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The Philippines, officially known as the Republic of the Philippines, is a country in Southeast Asia with Manila as its capital city. It comprises 7,107 islands[1] in the western Pacific Ocean.

The Philippines is the world's 12th most populous country, with a population of about 90 million people.[2][3] Its national economy is the 47th largest in the world, with an estimated 2008 gross domestic product (GDP) of over US$ 168.6 billion (nominal).[4] There are more than 11 million overseas Filipinos worldwide, about 11% of the total population of the Philippines.

A former colony of Spain, and the United States, the Philippines is one of two predominantly Roman Catholic countries in Asia, the other being East Timor. There are also a number of minority religious groups, including Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism. Multiple ethnicities, and cultures are found throughout the islands. Ecologically, the Philippines is one of the most diverse countries in the world.



A pre-Hispanic indigenous village.

Archeological, and paleontological discoveries show that humans existed in Palawan around 30,000 to 50,000 BC. An aboriginal people of the Philippine Islands known as the Negritos, are a Melanesian ethnic group who arrived in the Philippines at least 30,000 years ago. Another ethnic group, known as the Austronesian or Malayo-Polynesian people, originated from the populations of Taiwanese aborigines who migrated from mainland Asia approximately 6,000 years ago. This ethnic group settled in the Philippines, and soon after, migrated to Indonesia, Malaysia, the Polynesian Islands, and Madagascar.[5]

The indigenous people of the Philippines traded with other Asian countries during the Prehistoric period. Before the arrival of Islam; Animism syncretized with Hinduism, and Vajrayna Buddhism.[6][7] Those were the religions practiced by various Philippine indigenous kingdoms.

Islam was brought to the Philippines by traders and proselytizers from Malaysia, and Indonesia.[8] By the 13th century, Islam were established in the Sulu Archipelago, and spread to Mindanao, the Visayas, and Luzon by 1565. Muslims established Islamic communities. By the early 16th century there were native villages (Barangays) ruled by Datus, Rajahs, or Sultans.

There was no unifying political state encompassing the entire Philippine archipelago. Instead, the region were ruled by competing thalassocracies such as the Kingdom of Maynila, Namayan, Dynasty of Tondo, Madya-as Confederacy, the Rajahnates of Butuan, the Visayas, and sultanates of Maguindanao, and Sulu.[9][10][11][12] Some of these indigenous tribes were part of the Malayan empires of Srivijaya, Majapahit, and Brunei.[13][14]

Colonial period

In 1521, Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan arrived in the Philippines, and claimed the islands for Spain.[15][15]

Colonization began when Spanish explorer Miguel López de Legazpi arrived from Mexico in 1565, and formed the first European settlements in Cebu. In 1571, the Spaniards established Manila as the capital of the Spanish East Indies.[16]

Spanish rule brought political unification to a group of islands and communities that later became the Philippines, and introduced elements of western civilisation.[17] The Philippines was governed as a territory of the Viceroyalty of New Spain from 1565 to 1821, and administered directly from Spain from 1821 to 1898. During that period, towns, cities, and provinces were founded, and trade flourished. The Manila Galleon which linked Manila to Acapulco carried spices, porcelain and silk to the Americas, and silver from Mexico on the return voyage to the Philippines. Spain fought indigenous rebels, pirates, and invasions from European powers such as Portugal, Britain, and Netherlands. Roman Catholic missionaries converted most of the inhabitants to Christianity and founded schools, hospitals and universities. European immigration to the Philippines created a new class of Criollo (Spaniard born in the Philippines), and Mestizo (mixed Spaniard, and Malayan). In 1863 the colonial government established free public education in Spanish.[18] The first official census in the Philippines was carried out in 1878. The country's population as of December 31, 1877 was recorded at 5,567,685 persons.[19]

In the 1700s, the Philippines opened its forts to world trade. The economy increased, and many criollos, and mestizos in the Philippines became wealthy. In the 1800s, the Suez Canal was opened, dramatically reducing travel time between Spain and the Philippines. The influx of Spaniards secularized churches, and government positions traditionally held by the criollos. The ideals of revolution began to spread to the Philippines in the second half of the century. Criollo insurgency resulted in the Novales, and the revolt in Cavite El Viejo in 1872. Colonial authorities suppressed these uprisings which were led by three priests: Mariano Gómez, José Burgos, and Jacinto Zamora who would be remembered in Philippine history as the Gomburza. The execution of these priests laid the foundation for the Philippine Revolution.[20]

Facsimile of the map found aboard the "Na SA de Covadonga" after it was taken by Commodore Anson in 1743, showing the route of the Manila-Acapulco galleon through the maze of the Philippines Islands.

