= cockatoo.com

Philippines / Geography

The 11 largest islands are: Luzon (102,649 sqkm, 39,633 sqmi), Mindanao (91,028 sqkm, 35,146 sqmi), Samar (17,428 sqkm, 6,729 sqmi), Palawan (14,896 sqkm, 5,752 sqmi), Negros (13,328 sqkm, 5,146 sqmi), Panay (13,032 sqkm, 5,032 sqmi), Mindoro (10,245 sqkm, 3,955 sqmi), Leyte (8,003 sqkm, 3,090 sqmi), Cebu (5,088 sqkm, 1,965 sqmi), Bohol (4,117 sqkm, 1,590 sqmi), Masbate (4,048 sqkm, 1,563 sqmi).

The Philippines like many Pacific islands are the peaks of mountains whose base is on the ocean floor and is part of an island string extending from Siberia to Australia. The crust of the earth is made up of a number of movable plates and mountains are formed when one plate pushes under another.

The more than 7,000 islands are part of the Pacific rim of fire at the interface where the Pacific plate slides under the Asian plate. The friction of their movements against one another gives rise to volcanos as well as causing earthquakes and produces ocean trenches in waters off the east coast which are 10,497m (about 6 mi) deep at the deepest point.

Minor earthquakes are common in the Philippines. However, there is also a long history of major earthquakes which happen from time to time. that have cost the lives of thousands of people. The worst earthquakes of the last three decades occurred on August 2, 1968, August 17, 1976, and July 16, 1990. In August 1968, more than 200 people died in an earthquake that was particularly strong in central Luzon and Manila. The quake of August 1976 cost more than 2000 lives in the Southern Philippines. But most casualties were not victims of the earthquake itself but of a tidal wave (tsunami) which followed, sweeping coastal areas all around Mindanao to a height of more than 5m (about 15ft). The most recent earthquake, July 16, 1990 centered about 10km southeast of Cabanatuan City, killed more than 1,600 people and demolished Agoo, La Union, Baguio City and Dagupan City. The heaviest casualties were in Baguio and Cabanatuan Cities.

An politically influential earthquake occurred August 17, 1983. Actually, it was not very strong, and there were no fatalities but one of the few buildings which suffered cracks was a famous old church in Paoay, near the home of the then President Marcos. Therefore superstitious people and Christian fundamentalists took the earthquake as a heavenly sign against Marcos.

Certainly, fear of earthquakes would not be sufficient reason to avoid the Philippines. However, even after minor earthquakes, travel in mountainous areas is difficult because road connections are often interrupted by landslides.

Geophysical Features

Luzon's east coast from its northeastern tip south to near Lucena has a mountain range, the Sierra Madre, 479km (300mi) in length extending through the provinces of Cagayan, Isabela, Aurora, Quezon and Laguna.

About 70km (44mi) from the west coast of Luzon another range, called the Central Mountains in the north and the Cordillera in the south, runs from the island's northwest tip 263km (164.5mi) south and then bends east to connect to the Sierra Madre. The range passes through the provinces of Ilocos Norte, Kalinga-Apayao, Mountain Province, Ifugao and Nueva Vizcaya.

Eight of the 11 larger islands have a coastal plain and a central range, e.g. Mindoro whose central range is 132km (82mi) long but some, e.g Masbate and Bohol lack central ranges and Panay's range is in the west.


The largest inland body of water in the Philippines is Laguna de Bay. It has an area of about 1,510sqkm (583sqmi) bounded by Metro Manila and the provinces of Rizal and Laguna. Since it is connected to Manila Bay by the Pasig River the water is brackish. The degree of salinity is determined by the amount of rain and the tides. A good portion of the surface is covered with fish pens.

Lake Lanao in Lanao del Sur on Mindanao is the largest fresh water lake in The Country . It has an area of 376sqkm (145sqmi).


On Luzon, between the Sierra Madre range on the east coast and the central Cordillera range to the west there is a broad valley, Cagayan, 202km (126mi) in length and about 47km (29mi) wide, formed by the Cagayan river, 263km (164mi) long which runs north draining water from central Luzon into the Babuyan channel near Aparri.The central plain north of Manila is about 174km (109mi) long and 66km (41mi) wide. It is nick-named the rice bowl and as the name indicates it is the major rice producing area of The Country .Manila was established on a swamp and is on an isthmus almost at sea level between Laguna de Bay and Manila Bay which are connected by the Pasig river and its tributaries notably the San Juan and Marikina rivers. The Pasig river is still important for barge traffic and at one time it was possible to take a boat up the Pasig and across Laguna Bay.South of the Sierra Madre mountains is the Bicol plain which, though dotted with mountains, runs to the southern tip of Luzon.Mountain ranges of Mindanao are more extensive and complex than those of Luzon. The majority of the land is hilly or mountainous but there are a number of broad valleys.The Agusan river and its tributaries drain a valley northward 159km (100mi) long and 94km (59mi) at its widest point through the provinces of Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Sur and Davao to empty into Butuan Bay, 197km from its headwaters near Mt. Kanpalili in Davao province..Another major river basin and valley 108km (67.5mi) by 150km (94mi) is formed by the Mindanao river and its tributaries. The system from its origin in Mt. Sinalagas in north Bukidnon to its end is 254km (159mi) in length. Its mouth is near Cotabato City.


The heavy rainfall in the Philippines and other tropical areas leech the nutrients from the typically red or yellow colored soil, and the higher temperatures speed the decay of vegetable materials so that generally soils here have low fertility and fertilizers are required.Exceptions to these general comments are broad river valleys and areas near volcanos; volcanic ash and lava contribute to its fertility.Only about one-fourth the land area of The Country is suitable for growing crops. The type of crop depends on climate and soil. Rice requires a clay type of soil so that water is at an even depth that will remain over the roots and lower parts of the stalk. However, rice also requires two weeks before harvest a dry soil with little rain. Therefore, a climate with both a rainy and dry season is needed. Sandy soil which drains water rapidly is needed for root crops, corn and sugar cane.Less than one half The Country is forest and the percentage decreases at a rapid rate annually causing increase n soil erosion. The cleared land reverts to a relatively tall useless grass - cogon.


The principal minerals of the Philippines are low grade coal, copper, chromite, gold (the world's sixth largest producer), lead, manganese, mercury, silver, nickel, iron, salt, phosphate, sulfur, sand; gravel, and marble.A few oil fields have been developed off the shores of Palawan.


The majority of energy used is from petroleum and approximately 95% of this petroleum is imported. A nuclear plant was built under the Marco' government, however, it was decided by the present government to mothball it. Solar energy is used in enormous amounts to dry foods, rice, coffee beans, fish, and of course clothes.Unconventional
(nz = near zero)
Coconut waste 7
Agri-waste 10
Alcohol 0.16 Conventional
Coconut oil nz
Petroleum 52
Biogas 0.03
Coal 9
Methane, propane etc. 0.04
Hydro 12
Wind nz
Geothermal 10
Tidal 0
Nuclear 0
Solar water heater nz


Philippines / Climate

Altitude varies from sea level to 2,815m (9,606ft) at Mt. Pulong on Luzon and 2,954m (9,692ft) at the highest point, Mt Apo on Mindanao. At higher altitude it is always cooler. As further north from the equator a place is located, as cooler it is in the months of November to February. However, in April and May, northern portions of The Country often experience higher temperatures than southern parts.

It is often a little cooler outside the big cities as Manila or Cebu because concrete, asphalt and the lack of trees combine to soak up, retain and reflect the heat.

Four types of tropical and maritime climates are found: a dry and a rainy season; no dry season; not very pronounced seasons; annd an even distribution of rain throughout the year.

Generally, along the east of the archipelago and to the east of mountain ranges, there is more rain than on west sides. The southern Visayas and Mindanao are a little more equatorial and rains may, but don't have to, occur year round. Anywhere in The Country , rain is more probable in the afternoons than in the mornings.

The primary winds are the monsoons which blow from the southeast May through October and from the northwest from November to April, and the trade winds which blow from the northwest. Neither the northwest monsoon nor the trade winds carry much rain to the western parts of the northern islands.

The Filipinos especially in the northwest part of The Country including Manila divide their year into three seasons: winter from December through February with dry, cool weather, summer from March through May with dry, hot weather, and the rainy season from June through November with thunderstorms and typhoons.

