Philippines – Tropical Island Republic
The Philippines is a country of Southeast Asia. It is made up of about 7,100 islands in the western Pacific Ocean. Its official name is the Republic of the Philippines. Its area is 300,000 square kilometers. The country’s nearest neighbors are Taiwan, Indonesia, and Malaysia.
The two largest islands are Luzon in the north and Mindanao in the south. Most of the Philippine islands are mountainous. The highest peak is Mount Apo on Mindanao. There are also active volcanoes. Earthquakes and typhoons are common. The latest massive volcanic eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991 caused about 600 deaths, as well as flooding and mudflows.
The people of the Philippines are called Filipinos and early all Filipinos are Malay. They speak many languages. The official languages are Pilipino and English. The Philippines is a Catholic country, a legacy of Spanish colonization.
The ancestors of the Negritos, original people of the islands, lived on the islands about 50,000 years ago. The Malay began arriving about 2,000 years ago from what are now Indonesia and Malaysia. In the 1500s Spain took over the islands. In 1898 the United States took control of the Philippines. The Japanese took over the islands during World War II. The Philippines gained full independence in 1946. A democratic form of government was introduced and elections took place every four years. Ferdinand Marcos became first elected president in 1965. In 1986 after Marcos was removed from power and a new constitution was adopted.
The Philippines’s greatest resources are agriculture in its rich volcanic soils and fish from the surrounding waters. It also has significant deposits of many minerals, including nickel, manganese, chromite, cobalt, silver, salt, gold, copper, limestone, and coal.
Manila, the capital of the country, is on Luzon.
– There are 800 kinds of orchids in the Philippines.
– The monkey-eating eagle is one of the rarer birds.
– The freshwater Laguna de Bay is the largest lake. It has a water surface of 922 square kilometers. Lake Taal, which has an active volcano in its center, lies a few miles to the southwest of Laguna de Bay.
– The mountain rice terraces of northern Luzon’s Cordillera are an UNESCO World Heritage site.
– Ferdinand Magellan was killed in the Philippines.
– The country is the largest exporter of coconuts, bananas and pineapples.
– Boxer Manny Pacquiao is the most famous Filipino.
– The Philippines is the only country in the world that has two official flags. If the country is at war, the national flag is raised everywhere upside down.
– On Easter (more precisely on Good Friday) the most zealous believers nailed themselves to crosses just as Christ was crucified.
– Yo-Yo is the Philippine oldest toy, which originally served as a weapon.
– There is a monument to Pushkin in Manila.