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  • The Philippines
    About the Republic of the Philippines

    The Philippines stands at the crossroads of the developed western world and the Orient. It lies in the heart of Southeast Asia, stretching more than 1,840 kilometers. Composed of 7,107 islands, the Philippines is readily accessible to the different capitals of the world. Its three main islands are Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

    The South China Sea washes its western shores. Taiwan, China and Hong Kong are northern neighbors and further north is Japan. To the west lie Southeast Asian countries such as Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. An arm of the archipelago reaches out towards Borneo and at its feet stands the chain of Indonesian islands. To the east and south, the waters of the Pacific Ocean sweep its headlands, looking out towards Micronesia and Polynesia.

    The visitor to Metro Manila commonly sees the Philippines as the most westernized of Asian countries and in many ways it is. But there is also a rich underlay of Malay culture beneath the patina of Spanish and American heritage. National cultural life is a happy marriage of many influences, as the indigenous Malay culture is assimilated and adapted to different strains in a practice typical of Malay temperament. An upsurge of Philippine nationalism stimulated a desire to preserve the ancient heritage without restricting its openness to foreign artistic influence.

    Before the Spanish explorers came, Indo-Malays and Chinese merchants had settled here. In 1521 the Spaniards, led by Ferdinand Magellan, discovered the islands. The Spanish conquistadores established a colonial government in Cebu in 1565. They transferred the seat of government to Manila in 1571 and proceeded to colonize the country. The Filipinos resisted and waged Asia's first nationalist revolution in 1896. On June 12, 1898, Emilio Aguinaldo declared the Philippines independent from Spain and proclaimed himself president. After ruling for 333 years, the Spaniards finally left in 1898 and were replaced by the Americans who stayed for 48 years. On July 4, 1946, the Americans recognized Philippine independence.

    The Philippines is the third largest English-speaking country in the world. The country is divided into 3 geographical areas: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. It has 17 regions, 79 provinces, 115 cities, 1,495 municipalities, and 41,956 barangays. (Barangay - The smallest political unit into which cities and municipalities in the Philippines are divided. It is the basic unit of the Philippine political system. It consists of less than 1,000 inhabitants residing within the territorial limit of a city or municipality and administered by a set of elective officials, headed by a barangay chairman (punong barangay).

    Its unique location has made the Philippines the commercial, cultural and intellectual hub of Asia from the dawn of history.

    Anywhere you go in the country today, you will see signs of growth and development. Especially when you go to Bulacan, a province that bespeak the glory of Philippines history.

    Basic Facts About the Philippines
    Country Name: Republic of the Philippines
    Capital City: Manila
    Land Area: 300,439 sq.km.
    Population: 81,159,644 (July 2000 est.)
    Time Zone: GMT + 8 hours
    Climate: Climate is characterized by two seasons: the dry, which starts from November to April, and rainy from May to October.
    Literacy Rate: Simple - 97.36%;
    Functional - 87.28%
    Language/Dialect: English, Filipino.
    Religion: 83% Roman Catholic, 9% Protestant, 5% Muslim, 3% Buddhist and other.

    The Philippine Economy

    Overview:

    Due to the combined effect of the Asian financial crisis and poor weather conditions, GDP growth in 1998 fell to about-0.5% from 5% in 1997, but recovered to about 3% in 1999 and 3.6% in 2000. Upon assuming office, President Arroyo and her Economic Team put in place an economic plan to ensure that the economy is on track for equitable development and sustainable growth. The Philippine Economic Plan comprises a comprehensive set of fiscal discipline measures and market reforms linked to clear targets. This plan recognizes that a stable macroeconomic environment is a pre-requisite to stimulating investment and sustainable growth. It integrates a well-coordinated set of strategic fiscal and monetary policy priorities that support a sound fiscal and debt position, low rates and inflation and healthy current account levels. It also outlines guidelines related to good governance practices that ensure that reforms are effective and long lasting.

    Real GDP (2007): 6.0%

    Real GNP (2002): 5.2%

    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 assembly, petroleum refining, fishing.

    Top 5 Exports: (as % of total exports) z
    Electronic Components (54.0), Apparel and Clothing Accessories (6.8), Ignition Wiring Set (1.5), Woodcrafts and Furniture (1.2), Metal Components (1.2)

    Exports Partners: US 24.9%, Japan 15.0%, Netherlands 8.8%, Taiwan 7.1%, Singapore 7.0% (2002)

    Currency: Philippine Peso (Php or P)

    Exchange Rate: Php47.15/US$ (May 2007)

    International Organization Participation: APEC, ARF, AsDB, ASEAN, CCC, CP, ESCAP, FAO, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, NAM, OAS (observer), OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNMIK, UNTAET, UNU, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO