Facts and Information:
Republic of the Philippines
(Republika ng Philipinas)
The Philippines is an independent island nation situated in the western Pacific Ocean. It lies about 850 km (528 miles off the coast of the Southeast Asian mainland and is one of the countries that comprise the Malay Archipelago.
The country has a moderate tropical weather due to its location just north of the Earth’s Equator. The island nation comprises of about 7,107 beautiful and scenic islands, both large and small and is divided into three major geographical subdivision; Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. The Philippines’ diverse influences, both Western and Eastern, creates an exquisite cultural mosaic that attracts foreigners and its own people to visit the different parts of the archipelago for a vacation or just get in touch with the heritage of the country.
The people of the Philippines are called Filipinos. The Filipino race speaks a variety of languages which have Malay-Polynesian roots; yet they have a strong sense of national identity despite the strong kinship connections.
In a closely knit Filipino family, members are given assistance immediate assistance and utmost care; they are expected to give their first loyalty and respect to every kin, especially the elderly.
Culture and Literature
The Philippine culture is beautifully diverse. It is rich in indigenous artistic traditions which include folktales, music, and folk dances made famous by acclaimed theater dance groups which go on world tours like the Bayanihan Dance Troupe.
Philippine literature abound with great works like the writings of Dr. Jose Rizal and Francisco Baltazar which contain some of the country’s best literary works.
The Philippines is one of the most Westernized Asian nations. However, Westernization has taken hold most strongly in the large urban centers. In the countryside, the traditional ways of life remain dominant. This contrast has been a factor in the growing disparity of lifestyles between the rural and urban areas. Philippine society as a whole is characterized by sharp distinctions between mangers and workers, between landlords and tenants, and between those who are well educated and those who are not.
The most important social group in a Filipino’s life has been his family which is usually composed of a husband and wife, their children, and often one or more elderly grandparents living with them. In each family, one gets to benefit from the care, respect, support and love that a family member gives to each and every one in the family.
Rice is the staple of most Filipinos. They supplement it with fish and seafood. Corn is the staple for about a fifth of the Philippine people, mostly inhabitants of a corn-producing region. Also included in their diet are root crops like yams, sweet potatoes, and cassava.
The Philippines exhibits one of the highest literacy rates in Asia (96.3 percent, 2005 estimate).
The leading educational institutions include the University of the Philippines, and the University of Sto. Tomas which offer excellent higher education degrees like Medicine and Engineering.The country has been providing highly-skilled nurses to some of the world’s different hospitals boosting professional health care in many countries.
Currently, the Philippines’ efforts is one with the international financial market’s drive to counter the effects of the global financial crisis. In line with these efforts, the country’s Executive Department together with its Legislative branch has released also the country’s version of the US credit stimulus package to hasten the unfreezing of its own internal credit market towards the goal of better economic condition for the Filipinos.