The migration of Filipinos to Europe created a community of expatriates. The propaganda movement, which included Filipino patriot José Rizal, was founded in Spain. The propagandists clamored for political reforms, which included representation in the Spanish Cortes for Filipinos. The propagandists lobbied for their causes through the paper La Solidaridad (The Solidarity). They were able to gain some support from Spanish liberals. Unable to gain complete reforms, Rizal returned to the Philippines, and established La Liga Filipina (The Philippine League) to organize patriots in Manila and produce funds for La Solidaridad. Rizal was soon arrested and deported to Dapitan. Radical members of La Liga Filipina, under the leadership of Andrés Bonifacio, established the Katipunan in 1896. The objective was Philippine independence from Spain.

Rizal was executed for inspiring the Philippine revolution on December 30, 1896.[21] The revolution in Cavite El Viejo was a success, and the leadership of the revolution eventually passed from Bonifacio to Emilio Aguinaldo. A ceasefire was agreed at the Treaty of Biak-na-Bato, and Filipino leaders agreed to exile in Hong Kong. Governor General Fernando Primo de Rivera proclaimed the revolution over in May 17, 1897.[22]

The Spanish-American War began in Cuba in 1898, and soon spread to the Philippines when Commodore George Dewey and Emilio Aguinaldo defeated the Spanish squadron at the Battle of Manila Bay. The Philippines declared independence from Spain on June 12, 1898. In 1899, the Primera República Filipina or the First Philippine Republic was proclaimed in Malolos, Bulacan. In the Treaty of Paris, Spain ceded the Philippines, together with Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Guam to the United States. As a result of the treaty, and a manifesto by the United States declaring American intentions to colonize the Philippines, a conflict began between the Filipinos, and the Americans. Aguinaldo tried to ease the tensions, but the Americans were determined to make the Philippines a United States colony.

The Philippine-American War began when an American soldier killed a Filipino soldier at the bridge of San Juan. The United States proclaimed the war ended when Aguinaldo was captured by American soldiers on March 23, 1901. However, the struggle continued until 1913 claiming almost a million lives. The United States suppressed Philippine independence by establishing an American government. The Philippines' status as a colony changed when it became the Commonwealth of the Philippines in 1935. Plans for independence over the next decade were interrupted by World War II when Japan invaded the Philippines. United States, and Philippine troops defeated Japan in 1944. On July 4, 1946, the Philippines gained independence from the United States. [23]

Contemporary era

File:Manuel Quezon inauguration.JPG
Former President of the Philippines, Manuel L. Quezon, during his inauguration in the American period.

The Philippines faced political instability that plagued the country. Since 1946, remnants of the Hukbalahap rebel army continued to roam the rural regions of the Philippines, disgruntled after the Philippine government had rejected their contribution during World War II.

Attempts of reconciliation were formed by former Philippine president, Ramón Magsaysay. In the 1960s, the Philippine national policies were initiated by Diosdado Macapagal, that included recognition of the Philippine Declaration of Independence, and the President legacy of Emilio Aguinaldo, and José P. Laurel.

The 1960s were a period of economic growth for the Philippines which developed to be one of the wealthiest in Asia. Ferdinand Marcos was elected president. Barred from seeking a third term, he declared Martial law on September 21, 1972, under the guise of political conflict, and resurgent Communist, and Islamic insurgencies, and governed the Philippines by decree, along with his wife Imelda Marcos.

