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|Republic of the Philippines
Republika ng Pilipinas
|Motto: Maka-Diyos, Maka-Tao, Makakalikasan, at Makabansa
(English: For God, People, Nature, and Country) 
|Anthem: Lupang Hinirang
(English: Chosen Land)
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|Largest city||Quezon City|
|Official language(s)||Filipino, and English|
|Recognised regional languages||Tagalog, Bikol, Cebuano, Ilocano, Hiligaynon, Kapampangan, Pangasinan, and Waray-Waray |
|Ethnic groups||Aeta Â· Ati Â· Bajau Â· Bicolano Â· Ibanag Â· Igorot Â· Ilocano Â· Ivatan Â· Kapampangan Â· Lumad Â· Mangyan Â· Moro Â· Palawan tribes Â· PangasinanÂ· Sambal Â· Tagalog Â· Visayans Â· Chinese Â· European Filipinos Â· Spanish Â· Mestizos Â· Chabacano/ZamboangueÃ±o|
|Government||Unitary presidential constitutional republic|
|-||Vice President||Noli De Castro|
from United States
|-||Declared||June 12, 1898|
|-||Self-government||March 24, 1934|
|-||Independence recognized||July 4, 1946|
|-||Current constitution||February 2, 1987|
|-||Total||300,000 km2 (72nd)
115,831 sq mi
|-||estimate||90.5 million (12th)|
|HDI (2007/2008)||0.771 (medium) (90th)|
|Currency||Peso (Filipino: piso
Error creating thumbnail: File missing) (
|Time zone||PST (UTC+8)|
|1||Spanish, and Arabic are promoted on a voluntary and optional basis.|
|2||Rankings above were taken from associated Wikipedia pages as of December, and may be based on data or data sources other than those appearing here.|
The Philippines (Filipino: Pilipinas, officially known as the Republic of the Philippines (Republika ng Pilipinas; RP), is an Island country located in Southeast Asia with Manila as its capital city. The Philippines comprises 7,107 islands in the western Pacific Ocean, sharing maritime borders with Indonesia, Malaysia, Palau, the Republic of China (Taiwan), and Vietnam. The Philippines is the world's 12th most populous country with a population of 90 million people. Its national economy is the 46th largest in the world with an estimated gross domestic product (GDP) of over US$154.073 billion. There are more than 11 million overseas Filipinos worldwide, about 11% of the total population of the Philippines. It is a multi-ethnic country. Ecologically, The Philippines is considered to be among 17 of the most megadiverse countries in the world.
Prior to the arrival of Europeans in 1521, the Philippines was already settled by Austronesian (Malayo Polynesian) peoples. The Philippines became a Spanish colony in the 16th century, and a territory of the United States at the beginning of the 20th century. In 1896, the Philippine Revolution won independence from Spain. American occupation of the Philippines during the Spanish-American War led to the outbreak of the Philippine-American War. A Commonwealth government was established in 1935, which allowed self-governance. The country gained its independence from the United States on July 4, after World War II. Martial law was declared in which led to the insurgencies of the New People's Army and the Moro National Liberation Front. Liberal parties then led People Power Revolution of 1986, which would bring the country back to democracy.
The Philippines is one of only two predominantly Roman Catholic countries in Asia, the other being East Timor. Pre-Hispanic indigenous rituals still exist; and there are also followers of Islam. Spanish was an official language of the Philippines until 1973. Since then, the two official languages are Filipino, and English.
The name Philippines and its Spanish counterpart, Filipinas, are derived from the name of Phillip II, the King of Spain in the late 16th century. Spanish explorer Ruy LÃ³pez de Villalobos used the name Las Islas Filipinas in honor of the then-Crown Prince during his expedition to the Philippines, originally referring to the islands of Leyte and Samar. Despite the presence of other names, the name Filipinas was eventually adopted as the name of the entire archipelago.
