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Coordinates: 13°N 122°E / 13°N 122°E / 13; 122

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
Great Seal of the Philippines
Dakilang Sagisag ng Pilipinas  (Filipino)
Great Seal of the Philippines
PHL orthographic.svg
Location Philippines ASEAN.svg
Location of the Philippines (green)

– in Asia (light green & dark grey)
– in ASEAN (light green)

14°35′N 120°58′E / 14.583°N 120.967°E / 14.583; 120.967
Largest cityQuezon City
14°38′N 121°02′E / 14.633°N 121.033°E / 14.633; 121.033
Official languages
Recognized regional languages
Protected auxiliary languages
Other recognized languagesFilipino Sign Language
Ethnic groups
(masculine or neutral)

(used for certain common nouns)
(colloquial masculine or neutral)

(colloquial feminine)
GovernmentUnitary presidential constitutional republic
• President
Rodrigo Duterte
Maria Leonor Robredo
Vicente Sotto III
Lord Allan Velasco
Diosdado Peralta
House of Representatives
~ 900 CE
April 27, 1565
Ocotber 6, 1762
June 12, 1898
July 4, 1946
February 2, 1987
• Total
300,000 km2 (120,000 sq mi) (72nd)
• Water (%)
0.61[7] (inland waters)
• Land
• 2020 estimate
• 2015 census
100,981,437[9][10] (13th)
• Density
336/km2 (870.2/sq mi) (47th)
GDP (PPP)2020 estimate
• Total
$933,913 billion[11] (27th)
• Per capita
$10,094[12] (115th)
GDP (nominal)2020 estimate
• Total
$367,362 billion[13] (31st)
• Per capita
$3,484[14] (119th)
Gini (2015)Positive decrease 44.4[15]
medium · 44th
HDI (2018)Increase 0.712[16]
high · 106th
CurrencyPhilippine peso (₱) (PHP)
Time zoneUTC+8 (PST)
Date format
  • mm/dd/yyyy
  • dd/mm/yyyy
Mains electricity220 V–60 Hz
Driving sideright,[17] formerly left before 1947/1948
Calling code+63
ISO 3166 codePH
  1. ^ While the Manila is designated as the nation's capital, the seat of government is the National Capital Region, popularly known as "Metro Manila", of which the city of Manila is a part.[18][19] Many national government institutions aside from Malacañang Palace and some agencies/institutions are located within the NCR.

The Philippines (/ˈfɪləpnz/ (About this soundlisten); 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 that are broadly categorized under three main geographical divisions from north to south: Luzon, Visayas, 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. 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' position as an island country on the Pacific Ring of Fire and close to the equator makes the country prone to earthquakes and typhoons. The country has a variety of natural resources and a globally significant level of biodiversity. The Philippines has an area of around 300,000 km2 (120,000 sq mi) with a population of around 109 million people. As of 2020, it is the 8th-most populated country in Asia and the 13th-most populated country in the world. Multiple ethnicities and cultures are found throughout the islands. Negritos, some of the archipelago's earliest inhabitants, were followed by successive waves of Austronesian peoples.

The arrival of Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese explorer leading a fleet for Spain, 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. Beginning in 1565, Spanish settlement of the archipelago was established via expeditions organized from New Spain 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 trans-Pacific trade. 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 the People Power Revolution.

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. The Philippines is considered to be an emerging market and a newly industrialized country, which has an economy transitioning from being based on agriculture to being based more on services and manufacturing.


Spanish explorer Ruy López de Villalobos, during his expedition in 1542, named the islands of Leyte and Samar "Felipinas" after Philip II of Spain, then the Prince of Asturias. Eventually the name "Las Islas Filipinas" would be used to cover the archipelago's Spanish possessions.[20] Before Spanish rule was established, 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 islands in the region.[21][22][23][24]

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.[25] The full title of the Republic of the Philippines was included in the 1935 constitution as the name of the future independent state.[26]


Prehistory (pre–900)

Butchered remains of a Rhinoceros philippinensis found in Rizal, Kalinga. An evidence of early hominins in the Philippines about 709,000 years ago.

There is evidence of early hominins living in what is now the Philippines as early as 709,000 years ago.[27] One specific early hominid species discovered in Callao Cave, Homo luzonensis, lived at least 50,000 to 67,000 years ago.[28][29] The oldest modern human remains found on the islands are from the Tabon Caves of Palawan, U/Th-dated to 47,000 ± 11–10,000 years ago.[30] 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.[31]

The first Austronesians reached the Philippines at around 2200 BC, settling the Batanes Islands and northern Luzon from Taiwan. From there, they rapidly spread downwards to the rest of the islands of the Philippines and Southeast Asia.[32][33] This population assimilated with the existing Negritos resulting in the modern Filipino ethnic groups which display various ratios of genetic admixture between Austronesian and Negrito groups.[34] Jade artifacts have been found dated to 2000 BC,[35][36] with the lingling-o jade items crafted in Luzon made using raw materials originating from Taiwan.[37] 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.[38]

Early states (900–1565)

The Laguna Copperplate Inscription, the oldest known writing found in the Philippines

The earliest known surviving written record found in the Philippines is the Laguna Copperplate Inscription.[39] Many polities in the Philippines developed substantial commercial contacts and military alliances with other polities in East, Southeast, and South Asia.[40][41][42][43][44] Trade with China is believed to have begun during the Tang dynasty, but grew more extensive during the Song dynasty.[45] By the 2nd century 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.[46][page needed][40] 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.[43][47][48] By the 13th century, a number of the large coastal settlements had emerged as trading centers, and became the focal point of societal changes.[47] By the 15th century, Islam was established in the Sulu Archipelago and by 1565 had reached Mindanao, the Visayas, and Luzon.[49]

Polities founded in the Philippines from the 10th–16th centuries include Maynila,[50] Tondo, Namayan, Pangasinan, Cebu, Butuan, Maguindanao, Lanao, Sulu, and Ma-i.[51] 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.[47][40] Among the nobility were leaders called "Datus," responsible for ruling autonomous groups called "barangay" or "dulohan".[47] Whenever these barangays banded together, either to form a larger settlement[47] or a geographically looser alliance group,[40] the more respected among them would be recognized as a "paramount datu",[47][38] rajah, or sultan[52] which headed the community state.[53] These states were disunited and constantly at war[54] and the archipelagic nature of the area, made it have a low population density,[55] although periods of near absolute peace were also experienced by the states, mainly dating between 500 BC to 1,000 AD.[56]

In 1521, Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan arrived and claimed the islands for Spain, allying himself with a native rajah.[57] The natives were recorded as having a high literacy rate, knowing how to read and write in their traditional scripts, while adhering to their indigenous religions.[58] Conflicts with Lapu-Lapu resulted in Spanish defeat during the Battle of Mactan, repelling colonizers for the next four decades.[59][57]

Colonial rule (1565–1946)

Shrine dedicated to Lapu-Lapu, whose army defeated Spanish colonizers in the 1521 Battle of Mactan.

