Philippines facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Republic of the Philippines

Republika ng Pilipinas
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Coat of arms
Motto: Maka-Diyos, Maka-Tao, Makakalikasan, at Makabansa
("For God, People, Nature, and Country")
Anthem: 
Lupang Hinirang
Location of  Philippines  (green)in ASEAN  (dark grey)  —  [Legend]
Location of  Philippines  (green)

in ASEAN  (dark grey)  —  [Legend]

Capital Manila
Largest city Quezon City
Official languages Filipino (based on Tagalog)
English
Recognised regional languages Bikol, Cebuano, Hiligaynon, Ilokano, Pampango, Pangasinense, Tagalog, Waray
Optional languages Spanish and Arabic
National language Filipino
Demonym(s) Filipino/Filipina
Government Unitary presidential constitutional republic
• President
Rodrigo Duterte (PDP–Laban)
• Vice President
Leni Robredo (LP)
• Senate President
Aquilino Pimentel III
• House Speaker
Pantaleon Alvarez
• Supreme Court Chief Justice
Maria Lourdes A. Sereno
Legislature Congress
Senate
House of Representatives
Independence 
• Established
April 27, 1565
• Declared
June 12, 1898
• Self-government
March 24, 1934
• Recognized
July 4, 1946
• Current constitution
February 2, 1987
Area
• Land
299,764 km2 (115,740 sq mi) (72nd)
• Water (%)
0.61% (inland waters)
Population
• 2015 census
100,981,437
• Density
336.60/km2 (871.8/sq mi) (43rd)
GDP (PPP) 2016 estimate
• Total
$793.193 billion (44rth)
• Per capita
$7,612
GDP (nominal) 2016 estimate
• Total
$310.312 billion
• Per capita
$3,073
Gini (2006) 45.8
medium
HDI (2011) Increase 0.644
medium · 112th
Currency Peso (Filipino: piso)
₱ (PHP)
Time zone UTC+8 (PST)
• Summer (DST)
UTC+8 (not observed)
Driving side right
Calling code +63
ISO 3166 code PH
Internet TLD .ph

The Philippines is an Island country in Southeast Asia in the Pacific Ocean. It has about 7,600 islands. Spain (1521-1898) and the United States (1898-1946), colonized (controlled) the country. The capital city of the Philippines is Manila.

The Philippines and East Timor are the only nations in East Asia where most people practice Christianity. The Philippines achieved independence after the United States left in 1946.

The Philippine Islands are surrounded on the east by the Philippine Sea, on the west by the South China Sea, and on the south by the Celebes Sea. Borneo island is a few hundred kilometers to the southwest, Vietnam is to the west, and Taiwan is directly north. On the eastern side of the Philippine Sea is Palau.

History

Landing Balanguingui
The landing of the Spanish expedition to Sulu by Antonio Brugada.
Knocking Out the Moros. DA Poster 21-48
U.S. soldiers battling with Moro fighters during the Philippine–American War, 1913

Human fossils were found proving that many people settled in the Philippines for thousands of years. The Negritos crossed prehistoric land or ice to settle in the islands' land. Many groups of Austronesian people began to come to the Philippines in the first millennium, pushing the aboriginal population into the interior or perhaps absorbing them through intermarriage.

Chinese merchants arrived in the 8th century. The rise of powerful Buddhist kingdoms enabled trade with the Indonesian archipelago, India, Japan and Southeast Asia. Factional fighting among the kingdoms of Southeast Asia weakened their strength. In the meantime, the spread of Islam through commerce and proselytism, much like Christianity, brought traders and missionaries into the region; Arabs set foot in Mindanao in the 14th century. When the first Europeans arrived, led by Ferdinand Magellan in 1521, there were rajahs as far north as Manila, who historically were tributaries of the kingdoms of Southeast Asia. However, the islands were essentially self-sufficient and self-ruling.

The Spanish led by Conquistador Miguel Lopez de Legazpi claimed and colonized the islands in the 16th century and named it Filipinas after King Philip II of Spain. Roman Catholicism was immediately introduced. The Philippines was ruled from New Spain (Mexico) and a trade began in the 18th century began using galleons across the Pacific Ocean. Some rebellions and violence started in the towns near the ocean and during the next three centuries because of some unfairness of the government.

In 1781, Governor José Basco y Vargas founded the Economic Society of Friends of the Country to make the Philippines independent of New Spain.

