More than 7,000 islands make up the Philippines, but the bulk of its fast-growing population lives on just 11 of them.

In addition to mountainous terrain, the country is prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions caused by around 20 active volcanoes. As a result, it is often battered by typhoons and other storms.

Following a protracted rebellion against Spanish rule in the early 20th century, the Philippines – a Spanish colony for more than three centuries, and named after a 16th century Spanish king – were taken over by the US.

Spanish and US influences heavily influence language, religion, and government. It became independent under a US-style constitution in 1946 after gaining self-rule in 1935. Read more about traveling in the Philippines on 밤문화.

Providing military aid to counter Islamist and communist insurgencies, the US is a close ally.

Key facts

  • Official name: Philippine Republic
  • Land Area: 300,000 sq km
  • Population (2015): 100.98 million
  • Capital: Manila
  • Head of government: President Rodrigo Roa Duterte
  • GDP (2020): US$367.362 billion
  • GDP per capita (2020): US$ 3,372.529
  • Major cities (2015 census): Manila, Quezon City, Davao City, Caloocan, Cebu City, Zamboanga City, Taguig, Antipolo, Pasig and Cagayan de Oro

LEADER

In the May 2022 elections, the son of authoritarian President Ferdinand Marcos won by a landslide.

As president, he took over from Rodrigo Duterte, who won over voters by promising a no-holds-barred campaign against crime, drugs, and corruption in 2016.

Sara Duterte, the daughter of the outgoing president, was appointed vice-president by Marcos, known as Bongbong.

MEDIA

Many media outlets are controlled or influenced by powerful commercial interests.

Free-to-air networks ABS-CBN and GMA dominate the TV scene. There are hundreds of radio stations and a thriving newspaper industry.

Despite the constitution’s guarantee of press freedom, the Philippines is among the world’s most dangerous places for journalists.

Economy

The Philippines has one of the most dynamic economies in East Asia Pacific. Philippines’ economic dynamism is rooted in strong consumer demand, a vibrant labour market, and robust remittances, all supported by growing urbanisation, a growing middle class, and a large and young population. In the services sector, including business process outsourcing, real estate, and finance and insurance, business activity is buoyant. Growth momentum is reinforced by strong economic fundamentals and a globally competitive workforce. It is on its way from a lower middle-income country to an upper middle-income country in the near future with an average annual growth rate of 6.4 percent between 2010-2019, up from an average of 4.5 percent between 2000-2009.

Philippines’ economy is driven by the construction, tourism, manufacturing, and services industries. Petroleum, transportation equipment, beverage industries, and food are the top contributors to economic growth within the manufacturing industry.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, economic growth in 2020 contracted, caused by significant declines in consumption and investment, aggravated by a sharp drop in exports, tourism, and remittances. It is expected that economic growth will gradually rebound in 2021-2022, fueled by higher consumer and business confidence and increased public investment.

Foreign Trade

Electronics, semiconductors, transport equipment, construction materials, and minerals are the country’s primary exports. As an open economy, the Philippines trades with other economies around the world.13 The top export markets in FY 2019 were China, Japan, the United States, and Thailand. China, Japan, South Korea, the United States, and Singapore were the top import suppliers in FY 2019.

Tourism

There were 8.2 million foreign tourists in the Philippines in 2019, thanks to the country’s tourism slogan, It’s More Fun In The Philippines. Boracay Island in Aklan and Puerto Princesa Underground River are among the country’s top tourist destinations. Island in Surigao del Norte, and the Banaue Rice Terraces in Ifugao, as well as Manila, Baguio, Vigan, Cebu, and Davao.

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