Returning from exile in the United States, Philippine opposition leader Benigno Aquino, Jr., was assassinated at the Manila International Airport (also called the Ninoy Aquino International Airport) on August 21, 1983. In 1986, the People Power Revolution occurred. The people gathered, and protested in EDSA, upon the organization of the Archbishop of Manila founded by Priest Jaime Cardinal Sin. It was to oppose the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos. After losing the election to Corazón Aquino, who became the first female President of the Philippines (and the first in Asia), Marcos, and his allies departed to Hawaii in exile.

The return of democracy, and government reforms after the events of 1986 were hampered by national debt, government corruption, coup attempts, a Communist insurgency, and an Islamic separatist organization. The Philippine economy improved during the administration of Fidel V. Ramos, who was elected in 1992.[24] However, the economic improvements were negated at the onset of the East Asian financial crisis in 1997. The 2001 EDSA Revolution led to the downfall of the erstwhile Philippine president, Joseph Ejercito Estrada. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo took Philippine leadership in 2001 following the impeachment of the Estrada government.

Politics and government

Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, the current President of the Philippines.

The Philippines has a presidential, unitary form of government (with some modification; there is one autonomous region largely free from the national government), where the President functions as both head of state, and head of government, and is commander-in-chief of the armed forces. The president is elected by popular vote to a single six year term, during which time she or he appoints, and presides over the cabinet.[25]

The bicameral Congress is composed of a Senate, serving as the upper house whose members are elected to a six year term, and a House of Representatives serving as the lower house whose members are elected to a three year term, and are elected from both legislative districts, and through sectoral representation.[25]

The judicial power is vested in the Supreme Court, composed of a Chief Justice as its presiding officer, and fourteen associate justices, all appointed by the Philippine President from nominations submitted by the Judicial and Bar Council.[25] Attempts to amend the constitution to either a federal, unicameral or parliamentary form of government have been satisfactory since the Ramos administration. [26]

The Philippines is a founding, and active member of the United Nations since its inception on October 24, 1945, and is a founding member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The Philippines is also a member of the East Asia Summit (EAS), the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the Latin Union, and a member of the Group of 24. The Philippines is a major non-NATO ally of the United States, but also a member of the Non-Aligned Movement.[25]

Administrative divisions

Provinces, and regions of the Philippines.

The Philippines is divided into three island groups: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. These are divided into 17 regions, 80 provinces, 120 cities, 1,511 municipalities, and 42,008 barangays.[27] In addition, the Section 2 of Republic Act No. 5446 asserts that the Philippines has acquired islands from Sabah, North Borneo.[28]

Region Designation Regional center
Ilocos Region Region I San Fernando, La Union
Cagayan Valley Region II Tuguegarao, Cagayan
Central Luzon Region III San Fernando, Pampanga
CALABARZON Region IV-A Calamba, Laguna
MIMAROPA Region IV-B Calapan, Oriental Mindoro
Bicol Region Region V Legazpi, Albay
Western Visayas Region VI Iloilo City
Central Visayas Region VII Cebu City
Eastern Visayas Region VIII Tacloban
Zamboanga Peninsula Region IX Pagadian, Zamboanga del Sur
Northern Mindanao Region X Cagayan de Oro
Davao Region Region XI Davao City
SOCCSKSARGEN Region XII Koronadal, South Cotabato
Caraga Region XIII Butuan
Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao ARMM Cotabato City
Cordillera Administrative Region CAR Baguio
National Capital Region NCR Manila


The Philippines constitutes an archipelago of 7,107 islands[1] with a total land area of approximately 300,000 square kilometers (116,000 square miles). It is located between 116° 40', and 126° 34' E. longitude, and 4° 40', and 21° 10' N. latitude, and borders the Philippine Sea on the east, the South China Sea on the west, and the Celebes Sea on the south. The island of Borneo is located a few hundred kilometers southwest, and Taiwan directly located to the north. The Moluccas, and Sulawesi are located to the south-southwest, and Palau is located to the east of the Philippine Sea.[25] The Philippines are divided into three island groups: Luzon (Regions I to V, NCR and CAR), Visayas (VI to VIII), and Mindanao (IX to XIII and ARMM). The busy port of Manila, on Luzon, is the capital city of the Philippines, and the second largest city after Quezon City.[25]

