The Philippines’ map
Introduction to Philippinean country and people
The Philippines, officially known as the Republic of the Philippines, is asovereign country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West is across the East Vietnam Sea. The Sulu Sea to the southwest lies between the country and the island of Borneo, and to the south the Celebes Sea separates it from other islands of Indonesia. It is bounded on the east by the Philippine Sea. Its location on the Pacific Ring of Fire and its tropical climate make the Philippines prone to earthquakes and typhoons but have also endowed the country with natural resources and made it one of the richest areas of biodiversity in the world. An archipelago comprising 7,107 islands, the Philippines is categorized broadly into three main geographical divisions: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Its capital city is Manila.
The Philippines is an archipelago of 7,107 islands with a total land area, including inland bodies of water, of approximately 300,000 square kilometers (120,000 sq mi). Its 36,289 kilometers (22,549 mi) of coastline makes it the country with the 5th longest coastline in the world. It is located between 116° 40′, and 126° 34′ E. longitude and 4° 40′ and 21° 10′ N. latitude and is bordered by the Philippine Sea to the east, the South China Sea to the west, and the Celebes Sea to the south. The island of Borneo is located a few hundred kilometers southwest and Taiwan is located directly to the north. The Moluccas and Sulawesi are located to the south-southwest and Palau is located to the east of the islands.
Most of the mountainous islands are covered in tropical rainforest and volcanic in origin. The highest mountain is Mount Apo. It measures up to 2,954 meters (9,692 feet) above sea level and is located on the island of Mindanao. The Galathea Depth in thePhilippine Trench is the deepest point in the country and the third deepest in the world. The trench is located in the Philippine Sea. The longest river is the Cagayan River in northern Luzon. Manila Bay, upon the shore of which the capital city of Manila lies, is connected to Laguna de Bay, the largest lake in the Philippines, by the Pasig River. Subic Bay, the Davao Gulf, and the Moro Gulfare other important bays. The San Juanico Strait separates the islands of Samar and Leyte but it is traversed by the San Juanico Bridge.
Situated on the western fringes of the Pacific Ring of Fire, the Philippinesexperiences frequent seismic and volcanic activity. TheBenham Plateau to the east in thePhilippine Sea is an undersea region active in tectonic subduction. Around 20 earthquakes are registered daily, though most are too weak to be felt. The last major earthquake was the 1990 Luzon earthquake. There are manyactive volcanoes such as the Mayon Volcano, Mount Pinatubo, and Taal Volcano. The eruption of Mount Pinatubo in June 1991 produced the second largest terrestrial eruption of the 20th century. Not all notable geographic features are so violent or destructive. A more serene legacy of the geological disturbances is the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River. The white sand beaches that make Boracay a popular vacation getaway are made of coral remnants.
Due to the volcanic nature of the islands, mineral deposits are abundant. The country is estimated to have the second-largest gold deposits after South Africa and one of the largest copper deposits in the world. It is also rich in nickel, chromite, and zinc. Despite this, poor management, high population density, and environmental consciousness have resulted in these mineral resources remaining largely untapped. Geothermal energy, however, is another product of volcanic activity that the country has harnessed more successfully. The Philippines is the world’s second-biggest geothermal producer behind theUnited States, with 18% of the country’s electricity needs being met by geothermal power.
The Philippines’ rainforests and its extensive coastlines make it home to a diverse range of birds, plants, animals, and sea creatures. It is one of the ten most biologically mega-diverse countries and is at or near the top in terms of biodiversity per unit area. Around 1,100 land vertebrate species can be found in the Philippines including over 100 mammal species and 170 bird species not thought to exist elsewhere. Endemic species include the tamaraw of Mindoro, the Visayan spotted deer, thePhilippine mouse deer, the Visayan warty pig, the Philippine flying lemur, and several species of bats.
The Philippines lacks large predators, with the exception of snakes, such as pythons and cobras, and birds of prey, such as the national bird, known as the Philippine eagle. Other native animals include the palm civet cat, the dugong, and the Philippine tarsierassociated with Bohol. With an estimated 13,500 plant species in the country, 3,200 of which are unique to the islands, Philippine rainforests boast an array of flora, including many rare types of orchids and rafflesia. The narra is considered as the most important type of hardwood.
Philippine maritime waters encompass as much as 2.2 million square kilometers (850,000 square miles) producing unique and diverse marine life and is an important part of the Coral Triangle. There are 2,400 fish species and over 500 species of coral. The Apo Reef is the country’s largest contiguous coral reef system and the second-largest in the world. Philippine waters also sustain the cultivation of pearls, crabs, and seaweeds.
