Republic of the Philippines

Republika ng Pilipinas  (Filipino)
"Maka-Diyos, Maka-Tao, Makakalikasan at Makabansa"[1]
"For God, People, Nature and Country"
Anthem: Lupang Hinirang
(English: "Chosen Land")
Great Seal
Dakilang Sagisag ng Pilipinas  (Filipino)
Great Seal of the Philippines
CapitalCity of Manilaa
Largest cityQuezon City
Official languages
Recognized regional languages
Protected auxiliary languages
Other recognized languagesFilipino Sign Language
Ethnic groups
Predominately Christianity (92.2%)
Islam (5%)
(masculine or neutral)
(colloquial masculine or neutral)
(colloquial feminine)
GovernmentUnitary presidential constitutional republic
• President
Rodrigo Duterte
Maria Leonor Robredo
Vicente Sotto III
Alan Peter Cayetano
Diosdado Peralta
House of Representatives
from the United States
June 12, 1898
December 10, 1898
July 4, 1946
• Total
300,000[6][7] km2 (120,000 sq mi) (72nd)
• Water (%)
0.61[8] (inland waters)
• Land
• 2015 census
100,981,437[9] (13th)
• Density
336/km2 (870.2/sq mi) (47th)
GDP (PPP)2020 estimate
• Total
$1.110 trillion[10] (27th)
• Per capita
$10,094[10] (112th (2019))
GDP (nominal)2020 estimate
• Total
$383 billion[10] (32nd)
• Per capita
$3,484[10] (125th (2019))
Gini (2015) 44.4[11]
medium · 44th
HDI (2018) 0.712[12]
high · 106th
CurrencyPhilippine peso (₱) (PHP)
Time zoneUTC+8 (PST)
Date format
  • mm-dd-yyyy
  • dd-mm-yyyy
Mains electricity220 V–60 Hz
Driving sideright,[13] formerly left before 1947/1948
Calling code+63
ISO 3166 codePH
  1. ^ While the City of Manila is designated as the nation's capital, the whole of Metropolitan Manila area is designated as the National Capital Region (NCR), and the seat of government, hence the name of a region.[14] [15] Many national government institutions aside from Malacañan Palace and some agencies/institutions are located within the NCR.

The Philippines (/ˈfɪləpnz/ (listen); Filipino: Pilipinas [ˌpɪlɪˈpinɐs] or Filipinas [fɪlɪˈpinɐs]), officially the Republic of the Philippines (Filipino: Republika ng Pilipinas),[a] is an archipelagic country in Southeast Asia. Situated in the western Pacific Ocean, it consists of about 7,641 islands[16] that are broadly categorized under three main geographical divisions from north to south: Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. The capital city of the Philippines is Manila and the most populous city is Quezon City, both within the single urban area of Metro Manila.[17] Bounded by the South China Sea on the west, the Philippine Sea on the east and the Celebes Sea on the southwest, the Philippines shares maritime borders with Taiwan to the north, Japan to the northeast, Palau to the east, Indonesia to the south, Malaysia and Brunei to the southwest, Vietnam to the west, and China to the northwest.

The Philippines' location on the Pacific Ring of Fire and close to the equator makes the country prone to earthquakes and typhoons, but also endows it with abundant natural resources and some of the world's greatest biodiversity. The Philippines is the world's fifth-largest island country with an area of 300,000 km2 (120,000 sq mi).[18][6][7] As of 2015, it had a population of at least 100 million.[9] As of January 2018, it is the eighth-most populated country in Asia and the 13th-most populated country in the world. Approximately 10 million additional Filipinos lived overseas as of 2013,[19] 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.[20] Exchanges with Malay, Indian, Arab and Chinese nations occurred. Subsequently, various competing maritime states were established under the rule of datus, rajahs, sultans and lakans.

The arrival of Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese explorer leading a fleet for the Spanish, marked the beginning of Hispanic colonization. In 1543, Spanish explorer Ruy López de Villalobos named the archipelago Las Islas Filipinas in honor of Philip II of Spain. In 1565, the first Hispanic settlement in the archipelago was established,[21] and the Philippines became part of the Spanish Empire for more than 300 years. During this time, Catholicism became the dominant religion, and Manila became the western hub of the trans-Pacific trade.[22] In 1896 the Philippine Revolution began, which then became entwined with the 1898 Spanish–American War. Spain ceded the territory to the United States, while Filipino rebels declared the First Philippine Republic. The ensuing Philippine–American War ended with the United States establishing control over the territory, which they maintained until the Japanese invasion of the islands during World War II. Following liberation, the Philippines became an independent country in 1946. Since then, the unitary sovereign state has often had a tumultuous experience with democracy, which included the overthrow of a dictatorship by a non-violent revolution.[23]

The Philippines is a founding member of the United Nations, World Trade Organization, Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, and the East Asia Summit. It also hosts the headquarters of the Asian Development Bank.[24] The Philippines is considered to be an emerging market and a newly industrialized country,[25] which has an economy transitioning from being based on agriculture to being based more on services and manufacturing.[26]



The Philippines was 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.[27][28][29][30][31]

The official name of the Philippines has changed several times in the course of its 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 (1935–1946), American colonial authorities referred to the country as the Philippine Islands, a translation of the Spanish name.[32] Since the end of World War II, the official name of the country has been the Republic of the Philippines. Philippines, with or without the definite article, has steadily gained currency as the common name since being the name used in Article VI of the 1898 Treaty of Paris.[33]


Prehistory (pre–900)

There is evidence of early hominins, such as Homo luzonensis, living in what is now the Philippines as early as 709,000 years ago.[34] The oldest modern human remains found on the islands is the Tabon Man of Palawan, carbon-dated to 47,000 ± 11–10,000 years ago.[35] The Tabon man is presumably a Negrito, who were among the archipelago's earliest inhabitants, descendants of the first human migrations out of Africa via the coastal route along southern Asia to the now sunken landmasses of Sundaland and Sahul.[36]

The first Austronesians reached the Philippines at around 2200 BC, settling the Batanes Islands and northern Luzon. From there, they rapidly spread downwards to the rest of the islands of the Philippines and Southeast Asia.[37][38][39] They assimilated earlier Australo-Melanesian groups (the Negritos) which arrived during the Paleolithic, resulting in the modern Filipino ethnic groups which display various ratios of genetic admixture between Austronesian and Negrito groups.[40] Jade artifacts have been found dated to 2000 BC,[41][42] with the lingling-o jade items crafted in Luzon from raw materials originating Taiwan.[43] By 1000 BC, the inhabitants of the archipelago had developed into four kinds of social groups: hunter-gatherer tribes, warrior societies, highland plutocracies, and port principalities.[44]

Precolonial period (900–1521)

The earliest known surviving written record found in the Philippines is the Laguna Copperplate Inscription.[45] By the 1300s, a number of the large coastal settlements had emerged as trading centers, and became the focal point of societal changes.[46] Some polities developed substantial trade contacts with other polities in China and Southeast Asia.[47][48][49][50][51][52] Trade with China is believed to have begun during the Tang dynasty, but grew more extensive during the Song dynasty.[49] By the 2nd millennium CE, some Philippine polities were known to have sent trade delegations which participated in the Tributary system enforced by the Chinese imperial court, trading but without direct political or military control.[49][47] Indian cultural traits, such as linguistic terms and religious practices, began to spread within the Philippines during the 10th century, likely via the Hindu Majapahit empire.[51][46][53]By the 15th century, Islam was established in the Sulu Archipelago and by 1565 had reached Mindanao, the Visayas, and Luzon.[54]

