Sunday, December 18, 2011

Notes on the Philippines

Geographic Facts

The Philippines is a country located in Southeast Asia. It is an archipelago that has about 1,700 islands.The Philippines has three major groups of islands: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

Political System

The Philippines is a constitutional republic with a presidential system of government. The government is composed of three branches: executive (office of the president), legislative (bicameral congress), and the judiciary (supreme court).
Administrative Divisions

Regions (Tagalog: rehiyon) are administrative divisions that serve primarily to organize the provinces (lalawigan) of the country for administrative convenience. Currently, the archipelagic republic of the Philippines is divided into 17 regions.
Example: Region VII –Central Visayas

Provinces are the primary political and administrative divisions of the Philippines. There are 80 provinces at present, further subdivided into component cities and municipalities. Each province is administered by an elected governor who oversees various local government entities.
Example: Cebu Province

City (lungsod, or sometimes siyudad in Filipino and Tagalog) is a tier of local government in the Philippines. A city's local government is headed by a mayor elected by popular vote. The vice-mayor serves as the presiding officer of the Sangguniang Panlungsod (city council), which serves as the city's legislative body.
Example: Mandaue City

Municipality (Filipino: bayan; munisipalidad) is a local government unit in the Philippines. Municipalities are also called towns (which is actually a better translation of "bayan").
A municipality is headed by a municipal mayor who is the executive officer. The legislature is composed of the vice-mayor (bise-mayor) and eight councilors (kagawador konsehal). A municipality, upon reaching certain requirements-minimum population size and minimum annual revenue-may opt to become a city.
Example: Carcar

Barangay (Filipino: baranggay, [baɾaŋˈɡaj]) is the smallest administrative division in the Philippines and is the native Filipino term for a village, district or ward. The name barangay originated from balangay, a Malay word meaning “sailboat.” The modern barangay is headed by an elected official, the Punong Barangay (barangay chairman/captain), who is aided by Sangguniang Barangay (Barangay Council) members (barangay “kagawads” or councilors), also elected.
Example: Subangdaku

Ethnic Groups

The Philippines is inhabited by many ethnic groups. These groups can be described as ethnolinguistic because most have their own language. Many of these groups in Luzon and the Visayas converted into Christianity and adopted many elements of foreign culture. Groups living in the highlands have kept most of their culture intact.


There are about 170 languages in the Philippines. The most widely spoken is Tagalog with 22 million speakers, followed closely by Cebuano with 20 million speakers. Other major native languages are Ilokano, Hiligaynon, and Waray-Waray, each having less than 10 million speakers.

The 1987 Constitution declares Filipino and English as official languages.
Filipino is a prestige register (a variety of language used in a specific purpose) of the Tagalog language. Provisions in the 1987 Constitution states that Filipino should be enriched and developed by other Philippine and foreign languages.

The Three Major Island Groups


Luzon is the largest island in the Philippines. It also refers to the northernmost group of Philippine islands. Manila, the capital city, is located in the region. The Tagalogs is the largest ethnic group in Luzon. About 28% of the total Philippine population is Tagalog.


It is composed of the islands located in the Visayan sea. The people living in the Visayas are called Visayans and are the largest ethnic group in the Philippines. It is divided into three administrative regions: Central Visayas, Western Visayas, and Eastern Visayas. Cebu, called the Queen City of the South, is located in the region.


Mindanao is the second largest island in the Philippines. It is also the region with the largest Muslim presence. The Moro Islamic Liberation Front is fighting for the establishment of a separate Islamic state in Mindanao. Davao is the largest city in the region.

Source: wikipedia

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