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20 Facts about the Philippines

November 14th, 2013

The devastating Typhoon Haiyan that has battered central Philippines has left tens of thousands of
people dead and hundreds of thousands without shelter, food and basic amenities. In light of this
tragic disaster here are some facts we would like to share about Philippines along with a list of
organizations you may wish to contact to offer your help and support:
1. The full name of the country is Republic of the Philippines (Republika ng Pilipinas). The country
was named by Spanish explorer Ruy Lopez de Villalobos. It was named Philippines in honor of
King Philip II of Spain.
2. The Philippines is in Southeastern Asia; an archipelago between the Philippine Sea and the South
China Sea, east of Vietnam. Its size is 300,000 square kilometers or 115,831 square miles; slightly
larger than Arizona.
3. 7,107 islands make up the Philippine archipelago. There are three main geographic groups of
islands: Luzon, Visayas, Mindano. The Philippines is divided into three island groups, 17 regions, 80
provinces, 138 cities, and 1,496 municipalities.
4. The Philippine Islands became a Spanish colony during the 16th century; they were ceded to the
U.S. in 1898 following the Spanish-American War. In 1935, the Philippines became a self-governing
commonwealth. On July 4, 1946, the Republic of the Philippine attained its independence.
5. In 1942 the islands fell under Japanese occupation during World War II, and U.S. forces and
Filipinos fought together during 1944-45 to regain control.
6. The city of Tacloban, the hardest hit by the Typhoon, is well-known for its role in World War II,
being a major base for the US forces and the first town liberated by General Douglas MacArthurs

forces from the Japanese Imperial Forces. For a time, it served as the capital of the Philippines while
Manila was under Japanese control.
7. Tacloban is also the hometown for the former Philippine First Lady Imelda Marcos.
8. It is a democracy with an elected president and a Congress comprising a House of Representatives
and a Senate.
9. The capital is Manila with a population of 11.449 million; considered one of the worlds most
densely populated cities with 43,079 people per square meter. The next largest cities in the
Philippines are: Davao with 1.48 million; Cebu City with 845,000; and Zamboanga with 827,000.
10. The population of Philippines is around 100,000,000.
11. The Philippine flag is the only flag in the whole world that is displayed differently in times of
peace and war. In peace time, the blue side is put on top; in war time, the red.

12. The countrys expenditure in education: 2.7% of GDP (2009)

13. 95.4% of the total population (age 15 and over) are literate. 95% male and 95.8% female (2008
14. There are 2 official languages in the Philippines: Filipino and English. There are 175 languages
and dialects in the Philippines, and 171 of these are actively used in the country. Colloquially, the
language spoken in the Philippines is referred to as Tagalog. Filipino and Tagalog are mutually
intelligible and share grammar. Filipino was meant to be the standardized version of Tagalog, and is
the national language of the Philippines. Calling the language Filipino was intended to disassociate
the language with the Tagalog ethnic group. Filipino was also supposed to incorporate other
indigenous language in the Philippines, but currently does not.
15. More than 80 percent are Catholic, and 5 percent are Muslim
16. The Philippines has the largest diaspora network in the world, with 11 million Filipinos living and
working overseas.
17. The country is the worlds largest supplier of expat nurses.
18. The country is the texting capital of the world, as 350 to 400 million text messages (SMS) are
sent daily by 35 million cellular phone users more than that of the United States and Europe
19. The University of Santo Tomas, which is located in the city of Manila, Philippines, was
established in 1611 twenty-five years before Harvard, the oldest university in the United States.
20. In 2012, the Philippine economy grew 6.8 percent placing it second to China among major Asian
economies. Its GDP per person was about $4,500. The economy benefits from money sent home by 4
million to 5 million Filipinos working overseas.