Archeological and paleontological discoveries show that Humans existed in Palawan circa 50,000 BC. The aboriginal people of the Philippines, the Negritos, are an Australo-Melanesian people who arrived in the Philippines at least 30,000 years ago. The Austronesian (Malayo Polynesian) people, originated from populations of Taiwanese aborigines that migrated from mainland Asia approximately 6000 years ago, who settled in the islands and eventually migrated to Indonesia, Malaysia and, soon after, to the Polynesian islands and Madagascar.
Islam was brought to the Philippines by traders and proselytizers from Malaysia, Indonesia, and Arabia. By the 13th century, Islam was established in the Sulu Archipelago and spread from there to Mindanao; it had reached parts of the Visayas and Luzon region by 1565. Muslim converts established Islamic communities and states ruled by Datus, Rajahs or Sultans. When the Spaniards arrived in the 16th century, the majority of the estimated 500,000 people in the islands lived in independent 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, where the first mass in the Philippines was celebrated on March 31, 1521. Magellan arrived at Cebu on April 7, 1521, befriending Rajah Humabon and converting his family and other nearby islanders to Christianity. However, Magellan would later be killed in the Battle of Mactan by native warriors led by Rajah Lapu-Lapu, a rival of Rajah Humabon.
The beginnings of colonization started to take form when Philip II of Spain ordered successive expeditions. Miguel LÃ³pez 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 Spanish East Indies. 
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. The Philippines was ruled as a territory of the Viceroyalty of New Spain from 1565 to 1821, but after Mexico gained independence from the empire, the islands were administered directly from Madrid, Spain. 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 the Americas and silver on the return trip to the Philippine Islands. 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.
|Patriotic Song||Pilipinas Kong Mahal, Bayan Ko|
|Gem||Philippine South Sea Pearl|
|Flower||Arabian Jasmine (Sampaguita)|
|Leaf||Fan palm (Anahaw)|
|House||Nipa hut (Bahay kubo)|
|Costume||Barong Tagalog and Baro't saya|
The Propaganda Movement, which included Philippine nationalist JosÃ© 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 AndrÃ©s 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 claiming the lives of over a million Filipinos. 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 and control returned to the Filipino and American forces in the Liberation of the Philippines from 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., 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. CorazÃ³n Aquino, the widow of Benigno Aquino, Jr., 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 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. However, the economic improvements were negated at the onset of the East Asian financial crisis in 1997. The 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.
The Philippines constitutes an archipelago of 7,107 islands with a total land area of approximately 300,000 square kilometers (116,000 sq mi). It generally lies between 116Â° 40' and 126Â° 34' E. longitude, and 4Â° 40' and 21Â° 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 lies a few hundred kilometers southwest and Taiwan directly north. The Moluccas and Sulawesi are to the south/southwest, and Palau is to the east beyond the Philippine Sea.
The islands are commonly 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 national capital and second largest city after its suburb Quezon City.
The local climate is hot, humid, and tropical. The average yearly temperature is around 26.5 Â°C (79.7 Â°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 Taglamig (the cold season from December to February). The southwest monsoon (May-October) is known as the "habagat" and the dry winds of the northeast monsoon (November-April) as the "amihan".
Most of the mountainous islands used to be covered in tropical rainforest and are volcanic in origin. The highest point is Mount Apo on Mindanao at 2,954 metres (9,692 ft). There are many active volcanos such as Mayon Volcano, Mount Pinatubo, and Taal Volcano. The country also lies within the typhoon belt of the Western Pacific and approximately 19 typhoons strike per year.
Lying on the northwestern fringes of the Pacific Ring of Fire, the Philippines experiences frequent seismic and volcanic activities. Some 20 earthquakes are registered daily in the Philippines, though most are too weak to be felt. The last great earthquake was the 1990 Luzon earthquake.
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.
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, increasingly, business process outsourcing. The Philippines is listed in the roster of the "Next Eleven" economies.
Historically, the Philippine economy has largely been anchored on the Manila galleon during the Spanish era, and bilateral trade with the United States during the American era. 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 only to Japan. However, the presidency of Ferdinand Marcos would prove disastrous to the Philippine economy, sliding the country into severe economic recession, only to recover starting in the 1990s with a program of economic liberalization and the breaking of Marcos-era monopolies and the system of cronyism under Fidel V. Ramos.
