to the south the Celebes Sea separates it from other islands of Indonesia; while to the east it is bounded by the Philippine Sea and the island-nation of Palau. Its location on the Pacific Ring of Fire and close to the equator makes the Philippines prone to earthquakes and typhoons, but also endows it with abundant natural resources and some of the world's greatest biodiversity. At approximately 300,000 square kilometers (115,831 sq mi), the Philippines is the 64th-largest country in the world.

With a population of at least 99 million people, the Philippines is the seventh-most populated country in Asia and the 12th most populated country in the world. An additional 12 million Filipinos live overseas, comprising one of the world's largest diasporas. 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. Various nations were established under the rule of Datus, Rajahs, Sultans or Lakans. Trade with China, Malay, Indian, and Islamic states occurred.

The arrival of Ferdinand Magellan in 1521 marked the beginning of Spanish colonization. In 1543, Spanish explorer Ruy López de Villalobos named the archipelago Las Islas Filipinas in honor of Philip II of Spain. With the arrival of Miguel López de Legazpi in 1565, the first Spanish settlement in the archipelago was established, and the Philippines became part of the Spanish Empire for more than 300 years. This resulted in the predominant religion in the country being Roman Catholicism. During this time, Manila became the Asian hub of the Manila–Acapulco galleon trade.

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, and the Philippine–American War. Aside from the period of Japanese occupation, the United States retained sovereignty over the islands. After World War II, the Philippines was recognized as an independent nation. Since then, the Philippines has had an often tumultuous experience with democracy, which includes a People Power Revolution overthrowing a dictatorship. The nation's large population size and economic potential have led it to be classified as a middle power. It is a founding member of the United Nations, World Trade Organization, Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and East Asia Summit.


The name Philippines is named in honor of King Philip II of Spain. Spanish explorer Ruy López de Villalobos during his expedition in 1542 named the islands of Leyte and Samar Felipinas after the then Prince of Asturias. Eventually the name Las Islas Filipinas would be used to cover all the islands of the archipelago. Before that became commonplace, other names such as Islas del Poniente (Islands of the West) and Magellan's name for the islands San Lázaro were also used by the Spanish to refer to the islands.[10][11][12][13][14]

The official name of the Philippines has changed several times in the course of the country's history. During the Philippine Revolution, the Malolos Congress proclaimed the establishment of the República Filipina or the Philippine Republic. From the period of the Spanish–American War (1898) and the Philippine–American War (1899–1902) until the Commonwealth period (1935–46), American colonial authorities referred to the country as the Philippine Islands, a translation of the Spanish name. From the 1898 Treaty of Paris, the name Philippines began to appear and it has since become the country's common name. Since the end of World War II, the official name of the country has been the Republic of the Philippines.[15]



The metatarsal of the Callao Man, reliably dated by uranium-series dating to 67,000 years ago[16] replaced the Tabon Man of Palawan, carbon-dated to around 24,000 years ago,[17][18] as the oldest human remains found in the archipelago. Negritos were also among the archipelago's earliest inhabitants, but their appearance in the Philippines has not been reliably dated.[19] There are several opposing theories regarding the origins of ancient Filipinos. The most widely accepted based on linguistic and archeological evidence, is the "Out-of-Taiwan" model, which hypothesizes that Austronesians from Taiwan began migrating to the Philippines around 4000 BCE, displacing earlier arrivals.[20][21] By 1000 BCE the inhabitants of the archipelago had developed into four kinds of social groups: hunter-gatherer tribes, warrior societies, highland plutocracies, and maritime harbor principalities.[22]

Classical states

A Tagalog couple of the Maginoo caste depicted on a page of the 16th century Boxer Codex.

Kingdoms and city states (called barangays) dominated the 1st millennium such as the Confederation of Madja-as in Panay, the Rajahnate of Cebu,[23] and the Kingdom of Tondo, which was ruled by the Lakandula dynasty.[24] At around the year 1001, the Song Shih documents the Kingdom of Butuan trading with the Song dynasty of China.[25] Great epics such as the Hinilawod, Darangen and the Biag ni Lam-ang trace their origins to this era.[26]

In 1380, Karim ul' Makdum arrived from Malacca to Simunul, Tawi-Tawi and established the oldest mosque in the country. The Sultanate of Sulu was established by Sharif ul-Hāshim around 1405 by converting the local rajah to Islam and marrying his daughter.[27][28] At the end of the 15th century, Shariff Mohammed Kabungsuwan of Johor introduced Islam to Mindanao and established the Sultanate of Maguindanao extending it further into Lanao.[29] Islam spread out of Mindanao in the south into Luzon in the north. Manila was converted through the reign of Sultan Bolkiah in 1500, wherein, the Sultanate of Brunei subjugated the kingdom, converting its ruler.[30][31][32][33] Rivalries between the datus, rajahs, huangs, sultans, and lakans eventually eased Spanish colonization. These states became incorporated into the Spanish Empire and were Hispanicized and Christianized.[34]

Spanish colonization

In 1521, Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan arrived in the Philippines and claimed the islands for Spain.[35] Colonization began when Spanish explorer Miguel López de Legazpi arrived from Mexico in 1565 and formed the first European settlements in Cebu. The Spanish established Manila as the capital of the Spanish East Indies in 1571 after putting down native resistance and defeating the Chinese pirate warlord Limahong.[36][37] Spanish rule contributed significantly to bringing political unity to the fragmented states of 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 and its large naval fleet 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.[37] 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.[38]

José Rizal, Marcelo H. del Pilar, and Mariano Ponce, leaders of the Propaganda Movement.

