Philippines

Introduction The Philippine Islands became a Spanish colony during the 16th century; they were ceded to the US in 1898 following the Spanish-American War. In 1935 the Philippines became a self-governing commonwealth. Manuel QUEZON was elected president and was tasked with preparing the country for independence after a 10-year transition. In 1942 the islands fell under Japanese occupation during World War II, and US forces and Filipinos fought together during 1944-45 to regain control. On 4 July 1946 the Republic of the Philippines attained its independence. The 20-year rule of Ferdinand MARCOS ended in 1986, when a "people power" movement in Manila ("EDSA 1") forced him into exile and installed Corazon AQUINO as president. Her presidency was hampered by several coup attempts, which prevented a return to full political stability and economic development. Fidel RAMOS was elected president in 1992 and his administration was marked by greater stability and progress on economic reforms. In 1992, the US closed its last military bases on the islands. Joseph ESTRADA was elected president in 1998, but was succeeded by his vice-president, Gloria MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, in January 2001 after ESTRADA's stormy impeachment trial on corruption charges broke down and another "people power" movement ("EDSA 2") demanded his resignation. MACAPAGAL-ARROYO was elected to a six-year term as president in May 2004. The Philippine Government faces threats from three terrorist groups on the US Government's Foreign Terrorist Organization list, but in 2006 and 2007 scored some major successes in capturing or killing key wanted terrorists. Decades of Muslim insurgency in the southern Philippines have led to a peace accord with one group and an ongoing cease-fire and peace talks with another.
History

Archeological and paleontological discoveries show that Homo sapiens existed in Palawan circa 50,000 BC. The aboriginal people of the Philippines, the Negritos, are an Australo-Melanesian people, which arrived in the Philippines at least 30,000 years ago. The Austronesians, who originated from populations of Taiwanese aboriginals that migrated from mainland Asia approximately 6000 years ago, colonized the Philippine islands and eventually migrated to Indonesia, Malaysia and, soon after, to the Polynesian islands and Madagascar.

The Philippines had cultural ties with Malaysia, Indonesia, India in ancient times, and trade relations with China and Japan as early as the 9th century.

Islam was brought to the Philippines by traders and proselytizers from Malaysia and Indonesia. The Islamization of the Philippines is due to the strength of then-Muslim India.[13] By the 13th century, Islam was established in the Sulu Archipelago and spread from there to Mindanao; it had reached the Manila area by 1565. Muslim converts established Islamic communities and states ruled by rajas or sultans. However, no Islamic state exercised sovereignty over much of the archipelago, and the indigenous maritime and agricultural societies ruled by datus or apos remained autonomous. When the Spanish arrived in the 16th century, the majority of the estimated 500,000 people in the islands lived in independent settlements called 'barangay' or networks of settlements.

In the service of Spain, Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan and his crew started their voyage on September 20, 1519. Magellan sighted Samar on March 17, 1521, on the next day, they reached Homonhon. They reached the island of Mazaua on March 28, 1521 where the first mass in the Philippines was celebrated on March 31, 1521.[11] Magellan arrived at Cebu on April 7, 1521, befriending Rajah Humabon and converting his family and 700 other Cebuanos to Christianity.[11] However, Magellan would later be killed in the Battle of Mactan by indigenous warriors led by Lapu-Lapu, a fierce rival of Humabon.

The beginnings of colonization started to take form when Philip II of Spain ordered successive expeditions. Miguel López de Legazpi arrived from Mexico in 1565 and formed the first Spanish settlements in Cebu. In 1571 he established Manila as the capital of the new Spanish colony.

Spanish rule brought political unification to the archipelago of previously independent islands and communities, and introduced elements of western civilization such as the code of law, printing and the Gregorian calendar[15]. The Philippines was ruled as a territory of New Spain from 1565 to 1821, but after Mexican independence it was administered directly from Madrid. During that time numerous towns were founded, infrastructures built, new crops and livestock introduced, and trade flourished. The Manila Galleon which linked Manila to Acapulco once or twice a year beginning in the late 16th century, carried silk, spices, ivory and porcelain to America and silver on the return trip to the Philippines. The Spanish military fought off various indigenous revolts and several external threats, especially from the British, Chinese pirates, Dutch, and Portuguese. Roman Catholic missionaries converted most of the inhabitants to Christianity, and founded numerous schools, universities and hospitals. In 1863 a Spanish decree introduced public education, creating free public schooling in Spanish .