The early polities of the Philippine archipelago were typically characterized by a three-tier social structure: a nobility class, a class of "freemen", and a class of dependent debtor-bondsmen.[46][47] Among the members of the nobility class were leaders who held the political office of "Datu," which was responsible for leading autonomous social groups called "barangay" or "dulohan".[46] Whenever these barangays banded together, either to form a larger settlement[46] or a geographically looser alliance group,[47] the more senior or respected among them would be recognized as a "paramount datu".[49][46][55]

Spanish rule (1565–1898)

In 1521, Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan arrived in the area, claimed the islands for Spain, and was then killed at the Battle of Mactan.[56] Colonization began when Spanish explorer Miguel López de Legazpi arrived from Mexico in 1565, establishing control of Cebu, Panay, and Luzon.[57] The Spaniards established Manila, at what is now Intramuros, as the capital of the Spanish East Indies in 1571.[58] The Spanish considered their war with the Muslims in Southeast Asia an extension of the Reconquista,[59]

Spanish rule brought what is now the Philippines into a single unified administration. From 1565 to 1821, the Philippines was governed as a territory of the Mexico-based Viceroyalty of New Spain, and then was administered directly from Madrid following the Mexican War of Independence.[citation needed] The Manila galleons, the largest wooden ships ever built, were constructed in Bicol and Cavite.[60]

Under Spanish rule, Catholic missionaries converted most of the lowland inhabitants to Christianity.[61] They also founded schools, a university, hospitals, and churches.[62] To defend their settlements, the Spaniards constructed and manned a network of military fortresses across the archipelago.[63] The Spanish also decreed the introduction of free public schooling in 1863.[64] Slavery was also abolished. As a result of these policies the Philippine population increased exponentially.[65][66]

During its rule, Spain quelled various indigenous revolts, as well as defending against external military challenges[67] The Philippines was maintained at a considerable cost during Spanish rule. The long war against the Dutch from the West, in the 17th century, together with the intermittent conflict with the Muslims in the South and combating Japanese-Chinese Wokou piracy from the North nearly bankrupted the colonial treasury.[68] Furthermore, the state of near constant wars caused a high desertion rate among the Latino soldiers sent from Mexico[69] and Peru that were stationed in the Philippines.[70][71] The high desertion rates also applied to the native Filipino warriors and laborers levied by Spain. The repeated wars, lack of wages, dislocation and near starvation were so intense, almost half of the soldiers sent from Latin America and the warriors and laborers recruited locally either died or deserted.[72][73] Immigration blurred the racial caste system Spain maintained in towns and cities.[74] Increasing difficulty in governing the Philippines led to the Royal Fiscal of Manila writing to King Charles III of Spain, advising him to abandon the colony. However, this was successfully opposed by the religious and missionary orders that argued that the Philippines was a launching pad for further religious conversion in the Far East.[75]

The Philippines survived on an annual subsidy provided by the Spanish Crown, usually paid through the provision of 75 tons of silver bullion being sent from the Americas.[76][77] Financial constraints meant the 200-year-old fortifications in Manila did not see significant change after being first built by the early Spanish colonizers.[78] British forces occupied Manila from 1762 to 1764 during the Seven Years' War, however they were unable to extend their conquest outside of Manila as the Filipinos stayed loyal to the remaining Spanish community outside Manila. Spanish rule was restored through the 1763 Treaty of Paris.[79][80][81] The Spanish–Moro conflict lasted for several hundred years. In the last quarter of the 19th century, Spain conquered portions of Mindanao and the Moro Muslims in the Sulu Sultanate formally recognized Spanish sovereignty.[citation needed]

In the 19th century, Philippine ports opened to world trade and shifts started occurring within Filipino society. Many Spaniards born in the Philippines[82] and those of mixed ancestry were wealthy, and an influx of Hispanic American immigrants opened up government positions traditionally held by Spaniards born in the Iberian Peninsula. However, ideas of rebellion and independence began to spread through the islands. Many Latin-Americans[83] and Criollos staffed the army of Spain in the Philippines. However, the onset of the Latin American wars of independence led to doubts about their loyalty. This was compounded by a Mexican of Filipino descent, Isidoro Montes de Oca, becoming captain-general to the revolutionary leader Vicente Guerrero during the Mexican War of Independence.[84][85][86] To prevent the union of forces by both Latinos and Filipinos in rebellion against the empire, the Latino and Criollo officers stationed in the Philippines were soon replaced by Peninsular officers born in Spain. These Peninsular officers were often less committed to the people they were assigned to protect and were often predatory, wanting to enrich themselves before returning to Spain, putting the interests of the metropolis over the interest of the natives.[citation needed]

Revolutionary sentiments were stoked in 1872 after three activist Catholic priests were accused of sedition and executed.[87][88] 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. This radicalized many who had previously been loyal to Spain.[89] As attempts at reform met with resistance, Andrés Bonifacio in 1892 established the militant secret society called the Katipunan, who sought independence from Spain through armed revolt.[90]

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, and this war reached Spanish forces in the Philippines. Aguinaldo declared Philippine independence from Spain in Kawit, Cavite, on June 12, 1898, and the First Philippine Republic was declared in the Barasoain Church in the following year.[79]

American rule (1898–1946)

The islands were ceded by Spain to the United States alongside Puerto Rico and Guam as a result of the latter's victory in the Spanish–American War.[91] As it became increasingly clear the United States would not recognize the nascent First Philippine Republic, the Philippine–American War broke out.[92] The war resulted in the deaths of a minimum of 200,000 and a maximum of 1 million Filipino civilians, mostly due to famine and disease.[93] After the defeat of the First Philippine Republic, the archipelago was administered under an American Insular Government.[94] The Americans then suppressed other rebellious proto-states: mainly, the waning Sultanate of Sulu, as well as the insurgent Tagalog Republic and the Republic of Zamboanga.[95][96]

During this era, a renaissance in Philippine culture occurred, including an expansion of Philippine cinema and literature.[97][98][99] Daniel Burnham built an architectural plan for Manila which would have transformed it into a modern city.[100] In 1935, the Philippines was granted Commonwealth status with Manuel Quezon as president and Sergio Osmeña as vice president. He designated a national language and introduced women's suffrage and land reform.[101][102]

Plans for independence over the next decade were interrupted by World War II when the Japanese Empire invaded and the Second Philippine Republic, under Jose P. Laurel, was established as a puppet state.[103]

In a report by Karl L. Rankin From mid-1942 through mid-1944, Japanese occupation of the Philippines was opposed by large-scale underground guerrilla activity.[104][105] The largest naval battle in history, according to gross tonnage sunk, the Battle of Leyte Gulf, occurred when Allied forces started the liberation of the Philippines from the Japanese Empire.[106][107] Many atrocities and war crimes were committed during the war, including the Bataan Death March and the Manila massacre. The war in the Philippines culminated in the Battle of Manila.[citation needed] Allied troops defeated the Japanese in 1945. By the end of the war it is estimated that over a million Filipinos had died.[108][109][110] On October 11, 1945, the Philippines became one of the founding members of the United Nations.[111]