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 occupied Manila from 1762 to 1764. Spanish rule was eventually restored following the 1763 Treaty of Paris.[34][39][40] In the 19th century, Philippine ports opened to world trade and shifts started occurring within Philippine society. Many Spaniards born in the Philippines (criollos) and those of mixed ancestry (mestizos) became wealthy, and an influx of Latin American settlers 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 1872 Cavite Mutiny that was a precursor to the Philippine Revolution.[34][41][42][43]

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.[41][42] 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.[44] As attempts at reform met with resistance, Andrés Bonifacio in 1892 established the secret society called the Katipunan, who sought independence from Spain through armed revolt.[43] 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 in the Barasoain Church in the following year.[34]

American period

President Manuel L. Quezon (November 1942)

The islands were ceded by Spain to the United States for 20 million US dollars in the 1898 Treaty of Paris.[45] As it became increasingly clear the United States would not recognize the nascent First Philippine Republic, the Philippine–American War broke out, the First Republic was defeated, and the archipelago was administered under an Insular Government.[46] The Moro Rebellion immediately followed which was mostly fought against the waning Sultanate of Sulu.[47] During this era, a renaissance in Philippine culture occurred, with the expansion of Philippine cinema and literature.[48][49][50][51] Daniel Burnham built an architectural plan for Manila which would have transformed it into a modern city.[52]

In 1935, the Philippines was granted Commonwealth status with Manuel Quezon as president. He designated a national language and introduced women's suffrage and land reform.[44][53] Plans for independence over the next decade were interrupted by World War II when the Japanese Empire invaded and the Second Philippine Republic of José P. Laurel was established as a collaborator state. 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.[54] In 1944, Quezon died in exile in the United States and Sergio Osmeña succeeded him. Allied troops defeated the Japanese in 1945. By the end of the war it is estimated over a million Filipinos had died.[55][56][57]

Cold War era

On October 24, 1945,[58] the Philippines became one of the founding members of the United Nations and the following year, on July 4, 1946, it became recognized by the United States as independent, during the presidency of Manuel Roxas.[4] Disgruntled remnants of the communist Hukbalahap[59] continued to roam the countryside but were put down by President Elpidio Quirino's successor Ramon Magsaysay.[60][61] Magsaysay's successor, Carlos P. Garcia initiated the Filipino First Policy,[62] which was continued by Diosdado Macapagal, with celebration of Independence Day moved from July 4 to June 12, the date of Emilio Aguinaldo's declaration,[63][64] while furthering the claim on North Borneo.[65][66]

In 1965, Macapagal lost to Ferdinand Marcos, who was elected president. Early in his presidency he initiated numerous public projects but was accused of massive corruption, such as the embezzlement of billions of dollars in public funds.[67] A midst great social turmoil and nearing the end of his term, Marcos declared Martial Law on September 21, 1972. This period of his rule was characterized by political repression, censorship, and human rights violations. His wife Imelda continued to live a lavish lifestyle as the majority of Filipinos remained in poverty.[68] On August 21, 1983, Marcos' chief rival, opposition leader Benigno Aquino, Jr., was assassinated at Manila International Airport. Marcos eventually called for snap presidential elections in 1986 against Aquino's widow, Corazon.[69] Marcos was proclaimed the winner, but the results were widely regarded as fraudulent, leading to the People Power Revolution. Marcos and his allies fled to Hawaii and Aquino was recognized as president.[69][70]

Contemporary history

The return of democracy and government reforms beginning in 1986 were hampered by national debt, government corruption, coup attempts, disasters, a persistent communist insurgency,[71] and a military conflict with Moro separatists.[72] Corazon Aquino's administration ended with the eruption of Mount Pinatubo,[73][74] leading to the withdrawal of U.S. forces in Subic Bay and Clark Air Base. The economy improved during the administration of Fidel V. Ramos, who was elected president in 1992. However, political and economic improvements, such as a peace deal with the Moro National Liberation Front,[75] were negated by the onset of the East Asian financial crisis in 1997.[76][77]

In 2001, amid an ongoing conflict with the Abu Sayyaf,[78] charges of corruption, and a stalled impeachment process, Ramos' successor Joseph Estrada was ousted by the 2001 EDSA Revolution and replaced by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.[79] Her 9-year administration was tied with graft and political scandals, though the economy experienced stable growth and managed to avoid the Great Recession.[80][81][82][83] On November 23, 2009, the Maguindanao massacre led to the murder of 34 journalists.[84][85] In 2010, Benigno Aquino III was elected president. During his term, the Bangsamoro peace deal was signed while territorial disputes in North Borneo and the South China Sea escalated.[86][87][88][89] Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) struck in 2013.[90]

Politics and government

Benigno S. Aquino III, the current and 15th president of the Republic of the Philippines

The Philippines has a democratic government in the form of a constitutional republic with a presidential system.[91] It is governed as a unitary state with the exception of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao which is largely free from the national government. There have been attempts to change the government to a federal, unicameral, or parliamentary government since the Ramos administration.[92][93]