The country opened up during the 19th century. The rise of an ambitious, more nationalistic Filipino middle class and the Chinese mestizo community, signaled the end of Spanish colonialism in the islands. Enlightened by the Propaganda Movement to the injustices of the Spanish colonial government, they asked for independence. Jose Rizal, the most famous propagandist, was arrested and put to death in 1896 for acts of subversion. Soon after, the Philippine Revolution broke out, led by the Katipunan, a secret revolutionary society founded by Andres Bonifacio and later led by Emilio Aguinaldo. The revolution nearly succeeded in ousting the Spanish by 1898.

That same year Spain and the United States fought the Spanish-American War, after which Spain gave up the Philippines to the United States for US$20 million. The Filipinos had declared independence by that time and the assertion of American control led to the Philippine-American War that officially ended in 1901, but fighting continued well into 1913. Between 1899 and 1913 the American-Philippines war waged, about one million Philippines and well over 5500 American soldiers (including missionaries& private contractors, military families) lost their lives, tens of thousands more were wounded. Most of the Philippine's casualties came from starvation, injuries, diseases, lack of clean living. Hostilities continued until 1914 when Philippines was promised future independence.

President William McKinley was killed by anarchist Leon Czolgosz because Czolgosz believed president McKinley was against good working people, he considered McKinley responsible for falsifying the reasons for the war, and approving and waging an illegal, devastating Philippines war.

The American regime imposed the English language as the lingua franca in the islands through free public education. The status of the country was turned into that of a US commonwealth in 1935, which provided for more self-governance.

Independence was finally given in 1946, after the World War II. The years right after that had many post-war problems. People were also not happy during the unpopular dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos, who was made to leave the presidency in 1986. Later, the continuing problem of communist insurgency and Moro separatism.

Politics

Duterte delivers his message to the Filipino community in Vietnam during a meeting held at the Intercontinental Hotel on September 28
Rodrigo Duterte, the current President of the Philippines.

The government of the Philippines, is similar to the Government of the United States of America. The President of the Philippines works as the head of state, the head of government, and the commander in chief of the Military of the Philippines and the armed forces. The president is elected by voting just as in America. He stays as the president for 6 years. He is the leader of the cabinet.

The bicameral Philippine legislature, the Congress of the Philippines, consists of the Senate of the Philippines and the House of Representatives of the Philippines; members of both are elected by popular vote. There are 24 senators serving 6 years in the Senate while the House of Representatives consists of no more than 250 congressmen each serving 3-year terms.

The judiciary branch of the government is headed by the Supreme Court of the Philippines, which has a Chief Justice as its head and 14 Associate Justices, all appointed by the president.

The Philippines is a founding and prominent member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). It is also an active participant of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), a member of the Group of 24 and one of the 51 founding members of the United Nations on October 24, 1945.

Regions and Provinces

Qc-welcome-rotonda-2010
Quezon City

Local Government. The parts of Philippines are "local government units" (LGUs). The province is the top unit. There are 79 provinces in the country (2002). In the provinces there are cities and municipalities (towns). In these municipalities there are smaller barangays (villages). The barangay is the smallest local government unit.

All provinces are in 17 regions for administration (organisation). Most government offices have regional offices for the provinces. The regions do not have a separate local government, except for the Muslim Mindanao and Cordillera regions, which have their own power (autonomous government).

Cities

Metro Manila is the most populous of the 3 defined metropolitan areas in the Philippines and the 8th most populous in the world in 2018. Census data from 2015 showed it had a population of 12,877,253 comprising almost 13% of the national population. Including suburbs in the adjacent provinces (Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal) of Greater Manila, the population is around 24,650,000. Across the country, the Philippines has a total urbanization rate of 51.2 percent.

Metro Manila's gross regional product was estimated as of 2009 to be 468.4 billion (at constant 1985 prices) and accounts for 33% of the nation's GDP. In 2011 Manila ranked as the 28th wealthiest urban agglomeration in the world and the 2nd in Southeast Asia.

Geography

Relief Map Of The Philippines
Topography of the Philippines

The Philippines is an archipelago composed of about 7,641 islands with a total land area, including inland bodies of water, of 300,000 square kilometers (115,831 sq mi). The 36,289 kilometers (22,549 mi) of coastline makes it the country with the fifth longest coastline in the world.