Most of the mountainous islands were covered in tropical rainforest, and are volcanic in origin. The highest mountain is Mount Apo located in Mindanao measuring at 2,954 meters (9,692 ft) above sea level. There are many active volcanos such as Mayon Volcano, Mount Pinatubo, and Taal Volcano. The Philippines is also located within the typhoon belt of the Western Pacific, and approximately 19 typhoons strike per year.[29]

Located on the northwestern fringes of the Pacific Ring of Fire, the Philippine Islands have experienced frequent seismic, and volcanic activities. Around 20 earthquakes are registered daily in the Philippines, though most are too weak to be felt. The last earthquake was the 1990 Luzon earthquake.[30]

The longest river is the Cagayan River in northern Luzon. Manila Bay is connected to Laguna de Bay by means of the Pasig River. Subic Bay, the Davao Gulf, and the Moro Gulf are some of the important bays. Transversing the San Juanico Strait is the San Juanico Bridge (considered a point of vital national infrastructure, and capacity), that connects the islands of Samar, and Leyte.[31]

Natural resources

Philippine Eagle, one of the Philippines' most recognized bird species.

The Philippines provides a high environment of natural resources in areas such as agriculture, nature, and minerals. It has fertile lands, diverse flora and fauna, extensive coastlines, and rich mineral deposits.[32]

Endemic species include the tamaraw of Mindoro, and the tarsier of Bohol. The Philippines have a lack of predators, with the exception of snakes, such as pythons, and cobras, and birds of prey, such as the national bird, known as the Philippine eagle.[33] Other native animals include the palm civet cat,[34] the Mouse deer, the Visayan warty pig,[35] and several species of bats.

Rainforests boasts an array of flora, including several types of orchids, and rafflesia.[36] The narra is considered as the most important type of hardwood while banyan trees or the balete.[37] The Philippines' major crops include rice, corn, sugarcane, coconut, abaca, and tobacco. Rice is the most important source of food along with corn. The coconut, mango, watermelon, and other native fruits are an important source of Philippine income.

Due to the volcanic nature of the islands, mineral deposits are abundant. This also allows the Philippines to become a powerhouse with regards to geothermal energy.[38][39]

The Philippine territorial waters measure as much as 1.67 million square kilometers, producing a unique, and diverse marine life. Of the 2,400 fish species found in the Philippines, 65 have good commercial value. Other marine products include corals, pearls, crabs, and seaweeds.[32][40] The rain forests offer prime habitat for more than 530 species of birds, including the Philippine eagle, some 800 species of orchids, and some 8,500 species of flowering plants.[41]


Limestone islands of El Nido in Palawan.

The Philippines has a tropical marine climate, and is usually hot, humid, and tropical. The average yearly temperature is around 26.5°C (79.7°F). There are three recognized seasons: "Tag-init" or "Tag-araw" (the hot season or summer from March to May), "Tag-ulan" (the rainy season from June to November), and "Tag-lamig" (the cold 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) as the "Amihan".[42] The coolest month is January, and the warmest is May. Both temperature, and humidity levels reach the maximum in April and May.[25] Manila, and most of the lowland areas are hot, and dusty from March to May.[43] Even at this time, however, temperatures rarely rise above 37°C. Mean annual sea-level temperatures rarely fall below 27°C. Annual rainfall measures as much as 5,000 millimeters in the mountainous east coast section of the Philippines, but less than 1,000 millimeters in some of the sheltered valleys. Sitting astride the typhoon belt, most of the Philippines experiences annual torrential rains, and thunderstorms from July to October.[44]


The Philippines is a newly industrialized country, with an economy anchored on agriculture but with substantial contributions from manufacturing, mining, remittances from overseas Filipinos, and service industries such as tourism, and business process outsourcing.[45][46] The Philippines is listed in the roster of the "Next Eleven" economies.