The President functions as both head of state and head of government and is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. The president is elected by popular vote for a single six-year term, during which he or she appoints and presides over the cabinet.[94] The bicameral Congress is composed of the Senate, serving as the upper house, with members elected to a six-year term, and the House of Representatives, serving as the lower house, with members elected to a three-year term. The senators are elected at large while the representatives are elected from both legislative districts and through sectoral representation.[94] The judicial power is vested in the Supreme Court, composed of a Chief Justice as its presiding officer and fourteen associate justices, all of whom are appointed by the President from nominations submitted by the Judicial and Bar Council.[94]

Security and defense

Philippine defense is handled by the Armed Forces of the Philippines and is composed of three branches: the Air Force, the Army, and the Navy (including the Marine Corps).[95][96][97] Civilian security is handled by Philippine National Police under the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).[98][99]

In the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, the largest separatist organization, the Moro National Liberation Front, is now engaging the government politically. Other more militant groups like the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the communist New People's Army, and the Abu Sayyaf still roam the provinces, but their presence has decreased in recent years due to successful security provided by the Philippine government.[100][101]

The Philippines has been an ally of the United States since World War II. A mutual defense treaty between the two countries was signed in 1951. The Philippines supported American policies during the Cold War and participated in the Korean and Vietnam wars. It was a member of the now dissolved SEATO, a group that was intended to serve a role similar to NATO and that included Australia, France, New Zealand, Pakistan, Thailand, the United Kingdom, and the United States.[102] After the start of the War on Terror, the Philippines was part of the coalition that gave support to the United States in Iraq.[103]

International relations

The Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C., United States.

The Philippines' international relations are based on trade with other nations and the well-being of the 11 million overseas Filipinos living outside the country.[104] As a founding and active member of the United Nations, the Philippines has been elected several times into the Security Council. Carlos P. Romulo was a former President of the United Nations General Assembly. The country is an active participant in the Human Rights Council as well as in peacekeeping missions, particularly in East Timor.[105][106][107]

In addition to membership in the United Nations, the country is also a founding and active member of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), an organization designed to strengthen relations and promote economic and cultural growth among states in the Southeast Asian region.[108] It has hosted several summits and is an active contributor to the direction and policies of the bloc.[109]

The Philippines values its relations with the United States.[104] It supported the United States during the Cold War and the War on Terror and is a major non-NATO ally. Despite this history of goodwill, controversies related to the presence of the now former U.S. military bases in Subic Bay and Clark and the current Visiting Forces Agreement have flared up from time to time.[104] Japan, the biggest contributor of official development assistance to the country,[110] is thought of as a friend. Although historical tensions still exist on issues such as the plight of comfort women, much of the animosity inspired by memories of World War II have faded.[111]

Relations with other nations are generally positive. Shared democratic values ease relations with Western and European countries while similar economic concerns help in relations with other developing countries. Historical ties and cultural similarities also serve as a bridge in relations with Spain.[112][113][114] Despite issues such as domestic abuse and war affecting overseas Filipino workers,[115][116] relations with Middle Eastern countries are friendly as seen in the continuous employment of more than two million overseas Filipinos living there.[117][118]

With communism no longer the threat it once was, once hostile relations in the 1950s between the Philippines and China have improved greatly. Issues involving Taiwan, the Spratly Islands, and concerns of expanding Chinese influence, however, still encourage a degree of caution.[111] Recent foreign policy has been mostly about economic relations with its Southeast Asian and Asia-Pacific neighbors.[104]

The Philippines is an active member of the East Asia Summit (EAS), the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the Latin Union, the Group of 24, and the Non-Aligned Movement.[94] It is also seeking to strengthen relations with Islamic countries by campaigning for observer status in the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.[119][120]

Administrative divisions

The Philippines is divided into three island groups: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. These are divided into 17 regions, 81 provinces, 144 cities, 1,491 municipalities, and 42,028 barangays.[121] In addition, Section 2 of Republic Act No. 5446 asserts that the definition of the territorial sea around the Philippine archipelago does not affect the claim over Sabah.[122]

A clickable map of the Philippines exhibiting its 17 regions and 80 provinces.
Metro ManilaSouth China SeaSouth China SeaPhilippine SeaPhilippine SeaSulu SeaMalaysiaCordillera Administrative RegionIlocos RegionCagayan ValleyCentral LuzonCALABARZONMIMAROPABicol RegionWestern VisayasCentral VisayasEastern VisayasZamboanga PeninsulaNorthern MindanaoDavao RegionSOCCSKSARGENCaraga RegionAutonomous Region in Muslim MindanaoAutonomous Region in Muslim MindanaoBasilanLanao del SurMaguindanaoSuluTawi-TawiAgusan del NorteAgusan del SurSurigao del NorteSurigao del SurCotabatoSaranganiSouth CotabatoSultan KudaratCompostela ValleyDavao del NorteDavao OccidentalDavao del SurDavao OrientalBukidnonCamiguinLanao del NorteMisamis OccidentalMisamis OrientalZamboanga del NorteZamboanga del SurZamboanga SibugayBiliranEastern SamarLeyteNorthern SamarSamarSouthern LeyteBoholCebuNegros OrientalSiquijorAklanCapizGuimarasIloiloNegros OccidentalAlbayCamarines NorteCamarines SurCatanduanesMasbateSorsogonMarinduqueOriental MindoroOccidental MindoroPalawanRomblonBatangasCaviteQuezonRizalLaguna (province)Aurora (province)BataanBulacanNueva EcijaPampangaTarlacZambalesBatanesCagayanNueva VizcayaQuirinoIlocos NorteIlocos SurLa UnionPangasinanAbra (province)ApayaoBenguetIfugaoKalingaMountain ProvinceA clickable map of the Philippines exhibiting its 17 regions and 81 provinces.
About this image