Colonization began when Spanish explorer Miguel López de Legazpi arrived from Mexico in 1565.[60][61][62] In 1571, the Spanish Manila became the capital of the Spanish East Indies,[63] which also encompassed, under varying time frames, the Marianas, Carolines, Palaos and Guam,[64] as well as parts of Taiwan,[65] Sulawesi,[66] and the Moluccas.[67] The Spanish considered their war with the Muslims in Southeast Asia an extension of the Reconquista.[68] Colonizers invaded different local states through the divide and conquer principle.[69] The 1587 Tondo Conspiracy, which attempted to overthrow the colonizers and install the native noble Agustin de Legazpi as Monarch,[70] failed[71] leading to the downfall of numerous native nobles.[72]

Spanish rule brought most parts, not all, of the Philippines into a single unified administration.[62][73][74] From 1565 to 1821, the Philippines was governed as part of the Mexico-based Viceroyalty of New Spain, later administered from Madrid following the Mexican War of Independence.[75] Manila galleons were constructed in the Bicol and Cavite.[76][77] Manila was the western hub of the trans-Pacific trade.[78]

Darul Jambangan (Palace of Flowers) was the seat of power of the Sultanate of Sulu.

Under Spanish rule, Catholic missionaries converted most of the lowland inhabitants who adhered to indigenous religions into colonial Christianity,[79] often done through brutal means,[80][81][82] such as genocide.[83] Colonizers founded schools, a university, hospitals, and churches,[84] by imposing an inhumane system of unpaid labor, called polo, among the natives.[85][86] Military fortresses were established to defend colonial settlements.[87] Natives were enrolled in catechism schools to convert them further into Christianity, while higher Spanish schools barred any native from enrolling.[88] Free public schooling was made only in 1863, as an aftermath of a law in Spain which affected the colony,[89][88] Slavery was utilized by colonizers, but later abolished by decree, although the practice still continued.[90][91][92] The population increased partly to some policies imposed by the Spanish.[93][94]

During its rule, Spain quelled various indigenous revolts[95][96][97][98][99][100] while defending against external military challenges.[101] Spanish campaigns against the natives often resulted in widespread abuse.[102][103][104][105][82] Spanish influence among the Filipino upper class eventually created a system that became firmly rooted on oligarchy.[106] War against the Dutch in the 17th century, conflicts with Muslims, and Japanese-Chinese Wokou piracy nearly bankrupted the colonial treasury.[107] The rice terraces of Ifugao were built by indigenous peoples, in response to colonial encroachment.[108] Desertion rate was high among the Latino soldiers from Mexico[109] and Peru,[110][111] and the native Filipino populace, due to repeated wars, lack of wages, dislocation and near starvation. Immigration blurred the Spanish racial caste system[112][113] maintained in towns and cities.[114] The Royal Fiscal of Manila wrote to King Charles III of Spain to abandon the colony amidst difficulty in governing. The advice was opposed by Christian orders who valued the islands for religious conversion of neighboring Asian nations.[115]

Statue dedicated to Gabriela Silang and her 1763 revolt against Spanish colonizers.

The Philippines survived on an annual subsidy provided by the Spanish Crown sent from the Americas.[116][117] Century-old fortifications did not see significant upgrades,[118] allowing British forces to occupy Manila from 1762 to 1764 during the Seven Years' War against Spain, killing and wounding hundreds of Filipinos.[119][120] British expansion was prevented by Filipino resistance,[121] until Spanish rule was restored through the 1763 Treaty of Paris.[122][123][124]

In the 19th century, Spanish Philippine ports further opened to world trade.[125][126] Many Spaniards born in the Philippines[127] and those of mixed ancestry were wealthy,[128] and an influx of Hispanic American immigrants opened up government positions traditionally held by Spaniards born in the Iberian Peninsula, while ideas of rebellion and independence began to spread. Many Latin-Americans[129] and Criollos staffed the Spanish Philippine army, but their loyalty was doubted due to the Latin American wars of independence[130] made worse by a Mexican of Filipino descent, Isidoro Montes de Oca, being captain-general in the Mexican War of Independence.[131][132][133] To prevent a rebel union of Latinos and Filipinos, the Latino and Criollo officers stationed in the Philippines were replaced by Peninsular Spanish officers, who were less committed to the people and were often predatory, enriching themselves before returning to Spain.[134] The Spanish–Moro conflict lasted for several hundred years until a peace treaty was signed on April 30, 1851.[135][137]

January 23, 1899 Inauguration of the First Philippine Republic in Malolos, attended by katipuneros and supporters against Spanish and American colonizers.

Revolutionary sentiments were stoked in 1872 after three activist Catholic priests were accused of sedition and executed.[138][139] 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.[140][141] 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.[142] On December 30, 1896, the Spanish ordered the execution of Rizal on charges of rebellion. This radicalized many who had previously been loyal to Spain.[140]

The Katipunan started the Philippine Revolution in 1896. Katipunan chapters in Cavite Province, primarily the Magdiwang and the Magdalo had an internal dispute that led to the Tejeros Convention and an election in which Bonifacio lost his position and Emilio Aguinaldo was elected as the new leader of the revolution.[122] Aguinaldo later ordered the execution of Bonifacio.[143] In 1898, the Spanish–American War began, and this war reached Spanish forces in the Philippines. Aguinaldo declared Philippine independence from Spain in Kawit, on June 12, 1898, and the First Philippine Republic was established in Barasoain Church the following year.[122]

The islands were ceded by Spain to the United States as a result of the latter's victory.[144] As it became clear the United States would not recognize Philippine independence, the Philippine–American War broke out,[145] which resulted in the deaths of up to 1 million Filipino civilians, mostly due to famine and disease.[146] Philippine defeat led to American colonization.[147] The Americans suppressed various proto-states: mainly, the waning Sultanate of Sulu, the insurgent Tagalog Republic and the Republic of Zamboanga.[148][149] Throughout these campaigns,[150][151] various atrocities[152][153] committed by Americans against Filipinos have been documented, ranging from genocides[154][155] to human zoos.[156][157]

The destruction brought about by the Battle of Manila in 1945.