However, sometimes there are anomalies in the weather pattern. For example, in 1985, June had almost continuous rainfall in most of Luzon, and after that, no more; in 1986 there was a typhoon as late as the end of December; and in 1987, November and December had more rain than the supposed rainy season in the months before.

Barometric pressure in central Luzon including Manila is usually between 1000 to 1005mb (29.53 to 29.68in) November through May and 995 to 1000mb (29.38 to 29.53in) June through October. The rate at which the barometric pressure rises or falls is a better forecaster of short term weather than the media. A rapidly falling reading indicates a coming storm or typhoon while a rapidly rising one shows the storm has passed or fair weather is in store. It does not forecast brief showers. During the rainy season, it is advisable to carry an umbrella at least in late afternoons.

The minimum annual rainfall varies throughout The Country from 965mm (38in) to 4,064mm (1,600in). The monsoon rains are pulled in by hurricanes or, as they are called in the Pacific, Typhoons.

Typhoons (the native term is bagyo) are common from June to October and they generally affect a wide area, sometimes half of the archipelago. They all come from the Pacific ocean in the east and contain winds of 120km/hr (74mi/hr) or more moving in a circle and an almost windless "eye of the typhoon" moving to the west or northwest with 17 to 25km/hr (10 to 15mi/hr).

Typhoons are given feminine names. They follow the the Filipino alphabet of 19 letters which is about the average number of cyclones entering the Philippine area of responsibility, i.e. the area near The Country for which the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) is responsible for tracking and reporting. It doesn't mean that PAGASA is responsible for the typhoon. If a particular typhoon causes destruction of one billion pesos or the death of 300 or more people then that name is removed from the list of names that PAGASA uses, otherwise the same name may occur in subsequent years. Some storms whose names have been removed in the past 10 years are Aring (1980); Nitang and Undang (1984); Herming and Sisang (1987); and Unsang and Yoning (1988).

There are several intensities of typhoons, which are usually announced in advance in the newspapers, on radio and TV. Signal 1 is the weakest. When signal 2 has been announced, elementary and high schools and some offices and shops are closed, still depending on the flood conditions. During a signal 3, all schools, government offices and most private offices are closed.

But even with signal 1, things start going haywire. There are traffic jams because of the floods, and employees in many businesses come late.

The actual typhoon generally takes only 1 day. But often the day before and the day after also are rainy and windy. It is easy to determine whether the eye of a typhoon is passing because there is neither rain nor wind but is sunny and calm.

Some areas of Metro Manila become almost inaccessible after several hours of heavy rain. This is negligible in Ermita, Malate and Makati, but Tondo, Sampaloc, parts of Quezon City, and outskirts of the metropolis like Valenzuela and Taguig are always strongly affected.

Every year typhoons cause hundreds of people to die, not to mention large economic losses The Country suffers each time the weather gets severe. The worst typhoons in the last few years were: Sisang, November 26, 1987, which killed more than 650 people in the Bicol region of south Luzon and rendered more than 500,000 homeless; Gading, July 6-10, 1985 with almost 100 dead; and Undang, which left almost 900 dead when it swept over the Visayas November 3, 1984.

The weather predictions of PAGASA, are generally reliable. Sometimes the forecast goes wrong, but one has to admit that the weather itself at times does not behave as it should. It has been known for a typhoon to swing back on itself and to return.

The rainy season is not necessarily a bad time to visit the city since the sky is cloudy, shielding one from the burning heat of the sun, and the temperature is comfortable with a soft breeze. Moreover, aside from times of typhoons it often rains only for two or three hours, usually in the afternoon.

The mean annual temperature is 26.5C (80F). Temperatures are measured in the Philippines in degrees Celsius.


Philippines / People

The rapid growth in population is a problem of increasing magnitude and concern and while the government does maintain population control centers in every city, these do little good because of the opposition of the Roman Catholic Church to abortion and any other methods but 'natural' birth control'. (This will frequently reduce childbearing to once a year.)

Filipinos love children and each birth is traditionally regarded as a blessing. A typical mother will have one walker, one toddler, one in arms and one in the hopper.

Due to the extended family concept of Filipinos it is not possible to state with any degree of accuracy the size of an average family. Any attempt to do so would find its limitation in the definition of the family. Different figures for the same 'family' will result depending on whether one wants to count just those living under one roof (ten to twenty) or those with first degree relationship (often twenty to thirty) or those an average Filipino regards as members of the family he belongs to (easily five hundred).

Ethnic Structure

The Country has 10 major cultural groups and many ethnic minority groups. Nine of the major cultural groups are of Malay extraction, while the tenth is Chinese. Eight of the major Malay groups have adopted Christianity. These include Tagalogs, Cebuanos, Hilongos, Warays, Ilocanos, Bicolanos, Pangasinense, and Pampangos. The ninth Malay group are the Muslim Filipinos or Moros, which are subdivided into ten major groups, some regarded as cultural minorities. Aside from their distinct languages, the eight Christian Filipino-Malay groups only partly differ in culture. There are comparatively few disagreements among Filipinos based on belonging to different language groups. However, except for Manila which is a melting pot, all nine major Filipino-Malay groups have geographically distinct areas of settlement, whereas the Chinese are found in most communities. The Chinese are integrated to a much higher degree in the Philippines than in some neighboring Asian countries. On the other hand, a large segment of the Muslim Filipinos decline to integrate into the mainstream Philippine society and is at war with the Philippine state.

Cultural groupings:

  • People / Christian majority groups
  • Tagalogs

    Number: 9.2 million (17% of the population)

    Regions: In the central Luzon provinces of Bulacan, Bataan, Cavite, Rizal, Quezon, Laguna, Batangas, southern Nueva Ecija and Zambales, Camarines Norte, and the islands of Marinduque and Mindoro, and the city of Puerto Princesa, Palawan.

    Language: Tagalog

    Cultural Characteristics: Sometimes feel superior to other cultural groups because of their proximity to Manila, The Country 's center of trade and finance. Tagalogs are the most advanced among the Philippine Malay cultural groups in terms of technology, education, fashion and other facets of daily living. They dominate media, politics and the economy.

    Historical Figures

    Revolutionaries: The national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal (Jun 16, 1866 - Dec 30, 1896); Andres Bonifacio (Nov 30, 1863 - May 10, 1897)

    Politics: Presidents Emilio Aguinaldo (Mar 22, 1869 - Feb 6, 1964); Manuel Quezon (Aug 19, 1898 - Aug 13, 1941); Jose Laurel (Mar 1, 1891 - Nov 6, 1959); Ramon Magsaysay (Aug 31, 1907 - Mar 17, 1957); the nationalist leader Claro M. Recto (Feb 8, 1890 - Oct 2, 1960)

    Literature/Poetry: Jose Corazon de Jesus (1896 - 1965); Francisco Baltazar (Apr 2, 1788 - Feb 20, 1862); Inigo Regalado (Jun 1, 1855 - Sep, 1901)

    Visual Arts: Felix Hidalgo (Feb 21, 1853 - Mar 13, 1913); Botong Francisco (1913 - 1969)

    Music: Nicanor Abelardo (Feb 7, 1893 - Mar 21, 1934)

    Current Prominent Personalities

    Politics: President Joseph Estrada, Former Vice President Salvador Laurel, Former Senate President Jovito Salonga, Defense Secretary Orlie Mercado, Former Foreign Affairs Secretary Raul Manglapus

    Literature/Poetry: Jose Francisco Sionil

    Visual Arts: Jose Blanco, painting; Eduardo Castrillo, sculpture

    Show Business: Fernando Poe Jr, action star; Bert Marcelo, comedian; Sharon Cuneta, actress


    Number: 5.4 million (10% of the population)

    Regions: all of northern Luzon except mountaineous areas

    Language: Ilocano

    Historical Figures

    Revolutionaries: Diego Silang (1730 - 1763); Gabriela Silang (1731 - 1763)

    Politics: Presidents Elpidio Quirino (Nov 16, 1890 - Feb 28, 1956), Ferdinand Marcos (Sep 11, 1917 - Sep 28, 1989)

    Religion: Gregorio Aglipay (May 5, 1860 - Sep, 1940), founder of the Aglipayan Christian Church