Deforestation, often the result of illegal logging, is an acute problem in thePhilippines. Forest cover declined from 70% of the country’s total land area in 1900 to about 18.3% in 1999. Many species are endangered and scientists say that Southeast Asia, which the Philippines is part of, faces a catastrophic extinction rate of 20% by the end of the century. According toConservation International, “the country is one of the few nations that is, in its entirety, both a hotspot and a megadiversity country, placing it among the top priority hotspots for global conservation.”
The Philippines has a tropical maritime climate and is usually hot and humid. There are three seasons: tag-init or tag-araw, the hot dry season or summer from March to May; tag-ulan, the rainy season from June to November; and tag-lamig, the cool dry season from December to February. The southwest monsoon (from May to October) is known as the Habagat, and the dry winds of the northeast monsoon (from November to April), the Amihan. Temperatures usually range from 21°C (70°F) to 32°C (90°F) although it can get cooler or hotter depending on the season. The coolest month is January; the warmest is May.
The average yearly temperature is around 26.6°C (79.88°F). In considering temperature, location in terms of latitude and longitude is not a significant factor. Whether in the extreme north, south, east, or west of the country, temperatures at sea level tend to be in the same range. Altitude usually has more of an impact. The average annual temperature of Baguio at an elevation of 1,500 meters (4,900 feet) above sea level is 18.3°C (64.9°F), making it a popular destination during hot summers. Likewise,Tagaytay is a favored retreat.
Sitting astride the typhoon belt, most of the islands experience annual torrential rains and thunderstorms from July to October, with around nineteen typhoons entering the Philippine area of responsibility in a typical year and eight or nine making landfall. Annual rainfall measures as much as 5,000 millimeters (200 inches) in the mountainous east coast section but less than 1,000 millimeters (39 inches) in some of the sheltered valleys. The wettest known tropical cyclone to impact the archipelago was the July 1911 cyclone, which dropped over 1,168 millimetres (46.0 in) of rainfall within a 24-hour period in Baguio City.Bagyo is the local term for a tropical cyclone in the Philippines.
The Philippines has been part of several empires: the Spanish Empire during the age of Imperialism, the United States after the Spanish-American War of 1898, and theJapanese Empire during World War II, until the official Philippine independence in 1945.
As of March 2010, these were divided into 17 regions, 80 provinces, 138 cities, 1,496 municipalities, and 42,025 barangays.
Metro Manila is the most populous of the twelve defined metropolitan areas in thePhilippines and the 11th most populous in the world. As of the 2007 census, it had a population of 11,553,427, comprising 13% of the national population. Including suburbs in the adjacent provinces (Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal) of Greater Manila, the population is around 21 million.
Population in Philippines increased from 1990 to 2008 with 28 million with 45% growth. The first official census in the Philippines was carried out in 1877 and recorded a population of 5,567,685. As of 2011, the Philippines has become the 7th most populated Asian country and the world’s 12th most populous nation, with a population of over 98 million. It is estimated that half of the population resides on the island of Luzon.
An additional 12.5 million Filipinos live overseas. In 2007 there were an estimated 3.1 million. According to the United States Census Bureau, immigrants from the Philippinesmade up the second largest group after Mexico that sought family reunification. Some two million Filipinos work in the Middle East, with nearly a million in Saudi Arabia alone.
Multiple ethnicities and cultures are found throughout the islands. In prehistoric times, Negritos were some of the archipelago’s earliest inhabitants. They were followed by successive waves of Austronesian peoples who brought with them influences from Malay, Hindu, and Islamicsocieties. Trade introduced Chinese cultural influences which remain to this day.
According to the 2000 census 28.1% of Filipinos are Tagalog, 13.1% Cebuano, 9% Ilocano, 7.6% Bisaya/Binisaya, 7.5% Hiligaynon, 6% Bikol, 3.4% Waray, and 25.3% are classified as other. These general headings can be broken down further to yield more distinct non-tribal groups like the Moro, the Kapampangan, the Pangasinense, the Ibanag, and the Ivatan.There are also indigenous peoples like the Igorot, the Lumad, the Mangyan, the Bajau, and the tribes of Palawan. Negritos, such as the Aetaand the Ati, are considered among the earliest inhabitants of the islands.
Filipinos generally belong to several Asian ethnic groups classified linguistically as part of the Austronesian or Malayo-Polynesianspeaking people. It’s believed that thousands of years ago Taiwanese aborigines migrated to the Philippines from Taiwan, bringing with them knowledge of agriculture and ocean-sailing, and displacing the earlier Negrito groups of the islands.
Eventually Chinese, Spanish, and American arrivals intermarried with the various indigenous ethnic groups that had evolved. Their descendants are known as mestizos.Chinese Filipinos number about two million. Other migrant ethnic groups who have settled in the country from elsewhere include Arabs, Britons, other Europeans, Indonesians, Japanese, Koreans, and South Asians.