The Philippine economy were largely anchored on the Manila-Acapulco galleon during the Spanish period, and bilateral trade with the United States during the American period. Pro-Filipino economic policies were first implemented during the tenure of Carlos P. Garcia with the "Filipino First" policy. By the 1960s, the Philippine economy was regarded as the second largest in Asia, next to Japan. However, the leardership of Ferdinand Marcos would prove disastrous to the Philippine economy, by transforming the market economy of the Philippines into a centrally planned economy. The Philippines suffered severe economic recession, only to recover in the 1990s with a program of economic liberalization, and the impeachment of the Marcos government, and the system of cronyism under the leadership of Fidel V. Ramos. Today, the Philippines have produced a mixed economy.[24]

File:Monument To Immortality.jpg
The Philippine Stock Exchange with the statue of former Philippine politician, Benigno S. Aquino, Jr..
Ortigas Center Business District.

The Asian Financial Crisis affected the Philippine economy to an extent, resulting in a lingering decline of the value of the Philippine peso, and falls in the stock market, although the extent to which it was affected was not as severe as that of its Asian neighbors. This is largely due to the fiscal conservatism of the Philippine government partly as a result of decades of monitoring, and fiscal supervision from the International Monetary Fund, in comparison to the massive spending of its neighbors on the rapid acceleration of economic growth.[24] By 2004, the Philippine economy experienced six percent growth in gross domestic product, and 7.3% in 2007,[47] in line with the "7, 8, 9" project of the government to accelerate GDP growth by 2009.[48]

In a bid to further strengthen the Philippine economy, Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo pledged to make the Philippines a developed country by 2020. As part of this goal, she instituted five economic "super regions" to concentrate on the economic strengths of various regions of the Philippines, as well as the implementation of tax reforms, continued privatization of state assets, and the building-up of infrastructure in various areas of the Philippines.

The Philippine economy is heavily reliant on remittances as a source of foreign currency, surpassing foreign direct investment. China, and India have emerged as a major economic competitors, siphoning away investors who would otherwise have invested in the Philippines, particularly telecommunications companies. Regional development is also somewhat uneven, with Luzon, and Metro Manila in particular gaining most of the new economic growth at the expense of the other regions,[49] although the government has taken steps to distribute economic growth by promoting investment in other areas of the Philippines.

The Philippines is a founding member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). It is also a member of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Colombo Plan, and the G-77, and other International organization.[50]


Population growth of the Philippines.

The Philippines is the world's 12th most populous country, with a population of over 90 million as of 2008.[2][3] In 2007, 8% of Filipinos are living abroad as migrant laborers. An estimated figure of half of the Philippine population resides on the island of Luzon. Manila, the capital city, is the eleventh most populous metropolitan area in the world. The literacy rate were 92.6% in 2003,[51][52] and about equal for males, and females.[23] Life expectancy is 71.23 years, with 73.6 years for females and 69.8 years for males. Population growth rate between 1995 to 2000 is 3.21% but has decreased to 1.59% for 2005 to 2010.

Map of the dominant ethnicities of the Philippines by province.


Native Languages (2000)[53]
Tagalog 22 million
Cebuano 20 million
Ilokano 7.7 million
Hiligaynon 7 million
Waray-Waray 3.1 million
Capampangan 2.9 million
Chavacano, incl. Creole 2.5 million

According to the 1987 Philippine Constitution, Filipino, and English are the official languages. About 180 languages, and native dialects are also spoken in the Philippine islands. The Philippine indigenous languages belonged to the Borneo-Philippines group of the Malayo-Polynesian language branch of the Austronesian language family.

Filipino is the de facto version of Tagalog, spoken mainly in Metro Manila, and other urban regions. Both Tagalog, and English are used in government, education, print, broadcast media, and business.

Other major regional languages include Cebuano, Ilocano, Hiligaynon, Waray-Waray, Kapampangan, Bicolano, Pangasinan, Kinaray-a, Maranao, Maguindanao, Tausug, and Chavacano.

Other languages include Spanish, and Arabic, both recognized as auxiliary languages in the Philippine Constitution.