The Exclusive economic zone of the Philippines covers 2,263,816 km2 (874,064 sq mi). It is located between 116° 40', and 126° 34' E longitude and 4° 40' and 21° 10' N latitude and is bordered by the Philippine Sea to the east, the South China Sea to the west, and the Celebes Sea to the south. The island of Borneo is located a few hundred kilometers southwest and Taiwan is located directly to the north. The Moluccas and Sulawesi are located to the south-southwest and Palau is located to the east of the islands.

Most of the mountainous islands are covered in tropical rainforest and volcanic in origin. The highest mountain is Mount Apo. It measures up to 2,954 meters (9,692 ft) above sea level and is located on the island of Mindanao. The Galathea Depth in the Philippine Trench is the deepest point in the country and the third deepest in the world. The trench is located in the Philippine Sea.

The longest river is the Cagayan River in northern Luzon. Manila Bay, upon the shore of which the capital city of Manila lies, is connected to Laguna de Bay, the largest lake in the Philippines, by the Pasig River. Subic Bay, the Davao Gulf, and the Moro Gulf are other important bays. The San Juanico Strait separates the islands of Samar and Leyte but it is traversed by the San Juanico Bridge.

Situated on the western fringes of the Pacific Ring of Fire, the Philippines experiences frequent seismic and volcanic activity. The Benham Plateau to the east in the Philippine Sea is an undersea region active in tectonic subduction. Around 20 earthquakes are registered daily, though most are too weak to be felt. The last major earthquake was the 1990 Luzon earthquake.

Mt.Mayon tam3rd
Mayon is the Philippines' most active volcano.

There are many active volcanoes such as the Mayon Volcano, Mount Pinatubo, and Taal Volcano. The eruption of Mount Pinatubo in June 1991 produced the second largest terrestrial eruption of the 20th century. Not all notable geographic features are so violent or destructive. A more serene legacy of the geological disturbances is the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River, the area represents a habitat for biodiversity conservation, the site also contains a full mountain-to-the-sea ecosystem and has some of the most important forests in Asia.

Due to the volcanic nature of the islands, mineral deposits are abundant. The country is estimated to have the second-largest gold deposits after South Africa giving credence to the talk that the Philippines was the Biblical Ophir and the country also has one of the largest copper deposits in the world.

Palladium, originally discovered in South America, was found to have the world's largest deposits in the Philippines too. Romblon island also possesses the most diversified, high quality and hardest marble in the world and is available in at least 7 colors mainly: brown, grey, rust, white, green, black and orange. The country is also rich in nickel, chromite, and zinc.

Geothermal energy is a product of volcanic activity that the Philippines has harnessed more successfully. The Philippines is the world's second-biggest geothermal producer behind the United States, with 18% of the country's electricity needs being met by geothermal power.

Biodiversity

Tarsius syrichta
Philippine tarsier (Tarsius syrichta), one of the smallest primates.

The Philippines' rainforests and its extensive coastlines make it home to a diverse range of birds, plants, animals, and sea creatures. It is one of the ten most biologically megadiverse countries. Around 1,100 land vertebrate species can be found in the Philippines including over 100 mammal species and 170 bird species not thought to exist elsewhere. The Philippines has among the highest rates of discovery in the world with sixteen new species of mammals discovered in the last ten years. Because of this, the rate of endemism for the Philippines has risen and likely will continue to rise. Native mammals include the palm civet cat, the dugong, the cloud rat and the Philippine tarsier associated with Bohol.

Although the Philippines lacks large mammalian predators, it does have some very large reptiles such as pythons and cobras, together with gigantic saltwater crocodiles. The largest crocodile in captivity, known locally as Lolong, was captured in the southern island of Mindanao. The national bird, known as the Philippine eagle, has the longest body of any eagle; it generally measures 86 to 102 cm (2.82 to 3.35 ft) in length and weighs 4.7 to 8.0 kg (10.4 to 17.6 lb). The Philippine eagle is part of the Accipitridae family and is endemic to the rainforests of Luzon, Samar, Leyte and Mindanao.

Rafflesia (R. speciosa) in Miagao
Rafflesia speciosa is endemic to the island of Panay.

Philippine maritime waters encompass as much as 2,200,000 square kilometers (849,425 sq mi) producing unique and diverse marine life, an important part of the Coral Triangle, a territory shared with other countries. The total number of corals and marine fish species was estimated at 500 and 2,400 respectively. New records and species discoveries continuously increase these numbers, underlining the uniqueness of the marine resources in the Philippines. The Tubbataha Reef in the Sulu Sea was declared a World Heritage Site in 1993. Philippine waters also sustain the cultivation of pearls, crabs, and seaweeds. One rare species of oyster, Pinctada maxima which is indigenous to the Philippines, is unique since its pearls are naturally golden in color. The golden pearl from the Pinctada maxima is considered the national gem of the Philippines.