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. By the Philippine economy experienced six-percent growth in gross domestic product and 7.3% in in line with the "7, 8, 9" project of the government to accelerate GDP growth by.
In a bid to further strengthen the Philippine economy, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo pledged to make the Philippines a developed country by. 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.
Despite the growing economy, the Philippines will have to address several chronic problems in the future. Strategies for streamlining the economy include improvements of infrastructure, more efficient tax systems to bolster government revenues, furthering deregulation and privatization of the economy, and increasing trade integration within the region and across the world. The Philippine economy is also heavily reliant on remittances as a source of foreign currency, surpassing even foreign direct investment. China and India have emerged as 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, 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 Asian Development Bank, playing home to its headquarters. 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, among others.
Politics and government
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.
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.
The Philippines is a founding and active member of the United Nations since its inception on October 24, 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.
The Philippines is divided into three island groups: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. These are divided into 17 regions, 81 provinces, 136 cities, 1,494 municipalities and 41,995 barangays. In addition, the Section 2 of Republic Act No. 5446 asserts that the Philippines has acquired dominion and sovereignty over Sabah, North Borneo.
|Ilocos Region||Region I||San Fernando City, La Union|
|Cagayan Valley||Region II||Tuguegarao City, Cagayan|
|Central Luzon||Region III||City of San Fernando, Pampanga|
|CALABARZONÂ¹ Â²||Region IV-A||Calamba City, Laguna|
|MIMAROPAÂ¹ Â² Â³||Region IV-B||Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro|
|Bicol Region||Region V||Naga City, Camarines Sur|
|Western Visayas||Region VI||Iloilo City|
|Central Visayas||Region VII||Cebu City|
|Eastern Visayas||Region VIII||Tacloban City, Leyte|
|Zamboanga Peninsula||Region IX||Pagadian City, Zamboanga del Sur|
|Northern Mindanao||Region X||Cagayan de Oro City|
|Davao Region||Region XI||Davao City|
|SOCCSKSARGENÂ¹||Region XII||Koronadal City, South Cotabato|
|Caraga||Region XIII||Butuan City|
|Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao||ARMM||Cotabato City|
|Cordillera Administrative Region||CAR||Baguio City|
|National Capital Region||NCR||Manila|
Â¹ Names are capitalized because they are acronyms, containing the names of the constituent provinces or cities (see Acronyms in the Philippines).
Â² These regions formed the former Southern Tagalog region, or Region IV.
Â³ Palawan was moved from Region IV-B as known as MIMAROPA to Region VI. But after a few months, Palawan was moved back to Region IV-B due to the PalaweÃ±os wish.
The Philippines is the world's 12th most populous country, with a population of over 90 million as of. As of 8% of Filipinos are living abroad as migrant laborers. Roughly half of the country's population resides on the island of Luzon. Manila, the capital, is the eleventh most populous metropolitan area in the world. The literacy rate was 92.6% in and about equal for males and females. Life expectancy is 71.23 years, with 73.6 years for females and 69.8 years for males. Population growth rate in 1995-is 3.21% but then dramatically fell to 1.59% for.
The majority of Philippine nationals are descended from the various Austronesian (Malayo Polynesian) who settled in over a thousand years ago from southern Taiwan, genetically most closely related to the Ami tribe. The Malayo Polynesian-speaking peoples, a branch of the Austronesian-speaking peoples, migrated to the Philippines and brought their knowledge of agriculture and ocean-sailing technology. Filipinos to this day are composed of various Malayo Polynesian ethnic groups, including the Visayans, the Tagalog, the Ilocano, the Moro, the Kapampangan, the Bicolano, the Pangasinense, the Igorot, the Lumad, the Mangyan, the Ibanag, the Badjao, the Ivatan, and the Palawan tribes. The Negritos, including the Aetas and the Ati, are considered as the aboriginal inhabitants of the Philippines though they are estimated to be fewer than 30,000 people (0.03%).