The Philippines is a secular nation having a constitution separating the state and church. However, a large percentage of the Filipino people identify themselves as religious. More than 90% of the population are Christians: about 80% belong to the Roman Catholic Church while 10% belong to other Christian denominations, such as the Iglesia ni Cristo, the Philippine Independent Church, the Seventh-day Adventist Church, United Church of Christ in the Philippines, and Jehovah’s Witnesses. The Philippines is one of two predominantly Roman Catholic countries in Asia, the other being East Timor.
Between five and ten percent of the population are Muslim, most of whom live in parts of Mindanao, Palawan, and the Sulu Archipelago—an area known as Bangsamoro or theMoro region. Some have migrated into urban and rural areas in different parts of the country. Most Muslim Filipinos practice Sunni Islam according to the Shafi’i school.Philippine traditional religions are still practiced by many aboriginal and tribal groups, oftensyncretized with Christianity and Islam. Animism, folk religion, and shamanism remain present as undercurrents of mainstream religion, through the albularyo, the babaylan, and the manghihilot. Buddhism, Taoism, and Chinese folk religion, are dominant in Chinese communities. There are also followers of Judaism and Baha’i.
The Economy of Philippines
The national economy of the Philippines is the 45th largest in the world, with an estimated 2011 gross domestic product (nominal) of $216 billion. Primary exports include semiconductors and electronic products, transport equipment, garments, copper products, petroleum products, coconut oil, and fruits. Major trading partners include the United States, Japan, China, Singapore, South Korea, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, Germany, Taiwan, and Thailand. Its unit of currency is the Philippine peso (₱ or PHP).
Makati in Metro Manila, the country’s financial center.
A newly industrialized country, the Philippine economy has been transitioning from one based on agriculture to one based more on services and manufacturing. Of the country’s total labor force of around 38.1 million, the agricultural sector employs close to 32% but contributes to only about 13.8% of GDP. The industrial sector employs around 13.7% of the workforce and accounts for 30% of GDP. Meanwhile the 46.5% of workers involved in the services sector are responsible for 56.2% of GDP.
45.8 (medium) (44th)
▲0.644 (medium) (112th)
The Philippines is a member of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Asian Development Bank which is headquartered in Mandaluyong City, the Colombo Plan, and the G-77 among other groups and institutions.
The agriculture of the Philippines
Top 20 of main agricultural production of Philippines
Production (Int $1000)
Fruit, tropical fresh nes
Indigenous Chicken Meat
Vegetables fresh nes
Indigenous Cattle Meat
Mangoes, mangosteens, guavas
Hen eggs, in shell
Indigenous Buffalo Meat
Other bird eggs,in shell
Indigenous Goat Meat
Cashew nuts, with shell
Note! *: Unofficial figure; [ ] :Official data; F: FAO estimate; Im: FAO data based on imputation methodology.
Top 20 agricultural production in the Philippines
The rice cultivation in the Philippines
Rice is the staple food in the Philippines. The country, an archipelago, is the 8th top producer of rice in the world, however it is also the world’s top rice importer. After initial collaborations in the 1970s, the Philippines in 1973 registered a record harvest enabling the country to export some 90,000 tons of rice and maintain a 3-month buffer stock.
Rice production in the Philippines is important to the food supply in the country and economy. The country is the 8th largest rice producer in the world, accounting for 2.8% of global rice production. However, the country is also the world’s largest rice importer in 2010.
The Philippines’ rice farmers
In the 1980s, however, rice production encountered problems. Average annual growth for 1980-85 declined to a mere 0.9%, as contrasted with 4.6% for the preceding fifteen years. Growth of value added in the rice industry also fell in the 1980s. Tropical storms and droughts, the general economic downturn of the 1980s, and the 1983-85 economic crisis all contributed to this decline. Crop loans dried up, prices of agricultural inputs increased, and palay prices declined. Fertilizer and plant nutrient consumption dropped 15%.
Farmers were squeezed by rising debts and declining income. Hectarage devoted to rice production, level during the latter half of the 1970s, fell an average of 2.4% per annum during the first half of the 1980s, with the decline primarily in marginal, nonirrigated farms. As a result, in 1985, the last full year of the Marcos regime, the country imported 538,000 tons of rice. The situation improved somewhat in the late 1980s, and smaller amounts of rice were imported. However, in 1990 the country experienced a severe drought. Output fell by 1.5%, forcing the importation of an estimated 400,000 tons of rice.
Rice is the most important food crop, a staple food in most of the country. It is produced extensively in Luzon, the Western Visayas, Southern Mindanao, and Central Mindanao. In 2010, nearly 15.7 million metric tons of palay were produced.