    Poetry: Pedro Bukaneg (1592 - 1630)

    Current Prominent Personalities

    Politics: Juan Ponce Enrile of Cagayan

    Music: Lucrecia Kasilag

    Media: Joe Quirino

    Show Business: Dolphy Quizon, comedian

    Faith Healing: Jun Labo (ex-mayor of Baguio City); Garry Magno


    Number: 2.1 million (4% of the population)

    Region: north western Luzon, province of Pangasinan, Northern Zambales

    Language: Pangasinense

    Historical Figures

    Politics: Narciso Ramos (1900 - 1987)

    Current Prominent Personalities

    Politics: Former Senator Leticia Ramos Shahani, President Fidel Ramos

    Literature: Jose Villa Panganiban

    Visual Arts: Victorio Edades

    Show Business: Gloria Romero, actress


    Number: 2.5 million (4.5% of the population)

    Region: Pampanga province, part of Tarlac, Central Zambales and Bataan provinces, all located in the western part of central Luzon

    Language: Pampango

    Historical Figures

    Revolutionaries: Maximo Hizon (May 29, 1970 - Sep, 1901)

    Politics: Carlos P. Romulo (1899 - 1985), diplomat; Benigno Aquino (Nov 26, 1932 - Aug 21, 1983), modern political martyr

    Literature/Poetry: Juan Crisostomo Soto (Jan 27, 1867 - Jul 12, 1918)

    Show Business: Rogelio dela Rosa (1916 - 1987), actor

    Current Prominent Personalities

    Politics: President Corazon Cojuangco Aquino (Jan 25, 1932 -); former President Diosdado Macapagal (Sep 28, 1910 -);

    Show Business: Nanette Inventor, stage actress; Lito Lapid, action star


    Number: 5.8 million (10.5% of the population)

    Regions: southern Luzon South of Daet and the island of Catanduanes

    Language: Bicolano

    Historical Figures

    Revolutionaries: Vicente Lukban (Feb 11, 1860 - Nov, 1916)

    Politics: Jose Fuentebella, Wenceslao Vinzon

    Religion: Bishop Jorge Borlin

    Visual Arts: Fernando Amorsolo (May 30, 1892 - Apr 24, 1972)

    Music: Manuel Fuentebella

    Current Prominent Personalities

    Politics: Senator Ziga; Francisco Tatad

    Visual Arts: Larry Alcala

    Show Business: Nora Aunor, actress

    Sports: Paeng Nepomuceno, bowling


    Number: 18.3 million (30.5% of the population)

    Regions: the Visayas, on the islands of Cebu, Bohol, Masbate, Siquijor and Camiguin, and on eastern Negros and western Leyte; on Mindanao, except the Zamboanga provinces

    Language: Cebuano

    Cultural Characteristics: The cultural group in the Philippines with the highest tendency to migrate. Cebu City, the center of Cebuano culture, is second to Metro Manila in terms of urbanization.

    Historical Figures

    Politics: Presidents Sergio Osmena (Sep 9, 1898 - Oct 19, 1961), Carlos Garcia (Nov 4, 1896 - Jun 14, 1971)

    Sports: Gabriel "Flash" Elorde (Mar 22, 1935 - Jan 2, 1985), boxer

    Current Prominent Personalities

    Politics: the Durano family in Danao City, and the Osmena and Cuenco families in Cebu City

    Music: Pilita Corrales

    Show Business: Gloria Sevilla, Pilar Pilapil

    Sports: Dodie Boy Penalosa and Rolando Bohol, both boxers


    Number: 5.2 million (9.4% of the population)

    Region: islands of Panay, Romblon, and eastern Negros

    Language: Hiligaynon

    Historical Figures

    Politics: President Manuel Roxas (Jan 1, 1892 - Apr 15, 1948)

    Visual Arts: Telesforo Sucgang (Jan 5, 1855 - Dec 16, 1916)

    Current Prominent Personalities

    Religion: Jaime Cardinal Sin, bishop of Manila

    Music: Kuh Ledesma, singer

    Beauty Queens: Gloria Diaz, Aurora Pijuan Manotoc, Margie Moran Florendo, all three title holders of world beauty pageants


    Number: 2 million (3.6% of the population)

    Regions: Samar island, eastern part of Leyte

    Language: Waray

    Cultural Characteristics: regarded by other Filipinos as comparatively hostile

    Current Prominent Personalities

    Politics: Imelda Marcos

  • People / The Philippine Muslims
  • All Muslim-Filipinos project a negative image to fellow Filipinos as they actually never have really wanted to be integrated into the political structure first set up by the Spaniards and then continued by the US and finally the modern Philippine state. Accordingly, they have not changed many of their customs and traditions. Up to the present, the women are still garbed in malongs instead of western dress, Arabic script is taught in schools, and nobility is still recognized.

    Only the Muslims are allowed under the Philippine law to have more than one wife. The Civil Code of the Philippines expresses respect for the ancient practice of polygamy for Muslims in the otherwise monogamous Philippine society as the practice is regarded as a religious tradition.

    The chances of complete integration of the Muslims into the mainstream Filipino society is still slight despite their use of institutions of the Christian dominated state, intermarriage with Christians, and active participation in running government affairs. Generally, Philippine Muslims identify themselves as Muslims rather than Filipinos.

    Combined Number: 2.4 million (4.3% of the population)

    Region: in south Mindanao, the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao, Cotabato, and Sultan Kudarat, in western Mindanao, and the islands of Basilan, Jolo, Tawi-Tawi.

    Groups: The Muslim Filipinos are further divided into ten major groups named after their respective dialects. These are the: Maguindanao (774,000), Tausug (592,000), Maranao (440,000), Samal (300,000), Yakan (123,000), Palawani (60,000), Badjao (40,000), Jama Mapun (35,000), Melibuganon (13,000), Sangil (13,000)


    Number: 774,000

    Region: Cotabato

    Community: The Maguindanao community is organized like a typical Filipino community, under the administration of the local government in spite of the presence of Muslim nobility.

    Technological Level: They are equal to the average Filipinos in the amenities of modern living. They enjoy the luxuries of owning cars, television sets, refrigerators and other modern appliances. As a matter of fact, these Muslims trade in modern appliances in the key cities of the Philippines, e.g. Manila, Cebu, Davao and Zamboanga.

    Education: more than 60% have attended school

    Employment: 10 to 15 percent of the Maguindanaos are employed either locally or overseas, particularly in Middle East countries.


    Number: 592,000

    Region: Jolo, Siasi and Tawi-Tawi

    Community: In spite of the presence of Muslim nobility, their communities are administered by local government officials. Often, these local government officials are Tausugs themselves.

    Technological Level: Modern appliances are very common in Tausug households.

    Education: approximately 60 percent of the Tausug children go to school

    Employment: Around 10 percent of the Tausugs are salaried employees either locally or abroad.


    Number: 440,000

    Region: Lanao and Cotabato, living mostly around Lake Lanao, in Marawi City, and in 25 other lakeside communities

    Community: Their communities are designed and run like ordinary Filipino communities, subject to the authority of elected local officials.

    Technological Level: The Maranaos are familiar with the amenities of modern living.

    Education: A majority of Maranaos have attended school.

    Employment: Most of the professional Maranaos work for the government. Many non-professional Maranaos work overseas, especially in Muslim countries, as masons, carpenters, drivers, etc.


    Number: 300,000

    Region: Sibutu and Sulu

    Community: Sultanate rule characterizes communities of the Samal.

    Technological Level: It is common for them to have transistor radios and basic consumer goods.

    Education: Some have reached high school but few go to college.

    Employment: Very few are steadily employed, most are fishermen.


    Number: 123,000

    Region: Basilan and Zamboanga

    Community: They are under the jurisdiction of their respective town officials.

    Technological Level: Transistor radios or tape recorders are common.

    Education: Many have finished elementary education but only few go to college.

    Employment: Seldom are Yakans steadily employed. The majority are either fishermen or traders.


    Number: 60,000

    Region: Palawan

    Community: Similar to a typical Filipino community under the leadership of local town officials.

    Technological Level: Transistor radios and basic consumer items are common.

    Education: Most have finished elementary education, but very few have gone to high school.

    Employment: Farm tenants; traditionally, they are hunters.