Filipinos of Chinese descent currently form the largest non-Austronesian ethnic group, claiming about 1.5% of the population followed by Filipinos of Spanish descent. Other significant minorities include British Filipinos, Americans, Europeans, Japanese, Asian Indians, Koreans, Arabs, and Indonesians.
Throughout the country's history, various ethnic groups as well as immigrants and colonizers have intermarried with the native population, producing Filipino mestizos. These mestizos, apart from being of mixed indigenous Austronesian and European ancestry, can be descended from any ethnic foreign forebears. The official percentage of Filipinos with foreign ancestry is unknown since there are no credible sources for the percentage of Philippine mestizos residing in the Philippines. The number of Filipino mestizos that reside outside the Philippines is also unknown. However, due to major historical factors, such as the Spanish colonization, the American occupation, and Chinese immigration after World War II; most Filipino mestizos that reside in the Philippines are now of Spanish, American, European, Chinese, and other foreign descent. According to recent studies by Stanford University in the United States; indicates all types of mestizos make up an estimated figure of 3.6% of the country's total population.
According to the 1987 Philippine Constitution, Filipino, and English are the official languages. About 180 languages and dialects are also spoken in the archipelago, almost all of them belonging to the Borneo-Philippines group of the Malayo-Polynesian language branch of the Austronesian language family.
Filipino is the standard version of Tagalog, spoken mainly in Metro Manila, and other urban regions. Both Tagalog and English are used in government, education, print and broadcast media, and business.
Spanish was the first official language of the Philippines. However its use has declined after 1940. Only a few hundred older mestizos of Spanish descent speak it as their first language, although their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren may speak and/or understand Spanish as a second or third language.
The Philippines is one of two countries in Asia with Roman Catholic majorities; the other being East Timor. The Philippines is separated into dioceses of which the Archdiocese of Manila enjoys primacy. About 90% of Filipinos identify themselves as Christians, with 81% belonging to the Roman Catholic Church. 2% are composed of Protestant denominations and 11% either to the Philippine Independent Church, Iglesia ni Cristo, and others. While Christianity is a major force in the culture of the Filipinos, indigenous traditions and rituals still influence religious practice.
The Philippines is also well-known for its Baroque-style churches. They are a part of the long list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. These churches are: San Agustin Church in Intramuros, Manila; Paoay Church in Paoay, Ilocos Norte; Nuestra SeÃ±ora de la Asuncion (Santa Maria) Church in Santa Maria, Ilocos Sur; and the Santo Tomas de Villanueva Church in Iloilo.
Approximately 5% of Filipinos are Muslims, and are locally known as "Moros", having been dubbed this by the Spanish due to their sharing Islam with the Moors of North Africa. They primarily settle in parts of Mindanao, Palawan and the Sulu archipelago, but are now found in most urban areas of the country. Most lowland Muslim Filipinos practice normative Islam, although the practices of some Mindanao's hill tribe Muslims reflect a fusion with animism. There are also small populations of Buddhists, Baha'i, Hindus, Sikhs, and animists, which, along with other non-Christians, non-Muslims and those with no religion, collectively comprise 2.5% of the population.
The Hispanic influences in Philippine 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. 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 Filipino adobo is made with soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, bay leaves, and peppercorns unlike the tomato, corn, avocado, and potato in Mexican adobo).
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 and names among Filipinos. This peculiarity, unique among the people of Asia, came as a result of a colonial decree, the ClaverÃa edict, 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, Starbucks and Shakey's Pizza, local fast-food chains have also sprung up, including Goldilocks, Jollibee, Greenwich Pizza (acquired by Jollibee in 1994), and Chowking (acquired by Jollibee in). 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 Philippine nation. JosÃ© 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 Philippine society. Various sports are also enjoyed, including boxing, basketball, badminton, billiards, football (soccer) and ten-pin bowling being popular games in the country.
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