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PHILIPPINES: The Noble Creation
DISCOVER PHILIPPINES

Vigan

Baguio

Manila

Tagaytay

Cebu

Bohol

Alona Beach

 

The Philippines is an archipelagic nation located in Southeast Asia, with Manila as its capital city. The Philippine archipelago comprises 7,107 islands in the western Pacific Ocean, bordering countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Palau and the Republic of China, although it is the only Southeast Asian country to share no land borders with its neighbors.  The country has a total land area of 300,439 square kilometers and is about the size of Italy or Arizona. It lies between latitude 5 deg N and 21 deg N and longitude 116 deg E and 127 deg E.

The Philippines is divided into three island groups: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. These are divided into 17 regions, 81 provinces, 136 cities, 1,494 municipalities and 41,995 barangays. Only about 7% of the islands are larger than one square mile, and only one-third have names. The largest are Luzon in the north (40,420 sq mi; 104,687 sq km), Mindanao in the south (36,537 sq mi; 94,631 sq km), and Samar (5,124 sq mi; 13,271 sq km). The islands are of volcanic origin, with the larger ones crossed by mountain ranges. The highest peak is Mount Apo (9,690 ft; 2,954 m) on Mindanao.

HISTORY

Archeological and paleontological discoveries show that Homo sapiens existed in Palawan circa 50,000 BC. The aboriginal people of the Philippines, the Negritos, are an Australo-Melanesian people, which arrived in the Philippines at least 30,000 years ago. The Austronesians, who originated from populations of Taiwanese aboriginals that migrated from mainland Asia approximately 6000 years ago, colonized the Philippine islands and eventually migrated to Indonesia, Malaysia and, soon after, to the Polynesian islands and Madagascar.

The Philippines had trade relations with China and Japan, and strong cultural ties with India through neighboring present-day Malaysia and Indonesia as early as the ninth to twelfth centuries.

Ferdinand Magellan, the Portuguese navigator in the service of Spain, explored the Philippines in 1521. Twenty-one years later, a Spanish exploration party named the group of islands in honor of Prince Philip, who was later to become Philip II of Spain. Spain retained possession of the islands for the next 350 years.

The Philippines were ceded to the U.S. in 1899 by the Treaty of Paris after the Spanish-American War. Meanwhile, the Filipinos, led by Emilio Aguinaldo, had declared their independence. They initiated guerrilla warfare against U.S. troops that persisted until Aguinaldo's capture in 1901. By 1902, peace was established except among the Islamic Moros on the southern island of Mindanao.

The first U.S. civilian governor-general was William Howard Taft (1901–1904). The Jones Law (1916) established a Philippine legislature composed of an elective Senate and House of Representatives. The Tydings-McDuffie Act (1934) provided for a transitional period until 1946, at which time the Philippines would become completely independent. Under a constitution approved by the people of the Philippines in 1935, the Commonwealth of the Philippines came into being with Manuel Quezon y Molina as president.

On Dec. 8, 1941, the islands were invaded by Japanese troops. Following the fall of Gen. Douglas MacArthur's forces at Bataan and Corregidor, Quezon instituted a government-in-exile that he headed until his death in 1944. He was succeeded by Vice President Sergio Osmeña. U.S. forces under MacArthur reinvaded the Philippines in Oct. 1944 and, after the liberation of Manila in Feb. 1945, Osmeña reestablished the government.

The Philippines achieved full independence on July 4, 1946. Manuel A. Roxas y Acuña was elected its first president, succeeded by Elpidio Quirino (1948–1953), Ramón Magsaysay (1953–1957), Carlos P. García (1957–1961), Diosdado Macapagal (1961–1965), Ferdinand E. Marcos (1965–1986), Corazon Aquino (1986-1992), Gen. Fidel Ramos (1992-1998), Joseph Estrada (1998-2001), and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (2001-present).

 

CLIMATE
March to May is hot and dry. June to October is rainy, November to February is cool. Average temperatures: 78°F / 25°C to 90°F / 32°C; humidity is 77%.

LANGUAGES
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.  Eight (8) major dialects spoken by majority of the Filipinos: Tagalog, Cebuano, Ilocano, Hiligaynon or Ilonggo, Bicol, Waray, Pampango, and Pangasinense. There are about 76 to 78 major language groups, with more than 500 dialects.

ELECTRICITY
220 volts a/c is the common standard. 110 volts a/c is also used, especially in major hotels.

CURRENCY
The Philippines' monetary unit is the peso, divided into 100 centavos. Foreign currency may be exchanged at any hotels, most large department stores, banks, and authorized money changing shops accredited by the Central Bank of the Philippines. International credit cards such as Visa, Diners Club, Bank Americard, Master Card, and American Express are accepted in major establishments.

 
   
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