With an estimated 13,500 plant species in the country, 3,200 of which are unique to the islands, Philippine rainforests boast an array of flora, including many rare types of orchids and rafflesia.

Deforestation, often the result of illegal logging, is an acute problem in the Philippines. Forest cover declined from 70% of the Philippines's total land area in 1900 to about 18.3% in 1999. Many species are endangered and scientists say that Southeast Asia, which the Philippines is part of, faces a catastrophic extinction rate of 20% by the end of the 21st century. According to Conservation International, "the country is one of the few nations that is, in its entirety, both a hotspot and a megadiversity country, placing it among the top priority hotspots for global conservation."

Climate

Haiyan Nov 7 2013 1345Z
Typhoon Haiyan, locally known as Super Typhoon Yolanda, is one of the strongest typhoons that hit the Philippines.

The Philippines has a tropical maritime climate that is usually hot and humid. There are three seasons: tag-init or tag-araw, the hot dry season or summer from March to May; tag-ulan, the rainy season from June to November; and tag-lamig, the cool dry season from December to February. The southwest monsoon (from May to October) is known as the Habagat, and the dry winds of the northeast monsoon (from November to April), the Amihan. Temperatures usually range from 21 °C (70 °F) to 32 °C (90 °F) although it can get cooler or hotter depending on the season. The coolest month is January; the warmest is May.

The average yearly temperature is around 26.6 °C (79.9 °F). In considering temperature, location in terms of latitude and longitude is not a significant factor. Whether in the extreme north, south, east, or west of the country, temperatures at sea level tend to be in the same range. Altitude usually has more of an impact. The average annual temperature of Baguio at an elevation of 1,500 meters (4,900 ft) above sea level is 18.3 °C (64.9 °F), making it a popular destination during hot summers.

Sitting astride the typhoon belt, most of the islands experience annual torrential rains and thunderstorms from July to October, with around nineteen typhoons entering the Philippine area of responsibility in a typical year and eight or nine making landfall. Annual rainfall measures as much as 5,000 millimeters (200 in) in the mountainous east coast section but less than 1,000 millimeters (39 in) in some of the sheltered valleys. The wettest known tropical cyclone to impact the archipelago was the July 1911 cyclone, which dropped over 1,168 millimeters (46.0 in) of rainfall within a 24-hour period in Baguio. Bagyo is the local term for a tropical cyclone in the Philippines.

The Philippines is highly exposed to climate change and is among the world's ten countries that are most vulnerable to climate change risks.

Economy

Philippines Export Treemap
A proportional representation of the Philippines' exports, 2012.

The Philippine economy is the 34th largest in the world, with an estimated 2018 gross domestic product (nominal) of $371.8 billion. Primary exports include semiconductors and electronic products, transport equipment, garments, copper products, petroleum products, coconut oil, and fruits.

It's unit of currency is the Philippine peso (₱ or PHP).

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Filipinos planting rice. Agriculture employs 30% of the Filipino workforce as of 2014.

A newly industrialized country, the Philippine economy has been transitioning from one based upon agriculture to an economy with more emphasis upon services and manufacturing.

After World War II, the Philippines was for a time regarded as the second wealthiest in East Asia, next only to Japan. In the 1960s its economic performance started being overtaken. The economy stagnated under the dictatorship of President Ferdinand Marcos as the regime spawned economic mismanagement and political volatility. The country suffered from slow economic growth and bouts of economic recession. Only in the 1990s with a program of economic liberalization did the economy begin to recover.

Service industries such as tourism and business process outsourcing have been identified as areas with some of the best opportunities for growth for the country. Tourism however isn't nearly as successful an industry compared to other countries nearby due to the difficulty of travel across the fragmented geography of the archipelago.

The Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry is composed of eight sub-sectors, namely, knowledge process outsourcing and back offices, animation, call centers, software development, game development, engineering design, and medical transcription. The IT-BPO industry plays a major role in the country's growth and development. The Philippines has recently eclipsed India as the main center of BPO services in the world.

Science and technology

Rice in the Lab
An IRRI researcher studying rice DNA under ultraviolet light.