    Number: 40,000

    Region: Sulu

    Community: They are boat living people known as sea gypsies. They owe allegiance more to their sultan than to the Philippine government.

    Technological Level: Transistor radios, flashlights and basic consumer goods are found in ordinary Badjao households.

    Education: low literacy rate

    Employment: mostly fishermen, divers

    Jama Mapun

    Number: 35,000

    Region: Cagayan de Sulu

    Community: Their obedience is to their sultan. They live faithfully as Muslims.

    Technological Level: Transistor radios, flashlights and basic consumer items are common.

    Education: low literacy rate

    Employment: divers, fishermen


    Number: 13,000

    Region: Balabac Island

    Community: Typically Muslim, including a sultan as their sovereign.

    Technological Level: Basic consumer goods and transistor radios are common.

    Education: literacy rate is low

    Employment: fishermen, divers


    Number: 13,000

    Region: Lanao and Cotabato

    Community: Similar to a typical Philippine community except that they have traditional leaders for non-political matters.

    Technological Level: They have transistor radios in their households, kerosene lamps and some basic consumer goods.

    Education: majority can read and write

    Employment: mostly traders but some are farm tenants

  • People / The Philippine Chinese
  • Of the 2.1 million Chinese (4% of the population) presently living in the Philippines, 85% were Philippine born. However, the fact remains that only 30% are Filipino citizens by birth or naturalization. This is because those born in the Philippines of Chinese parents have dual citizenship and are considered Filipinos only when they elect Philippine citizenship.

    Chinese presence in the Philippines goes back at least to the year 200 A.D. In 1658, the diary of Fa-Hian was discovered, describing the Philippines at the beginning of the 3rd Century under the name Ma-i, derived from the word Mait, then a kingdom in Mindoro.

    In the 14th century, trade relations between China and the Philippines were already extensive. The Chinese bartered silk, porcelain, colored glass and beads for hemp, pearls, shells, and yellow wax of the natives. Because of early trade relations, Chinese settlements were established in The Country before the Spanish conquest. In 1571, the Spaniards found 40 Chinese merchants with their families settled in Manila. Other settlements were later discovered in Mindoro and in an area of Luzon which later became Pangasinan province.

    The Spaniards segregated the Chinese from the rest of the local community to keep them under surveillance and to facilitate collection of taxes. In 1582, the Spaniards created the Parian, a Chinese settlement located at what is today Mehan Garden. In 1683, the Parian was transferred to Binondo, which is still known today as Chinatown.

    Because the Chinese were basically merchants, they were welcomed for the merchandise they brought despite being regarded as an economic threat by the Spaniards and the Filipinos. Many times in history, hostilities broke out. Bloody massacres of the Chinese occurred in 1603 followed by two revolts in 1639 and 1662, initiated by the Chinese. After that, suspicion and latent hostility continued to characterize the Filipino attitude towards the Chinese. In 1924, the Quiapo Riot took place, followed by another in San Pablo City in 1931 when thousands of Chinese were killed. But later in this century, massacres and revolts never reached the extent of those in other Southeast Asian countries e.g. Malaysia and Indonesia.

    During the US era, the Chinese first prospered as Spanish restrictions were eliminated. However, in 1902 the Chinese Exclusion Act of the US was made effective in the Philippines. Immigration of Chinese was totally prohibited and the policy of "the Philippines for the Filipinos" was introduced as a medium for anti-Chinese acts. Furthermore, Philippine ownership of retail trade was ordered.

    Today, the Chinese are in the process of assimilation. A concentration of Chinese in their own communities apart from those of the Filipinos is only maintained in Manila among the older Chinese. It is no longer the case with the younger generation and among Chinese in the provinces. The Chinese today wear Western style clothing.

    A barrier to assimilation is a degree of prejudice and envy on the part of the ordinary Filipino of non-Chinese extraction. On the one hand, as noted in an editorial in Tempo April 18, 1990, "A trendy theory argues that the reason why some of our neighbors have attained the superstar status as NIC (newly industrialized country) is the influence of Chinese culture. At the core of this culture is Confucius basic teaching that rights have limits, that responsibility accompanies the exercise of individual rights, among other virtues.

    "That is why, it is suggested that Taiwan, Singapore, Hongkong with their Chinese populations have leaped ahead of the other Asian nations to economic prosperity. Another factor is that since time immemorial the Chinese have been the businessmen in Asia."...

    "In the case of the Philippines, such a chic theory needs revising. True the bulk of its population is Malay Filipinos. But look again: many of the economic leaders of the Philippines are Chinese-Filipinos or Chinese who have joined the mainstream. They are the ones moving the economy."

    But on the other hand this success has its drawbacks as cited in the Manila Standard of Feb. 7, 1990, "...a large part of this prejudice stems from the fact that Filipinos of Chinese descent by and large have achieved more than the other citizens of our country - and, as a result, have earned the envy of many. Both our envy and amor propio make it extremely difficult to attribute the higher levels of success of our Filipino-Chinese contemporaries to the skill, hard work, discipline and frugality they demonstrate as individuals as well as to the solidarity, cooperation and mutual assistance they exhibit as a community. It is so much more comforting to our egos to credit the success of Chinese-Filipinos to illegal and immoral business practices that victimize their fellow Filipinos. This rationalization is doubly attractive: it explains why we are poor and they are rich."

    The rejection of Chinese-Filipinos by Malay Filipinos was similarly stated by The Manila Standard, Jan. 27, 1990: "...we should ask ourselves whether the symbolism of our exclusion from the celebration of the Chinese New Year stems not so much from our not being a part of one or the other Chinese family as from our own unwillingness to accept so many of the Chinese members of our community into our own fellowship. Our policies on citizenship, for instance, are flawed by a major inconsistency: we are willing to extend citizenship to foreigners who invest large sums of money here; yet, we are unwilling to extend it to many of our local born Chinese who, together with their grandparents ...have invested their lives and fortunes here. Until we accept the Chinese members of our community into our own fellowship, we cannot expect to become a real part of their celebration of the Chinese New Year."

    The celebration of Chinese New Year during February is observed in a comparatively low key fashion, as it is a family affair, or is maintained as a tourist attraction for Chinese from Hong Kong, as many Chinese-Filipinos now celebrate the same Calendar New Year as do the Filipinos. Many Chinese also observe Christmas as they have become Christian although among the older and sometimes traditional younger Chinese Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism. The Filipino-Chinese also observe All Saints' Day November 1 instead of the traditional day for remembrance of the dead on April 5. Another step taken towards integration was their change of the three syllabic Chinese family names to Filipino surnames. Some authentic Filipino surnames of Chinese origin are Bengson, Locsin, Tanseco, Ongpin, and Cojuangco, the maiden surname of Philippine President Corazon Aquino.

    In spite of far reaching integration, the Chinese still maintain their own hospitals and schools in The Country teaching Chinese languages (Fookien, Mandarin, Cantonese), songs, drama and dances. Furthermore, Chinese organizations are still formed according to one's family name, place of origin, or field of business and trade.

  • People / Other Cultural Minorities
  • Filipinos in cultural minority groups number 3.5 million (6.5% of the population). According to the latest data provided by the Philippine Ethnological Survey, the sizes of ethnic groups in 1984 were as follows:

    North Luzon

    Ifugao (180,000), Bontoc (148,000), Kankanai (125,000), Kalinga (106,000), Ibaloi (93,000), Apayao (44,000), Itneg (44,000), Gaddang (43,000), Ibanag (36,000), Ikalahan (30,000), Ilongot (29,000), Isinai (28,000)

    Central Luzon and Visayas

    Negritos (Ata/Ati/Eta 222,000, Baluga/Aeta 65,000, Agta 30,000, Dibabawon 25,000, Dumagat 7,000, Pugot 4,000), Mangyan (111,000),

    Palawan Island

    Tagbanua (60,000), Batak (7,000), Kalamianes (3,000), Ken Uy Cuyonin (1,200)


    Manobo (334,000), Subanon (311,000), B`laan (244,000), Mandaya (210,000), T'boli (200,000), Higaonon (100,000), Tiruray (92,000), Mansaka (90,000), Bukidnon (72,000), Banauan (23,000), Tagakaolo (23,000), Mamanwa (9,000), Manguangan (3,000), Tasaday (28)


    Philippines / Government

    The Philippines local government, which is under the general supervision of the President is composed of provinces, cities, municipalities and barangays. These local government units act as agents for the executive branch and represents the inhabitants under its jurisdiction. The Department of Local Government exercises its supervisory authority over municipalities through provinces and over barangays through cities and municipalities. The provincial governor supervises cities and municipalities under his jurisdiction, but large cities such as Cebu City in Cebu Province and Baguio City in Benguet Province, operate independently of the province. On the other hand, city and municipal mayors, assume control of the barangays.