Third Republic (1946–65)

On July 4, 1946, the Philippines was officially recognized by the United States as an independent nation through the Treaty of Manila, during the presidency of Manuel Roxas.[8]

Efforts to end the Hukbalahap Rebellion began during Elpidio Quirino's term,[112] however, it was only during Ramon Magsaysay's presidency was the movement decimated.[113] Magsaysay's successor, Carlos P. Garcia, initiated the Filipino First Policy,[114] 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,[115][116] and pursuit of a claim on the eastern part of North Borneo.[117][118]

Marcos era (1965–86)

In 1965, Macapagal lost the presidential election to Ferdinand Marcos. Early in his presidency, Marcos initiated numerous infrastructure projects but, together with his wife Imelda, was accused of massive corruption and embezzling billions of dollars in public funds.[119] Nearing the end of his term, Marcos declared Martial Law on September 21, 1972.[120] This period of his rule was characterized by political repression, censorship, and human rights violations.[121]

On August 21, 1983, Marcos' chief rival, opposition leader Benigno Aquino Jr., was assassinated on the tarmac at Manila International Airport. Marcos eventually called snap presidential elections in 1986.[122] Marcos was proclaimed the winner, but the results were widely regarded as fraudulent.[123] Resulting protest led to the People Power Revolution,[124] which forced Marcos and his allies to flee Hawaii and installed Aquino's widow, Corazon Aquino, as president.[122]

Fifth Republic (1986–present)

The return of democracy and government reforms beginning in 1986 were hampered by national debt, government corruption, coup attempts, disasters, a persistent communist insurgency,[125] and a military conflict with Moro separatists,[126] during Corazon Aquino's administration. The administration also faced a series of natural disasters, including the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in June 1991.[127][128] Aquino was succeeded by Fidel V. Ramos whose modest economic performance, at 3.6% growth rate,[129][130] was overshadowed by the onset of the 1997 Asian financial crisis.[131][132]

Ramos' successor, Joseph Estrada was overthrown by the 2001 EDSA Revolution and he was succeeded by his Vice President, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on January 20, 2001.[133] Arroyo's 9-year administration was tainted by graft and political scandals.[134][135][136][137] On November 23, 2009, 34 journalists and several civilians were massacred in Maguindanao.[138][139]

During Benigno Aquino III's administration, a clash which took place in Mamasapano, Maguindanao killed 44 members of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force that put the efforts to pass the Bangsamoro Basic Law into law in an impasse.[140][141]

Former Davao City mayor Rodrigo Duterte won the 2016 presidential election, becoming the first president from Mindanao.[142][143] Duterte launched an intensified anti-drug campaign.[144][145][146][147] The implementation of the Bangsamoro Organic Law led to the creation of the autonomous Bangsamoro region in Mindanao.[148][149]

Geography and environment

The Philippines is an archipelago composed of about 7,641 islands[150] with a total land area, including inland bodies of water, of 300,000 square kilometers (115,831 sq mi).[6][7] This makes it the 5th largest island country in the world.[18] The 36,289 kilometers (22,549 mi) of coastline makes it the country with the fifth longest coastline in the world.[151][152] The Exclusive economic zone of the Philippines covers 2,263,816 km2 (874,064 sq mi).[153] 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[154] to the east, the South China Sea[155] to the west, and the Celebes Sea[156] to the south. The island of Borneo[157] 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.[151]

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.[158][159] 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.[160]

The longest river is the Cagayan River in northern Luzon.[161] 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.[162]

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.[163] Around 20 earthquakes are registered daily, though most are too weak to be felt. The last major earthquake was the 1990 Luzon earthquake.[164]

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.[165] 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.[166]

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 giving credence to the talk that the Philippines was the Biblical Ophir[167] and the country also has one of the largest copper deposits in the world.[168] Palladium, originally discovered in South America, was found to have the world's largest deposits in the Philippines too.[169][170] Romblon island also possesses the most diversified, high quality and hardest marble in the world and is available in at least 7 colors mainly: brown, grey, rust, white, green, black and orange.[171] The country is also rich in nickel, chromite, and zinc. Despite this, poor management, high population density, a desire to protect indigenous communities from exploitation, and an extremely ardent environmental consciousness have resulted in these mineral resources remaining largely untapped.[168][172] The unstable seismologic that created these minerals, such as frequent volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and landslides, continue to affect the country.[173] Geothermal energy is a product of volcanic activity that the Philippines 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.[174]


The Philippines is a megadiverse country.[175][176][177] 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.[178] 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.[179] Native mammals include the palm civet cat, the dugong, the cloud rat and the Philippine tarsier associated with Bohol.

Although the Philippines lacks large mammalian predators, it does have some very large reptiles such as pythons and cobras, together with gigantic saltwater crocodiles. The largest crocodile in captivity, known locally as Lolong, was captured in the southern island of Mindanao.[180][181] The national bird, known as the Philippine eagle, has the longest body of any eagle; it generally measures 86 to 102 cm (2.82 to 3.35 ft) in length and weighs 4.7 to 8.0 kg (10.4 to 17.6 lb).[182][183] The Philippine eagle is part of the family Accipitridae and is endemic to the rainforests of Luzon, Samar, Leyte and Mindanao.

Philippine maritime waters encompass as much as 2,200,000 square kilometers (849,425 sq mi) producing unique and diverse marine life, an important part of the Coral Triangle, a territory shared with other countries.[184] The total number of corals and marine fish species was estimated at 500 and 2,400 respectively.[185][178] New records[186][187] and species discoveries[188][189][190] 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.[185][191] One rare species of oyster, Pinctada maxima which is indigenous to the Philippines, is unique since its pearls are naturally golden in color.[192] The golden pearl from the Pinctada maxima is considered the national gem of the Philippines.[193]

With an estimated 13,500 plant species in the country, 3,200 of which are unique to the islands,[178] Philippine rainforests boast an array of flora, including many rare types of orchids and rafflesia.[194][195] Deforestation, often the result of illegal logging, is an acute problem in the Philippines. Forest cover declined from 70% of the Philippines's total land area in 1900 to about 18.3% in 1999.[196] 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.[197] 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."[194]


The Philippines has a tropical maritime climate that 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.[198] 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.[151][199]

The average yearly temperature is around 26.6 °C (79.9 °F).[198] 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.[198]

Sitting astride the typhoon belt, most of the islands experience annual torrential rains and thunderstorms from July to October,[200] with around nineteen typhoons entering the Philippine area of responsibility in a typical year and eight or nine making landfall.[201][202][203] 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.[200] 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.[204] Bagyo is the local term for a tropical cyclone in the Philippines.[204] The Philippines is highly exposed to climate change and is among the world's ten countries that are most vulnerable to climate change risks.[205][206]


