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Official Name. Republic of the Philippines.
Capital. Manila.
Coat of Arms. Shield bearing an eagle on a blue background to symbolize former rule by United States, a lion on a red field to symbolize former rule by Spain, and three gold stars on a white field to symbolize the Philippine islands. Gold sun in circle in middle of shield symbolizes independence. Adopted 1946.
Motto. "One Spirit, One Nation."
Anthem. 'Lupang Hinirang' (Land Dear and Holy).

NATURAL FEATURES    Silly hat - silly girl - - very serious but fun too is good, yes?

Climate. Equatorial with frequent tropical monsoon conditions. Typhoons most frequent from June to December, except on Mindanao. Wet season from May to November. High temperatures remain constant throughout the year.

Natural Regions. North Luzon Highlands, Central Plain, Cagayan Valley, Sierra Madre, Davao-Agusan Lowland, Cotabato Lowland, Bukidnon-Lanao Plateau, Tablas Plateau, Leyte Valley.

Major Islands. Luzon, Mindanao, Negros, Samar, Palawan, Panay, Mindoro, Leyte, Bohol, Catanduanes, Cebu, Masbate.

Major Mountain Ranges. Sierra Madre, Cordillera Central, Caraballo Mountains, Zambales Mountains, Diuata (Diwata) Mountains.

Notable Peaks. Mount Apo, 9,688 feet (2,953 meters); Mount Pulog, 9,612 feet (2,930 meters); Mount Halcon, 8,487 feet (2,587 meters).

Major Rivers. Cagayan, Agno, Pampanga, Pasig, Bicol, Mindanao, Agusan.

Major Lakes. Laguna de Bay, Lake Sultan Alonto, Lake Taal.

Coastline -- 10,900 miles (17,500 kilometers).

 Quick  TIPS

When to Go

The best time to visit is November-March, when the temperatures are cool and pleasant (it’s 15 F/7 C degrees cooler in the mountain areas). April and May are very hot and humid—it’s just prior to the rainy season. Avoid the rainy season, June-September, as roads are often damaged by flooding.

Do's and Don'ts


Do keep cool by wearing the sensible clothing and fabrics the Filipinos have developed to deal with the heat and humidity. For men, the barong tagalog, or long-sleeved shirt, worn untucked, will get you through even the most formal occasions. The short-sleeved style, the polo barong, is even cooler...Do expect to be engaged in conversation in social situations—silence may be interpreted as discomfort or dislike...Do be security-conscious. Throughout the islands, there’s petty thievery, which can ruin your vacation.  Also, while most Filipinos are extremely friendly, there are some who aren’t, so do not accept drinks or food from a stranger (particularly in tourist areas)...Do bargain at markets, but never at department stores or supermarkets...Do be polite. Public displays of anger generally won’t get you what you want (even if you are in the right)...Don’t be enticed to exchange money on the street unless you enjoy watching con artists at work. Frequent only licensed money changers...Don’t be surprised at the slowness of the postal service...Do find out whether prices are being quoted in U.S. dollars or Filipino pesos (especially with local tour operators)...Don’t be shocked by the number of people who carry guns, especially in cities. You’ll even see signs asking people to leave firearms outside before entering various premises. Because guns are so common, you may find that you and your possessions are subject to searches from time to time...Don’t be surprised by blackouts. Power shortages in Manila are not uncommon...Don’t expect to travel faster than 45 mph/70 kph on the roads. Carts, water buffalo and people share the roads as well....

Tipping: Add a small tip for good restaurant service, even though a service charge has already been tacked on the bill; reward excellent service with an extra 5%. Taxi fares should be rounded up, and bellboys tipped 2 to 5 pesos.  be sure to read Travel Information section to learn about scams, dealing with taxis and much more....  Reliable on-line Travel Agency.   Read about Personal Tours.

 

THE PEOPLE

 Population:  79,345,812  (July 1999 est.)  621 persons per square mile (241 persons per square kilometer); 54.0 percent urban, 46.0 percent rural. 
Age structure: 
0-14 years: 37% (male 15,057,698; female 14,555,430)
15-64 years: 59% (male 23,168,043; female 23,715,877)
65 years and over: 4% (male 1,269,522; female 1,579,242) (1999 est.)
Population growth rate: 2.04% (1999 est.)
Birth rate: 27.88 births/1,000 population (1999 est.)
Death rate: 6.45 deaths/1,000 population (1999 est.)
Net migration rate: -1.03 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1999 est.)
Sex ratio:
( Not enough men is big myth - just not enough good husbands)
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.8 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (1999 est.)
Infant mortality rate: 33.89 deaths/1,000 live births (1999 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 66.58 years
male: 63.79 years
female: 69.5 years (1999 est.)
Total fertility rate: 3.46 children born/woman (1999 est.)

