Mayon in Albay

The Philippines is a republic in Southeast Asia. The island nation is located in the western Pacific Ocean, about 100 kilometers east of the Asian mainland. The country consists of 7,107 islands, of which eleven are main islands.

The Philippines is a bit smaller than mainland Norway and is located in one of the Earth’s most unstable areas where volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and typhoons often occur.

The Philippines is an agricultural country less industrialized than neighboring countries. The population is 105 893 381 inhabitants (2018). The capital is Manila.

The country is the only predominantly Christian in Southeast Asia; it is a Muslim minority in the south.

Mayon in Albay

Geography and environment

The eleven largest islands, of which the largest are Luzon and Mindanao, comprise 93 percent of the land area. The extent of the islands is 1060 kilometers from west to east and 1850 kilometers from north to south. The islands are mountainous and forested. The highest mountain is the volcano Apo, 2954 meters above sea level.

The Philippines is relatively often hit by earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. The volcano Pinatubo suffered a series of major eruptions in 1991. In addition, there is man-made ecological environmental disruption in the country.

The agricultural area of ​​Manilasletta on the largest island of Luzon opens at the east-west ends towards the sea. The coastline is the world’s fifth longest. The oceans outside are deep. The Philippine pit in the east has an ocean depth of about 11,000 meters.

The soil is of volcanic origin and is fertile, especially on the inner Luzon.

Due to illegal logging, productive forest cover was greatly reduced in the 20th century. Along the coast there are many places mangrove forests. The plant life is lush. Of the 13,500 plant species, 3200 are found only in the Philippines.

The mammalian fauna is relatively poor. Java monkey or crab macaque live in mangrove forest. There are many species of pointed mice, rodents and bats. There are 612 bird species registered. The world’s largest eagle, monkey eagle, is found only in Mindanao’s mountain forests. There are many reptiles, including snakes such as pythons and cobras as well as saltwater crocodile. There are about 2,400 fish species and more than 500 coral species.

The Philippines has a steady climate. The annual temperatures are at 26–27 degrees with a 3-4 degree deviation. From June to December, there is heavy rainfall, winter and spring are drought. The annual rainfall varies between 1000 millimeters in the valley plains and 4500 millimeters in the mountains. Northern parts of the Philippines are exposed to tropical hurricanes (typhoons).

People and society

The population, which is one of the fastest growing in the world, is composed and disparate. Most are of Malay descent. The country is dense but unevenly populated, with more than half on Luzon and Cebu. 52.9 percent of the population lives in rural areas (2019). About twelve million Filipinos live abroad.

80.6 percent of the population belong to the Catholic Church, while 8.2 percent are Protestants. 5.6 percent, mainly in the south, are Muslims. Buddhism, Taoism and Chinese People’s Religion predominate in Chinese society.

Filipino (Pilipino, Tagalog ) and English are official languages. Spanish is used somewhat. There are about 90 Austronesian languages. On the islands of Lake Sulus, tuasug is written in Arabic.

Here in patio farming

State and politics

The Philippines is a republic with a president as head of state. The president is elected by direct election for six years and has executive power with the government. The National Assembly consists of the Senate with 24 members and the House of Representatives with up to 261 members. The senators are elected for six years. Up to 206 members of the House of Representatives are elected from districts for three years and up to 55 members are appointed by the President.

The Philippines is divided into 17 regions, 80 provinces and 138 cities.

The military service is voluntary. The defense consists of army, navy, air force, reserve and semi-military forces. An internal political problem is armed conflicts between government forces and Muslim separatist groups and communist groups.

The Philippines is a member of the UN and includes the World Trade Organization, the Asian Development Bank, APEC, ASEAN, the Colombo Plan and G 77.

Classic Filipino sculpture


The Philippines was populated from the mainland in the Stone Age. From 800 of our calendar ( if necessary.) Visited the Chinese sailors islands. In the 15th century, Muslims pushed back Chinese influence.

Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan came to the Philippines in 1521 and was killed by natives. In the 16th century, the Spaniards took possession of the islands. Intense missionary activities led most of the population to Christianity. Manila was founded in 1571 and became an important trading center. Spain never gained control of the Islamic regions of Mindanao and the Sulu Islands in the south.

Several revolts against the Spanish colonial power took place. During the last uprising, the Philippines declared itself independent with US support in 1898. After the war between Spain and the United States the same year, the Philippines was surrendered by Spain to the United States, which retained the archipelago as a colony. There was considerable opposition to the new colonial power, and limited internal self-government in 1907 was expanded in 1916 and 1934. The latter year, the Philippines promised full autonomy within ten years. In 1935, Manuel Quezon was elected the first President of the Philippines. The Japanese occupied the Philippines 1940–1942. After hard fighting, the United States recaptured the Philippines in 1944–1945. The country became an independent state in 1946.