The Propaganda Movement, which included Philippine nationalist José Rizal, then a student studying in Spain, soon developed on the Spanish mainland. This was done in order to inform the government of the injustices of the administration in the Philippines as well as the abuses of the friars. In the 1880s and the 1890s, the propagandists clamored for political and social reforms, which included demands for greater representation in Spain. Unable to gain the reforms, Rizal returned to the country, and pushed for the reforms locally. Rizal was subsequently arrested, tried, and executed for treason on December 30, 1896. Earlier that year, the Katipunan, led by Andrés Bonifacio, had already started a revolution, which was eventually continued by Emilio Aguinaldo, who established a revolutionary government, although the Spanish governor general Fernando Primo de Rivera proclaimed the revolution over in May 17, 1897.

The Spanish-American War began in Cuba in 1898 and soon reached the Philippines when Commodore George Dewey defeated the Spanish squadron at the Manila Bay. Aguinaldo declared the independence of the Philippines on June 12, 1898, and was proclaimed head of state. As a result of its defeat, Spain was forced to officially cede the Philippines, together with Cuba (which was made an independent country, albeit with the US in charge of foreign affairs), Guam and Puerto Rico to the United States. In 1899 the First Philippine Republic was proclaimed in Malolos, Bulacan but was later dissolved by the US forces, leading to the Philippine-American War between the United States and the Philippine revolutionaries, which continued the violence of the previous years. The US proclaimed the war ended when Aguinaldo was captured by American troops on March 23, 1901, but the struggle continued until 1913 claiming the lives of over a million Filipinos[19] [20]. The country's status as a territory changed when it became the Commonwealth of the Philippines in 1935, which provided for more self-governance. Plans for increasing independence over the next decade were interrupted during World War II when Japan invaded and occupied the islands. After the Japanese were defeated in 1945 and control returned to the Filipino and American forces in the Liberation of the Philippines from 1944 to 1945, the Philippines was granted independence from the United States on July 4, 1946.

Since 1946, the newly independent Philippine state has faced political instability. The late 1960s and early 1970s saw economic development that was second in Asia, next to Japan. Ferdinand Marcos was, then, the elected president. Barred from seeking a third term, Marcos declared martial law on September 21, 1972, under the guise of increased political instability and resurgent Communist and Muslim insurgencies, and ruled the country by decree.

Upon returning from exile in the United States, opposition leader Benigno Aquino, Jr. or "Ninoy", was assassinated on August 21, 1983. In January 1986, Marcos allowed for a snap election, after large protests. The election was believed to be fraudulent, and resulted in a standoff between military mutineers and the military loyalists. Protesters supported the mutineers, and were accompanied by resignations of prominent cabinet officials. Corazon Aquino, the widow of Ninoy, was the recognized winner of the snap election. She took over the government, and called for a constitutional convention to draft a new constitution, after the People Power Revolution. Marcos, his family and some of his allies fled to Hawaii.

The return of democracy and government reforms after the events of 1986 were hampered by massive national debt, government corruption, coup attempts, a communist insurgency, and a Muslim separatist movement. The economy improved during the administration of Fidel V. Ramos, who was elected in 1992.[22] 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 following president, Joseph Estrada. The current administration of president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has been hounded by allegations of corruption and election rigging.

Geography Location: Southeastern Asia, archipelago between the Philippine Sea and the South China Sea, east of Vietnam
Geographic coordinates: 13 00 N, 122 00 E
Map references: Southeast Asia
Area: total: 300,000 sq km
land: 298,170 sq km
water: 1,830 sq km
Area - comparative: slightly larger than Arizona
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 36,289 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: irregular polygon extending up to 100 nm from coastline as defined by 1898 treaty; since late 1970s has also claimed polygonal-shaped area in South China Sea up to 285 nm in breadth
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: to depth of exploitation
Climate: tropical marine; northeast monsoon (November to April); southwest monsoon (May to October)
Terrain: mostly mountains with narrow to extensive coastal lowlands
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Philippine Sea 0 m
highest point: Mount Apo 2,954 m
Natural resources: timber, petroleum, nickel, cobalt, silver, gold, salt, copper
Land use: arable land: 19%
permanent crops: 16.67%
other: 64.33% (2005)
Irrigated land: 15,500 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources: 479 cu km (1999)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 28.52 cu km/yr (17%/9%/74%)
per capita: 343 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards: astride typhoon belt, usually affected by 15 and struck by five to six cyclonic storms per year; landslides; active volcanoes; destructive earthquakes; tsunamis
Environment - current issues: uncontrolled deforestation especially in watershed areas; soil erosion; air and water pollution in major urban centers; coral reef degradation; increasing pollution of coastal mangrove swamps that are important fish breeding grounds
Environment - international agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants
Geography - note: the Philippine archipelago is made up of 7,107 islands; favorably located in relation to many of Southeast Asia's main water bodies: the South China Sea, Philippine Sea, Sulu Sea, Celebes Sea, and Luzon Strait
Politics