    In the Philippines, cities, municipalities and provinces are created by acts of Congress, while barangays are created by ordinance of provincial boards. The duties and powers of local government units are clearly defined and identified in the constitution.

    The local government's composition:

  • Government / Barangays
  • The next biggest social frame after the family is the barrio (in rural areas) or the barangay (in administrative language). There are about 40,000 barangays in the Philippines - nearly 5,000 in Metro Manila alone, The word barangay is Malay in origin and meant about the number of people who could be carried in a large boat. Barrio is a word introduced by the Spaniards meaning ward. Barrio and barangay are used interchangeably and correspond roughly to the American precinct or the English parish. Each as a concept was implemented by the Marcos administration and kept thereafter.

    The barangay is the smallest government unit in the Philippines, and each municipality or city is so sub-divided. It is the primary planning and action unit for government programs and projects. It is a forum for the collective opinion of a community.

    A barangay is created by an ordinance passed by the Provincial Board and City Board, subject to the outcome of a plebiscite called for that purpose in a sityo or pook (part of a barangay, a place).

    To qualify each barangay must have a basketball court (while not a legal requirement most residents would rather forgo some other part of the requirement, and indeed even places without a barangay designation will have a place to play or at least a basket for shooting practice), a chapel, a plaza, a health center (which must have a refrigerator to store anti-snake bite sera), a barangay hall and a school.

    In addition to be a barangay, a sityo must have a contiguous community with over 1,000 inhabitants. No barangay can be named after a living person nor can it be changed more than once every ten years. Although they are frequently named for saints Manila tends to simply use a number.

    The barangay officials are the barangay captain and 6 other elected members. The barangay captain is the head of the barangay government who is obligated to enforce all laws and ordinances operative within the barangay. He represents the barangay and as such can negotiate, enter into a contract for and on behalf of the barangay, maintains public order and assists the mayor and the municipal board in the performance of their duties. He calls and presides over the meeting of the barangay council and the barangay assembly and votes to break a tie. He can appoint and remove barangay officers, approve vouchers for disbursement, enforce laws and look after the general welfare of the barangay.

    The barangay council is the legislative body of the barangay which enacts barangay ordinances, provides for the construction of public work projects and facilities with the power of eminent domain, assists in the establishment and promotion of cooperative enterprises such as credit unions, submits requests for or accepts aid from municipal/city, provincial or national government agencies. It holds fund-raising activities, organizes community brigades and assemblies, and can establish non-formal education centers like day care centers.

    Barangay courts were established in 1980. They are headed by the barangay captain who acts as a judge in out-of-court settlements of civil and criminal cases within the barangay.

    The barangay captain receives a token salary but is held in high esteem by the community he serves. He is a combination of leader, squire, Justice of the peace, lawmaker and enforcer. The barangay captains elect a captain of captains who presides over meetings of the barangay captains and facilitates matters among barangays.

    The officials of a municipality are the mayor, vice mayor, and councillors who are members of the municpal board.

    The mayor is the chief executive of the municipality who controls and supervises all administrative affairs in the area. He appoints officers and employees of the municipal government. Aside from that, he grants permits and licenses to businesses within its territory, prepares the municipal budget, enforces laws, municipal ordinances and resolutions and ensures the collection of all municipal revenues and taxes. Furthermore, he represents the municipality. The Vice mayor assists the Mayor in the performance of his duties and acts as an ex-officio member of the Municipal Board.

    The municipal board is composed of 8 elected members with representatives from the agricultural and industrial labor sectors; and is presided over by the mayor. The municipal board passes ordinances for the municipality regulating use of property, levies taxes and fees, establishes and maintains the public market, cemeteries, slaughterhouses and the waterworks system. It likewise fixes the salaries of municipal officials and employees.

    An affirmative vote by the majority of the municipal board can pass an ordinance which must be approved and signed by the mayor within 10 days, otherwise, it is deemed approved. It is then forwarded to the provincial board which has 30 days to act on it either by approving it or declaring it invalid in whole or in part. Without such action the ordinance is deemed approved.

  • Government / Municipalities
  • Municipality is a general purpose government for the coordination and delivery of basic, regular and direct services within its jurisdiction. It is created by an Act of Congress approved by the majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite. A municipality is created out of a territory containing at least 10,000 inhabitants and an average annual income of at least 200,000 pesos for the previous three consecutive years. The officials of a municipality are the mayor, vice mayor, and councillors who are members of the municpal board.

    The mayor is the chief executive of the municipality who controls and supervises all administrative affairs in the area. He appoints officers and employees of the municipal government. Aside from that, he grants permits and licenses to businesses within its territory, prepares the municipal budget, enforces laws, municipal ordinances and resolutions and ensures the collection of all municipal revenues and taxes. Furthermore, he represents the municipality. The Vice mayor assists the Mayor in the performance of his duties and acts as an ex-officio member of the Municipal Board.

    The municipal board is composed of 8 elected members with representatives from the agricultural and industrial labor sectors; and is presided over by the mayor. The municipal board passes ordinances for the municipality regulating use of property, levies taxes and fees, establishes and maintains the public market, cemeteries, slaughterhouses and the waterworks system. It likewise fixes the salaries of municipal officials and employees.

    An affirmative vote by the majority of the municipal board can pass an ordinance which must be approved and signed by the mayor within 10 days, otherwise, it is deemed approved. It is then forwarded to the provincial board which has 30 days to act on it either by approving it or declaring it invalid in whole or in part. Without such action the ordinance is deemed approved.

  • Government / Cities
  • A city is a political unit of a more urbanized and developed community than a municipality. Highly urbanized cities have a minimum population of 150,000 with the most recent income of at least 50 million pesos. The Department of Local Government may declare a place a highly urbanized city within 30 days after it passes the criteria. Makati is an exception and by its own choice has remained a municipality.

    City Officials have a similar function and powers to municipal officials.

    Chartered cities are independent from provinces. The mayor there has many functions that match those of governors.

    Governors and mayors wield considerable influence. Many governors in those provinces where control of the central government is weak are said to have their own private armies and mayors have immediate control over the police force of a city. This direct control of the mayors over the police forces was re-established by the Aquino government after Marcos had integrated the police into the military.

    However, the local police are not the only armed force with police powers in the Philippines. There is also the Philippines Constabulary which is under the control of the Department of Defense, and which is highly centralized. Many of the more dangerous police tasks are handled by the constabulary.

  • Government / Provinces
  • The province is the largest unit of local government in the Philippines and is created by an act of Congress subject to the approval of a plebiscite. To qualify as a province a place must have an area of at least 3,500 sqkm, a population of no less than 500,000 and an average annual income of 10 million pesos over the previous 3 consecutive years.

    The elected provincial officials are the Governor, Vice governor and the Provincial Board (Sangguning Panlalawigan). The provincial governor is the chief executive of the province. Among his more important functions is the appointment of heads of offices and employees of provincial government, coordination and administration of services rendered by the National government's offices and agencies, visiting cities and municipalities of his province at least once every 6 months. In these functions, the governor is assisted by the Vice governor who is also an ex-officio member of the Provincial board. The governor, in the performance of his duties, is responsible only to his constituents, although he is supervised by the Department of Local Government.

    The provincial board is the lawmaking body of a province. It is composed of the governor, vice governor and 8 members. An ordinance or resolution passed by the Provincial Board after deliberation, is forwarded to the governor and is then returned , either approved or vetoed, within 15 days. otherwise, it is considered approved. Veto power is exercised only in appropriation ordinances in which case the governor will signify in writing his disapproval of the ordinance. The board may however override it by a 2/3 vote of all its members.

    Provincial government officials must be a citizen, over 23 years of age, a qualified voter who can read and write any of the Filipino dialects and a resident for at least one year. The term of office is 6 years.