During this era, Philippine cinema,[158][159][160] and literature expanded, where the English language was institutionalized through the American educational system.[161] Daniel Burnham built an architectural plan for Manila.[162] The Darul Jambangan, seat of the Sultan of Sulu, was destroyed in 1932.[163][164] In 1935, the Philippines was granted Commonwealth status with Manuel Quezon as president and Sergio Osmeña as vice president. Under Quezon's administration, a national language was designated, women's suffrage and land reform were introduced,[165][166] and Jewish refugees were sheltered from the Holocaust.[167] Despite government cooperation, American racism against Filipinos, especially those who migrated to the US, was still evident.[168][169][170]

Plans for independence were interrupted by World War II when the Japanese Empire invaded and established a Philippine puppet state under Jose P. Laurel.[171] Japanese occupation was notable for war crimes,[172][173] against Filipinos, ranging from maltreatment to sexual slavery,[174][175] which resulted to Filipino opposition.[176][177][178] The Battle of Leyte Gulf occurred when Allied forces began liberating the Philippines from the Japanese Empire.[179][180] Allied troops defeated the Japanese in 1945. By the end of the war it is estimated that over a million Filipinos had died.[181][182] On October 11, 1945, the Philippines became one of the founding members of the United Nations.[183]

Contemporary history (1946–present)

Independence ceremonies following signing of the Treaty of Manila

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.[184] Efforts to end the Hukbalahap Rebellion began during Elpidio Quirino's term,[185] while a defense treaty with the US was signed,[186] The Philippines participated in the Korean War in favor of the South.[187][188] Ramon Magsaysay's presidency decimated the Hukbalahap rebellion.[189] Carlos P. Garcia initiated the Filipino First Policy,[190] continued by Diosdado Macapagal, with Independence Day moved from July 4 to June 12,[191][192] while the country pursued a claim on eastern North Borneo.[193][194]

In 1965, Ferdinand Marcos initiated infrastructure projects,[195] together with his wife Imelda, through corrupt means, embezzling billions of dollars in public funds,[196][197][198] while his genocidal regime[199][200] triggered the Islamic Moro conflict.[201][202] He declared martial law on September 21, 1972,[203][204][205] which resulted to political repression, censorship, human rights violations,[206] including various methods of torture,[207] and an expansion in Filipino communist support,[208] while the economy became the sick man of Asia,[209] as Chinese-initiated racism surged.[210] The regime has been described as a conjugal dictatorship[211] with an edifice complex.[212] Despite this, the Americans supported the regime.[213]

On August 21, 1983, opposition leader Benigno Aquino Jr., was assassinated at Manila International Airport, resulting to snap elections.[214] The results were widely regarded as fraudulent,[215] which resulted to the 1986 People Power Revolution,[216] which forced Marcos and his allies to flee to Hawaii and Corazon Aquino became president.[214][217] Throughout the Marcos dictatorship, the nation's foreign debt skyrocketed from $599 million in 1966 to $26.7 billion in 1986, with debt payment being reachable only by 2025.[218]

Inauguration after the successful 1986 People Power Revolution, where the masses ousted a conjugal dictatorship and installed Corazon Aquino as President of a democracy.

Corazon Aquino's presidency was hampered by Marcos' debt,[219] coup attempts,[220][221] and a communist insurgency which grew under Marcos.[208][222][223][224] She initiated peace negotiations with Moro separatists,[225] which led to the creation of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.[226] Mount Pinatubo erupted in June 1991.[227][228][229] Throughout her term, Aquino initiated the restoration of democratic institutions,[230] and paying the nation's foreign debts incurred under Marcos.[231] Fidel V. Ramos' administration made modest economic performance,[232][233][234] amidst China's 1995 seizure of Mischief Reef[235] and the 1997 Asian financial crisis.[236][237]

Joseph Estrada's administration was steeped in corruption involved in jueteng,[238] which led to his ouster through the Second EDSA Revolution.[239] The Philippines sent a peacekeeping mission to Timor-Leste in 2000.[240] Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo became president on January 20, 2001,[241] where the Philippines became a major non-NATO ally.[242] Arroyo's 9-year administration was marked by economic growth,[243] but was tainted by graft and corruption,[244][245][246][247] as well as political scandals.[248][249] The Maguindanao massacre occurred in 2009.[250]

Under Benigno Aquino III, the Benham Rise was confirmed by UNCLOS as part of the nation's continental shelf,[251] and the World Bank declared the Philippines as Asia's Rising Tiger,[252] while legal preparations for the Bangsamoro began.[253] Aquino filed the Philippines v. China international case in The Hague following a 2012 standoff against China.[254] The case was won by the Philippines.[255] Despite the effects of Typhoon Haiyan and other calamities, the economy grew by 7.2%,[256] later becoming the fastest growing economy in Asia.[257] On 2016, Rodrigo Duterte was elected as the 16th President of the Philippines. His administration called to pursue an independent foreign policy,[258] launched a controversial war on drugs,[259][260][261] the withdrawal of the Philippines from the International Criminal Court,[262][263] and initiated the massive Build! Build! Build! infrastructure plan.[264][265][266][267]

Geography and environment

Topography of the Philippines

The Philippines is an archipelago composed of about 7,641 islands[268] with a total land area, including inland bodies of water, of 300,000 square kilometers (115,831 sq mi).[269][better source needed] The 36,289 kilometers (22,549 mi) of coastline makes it the country with the fifth longest coastline in the world.[270] The exclusive economic zone of the Philippines covers 2,263,816 km2 (874,064 sq mi).[271] 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[272] to the east, the South China Sea[273] to the west, and the Celebes Sea to the south.[274] The island of Borneo is located a few hundred kilometers southwest[275] 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.[276]

The islands are composed of volcanic, coral, principal rock formations.[277] Eight major types of forests are distributed throughout the Philippines; dipterocarp, beach forest, pine forest, molave forest, lower montane forest, upper montane or mossy forest, mangroves, and ultrabasic forest.[278] 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.[279] 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.[280] The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River, which runs 8.2 kilometres (5.1 mi) underground through a karst landscape before reaching the ocean, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.[281]

The longest river is the Cagayan River in northern Luzon, measuring about 520 kilometres (320 mi).[282] 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.[citation needed] The San Juanico Strait separates the islands of Samar and Leyte but it is traversed by the San Juanico Bridge.[283]

Mayon is the Philippines' most active volcano.

Situated on the western fringes of the Pacific Ring of Fire, the Philippines experiences frequent seismic and volcanic activity.[284] The Benham Plateau to the east in the Philippine Sea is an undersea region active in tectonic subduction.[285] Around 20 earthquakes are registered daily, though most are too weak to be felt. The last major earthquake was the 1990 Luzon earthquake.[286] There are many active volcanoes such as the Mayon Volcano, Mount Pinatubo, and Taal Volcano.[287] The eruption of Mount Pinatubo in June 1991 produced the second largest terrestrial eruption of the 20th century.[288] The Philippines is the world's second-biggest geothermal energy producer behind the United States, with 18% of the country's electricity needs being met by geothermal power.[289]

Significant mineral deposits exist as a result of the country's complex geologic structure and high level of seismic activity.[290][291] These deposites are considered highly valuable.[292] The country is thought to have the second-largest gold deposits after South Africa, along with a large amount of copper deposits.[293] Palladium, originally discovered in South America, was found to have the world's largest deposits in the Philippines too.[294] Romblon island is a source of high-quality marble.[295] Other minerals include chromite, nickel, and zinc. Despite this, a lack of law enforcement, poor management, opposition due to the presence of indigenous communities, and past instances of environmental damages and disasters, have resulted in these mineral resources remaining largely untapped.[293][296]


The Philippine Eagle is endemic to the forests of the country.

