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The Philippines is an island country in Southeast Asia. It is a unitary republic with a presidential government. There are 175 estimated spoken languages.

Geography

The Philippines is an archipelago that has 7,641 islands, 300,000 square kilometers (115,831 sq mi) of bodies of water. Its 36,289 kilometers (22,549 mi) of coastline makes it the country with the 5th longest coastline in the world. 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. Mountain areas are covered in tropical rainforests.

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.

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 and one of the largest copper deposits in the world. It is also rich in nickel, chromite, and zinc. Despite this, poor management, high population density, and environmental consciousness have resulted in these mineral resources remaining largely untapped. 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.

Politics and government

The government Philippines is composed of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches, with checks and balances on each other. The President, who is elected, is the highest executive official. The legislative branch is a bicameral Congress consisting of a Senate and a House of Representatives. The Supreme Court, is the highest judicial body, and acts as the final arbiter of the legal validity of any executive or legislative policy.[1]

Presidential elections are held every six years. Congressional and local elections are held in the years of presidential elections and three years before and after them. Oftentimes, weeks pass before the official election results are officials. Counting takes so long because much of it is done manually. Elections in the Philippines are the arena in which the country's elite families compete for political power. The wealthiest clans contest national and provincial offices. Less wealthy compete for municipal offices. In the barangays, where most people are equally poor, election grants social prestige but no real power or money.[2]

Culture

The Philippines is a country that has varied cultural influences. Most of these influences came from previous colonization, deriving mostly from the cultures of Spain and the United States. There are 175 estimated spoken languages, with almost all being classified as Malayo-Polynesian. Among those languages, there are 13 indigenous languages with roughly 1 million speakers. [3]

References

  1. "Philippines - Politics, government, and taxation". Encyclopedia of the Nations. http://www.nationsencyclopedia.com/economies/Asia-and-the-Pacific/Philippines-POLITICS-GOVERNMENT-AND-TAXATION.html. 
  2. "Elections in the Philippines: Electoral System, Irregularities and Violence". Facts and Details. http://factsanddetails.com/southeast-asia/Philippines/sub5_6f/entry-3903.html. 
  3. "The Philippines: Culture and Tradition". Globalization Partners International. http://blog.globalizationpartners.com/the-philippines-culture-and-tradition.aspx.