RegionDesignationAdministrative Center
Ilocos RegionRegion ISan Fernando, La Union
Cagayan ValleyRegion IITuguegarao
Central LuzonRegion IIISan Fernando, Pampanga
CALABARZON (Southern Tagalog Mainland)Region IV-ACalamba
MIMAROPA (Southern Tagalog Islands)Region IV-BCalapan
Bicol RegionRegion VLegazpi
Western VisayasRegion VIIloilo
Central VisayasRegion VIICebu
Eastern VisayasRegion VIIITacloban
Zamboanga PeninsulaRegion IXPagadian[123][124]
Northern MindanaoRegion XCagayan de Oro
Davao RegionRegion XIDavao
SOCCSKSARGEN (Cotabato Region)Region XIIKoronadal
CaragaRegion XIIIButuan
Autonomous Region in Muslim MindanaoARMMCotabato
Cordillera Administrative RegionCARBaguio
National Capital RegionNCRManila


The Philippines is an archipelago of 7,107 islands[94] with a total land area, including inland bodies of water, of approximately 300,000 square kilometers (115,831 sq mi).[125] Its 36,289 kilometers (22,549 mi) of coastline makes it the country with the 5th longest coastline in the world.[94][126] 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.[94]

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.[127]

Ifugao/Igorot utilized terrace farming to grow crops in the steep mountainous regions of northern Philippines.

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.[128] Around 20 earthquakes are registered daily, though most are too weak to be felt. The last major earthquake was the 1990 Luzon earthquake.[129] 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.[130] 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.[131]

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.[132] 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.[132] 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.[133]

Flora and fauna

The Philippines' rainforests and its extensive coastlines make it home to a diverse range of birds, plants, animals, and sea creatures.[134] It is one of the ten most biologically megadiverse countries and is at or near the top in terms of biodiversity per unit area.[135][136][137] 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.[138] The Philippines has among the highest rates of discovery in the world with sixteen new species of mammals discovered in the last ten years. Because of this, the rate of endemism for the Philippines has risen and likely will continue to rise.[139]

Philippine tarsier (Tarsius syrichta), one of the smallest primates.

The Philippines lacks large predators, with the exception of snakes, such as pythons and cobras, saltwater crocodiles and birds of prey, such as the national bird, known as the Philippine Eagle, which scientists suggest as the largest eagle in the world.[140][141] The largest crocodile in captivity was captured in the southern island of Mindanao.[142] 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,[138] Philippine rainforests boast an array of flora, including many rare types of orchids and rafflesia.[143][144]

Philippine maritime waters encompass as much as 2,200,000 square kilometers (849,425 sq mi) producing unique and diverse marine life and are an important part of the Coral Triangle.[122] The total number of corals and marine fish species was estimated at 500 and 2,400 respectively.[134][138] However, new records [145][146] and species discoveries[147][148] continuously increase these numbers underlining the uniqueness of the marine resources in the Philippines. The Tubbataha Reef in the Sulu Sea was declared a World Heritage Site in 1993. Philippine waters also sustain the cultivation of pearls, crabs, and seaweeds.[134][149]

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.[150] 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 21st century.[151] 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."[143]


Typhoon Megi (also known as Juan) over the Philippines

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.[152] 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.[94][153]

The average yearly temperature is around 26.6 °C (79.9 °F).[152] 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 ft) above sea level is 18.3 °C (64.9 °F), making it a popular destination during hot summers.[152]

Sitting astride the typhoon belt, most of the islands experience annual torrential rains and thunderstorms from July to October,[154] with around nineteen typhoons entering the Philippine area of responsibility in a typical year and eight or nine making landfall.[155][156][157] Annual rainfall measures as much as 5,000 millimeters (200 in) in the mountainous east coast section but less than 1,000 millimeters (39 in) in some of the sheltered valleys.[154] The wettest known tropical cyclone to impact the archipelago was the July 1911 cyclone, which dropped over 1,168 millimeters (46.0 in) of rainfall within a 24-hour period in Baguio.[158] Bagyo is the local term for a tropical cyclone in the Philippines.[158]


The national economy of the Philippines is the 39th largest in the world, with an estimated 2013 gross domestic product (nominal) of $272.207 billion.[5] Primary exports include semiconductors and electronic products, transport equipment, garments, copper products, petroleum products, coconut oil, and fruits.[4] Major trading partners include the United States, Japan, China, Singapore, South Korea, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, Germany, Taiwan, and Thailand.[4] Its unit of currency is the Philippine peso (₱ or PHP). The Philippines is classified as a middle power.[159]

Makati, in Metro Manila, is the country's leading financial center.