The Philippines has pursued efforts to improve the field of science and technology.

Research organizations include the International Rice Research Institute, an international independent research and training organization established in 1960 with headquarters in Los Baños, Laguna, focusing on the development of new rice varieties and rice crop management techniques to help farmers in the country improve their lives.

Tourism

Big lagoon entrance, Miniloc island - panoramio
Limestone cliffs of El Nido, Palawan.

The country's rich biodiversity is one of the main tourist attractions with its beaches, mountains, rainforests, islands and diving spots among the most popular tourist destinations. As an archipelago consisting of about 7,500 islands, the Philippines has numerous beaches, caves and other rock formations. Boracay has glaring white sand beaches and was named as the best island in the world by Travel + Leisure in 2012. The Banaue Rice Terraces in Ifugao, the historic town of Vigan in Ilocos Sur, the Chocolate Hills in Bohol, Magellan's Cross in Cebu and the Tubbataha Reef in Visayas are other highlights.

The Philippines is also one of the favorite retirement destinations for foreigners due to its warm climate all year round, beaches and low cost of living.

Transportation

Tarlac Expressway - panoramio (2)
A section of the Tarlac–Pangasinan–La Union Expressway.

Transportation infrastructure in the Philippines is relatively underdeveloped. This is partly due to mountainous terrain and the scattered geography of the islands, but also the result of consistently low investment in infrastructure by successive governments.

Buses, jeepneys, taxis, and motorized tricycles are commonly available in major cities and towns. In 2007, there were about 5.53 million registered motor vehicles with registrations increasing at an average annual rate of 4.55%.

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines manages airports and implementation of policies regarding safe air travel with 85 public airports operational as of 2014.

Expressways and highways are mostly located on the island of Luzon including the Pan-Philippine Highway, connecting the islands of Luzon, Samar, Leyte, and Mindanao, the North Luzon Expressway, South Luzon Expressway, and the Subic–Clark–Tarlac Expressway. The Cebu–Cordova Link Expressway in Cebu will be the first expressway outside Luzon, to be finished by 2021.

MRT-2 Train Santolan 1
A Line 2 train at Santolan station.

Rail transport in the Philippines only plays a role in transporting passengers within Metro Manila, the province of Laguna, and some parts of the Bicol Region. Freight transport was almost non-existent. As of 2019, the country had a railway footprint of only 79 kilometers, which it had plans to expand up to 244 kilometers. Railway lines that are under-construction include the 4 km Line 2 East Extension Project (2020), the 22.8 km Line 7 (2020), the 25 km Line 9 (Metro Manila Subway) (2025), and the 109 km PNR North-South Commuter Railway which is divided into several phases, with partial operations to begin in 2022. A multitude of other railway lines are planned.

Balatik, a paraw from the Tao Expedition, Philippines
A reconstructed sail-driven Visayan paraw, a type of bangka

As an archipelago, inter-island travel using watercraft is often necessary. This is traditionally done by small to medium-sized double-outrigger (trimaran) vessels, ranging from dugouts to plank-built vessels. Although highly diverse, they are collectively known as bangka (also baroto, baloto, or paraw; archaic: balangay, sakayan, biray, biroko, etc.). Bangka were originally propelled by sails. Since the 1970s, however, the sails have almost completely been replaced by motor engines. These motorized bangka are usually referred to as "pump boats" in Philippine English. Other traditional Filipino boat types have mostly gone extinct or are in danger of disappearing, like the once abundant casco barges and guilalo cargo ships. But the bangka remain the most ubiquitous type of watercraft in the Philippines, even in modern times, due to their stability, speed, and ability to navigate even shallow coral reefs.

The busiest seaports are Manila, Batangas, Subic, Cebu, Iloilo, Davao, Cagayan de Oro, and Zamboanga. 2GO Travel and Sulpicio Lines serve Manila, with links to various cities and towns through passenger vessels. The 919-kilometer (571 mi) Strong Republic Nautical Highway (SRNH), an integrated set of highway segments and ferry routes covering 17 cities was established in 2003. The Pasig River Ferry Service serves the major rivers in Metro Manila, including the Pasig River and Marikina River having numerous stops in Manila, Makati, Mandaluyong, Pasig and Marikina.

People

Tinikling Dance
Tinikling dance as performed on stage.

