The Philippine Archipelago has 7,000 islands which lies between 21 degrees and 5 degrees north latitude in the Western Pacific. Spreading 115,830 square miles in total land area, it extends northward toward Taiwan and Borneo to the south. On the west is the China sea and on the east the Pacific Ocean. The physical terrain is varied. Mountain ranges run through the entire island chain, contrasting sharply with the rich green lower slopes and coastal plains suited for agriculture. Early travelers saw these islands as gems and called the archipelago "Pearl of the Orient". Fewer than a third of the islands are inhabited and the largest 11 account for 95% of the total land area. The Philippines is divided into three main areas: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Luzon being the largest, is the most populated. Manila with it's strategic location is the center of commerce and government. To the south of Luzon is a group of islands called the Visayas. Its most important islands are Cebu, Leyte, Negros, Samar, Bohol, and Panay. The City of Cebu is the areas business and industrial center. Further south is the country's second largest island, Mindanao. It's the country richest in terms of natural resources. Muslims Filipino communities flourish here. Despite the present day dominance of Christian settlers, Mindanao remains culturally seperate.
The Philippines is generally warm with an average temperature of 80 degrees farenhiet. There are only two seasons which can be classified as wet and dry season. The months of March to June are hot and dry; July to October are extremely wet, while November to February are pleasantly cool and dry.
The Philippines is rich in minerals, especially copper, gold, iron, chormite, nickel and coal. About half of the Philippines is covered with forest and 35% is agriculture land. Agriculture is the basis of economic life in the Philippines although the industries are gaining ground. Rice, coffee, rubber, corn, fruits and vegetables are produced for domestic consumption while coconut, abaca, sugarcane, tobacco and pineapples are grown for export. Forest products are also a main source of revenue while manufacturing, mainly processing raw materials for export and producing consumer goods for the local market attracts foreign investors. Fishing and aquaculture are also important industries especially after discovering it's potential market in Asia, particularly in Japan.
The Philippines has more than 70 languages and dialects, nine of which serve as major languages and are spoken by 89% of the population. Filipino, which is the Philippine national language. It is spoken by people in Metro Manila as well as the southern Luzon Tagalog provinces and is understood by 90% of the population. It is also slowly becoming the language of instruction and will eventually become the official language in government. English is the widest used foreign language simply because it has been the language of instruction for nearly eight decades. It is still the language of instruction in higher learning and is still largely the language of government and mass media. Before 1987, Spanish was a required subject in school. At present, spanish speakers have become rare although most Filipinos have a working knowledge of the language. Filipino, the language, is liberally laced with spanish words.
Filipino children have few toys but a lot of playmates. Toys being expensive and not affordable to everyone, children find ways to amuse themselves by going to their backyards or to the street and indulge in games like: sungka(shells or stones put into holes), siklot(a local version of jackstones), sipa(kicking a palm or paper ball) or fly a kite. Adults on the other hand play mahjong, which is a game derived from the chinese or bingo just to pass their time. Animal competition is just as popular. Cockfighting though has become an institution in Philippine sports. But wether it is spending an evening out at a concert or watching competition of sorts, the bottom line is Filipino love to be entertained.

National Anthem:Lupang Hinirang
(Beloved Country)
  National Bird:Philipppine Eagle
National Hero:Dr. Jose Rizal National Flower:Sampaguita
National Fish:Bangus (Milkfish)  National Custom:Barong Tagalog (Male)
Baro't Saya (Female)
National Fruit:Mangga (Mango) National Animal:Carabao (Water Buffalo)
National Tree:Narra National Leaf:Anahaw
National House:Bahay Kubo
(Nipa Hut)
 National Dance:Tinikling (Bamboo Dance)

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