Nationality:
noun: Filipino(s)
adjective: Philippine
Heritage: Christian Malay 91.5%, Muslim Malay 4%, Chinese 1.5%, other 3%
Ethnic Groups. Tagalog, Cebuano, Ilocano, Hiligaynon Ilongo, Bicol, Waray, Pampango, Pangasinan.
Religions: Roman Catholic 83%, Protestant 9%, Muslim 5%, Buddhist and other 3%
Languages: Pilipino (official, based on Tagalog), English (official) Bisaya (Central Region)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 94.6%
male: 95%
female: 94.3% (1995 est.)

 

MAJOR CITIES (1991)

Manila (1,894,667). Capital city of the Philippines; economic, political, social, cultural center; publishing and printing; food and beverage processing; textiles; pharmaceuticals; footwear; paper; rope; chemicals; soap; tobacco goods; plywood; machinery; shipbuilding; Malacanang Palace; University of Santo Tomas (see Manila, Philippines).

Quezon City (1,627,890). On Luzon; former capital of the Philippines (1948-76); light industry; housing projects; transportation hub; Father Aguilar's Zoo; National Park and Wildlife Grounds; Quezon Memorial Hall; Araneta Coliseum.

Davao (867,779). International seaport on southeastern Mindanao; copra; corn (maize); rice; abaca; coconuts; cement; plywood; University of Mindanao; Samal Island pearl farm; Talomo Beach; Bago Inigo fish farm.

Cebu (641,042). Bustling seaport on Cebu Island; nation's oldest settlement; copra; abaca; sugar; timber; fish; textiles; footwear; processed foods; vegetable oil; furniture; chemicals; cosmetics; candles; jewelry; University of San Carlos; international airport; Fort San Pedro ruins.

Caloocan (629,473). Residential and industrial suburb of Manila; processed foods; textiles; engineering products; noodle fish; duck breeding and duck egg industry; Andres Bonifacio monument.

Zamboanga (453,214). Busy seaport city located on western Mindanao; rubber, pearls, copra, hardwoods, fish, abaca, fruit products; brassware; bronzeware; airport; Zamboanga State College.

   .

ECONOMY

Chief Agricultural Products. Crops--sugarcane, rice, coconuts, corn (maize), bananas, cassava, pineapples, mangoes, coffee, tobacco. Livestock--pigs, buffalo, goats, cattle, chickens. Chief Mined Products. Coal, nickel ore, copper concentrate, silver, gold, crude petroleum. Chief Manufactured Products. Food items, petroleum products, footwear and apparel, chemicals, electrical machinery, nonmetallic mineral products, beverages, tobacco.

Foreign Trade. Imports, 61%; exports, 39%.

Chief Imports. Petroleum and petroleum products, iron and steel, nonelectrical machinery, electrical machinery, inedible crude materials, motor vehicles and parts, cereals and cereal preparations, inorganic chemicals.

Chief Exports. Electrical machinery and parts, clothing, coconut products, metalliferous ores and metal scrap, nonferrous metals, chemicals, wood products, bananas.

Chief Trading Partners. United States, Japan, Taiwan.

Monetary Unit. 1 Philippine peso = 100 centavos. (US dollar = approx. 40 pesos)

 

EDUCATION

Schools. Public elementary schools established almost everywhere; most secondary and postsecondary schools are private; technical and vocational education is heavily stressed and is considered formal education.

Compulsory School Age. Attendance is free and compulsory for six years of elementary education.

Literacy. 93.6 percent.

Leading Universities. University of Santo Tomas; University of the Philippines; University of San Carlos; University of Mindanao; Philippine Women's University; University of the East; Ateneo de Manila University.

Notable Museums and Art Galleries. National Museum of the Philippines; Museum of Ethnology; Museum of Filipino Life; Metropolitan Museum of Manila; Museum of Natural Science; Malacanang Art Museum; Ilocos Norte Art Museum.

 

PLACES OF INTEREST

American Military Cemetery and War Memorial. In Fort Bonifacio, Manila; over 17,000 American and Allied war dead killed in action during World War II are buried here; monument bearing names of over 36,000 missing servicemen.

