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 MacArthur’s 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 world’s 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.
philippine flag

12. The country’s 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 est.)

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 world’s 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 combined.

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.

Sources: CIA World Factbook, U.S. State Department, U.S. Census Bureau, International Monetary Fund, Transparency International, World Bank, The Washington Post.

Below is a list of some of the organizations involved in the relief effort to help the people in the regions affected by the Typhoon Haiyan:

World Food Programme USA


Red Cross

The Philippine Red Cross

World Vision

Shelter Box


The Salvation Army

Doctors Without Borders

Operation USA

Save The Children

American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee

Lutheran World Relief

Catholic Relief Services

Team Rubicon

International Medical Corps

International Rescue Committee

Action Against Hunger


Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc.

1 Comment

Filed under Education, History, Human Interest, Politics, Travel

One response to “20 Facts about the Philippines

  1. Jason Brooks

    My heart goes out to those affected by this disaster. Growing up on the Gulf Coast, I’m all too familiar with the devestating power of these storms. As a paramedic and former fire fighter, I answered calls during and immediately after tropical storms and hurricanes. People can lose everything. and it’s so heartbreaking to see people displaced. I didn’t realize how populated the Philippines were; this makes the situation so much worse. It was such a powerful storm affecting millions of people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s