The Philippines is a megadiverse country.[297][298] 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.[299] 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.[300] Parts of its marine waters contain the highest diversity of shorefish species in the world.[301]

Large reptiles include the Philippine crocodile[302] and saltwater crocodile.[303] The largest crocodile in captivity, known locally as Lolong, was captured in the southern island of Mindanao,[304] and died on 10 February 2013 from pneumonia and cardiac arrest.[305] 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).[306][307] The Philippine eagle is part of the family Accipitridae and is endemic to the rainforests of Luzon, Samar, Leyte and Mindanao.[308]

Philippine maritime waters encompass as much as 2,200,000 square kilometers (849,425 sq mi) producing unique and diverse marine life,[309] an important part of the Coral Triangle, a territory shared with other countries.[310][311] The total number of corals and marine fish species was estimated at 500 and 2,400 respectively.[299] New records[312][313] and species discoveries continue.[314][315][316] The Tubbataha Reef in the Sulu Sea was declared a World Heritage Site in 1993.[317] Philippine waters also sustain the cultivation of fish, crustaceans, oysters, and seaweeds.[318] One species of oyster, Pinctada maxima, produces pearls that are naturally golden in color.[319] Pearls have been declared a "National Gem".[320]

With an estimated 13,500 plant species in the country, 3,200 of which are unique to the islands,[299] Philippine rainforests boast an array of flora,[321] including many rare types of orchids[322] and rafflesia.[323] 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.[324] 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.[325]


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. 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.[326]

The average yearly temperature is around 26.6 °C (79.9 °F). In considering temperature, location in terms of latitude and longitude is not a significant factor. Whether in the extreme north, south, east, or west of the country, temperatures at sea level tend to be in the same range. Altitude usually has more of an impact. The average annual temperature of Baguio at an elevation of 1,500 meters (4,900 ft) above sea level is 18.3 °C (64.9 °F), making it a popular destination during hot summers.[326] 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.[327]

Sitting astride the typhoon belt, the islands experience 15-20 typhoons annually from July to October,[327] with around nineteen typhoons[328] entering the Philippine area of responsibility in a typical year and eight or nine making landfall.[329][330] Historically typhoons were sometimes referred to as baguios.[331] The wettest recorded typhoon to hit the Philippines dropped 2,210 millimeters (87 in) in Baguio from 14–18 July 1911.[332] The Philippines is highly exposed to climate change and is among the world's ten countries that are most vulnerable to climate change risks.[333]


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.[334] The population increased from 1990 to 2008 by approximately 28 million, a 45% growth in that time frame.[335] The first official census in the Philippines was carried out in 1877 and recorded a population of 5,567,685.[336]

A third of the population resides in Metro Manila and its immediately neighboring regions.[337] The 2.34% average annual population growth rate between 1990 and 2000 decreased to an estimated 1.90% for the 2000–2010 period.[338] Government attempts to reduce population growth have been a contentious issue.[339] The population's median age is 22.7 years with 60.9% aged from 15 to 64 years old.[7] Life expectancy at birth is 69.4 years, 73.1 years for females and 65.9 years for males.[340] Poverty incidence dropped to 21.6% in 2015 from 25.2% in 2012.[341]

Metro Manila is the most populous of the 3 defined metropolitan areas in the Philippines[342] and the 5th most populous in the world.[343] Census data from 2015 showed it had a population of 12,877,253 constituting almost 13% of the national population.[344] Including suburbs in the adjacent provinces (Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal) of Greater Manila, the population is around 23,088,000.[343] Across the country, the Philippines has a total urbanization rate of 51.2 percent.[344] 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.[345] In 2011 Manila ranked as the 28th wealthiest urban agglomeration in the world and the 2nd in Southeast Asia.[346]

Ethnic groups

Dominant ethnic groups by province

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",[7][347] 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.[348] There are also indigenous peoples like the Igorot, the Lumad, the Mangyan, the Bajau, and the tribes of Palawan.[349]

Negritos are considered among the earliest inhabitants of the islands.[350] These minority aboriginal settlers are an Australoid group and are a left-over from the first human migration out of Africa to Australia, and were likely displaced by later waves of migration.[351] At least some Negritos in the Philippines have Denisovan admixture in their genomes.[352][353] Ethnic Filipinos generally belong to several Southeast Asian ethnic groups classified linguistically as part of the Austronesian or Malayo-Polynesian speaking people.[349] There is some uncertainty over the origin of this Austronesian speaking population, with it being likely that ancestors related to Taiwanese aborigines brought their language and mixed with existing populations in the area.[354][355] European DNA is present in many Filipinos today.[356] Estimates of what percentage of the population is of European descent range from a 3.6%, as per a Standford Study,[357] to a 7% as per a collective analysis of Philippine graveyards.[358] The country also historically received settlers from Latin America[359] whose descendants comprised one-third of the main island of Luzon, 13% of the population during Spanish times.[360]

Chinese Filipinos are mostly the descendants of immigrants from Fujian in China after 1898,[361] numbering around 2 million, although there are an estimated 20 percent of Filipinos who have partial Chinese ancestry, stemming from precolonial and colonial Chinese migrants.[362] While a distinct minority, Chinese Filipinos are well-integrated into Filipino society.[363] As of 2015, there were 220,000 to 600,000 American citizens living in the country.[364] There are also up to 250,000 Amerasians scattered across the cities of Angeles, Manila, Clark and Olongapo.[365] Other important non-indigenous minorities include Indians[366] and Arabs.[367] There are also Japanese people, which include escaped Christians (Kirishitan) who fled the persecutions of Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu which the Spanish empire in the Philippines had offered asylum from.[368] The descendants of mixed-race couples are known as Tisoy.[369]


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[5]

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.[349][370] In addition, various Spanish-based creole varieties collectively called Chavacano exist.[371] There are also many Philippine Negrito languages that have unique vocabularies that survived Austronesian acculturation.[372]

Filipino and English are the official languages of the country.[373] Filipino is a standardized version of Tagalog, spoken mainly in Metro Manila.[374] Both Filipino and English are used in government, education, print, broadcast media, and business, with third local languages often being used at the same time.[375] The Philippine constitution provides for the promotion of Spanish and Arabic on a voluntary and optional basis.[373] Spanish, which was widely used as a lingua franca in the late nineteenth century, has since declined greatly in use,[376] although Spanish loanwords are still present today in Philippine languages,[377][378] while Arabic is mainly taught in Islamic schools in Mindanao.[379]

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.[380] 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.[381][382]


The historical Paoay Church in Ilocos Norte. Declared as a National Cultural Treasure by the Philippine government in 1973 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site under the collective group of Baroque Churches of the Philippines in 1993.