A newly industrialized country, the Philippine economy has been transitioning from one based on agriculture to one based more on services and manufacturing. Of the country's total labor force of around 40.813 Million,[4] the agricultural sector employs close to 32% but contributes to only about 14% of GDP. The industrial sector employs around 14% of the workforce and accounts for 30% of GDP. Meanwhile the 47% of workers involved in the services sector are responsible for 56% of GDP.[160][161]

The unemployment rate as of January 2013 stands at around 6.9%[162] and the inflation rate as of May 13 was at 3.2%.[163] Gross international reserves as of October 2013 are $83.201 billion.[164] In 2004, public debt as a percentage of GDP was estimated to be 74.2% but in 2008 it fell to 56.9%.[4] and in 2012, 40.2%.[165] The country is a net importer [161] but it is also a creditor nation.[166]

After World War II, the country was for a time regarded as the second wealthiest in East Asia, next only to Japan.[104][167][168] However, by the 1960s its economic performance started being overtaken. The economy stagnated under the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos as the regime spawned economic mismanagement and political volatility.[104][168] The country suffered from slow economic growth and bouts of economic recession. Only in the 1990s with a program of economic liberalization did the economy begin to recover.[104][168] The 1997 Asian Financial Crisis affected the economy, resulting in a lingering decline of the value of the peso and falls in the stock market. But the extent it was affected initially was not as severe as that of some of its Asian neighbors. This was largely due to the fiscal conservatism of the government, partly as a result of decades of monitoring and fiscal supervision from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), in comparison to the massive spending of its neighbors on the rapid acceleration of economic growth.[75] There have been signs of progress since. In 2004, the economy experienced 6.4% GDP growth and 7.1% in 2007, its fastest pace of growth in three decades.[169][170] Average annual GDP growth per capita for the period 1966–2007 still stands at 1.45% in comparison to an average of 5.96% for the East Asia and the Pacific region as a whole and the daily income for 45% of the population of the Philippines remains less than $2.[171][172][173]

Other incongruities and challenges exist. The economy is heavily reliant on remittances which surpass foreign direct investment as a source of foreign currency. Regional development is uneven with Luzon – Metro Manila in particular – gaining most of the new economic growth at the expense of the other regions,[174] although the government has taken steps to distribute economic growth by promoting investment in other areas of the country. Despite constraints, service industries such as tourism and business process outsourcing have been identified as areas with some of the best opportunities for growth for the country.[161][175]

Goldman Sachs includes the country in its list of the "Next Eleven" economies.[176] but China and India have emerged as major economic competitors.[177] Goldman Sachs estimates that by the year 2050, it will be the 14th largest economy in the world. HSBC also projects the Philippine economy to become the 16th largest economy in the world, 5th largest economy in Asia and the largest economy in the South East Asian region by 2050.[178] The Philippines is a member of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Asian Development Bank which is headquartered in Mandaluyong, the Colombo Plan, the G-77, and the G-24 among other groups and institutions.[4]


Blue and white jeepney with a green and white bus behind it
A jeepney and a bus, common forms of public transport in the Philippines

The transportation infrastructure in the country is relatively underdeveloped. Partly this is due to the mountainous terrain and the scattered geography of the islands, but it is also the result of the government's persistent underinvestment in infrastructure. In 2003, only 3.6% of GDP went to infrastructure development which was significantly lower than that of some of its neighbors.[154] Consequently, while there are 203,025 kilometers (126,154 mi) of roads in the country, only around 20% of the total is paved.[179] The current administration under President Benigno Aquino III has been pushing to improve the country's infrastructure and transportation systems through various projects.[180]

Nevertheless there are many ways to get around, especially in urban areas. Buses, jeepneys, taxis, and motorized tricycles are commonly available in major cities and towns. In 2007, there were about 5.53 million registered motor vehicles with registration increasing at an average annual rate of 4.55%.[181] Train services are provided by three main railway networks that serve different areas of Metro Manila and parts of Luzon: the Manila Light Rail Transit System (LRT),[182][183] the Manila Metro Rail Transit System (MRT),[184] and the Philippine National Railways (PNR).[185][186]

As an archipelago, inter-island travel via watercraft is often necessary. The busiest seaports are Manila, Cebu, Iloilo, Davao, Cagayan de Oro, and Zamboanga.[187] Passenger ships and other sea vessels such as those operated by 2GO Travel and Sulpicio Lines serve Manila, with links to various cities and towns. In 2003, the 919-kilometer (571 mi) Strong Republic Nautical Highway (SRNH), an integrated set of highway segments and ferry routes covering 17 cities was established.[188] Some rivers that pass through metropolitan areas, such as the Pasig River and Marikina River, have air-conditioned commuter ferries. The Pasig River Ferry Service has numerous stops in Manila, Makati, Mandaluyong, Pasig and Marikina.[189]

There are 85 public airports in the country, and around 111 more that are private.[179] The Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) is the main international airport. Other important airports include the Clark International Airport, Mactan-Cebu International Airport, Francisco Bangoy International Airport and Zamboanga International Airport. Philippine Airlines, Asia's oldest commercial airline still operating under its original name, and Cebu Pacific, the leading low-cost airline, are the major airlines serving most domestic and international destinations.[190][191][192]