Historical population
1903 7,500,000—    
1918 10,000,000+33.3%
1939 16,000,000+60.0%
1948 19,000,000+18.8%
1960 27,087,685+42.6%
1970 36,684,486+35.4%
1975 42,070,660+14.7%
1980 48,098,460+14.3%
1990 60,703,206+26.2%
1995 68,616,536+13.0%
2000 76,506,928+11.5%
2007 88,566,732+15.8%
2010 92,337,852+4.3%
2015 100,981,437+9.4%

The Commission on Population estimated the country's population to be 107,190,081 as of December 31, 2018, based on the latest population census of 2015 conducted by the Philippine Statistics Authority.[207] The population increased from 1990 to 2008 by approximately 28 million, a 45% growth in that time frame.[208] The first official census in the Philippines was carried out in 1877 and recorded a population of 5,567,685.[209]

It is estimated that half of the population resides on the island of Luzon. The 3.21% population growth rate between 1995 and 2000 decreased to an estimated 1.95% for the 2005–2010 period, but remains a contentious issue.[210][211] The population's median age is 22.7 years with 60.9% aged from 15 to 64 years old.[8] Life expectancy at birth is 69.4 years, 73.1 years for females and 65.9 years for males.[212] Poverty incidence also significantly dropped to 21.6% in 2015 from 25.2% in 2012.[213] 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 12 million Filipinos living overseas.[214][215] [216]

Metro Manila is the most populous of the 3 defined metropolitan areas in the Philippines and the 8th most populous in the world in 2018. Census data from 2015 showed it had a population of 12,877,253 comprising almost 13% of the national population.[217] Including suburbs in the adjacent provinces (Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal) of Greater Manila, the population is around 24,650,000.[217][218][219] Across the country, the Philippines has a total urbanization rate of 51.2 percent.[217] Metro Manila's gross regional product was estimated as of 2009 to be 468.4 billion (at constant 1985 prices) and accounts for 33% of the nation's GDP.[220] In 2011 Manila ranked as the 28th wealthiest urban agglomeration in the world and the 2nd in Southeast Asia.[221]

Ethnic groups

According to the 2010 census, 24.4% of Filipinos are Tagalog, 11.4% Visayans/Bisaya (excluding Cebuano, Hiligaynon and Waray), 9.9% Cebuano, 8.8% Ilocano, 8.4% Hiligaynon, 6.8% Bikol, 4% Waray, and 26.2% as "others",[8][222] 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.[223] There are also indigenous peoples like the Igorot, the Lumad, the Mangyan, the Bajau, and the tribes of Palawan.[224]

Filipinos generally belong to several Southeast Asian ethnic groups classified linguistically as part of the Austronesian or Malayo-Polynesian speaking people.[224] 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.[225] Negritos, such as the Aeta and the Ati, are considered among the earliest inhabitants of the islands.[226] These minority aboriginal settlers (Negritos) are an Australoid group and are a left-over from the first human migration out of Africa to Australia. However, the aboriginal people of the Philippines along with Papuans, Melanesians and Australian Aboriginals also hold sizable shared Denisovan admixture in their genomes.[227]

Being at the crossroads of the West and East, the Philippines is also home to migrants from places as diverse as China, Spain, Mexico, United States, India, South Korea, and Japan. The Chinese are mostly the descendants of immigrants from Fujian in China after 1898, numbering around 2 million, although there are an estimated 27 percent of Filipinos who have partial Chinese ancestry,[228][229] stemming from precolonial and colonial Chinese migrants.[230]

Furthermore, at least one-third of the population of Luzon, where Spaniards mixed with natives, as well as old settlements in the Visayas (founded by Mexicans)[231] and Zamboanga City (colonized by Peruvians)[232] or around 13.33% of the Philippine population, have partial Hispanic ancestry (from varying points of origin and ranging from Ibero-America[233] to Spain).[234] Recent genetic studies confirm this partial European[235] and Hispanic-American ancestry.[236] The migrants from Peru and Mexico were not even homogeneous since they themselves were already racially admixed Mestizos or Mulattos[74] but there were also a few Native-Americans too.[237]

As of 2015, there were 220,000 to 600,000 American citizens living in the country.[238] There are also 250,000 Amerasians scattered across the cities of Angeles, Manila, Clark and Olongapo.[239] Other important non-indigenous minorities include Arabs. There are also Japanese people, mostly escaped Christians (Kirishitan) who fled the persecutions of Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu which the Spanish empire in the Philippines had offered asylum from. The descendants of mixed-race couples are known as Tisoy.[240][241]


Population by mother tongue (2010)
Language Speakers
Tagalog 24.44% 24.44
Cebuano 21.35% 21.35
Ilokano 8.77% 8.77
Hiligaynon 8.44% 8.44
Waray 3.97% 3.97
Other local languages/dialects 26.09% 26.09
Other foreign languages/dialects 0.09% 0.09
Not reported/not stated 0.01% 0.01
TOTAL 92,097,978
Source: Philippine Statistics Authority[242]

Ethnologue lists 186 individual languages in the Philippines, 182 of which are living languages, while 4 no longer have any known speakers. Most native languages are part of the Philippine branch of the Malayo-Polynesian languages, which is itself a branch of the Austronesian language family.[224] In addition, various Spanish-based creole varieties collectively called Chavacano exist.[243] There are also many Philippine Negrito languages that have unique vocabularies that survived Austronesian acculturation.[244]

Filipino and English are the official languages of the country.[245] 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. Due to the Philippines' history of complex interactions with cultures across the world, the Filipino language has a rich repertoire of incorporated foreign vocabulary used in everyday speech. Filipino has borrowings from, among other languages, English, Latin, Greek, Spanish,[246] Arabic,[247] Persian, Sanskrit,[248] Malay,[249] Chinese,[250][251] Japanese,[252] and Nahuatl.[253] Furthermore, in most towns, the local indigenous language are also spoken. The Philippine constitution provides for the promotion of Spanish and Arabic on a voluntary and optional basis,[245] although neither are used on as wide a scale as in the past. Spanish, which was widely used as a lingua franca in the late nineteenth century, has since declined greatly in use, although Spanish loanwords are still present today in many of the indigenous Philippine languages,[254] while Arabic is mainly used in Islamic schools in Mindanao.[255] A theory that the indigenous scripts of Sumatra, Sulawesi and the Philippines are descended from an early form of the Gujarati script was presented at the 2010 meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society.[256]

Nineteen regional languages act as auxiliary official languages used as media of instruction: Aklanon, Bikol, Cebuano, Chavacano, Hiligaynon, Ibanag, Ilocano, Ivatan, Kapampangan, Kinaray-a, Maguindanao, Maranao, Pangasinan, Sambal, Surigaonon, Tagalog, Tausug, Waray, and Yakan.[2] Other indigenous languages such as, Cuyonon, Ifugao, Itbayat, Kalinga, Kamayo, Kankanaey, Masbateño, Romblomanon, Manobo, and several Visayan languages are prevalent in their respective provinces.[257] Article 3 of Republic Act No. 11106 declared the Filipino Sign Language as the national sign language of the Philippines, specifying that it shall be recognized, supported and promoted as the medium of official communication in all transactions involving the deaf, and as the language of instruction of deaf education.[258][259]