    The Country has 72 provinces. Each province is divided into towns, usually about ten to twenty. Towns (or municipalities) actually are rather more closely related to townships or counties as they always encompass large rural areas and many villages often of a size matching or exceeding the town they are a part of.

    Philippine mailing addresses reflect this structure: They consist of the name of the addressee (first line), the street (second line), the barrio or barangay (third line), the municipality (forth line), and the province (fifth line). As there are often many municipalities with the same names, it is very important to state the province in any address. Filipinos are so used to this structure that when asked where they are from, they will at least state the name of the municipality and the name of the province.

    Region I, Ilocos

    Ilocos Norte (2)

    Abra (5)

    Ilocos Sur (6)

    Mountain Province (7)

    Benguet (10)

    La Union (11)

    Pangasinan (14)

    Region II, Cagayan Valley

    Batanes (1)

    Kalinga-Apayao (3)

    Cagayan (4)

    Isabela (8)

    Ifugao (9)

    Nueva Vizcaya (12)

    Quirino (13)

    Region III, Central Luzon

    Zambales (15)

    Tarlac (16)

    Nueva Ecija (17)

    Pampanga (18)

    Bulacan (19)

    Bataan (20)

    Region IV, Southern Tagalog

    Rizal (21)

    Cavite (22)

    Laguna (23)

    Batangas (24)

    Quezon (25)

    Marinduque (31)

    Mindoro Oriental (32)

    Mindoro Occidental (33)

    Romblon (34)

    Palawan (49)

    Region V, Bicol

    Camarines Norte (26)

    Camarines Sur (27)

    Catanduanes (28)

    Albay (29)

    Sorsogon (30)

    Masbate (35)

    Region VI, Western Visayas

    Negros Occidental (43)

    Aklan (45)

    Capiz (46)

    Iloilo (47)

    Antique (48)

    Region VII, Central Visayas

    Bohol (41)

    Cebu (42)

    Negros Oriental (44)

    Siquijor (50)

    Region VIII, Eastern Visayas

    Northern Samar (36)

    Western Samar (37)

    Leyte (38)

    Southern Leyte (40)

    Region IX, Western Mindanao

    Zamboanga del Norte (68)

    Zamboanga de Sur (69)

    Basilan (70)

    Jolo (71)

    Tawi-Tawi (72)

    Region X, Northern Mindanao

    Camiguin (51)

    Surigao del Norte (52)

    Agusan del Norte (54)

    Agusan del Sur (55)

    Misamis Oriental (56)

    Bukidnon (57)

    Misamis Occidental (60)

    Region XI, Southern Mindanao

    Surigao del Sur (53)

    Davao del Norte (64)

    Davao Oriental (65)

    Davao del Sur (66)

    South Cotabato (67)

    Region XII, Central Mindanao

    Lanao del Sur (58)

    Lanao del Norte (59)

    Maguindanao (61)

    North Cotabato (62)

    Sultan Kudarat (63)

  • Government / Regions
  • There are now two more or less autonomous regions in the Philippines - the Central Cordillera in North Luzon, and Muslim Mindanao. Mindanao still has a strong Muslim secessionist movement, and there are also Christian groups that would like to see Mindanao separate from the Philippine state.

    The 3 branches of the government:

  • Government / The National Executive
  • The Philippine government is divided into three branches: executive, legislative and judiciary. The executive branch administers and enforces the law while the legislature enacts law subject to written constitutional limitations. The judiciary interprets the enacted laws and determines their validity as well as the legality of private and official acts. These three branches are fundamentaly co-equal, co-important, and co-ordinate, but within the confines of its spheres, each branch is supreme. (Much like the US and many Latin American countries) Although they are inter-dependent in such a way that one is unable to perform its functions fully and adequately without the other, they are nevertheless in many cases independent of each other. No branch has the power nor authority to inquire into the acts performed within the due discretion of the other branch. But each branch is not absolutely separated from each other as each is given certain powers by which it may definitely restrain the other from exceeding the constitutional authority, forming the system of checks and balances.

    Executive Branch

    The executive branch is headed by the president who is the head of state, the chief executive, and the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. The President is elected by the direct vote of the people in a general election. (unlike the US where the voters for cast their ballots for electors in the electral college who then elect the president)

    To be a presidential candidate, one must be a natural born Filipino citizen, a regular voter who can read and write, 40 years of age and a resident of the Philippines for at least 10 years immediately preceeding such election. There is a Vice-President who assists him in the execution of his duty, possesing the same qualifications. Their term of office is 6 years which begins at noon June 30th following the election. The president is no longer qualified for re-election and the Vice President is limited to three terms.

    However, despite the appearance of being disqualified for re-election, incumbent President Corazon Aquino is rumored to be a candidate running for the 1992 Presidential election. It is because her present term of office was acquired prior to the effective date of the 1986 Constitution and not by general election. Her term is governed by the transitory provision of the l986 Constitution which provides that the first regular election for the President and Vice President shall be held on the 2nd Monday of May, l992.

    As head of state, the President opens the regular session of the Congress in the State of the Nation Address and prepares the national budget. He has the power to enter into a treaty or international agreement upon concurrence of at least 2/3 of all the members of the Senate. He may also contract or guarantee foreign loans with the prior concurrence of the monetary board. As Chief Executive, the President has control of all departments, bureaus and offices, ensuring that laws are faithfully executed. Despite this, his appointing powers are not absolute. The President nominates all the secretaries of Departments, ambassadors and other public ministers, consuls and officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines from the rank of colonel or naval captain. These appointments are subject to confirmation by the Commission on Appointments. During the recess of Congress, the President may appoint acting officials. The Commission on Appointments is composed of the president of the Senate and 12 Senators and 12 members of the House of Representatives. The President has the power to grant reprieves, pardons, commute sentences and remit fines.

    As Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, he is empowered to suspend the privelege of the writ of habeas corpus or proclaim martial law in case of invasion or rebellion or when public safety requires it for a period not exceeding 60 days. Report of such suspension or imposition must be submitted to the Congress within 48 hours, subject to the approval or revocation of the Congress by a vote of the majority of all its members in a regular or special session.

    The President can only be removed from office by impeachment for reasons of culpable violation of the Constitution, treason, bribery, graft or corruption.

  • Government / The Legislative Branch
  • The legislature or the law-making body of The Country , is known as Congress. It is a bicameral institution consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Senate has 24 Senators while the House of Representatives has 250 members. They are all elected in a general election but the Representatives are elected by the constituents of their district or province. The term of office for a Senator is 6 years, limited to one re-election. Representatives have a term of three years limited to three consecutive terms. Like the term of the President, the term of the present members of the Congress is governed by the Transitory provision of the Constitution, and the re-election clause shall take effect after l992 election. It is provided by the Transitory provision of the Constitution that all senators, representatives and local officials elected under the l986 Constitution will serve until June 30, l992. The first 12 senators with the largest vote shall serve for 6 years and the others for 3 years. Representatives elected beginning June 30, l992 serve for 3 years.

    These elective positions require candidates to be natural born Filipino citizens who can read and write. For a senator, he must be at least 35 years old, a registered voter and a resident of the Philippines for not less than two years. Representatives must be 25 years old, a registered voter of the province he is representing and a resident of such for not less than one year. Regular elections for members of Congress is the 2nd monday of May.

    Members of the Congress, before assuming office are required to submit a statement of assets and liabilities. As such, they are not allowed to work in any government or private entity nor can they practice their profession.

    Congress convenes every year on the 4th Monday of July for its regular session. Records and books of accounts of the congress are open to the public. The book of accounts has an itemized list of the amounts paid to and expenses incurred by each member. When in session, senators and representatives are free from arrest except when the offense is punishable by more than 6 years imprisonment.

    The most important function of Congress is legislation. For passage, a bill must have one subject only which shall be expressed in its title. To become law a bill must pass three readings on separate days and printed copies must be distributed to the members of Congress three days before its first reading. The 1st and 2nd reading of the bill involves deliberations and ammendments. Once it has passed the 2nd reading, no ammendments can be made. A bill passed by Congress requires the approval of the President to become law. If the President chooses, he may veto it totally or partially, by sending it back to the Congress within 30 days from day of receipt. Otherwise, the bill becomes a law. Those provisions of the bill which the President did not object to will not be affected by the veto. But Congress may override this veto by a 2/3 vote.