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.[2]

The bicameral Congress is composed of a Senate, serving as the upper house whose members are elected nationally 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.

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 President from nominations submitted by the Judicial and Bar Council.

Attempts to amend the constitution to either a federal, unicameral or parliamentary form of government have repeatedly failed since the Ramos administration.

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), an active player in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the Latin Union, and a member of the Group of 24. The country is a major non-NATO ally of the U.S. but also a member of the Non-Aligned Movement.

People Population: 96,061,680 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 35.5% (male 17,392,780/female 16,708,255)
15-64 years: 60.4% (male 28,986,232/female 29,076,329)
65 years and over: 4.1% (male 1,682,485/female 2,215,602) (2008 est.)
Median age: total: 22.3 years
male: 21.8 years
female: 22.8 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.991% (2008 est.)
Birth rate: 26.42 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate: 5.15 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: -1.36 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.76 male(s)/female
total population: 1 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 21.2 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 23.86 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 18.42 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 70.8 years
male: 67.89 years
female: 73.85 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate: 3.32 children born/woman (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: less than 0.1% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 9,000 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: fewer than 500 (2003 est.)
Major infectious diseases: degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria (2008)
Nationality: noun: Filipino(s)
adjective: Philippine
Ethnic groups: Tagalog 28.1%, Cebuano 13.1%, Ilocano 9%, Bisaya/Binisaya 7.6%, Hiligaynon Ilonggo 7.5%, Bikol 6%, Waray 3.4%, other 25.3% (2000 census)
Religions: Roman Catholic 80.9%, Muslim 5%, Evangelical 2.8%, Iglesia ni Kristo 2.3%, Aglipayan 2%, other Christian 4.5%, other 1.8%, unspecified 0.6%, none 0.1% (2000 census)
Languages: Filipino (official; based on Tagalog) and English (official); eight major dialects - Tagalog, Cebuano, Ilocano, Hiligaynon or Ilonggo, Bicol, Waray, Pampango, and Pangasinan
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 92.6%
male: 92.5%
female: 92.7% (2000 census)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education): total: 12 years
male: 11 years
female: 12 years (2006)
Education expenditures: 2.5% of GDP (2005)
Government Country name: conventional long form: Republic of the Philippines
conventional short form: Philippines
local long form: Republika ng Pilipinas
local short form: Pilipinas
Government type: republic
Capital: name: Manila
geographic coordinates: 14 35 N, 121 00 E
time difference: UTC+8 (13 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions: 81 provinces and 136 chartered cities
provinces: Abra, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Aklan, Albay, Antique, Apayao, Aurora, Basilan, Bataan, Batanes, Batangas, Biliran, Benguet, Bohol, Bukidnon, Bulacan, Cagayan, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Camiguin, Capiz, Catanduanes, Cavite, Cebu, Compostela, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Davao Oriental, Dinagat Islands, Eastern Samar, Guimaras, Ifugao, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Iloilo, Isabela, Kalinga, Laguna, Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, La Union, Leyte, Maguindanao, Marinduque, Masbate, Mindoro Occidental, Mindoro Oriental, Misamis Occidental, Misamis Oriental, Mountain Province, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, North Cotabato, Northern Samar, Nueva Ecija, Nueva Vizcaya, Palawan, Pampanga, Pangasinan, Quezon, Quirino, Rizal, Romblon, Samar, Sarangani, Shariff Kabunsuan, Siquijor, Sorsogon, South Cotabato, Southern Leyte, Sultan Kudarat, Sulu, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Tarlac, Tawi-Tawi, Zambales, Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga Sibugay
chartered cities: Alaminos, Angeles, Antipolo, Bacolod, Bago, Baguio, Bais, Balanga, Batac, Batangas, Bayawan, Baybay, Bayugan, Bislig, Bogo, Borongan, Butuan, Cabadbaran, Cabanatuan, Cadiz, Cagayan de Oro, Calamba, Calapan, Calbayog, Candon, Canlaon, Carcar, Catbalogan, Cauayan, Cavite, Cebu, Cotabato, Dagupan, Danao, Dapitan, Davao, Digos, Dipolog, Dumaguete, Escalante, El Salvador, Gapan, General Santos, Gingoog, Guihulngan, Himamaylan, Iligan, Iloilo, Isabela, Iriga, Kabankalan, Kalookan, Kidapawan, Koronadal, La Carlota, Lamitan, Laoag, Lapu-Lapu, Las Pinas, Legazpi, Ligao, Lipa, Lucena, Maasin, Makati, Malabon, Malaybalay, Malolos, Mandaluyong, Mandaue, Manila, Marawi, Marikina, Masbate, Mati, Meycauayan, Muntinlupa, Munoz, Naga (Camarines Sur), Naga (Cebu), Navotas, Olongapo, Ormoc, Oroquieta, Ozamis, Pagadian, Palayan, Panabo, Paranaque, Pasay, Pasig, Passi, Puerto Princesa, Quezon, Roxas, Sagay, Samal, San Carlos (in Negros Occidental), San Carlos (in Pangasinan), San Fernando (in La Union), San Fernando (in Pampanga), San Jose, San Jose del Monte, San Juan, San Pablo, Santa Rosa, Santiago, Silay, Sipalay, Sorsogon, Surigao, Tabaco, Tabuk, Tacloban, Tacurong, Tagaytay, Tagbilaran, Taguig, Tagum, Talisay (in Cebu), Talisay (in Negros Occidental), Tanauan, Tandag, Tangub, Tanjay, Tarlac, Tayabas, Toledo, Tuguegarao, Trece Martires, Urdaneta, Valencia, Valenzuela, Victorias, Vigan, Zamboanga (2007)