Languages not indigenous to the islands are also taught in select schools. Mandarin is taught in Chinese schools catering to the Chinese Filipino community. Islamic schools in Mindanao teach Modern Standard Arabic in their curriculum.[260] French, German, Japanese, Hindi, Korean, and Spanish are taught with the help of foreign linguistic institutions.[261] The Department of Education began teaching the Malay languages of Indonesian and Malaysian in 2013.[262]


The Philippines is an officially secular state, although Christianity is the dominant faith.[264] Census data from 2010 found that about 80.58% of the population professed Catholicism.[5] Around 37% regularly attend Mass and 29% identify as very religious.[265][266] The Philippine Independent Church is a notable independent Catholic denomination.[267][268][269]

Protestants were 10.8%[270] of the total population, mostly endorsing evangelical Protestant denominations that were introduced by American missionaries at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, they are heavily concentrated in Northern Luzon and Southern Mindanao.[271][272] Iglesia ni Cristo is a notable Unitarian and Restorationist denomination in the Philippines and is mostly concentrated in Central Luzon.[273][274]

Islam is the second largest religion. The Muslim population of the Philippines was reported as 5.57% of the total population according to census returns in 2010.[5] Conversely, a 2012 report by the National Commission of Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) stated that about 10,700,000 or 11%[275] of the Filipinos are Muslims. Some Muslim scholars argue that the census taken in 2000 significantly undercounted the number of Muslims because of security concerns and hostility of the inhabitants to government personnel in Muslim-majority areas, leading to difficulty in getting accurate data for the Muslim population in the country.[276][277] The majority of Muslims live in Mindanao and nearby islands.[278][279][280][281][282] Most practice Sunni Islam under the Shafi'i school.[283][284]

The percentage of non-religious people in the Philippines was measured to be about 11% of the population in a 2006 survey by Dentsu Research Institute, while a 2014 survey by Gallup International Association measured it as 21%.[285][286] The Philippine Atheists and Agnostics Society (PATAS) is a nonprofit organization for the public understanding of atheism and agnosticism in the Philippines which educates society, and eliminates myths and misconceptions about atheism and agnosticism.[287] The 2010 Philippine Census reported the religion of about 0.08% of the population as "none".[5]

Buddhism is practiced by around 2% of the population, concentrated among Filipinos of Chinese descent.[274][283][288] An estimated 2% of the total population practice Philippine traditional religions, whose practices and folk beliefs are often syncretized with Christianity and Islam.[274][288] The remaining population is divided between a number of religious groups, including Hindus, Jews, and Baha'is.[289]

Government and politics

The Philippines has a democratic government in the form of a constitutional republic with a presidential system.[290] It is governed as a unitary state with the exception of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), 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.[291][292]

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.[151] 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.[151]

Senators are elected at large while the representatives are elected from both legislative districts and through sectoral representation.[151] 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.[151]

Foreign relations

The Philippines' international relations are based on trade with other nations and the well-being of the 10 million overseas Filipinos living outside the country.[293] 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.[294][295][296]

The Philippines is 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.[297] It has hosted several summits and is an active contributor to the direction and policies of the bloc.[298] It is also a 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.[151] The country is also seeking to strengthen relations with Islamic countries by campaigning for observer status in the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.[299][300]

The Philippines attaches great importance in its relations with China, and has established significant cooperation with the country.[301][302][303][304][305][306] It supported the United States during the Cold War and the War on Terror and was a major non-NATO ally, before the major fallback of relationship between the Philippines and United States in favor of China and Russia.[307] In addition, 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.[293][failed verification] Japan, the biggest contributor of official development assistance to the country,[308] 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 has faded.[309]

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.[310][311][312] Despite issues such as domestic abuse and war affecting overseas Filipino workers,[313][314] relations with Middle Eastern countries are friendly as seen in the continuous employment of more than two million overseas Filipinos living there.[315]

The Philippines has an ongoing territorial dispute with Spratly Islands with China, Taiwan, Malaysia and Vietnam. The country Scarborough Shoal standoff in 2012 deteriorated the country's relation with China, when the shoal was grabbed by the Chinese which has been in Philippine possession until the standoff. Issues involving Taiwan, the Spratly Islands, and concerns of expanding Chinese influence are taken with a degree of caution. Foreign policy has been mostly about economic relations with its Southeast Asian and Asia-Pacific neighbors.


The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) are responsible for national security and consist of three branches: the Philippine Air Force, the Philippine Army, and the Philippine Navy (includes the Marine Corps).[316][317][318] The Armed Forces of the Philippines are a volunteer force.[319] Civilian security is handled by the Philippine National Police under the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).[320][321]

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 have previously kidnapped foreigners for ransom, particularly on the southern island of Mindanao.[323][324][325][326] Their presence decreased due to successful security provided by the Philippine government.[327][328] At 1.1 percent of GDP, the Philippines spent less on its military forces than the regional average. As of 2014 Malaysia and Thailand were estimated to spend 1.5%, China 2.1%, Vietnam 2.2% and South Korea 2.6%.[329][330]

The Philippines was an ally of the United States from the World War II with a mutual defense treaty between the two countries signed in 1951. The Philippines once supported American policies during the Cold War and participated in the Korean and Vietnam wars. However, the fallback of relationship between the two countries in favor of China and Russia resulted in the Philippines establishing deep defence ties and cooperation with the latter two, abandoning some military ties with the United States while affirming that the country will no longer participate in any US-led war.[331][332][333][334]

Administrative divisions

The Philippines is divided into three island groups: Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao. These are further divided into 17 regions, 81 provinces, 146 cities, 1,488 municipalities, and 42,036 barangays.[335] 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 the eastern part of Sabah.[184][336] Regions in the Philippines are administrative divisions that serve primarily to organize the provinces of the country for administrative convenience. The Philippines is divided into 17 regions (16 administrative and 1 autonomous). Most government offices are established by region instead of individual provincial offices, usually (but not always) in the city designated as the regional center. As of 2015, Calabarzon was the most populated region while the National Capital Region (NCR) the most densely populated.