The Philippines is a secular state which protects freedom of religion. Christianity is the dominant faith,[383][384] shared by over 90% of the population.[385] Census data from 2015 found that about 79.53% of the population professed Catholicism.[386] Around 37% of the population regularly attend Mass. 29% of self-identified Catholics consider themselves very religious.[387] An independent Catholic church, the Philippine Independent Church, has around 66,959 adherents.[386]

Protestants were 10.8% of the population in 2010.[388] 2.64% of the population are members of Iglesia ni Cristo.[386] The combined following of the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches comes to 2.42% of the total population.[386][389]

Islam is the second largest religion. The Muslim population of the Philippines was reported as 6.01% of the total population according to census returns in 2015.[386] Conversely, a 2012 report by the National Commission of Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) stated that about 10,700,000 or 11% of Filipinos are Muslims.[383] The majority of Muslims live in Mindanao and nearby islands.[384][390] Most practice Sunni Islam under the Shafi'i school.[391][392]

The percentage of combined positive atheist and agnostic people in the Philippines was measured to be about 3% of the population as of 2008.[393] The 2015 Philippine Census reported the religion of about 0.02% of the population as "none".[386] A 2014 survey by Gallup International Association reported that 21% of its respondents identify as "not a religious person".[394]

Around 0.24% of the population practice indigenous Philippine folk religions,[386] whose practices and folk beliefs are often syncretized with Christianity and Islam.[395][396] Buddhism is practiced by around 0.03% of the population,[386] concentrated among Filipinos of Chinese descent.[397]


In 2016, 63.1% of healthcare came from private expenditures while 36.9% was from the government (12.4% from the national government, 7.1% from the local government, and 17.4% from social health insurance).[398] Total health expenditure share in GDP for the year 2016 was 4.5%. Per capita health expenditure rate in 2015 was US$323, which was one of the lowest in Southeast Asia.[399] The budget allocation for Healthcare in 2019 was ₱98.6 billion[400] and 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).[401]

There were 101,688 hospital beds in the country in 2016, with government hospital beds accounting for 47% and private hospital beds for 53%.[402] In 2009, there were an estimated 90,370 physicians or 1 per every 833 people, 480,910 nurses and 43,220 dentists.[403] Retention of skilled practitioners is a problem. Seventy percent of nursing graduates go overseas to work. As of 2007, the Philippines was the largest supplier of nurses for export.[404] The Philippines suffers a triple burden of high levels of communicable diseases, high levels of non-communicable diseases, and high exposure to natural disasters.[405]

In 2018, there were 1,258 hospitals licensed by the Department of Health, of which 433 (34%) were government-run and 825 (66%) private.[406] A total of 20,065 barangay health stations (BHS) and 2,590 rural health units (RHUs) provide primary care services throughout the country as of 2016.[407] Cardiovascular diseases account for more than 35% of all deaths.[408][409] 9,264 cases of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) were reported for the year 2016, with 8,151 being asymptomatic cases.[410] At the time the country was considered a low-HIV-prevalence country, with less than 0.1% of the adult population estimated to be HIV-positive.[411] HIV/AIDS cases increased from 12,000 in 2005[412] to 39,622 as of 2016, with 35,957 being asymptomatic cases.[410]

There is improvement in patients access to medicines due to Filipinos' growing acceptance of generic drugs, with 6 out of 10 Filipinos already using generics.[413] While the country's universal healthcare implementation is underway as spearheaded by the state-owned Philippine Health Insurance Corporation,[414] most healthcare-related expenses are either borne out of pocket[415] or through health maintenance organization (HMO)-provided health plans. As of April 2020, there are only about 7 million individuals covered by these plans.[416]


The University of the Philippines is the country's top educational institution.[417]

The Philippines had a simple literacy rate of 98.3% as of 2015, and a functional literacy rate of 90.3% as of 2013.[418] Education takes up a significant proportion of the national budget. In the 2020 budget, education was allocated PHP17.1 billion from the PHP4.1 trillion budget.[419]

The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) lists 2,180 higher education institutions, among which 607 are public and 1,573 are private.[420] 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, while some have adopted an increasingly common semester calendar from August to December and January to May.[276] Primary and secondary schooling is divided between a 6-year elementary period, a 4-year junior high school period, and a 2-year senior high school period.[421][422][423]

The Department of Education (DepEd) covers elementary, secondary, and non-formal education.[424] The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) administers middle-level education training and development.[425][426] The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) was created in 1994 to, among other functions, formulate and recommend development plans, policies, priorities, and programs on higher education and research.[427]

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.[428] Public universities are all non-sectarian entities, and are further classified as State Universities and Colleges (SUC) or Local Colleges and Universities (LCU).[420] The University of the Philippines, a system of eight (8) constituent universities, is the national university system of the Philippines.[429] The country's top ranked universities are as follows: University of the Philippines, Ateneo de Manila University, De La Salle University, and University of Santo Tomas.[430][431][432] The University of Santo Tomas, established in 1611, has the oldest extant university charter in the Philippines and Asia.[433][434]

Government and politics

Malacañang Palace is the official residence of the President of the Philippines.

The Philippines has a democratic government in the form of a constitutional republic with a presidential system.[435] It is governed as a unitary state, with the exception of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM),[436] although there has been several steps towards decentralization within the unitary framework.[437][438] There have been attempts to change the government to a federal, unicameral, or parliamentary government since the Ramos administration.[439] There is a significant amount of corruption in the Philippines,[440][441][442] which some historians attribute to the system of governance put in place during the Spanish colonial period.[443]

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.[276] The current President is Rodrigo Duterte.[444] 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.[276] Philippine politics tends to be dominated by those with well-known names, such as members of political dynasties or celebrities.[445]

Senators are elected at large while the representatives are elected from both legislative districts and through sectoral representation.[276] 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.[276] 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.[446]

Foreign relations

The Philippines has strong relations with many member of APEC.

As a founding and active member of the United Nations,[447] the country has been elected to the Security Council.[448] Carlos P. Romulo was a former President of the United Nations General Assembly.[449] The country is an active participant in the Human Rights Council[citation needed] as well as in peacekeeping missions, particularly in East Timor.[240] Over 10 million Filipinos live and work overseas.[450][451]

The Philippines is a founding and active member of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations).[452] It has hosted several summits and is an active contributor to the direction and policies of the bloc.[453][454] It is also a member of the East Asia Summit (EAS),[455] the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the Group of 24, and the Non-Aligned Movement.[276] The country is also seeking to obtain observer status in the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.[456][457]

The Philippines has a long relationship with the United States, covering economics, security, and people-to-people relations.[458] A mutual defense treaty between the two countries was signed in 1951, and supplemented later with the 1999 Visiting Forces Agreement and the 2016 Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement.[459] The Philippines supported American policies during the Cold War and participated in the Korean and Vietnam wars.[460][461] In 2003 the Philippines was designated a Major non-NATO ally.[462] 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.[458][failed verification] Under President Duterte ties with the United States have weakened[463] with military purchases instead coming from China and Russia,[464][465] while Duterte states that the Philippines will no longer participate in any US-led wars.[466]

The Philippines attaches great importance in its relations with China, and has established significant cooperation with the country.[467][468][469][470][471][472] Japan is the biggest bilateral contributor of official development assistance to the country.[473][474][475] Although historical tensions exist due to the events of World War II, much of the animosity has faded.[476]

Historical and cultural ties continue to affect relations with Spain.[477][478] Relations with Middle Eastern countries are shaped by the high number of Filipinos working in these countries,[479] and by issues relating the Muslim minority in the Philippines.[480] Concerns have been raised regarding issues such as domestic abuse and war affecting[481][482] the around 2.5 million overseas Filipino workers in the region.[483]