Independence: 12 June 1898 (independence proclaimed from Spain); 4 July 1946 (from the US)
National holiday: Independence Day, 12 June (1898); note - 12 June 1898 was date of declaration of independence from Spain; 4 July 1946 was date of independence from US
Constitution: 2 February 1987, effective 11 February 1987
Legal system: based on Spanish and Anglo-American law; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President Gloria MACAPAGAL-ARROYO (since 20 January 2001); note - president is both chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Gloria MACAPAGAL-ARROYO (since 20 January 2001)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president with consent of Commission of Appointments
elections: president and vice president (Manuel "Noli" DE CASTRO) elected on separate tickets by popular vote for a single six-year term; election last held on 10 May 2004 (next to be held in May 2010)
election results: Gloria MACAPAGAL-ARROYO elected president; percent of vote - Gloria MACAPAGAL-ARROYO 40%, Fernando POE 37%, three others 23%
Legislative branch: bicameral Congress or Kongreso consists of the Senate or Senado (24 seats - one-half elected every three years; members elected at large by popular vote to serve six-year terms) and the House of Representatives or Kapulungan Ng Mga Kinatawan (as a result of May 2007 election it has 239 seats including 218 members representing districts and 21 sectoral party-list members representing special minorities elected on the basis of 1 seat for every 2% of the total vote but limited to 3 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve three-year terms; note - the Constitution prohibits the House of Representatives from having more than 250 members)
elections: Senate - last held on 14 May 2007 (next to be held in May 2010); House of Representatives - elections last held on 14 May 2007 (next to be held in May 2010)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Lakas-Kampi 4, LP 4, NPC 3, Nacionalista 2, independents 4, others 6; note - there are 23 rather than 24 sitting senators because one senator was elected mayor of Manila; House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Lakas 86, Kampi 46, NPC 29, LP 21, Party-list 21, others 36
Judicial branch: Supreme Court (15 justices are appointed by the president on the recommendation of the Judicial and Bar Council and serve until 70 years of age); Court of Appeals; Sandigan-bayan (special court for hearing corruption cases of government officials)
Political parties and leaders: Genuine Opposition or GO (coalition of oppositon parties formed to contest the 2007 elections); Kabalikat Ng Malayang Pilipino or Kampi [Ronaldo PUNO]; Laban Ng Demokratikong Pilipino (Struggle of Filipino Democrats) or LDP [Edgardo ANGARA]; Lakas Ng Edsa (National Union of Christian Democrats) or Lakas [Jose DE VENECIA]; Liberal Party or LP [Manuel ROXAS]; Nacionalista [Manuel VILLAR]; National People's Coalition or NPC [Frisco SAN JUAN]; PDP-Laban [Aquilino PIMENTEL]; People's Reform Party [Miriam Defensor SANTIAGO]; PROMDI [Emilio OSMENA]; Pwersa Ng Masang Pilipino (Party of the Philippine Masses) or PMP [Joseph ESTRADA]; Reporma [Renato DE VILLA]
Political pressure groups and leaders: AKBAYAN [Etta ROSALES, Mario AGUJA, and Risa HONTIVEROS-BARAQUIEL]; ALAGAD [Rodante MARROLITA]; ALIF [Acmad TOMAWIS]; An Waray [Horencio NOEL]; Anak Mindanao [Mujiv HATAMIN]; ANAKPAWIS [Crispin BELTRAN and Rafael MARIANO]; Association of Philippine Electric Cooperatives (APEC) [Sunny Rose MADAMBA, Ernesto PABLO, and Edgar VALDEZ]; AVE [Eulogio MAGSAYSAY]; Bayan Muna [Satur OCAMPO, Joel VIRADOR, and Teodoro CASINO, Jr.]; BUHAY [Rene VELARDE and Hans Christian SENERES]; BUTIL [Benjamin CRUZ]; CIBAC [Emmanuel Joel VILLANUEVA]; COOP-NATCO [Guillermo CUA]; GABRIELA [Liza MAZA]; Partido Ng Manggagawa [Renato MAGTUBO]; Veterans Federation of the Philippines [Ernesto GIDAYA]
International organization participation: ADB, APEC, APT, ARF, ASEAN, BIS, CP, EAS, FAO, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt (signatory), ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, MINUSTAH, NAM, OAS (observer), OPCW, PIF (partner), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNMIL, UNMIS, UNMIT, UNOCI, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Willy C. GAA
chancery: 1600 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036
telephone: [1] (202) 467-9300
FAX: [1] (202) 467-9417
consulate(s) general: Chicago, Honolulu, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Saipan (Northern Mariana Islands), Tamuning (Guam)
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Kristie A. KENNEY
embassy: 1201 Roxas Boulevard, Ermita 1000, Manila
mailing address: PSC 500, FPO AP 96515-1000
telephone: [63] (2) 301-2000
FAX: [63] (2) 522-4361
Flag description: two equal horizontal bands of blue (top; representing peace and justice) and red (representing courage); a white equilateral triangle based on the hoist side represents equality; the center of the triangle displays a yellow sun with eight primary rays, each representing one of the first eight provinces that sought independence from Spain; each corner of the triangle contains a small, yellow, five-pointed star representing the three major geographical divisions of the country: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao; the design of the flag dates to 1897; in wartime the flag is flown upside down with the red band at the top
Culture