The Philippines has a sophisticated cellular phone industry and a high concentration of users.[193] Text messaging is a popular form of communication, and in 2007, the nation sent an average of one billion SMS messages per day.[194] Over five million mobile phone users also use their phones as virtual wallets, making it a leader among developing nations in providing financial transactions over cellular networks.[195] The Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company commonly known as PLDT is the leading telecommunications provider. It is also the largest company in the country.[193][196] There are approximately 383 AM and 659 FM radio stations and 297 television and 873 cable television stations.[197] Estimates for internet penetration in the Philippines vary widely ranging from a low of 2.5 million to a high of 24 million people.[198][199] Social networking and watching videos are among the most frequent internet activities.[200]


The population of the Philippines increased from 1990 to 2008 by approximately 28 million, a 45% growth in that time frame.[201] The first official census in the Philippines was carried out in 1877 and recorded a population of 5,567,685.[202] As of 2013, the Philippines has become the world's 12th most populous nation, with a population of over 99 million.[203] It is estimated that half of the population resides on the island of Luzon. The population growth rate between 1995 to 2000 of 3.21% decreased to an estimated 1.95% for the 2005 to 2010 period, but remains a contentious issue.[204][205] The population's median age is 22.7 years with 60.9% aged from 15 to 64 years old.[4] Life expectancy at birth is 71.94 years, 75.03 years for females and 68.99 years for males.[206] There are about 12 million Filipinos outside the Philippines.[207] Since the liberalization of United States immigration laws in 1965, the number of people in the United States having Filipino ancestry has grown substantially. In 2007 there were an estimated 3.1 million.[208][209] 12 million Filipinos live overseas.[210]


Metro Manila is the most populous of the 12 defined metropolitan areas in the Philippines and the 11th most populous in the world. As of the 2007 census, it had a population of 11,553,427, comprising 13% of the national population.[211] Including suburbs in the adjacent provinces (Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal) of Greater Manila, the population is around 21 million.[211][212]

Metro Manila's gross regional product is estimated as of July 2009 to be 468.4 billion (at constant 1985 prices) and accounts for 33% of the nation's GDP.[213] In 2011, it ranked as the 28th wealthiest urban agglomeration in the world and the 2nd in Southeast Asia, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers.[214]


Ethnic groups per province

According to the 2000 census, 28.1% of Filipinos are Tagalog, 13.1% Cebuano, 9% Ilocano, 7.6% Bisaya/Binisaya, 7.5% Hiligaynon, 6% Bikol, 3.4% Waray, and 25.3% as "others",[4][215] which can be broken down further to yield more distinct non-tribal groups like the Moro, the Kapampangan, the Pangasinense, the Ibanag, and the Ivatan.[216] There are also indigenous peoples like the Igorot, the Lumad, the Mangyan, the Bajau, and the tribes of Palawan.[217] Negritos, such as the Aeta and the Ati, are considered among the earliest inhabitants of the islands.[218]

Filipinos generally belong to several Asian ethnic groups classified linguistically as part of the Austronesian or Malayo-Polynesian speaking people.[217] It is believed that thousands of years ago Austronesian-speaking Taiwanese aborigines migrated to the Philippines from Taiwan, bringing with them knowledge of agriculture and ocean-sailing, eventually displacing the earlier Negrito groups of the islands.[219] The two most important non-indigenous minorities include the Chinese and the Spaniards. Chinese Filipinos, mostly descended from immigrants from Fujian, China after 1898, number 2 million, although there is an estimated 18 million Filipinos who have partial Chinese ancestry, stemming from precolonial Chinese migrants.[220] Intermarriage between the groups is evident in the major cities and urban areas.[221] Descendants of such mixed couples are known as mestizos.[222]


Top five native languages (Ethnologue, 2013)[223][224]
LanguageSpeakers in millions

Ethnologue lists 175 individual languages in the Philippines, 171 of which are living languages while 4 no longer have any known speakers. Native languages are part of the Borneo–Philippines group of the Malayo-Polynesian languages, which is itself a branch of the Austronesian language family.[217] According to the 1987 Philippine Constitution, Filipino and English are the official languages. Filipino is a standardized version of Tagalog, spoken mainly in Metro Manila and other urban regions. Both Filipino and English are used in government, education, print, broadcast media, and business. The constitution mandates that Spanish and Arabic shall be promoted on a voluntary and optional basis.[9]

Nineteen regional languages act as auxiliary official languages used as mediums of instruction: Aklanon, Bikol, Cebuano, Chavacano, Hiligaynon, Ibanag, Ilocano, Ivatan, Kapampangan, Kinaray-a, Maguindanao, Maranao, Pangasinan, Sambal, Surigaonon, Tagalog, Tausug, Waray-Waray, and Yakan.[3] Other indigenous languages such as, Cuyonon, Ifugao, Itbayat, Kalinga, Kamayo, Kankanaey, Masbateño, Romblomanon, and several Visayan languages are prevalent in their respective provinces. The Chavacano language, a creole language born from Spanish, is also spoken in Cavite and Zamboanga.[227] Languages not indigenous to the islands are also taught in select schools. Mandarin is used in Chinese schools catering to the Chinese Filipino community. Islamic schools in Mindanao teach Modern Standard Arabic in their curriculum.[228] French, German, Japanese, Korean, Spanish are taught with the help of foreign linguistic institutions.[229] The Department of Education began teaching the Malay languages Indonesian and Malaysian in 2013.[230]


Religion in the Philippines (Pew Research)[231][232]

