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The Philippines is an archipelago in the western Pacific Ocean, lies between Australia and the mainland of Southeast Asia. In total the Philippines is comprised of approximately 7,100 large and small islands.

The total land surface is approximately 300,000 square kilometres, about seven times larger than The Netherlands. Circa two thirds of the surface is taken up by two of the largest islands: Luzon in the north and Mindanao in the south. The capital Manilla lies upon the most northern and largest island of Luzon. Manilla is ca. 636 km2 large and has ca. 11,5 million inhabitants. A large part of who live under the poverty line and part of them live in slums.


For Filipinos the flag symbolises their love for the fatherland. The white triangle in the flag symbolises the equality. The dark blue part stands for peace, truth and justice. The lower red part stands for patriotism. The eight stars of the sun stand for the first eight provinces who took up arms against the Spanish oppressors. At last the three stars represent Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

Facts and numbers

  Philippines Netherlands
Land surface 298.170 km² 41.543 km²
Population 98,0 million 16,7 million
Life expectancy (men - women) 68 - 74 year 77 - 82 year
Birth rate 29 /1000 10/1000
Child death under 1 year of age 22 /1000 4 /1000
Number of inhabitants under 18 years of age 60% 17%
People with access to clean water 86% 100%
People with access to sanitary installations 83% 100%
Analphabetic 8% 1%
Unemployment 7,90% 4%
Inflation 9,30% 1,40%
BNP per head of the population US$ 3,300 US$ 40.500
People living under the poverty line 30% -
Number of mobile phones 68 million 20 million
Number of Internet users 5,6 million 14,5 million
Source: CIA World Fact Book (januari 2008)


The Philippines is a presidential republic. The President functions as both head of state and head of government. The Philippines President is also commander-in-chief of the armed forces. The president is elected by popular vote to a single six-year term. The current President is Benigno Aquino III.

The legislative power is vested in the Philippines in the Congress. The Congress is composed of a Senate and a House of Representatives. The 24 senators are elected to a six-year term, while the (maximum) 250 representatives elected to a three-year term. The top of the judicial power is made up by the Supreme Court. The 14 associate justices and one Chief Justice are all appointed by the Philippine President.


There are around 80 different indigenous languages and dialects in the Philippines, which all belong to the Malayo-Polynesian language group. The two most important indigenous languages are:

  • Tagalog (in Central-Luzon and on Mindoro and Palawan)
  • Cebuano (in Cebu and other central areas of the archipelago).

In no other Asian country is it possible to get around so easily with the English language as in the Philippines. English is used very often in the media, in education and in the business world.

A tropical climate reigns in the Philippines. In the warmest month of the year (May) the temperature can rise to about 35 degrees centigrade. During the coldest month, January, temperatures of 30 degrees centigrade are still measured. There are substantial differences in rainfall. Relatively a lot of rain falls in the period from June till October. From about mid-August the Typhoon season starts, causing much damage to crops and houses.

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