The Basilica Minore de San Sebastián, one of many Christian churches in the Philippine Islands.

The Philippines is one of two countries in Asia, and the Asia-Pacific region with Roman Catholic as the major religion, the other being East Timor. The Philippines is separated into different archdioceses, and dioceses. About 90% of Filipinos identify themselves as Christians, with 81% belonging to the Roman Catholic Church and 5% composing of Protestant denominations, and 4% comprising of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Iglesia Ni Cristo, Philippine Independent Church, Seventh Day Adventist, United Church of Christ, and other Christian religion.[54]

Template:Bar box The Philippines is known for its Baroque churches. They are a part of the long list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. These churches include the San Agustín Church in Intramuros, Manila; Paoay Church in Paoay, Ilocos Norte; Nuestra Señora de la Asunción (Santa María) Church in Santa María, Ilocos Sur; and the Santo Tomás de Villanueva Church in Iloilo, and the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño in Cebu.

Approximately 5% of Filipinos are Muslims.[54] They settled in parts of Mindanao, Palawan, and the Sulu archipelago, but are now found in most urban areas of the Philippines. Most lowland Muslim Filipinos practice Islam, although the practices of some Mindanao's highland Muslim populations reflect a mixture with Animism. There are also a number of minority religious groups such as Buddhists, Bahá'í, Hindus, Sikhs, and animists. Along with other non-Christians, non-Muslims, and those with no religion, they collectively comprise 2% of the population.[52]


The general pattern of Philippine formal education follows six stages:

  • Preschool
  • Elementary school
  • High school
  • Post-secondary education
  • Graduation education
  • Adult education

The Philippines spends 2.5% of its GDP for education.[23] In 2003, the Philippines has an average literacy rate of 93.4%.[55] In 2008, there are 42,152 elementary schools, 8,455 high schools, and a few thousand colleges and universities registered all over the country.[56]

Classes in Philippine schools start in June, and end in March. The majority of colleges, and universities follow the semestral calendar from June to October, and November to March. There are a number of foreign schools with study programs.[25]

Education in the Philippines has evolved in several stage of development from the colonial period to the present. In meeting the needs of the Philippine society, education serves as an important part of the leadership at certain educational programs.

The Philippines adopts a European, and American education system as mandated by the Philippine government. The Department of Education (DepEd) former (DECS) covers elementary, secondary, and non-formal education. The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) administers the post-secondary, middle-level education training, and development while the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) supervises the college as well as graduate academic programs, and degrees as well as regulate standards in higher education.[57]



Philippine jeepney is one of the Philippines' most popular transportation.

In spite of the mountainous terrain, approximately 14 percent of the 158,810 kilometers (98,110 miles) of roads in the Philippines are paved.[58] Buses, jeepneys, taxis, and motorcycles are available when getting around the major cities, and towns. In 2007, there are about 5.53 million registered motor vehicles in the Philippines, and an average annual registration rate of 4.55%.[59] Train service is provided by the Strong Republic Transit System, which unified the three main railway networks that provide service of different areas of Metro Manila, and parts of Luzon, that includes the Manila Light Rail Transit System (LRT), the Manila Metro Rail Transit System (MRT), and the Philippine National Railways (PNR).

Seaports can be found throughout the Philippine Islands. The busiest seaports are Manila, Cebu, Iloilo, Davao, Cagayan de Oro, and Zamboanga, which are parts of the 3,219 kilometer of waterways, and seaports.[23][58] Inter-island passenger ships and other sea vessels such as Superferry, Negros Navigation, and Sulpicio Lines serves Manila, with links to various cities, and towns. In 2003, the 919-kilometer Strong Republic Nautical Highway (SRNH) was established, and this is an integrated set of highway segments, and ferry routes covering 17 cities all over the Philippines.[60]

Rivers, such as the Pasig River, and Marikina River, have air-conditioned commuter ferries run by the Pasig River Ferry Service, connecting their numerous tributaries in Manila, Makati City, Mandaluyong City, Pasig City, and Marikina City.[61]

There are 262 airports in the Philippines, 75 of which have runways.[58] The Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) is the main airport of the Philippines. Other important airports include the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport, Mactan-Cebu International Airport, and Francisco Bangoy International Airport. The Philippine Airlines, Asia's first commercial airline, and Cebu Pacific, the Philippine's leading domestic airline, are the major airlines serving most domestic, and international destinations.


