Fast Facts to Know About the Philippines

Official Name

  • Republic of the Philippines (conventional long form) or Republika ng Pilipinas
  • The Philippines (conventional short form) or Pilipinas
  • Usually abbreviated as RP

Capital

The historical capital of the country is Manila, which is the heart of Metro Manila, a metropolitan area composed of 17 contiguous cities and municipalites with a combined population of about 12 million.

The other cities and municipalites of Metro Manila are Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas, Valenzuela, Quezon City, Marikina, Pasig, San Juan, Mandaluyong, Makati (which serves as the Central Business District), Pateros, Taguig, Pasay, Parañaque, Las Piñas, and Muntinlupa.

Language

  • Filipino is the national language (1987 Constitution, Section 6, Article XIV)
  • English is widely spoken and is the preferred language of business and commerce
  • There are about 80 major language groups with more than 500 dialects
  • Among the widely used languages are Cebuano, Tagalog, Ilocano, Pangasinense, Pampango, Bikolano, Hiligaynon (Ilonggo), Waray, and Chavacano

Government

The Philippines has a Democratic Republican form of government with the President and Vice President elected to a single six-year term of office. The President has the power to appoint the Cabinet, subject to confirmation by Congress. The Congress is divided into two chambers with the Senate subject to national election while the House of Representatives is elected according to congressional districts. The Supreme Court justices are also appointed by the President and likewise subject to confirmation by Congress. The Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches are considered separate but co-equal branches of government.

Economy

Principally light industry and agriculture. Traditional export products include copper, gold, sugar, coconut, and copra. Top non-traditional exports are semiconductors and garments. Major trading partners are the United States, China, Japan, the European Union, and the ASEAN member countries.

Climate

Tropical. The rainy season, often with tropical monsoons that average 15-20 per year, starts sometime in June or July and ends in October or November. The rest of the year is dry and humid.

People

The Filipino people are basically of Malay stock, although intermarriage with other populations from different countries exists (e.g. Spanish, Chinese, American, Indian, Arab, etc.), thus resulting in a great deal of blending.

There are some 80 major ethno-linguistic groups, with many subgroups, that make Philippine society a complex one. All these, traditionally, are groups practicing distinct cultures (with their own language, cuisine, customs, and traditions) and using a domestic kind of economy.

The coming of Western and other foreign cultures created a pluralistic situation at the national level of Philippine society. Its cultural heritage and Western influence have made the Philippines a truly cosmopolitan blend of East and West.

Currency

  • Unit of currency: Peso
  • Sign:
  • Code: PHP
  • 1 Peso/Piso = 100 centavos/sentimo
  • Bank  notes: P1000, P500, P200, P100, P50, P20
  • Coins: P10, P5, P2, P1
  • 1 USD = 47.62 PHP
  • 1 EUR = 66.10 PHP
  • 1 JOD = 67.12 PHP

(Note: Currency exchange counters in the Philippines do not normally exchange Jordanian dinars into Philippine pesos. It is best to have either US dollars or Euros)

National Symbols

  • Anthem: Lupang Hinirang (Chosen Land)
  • Tree: Nara (Pterocarpus indicus)
  • Bird: Philippine Eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi)
  • Flower: Sampaguita (Jasminum sambac)
  • Martial Art and Sport: Arnis