Origin and Culture
Majority of the population are from the Malay stock.
Long before it was "discovered" in 1521 by the explorer Ferdinand
Magellan, the archipelago - eventually named the Philippines after King Philip
II of Spain - already had trading relations with the flourishing civilizations
in the region. Spanish rule lasted for 333 years. American colonial rule followed
and lasted for nearly 50 years. Many aspects of Philippine culture today reflect
this varied cultural heritage.
The Philippines has one of the highest literacy
rates in the world. At 94%, its literacy rate is the highest in Southeast
Asia, and higher than Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Education is culturally very important to the Filipino, and is usually
regarded as a means of moving up the social ladder. This importance can
be seen in the number of schools and students in the country. Elementary
schools numbered 39,312 in 2002 and secondary schools, 7,128. In school
year 2001 - 2002, a total of 12.7 million students were enrolled in the
elementary level, and 5.2 million in the secondary level.
The Philippines is one of the Asian countries with an edge in number of
universities, colleges and institutions of higher learning. Colleges and
institutes number about 1,389 and universities at about 100. Total enrollment
in the tertiary level for school year 2001 - 2002 was estimated at 2.2
Language and Skills
English is widely spoken and is the medium of communication
in business and higher education. The Spanish and Chinese languages are
also spoken by a small minority. Filipinos are highly trainable and adept
at producing medium- to hightech products. Both skilled and unskilled
workers consistently rate well in quality of work per surveys of executives
in the Asian region. The people have also recognized management capabilities,
computer skills, craftsmanship, and design artistry.
Christianity is the predominant religion in the country,
with the Roman Catholics comprising a major portion of the population.
Dominant Protestant denominations include Baptists, Methodists, and Lutherans.
Locally established Christian churches, namely, the Iglesia ni Kristo
and the Philippine Independent Church, together with Islam and Buddhism,
comprise less than 15% of the population.
Based on preliminary results of the year 2002
national census, the country's total population has reached 79.5 million,
and is estimated to increase at an annual rate of 2.0% from 2000 to 2005.
With a total land area of 300,000 square kilometers, the country has a
population density of 251 persons per square kilometer. Urban population,
which has steadily increased over the last three decades, was counted
at roughly 44.4 million, around 60% of total population. As of July 2002,
the size of the labor force was estimated at 32.1 million, composed of
persons age 15 years old and over. Of this number, 88% are employed.
The Philippine archipelago lies off the southeastern
coast of mainland Asia. The Pacific Ocean bounds it on the east, the Celebes
Sea on the south, and the South China Sea on the west and north.
The Philippines is made up of 7,100 islands and islets, making it one
of the largest archipelagos in the world. The islands are grouped into
three geographic areas: Luzon, the biggest island group where the capital
city of Manila is located, Visayas, and Mindanao.
Topography is varied, consisting of lowlands, high mountain areas, and
a coastline of 18,411 kilometers on which there are 60 natural harbors.
Manila Bay, considered the country's premier seaport facility, has an
area of 1,970 square kilometers and a coastline of 192 kilometers.
The country has two distinct seasons: the dry season, from November to
May, and the wet season, which covers the rest of the year. The different
parts of the country experience varied weather conditions because of the
general airstreams that cross the islands, namely, the monsoons and tradewinds.
The average annual rainfall in the Philippines is about 2,030 millimeters.
Temperature ranges from 23-32 degrees centigrade and humidity varies from
70%-85%, depending on the time of year.