The Philippines is a secular nation with a constitutional separation of church and state. As a result of Spanish cultural influence, the Philippines is one of two predominantly Roman Catholic countries in Asia, the other being East Timor, a former Portuguese colony. More than 90% of the population are Christians: about 80% belong to the Roman Catholic Church while 10% belong to Protestant Christian denominations, such as the Iglesia ni Cristo, the Philippine Independent Church, United Church of Christ in the Philippines (a mainline Protestant united church), and Jehovah's Witnesses.[233]

Between 5% and 10% of the population are Muslim, most of whom live in parts of Mindanao, Palawan, and the Sulu Archipelago – an area known as Bangsamoro or the Moro region.[234][235] Some have migrated into urban and rural areas in different parts of the country. Most Muslim Filipinos practice Sunni Islam according to the Shafi'i school.[31] Philippine traditional religions are still practiced by an estimated 2% of the population,[231][232] made up of many aboriginal and tribal groups. These religions are often syncretized with Christianity and Islam. Animism, folk religion, and shamanism remain present as undercurrents of mainstream religion, through the albularyo, the babaylan, and the manghihilot. Buddhism is practiced by 1% of the populations,[231][232] and together with Taoism and Chinese folk religion it is dominant in Chinese communities.[235] There are smaller number of followers of Hinduism, Sikhism, and Judaism and Baha'i.[236] 1 percent of the population is non-religious.[231][232]


The University of Santo Tomas, established in 1611, has the oldest extant university charter in Asia.

The National Statistics Office reports a simple literacy rate of 93.4% and a functional literacy rate of 84.1% for 2003.[4][161][171] Literacy is about equal for males and females.[4] Spending for education is around 2.5% of GDP.[4] The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) lists 2,180 higher education institutions, 607 of which are public and 1,573 private.[237] Classes start in June and end in March. The majority of colleges and universities follow a semester calendar from June to October and November to March. There are a number of foreign schools with study programs.[94] Republic Act No. 9155 gives the framework of basic education in the Philippines and provides for compulsory elementary education and free high school education.[238]

Several government agencies are involved with education. The Department of Education covers elementary, secondary, and nonformal education; the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) administers the post-secondary middle-level education training and development; and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) supervises the college and graduate academic programs and degrees as well as regulates standards in higher education. In 2004, madaris were mainstreamed in 16 regions nationwide mainly in Muslim areas in Mindanao under the auspices and program of the Department of Education.[239] Public universities are all non-sectarian entities, and are further classified as State University and College (SUC) or Local College and University (LCU).[237] The University of the Philippines is the national university of the Philippines.[240]


Most of the national burden of health care is taken up by private health providers. In 2006, total expenditures on health represented 3.8% of GDP. 67.1% of that came from private expenditures while 32.9% was from government. External resources accounted for 2.9% of the total. Health expenditures represented about 6.1% of total government spending. Per capita total expenditure at average exchange rate was $52.[241] The proposed national health budget for 2010 is ₱28 billion (about $597 million) or ₱310 ($7) per person.[242]

There are an estimated 90,370 physicians or 1 per every 833 people, 480,910 nurses, 43,220 dentists, and 1 hospital bed per every 769 people.[241] Retention of skilled practitioners is a problem. 70% of nursing graduates go overseas to work. The country is the biggest supplier of nurses.[243] In 2001 there were about 1,700 hospitals, of which about 40% were government-run and 60% private. Cardiovascular diseases account for more than 25% of all deaths. According to official estimates, 1,965 cases of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) were reported in 2003, of which 636 had developed acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). Other estimates have as many as 12,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in 2005.[244]


Percussion instruments that make up the Philippine kulintang ensemble, an example of pre-Hispanic musical tradition

Philippine culture is a combination of Eastern and Western cultures. The Philippines exhibits aspects found in other Asian countries with a Malay[245] heritage, yet its culture also displays a significant amount of Spanish and American influences. Traditional festivities known as barrio fiestas (district festivals) to commemorate the feast days of patron saints are common. The Moriones Festival and Sinulog Festival are a couple of the most well-known. These community celebrations are times for feasting, music, and dancing. Some traditions, however, are changing or gradually being forgotten due to modernization. The Bayanihan Philippine National Folk Dance Company has been lauded for preserving many of the various traditional folk dances found throughout the Philippines. They are famed for their iconic performances of Philippine dances such as the tinikling and singkil that both feature the use of clashing bamboo poles.[246]

One of the most visible Hispanic legacies is the prevalence of Spanish names and surnames among Filipinos. However, a Spanish name and surname does not necessarily denote Spanish ancestry. This peculiarity, unique among the people of Asia, came as a result of a colonial decree, the Clavería edict, for the systematic distribution of family names and implementation of the Spanish naming system on the population.[247] The names of many streets, towns, and provinces are also in Spanish. Spanish architecture has left an imprint in the Philippines in the way many towns were designed around a central square or plaza mayor, but many of the buildings bearing its influence were demolished during World War II.[24] Some examples remain, mainly among the country's churches, government buildings, and universities. Four Philippine baroque churches are included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the San Agustín Church in Manila, the Paoay Church in Ilocos Norte, the Nuestra Señora de la Asunción (Santa María) Church in Ilocos Sur, and the Santo Tomás de Villanueva Church in Iloilo.[248] Vigan in Ilocos Sur is also known for the many Hispanic-style houses and buildings preserved there.[249]

The common use of the English language is an example of the American impact on Philippine society. It has contributed to the ready acceptance and influence of American pop cultural trends. This affinity is seen in Filipinos' love of fast food and Western film and music. Fast food outlets are found on many street corners. American global fast food chain stalwarts have entered the market, but local fast food chains like Goldilocks and most notably Jollibee, the leading fast food chain in the country, have emerged and compete successfully against their foreign rivals.[250][251]


The halo-halo is a dessert made of ice, milk, various fruits, and ice cream.

