Philippine Literature

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  • Topic: Philippines, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Ferdinand Marcos
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x1.)October 2009
Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs

Beach in Cebu Province, Philippines, April 23, 2006. [© AP Images] PROFILE
Republic of the Philippines

Area: 300,000 sq. km. (117,187 sq. mi.).
Major cities (2007 estimate): Capital--Manila (pop. 11.55 million in metropolitan area); other cities--Davao City (1.36 million); Cebu City (0.80 million). Terrain: Islands, 65% mountainous, with narrow coastal lowlands. Climate: Tropical, astride typhoon belt.

Nationality: Noun--Filipino(s). Adjective--Philippine.
Population (2009 estimate): 92.2 million.
Annual growth rate (2007 estimate): 2.04%.
Ethnic groups: Malay, Chinese.
Religions (based on 2000 census): 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%. Languages: Filipino (based on Tagalog), official national language; English, language of government and instruction in education. Education: Years compulsory--6 (note: 6 years of primary education free and compulsory; 4 years of secondary education free but not compulsory). Attendance (2008)--85% in elementary grades, 62% in secondary grades. Literacy (2003)--93.4%. Health: Infant mortality rate (2006)--24 per 1,000. Life expectancy (2005)--67.80 yrs. for males; 72.50 yrs. for females. Work force (2008): 36.81 million. Services (including commerce and government)--51%; agriculture--34%; industry--15%.

Type: Republic.
Independence: 1946.
Constitution: February 11, 1987.
Branches: Executive--president and vice president. Legislative--bicameral legislature. Judicial--independent. Administrative subdivisions: 16 regions and Metro Manila (National Capital Region), 80 provinces, 120 cities. Political parties: Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats/KAMPI, Nationalist People's Coalition, Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino, Liberal Party, Aksiyon Demokratiko, Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan, and other small parties. Suffrage: Universal, but not compulsory, at age 18.

GDP (2008): $166.9 billion.
Annual GDP growth rate (2008): 3.8% at constant prices.
GDP per capita (2008): $1,841.
Natural resources: Copper, nickel, iron, cobalt, silver, gold. Agriculture: Products--rice, coconut products, sugar, corn, pork, bananas, pineapple products, aquaculture, mangoes, eggs. Industry: Types--textiles and garments, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, wood products, food processing, electronics and semiconductor assembly, petroleum refining, fishing, business process outsourcing services. Trade (2008): Exports--$49.0 billion. Imports--$56.6 billion.

The majority of Philippine people are descendants of Indonesians and Malays who migrated to the islands in successive waves over many centuries and largely displaced the aboriginal inhabitants. The largest ethnic minority now is the mainland Asians (called Chinese), who have played an important role in commerce for many centuries since they first came to the islands to trade. Arabs and Indians also traveled and traded in the Philippines in the first and early second millennium. As a result of intermarriage, many Filipinos have some Asian mainland, Spanish, American, Arab, or Indian ancestry. After the mainland Asians, Americans and Spaniards constitute the next largest minorities in the country.

More than 90% of the people are Christian as a result of the nearly 400 years of Spanish and American rule. The major non-Hispanicized groups are the Muslim population, concentrated in the Sulu Archipelago and in central and western Mindanao, and the mountain aboriginal groups of northern Luzon. Small forest tribes still live in the more remote areas of Mindanao.

About 87 languages and dialects are spoken, most belonging to the Malay-Polynesian linguistic family. Of these, eight are the first languages of more than 85% of the population. The four principal indigenous languages are Cebuano, spoken in the...
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