The Philippines has claims in the Spratly Islands which overlap with claims by China, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Vietnam. The largest of its controlled islands in Thitu Island, which contains the Philippine's smallest village.[484][485] The Scarborough Shoal standoff in 2012, where China took control of the shoal from the Philippines, led to an international arbitration case[486] and has made the shoal a prominent symbol in the wider dispute.[487]


BRP Gregorio del Pilar of the Philippine Navy during the sea phase of CARAT Philippines 2013

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) consist of three branches: the Philippine Air Force, the Philippine Army, and the Philippine Navy.[488] The Armed Forces of the Philippines are a volunteer force.[489] Civilian security is handled by the Philippine National Police under the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).[490][491]

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,[492] and the Abu Sayyaf have kidnapped foreigners for ransom, particularly in Mindanao.[494][495][496][497] Their presence decreased due to successful security provided by the Philippine government.[498] The Communist Party of the Philippines and its military wing, the New People's Army, have been waging guerrilla warfare against the government since the 1970s, reaching its apex in 1986 when Communist guerrillas gained control of a fifth of the country's territory, before significantly dwindling militarily and politically after the return of democracy in 1986.[499][500] As of 2018, $2.843 billion,[501] or 1.1 percent of GDP is spent on military forces.[502]

Administrative divisions

The Philippines is divided into three island groups: Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao.[citation needed] These are further divided into 17 regions, 81 provinces, 146 cities, 1,488 municipalities, and 42,036 barangays.[503] Regions serve primarily to organize the provinces of the country for administrative convenience. The Philippines is divided into 17 regions (16 administrative and 1 autonomous).[citation needed] As of 2015, Calabarzon was the most populated region while the National Capital Region (NCR) the most densely populated.[269]

Regions of the Philippines
Designation Name Area[269] Population
(as of 2015)[504]
% of Population Population density[269]
NCR National Capital Region 619.54 km2 (239.21 sq mi) 12,877,253 12.75% 20,785/km2 (53,830/sq mi)
Region I Ilocos Region 12,964.62 km2 (5,005.67 sq mi) 5,026,128 4.98% 388/km2 (1,000/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% 116/km2 (300/sq mi)
Region III Central Luzon 22,014.63 km2 (8,499.90 sq mi) 11,218,177 11.11% 512/km2 (1,330/sq mi)
Region IV-A Calabarzon 16,576.26 km2 (6,400.13 sq mi) 14,414,774 14.27% 870/km2 (2,300/sq mi)
Region IV-B Mimaropa 29,606.25 km2 (11,431.04 sq mi) 2,963,360 2.93% 100/km2 (260/sq mi)
Region V Bicol Region 18,114.47 km2 (6,994.04 sq mi) 5,796,989 5.74% 320/km2 (830/sq mi)
Region VI Western Visayas 20,778.29 km2 (8,022.54 sq mi) 7,536,383 7.46% 363/km2 (940/sq mi)
Region VII Central Visayas 15,872.58 km2 (6,128.44 sq mi) 7,396,898 7.33% 466/km2 (1,210/sq mi)
Region VIII Eastern Visayas 23,234.78 km2 (8,971.00 sq mi) 4,440,150 4.40% 191/km2 (490/sq mi)
Region IX Zamboanga Peninsula 16,904.03 km2 (6,526.68 sq mi) 3,629,783 3.59% 215/km2 (560/sq mi)
Region X Northern Mindanao 20,458.51 km2 (7,899.07 sq mi) 4,689,302 4.64% 229/km2 (590/sq mi)
Region XI Davao Region 20,433.38 km2 (7,889.37 sq mi) 4,893,318 4.85% 239/km2 (620/sq mi)
Region XII Soccsksargen 22,610.08 km2 (8,729.80 sq mi) 4,245,838 4.20% 188/km2 (490/sq mi)
Region XIII Caraga 21,120.56 km2 (8,154.69 sq mi) 2,596,709 2.57% 123/km2 (320/sq mi)
BARMM Bangsamoro 36,826.95 km2 (14,218.96 sq mi) 4,080,825 4.04% 111/km2 (290/sq mi)

Nueva VizcayaNueva EcijaNorthern SamarNorthern SamarNorthern SamarNegros OrientalNegros OccidentalMountain ProvinceMisamis OrientalMisamis OccidentalMetro ManilaMasbateMasbateMasbateMarinduqueMaguindanaoLeyteLa UnionLanao del SurLanao del NorteLagunaKalingaIsabela CityIsabelaIloiloIloiloIloiloIlocos SurIlocos NorteIfugaoGuimarasEastern SamarEastern SamarDinagat IslandsDavao OrientalDavao OrientalDavao OccidentalDavao OccidentalDavao OccidentalDavao del SurDavao del NorteDavao del NorteDavao del NorteCotabato CityCotabatoDavao de Oro (Compostela Valley)CebuCebuCebuCebuCebuCebuCebuCaviteCatanduanesCapizCamarines SurCamarines SurCamarines SurCamarines NorteCamiguinCagayanCagayanCagayanCagayanCagayanCagayanCagayanBulacanBukidnonBoholBoholBoholBiliranBiliranBenguetBatangasBatangasBatangasBatangasBatanesBatanesBatanesBataanBasilanAuroraApayaoAntiqueAntiqueAntiqueAntiqueAlbayAlbayAlbayAlbayAklanAgusan del SurAgusan del NorteAbraZamboanga SibugayZamboanga del SurZamboanga del NorteZamboanga CityZamboanga CityZambalesSamarSamarSamarSamarTawi-TawiTawi-TawiTawi-TawiTawi-TawiTawi-TawiTawi-TawiTarlacSurigao del SurSurigao del SurSurigao del NorteSurigao del NorteSurigao del NorteSurigao del NorteSurigao del NorteSuluSuluSuluSuluSuluSuluSuluSuluSultan KudaratSouthern LeyteSouthern LeyteSouth CotabatoSorsogonSiquijorSaranganiSaranganiRomblonRomblonRomblonRomblonRomblonRomblonRizalRizalQuirinoQuezonQuezonQuezonQuezonQuezonQuezonQuezonPangasinanPangasinanPampangaPalawanPalawanPalawanPalawanPalawanPalawanPalawanPalawanPalawanPalawanPalawanPalawanPalawanPalawanOriental MindoroOccidental MindoroOccidental MindoroOccidental MindoroOccidental Mindoro
A clickable map of the 81 provinces of the Philippines


Philippine Export Treemap in 2012.
A proportional representation of the Philippines' exports, 2017.