Ferdinand Marcos ruled almost unanimously as president from 1981. Opposition leader Benigno Aquino was shot and killed on his return to Manila from exile in 1983, which gave the opposition considerable progress in the election of the new national assembly in 1984. Following a chaotic presidential election in 1986, Marcos resigned. demand from the US, power and went into exile. Corazon Aquino took over as president. The turmoil continued and she was exposed to several military coups. Aquino withdrew from politics after the end of the 1992 presidential term. The incumbent president, Rodrigo Duterte, was elected in 2016. New presidential elections will be held in 2022.

A military base agreement with the United States from 1947 was not renewed in 1991 and the United States withdrew its military bases from the country. In the 1990s, liberalization of economic policy led to economic growth, but there was unrest linked to extreme right and left groups as well as Muslim rebel groups. Since 1969, the government fought against communist guerrilla army and the Islamic Abu Sayyaf – guerrillas conducting attacks on the island of Jolo. On the island of Mindanao’s southern part, Moro rebels have fought for 40 years to create an Islamic state. The battle cost more than 120,000 lives before a peace treaty in 2012 laid the foundation for an agreement on increased Muslim autonomy in southern Mindanao.

In recent years, the Philippines has been in conflict with China over disputed areas and borders in the South China Sea.

Economy and business

The Philippines is a developing country with a free market economy.

Agriculture accounts for 9.6 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and employs 25.4 percent of the working population (2017). About a quarter of the land area is cultivated. Rice and corn are grown on the domestic market. The most important agricultural products are coconuts and coconut products, of which the Philippines is one of the world’s largest producers and exporters, sugar cane, bananas, pineapple, tobacco and abuca ( manila hemp ). The most important livestock are pigs, water buffaloes, cattle andpoultry. Fishing is substantial and mainly for the domestic market.

Industry and other secondary industries ( construction, mining and power supply) contribute 30.6 per cent of the country’s GDP and employ 18.3 per cent of the working population (2017). The largest industries by economic value are the production of semiconductor systems and other electronic components (including telecommunications equipment and various types of office supplies) produced for export, as well as petroleum and chemical products.

The Philippines has deposits of gold, silver, copper, nickel, zinc, iron and cobalt. Coal and salt are also recovered in considerable quantities.

56.3 per cent of the working population work in service industries, which account for 59.8 per cent of GDP (2017). The tourism industry is significant.

The Philippines’ three largest trading partners are China, Japan and the United States.

Knowledge and culture

It is compulsory and free school for six years. High school is free but not compulsory. There are 2180 higher education institutions, of which 607 are public and 1573 private (2009–2010). Santo Tomas University from 1611 is Asia’s oldest existing university.

There are many newspapers, television stations and radio stations; most are privately owned.

Traditional literature has handed down Philippine mythology. Francisco Balaytas (1798-1862) wrote the poem “Florante at Laura” in 1838. Josè Rizal wrote social novels and is considered a national hero. After the revolution, the short story genre played the biggest role, but after World War II, the novel is the leading genre. From the 1900s, Néstor Vicente Madali Gonzales, Nick Joaquin, Francisco Sionil José and Alejandro Roces are considered central to the national literature. Federico Espino Licsi is a prominent lyricist.

Before the Spanish colonization, there were two different music cultures north and south in the Philippines. Within both, instruments of bamboo, wood, shells and other natural materials were used. Under Spanish rule, European music gained influence. Today, there are four main genres: the folk song tradition, a mix of Asian and European elements, European art music and modern European and American pop music. Within the latter is a domestic pop music with Filipino language.

Theater is characterized by theater forms of Spanish origin and American theater.

There are many folkloric dance companies. Dance is Spanish- and American-influenced. Manila is the artistic center of dance art.

Famous painters in the 19th century were Damian Domingo, Felix Hidalgo and Juan Luna. Jose Joya (1931-1995) was the leader in abstract painting.

Classic Filipino sculpture reached a climax with Guillermo Tolentino (1890-1976). In modern sculpture, his pupil Napoleon Abueva (1930–2018) has been pioneering.

The architecture shows the influence of Spanish, Japanese, Malay, Hindu, Chinese and American culture. In the early 2000s, a renaissance of traditional Filipino elements in architecture emerged. One of the most famous building complexes is the Philippines Cultural Center, which opened in 1969 and was renovated in 2005. It was designed by Leandro Valencia Locsin.