Filipino culture is a fusion of pre-Hispanic indigenous Austronesian civilizations of the Philippines mixed with Hispanic and American. It has also been influenced by Chinese, Arab, and Indianized cultures.[10]

The Hispanic influences in Filipino culture are largely derived from the culture of Spain as a result of over three centuries of Spanish colonial rule. These Hispanic influences are most evident in literature, folk music, folk dance, language, food, art and religion, such as Roman Catholic Church religious festivals.[10] Interestingly, there was relatively little Mexican influence in the Philippines, despite the ties to a Mexican-based administration and the galleon trade. Noticeably, the Spanish colonialists preferred Iberian dishes, such as arroz valenciana, to those of the Mexican Indians (adobo preparation is the only exception as the tomato, corn, avocado, and potato in adobo were all introduced from Mexico).

Filipinos hold major festivities known as barrio fiestas to commemorate their patron saints. One of the most visible Hispanic legacies is the prevalence of Spanish surnames among Filipinos. This peculiarity, unique among the people of Asia, came as a result of a colonial decree for the systematic distribution of family names and implementation of the Spanish naming system on the inhabitants of the Philippines. A Spanish name and surname among the majority of Filipinos does not always denote Spanish ancestry.

Names of countless streets, towns and provinces are in Spanish. Spanish architecture also made a major imprint in the Philippines. This can be seen especially in the country's churches, government buildings and universities. Many Hispanic style houses and buildings are being preserved, like the Spanish colonial town in Vigan City, for protection and conservation. The kalesa is a horse-driven carriage introduced by the Spaniards and was a major mode of transportation during the colonial times. It is still being used today. Filipino cuisine is also heavily influenced by Spanish cuisine.

The use of English language in the Philippines is contemporaneous and is America's visible legacy. The most commonly played sports in the Philippines are basketball and billiards. There is also a wide influence of American Pop cultural trends, such as the love of fast-food and movies; many street corners boast fast-food outlets. Aside from the American commercial giants such as McDonald's, Pizza Hut, Burger King, KFC, and Shakey's Pizza, local fast-food chains have also sprung up, including Goldilocks, Jollibee, Greenwich Pizza (acquired by Jollibee in 1994[42]), and Chowking (acquired by Jollibee in 2000[42]). Modern day Filipinos also listen to contemporary American music and watch American movies. However, Original Pilipino Music (also known as OPM) and Philippine movies are also widely appreciated.

Filipinos honor national heroes whose works and deeds contributed to the shaping of the Filipino nation. José Rizal is the most celebrated ilustrado, a Spanish-speaking reformist visionary whose writings contributed greatly in nurturing a sense of national identity and awareness. His novels Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo originally written in Spanish, are required readings for Filipino students, and provide vignettes of colonial life during the period of Spanish rule.

As with many cultures, music (which includes traditional music) and leisure activities are an important aspect of the Filipino society. Various sports are also enjoyed, including boxing, basketball, badminton, billiards, football (soccer) and ten-pin bowling being popular games in the country.