The Philippine economy has produced an estimated gross domestic product (nominal) of $356.8 billion.[505] Primary exports include semiconductors and electronic products, transport equipment, garments, copper products, petroleum products, coconut oil, and fruits. Major trading partners include the United States, Japan, China, Singapore, South Korea, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, Germany, Taiwan, and Thailand.[7] Its unit of currency is the Philippine peso (₱[506] or PHP[507]).[508]

A newly industrialized country,[509] the Philippine economy has been transitioning from one based upon agriculture to an economy with more emphasis upon services and manufacturing.[510] Of the country's 2018 labor force of around 43.46 million, the agricultural sector employed 24.3%,[511] and accounted for 8.1% of 2018 GDP.[512] The industrial sector employed around 19% of the workforce and accounted for 34.1% of GDP, while 57% of the workers involved in the services sector were responsible for 57.8% of GDP.[512][513]

The unemployment rate as of October 2019, stands at 4.5%.[514] Meanwhile, due to lower charges in basic necessities, the inflation rate eased to 1.7% in August 2019.[515] Gross international reserves as of October 2013 are $83.201 billion.[516] The Debt-to-GDP ratio continues to decline to 37.6% as of the second quarter of 2019[517][518] from a record high of 78% in 2004.[519] The country is a net importer[520] but it is also a creditor nation.[521] Manila hosts the headquarters of the Asian Development Bank.[522]

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.[232] 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.[524][525] 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.[526][527][528]

Remittances from overseas Filipinos contribute significantly to the Philippine economy,[529] surpassing foreign direct investment as a source of foreign currency.[citation needed] Remittances peaked in 2006 at 10.4% of the national GDP, and were 8.6% and 8.5% in 2012 and in 2014 respectively.[529] In 2014 the total worth of foreign exchange remittances was US$28 billion.[530] Regional development is uneven, with Luzon – Metro Manila in particular – gaining most of the new economic growth at the expense of the other regions,[531][532] although the government has taken steps to distribute economic growth by promoting investment in other areas of the country.[citation needed] Service industries such as Tourism in the Philippines[533] and business process outsourcing have been identified as areas with some of the best opportunities for growth for the country.[534] 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.[535] In 2010, the Philippines was reported as having eclipsed India as the main center of BPO services in the world.[536][537][538]

Science and technology

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.[539] Research organizations in the country include the International Rice Research Institute,[540] which focuses on the development of new rice varieties and rice crop management techniques.[541]

The Philippines bought its first satellite in 1996.[542] In 2016, the Philippines first micro-satellite, Diwata-1 was launched aboard the US Cygnus spacecraft.[543] The Philippines has a high concentration of cellular phone users.[544] Text messaging is a popular form of communication and, in 2007, the nation sent an average of one billion SMS messages per day.[545] The country has a high level of mobile financial services utilization.[546] The Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company, commonly known as PLDT, is a formerly nationalized telecommunications provider.[544] It is also the largest company in the country.[547] The National Telecommunications Commission is the agency responsible for the supervision, adjudication and control over all telecommunications services throughout the country.[548] There are approximately 417 AM and 1079 FM radio stations and 438 television and 1,551 cable television stations.[549] 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.[550] Estimates for Internet penetration in the Philippines vary widely ranging from a low of 2.5 million to a high of 24 million people.[551][552] Social networking and watching videos are among the most frequent Internet activities.[553] The Philippine population is the world's top internet user.[554]


Limestone cliffs of El Nido, Palawan.

The travel and tourism sector contributed 10.6% of the country's GDP in 2015[555] and providing 1,226,500 jobs in 2013.[556] 8,260,913 international visitors arrived from January to December 2019, up by 15.24% for the same period in 2018.[557] 58.62% (4,842,774) of these came from East Asia, 15.84% (1,308,444) came from North America, and 6.38% (526,832) came from other ASEAN countries.[418] The island of Boracay, popular for its beaches, was named as the best island in the world by Travel + Leisure in 2012.[558] The Philippines is also a popular retirement destination for foreigners due to its climate and low cost of living.[559] Since 2012, the official tourism slogan of the country is It's More Fun in the Philippines.[560][561]



Transportation in the Philippines is facilitated by road, air, rail and waterways. As of December 2018, there are 210,528 kilometers (130,816 mi) of roads in the Philippines, with only 65,101 kilometers (40,452 mi) of roads paved.[562] 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.[563] The Pan-Philippine Highway connects the islands of Luzon, Samar, Leyte, and Mindanao, forming the backbone of land-based transportation in the country.[564] Roads are the dominant form of transport, carrying 98% of people and 58% of cargo. A network of expressways extends from the capital to other areas of Luzon.[565] The 8.25-kilometre (5.13 mi) Cebu–Cordova Link Expressway in Cebu will be finished by 2021.[566] Traffic is a significant issue facing the country, especially within Manila and on arterial roads connecting to the capital.[567]

Public transport in the country include buses, jeepneys, UV Express, TNVS, Filcab, taxis, and tricycles.[568][569] Jeepneys are a popular and iconic public utility vehicle.[570] 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.[571][572]

Despite wider historical use, Rail transport in the Philippines is extremely limited, being confined to transporting passengers within Metro Manila and neighboring Laguna, with a separate short track in the Bicol Region.[573] There are plans to revive Freight transport to reduce road congestion.[574][575] As of 2019, the country had a railway footprint of only 79 kilometers, which it had plans to expand up to 244 kilometers.[576][577] Metro Manila is served by three rapid transit lines: Line 1, Line 2 and Line 3.[578][579][580] The PNR South Commuter Line transports passengers between Metro Manila and Laguna.[581] Railway lines that are under-construction include the 4-kilometre (2.5 mi) Line 2 East Extension Project (2020),[582] the 22.8-kilometre (14.2 mi) Line 7 (2020),[583] the 35-kilometre (22 mi) Line 9 (Metro Manila Subway) (2025),[584] and the 109-kilometre (68 mi) PNR North-South Commuter Railway which is divided into several phases, with partial operations to begin in 2022.[585] The civil airline industry is regulated by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines.[586] Philippine Airlines is Asia's oldest commercial airline still operating under its original name.[587][588] Cebu Pacific is the countries leading low-cost carrier.[589]

As an archipelago, inter-island travel using watercraft is often necessary.[590] Boats have always been important to societies in the Philippines.[591][592] Most boats are double-outrigger vessels, which can reach up to 30 metres (98 ft) in length, known as banca[593]/bangka,[594] parao, prahu, or balanghay. A variety of boat types are used throughout the islands, such as dugouts (baloto) and house-boats like the lepa-lepa.[592] Terms such as bangka and baroto are also used as general names for a variety of boat types.[594] Modern ships use plywood in place of logs and motor engines in place of sails.[593] These ships are used both for fishing and for inter-island travel.[594] The principal seaports of Manila, Batangas, Subic Bay, Cebu, Iloilo, Davao, Cagayan de Oro, General Santos, and Zamboanga form part of the ASEAN Transport Network.[595][596] The Pasig River Ferry serves the cities of Manila, Makati, Mandaluyong, Pasig and Marikina in Metro Manila.[597][598]

Water supply and sanitation

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. The challenges include limited access to sanitation services, high pollution of water resources, often poor drinking water quality and poor service quality, 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.[citation needed] In 2015, it was reported by the Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation that 74% of the population had access to improved sanitation, and that "good progress" had been made between 1990 and 2015.[599] As of 2016, 96% of Filipino households have an improved source of drinking water, and 92% of households had sanitary toilet facilities, although connections of these toilet facilities to appropriate sewerage systems remain largely insufficient especially in rural and urban poor communities.[600]


Performers at the Kaamulan.