The Philippines has one of the most sophisticated cellular phone industry in the world, and one of the highest concentration of users.[62] The telecommunications company is dominated by the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company, which is also the largest company in the country.[62][63] Globe Telecom, Smart Communications, and Sun Cellular on the other hand, are three of its largest cellular service providers.

There is an estimated 41 million cellular phone users in the Philippine Islands, the reason that the Philippines has been named as the "Texting Capital of the World",[64] and the ownership rate is increasing.[62] Text messaging have fostered a culture of quick greetings, and forwarded jokes among the Filipinos. Out of these growing number of avid texters, 5.5 million of them use their cellular phones as virtual wallets, making the Philippines a leader among developing nations in providing financial transactions over cellular networks.[64] In 2007, The Philippines sent an average of 1 billion SMS messages per day.[65]

Radio, television, and internet is used frequently in the Philippines. There are approximately 381 AM, and 628 FM stations, and 250 national, and 1,501 cable TV stations broadcasting throughout the Philippines.[23] The Philippines has 14 million Internet users, 16% of the total population, being served by almost 100 Internet providers.[66]


An Ifugao (Malayo-Polynesian) sculpture.

Philippine culture is a mixture of Eastern, and Western culture. The Hispanic influences in Philippine culture are derived from the culture of Spain, and Mexico. These Hispanic influences are most evident in literature, folk music, folk dance, language, food, art, and religion.[45] Spanish settlers introduced Iberian-Mexican customs, traditions, and cuisines. Philippine cuisine is a mixture of Asian, and European dishes. Philippine tradition exhibits festivities known as Barrio fiestas (district festivals) to commemorate their patron saints. One of the most visible Hispanic legacies is the prevalence of Spanish surnames, and names among Filipinos. This peculiarity, unique among the people of Asia, came as a result of a colonial decree, the Clavería edict, for the systematic distribution of family names, and implementation of the Spanish naming system on the inhabitants of the Philippine Islands. A Spanish name, and surname among the majority of Filipinos does not always denote Spanish ancestry.

Islamic instruments of gongs, and a drum that make up the Philippine kulintang ensemble, an example of pre-Hispanic musical tradition.

The majority of street names, towns, and provinces are in Spanish. Spanish architecture made a significant imprint in the Philippine Islands. This can be seen in the country's churches, government buildings, and universities. Many Hispanic houses, and buildings are preserved, like the towns in Vigan, and among others. The kalesas, horse-driven carriages, were a mode of transportation during the Spanish period. They are still being used today.

The use of English language in the Philippines is contemporaneous, and is the United States' visible legacy. There is also an influence of American Pop cultural trends, such as the love of fast-food, film and music. Many street corners exhibits fast-food outlets. Aside from the American commercial industries such as California Pizza Kitchen, McDonald's, Pizza Hut, Burger King, KFC, Starbucks, TGI Fridays, and Shakey's Pizza, local fast-food chains have emerged, including Goldilocks, Jollibee, Greenwich Pizza (acquired by Jollibee in 1994),[67] and Chowking (acquired by Jollibee in 2000).[67] Modern day Filipinos also listen, and watch contemporary European, and American music, and film. However, Original Pilipino Music (also known as OPM), and Philippine films are also appreciated.

Philippine culture has also received influence from various Indigenous culture, and other Cultures of Asia. This includes the Malayo-Polynesian, Islamic, Chinese, and other cultures.

Mythology and literature

Philippine literature, and mythology are literatures that focus on a collection of various topics of the Philippine life-style, nature, and spiritual beliefs. This include the paranormal stories of ghost and monster, such as the Aswang (Vampire), the Diwata (Spirit), and Nature. The most recognized Philippine mythology includes the Ibong Adarna, Bernardo Carpio, Lam-Ang, and Urduja.