Designation Name Area Population
(as of 2015)[337]
% of Population Population density
NCR National Capital Region 619.57 km2 (239.22 sq mi) 12,877,253 12.75% 21,000/km2 (54,000/sq mi)
Region I Ilocos Region 16,873.31 km2 (6,514.82 sq mi) 5,026,128 4.98% 300/km2 (780/sq mi)
CAR Cordillera Administrative Region 19,818.12 km2 (7,651.82 sq mi) 1,722,006 1.71% 87/km2 (230/sq mi)
Region II Cagayan Valley 29,836.88 km2 (11,520.08 sq mi) 3,451,410 3.42% 120/km2 (310/sq mi)
Region III Central Luzon 22,014.63 km2 (8,499.90 sq mi) 11,218,177 11.11% 510/km2 (1,300/sq mi)
Region IV-A Calabarzon 16,873.31 km2 (6,514.82 sq mi) 14,414,774 14.27% 850/km2 (2,200/sq mi)
Mimaropa Southwestern Tagalog Region 29,606.25 km2 (11,431.04 sq mi) 2,963,360 2.93% 100/km2 (260/sq mi)
Region V Bicol Region 18,155.82 km2 (7,010.00 sq mi) 5,796,989 5.74% 320/km2 (830/sq mi)
Region VI Western Visayas 12,828.97 km2 (4,953.29 sq mi) 4,477,247 4.43% 350/km2 (910/sq mi)
Region VII Central Visayas 10,102.16 km2 (3,900.47 sq mi) 6,041,903 5.98% 600/km2 (1,600/sq mi)
Region VIII Eastern Visayas 23,234.78 km2 (8,971.00 sq mi) 4,440,150 4.40% 190/km2 (490/sq mi)
Region IX Zamboanga Peninsula 16,904.03 km2 (6,526.68 sq mi) 3,629,783 3.59% 210/km2 (540/sq mi)
Region X Northern Mindanao 20,496.02 km2 (7,913.56 sq mi) 4,689,302 4.64% 230/km2 (600/sq mi)
Region XI Davao Region 20,357.42 km2 (7,860.04 sq mi) 4,893,318 4.85% 240/km2 (620/sq mi)
Region XII Soccsksargen 22,513.30 km2 (8,692.43 sq mi) 4,545,276 4.50% 200/km2 (520/sq mi)
Region XIII Caraga 21,120.56 km2 (8,154.69 sq mi) 2,596,709 2.57% 120/km2 (310/sq mi)
BARMM Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao 36,650.95 km2 (14,151.01 sq mi) 3,781,387 3.74% 100/km2 (260/sq mi)


The Philippine economy is the 34th largest in the world, with an estimated 2018 gross domestic product (nominal) of $371.8 billion.[10] Primary exports include semiconductors and electronic products, transport equipment, garments, copper products, petroleum products, coconut oil, and fruits.[8] Major trading partners include the United States, Japan, China, Singapore, South Korea, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, Germany, Taiwan, and Thailand.[8] Its unit of currency is the Philippine peso (₱ or PHP).[338]

A newly industrialized country, the Philippine economy has been transitioning from one based upon agriculture to an economy with more emphasis upon services and manufacturing. Of the country's total labor force of around 40.813 million,[8] the agricultural sector employs 30% of the labor force, and accounts for 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.[340][341]

The unemployment rate as of 14 December 2014, stands at 6.0%.[342][343] Meanwhile, due to lower charges in basic necessities, the inflation rate eases to 3.7% in November.[344] Gross international reserves as of October 2013 are $83.201 billion.[345] The Debt-to-GDP ratio continues to decline to 38.1% as of March 2014[346][347] from a record high of 78% in 2004.[348] The country is a net importer[341] but it is also a creditor nation.[349]

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. 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.[350] 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.[351][352] 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. The daily income for 45% of the population of the Philippines remains less than $2.[353][354][355]

The economy is heavily reliant upon remittances from overseas Filipinos, which surpass foreign direct investment as a source of foreign currency. Remittances peaked in 2010 at 10.4% of the national GDP, and were 8.6% in 2012 and in 2014, Philippines total worth of foreign exchange remittances was US$28 billion.[356][357] Regional development is uneven, with Luzon – Metro Manila in particular – gaining most of the new economic growth at the expense of the other regions,[358][359] 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.[341][360] The Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry is composed of eight sub-sectors, namely, knowledge process outsourcing and back offices, animation, call centers, software development, game development, engineering design, and medical transcription. The IT-BPO industry plays a major role in the country's growth and development.[361] In 2008, the Philippines was reported as having eclipsed India as the main center of BPO services in the world.[362]

The Department of Science and Technology is the governing agency responsible for the development of coordination of science and technology-related projects in the Philippines.[363] Research organizations in the country include the International Rice Research Institute, an international independent research and training organization established in 1960 with headquarters in Los Baños, Laguna,[364][365] which focuses on the development of new rice varieties and rice crop management techniques.[366]

The Philippines bought its first satellite in 1996.[367] In 2016, the Philippines first micro-satellite, Diwata-1 was launched aboard the US Cygnus spacecraft.[368] The Philippines has a sophisticated cellular phone industry and a high concentration of users. Text messaging is a popular form of communication and, in 2007, the nation sent an average of one billion SMS messages per day. 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.[369][370][371] The Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company commonly known as PLDT is the leading telecommunications provider. It is also the largest company in the country.[369][372] The National Telecommunications Commission is the agency responsible for the supervision, adjudication and control over all telecommunications services throughout the country.[373] There are approximately 383 AM and 659 FM radio stations and 297 television and 873 cable television stations.[374] On March 29, 1994, the country was connected to the Internet via a 64 kbit/s connection from a router serviced by PLDT to a Sprint router in California.[375] Estimates for Internet penetration in the Philippines vary widely ranging from a low of 2.5 million to a high of 24 million people.[376][377] Social networking and watching videos are among the most frequent Internet activities.[378] The Philippine population is the world's top internet user.[379]

The travel and tourism sector is a major contributor to the economy, contributing 7.1% to the Philippine GDP in 2013 [380] and providing 1,226,500 jobs or 3.2 percent of total employment.[381] 2,433,428 international visitors arrived from January to June 2014 up by 2.22% in the same period in 2013. South Korea, China, and Japan accounted for 58.78% while the Americas accounted for 19.28% and Europe 10.64%.[382] The island of Boracay, popular for its beaches, was named as the best island in the world by Travel + Leisure in 2012.[383] The Philippines is also one of the favorite retirement destinations for foreigners due to its warm climate all year round, beaches and low cost of living.[384]


Transportation in the Philippines is facilitated by road, air, rail and waterways. As of 2014, there are 216,387 kilometers (134,457 mi) of roads in the Philippines, with only 61,093 kilometers (37,961 mi) of roads paved.[385] The 919-kilometer (571 mi) Strong Republic Nautical Highway (SRNH), an integrated set of highway segments and ferry routes covering 17 cities was established in 2003.[386] The Pan-Philippine Highway connects the islands of Luzon, Samar, Leyte, and Mindanao, forming the backbone of land-based transportation in the country.[387][388] Most expressways in the country are located in Luzon such as the North Luzon Expressway, South Luzon Expressway, and the Subic–Clark–Tarlac Expressway. The Cebu–Cordova Link Expressway in Cebu will be the first expressway outside Luzon, to be finished by 2021.[389]

Buses, jeepneys, UV Express, taxis, and motorized tricycles are commonly available in major cities and towns. Jeepneys are a popular and iconic public utility vehicle. They have become a symbol of the Philippine culture.[390] Jeepneys and other Public Utility Vehicles which are older than 15 years are being phased out gradually in favor of a more efficient and environmentally friendly Euro 4 compliant vehicles.