    The congress may declare a state of war or ammend the constitution or call a constitutional convention by a vote of 2/3 of all its members. By majority vote of all its members, it may submit to the electorate the question of calling such constitutional convention. Existing treaties and international agreements cannot be renewed or extended without the concurrence of at least 2/3 of the members of the senate.

  • Government / The Judicial Branch
  • The Judiciary is charged with the interpretation and application of the laws enacted by Congress and enforced by the executive branch. This judicial power of the state is vested in a system and hierarchy of courts - the Supreme court and other lower courts. One difference between the Philippines and nations whose law is based on the English common law is the lack of a jury or trial by jury. This branch of government is the only one whose members are not elected and do not have a fixed term of office.

    The Supreme Court is composed of one Chief Justice and 14 associate justices who have been appointed to the bench. Before the 1986 constitution became effective members were appointed by President Corazon Aquino. Subsequent appontments, in case of vacancy, are based on the nomination of three candidates by the Judicial or Bar Council composed of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, as an ex-officio member, a representative from the Integrated bar of the Philippines and a retired member of the Supreme Court. From the nominees, the President will make an appointment. Retirement age for the members of the Judiciary is 70. Before reaching retirement Supreme Court Justices may be removed from office only by impeachment.

    The Supreme Court exercises administrative supervision over the lower courts and their personnel. It has its power to appoint its officials and employees in accordance with the Civil Service Law as well as the power to assign temporary judges in inferior courts. With its power to appoint goes the disciplinary power over judges of the lower courts. It has the power to promulgate rules regarding pleadings, practice and procedures in all courts and admission to the bar. Likewise it has the power to promulgate rules and regulations relative to the protection and enforcement of constitutional rights and legal assistance to the underpriveledged and to disapprove rules of procedures adopted by special courts or quasi-judicial bodies.

    To qualify as a member of the Supreme Court, one must be a natural born Filipino citizen, at least 40 years of age with 15 years as a judge or law practise.

    The Supreme Court is the court of last resort in determining question of constitutionality of any law, order, regulation or official act. Its judgment is always final and becomes a part of the law of the land. It has exclusive original jurisdiction on petitions for the issuance of various writs against the Intermediate Appellate Court, Commission on Election, Court of Tax Appeals, Court of Industrial Relations, Public Service Commission, Workmen's Compensation Commission and the auditor General. It has also jurisdiction over contests relating to election returns.

    The Supreme court has 24 months to render decisions, resolutions or order on cotroversies before it.

    The lower courts are composed of the Intermediate Appellate Court (IAC), Regional Trial Court (RTC), Metropolitan Trial Court (MTC), Municipal Trial Court (MUTC) and the Municipal Circuit Trial Court (MCTC).

    Members of the Intermediate Appellate Court, 51 in all, including the Presiding Justice, must possess the same qualifications as members of the Supreme Court. They are appointed in the same manner.

    The Intermediate Appeallate Court is more often called the collegiate court, because, like the Supreme Court, despite being considered a lower court it is not subject to territorial jurisdiction.

    It can issue various writs. It has exclusive appellate jurisdiction on orders or awards of the regional trial courts, quasi-judicial agencies except those falling within the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. The Intermediate applelate court can try cases, conduct hearings, receive new evidence and perform acts necessary to resolve factual issues raised in cases falling within its original and appellate jurisdiction including the power to grant and conduct a new trial.

    The regional trial court is composed of 13 regional courts with branches spread all over the provinces within The Country . At present there are 172 regional trial courts in the National Capital Region and some 550 in different provinces. In every court, one judge is assigned to preside. The court is usually in the capital of the province. The judge must be a natural born Filipno citizen, 40 years of age with 10 years law practice or position in public office. Other officers of the Regional Trial Court are the fiscal and and the Clerk of Court who are both admitted to the bar in the Philippines and serve under the Department of Justice. The fiscal corresponds to the prosecuting attorney in the US.

    The regional Trial court has jurisdiction over all civil cases involving title or possession of real property or any interest therein, or legality of tax, impost or assessment. It has jurisdiction on admiralty or maritime cases, all cases not within the exclusive jurisdiction of any court, tribunal, person or body exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions, all civil actions and special proceedings within the exclusive original jurisdiction of the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court and the Court of Agrarian Reform.

    It can issue various writs in its respective region. In criminal cases, it has jurisdiction over cases not subject to trial by the MTC, MUTC and MCTL. It has appellate jurisdiction over all cases tried by the MTC, MUTC and MCTC.

    A Municipal Trial Court is found in every municipality or city of a province while the Metropolitan Trial Court, as of this writing, is limited to the National Capital Region. However, the Supreme Court intends to institute Metropolitan Trial Courts in such other territories whose jurisdiction is co-extensive with the cities and municipalities comprising the metropolitan area. The general rule is that for one city, one municipal court, except for some 31 cities with more than one Municipal Trial Court due to their higher degree of urbanization. At present, Tere are 1,023 Municipal Trial Courts and 82 Metropolitan Trial Courts in The Country .

    Municipal Trial Courts and Metropolitan Trial Courts have jurisdiction over civil actions and probate preceedings, as well as cases of forcible entry. Likewise, it has jurisdiction over cases of land registration. In the absence of a Regional Trial Court in a province, it may hear and decide petitions for writs of habeas corpus or application for bail in criminal cases.

    To be a judge in these courts, one must be a natural born Filipino citizen, at keast 35 years old with 5 years law practice in a government office. Lower court judges have a term of 10 years with no restriction on re-appointment

  • Government / The National Anthem

  • English version

    Land of the morning,

    Child of the sun returning,

    With fervor burning,

    Thee do our sould adore,

    Land dear and holy,

    Cradle of noble heroes,

    Ne'er shall invaders

    Trample thy sacred shore.

    Ever within thy skies and thro' thy clouds

    And o'er thy hills and seas,

    Do we behold the radiance, fell the throb,

    Of glorious liberty.

    Thy banner, dear to all our hearts,

    It's sun and stars alight,

    O never shall its shining field

    Be dimmed by tyrant's might

    Beautiful land of love, O land of light,

    In thine embrace 'tis rapture to lie;

    But is is glory ever, when thou art wronged,

    For us, thy sons, to suffer and die.

    Pambansang Awit - Tagalog version

    Bayang magiliw,

    Perlas ng Silanganan,

    Alab ng puso

    Sa dibdib mo'y buhay.

    Lupang hinirang,

    Duyan ka ng magiting

    Sa manlulupig

    Di ka pasisiil.

    Sa dagat at bundok,

    Sa simoy at sa langit mong bughaw,

    May dilag ang tula,

    At awit sa paglayang minamahal.

    Ang kislap ng watawat mo'y

    Tagumpay na nagniningning;

    Ang bituin at araw niya,

    Kailan pa ma'y di magdidilim.

    Lupa ng araw, ng luwalhati't pagsinta,

    Buhay ay langit sa piling mo;

    Aming ligaya na pag may mang-aapi,

    Ang mamatay ng dahil sa iyo.


    Philippines / History / From 25,000 B.C. to 1380

    25,000 B.C. Ancient Negroid people immigrate to the Philippines over a land bridge then still connecting the archipelago with the Asian mainland. They are food gatherers and hunters, and the forefathers of today's Negritos. These people use bows and arrows and stone made implements. They live in caves.

    5,000 B.C. to 3,000 B.C. The "New Stone Age". Sea faring Malays from what is today Indonesia come to the archipelago. These new settlers bring with them polished stone tools, boat building, bark and animal skin cloth making, pottery, rice planting, the process of cooking food in bamboo tubes, the techniques of making fire by rubbing two sticks together. The Negritos begin to move out of caves and settle in a scattered manner along the coasts and rivers.

    3,000 B.C. to 1,000 B.C. A second wave of Malay immigrants arrives in the Philippines by sea. Each of their ships accommodated one small clan. Such a ship load of people was called a barangay, a term which was revived by Marcos to describe an organized neighborhood of more than 1000 people. The immigrants in the second wave were ancestors of today's Ifugao, Bontoc, Mangyans, and other primitive tribes. They introduced the animist religion and jar burial in The Country . Earliest metal tools of the period are made of copper, bronze, iron and gold.

