Flag of the Philippines
The Philippines Part 3
Geography and environment
The Philippines is an archipelago composed of about 7,641 islands with a total land area, including inland bodies of water, of 300,000 square kilometers (115,831 sq mi). This makes it the 5th largest island country in the world. The 36,289 kilometers (22,549 mi) of coastline makes it the country with the fifth longest coastline in the world. The Exclusive economic zone of the Philippines covers 2,263,816 km2 (874,064 sq mi). 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 ft) above sea level and is located on the island of Mindanao. The Galathea Depth in the Philippine 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 Gulf are 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 Philippines experiences frequent seismic and volcanic activity. The Benham Plateau to the east in the Philippine 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 many active 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 area represents a habitat for biodiversity conservation, the site also contains a full mountain-to-the-sea ecosystem and has some of the most important forests in Asia.
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 giving credence to the talk that the Philippines was the Biblical Ophir and the country also has one of the largest copper deposits in the world. Palladium, originally discovered in South America, was found to have the world's largest deposits in the Philippines too. Romblon island also possesses the most diversified, high quality and hardest marble in the world and is available in at least 7 colors mainly: brown, grey, rust, white, green, black and orange. The country is also rich in nickel, chromite, and zinc. Despite this, poor management, high population density, a desire to protect indigenous communities from exploitation, and an extremely ardent environmental consciousness have resulted in these mineral resources remaining largely untapped. The unstable seismologic that created these minerals, such as frequent volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and landslides, continue to affect the country. Geothermal energy is a product of volcanic activity that the Philippines has harnessed more successfully. The Philippines is the world's second-biggest geothermal producer behind the United States, with 18% of the country's electricity needs being met by geothermal power.
Although the Philippines lacks large mammalian predators, it does have some very large reptiles such as pythons and cobras, together with gigantic saltwater crocodiles. The largest crocodile in captivity, known locally as Lolong, was captured in the southern island of Mindanao. The national bird, known as the Philippine eagle, has the longest body of any eagle; it generally measures 86 to 102 cm (2.82 to 3.35 ft) in length and weighs 4.7 to 8.0 kg (10.4 to 17.6 lb). The Philippine eagle is part of the family Accipitridae and is endemic to the rainforests of Luzon, Samar, Leyte and Mindanao.The Philippines is a megadiverse country. 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. The Philippines has among the highest rates of discovery in the world with sixteen new species of mammals discovered in the last ten years. Because of this, the rate of endemism for the Philippines has risen and likely will continue to rise. Native mammals include the palm civet cat, the dugong, the cloud rat and the Philippine tarsier associated with Bohol.
Philippine maritime waters encompass as much as 2,200,000 square kilometers (849,425 sq mi) producing unique and diverse marine life, an important part of the Coral Triangle, a territory shared with other countries. The total number of corals and marine fish species was estimated at 500 and 2,400 respectively. New records and species discoveries continuously increase these numbers, underlining the uniqueness of the marine resources in the Philippines. The Tubbataha Reef in the Sulu Sea was declared a World Heritage Site in 1993. Philippine waters also sustain the cultivation of pearls, crabs, and seaweeds. One rare species of oyster, Pinctada maxima which is indigenous to the Philippines, is unique since its pearls are naturally golden in color. The golden pearl from the Pinctada maxima is considered the national gem of the Philippines.
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. Deforestation, often the result of illegal logging, is an acute problem in the Philippines. Forest cover declined from 70% of the Philippines'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 21st century. According to Conservation 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 that 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 (79.9 °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 ft) above sea level is 18.3 °C (64.9 °F), making it a popular destination during hot summers.
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 in) in the mountainous east coast section but less than 1,000 millimeters (39 in) 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 millimeters (46.0 in) of rainfall within a 24-hour period in Baguio. Bagyo is the local term for a tropical cyclone in the Philippines. The Philippines is highly exposed to climate change and is among the world's ten countries that are most vulnerable to climate change risks.
