Philippine Points of Interest
PHILIPPINE’S POINT OF INTEREST
The Philippines, a country in the Asian continent with a population of about 98 million people (2009 census) is one of the must-see countries for tourists. It has so many interesting features including mountains, islands and diverse cultural heritages. There are more than 7000 islands, categorized under these regions: The Luzon in the north, the Mindanao in the south and Samar. The country uses Peso (P) as its currency. Its equivalence with the British pound and the US dollar are 75.64 and 46.56 respectively.
The Philippines, is an archipelago, a cluster or grouping of islands, consisting of 7,107 islands. It has a total land area of around 300,000 km² (116,000 mi²). Its coastline measures approximately 36,289 km (22,553.76 mi), making it the fifth largest coastline in the world. Its neighbouring countries are the island of Borneo (southwest), Taiwan (north), the Mollucas and Sulawesi (south-south west) and Palau (east). The mountains are volcanic in nature. The highest mountain is called mount Apo and measures about 2,954m (9,690ft). Mount Apo is located on the island of Mindanao.
The standard time in Philippine is GMT + 8 hours.
The Philippines were first colonized by Spain, then US of America and lastly, Japan. The capital of the Spanish colony was located at Cebu City. It was a settlement established by the then expedition commander, Miguel Lopez de Legazpi. The Spanish continued to take charge for more than 300 years, until after the Spanish-American war when America took over. The first civilian governor general, William Howard Taft, took his office in 1901. On December 7, 1941, there was a Japanese attack on the US pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Japan overpowered America and began the colonization of Philippines on January 2, 1942, in Manila. Today, The Philippines is an independent nation, marking its annual independence anniversary on June 12.
The first significant human settlement in the country occurred around the later part of the ice age during the Pleistocene epoch. Some inhabitants of the land are of Spanish and American descent. Even before the colonization of Philippine, settlers in the country were mainly Paleolithic hunters who for the search of wild life, found their way to the islands of Philippine. Other migrants were the present-day people of Aeta and Agta tribes and the people of Malay.
The climate in The Philippines is mainly tropical. Annual temperature hovers around 26.5ºC (79.7ºF). The year is divided into three different seasons: tag- init (hot season), which lasts from March to May, tag-ulan (rainy season), which lasts from June to November and tag-lamig (cold season), which lasts from December to February. The lowland areas are usually hot from March to May. It rains much more around the islands (5,000mm/16.404 ft) per annum than in the valleys (1,000mm/3.28 ft) per annum.
Due to the diverse history of the Philippines, there are more than 170 languages in the country. However, only Filipino is considered the official language in the country. The English language is widely used in schools. Although, English is not the official language in Philippines, the country is recorded to be the third largest group of English speaking people. The first two are the United Kingdom and the United States of America.
More than 90% of the population in Philippines are Christians. Only 3% are Buddhists or Atheists and about 5% are Muslims. The majority of Christians are Roman Catholics while the minorities are the Protestants.
The government consists of three main branches: the executive, the legislature and the judiciary. The chief executive is called the president. The president is voted into power by the majority (democracy). The president serves for just one term, which has a length of six years. The legislature is called the congress of the Philippines. The congress is divided into two: The upper house, the Senate, and the Lower house, the House of Representatives. The senate consists of 24 members while the number of people in the house of reps is not more than 260. In the Judiciary, the Supreme Court is the highest tribunal in the government. The head of the Supreme Court is called the Chief Justice. The Chief Justice serves under appointment by the president. Apart from the Supreme Court, there are courts of appeals, courts of the first instance and municipal courts.
Currently, as of early 2010, The Philippines is not doing badly at all when it comes to their economic power. There are facts and figures that speak for themselves. It is the fifth largest economy in South East Asia; it has a mixed economic system; its industries are becoming very significant in the world market; in 2007, it was declared the thirty seventh largest economy in the world. Again, in the same year, its GDP growth rate was 7.3% and in spite of the global economic crisis that hit the world in 2008, its GDP growth rate did not fall below 4.5%. A lot of factors have contributed to these feats. First, the climate is suitable for agriculture. Products from agriculture are harnessed and used in the industries to further boost their economy. Apart from agriculture, the Philippines are technologically sound. They produce electronics and automobile parts for their domestic and international markets. Philippine is also rich in natural resources such as chromite, nickel, copper and natural gas.
It is the responsibility of the president to look into the activities of the press in Philippine. The media consist of newspapers and 225 television stations. The most popular newspapers include the Manila Bulletin and Business World.
Basic education in Philippine is the elementary education. Children go to nursery schools (for 3 years), the primary school (for the next 6-7 years), to the secondary school (4 years) and then to the tertiary institutions (3-5 years). The system is very similar to that of the United States.