    200 B.C. More civilized Malays in large numbers migrate to the Philippines. They are the racial stock of the majority of today's Philippine populace.

    200 B.C. to 1000 A.D. In the Iron Age beginns artistry in the Philippines in all aspects of life and work. Earrings, beads, pendants and bangles made of clay, stone and shells are developed. Body tattooing is used as well as filing and blackening teeth which were then wrapped with gold foil or studded with gold fillings.

    1,000 A.D. to 1,200 A.D. In the Porcelain Age trading begins extensively with Arabia, India, Annan, China and later with the Europeans. Porcelains from different Chinese dynasties are imported.

    1200 to 1300. Migrants from Borneo spread into the Southern Philippines.

    1300 to 1400. The Hindu empire of Majapahit on Java gains influence over parts of the islands.

    1380. Islam reaches the Southern Philippines via Borneo. In islamic areas, slavery is in the following years widely replacing head-hunting. Would be head-hunting victims become slaves that are bartered to Chinese traders. A new social order is started made up of freemen, commoners, slaves and bonded servants, all under the leadership of a datu.


    Philippines / History / From 1543 to 1603

    1543, Feb 2.

    The leader of the most successful Spanish expedition after Magellan, Ruy Lopez de Villalobos (died Apr 4, 1546) arrives in the archipelago. He names the islands the Philippines in honor of the son of King Charles I, Philip II (1556-1598) of Spain. Villalobos reaches Sarangani Island off the eastern coast of Mindanao and settles there for 8 months. But because of the scarcity of food, the expedition is forced to leave the place and sails to the Moluccas where Villalobos dies.

    1565, Feb 13. With four ships and 380 men, Miguel Lopez de Legaspi arrives in the Philippines.

    1565, May 8. The Island of Cebu is surrendered to Legaspi by its ruler King Tupas. Legaspi establishes the first permanent Spanish settlement on Cebu and becomes the first Spanish Governor-General. By his order, tributes are collected from all Filipino males aged 19 to 60.

    1568. The Portuguese, under the command of General Gonzalo de Pereira, attack Cebu and blockade its port.

    1570. The Portuguese again attack the colony and are repulsed. The series of attacks stems from Portugal's claim to the territory based on the provision of the Treaty of Tordisillas entered into by Spain and Portugal on June 7, 1474, in which their respective spheres of influence, trade and conquest were defined. The Portuguese believe that the Philippines falls within their sphere.

    1570, May. Legaspi sends an expedition under the leadership of Martin de Goiti to Manila. Manila is ruled by Rajah Suliman, whose friendship is won by de Goiti.

    1571, May 19. Rajah Suliman wages war against the Spaniards due to a move by de Goiti which he mistakes for an assault. De Goiti's army defeats Suliman's troops and occupies the town.

    1571, Jun 24. Legaspi establishes his government in Manila and proclaims it the capital of the Philippines, calling it the "distinguished and ever loyal city".

    1572, Aug 20. Legaspi dies and Guido de Lavezares (died 1575) succeeds him as governor. Lavezares extends colonization to the Bicol region.

    1574, Nov 23. The Chinese pirate captain Limahong attacks Manila but the Spaniards win with the help of the Filipinos.

    1574, Dec 2. Limahong again attacks Manila, this time with 1,500 soldiers, but cannot conquer the city.

    1574, Dec. In Tondo (now a district of Manila) Lakandula leads a short revolt against the Spanish.

    1580. The Spanish King Philip II receives the throne of Portugal upon the death of the Portuguese King Sebastian. This puts an end to the Portuguese harassment of the Philippine archipelago.

    1580. The Spaniards institute forced labor on all male natives aged 16 to 60.

    1583, Aug. A great fire in Manila which starts from the candles around the bier of governor Penalosa.

    1589. The Spaniards establish the first school in the Philippines, the College of San Ignacio.

    1600. The Dutch attack the archipelago in a tactical offensive during the European war between Spain and the Netherlands.

    1600. Governor Sebastian Hurtado de Corcuera begins collecting the bandala from the natives. Bandala is an annual quota of products assigned to the natives for compulsory sale to the government.

    1600. The Galleon trade between Manila and Acapulco, Mexico begins. But Manila serves merely as a transshipment port for the exchange of goods between Spain and Mexico on the one side and China on the other. Silver from Mexico is traded for any kind of Chinese merchandise. Because of the Galleon trade's quick returns, Spain lacks interest in developing the Philippine economy during the first 200 years of its occupation.

    1603. Chinese insurrection in Manila.


    Philippines / History / From 1622 to 1809


    An early revolt takes place in Bohol. It is headed by Tamblot, a babaylan or priest of the native religion. Revolts in Leyte, Samar and Panay follow, all protesting the collection of tributes.

    1744. One of the most successful revolts in Philippine history breaks out, once more in Bohol, and provides the island a kind of independence from the Spaniards for the following 85 years. The first leader of the revolt is Francisco Dagohoy.

    1754, May 15. Mt Taal emits magma and destroys the towns of Lipa, Sala, Tanauan and Talisay.

    1762, Sep 22. In a side encounter of the European Seven Years War, the British attack Manila with 13 vessels and 6,830 men under the command of General William Draper and Admiral Samuel Corning. The British win the battle and occupy the city.

    1762, Oct 5. The British take control of the Philippines and Darsonne Drake becomes Governor-General. The British open the colony to international trade and ultimately change its economic life.

    1762, Dec 14. A revolt under the leadership of Diego Silang (Dec 16, 1730 - May 28, 1763) breaks out in the Ilocos region.

    1763, May 28. The revolt ends as Diego Silang is assassinated by his former friend Miguel Viscos.

    1763, Feb 10. The Treaty of Paris between England, Spain and France is signed, ending the Seven Years War in Europe as well as the British occupation of the Philippines.

    1774, Nov 9. Parishes are secularized by order of King Charles III of Spain. Natives are also permitted to enter the Catholic priesthood.

    1808, May. French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte installs his brother Joseph as King of Spain. French-influenced liberals support the king but the people do not.

    1809, Jan 22. As an effect of the appointment of Joseph Bonaparte as King of Spain, all Spanish colonies including the Philippines are made integral parts of Spain by the Spanish Central Junta. Filipinos are given the privileges of Spanish citizenship as well as representation in the Spanish Cortes (parliament).


    Philippines / History / From 1884 to 1894

    1884. Exaction of tribute from all male natives is ended and the required forced labor of 40 days a year is reduced to 15 days.

    1884, Jun 21. Rizal finishes his medical studies in Spain.

    1887, May 29. Noli me tangere is published in Madrid and Barcelona.

    1887, Oct. Rizal begins writing the novel El Filibusterismo, a continuation of Noli me tangere.

    1888, Dec 13. Filipinos in Barcelona establish the organization La Solidaridad. It demands for the Philippines freedom of press, speech and assembly, equality before the law, participation in governmental affairs, social and political freedom and representation in the Spanish Cortes. The demands are published and circulated in Barcelona for the purpose of reaching the Spanish King's ear. Among the members are: Jose Rizal, Lopez Jaena (Dec 18, 1856 - Jan 20, 1897), Marcelo del Pilar (Aug 30, 1850 - Dec 3, 1920), Antonio Luna (Oct 29, 1866 - Jun 5, 1899) and Mariano Ponce (Mar 23, 1863 - May 23, 1918).

    1891, Mar 28. Rizal finishes writing El Filibusterismo in Biarritz, France.

    1892, Jun 26. Rizal arrives in the Philippines via Hong Kong.

    1892, Jul 3. In Ilaya St, Tondo, Rizal founds La Liga Filipina to give the people a chance for direct involvement in the reform movement. Andres Bonifacio (Nov 30, 1863 - May 10, 1897) is one of Rizal's partners.

    1892, Jul 7. The Spanish authorities arrest Rizal for organizing La Liga Filipina.

    1892, Jul 17. Rizal is exiled to Dapitan, Mindanao.

    1894, Jul 8. Andres Bonifacio forms the Katipunan. Its members come from the lower and the middle class. The organization wants to awaken nationalism and free the Filipino people from Spanish oppression and friar despotism. The organization believes that reforms can only be obtained by means of a revolution.