Around 94 million people live in the Philippines as of 2010. Most people in the Philippines are of Austronesian stock. The ethnic Chinese, who have helped run businesses since the 9th century, also live in the country. The Negritos live in the mountains of Luzon and Visayas. Luzon has a lot of mestizo people, a Spanish term for someone of mixed Hispanic and native blood.

The people of the Philippines are known as Filipinos. Filipinos are divided into many groups, the three largest are the Tagalogs, Cebuanos, and the Ilocanos. When the Philippines was a colony, the term "Filipino" used to mean the Spanish and Spanish-mixed minority. But now everyone who is a citizen/national of the Philippines is called "Filipino". Even then, it is still has the most diverse ethnic groups in Asia, the other being Indonesia. People also call Filipinos "Pinoy" for short.

Languages

Jose rizal 01
José Rizal, a pioneer of Philippine Revolution through his literary works in Spanish language

Filipino and English are the official languages. Filipino is based largely on Tagalog, a native language spoken in Metro Manila and neighboring provinces. The Filipino language, is a cousin of the Malay language. Other local languages and dialects are Cebuano and Ilocano and many others. English is used in government, schools and business. Other languages are Chinese which is spoken by the ethnic Chinese population and the Chinese-Filipinos. Most of the Muslims living deep in southern Mindanao and the smaller islands off of the southern Philippine mainland near Malaysia's northeastern tip. They also speak Arabic as a second language but to a very small extent. Spanish, once the official language of the Philippines in the 1970s is also spoken by a notable minority by Filipinos.

Culture

Ati-Atihan Festival Participant
A participant of the Ati-Atihan Festival.

Philippine culture is a combination of Eastern and Western cultures. The Philippines exhibits aspects found in other Asian countries with a Malay heritage, yet its culture also displays a significant number of Spanish and American influences.

Traditional festivities known as barrio fiestas (district festivals) to commemorate the feast days of patron saints are common, these community celebrations are times for feasting, music, and dancing. The Ati-Atihan, Moriones and Sinulog festivals are a couple of the most well-known.

Some traditions, however, are changing or gradually being forgotten due to modernization. The Bayanihan Philippine National Folk Dance Company has been lauded for preserving many of the various traditional folk dances found throughout the Philippines. They are famed for their iconic performances of Philippine dances such as the tinikling and singkil that both feature clashing bamboo poles.

One of the most visible Hispanic legacies is the prevalence of Spanish names and surnames among Filipinos; a Spanish name and surname, however, does not necessarily denote Spanish ancestry. This peculiarity, unique among the people of Asia, came as a result of a colonial edict by Governor-General Narciso Clavería y Zaldua, which ordered the systematic distribution of family names and implementation of Hispanic nomenclature on the population. The names of many streets, towns, and provinces are also in Spanish.

CCP Main Theaterx
Tanghalang Pambansa (National Theater) of the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

The common use of the English language is an example of the American impact on Philippine society. It has contributed to the ready acceptance and influence of American pop cultural trends. This affinity is seen in Filipinos' love of fast food and American film and music. Fast food outlets are found on many street corners. American global fast food chain stalwarts have entered the market, but local fast food chains like Goldilocks and most notably Jollibee, the leading fast food chain in the country, have emerged and compete successfully against their foreign rivals.

Architecture

Calle Crisologo, Vigan Ilocos Sur
Colonial houses in Vigan.

Spanish architecture has left an imprint in the Philippines in the way many towns were designed around a central square or plaza mayor, but many of the buildings bearing its influence were demolished during World War II. Some examples remain, mainly among the country's churches, government buildings, and universities. Four Philippine baroque churches are included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the San Agustín Church in Manila, Paoay Church in Ilocos Norte, Nuestra Señora de la Asunción (Santa María) Church in Ilocos Sur, and Santo Tomás de Villanueva Church in Iloilo. Vigan in Ilocos Sur is also known for the many Hispanic-style houses and buildings preserved there.

The American occupation in 1898 introduced a new breed of architectural structures in the Philippines. This led to the construction of government buildings and Art Deco theaters. During the American period, some semblance of city planning using the architectural designs and master plans by Daniel Burnham was done on the portions of the city of Manila. Part of the Burnham plan was the construction of government buildings that resembled Greek or Neoclassical architecture. In Iloilo, a lot of the colonial edifices constructed during the American occupation in the country can still be seen. Commercial buildings, houses and churches in that era are abundant in the city and especially in Calle Real.