In 2010, palay accounted for 21.86% of gross value added in agriculture and 2.37% of GNP. Per hectare yields have generally been low in comparison with other Asian countries. However, since the mid-1960s yields have increased substantially as a result of the cultivation of high-yielding varieties developed in the mid-1960s at the IRRI located in the Philippines. The proportion of “miracle” rice in total output rose from zero in 1965-1966 to 81% in 1981-1982. Average productivity increased from 1.23 tons per hectare in 1961 to 3.59 tons per hectare in 2009.
This “green revolution” was accompanied by an expanded use of chemical inputs. Among farmers surveyed in Central Luzon, the quantity of insecticide active ingredient applied per hectare increased tenfold from 1966 to 1979, from less than 0.1 kilogram per hectare to nearly 1.0 kilogram per hectare. But, by the mid-1990s, this figure had been cut in half. Since then, use has declined even more, and levels of insecticide use are now slightly below what they were before the Green Revolution began.
To stimulate productivity, the government also undertook a major expansion of the nation’s irrigation system. The area under irrigation grew from under 500,000 hectares in the mid-1960s to 1.5 million hectares in 2009, almost half of the potentially irrigable land.
The Philippines, formerly the largest importer, has been promoting self-sufficiency. More irrigation means land can be planted earlier, allowing harvests before the typhoon season.
High prices of agricultural inputs, rising population, typhoons, and decreasing land area planted to rice, have all played roles in setting the nation back in its rice-self sufficiency efforts.
The Philippines raised its rice yields from 1.16 tons per hectare in 1960 to 3.59 tons per hectare in 2009. In 2009, Philippine rice yields were lower than the previous two years due to the damage done by the tropical storms “Ondoy” and “Pepeng”. In 2007, average rice yield topped 3.8 tons per hectare and in 2008, was at 3.77 tons per hectare.
Average rice yield in the Philippines is also higher than of Thailand’s, the world’s biggest exporter of rice, where yields over the last few years have been around 3 tons per hectare.
During the workplan meeting of IRRI and the Philippines in March 2010, the following are identified as major areas of concern, and possible areas of collaboration:
-Government policies on fertilizer and seed subsidies.
-Proposed subsidy for seed producers and fertilizer manufacturers to lower costs of these inputs.
-Budget outlay if on-going and proposed researches.
-Generation of credible data and statistics.
-Need for technical working group for information needs.
-Varietal development strategy for hybrid rice .
Based on the World Rice Statistics, the harvested area of rough rice is 4,532,300 hectares (WRS, 2009); rough rice production is 16,266,420 tons (WRS, 2009); and rough rice yield of 3.59 tons/hectare (WRS, 2009). In 2010 is 4,354,160 hectares (FAOSTAT 2012); rough rice production is 15,771,700 tons (FAOSTAT 2012); and rough rice yield of 3.6222 tons/hectare (FAOSTAT 2012).
The government recorded that Philippines had imported 2.47 million tons milled rice in 2010.
Rice is such an integral part of history and culture in the Philippines that for many Filipinos rice imports are a source of national shame. Many reasons are typically advanced for the failure to achieve rice self-sufficiency-faulty government policy, corruption, conversion of rice land to other uses, backward rice farmers, deteriorating irrigation systems, and lack of farm credit, among others.
But all countries, including several rice exporters, complain about these problems. Although some of these problems are important, they do not explain why the Philippinesimports rice.
For example, losses of land to urbanization are easy to see because they occur in populated areas, but the effects are small and are more than offset by cropland expansion elsewhere. In fact, rice area harvested in the Philippines has been at record highs during the past five years, reaching 4 million hectares for the first time in history.
As with other neighboring Asian countries, rice is Philippines staple food because rice is the main crop that employs 90% of the country’s farmers. Being a tropical country with wet and dry season made it suitable for rice farming. Wet season (June to November) is the growing season for rice while the dry season (December to May) is harvest season. Rice, though prepared labor-intensively is easy to cook and prepare usually boiled and serve with various dishes ranging from fish to special dishes with Spanish and Chinese influence. Left-over rice is never wasted and is prepared into sinangag (fried rice) sauteed in garlic and served hot with local dishes. Sinangag is often served during breakfast with fried dishes such as eggs and fried meats e.g. sausage, tocino, corned beef and tapa. Sometimes, sinangag is turned into special meal with peas, onion springs and chorizo debilbao.
Rice is also the main ingredients for prridge such as goto, lugaw, arroz caldo, and champorado which are great for breakfast, merienda and light food wile recovering from an illness.
Rice field in the Philippines
The Nagacadan Rice Terraces, Ifugao Province,
Rice import in the Philippines
The following table shows the Area (ha), the Yield (kg/ha) and the Production of rice in Philippines from 1961 to 2010:
Source: FAOSTAT | © FAO Statistics Division 2012 | 08 June 2012