About the Philippines. Essay

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The Philippines is located in the southeastern portion of Asia. Her neighbor on the north is the Republic of China (Taiwan or Formosa), while on the west is Communist Vietnam. Further west is Thailand. Immediately to the south of the Philippines is Indonesia and to the southwest are Malaysia and Singapore. The Philippines is separated from her nearby Asian neighbors by several bodies of water. They are the Pacific Ocean on the east, the South China Sea on the north and west, and the Celebes Sea and the coastal waters of Borneo on the south. I. LAND AND ITS PEOPLE

The Philippines is an archipelago of 7,107 islands and islets. The biggest islands are Luzon, with a land area of 40,530 square miles (105,000 square kilometers); Mindanao, 36,670 square miles (95,000 square kilometers); Palawan, 5,749.86 square miles (14, 896 square kilometers); Negros, 5,278.55 square miles (13,675 square kilometers); and Samar, 5,183.59 square miles (13,429 square kilometers). She has a rugged land mass and, similarly, she has an irregular coastline, which is twice as long as that of the continental U.S.A. This irregularity has resulted in numerous fine harbors and landlocked straights that can accommodate large ships. They can also be a refuge of ships in distress during stormy weather. The land surface is 115,800 square miles (300,000 square kilometers). Land forms include hills, plains, valleys, and mountains. Her mountain ranges, which are volcanic in origin, are drained by small river systems. There are seven major mountain ranges. The largest and longest is Sierra Madre, which faces the Pacific Ocean on the eastern coast of Luzon. The highest peak is Mt. Apo, a volcano in Davao del Sur Province. It has an elevation of 9,691.60 feet (2,954 meters). Three Major Islands. The three major geographical groups in the country are Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Luzon comprises the northern portion of the archipelago. The Visayan region has about 6,000 islands including Leyte, Cebu, Samar, and Bohol. Mindanao is the second largest land and encompasses about 400 small islands. These islands are divided into provinces, which are run like states in the United States. Each province is ruled by a governor, a vice governor, and members of the provincial board. Each province is composed of cities, towns, and barrios. Several “Pinatubos.” There are several volcanos in the Philippines. These have been one of the natural causes of destruction to life and property for centuries. At least 10 are considered active. The most famous are Iraya on Batanes Island; Taal in Batangas; Banahaw in Quezon; Mayon in Albay; and Hibok-Hibok on the Camiguin Islands; Makaturing in Lanao; Apo in Davao, and Mt. Pinatubo in Zambales. Mt. Pinatubo has gained notoriety as being the most destructive volcano in the world. It lay dormant before it erupted in June 1991. It directly and indirectly caused damage to public and private property in the provinces of Zambales, Bataan, and Pampanga, including the Clark Air Force Base in Angeles City, Pampanga Province. Its ashes spread all over the world, causing global warming, damage to the ozone layer, and adverse effects on communications. After six years of eruption, the lahar deposits along the volcano still cascade down the slopes after heavy rains. They continue to take lives, destroy bridges and roads, and defy billion-peso dikes built to contain lahar flows. These lahar flows are expected to last for five or more years, according to volcanologists. The Philippines lies within the Pacific seimic belt, which is why she experiences severer earthquakes. Christian Groups. The people of the Philippines number about 73,265,584 (July 1995 estimate). There are several ethnic groups and more than 65 so-called cultural minorities in the Philippines, which speak their own dialects or languages. Among these ethnic groups are the Tagalog, the Ilocano, the Pangasinanian, the Pampangue?o, the Bicolano, the Cebuano, the Ilongo, and the Waray-Waray....
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