However, certain areas of the country like Batanes have slight differences as both Spanish and Filipino ways of architecture assimilated differently due to the climate. Limestones and coral were used as building materials. Idjangs or Ivatan castles were the primary shelter of the people prior to the Spanish conquest of the whole Philippines.

Music

Philippine culture harana 0
The harana serenade tradition, incorporating romantic folk music of the Filipinos

Philippine music has evolved rapidly due to the different influences stemming from colonialism under other countries. Before the Spanish conquest of the islands, most music was reminiscent of, or heavily influenced by, nature. Some examples of this tribal music is Koyu No Tebulul of the T'boli and Ambo Hato of the Ifugao. This genre is often accompanied by gong music and one well known instrument is the Kulintang.

During the Spanish era Rondalya music, where traditional string orchestra mandolin type instruments were used, was widespread. In the Philippines, Rondalya refers to any group of stringed instruments that are played using a plectrum or pick. Filipino instruments are made from indigenous Philippine wood; plectrums, or picks, are made from tortoise-shell. Other stringed instruments composing the standard Filipino rondalla are the 14-string bandurria found only in the Philippines, the laúd, the octavina, the Twelve-string guitar, the Ukulele, the bajo de uñas or double bass, the Guitarrón mexicano, and other Filipino-made instruments modeled and developed after the guitar. Harana and Kundiman are prevalent during this time wherein these songs are often used in courtship rituals.

Nowadays, American pop culture has a heavy hold on the Filipinos that evolved from the Spanish times when the American occupation happened. Along with Korean pop, these two are dominating the recent music scene in media. However, the revival of Spanish-influence folk music has been possible thanks to the different choir groups coming in and going out of the country, such as the Philippine Madrigal Singers.

Dance

Zamboanga Restaurant (10 of 16)
Singkil, a Pre-Hispanic dance depicting the Maranao nobility.
Folklore of the popular heritage of the State of the Philippines 05
Cariñosa, a Hispanic era dance for traditional Filipino courtship.

Just like the evolution of Philippine music, dance as well has been in constant change. Prior to colonial rule, the Philippines had a wide array of ethnic dances from different tribal groups. This was due mainly to the fact that Philippines is an archipelago thus the different varieties of dance developed. Both Luzon and Visayas, at first, were more akin to tribal movements until the Spanish came. Mindanao represents more of an array of Muslim inspired dances and Spanish influence was limited to the region of Zamboanga.

Universal dances in the Philippines are found at societal functions such as rituals, mimicry, life cycle and parties. During the Spanish era, most dances were accompanied by Rondalya music usually with 14-string bandurrias that the Filipinos invented or by other type of stringed instruments that locally evolved in to the culture as well.

One famous dance that is well known is called the Tinikling, where a band of Rondalya musicians play along with the percussive beat of the two bamboo poles. It usually starts with men and women acting a scene about "How rural townsfolk mingle". The dancers then graze thru the clashing of the bamboo poles held on opposite sides. The end displays the paired bamboo poles crossing each other. The Muslim version of this where bamboo poles are also used is called the Singkil.

Cariñosa is a Hispanic Filipino dance, unofficially considered as the "National Dance of the Philippines". It is a courtship dance which involves a woman holding a fan or a handkerchief, where it plays an instrumental role as it places the couple in romance scenario.

Nowadays, in the Modern and Post-Modern time periods, dances may vary from the delicate ballet up to the more street-oriented styles of breakdancing to name a few.

Visual art

The Bulol
Banaue Ifugao rice god (bulol) carved from wood.
Spolarium
The Spoliarium (1884) by Juan Luna.

Pottery and weaving are among the very first art forms showcasing Filipino artistic design and are evident from cave dwellings all over the country. Among these are mostly anthropomorphic earthenware jars dating from c. 5 BC to 225 AD. Weaving was mostly done by women, using fibers from abaca, pineapple, cotton, and bark to make clothes, rugs and hats. Baskets were mostly utilized to carry grain and other foods.

Values

As a general description, the distinct value system of Filipinos is rooted primarily in personal alliance systems, especially those based in kinship, obligation, friendship, religion (particularly Christianity), and commercial relationships.

Filipino values are, for the most part, centered around maintaining social harmony, motivated primarily by the desire to be accepted within a group. The main sanction against diverging from these values are the concepts of "Hiya", roughly translated as 'a sense of shame', and "Amor propio" or 'self-esteem'. Social approval, acceptance by a group, and belonging to a group are major concerns. Caring about what others will think, say or do, are strong influences on social behavior among Filipinos.

