Republic of the Philippines |
Republika ng Pilipinas
The Philippines is the third largest English speaking country in the world. An Asian archipelago discovered in 1521 by Ferdinand Magellan, its 7,107 islands stretch from South China to Borneo in the Pacific Ocean. The capital city is in Manila in the north. There are three main geographical areas: Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Densely populated, the Philippines is home to 85 million people dispersed among 73 provinces and 61 provincial chartered cities, which are independent of provinces.
The country is heavily westernized - Spanish architecture, prevalence of Christianity and an American-fashioned government. It is the oldest democracy in Asia led by a President and bicameral Congress.
Filipinos are diverse in ethnicity. There is no "true Filipino," except for indigenous valley tribes. Most Filipinos are of Spanish, Italian, French and Dutch in origin, related to colonial settlers from all over Europe, especially from Spain. There are also large numbers of Chinese, Malay and Arabian descendants.
Philippines has a modern Amred Forces of over 106,000 soldiers in the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines and Coast Guard. The country's armed forces coordinates with the United States Department of Defense in a special relationship. Philippines is the former host of several American bases which included Clark and Subic.