Rail transport in the Philippines only plays a role in transporting passengers within Metro Manila, the province of Laguna, and some parts of the Bicol Region. Freight transport was almost non-existent. As of 2019, the country had a railway footprint of only 79 kilometers, which it had plans to expand up to 244 kilometers.[391][392] Metro Manila is served by three rapid transit lines: Line 1, Line 2 and Line 3[393][394][395] The PNR South Commuter Line transports passengers between Metro Manila and Laguna. Railway lines that are under-construction include the 4 km Line 2 East Extension Project (2020), the 22.8 km Line 7 (2020), the 25 km Line 9 (Metro Manila Subway) (2025), and the 109 km PNR North-South Commuter Railway which is divided into several phases, with partial operations to begin in 2022.[396] A multitude of other railway lines are planned.[citation needed] The civil airline industry is regulated by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines.[397] The Philippine Airlines is 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.[398][399][400]

As an archipelago, inter-island travel using watercraft is often necessary.[401] This is traditionally done by small to medium-sized double-outrigger (trimaran) vessels, ranging from dugouts to plank-built vessels. Although highly diverse, they are collectively known as bangka (also baroto, baloto, or paraw; archaic: balangay, sakayan, biray, biroko, etc.). Bangka were originally propelled by sails. Since the 1970s, however, the sails have almost completely been replaced by motor engines. These motorized bangka are usually referred to as "pump boats" in Philippine English. Other traditional Filipino boat types have mostly gone extinct or are in danger of disappearing, like the once abundant casco barges and guilalo cargo ships. But the bangka remain the most ubiquitous type of watercraft in the Philippines, even in modern times, due to their stability, speed, and ability to navigate even shallow coral reefs.[402][403][404][405][406] The busiest seaports are Manila, Batangas, Subic, Cebu, Iloilo, Davao, Cagayan de Oro, and Zamboanga.[407] The Pasig River Ferry serves the cities of Manila, Makati, Mandaluyong, Pasig and Marikina in Metro Manila.[408][409]

Access to water is universal, affordable, efficient and of high quality. The creation of financially sustainable water service providers ("Water Districts") in small and medium towns with the continuous long-term support of a national agency (the "Local Water Utilities Administration" LWUA); and the improvement of access, service quality and efficiency in Manila through two high-profile water concessions awarded in 1997.[410] The challenges include limited access to sanitation services, high pollution of water resources, often poor drinking water quality and poor service quality, a fragmentation of executive functions at the national level among numerous agencies, and a fragmentation of service provision at the local level into many small service providers.[410] In 2015, it was reported by the Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation by WHO and UNICEF that 74% of the population had access to improved sanitation and that "good progress" had been made.[411] The access to improved sanitation was reported to be similar for the urban and rural population.[411]


There are an increasing number of private health providers and, as of 2009, 67.1% of healthcare came from private expenditures while 32.9% was from government. In 2013, total expenditures on the health sector was 3.8% of GDP, below the WHO target of 5%.[413] Health expenditure represented about 6.1% of total government spending. Per capita total expenditure at average exchange rate was US$52.[414] The budget allocation for Healthcare in 2010 was ₱28 billion (about US$597 million) or ₱310 ($7) per person[415] but had an increase in budget in 2014 with a record high in the collection of taxes from the House Bill 5727 (commonly known as Sin tax Bill).[416]

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.[414] Retention of skilled practitioners is a problem. Seventy percent of nursing graduates go overseas to work. The Philippines is the biggest supplier of nurses for export.[417]

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). Despite the increase of HIV/AIDS cases from 12,000 in 2005[418] to 17,450 as of April 2014 with 5,965 people who were under anti-retroviral therapy,[419] the country is still a low-HIV-prevalence country with less than 0.1% of the adult population estimated to be HIV-positive.[420]

While the country's universal healthcare implementation is underway as spearheaded by the state-owned Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, most healthcare-related expenses are either borne out of pocket[421] or through health maintenance organization (HMO)-provided health plans as part of compensation on an employer-employee type of professional engagement. As of April 2020, there are only about 7 million individuals covered by these plans, against the resident population of around a hundred million.[422]


As of 2008 the Philippines had a simple literacy rate of 95.6%, with 95.1% for males and 96.1% for females. The Philippines had a functional literacy rate of 86.45%, with 84.2% for males and 88.7% for females in 2008.[423][424] Spending on education accounted for 16.11% in the national budget proposed for 2015.[425][426]

The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) lists 2,180 higher education institutions, 607 of which are public and 1,573 private.[427] 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.[151] A 6-year elementary, a 4-year junior high school and a 2-year senior high school education is mandatory[428] of the K–12 educational program in 2013.[429][430]

Several government agencies are involved with education. The Department of Education covers elementary, secondary, and non-formal education. The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) administers post-secondary, middle-level education training and development. The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) supervises college and graduate academic programs and degrees as well as regulates standards in higher education.[431]

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.[432] Public universities are all non-sectarian entities, and are further classified as State Universities and Colleges (SUC) or Local Colleges and Universities (LCU).[427] The University of the Philippines, a system of eight (8) constituent universities, is the national university system of the Philippines.[433] The country's top ranked universities are widely known to be as follows, University of the Philippines, Ateneo de Manila University, De La Salle University, University of Santo Tomas, University of San Carlos, Mapúa University, and Silliman University.[434][435] The University of Santo Tomas, established in 1611, has the oldest extant university charter in the Philippines and Asia.[436][437]


Filipino culture is a combination of Eastern and Western cultures. The Philippines exhibits aspects found in other Asian countries with a Malay heritage, yet its culture also displays a significant number of Spanish and American influences. Traditional festivities known as barrio fiestas (district festivals) to commemorate the feast days of patron saints are common, these community celebrations are times for feasting, music, and dancing. The Ati-Atihan, Moriones and Sinulog festivals are a couple of the most well-known.[citation needed]

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 clashing bamboo poles.[438]

One of the most visible Hispanic legacies is the prevalence of Spanish names and surnames among Filipinos; a Spanish name and surname, however, does not necessarily denote Spanish ancestry. This peculiarity, unique among the people of Asia, came as a result of a colonial edict by Governor-General Narciso Clavería y Zaldua, which ordered the systematic distribution of family names and implementation of Hispanic nomenclature on the population.[439] The names of many streets, towns, and provinces are also in Spanish.[citation needed]

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 American 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[citation needed] and most notably Jollibee, the leading fast food chain in the country, have emerged and compete successfully against foreign chains.[440]


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.[441] 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, Paoay Church in Ilocos Norte, Nuestra Señora de la Asunción (Santa María) Church in Ilocos Sur, and Santo Tomás de Villanueva Church in Iloilo.[442] Vigan in Ilocos Sur is also known for the many Hispanic-style houses and buildings preserved there.[443]

The American occupation in 1898 introduced a new breed of architectural structures in the Philippines. This led to the construction of government buildings and Art Deco theaters. During the American period, some semblance of city planning using the architectural designs and master plans by Daniel Burnham was done on the portions of the city of Manila. Part of the Burnham plan was the construction of government buildings that resembled Greek or Neoclassical architecture.[444] In Iloilo, a lot of the colonial edifices constructed during the American occupation in the country can still be seen. Commercial buildings, houses and churches in that era are abundant in the city and especially in Calle Real.[445] Certain areas of the country like Batanes have slight differences as both Spanish and Filipino ways of architecture assimilated differently due to the climate. Limestones and coral were used as building materials.[446]


Early pottery has been found in the form of mostly anthropomorphic earthenware jars dating from c. 5 BC to 225 AD.[447]


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.[448]