Other elements of the Filipino value system are optimism about the future, pessimism about present situations and events, concern and care for other people, the existence of friendship and friendliness, the habit of being hospitable, religious nature, respectfulness to self and others, respect for the female members of society, the fear of God, and abhorrence of acts of cheating and thievery.

Cuisine

Clockwise from top left: Lumpia, Adobo, Halo-halo and Sisig.

Filipino cuisine has evolved over several centuries from its Malayo-Polynesian origins to become a mixed cuisine with many Hispanic, Chinese, American, and other Asian influences that have been adapted to local ingredients and the Filipino palate to create distinctively Filipino dishes. Dishes range from the very simple, like a meal of fried salted fish and rice, to the elaborate, such as the paellas and cocidos created for fiestas.

Popular dishes include lechón, adobo, sinigang, kare-kare, tapa, crispy pata, pancit, lumpia, and halo-halo. Some common local ingredients used in cooking are calamansi, coconuts, saba (a kind of short wide plantain), mangoes, ube, milkfish, and fish sauce. Filipino taste buds tend to favor robust flavors, but the cuisine is not as spicy as those of its neighbors.

Unlike many Asians, most Filipinos do not eat with chopsticks; they use Western cutlery. However, possibly due to rice being the primary staple food and the popularity of a large number of stews and main dishes with broth in Filipino cuisine, the main pairing of utensils seen at the Filipino dining table is that of spoon and fork, not knife and fork.

The traditional way of eating with the hands known as kamayan (using the washed right hand for bringing food to the mouth) was previously more often seen in the less urbanized areas. However, due to the various Filipino restaurants that introduced Filipino food to people of other nationalities as well as to Filipino urbanites, kamayan fast became popular. This recent trend also sometimes incorporates the "Boodle Fight" concept (as popularized and coined by the Philippine Army), wherein banana leaves are used as giant plates on top of which rice portions and Filipino viands are placed all together for a filial, friendly and/or communal kamayan feasting.

Sports

Smart Araneta Coliseum Basketball setup
A PBA game at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Various sports and pastimes are popular in the Philippines including basketball, boxing, volleyball, football (soccer), American football, both codes of Rugby football, badminton, karate, taekwondo, billiards, ten-pin bowling, chess, and sipa. Motocross, cycling, and mountaineering are also becoming popular.

Basketball is played at both amateur and professional levels and is considered to be the most popular sport in the Philippines.

In 2010, Manny Pacquiao was named "Fighter of the Decade" for the 2000s (decade) by the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA), World Boxing Council (WBC), and World Boxing Organization (WBO). The national martial art and sport of the country is Arnis, Eskrima or Kali in some regions.

The Philippines has participated in the Summer Olympic Games since 1924 and was the first country in Southeast Asia to compete and win a medal. The country had competed in every Summer Olympic Games since then, except when they participated in the American-led boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics. The Philippines is also the first tropical nation to compete at the Winter Olympic Games debuting in the 1972 edition.

Games

COLLECTIE TROPENMUSEUM Speelbord voor mancala spel TMnr 45-318
Sungka, a traditional Filipino game.

Traditional Philippine games such as luksung baka, patintero, piko, and tumbang preso are still played primarily as children's games among the youth. Sungka is a traditional native Philippine board game. Card games are popular during festivities, with some, including pusoy and tong-its, being used as a form of illegal gambling. Mahjong is played in some Philippine communities.

Sabong or cockfighting is another popular entertainment especially among Filipino men, and existed prior to the arrival of the Spanish. Antonio Pigafetta, Magellan's chronicler, first documented this pastime in the kingdom of Taytay.

The yo-yo, a popular toy in the Philippines, was introduced in its modern form by Pedro Flores with its name coming from the Ilocano language.

Religion

St. Agustine Paoay Church 02
The historical Paoay Church in Ilocos Norte. Declared as a National Cultural Treasure by the Philippine government in 1973 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site under the collective group of Baroque Churches of the Philippines in 1993.

Most of the people in the Philippines are Christians. About 92% of the people are Christians. Most people in the Philippines belong to the Roman Catholic faith (70%). A sizable percentage of the people are Protestants (many diverse Christian denominations) (17%), Members Church of God International (3%), Iglesia ni Cristo (2%), Muslims (5-10%), Buddhists (2%). There are also some Hindus and some other minor religions with fewer adherents (6.6%).

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Philippines Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.