Economy Economy - overview: The Philippine economy grew at its fastest pace in three decades with real GDP growth exceeding 7% in 2007. Higher government spending contributed to the growth, but a resilient service sector and large remittances from the millions of Filipinos who work abroad have played an increasingly important role. Economic growth has averaged 5% since President MACAPAGAL-ARROYO took office in 2001. Nevertheless, the Philippines will need still higher, sustained growth to make progress in alleviating poverty, given its high population growth and unequal distribution of income. MACAPAGAL-ARROYO averted a fiscal crisis by pushing for new revenue measures and, until recently, tightening expenditures. Declining fiscal deficits, tapering debt and debt service ratios, as well as recent efforts to increase spending on infrastructure and social services have heightened optimism over Philippine economic prospects. Although the general macroeconomic outlook has improved significantly, the Philippines continues to face important challenges and must maintain the reform momentum in order to catch up with regional competitors, improve employment opportunities, and alleviate poverty. Longer-term fiscal stability will require more sustainable revenue sources, rather than non-recurring revenues from privatization.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $300.1 billion (2007 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate): $144.1 billion (2007 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 7.3% (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): $3,200 (2007 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 13.8%
industry: 31.7%
services: 54.5% (2007 est.)
Labor force: 36.22 million (2007 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 35%
industry: 15%
services: 50% (2007 est.)
Unemployment rate: 7.3% (2007 est.)
Population below poverty line: 30% (2003 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 2.4%
highest 10%: 31.2% (2006)
Distribution of family income - Gini index: 45.8 (2006)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2.8% (2007 est.)
Investment (gross fixed): 14.8% of GDP (2007 est.)
Budget: revenues: $24.63 billion
expenditures: $24.9 billion (2007 est.)
Public debt: 55.8% of GDP (2007 est.)
Agriculture - products: sugarcane, coconuts, rice, corn, bananas, cassavas, pineapples, mangoes; pork, eggs, beef; fish
Industries: electronics assembly, garments, footwear, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, wood products, food processing, petroleum refining, fishing
Industrial production growth rate: 7.1% (2007 est.)
Electricity - production: 53.67 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 55.6%
hydro: 17.5%
nuclear: 0%
other: 26.9% (2001)
Electricity - consumption: 46.86 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2005)
Oil - production: 0 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - consumption: 340,000 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - exports: 34,900 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - imports: 353,700 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - proved reserves: 152 million bbl (31 December 2006)
Natural gas - production: 2.781 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 2.781 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 0 cu m (2005)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 107.5 billion cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Current account balance: $6.351 billion (2007 est.)
Exports: $49.32 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Exports - commodities: semiconductors and electronic products, transport equipment, garments, copper products, petroleum products, coconut oil, fruits
Exports - partners: China 30.6%, US 13%, Japan 11.5%, Hong Kong 8.1%, Singapore 7.7% (2007)
Imports: $57.56 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Imports - commodities: electronic products, mineral fuels, machinery and transport equipment, iron and steel, textile fabrics, grains, chemicals, plastic