Apo Reef National Marine Park. On Mindoro; atoll-like reef with two lagoon systems separated by a narrow channel with a sandy bottom and branching coral; about 400 species of marine fishes live here, along with sharks, stingrays, manta rays, and moray eels; diving; bird colonies on the islands of Binangaan and Cayos del Bajo.

Ayala Museum. In Manila; dioramas depicting highlights of Philippine history; archaeological, ethnic, and colonial heritage displays; burial and excavation artifacts; ethnic arts and handicrafts; sculpture; Carlos P. Romulo memorabilia.

Baguio. Summer escape from Manila's heat; beautiful mountain scenery; gold mines; Philippine Military Academy; Camp John Hay; Trinidad Valley; carved wood handicrafts; bazaars; train rides; Banaue rice terraces.

Bataan. Peninsula at entrance to Manila Bay; World War II battleground; many memorials; Altar of Valor; volcanic mountains; boat races; water skiing.

Boracay Island. Off northern coast of Panay; no television, telephones, or cars allowed; crystal-clear warm waters; white-sand beaches; coconut palms; puka shell jewelry. Corregidor. Island at entrance to Manila Bay; prominent battleground of World War II; displays of barracks, tunnels, and artillery; Pacific War Memorial; Malinta Tunnel; Memorial Chapel; Middleside Barracks; Eternal Flame.

Hundred Islands. Protected national park along southern shores of Lingayen Gulf; Milagrosa Caves; oyster farms; fishing; milkfish culture; boat rentals; snorkeling and diving amid coral reefs; resort inns; camping; famed seashell-gathering spot.

Ilocos Coast. Region in northwestern Luzon; dramatic seascapes; weaving; jewelry making; pottery; beach resorts; scuba diving; Syquia Mansion; Burgos Museum and Library; Archbishop's Palace; St. Pauls' Cathedral (earthquake-proof); Santa Maria Church; 18th-century rococo architecture; St. William's Cathedral; Balay ti Ili, former home of Marcos family; Juan Luna Shrine; Cape Bojeador Lighthouse.

Intramuros. Site of a fortress built in Manila in 1571 after Spaniards defeated a force of Muslims. A well-defended small city was built inside the walls. Manila Cathedral and many old homes are worth visiting.

Nayong Pilipino (Philippine Village) Theme Park. In Manila; highlights the country's regions, culture, and tourist attractions in miniature; jeepney rides.

Pagsanjan. On Luzon; giant waterfalls; boat rides on the Pagsanjan River; raft rides to cave behind the falls.

Palawan. Rain forests; caves; deserted beaches and coves; coral gardens; wild orchids and ferns; butterflies; birds; home to primitive tribes; Paleolithic caves; Game Preserve and Sanctuary (Calauit Island); Bird Refuge (Ursula Island); St. Paul Subterranean River National Park; towering black limestone cliffs (El Nido); area specialty is nido soup (edible bird's nest soup). Rizal. Province on Luzon; at the foothills of the Sierra Madre; fish landing port of Navotas; fishing town of Malabon; duck raising in Pateros; shoemaking center in Marikina; Angono artists' colony; Antipolo pilgrimage in May; Carabao Festival of Angono; during Holy Week worshipers climb Mount Banahaw.

Tulingon Caves and Basang Cave. In Nabas on Panay; Tulingon is longest cave in the country; Basang has a swimming basin; spelunking; bat guano collecting; nearby town sponsors annual month-long Ati-Atihan dancing festival.

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GOVERNMENT

Form of Government. Unitary republic.

Constitution. Ratified Feb. 14, 1987.

Head of State and Government. President.

Cabinet. Appointed by the president.

Legislature. Congress of the Philippines, consisting of Senate and House of Representatives. Senate--24 members, elected by universal suffrage; term, 6 years. House of Representatives-- 204 members, some elected by districts and some appointed; term, 3 years.

Judiciary. Supreme Court--chief justice and 14 associate judges. Court of Appeals--chief justice and 49 associate justices. Regional trial courts; metropolitan trial court; municipal trial court; municipal circuit trial court.

Political Divisions. 14 regions--Bicol, Cagayan Valley, Caraga, Central Luzon, Central Mindanao, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Ilocos, National Capital, Northern Mindanao, Southern Mindanao, Southern Tagalog, Western Mindanao, Western Visayas; 2 autonomous regions--Cordillera, Muslim Mindanao

Voting Qualification. Age 18.

 

FURTHER RESOURCES FOR THE PHILIPPINES

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