Philippine literature comprises works usually written in Filipino, Spanish, or English. Some of the most known were created from the 17th to 19th century.[citation needed] Adarna, for example, is a famous epic about an eponymous magical bird allegedly written by José de la Cruz or "Huseng Sisiw".[449] Francisco Balagtas, the poet and playwright who wrote Florante at Laura, is recognized as a preeminent writer in the Filipino language.[citation needed] José Rizal wrote the novels Noli Me Tángere (Touch Me Not) and El Filibusterismo (The Filibustering, also known as The Reign of Greed).[450]


Philippine music has evolved rapidly due to the different influences stemming from colonialism under other countries. Before the Spanish conquest of the islands, most music was reminiscent of, or heavily influenced by, nature. Some examples of this tribal music is Koyu No Tebulul of the T'boli and Ambo Hato of the Ifugao. This genre is often accompanied by gong music and one well known instrument is the Kulintang. During the Spanish era Rondalya music, where traditional string orchestra mandolin type instruments were used, was widespread.[citation needed]

Marcelo Adonay (organist), Simplicio Solis (organist), Diego C. Perez (pianist), Jose Conseco (pianist) and Doña Dolores Paterno (composer) were some of the recognized musicians in this era. Nowadays, American pop culture has a heavy hold on the Filipinos that evolved from the Spanish times when the American occupation happened. Along with Korean pop, these two are dominating the recent music scene in media.[451][452] However, the revival of Spanish-influence folk music has been possible thanks to the different choir groups coming in and going out of the country, such as the Philippine Madrigal Singers.[453]


Just like the evolution of Philippine music, dance as well has been in constant change. Prior to colonial rule, the Philippines had a wide array of ethnic dances from different tribal groups. This was due mainly to the fact that Philippines is an archipelago thus the different varieties of dance developed. Both Luzon and Visayas, at first, were more akin to tribal movements until the Spanish came. Mindanao represents more of an array of Muslim inspired dances and Spanish influence was limited to the region of Zamboanga.[citation needed]

One famous dance that is well known is called the Tinikling, where a band of Rondalya musicians play along with the percussive beat of the two bamboo poles. It usually starts with men and women acting a scene about "How rural townsfolk mingle". The dancers then graze thru the clashing of the bamboo poles held on opposite sides. The end displays the paired bamboo poles crossing each other. The Muslim version of this where bamboo poles are also used is called the Singkil.[454] Cariñosa is a Hispanic Filipino dance, unofficially considered as the "National Dance of the Philippines". It is a courtship dance which involves a woman holding a fan or a handkerchief, where it plays an instrumental role as it places the couple in romance scenario.[citation needed]

In the Modern and Post-Modern time periods, dances may vary from the delicate ballet up to the more street-oriented styles of breakdancing.[455][456]


As a general description, the distinct value system of Filipinos is rooted primarily in personal alliance systems, especially those based in kinship, obligation, friendship, religion (particularly Christianity), and commercial relationships.[457]

Filipino values are, for the most part, centered around maintaining social harmony, motivated primarily by the desire to be accepted within a group. The main sanction against diverging from these values are the concepts of "Hiya", roughly translated as 'a sense of shame', and "Amor propio" or 'self-esteem'.[458] Social approval, acceptance by a group, and belonging to a group are major concerns. Caring about what others will think, say or do, are strong influences on social behavior among Filipinos.[459]

Other elements of the Filipino value system are optimism about the future, pessimism about present situations and events, concern and care for other people, the existence of friendship and friendliness, the habit of being hospitable, religious nature, respectfulness to self and others, respect for the female members of society, the fear of God, and abhorrence of acts of cheating and thievery.[460]


Filipino 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.[440][461]

Popular dishes include lechón, adobo, sinigang, kare-kare, tapa, crispy pata, pancit, lumpia, and halo-halo. Some common local ingredients used in cooking are calamansi, coconuts, saba (a kind of short wide plantain), mangoes, ube, milkfish, and fish sauce. Filipino taste buds tend to favor robust flavors, but the cuisine is not as spicy as those of its neighbors.[440][461]

Unlike many Asians, most 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 Filipino cuisine, the main pairing of utensils seen at the Filipino dining table is that of spoon and fork, not knife and fork.[462]

The traditional way of eating with the hands known as kamayan (using the washed right hand for bringing food to the mouth)[463] was previously more often seen in the less urbanized areas.[464] However, due to the various Filipino restaurants that introduced Filipino food to people of other nationalities as well as to Filipino urbanites, kamayan fast became popular. This recent trend also sometimes incorporates the "Boodle Fight" concept (as popularized and coined by the Philippine Army), wherein banana leaves are used as giant plates on top of which rice portions and Filipino viands are placed all together for a filial, friendly and/or communal kamayan feasting.[465]


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 5 also have extensive radio presence.[466]

The entertainment industry is vibrant and feeds broadsheets and tabloids with an unending supply of details about celebrities and sensationalist daily scandals. 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.[467] In recent years it has become common to see celebrities flitting between television and movies and then moving into politics provoking concerns.[468]


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).[469][470][471][472] Salón de Pertierra was the first introduced moving picture on January 1, 1897 in the Philippines. All films were all in Spanish since Philippine cinema was first introduced during the final years of the Spanish era of the country. Antonio Ramos was the first known movie producer. Meanwhile, Jose Nepomuceno was dubbed as the "Father of Philippine Cinema".[473] His work marked the start of cinema as an art form in the Philippines.[98] During the American period a movie market was formally created in the country along with the arrival of silent movies. Postwar 1940s and the 1950s were known as the first golden age of Philippine cinema with the resurgence of mostly Visayan films through Lapu-Lapu Pictures.[citation needed]

During the 1960s, James Bond movies, bomba (soft porn) pictures and an era of musical films, produced mostly by Sampaguita Pictures, dominated the cinema. The second golden age occurred from 1970s to early 1980s. It was during this era that filmmakers ceased to produce pictures in black and white. A rise in Hollywood films dominated theater sales during the late 1980s until the 2000s.[474] The dawn of this era saw a dramatic decline of the mainstream Philippine movie industry.[475] In the year 2009, however, presence of box-office films in the Philippine Box Office has surged. The mid 2010s also saw broader commercial success of films produced by independent studios.[476][477]


Various sports and pastimes are popular in the Philippines including basketball, boxing, volleyball, football (soccer), American football, both codes of Rugby 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.[478][479] 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).[480] The national martial art and sport of the country is Arnis, Eskrima or Kali in some regions[481]

The Philippines has participated in the Summer Olympic Games since 1924 and was the first country in Southeast Asia to compete and win a medal.[482] 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.[483] The Philippines is also the first tropical nation to compete at the Winter Olympic Games debuting in the 1972 edition.[484]


Traditional Philippine games such as luksung baka, patintero, piko, and tumbang preso are still played primarily as children's games among the youth.[485][486] Sabong or cockfighting is another popular entertainment especially among Filipino men, and was documented by Magellan's voyage as a pastime in the kingdom of Taytay.[487] The yo-yo, a popular toy in the Philippines, was introduced in its modern form by Pedro Flores with its name coming from the Ilocano language.[488]

See also


  1. ^ In the recognized regional languages of the Philippines:

    In the recognized optional languages of the Philippines:

    • Spanish: República de Filipinas
    • Arabic: جمهورية الفلبين‎, romanizedJumhūriyyat al-Filibbīn



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