COUNTRY NAME: Republic of the Philippines FORM OF GOVERNMENT: Democratic CAPITAL: Metro Manila
The PHILIPPINES is located in Southeast Asia & is Asia’s First Democratic country. It is the third largest English-speaking nation in the world after USA & UK with 90M population and 95% literacy rate. Philippines is the world’s largest exporter of Nurses & second largest exporter of Doctors after India. It is also one of the world’s largest exporter of Marine Engineers, Ship Captains & Officers.
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 conquistadors 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. 1902 was the beginning of the American era, a period characterized by the expansion of public education, advances in health care and the introduction of democratic government. The outbreak of war in the Pacific in 1941 disrupted American rule. Manila was declared an open city and the Americans withdrew their defenses. For three years, Manila was occupied by the Japanese imperial forces. Life at that time was made difficult by strict Japanese military rule. When the American troops entered Manila to liberate it, they had to bomb the city to dislodge the tenacious Japanese. Manila was devastated. On July 4, 1946, the Americans recognized Philippine independence.
The Philippine archipelago is geographically located between latitude 4023’N and 21025’N and longitude 1160E and 1270E. It is composed of 7,107 islands, with a land area of 299,764 sq.kilometers. Its length measures 1,850 kilometers, starting from the point near the southern tip of Taiwan and ending close to northern Borneo. Its breadth is about 965 kilometers. The Philippine coastline adds up to 17,500 km. Three prominent bodies of water surround the archipelago: the Pacific Ocean on the east, the South China Sea on the west and north, and the Celebes Sea on the south. This position accounts for much of the variations in geographic, climatic and vegetation conditions in the country.The country has over a hundred ethnic groups and a mixture of foreign influences which have molded a unique Filipino culture.
The Philippines’ fertile land accounts for the more than 900 species of orchids representing 100 genera that have been found. The sampaguita is the national flower. Among the country’s fauna are some endangered species like the Philippine Eagle, the tarsier, and the mouse deer.
Metro Manila is strategically located in the middle of Luzon, on the eastern coast of Manila Bay and at the mouth of the Pasig River, sprawled over an area of 626 sq.km. Manila sits in the middle of a swampy deltaic plain formed by accumulated sedimentary deposits from the Pasig River and other streams.
GMT + 8 hours. Check out the Philippine Standard Time
The Philippines has a tropical climate with relatively abundant rainfall and gentle winds. There are three pronounced seasons: the wet or rainy season from June to October, the cool, dry season from November to February, and the hot, dry season from March to May.
Temperature in Manila ranges from 21°C to 32°C with a 27°C average. The coolest month is January and the warmest is May. Both temperature and humidity levels reach the maximum in April and May, but these are generally good months for aquasports and mountain trekking. Some of the most colorful festivals are held during these months
Two official languages – Filipino and English. Filipino, which is based on Tagalog, is the national language. English is also widely used and is the medium of instruction in higher education.
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.
Philippine education is patterned after the American system, with English as the medium of instruction. Schools are classified into public (government) or private (non-government). The educational ladder in the Philippines has a 6-4-4 structure, that is, six years of elementary or primary education , four years of secondary education, and another four years of tertiary education for a degree program (except for some courses like Engineering, Law and Medical Sciences which require five or more years of schooling). Graduate schooling is an additional two years.
Classes in Philippine schools start in June and end in March. Most Colleges and Universities follow the Semester Calendar from June-October and November-March. There are a number of foreign schools with study programs similar to those of the mother country.
Higher Education is divided into Collegiate, Masters and Doctorate levels in various programs or disciplines. Foreign students are allowed to pursue higher education in some 150 colleges and universities in the Philippines. A list of these schools, colleges and universities authorized to accept foreign students is available in Philippine Embassies and Consulates.