The Commission on Population estimated the country's population to be 107,190,081 as of December 31, 2018, based on the latest population census of 2015 conducted by the Philippine Statistics Authority. The population increased from 1990 to 2008 by approximately 28 million, a 45% growth in that time frame. The first official census in the Philippines was carried out in 1877 and recorded a population of 5,567,685.
It is estimated that half of the population resides on the island of Luzon. The 3.21% population growth rate between 1995 and 2000 decreased to an estimated 1.95% for the 2005–2010 period, but remains a contentious issue. The population's median age is 22.7 years with 60.9% aged from 15 to 64 years old. Life expectancy at birth is 69.4 years, 73.1 years for females and 65.9 years for males. Poverty incidence also significantly dropped to 21.6% in 2015 from 25.2% in 2012. Since the liberalization of United States immigration laws in 1965, the number of people in the United States having Filipino ancestry has grown substantially. In 2007 there were an estimated 12 million Filipinos living overseas.
Metro Manila is the most populous of the 3 defined metropolitan areas in the Philippines and the 8th most populous in the world in 2018. Census data from 2015 showed it had a population of 12,877,253 comprising almost 13% of the national population. Including suburbs in the adjacent provinces (Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal) of Greater Manila, the population is around 24,650,000. Across the country, the Philippines has a total urbanization rate of 51.2 percent. Metro Manila's gross regional product was estimated as of 2009 to be ₱468.4 billion (at constant 1985 prices) and accounts for 33% of the nation's GDP. In 2011 Manila ranked as the 28th wealthiest urban agglomeration in the world and the 2nd in Southeast Asia.
Filipinos generally belong to several Southeast Asian ethnic groups classified linguistically as part of the Austronesian or Malayo-Polynesian speaking people. It is believed that thousands of years ago Austronesian-speaking Taiwanese aborigines migrated to the Philippines from Taiwan, bringing with them knowledge of agriculture and ocean-sailing, eventually displacing the earlier Negrito groups of the islands. Negritos, such as the Aeta and the Ati, are considered among the earliest inhabitants of the islands. These minority aboriginal settlers (Negritos) are an Australoid group and are a left-over from the first human migration out of Africa to Australia. However, the aboriginal people of the Philippines along with Papuans, Melanesians and Australian Aboriginals also hold sizable shared Denisovan admixture in their genomes.According to the 2010 census, 24.4% of Filipinos are Tagalog, 11.4% Visayans/Bisaya (excluding Cebuano, Hiligaynon and Waray), 9.9% Cebuano, 8.8% Ilocano, 8.4% Hiligaynon, 6.8% Bikol, 4% Waray, and 26.2% as "others", which 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.
Being at the crossroads of the West and East, the Philippines is also home to migrants from places as diverse as China, Spain, Mexico, United States, India, South Korea, and Japan. The Chinese are mostly the descendants of immigrants from Fujian in China after 1898, numbering around 2 million, although there are an estimated 27 percent of Filipinos who have partial Chinese ancestry, stemming from precolonial and colonial Chinese migrants.
Furthermore, at least one-third of the population of Luzon, where Spaniards mixed with natives, as well as old settlements in the Visayas (founded by Mexicans) and Zamboanga City (colonized by Peruvians) or around 13.33% of the Philippine population, have partial Hispanic ancestry (from varying points of origin and ranging from Ibero-America to Spain). Recent genetic studies confirm this partial European and Hispanic-American ancestry. The migrants from Peru and Mexico were not even homogeneous since they themselves were already racially admixed Mestizos or Mulattos but there were also a few Native-Americans too.
As of 2015, there were 220,000 to 600,000 American citizens living in the country. There are also 250,000 Amerasians scattered across the cities of Angeles, Manila, Clark and Olongapo. Other important non-indigenous minorities include Arabs. There are also Japanese people, mostly escaped Christians (Kirishitan) who fled the persecutions of Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu which the Spanish empire in the Philippines had offered asylum from. The descendants of mixed-race couples are known as Tisoy.