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.[citation needed] The Ati-Atihan, Moriones and Sinulog festivals are among the most well-known.[601][602][603] The culture within Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago developed separately to that of the rest of the country, due to very limited degree of Spanish influence and greater influence from nearby Islamic regions.[604]

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.[605]

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.[606] The names of many locations are also Spanish, or stem from Spanish roots and origins.[607]

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.[citation needed] American global fast-food chain stalwarts have entered the market, but local fast-food chains like Goldilocks[608] and most notably Jollibee, the leading fast-food chain in the country, have emerged and compete successfully against foreign chains.[609]


Noli Me Tángere, an 1887 novel by José Rizal, influenced the cause of revolution in the Philippines.[610]

Philippine mythology, an important part of the indigenous Philippine folk religions, has been handed down primarily through the traditional oral folk literature of the Filipino people, although written texts have also been made. 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 the sacred deities, gods, goddesses, and heroes, such as Bathala, Kan-Laon, Maria Makiling, Mayari, Bakunawa, and Lam-Ang, and supernatural creatures, such as the aswang, manananggal, engkanto, sarangay, anggitay, kataw, sigbin, and sarimanok.[611][612]

Philippine literature comprises works usually written in Filipino, Spanish, or English. Some of the most known were created from the 17th to 19th century.[613] Adarna, for example, is a famous epic about an eponymous magical bird allegedly written by José de la Cruz or "Huseng Sisiw".[614] Francisco Balagtas, the poet and playwright who wrote Florante at Laura, is recognized as a preeminent writer in the Tagalog (Filipino) language.[615] José Rizal wrote the novels Noli Me Tángere (Touch Me Not) and El Filibusterismo (The Filibustering, also known as The Reign of Greed).[616]

Architecture and art

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.[50] 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.[617] Vigan in Ilocos Sur is also known for the many Hispanic-style houses and buildings preserved there.[618]

American rule introduced new architectural styles. 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.[619] In Iloilo, structures from both the Spanish and American periods can still be seen, especially in Calle Real.[620] 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 were used as a building material, with houses being built to withstand typhoons.[621]


Kulintang is a popular musical instrument used in an ensemble, especially in the south.

Pre-colonial tribal music includes 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.[citation needed] During the Spanish era Rondalya music, where traditional string orchestra mandolin type instruments were used, was widespread.[622] Nowadays, American pop culture has a heavy hold on the Filipinos that evolved from the Spanish times when the American occupation happened.[623] Recently K-pop has become popular.[624] Karaoke is a popular event in the country.[625] 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.[citation needed]


Cariñosa, a Hispanic era dance for traditional Filipino courtship.

The Philippines has a wide array of ethnic dances from different tribal groups. Spanish-influenced dances are found in both Luzon and Visayas, whereas Mindanao dances are often more Muslim inspired with Spanish influence 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.[citation needed] 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.[626]

In the Modern and Post-Modern time periods, dances may vary from the delicate ballet up to the more street-oriented styles of breakdancing.[627][628]


A statue in Iriga City commemorating the mano po gesture.

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.[629]

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',[630] and "Amor propio" or 'self-esteem'.[631] 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.[632]

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.[633][634]


A selection of dishes found in Filipino cuisine.

Filipino cuisine has evolved over several centuries from its Malayo-Polynesian origins to become a mixed cuisine with Chinese, American, and other Asian influences. The most dominant influence however is Spanish, which has influenced up to 80% of Filipino recipes. Regional variations exist throughout the islands, for example rice is a standard starch in Luzon while cassava is more common in Mindanao.[635] 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 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.[636]

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.[637]

The traditional way of eating with the hands known as kamayan (using the hand for bringing food to the mouth)[638] was previously more often seen in the less urbanized areas.[635] 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.[639][640] 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 or communal kamayan feasting.[641]

Mass media

A broadcasting center and satellite tower in the Philippines.

Philippine media uses mainly Filipino and English, though broadcasting have shifted to Filipino.[375] 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.[citation needed] There are large numbers of both radio stations and newspapers.[642] The top three newspapers by nationwide readership as well as credibility[643] are the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Manila Bulletin, and The Philippine Star.[644][645] While freedom of the press is protected by the constitution, the country is very dangerous for journalists.[642][better source needed] The dominant television networks were ABS-CBN and GMA, both being free to air.[642] ABS-CBN, at the time the largest network[646] was shut down following a cease and desist order issued by the National Telecommunications Commission on May 5, 2020, a day after the expiration of the network's franchise.[647] Prior to this move, Duterte accused ABS-CBN of being biased against his administration and vowed to block the renewal of their franchise. However, critics of the Duterte administration, human rights groups, and media unions said the shutdown of ABS-CBN was an attack on press freedom.[646][648] On July 10, 2020, the House of Representatives declined a renewal of ABS-CBN's TV and radio franchise, voted 70–11.[646]

TV, the Internet,[649] and social media, particularly Facebook, remain the top source of news and information for majority of Filipinos as newspaper readership continues to decline.[650][651] English broadsheets are popular among executives, professionals and students.[652] Cheaper Tagalog tabloids, which feature crime, sex, gossips and gore, saw a rise in the 1990s, and tend to be popular among the masses, particularly in Manila.[652][653][654]


Lav Diaz's films have won some of the highest awards at film festivals like the Golden Leopard of Locarno International Film Festival and the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival.

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)[citation needed] and Himala (Miracle).[655][656][657] Moving pictures were first shown in the Philippines on January 1, 1897.[658] 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.[659][660] Meanwhile, Jose Nepomuceno was dubbed as the "Father of Philippine Movies".[661] His work marked the start of the local production of movies. Production companies remained small during the era of silent film, but 1933 saw the emergence of sound films and the arrival of the first significant production company. The postwar 1940s and the 1950s are regarded as a high point for Philippine cinema.[158]

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 the 1970s to early 1980s. It was during this era that filmmakers ceased to produce pictures in black and white.[citation needed] The growing dominance of Hollywood films and the cost of production has severely reduced local filmmaking.[662][663] Nonetheless, some local films continue to find success.[664][665]


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.[citation needed] Basketball is played at both amateur and professional levels and is considered to be the most popular sport in the Philippines.[666] In 2010, Manny Pacquiao was named "Fighter of the Decade" for the 2000s by the Boxing Writers Association of America.[667] The national martial art and sport of the country is Arnis.[668][669]

Beginning in 1924, the Philippines has competed in every Summer Olympic Games, except when they participated in the American-led boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics.[670][671] The Philippines is also the first tropical nation to compete at the Winter Olympic Games debuting in the 1972 edition.[672][673]


Traditional Philippine games such as luksung baka, patintero,[674] piko, and tumbang preso are played primarily as children's games among the youth.[675][676][677] 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.[678] The yo-yo, a popular toy in the Philippines, was introduced in its modern form by Pedro Flores[679] with its name coming from the Ilocano language.[680]

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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