Imports - partners: Japan 14.6%, US 11.9%, China 11.6%, Singapore 9.5%, Taiwan 7.4%, South Korea 5.6%, Saudi Arabia 5%, Thailand 4.5%, Hong Kong 4.3% (2007)
Economic aid - recipient: ODA, $451.4 million in commitments (2006)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $33.75 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Debt - external: $61.78 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home: $19.88 billion (2007 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad: $5.584 billion (2007 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares: $103.4 billion (2007)
Currency (code): Philippine peso (PHP)
Currency code: PHP
Exchange rates: Philippine pesos per US dollar - 46.148 (2007), 51.246 (2006), 55.086 (2005), 56.04 (2004), 54.203 (2003)
Fiscal year: calendar year
Communications Telephones - main lines in use: 3.633 million (2006)
Telephones - mobile cellular: 51.795 million (2007)
Telephone system: general assessment: good international radiotelephone and submarine cable services; domestic and interisland service adequate
domestic: domestic satellite system with 11 earth stations; cellular communications now dominate the industry; combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular telephone density exceeds 50 telephones per 100 persons with more than 10 mobile cellular subscribers for every fixed-line subscriber
international: country code - 63; a series of submarine cables together provide connectivity to Asia, US, the Middle East, and Europe; multiple international gateways (2006)
Radio broadcast stations: AM 381, FM 628, shortwave 4 (each shortwave station operates on multiple frequencies in the language of the target audience) (2007)
Radios: 11.5 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations: 250 (plus 1,501 CATV networks) (2007)
Televisions: 3.7 million (1997)
Internet country code: .ph
Internet hosts: 271,609 (2007)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 33 (2000)
Internet users: 5.3 million (2007)
Transportation Airports: 255 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 84
over 3,047 m: 4
2,438 to 3,047 m: 8
1,524 to 2,437 m: 26
914 to 1,523 m: 36
under 914 m: 10 (2007)
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 171
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 68
under 914 m: 99 (2007)
Heliports: 2 (2007)
Pipelines: gas 565 km; oil 135 km; refined products 105 km (2007)
Railways: total: 897 km
narrow gauge: 897 km 1.067-m gauge (492 km are in operation) (2006)
Roadways: total: 200,037 km
paved: 19,804 km
unpaved: 180,233 km (2003)
Waterways: 3,219 km (limited to vessels with draft less than 1.5 m) (2007)
Merchant marine: total: 388 ships (1000 GRT or over) 4,518,558 GRT/6,108,869 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 73, cargo 122, carrier 16, chemical tanker 17, container 5, liquefied gas 5, passenger 6, passenger/cargo 68, petroleum tanker 38, refrigerated cargo 14, roll on/roll off 13, vehicle carrier 11
foreign-owned: 158 (Bermuda 39, China 3, Greece 3, Hong Kong 1, Japan 83, Malaysia 1, Netherlands 23, Norway 2, Singapore 1, Taiwan 1, UAE 1)
registered in other countries: 28 (Bahamas 1, Belize 1, Comoros 1, Cyprus 1, Hong Kong 9, Indonesia 1, Panama 10, Singapore 4) (2008)
Ports and terminals: Cagayan de Oro, Cebu, Davao, Liman, Manila, Nasipit Harbor
Military Military branches: Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP): Army, Navy (includes Marine Corps), Air Force (2008)
Military service age and obligation: 18-25 years of age (officers 21-29) for compulsory and voluntary military service; applicants must be single male or female Philippine citizens (2007)
Manpower available for military service: males age 16-49: 23,547,252
females age 16-49: 23,177,487 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military service: males age 16-49: 18,232,050
females age 16-49: 19,827,538 (2008 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually: male: 1,012,779
female: 977,030 (2008 est.)
Military expenditures: 0.9% of GDP (2005 est.)