|Republic of Pilipinas
|Form of government
|Telephone area code
The Philippines (officially Filipino: Republika ng
Pilipinas) consist of over 7,100 islands located in the
Malay Archipelago in Southeast Asia. This makes the
archipelago the largest archipelago on earth. It is
enclosed in the northwest by the South China Sea, in the
northeast and east by the Pacific Ocean, in the south by
the Celebesee, in the southwest by the Sulu Sea. The
islands extend 1,850 km in a north-south direction and
1,060 km in a west-easterly direction. Its coastline is
36 189 km long.
The eleven largest islands occupy 94% of the
country's area. The most important are from north to
south Luzon (104 688 km²; on Luzon is the capital
Manila), Mindoro (9733 km²), Samar (13 080 km²), Panay,
Palawan (14 896 km²), Leyte, Cebu, Bohol, Negros,
Mindanao, Masbate and the Sulu Islands. The middle
archipelago of the Philippines with Leyte, Cebu, Bohol,
Masbate, Samar, Negros and Panay are also known under
the collective term "Visayas". The Philippines have a
land area of 298 179 km², 1 830 km² consist of water.
This makes the country only slightly smaller than
Germany. All islands - with the exception of Masbate,
Bohol, Leyte and Samar, which have extensive high
plateaus - are characterized by extensive mountain
ranges, which are partly dominated by volcanoes that are
still active. These volcanoes include the highest
mountain of the islands, Mount Apo (2 954 m) on Mindanao
and Mount Pulog (2 928 m) on the main island of Luzon.
There are extensive plains along the coast. The main
rivers of the island are the Cagayan, Agno, Pampanga,
Bicol and Pasig (this flows through Manila and is also
important as a waterway) on the island of Mindanao, the
rivers Mindanao and Agusan. The largest inland lake in
the archipelago is the Laguna de Bay south of Manila.
There is a tropical rain climate in the Philippines.
Average mean temperatures vary little and range between
25 and 28 กใ C all year round, with January being only
slightly colder than July. The climate is strongly
influenced by rain-bringing monsoon winds that blow from
the southwest in the months of May to October and from
the northeast in the months of November to February.
The average rainfall can be quite different. The
coasts of the South China Sea have dry (December-May)
and humid (June-November) seasons. The duration of the
dry seasons decrease towards the east. For example, the
annual rainfall in the capital Manila (Luzon) is 2.085
mm. In contrast, the region around the center of the
Visayas and Mindanao has significantly less rainfall
during the rainy season, so the average amount of rain
in Zamboanga on Mindanao is only 1,070 mm. Typhoons are
a constant threat to the archipelago from June to
Flora and fauna
Large parts of the islands are overgrown with
forests. Tropical rainforest in particular is widespread
on the west coast, but in part the forests have now been
replaced by secondary forests and grasslands due to
intensive deforestation. The regions with less rain have
monsoon forests. Above these are mixed oak forests, then
pine and cloud forests. The coastal regions are
partially covered by mangroves. About 10,000 known
species of flowering plants and ferns have been
identified on the islands. A particularly common
mahogany species is named after the name of the
archipelago. A specialty are over 800 wild orchid
species in the Philippines.
The fauna counts about 220 wild mammals. These
include water buffalo, goats, horses, cats, dogs,
monkeys, squirrels, mice, anteaters and deer. A special
feature is the variety of bats. 56 species have been
identified, including some that only occur in the
Philippines. In addition to mammals, around 500 bird
species inhabit the islands. Of particular note are
peacocks, parrots, kingfishers, herons, pheasants, quail
and pigeons. In particular on the island of Palawan
there are some species of birds that are unique in the
world. In remote regions of the island of Mindanao and
in the Sierra Madre of Luzon, the rare and endangered
ape eagle can be observed.
Around 87.85 million people live on the Philippine
Islands, with only about 20% of the islands being
permanently inhabited. The metropolitan area of the
capital Manila has around 12 million residents; Manila
is by far the largest city in the country. The
population of the islands is extremely heterogeneous:
the largest ethnic group are the Tagalog, which
comprises almost a third of the population, followed by
the Cebuano (13%) and the Llocano (10%). In addition to
other indigenous minorities, Chinese, Malays and Indians
also live in the Philippines. This ethnic diversity is
also reflected in the linguistic diversity of the
country. The official language is Filipino (also called
Tagalog), a language that belongs to the West
Malay-Polynesian group of the Austronesian languages,
and was standardized with borrowings from American and
other Filipino languages. English is widely used as
another official and business language. In addition,
Spanish and an estimated 70 other languages and
dialects are spoken on the islands, all of which belong
to the Austronesian language group and are divided into
eight main groups.
The vast majority of Filipinos are Roman Catholic.
The largest religious minorities on the islands are the
independent Filipino Church, Muslims and Protestants.
There are also small groups of animists and Buddhists.
Life expectancy on the islands is around 70 years;
the population grows by an average of 1.8%. According to COUNTRYAAH, 7% of
Filipinos cannot read and write.
The state form in the Philippines is a presidential
republic with a two-chamber system (Senate and House of
Representatives). The president (Benigno Aquino since
June 2010) is also head of government and has a one-time
term of six years. The appointment of cabinet members
lies within his sphere of influence.
The Senate has 24 members who are elected every three
years at the national level in partial elections. The
House of Representatives cannot have more than 292
members. Voting takes place every three years; 229
deputies are elected directly, the rest via party lists.
The administration is divided into 16 regions. There
is an autonomous region, Muslim Mindanao, in the south
of the main island Mindanao.
Under the Ramos government, a privatization program
of state monopoly companies was started and a consequent
deregulation and liberalization of the economy was
initiated. The Filipino economy has been realizing its
potential since the beginning of the new millennium. The
service sector accounts for the lion's share of growth
rates (55% of GDP). Foreign debt, high underemployment
and a very unjust distribution of income growth continue
to pose problems (over a quarter of the population lives
below the poverty line). The high remittances from
Filippinos abroad have a stabilizing effect.
30% of the island area is used for agriculture, the
main crops are rice, corn, cassava and vegetables; there
are large sugar cane and coconut palm plantations for
export. The Philippines are the world's largest copra
producer. Kopra is the dried, solid nutritional tissue
of coconut from which coconut fat can be pressed. In
addition to these plants, coffee, tobacco, rubber,
pineapple and manila hemp are also grown for export. The
once extensive export of tropical wood was restricted.
Industry contributes about a third to the creation of
the social product. The electronics industry is an
important pillar. The Philippines have numerous raw
material deposits. In particular, copper, nickel, iron,
chrome ore, gold, silver, mercury, asbestos, marble,
salt and coal are mined. The ASEAN Free Trade Agreement
entered into force in 2002. Above all, electrical
engineering, electronics, food and machinery are
supplied to the USA, Japan and China. Electrical
engineering, petroleum and chemical products, foodstuffs
and electronics are mainly imported from the same
Tourism offers great potential, especially since the
government is promoting the development of tourism.
The country's main ports are Manila, Cebu, Iloilo and
Zamboanga. International airports can be found in
Manila, among others.
The currency is the Philippine peso.