Francisco Balagtas is recognized as one of the Philippines most famous writers. His works include "Florante at Laura" (Florante and Laura). Other writers include José Rizal who have produced "Noli Me Tangere" (Touch Me Not), and "El Filibusterismo" (The Reign of Greed). Modern literature, such as "Dekada '70", and "Bayan Ko" (My Country), have also received Philippine recognition, that illustrates the Martial law period in the 1970s, and the Pre-colonial period.


Philippine media is based on Filipino (a de facto standard version of Tagalog), and English. Other Philippine languages, including various Visayan languages, are also used in the Philippine media. Radio is currently the most accessible type of media due to the remoteness of certain rural locations, and most Philippine languages are broadcasted in this format.

The Philippine entertainment industry is vibrant with scandals, and issues among Philippine celebrities, and are the main subject in Philippine media, such as broadsheets, and tabloids.[68] Drama, and fantasy shows are anticipated in major television networks such as ABS-CBN, GMA Network, and TV5, so are Latin telenovelas, Asianovelas, and anime. Daytime television is dominated by game shows, variety shows, and talk shows such as Eat Bulaga, Game KNB?, and Wowowee. Philippine cinema, is also appreciated, but have faced competition from American and European films. Despite this, critically praised directors, and actors remain active, including Mike de Leon, Lino Brocka, Judy Ann Santos, Vilma Santos, and Nora Aunor (notable for her role in Himala, the most critically acclaimed film in the Philippine Entertainment industry).[69][70][71][72]

The Internet has gained popularity in recent years including Social networking, and MMORPGs, which are the most frequent internet activities, and has lead a Philippine-based company known as "Level Up! Games" to emerge in the Philippine industry.[73][74]


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

Philippine cuisine is Malayo-Polynesian in origin with a predominant Hispanic base, and has received varying degrees of influence from Chinese, American, and other Asian cuisine.

Filipinos traditionally eat three main meals a day. This include agahan (breakfast), tanghalían (lunch), and hapúnan (dinner), plus an afternoon snack called meriénda (another variant is minandál or minindál). Dishes range from a simple meal of seafoods, pork, vegetable, and rice, to paellas, and cocidos. Popular dishes include lechón, chorizo, tapa, adobo, kaldereta kare-kare, crispy pata, sinigang, pancit, and lumpia.

Today, Philippine cuisine continues to evolve in techniques, and styles of cooking dishes, in both traditional Filipino, and modern cuisines. Fast food is also popular. American chef, and television personality Anthony Bourdain has hailed Filipino pork cuisine, and named the country at the top of his "Hierarchy of Pork".[75]

Sports and recreation

A child demonstrating sipa.

Various sports are played in the Philippines including basketball, boxing, volleyball, badminton, billiards, football (soccer), ten-pin bowling, and sipa.

Traditional Filipino sports are popular,[76][77] among the youth, primarily as children's games, such as luksung baka, patintero, piko, and tumbang preso. Sungka, while not as popular as it once was, is still viewed as a significant part of the traditional native Filipino games. Native card games are popular during festivities and among the poor, with some, including Pusoy, and Tong-its, being used as a form of illegal gambling. Majhong is played in some Filipino communities.

Basketball is played at both amateur, and professional level, and is considered to be the most popular spectator sport in the Philippines.[78][79] In almost every corner of the Philippines, there is a basketball court as it is the favorite recreational activity by Filipinos.[80]

Basketball, boxing, billiards, football (soccer), horse racing, chess, and ten-pin bowling are the most watched sports.[81] Philippine sports have produced several sports heroes, such as Flash Elorde, and Manny Pacquiao in boxing,[80] Paulino Alcántara in football (soccer), Efren Reyes in billiards,[82] Eugene Torre in chess,[83] and Rafael Nepomuceno in bowling.[84] Motocross, figure skating, cycling, and mountaineering have become popular.

See also


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  75. Anthony Bourdain (2009-02-16). Hierarchy of Pork. Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations. Travel Channel. Retrieved on 2009-02-17.
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External links

General information