Philippine cuisine has evolved over several centuries from its Malayo-Polynesian origins to become a mixed cuisine with many Hispanic, Chinese, American, and other Asian influences that have been adapted to local ingredients and the Filipino palate to create distinctively Filipino dishes. Dishes range from the very simple, like a meal of fried salted fish and rice, to the elaborate, such as the paellas and cocidos created for fiestas. Popular dishes include lechón, adobo, sinigang, kare-kare, tapa, crispy pata, pancit, lumpia, and halo-halo. Some common local ingredients used in cooking are calamondins, coconuts, saba (a kind of short wide plantain), mangoes, milkfish, and fish sauce. Filipino taste buds tend to favor robust flavors but the cuisine is not as spicy as those of its neighbors.[251][252]

Unlike many of their Asian counterparts, Filipinos do not eat with chopsticks; they use Western cutlery. However, possibly due to rice being the primary staple food and the popularity of a large number of stews and main dishes with broth in Philippine cuisine, the main pairing of utensils seen at the Filipino dining table is that of spoon and fork, not knife and fork.[253] The traditional way of eating with the hands known as kamayan is seen more often in less urbanized areas.[254]


Philippine mythology has been handed down primarily through the traditional oral folk literature of the Filipino people. While each unique ethnic group has its own stories and myths to tell, Hindu and Spanish influences can nonetheless be detected in many cases. Philippine mythology mostly consists of creation stories or stories about supernatural creatures, such as the aswang, the manananggal, the diwata/engkanto, and nature. Some popular figures from Philippine mythologies are Maria Makiling, Lam-Ang, and the Sarimanok.[255]

Philippine literature comprises works usually written in Filipino, Spanish, or English. Some of the most known were created in the 19th century. Francisco Balagtas the poet and playwright who wrote Florante at Laura is recognized as a preeminent writer in the Filipino language. José Rizal wrote the novels Noli Me Tángere (Touch Me Not) and El Filibusterismo (The Filibustering, also known as The Reign of Greed) and is considered a national hero.[256] His depiction of the injustices of Spanish rule, and his death by firing squad, inspired other Philippine revolutionaries to seek independence.[257]


Philippine media uses mainly Filipino and English. Other Philippine languages, including various Visayan languages are also used, especially in radio due to its ability to reach remote rural locations that might otherwise not be serviced by other kinds of media. The dominant television networks ABS-CBN, GMA and TV5 also have extensive radio presence.[258]

The entertainment industry is vibrant and feeds broadsheets and tabloids with an unending supply of details about celebrities and sensationalist scandals du jour. Drama and fantasy shows are anticipated as are Latin telenovelas, Asianovelas, and anime. Daytime television is dominated by game shows, variety shows, and talk shows such as Eat Bulaga and It's Showtime.[259] Philippine cinema has a long history and is popular domestically, but has faced increasing competition from American, Asian and European films. Critically acclaimed directors and actors include Lino Brocka and Nora Aunor for films like Maynila: Sa mga Kuko ng Liwanag (Manila: In the Claws of Light) and Himala (Miracle).[260][261][262][263] In recent years it has become common to see celebrities flitting between television and movies and then moving into politics provoking concerns.[264]


A PBA basketball game at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, Southeast Asia's largest arena.

Various sports and pastimes are popular in the Philippines including basketball, boxing, cockfighting, volleyball, football, badminton, karate, taekwondo, billiards, ten-pin bowling, chess, and sipa. Motocross, cycling, and mountaineering are also becoming popular. Basketball is played at both amateur and professional levels and is considered to be the most popular sport in the Philippines.[265][266] In 2010, Manny Pacquiao was named "Fighter of the Decade" for the 2000s (decade) by the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA), World Boxing Council (WBC), and World Boxing Organization (WBO).[267]

The Philippines has participated in the Summer Olympic Games since 1924, making it the first country in Southeast Asia to compete and win a medal.[268] The country had competed in every Summer Olympic Games since then, except when they participated in the American-led boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics.[269] The Philippines is also the first tropical nation to compete at the Winter Olympics.[270]

Traditional Philippine games such as luksung baka, patintero, piko, and tumbang preso are still played primarily as children's games among the youth.[271][272] Sungka is a traditional native Philippine board game. Card games are popular during festivities, with some, including pusoy and tong-its, being used as a form of illegal gambling. Mahjong is played in some Philippine communities. The yo-yo, a popular toy in the Philippines, was introduced in its modern form by Pedro Flores with its name from the Ilokano language.[273] Arnis (Eskrima or Kali in some regions) is the national martial art and sport.[274]

See also


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  27. ^ 100 Events That Shaped The Philippines (Adarna Book Services Inc. 1999 Published by National Centennial Commission) Page 72 "The Founding of the Sulu Sultanate"
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