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December 2011



The Philippines located in Southeastern Asia, are an archipelago between the Philippine Sea and the South China Sea, east of Vietnam. As a whole the country is slightly larger than Arizona. In 2009, the estimated population was 92.2 million people with 11.55 million in the metropolitan area of Manila, the capital city. The Philippine archipelago is made up of 7,107 islands; favorably located in relation to many of Southeast Asia's main water bodies: the South China Sea, Philippine Sea, Sulu Sea, Celebes Sea, and Luzon Strait.

The history of the Philippines can be divided into four distinct phases: the pre-Spanish period (before 1521); the Spanish period (1521-1898); the American period (1898-1946); and the post-independence period (1946-present). The climate of the country is tropical marine; the northeast monsoon season runs from November to April; the southwest monsoon season runs from May to October. The terrain is mostly mountains with narrow to extensive coastal lowlands. The natural resources of the Philippines include: timber, petroleum, nickel, cobalt, silver, gold, salt, and copper. The natural hazards facing the Philippines include: astride typhoon belt, usually affected by 15 and struck by five to six cyclonic storms per year, landslides, active volcanoes, destructive earthquakes, and tsunamis. The Philippine economy proved comparatively well-equipped to weather the recent global financial crisis. Arable farmland comprises more than 40% of the total land area, but suffers from low productivity. The industrial sector is concentrated in urban areas, especially in the metropolitan Manila region, and has only weak linkages to the rural economy.

Typhoon Washi struck the southern island of Mindanao, Philippines. Mindanao island is the second-largest island of the Philippines. The terrain is generally mountainous and heavily forested, rising to 9,690 ft/2,954 m at Mount Apo, an active volcano also the highest point in all the Philippines. The island lies below the typhoon belt, and its climate is more favorable than that of Luzon to the North. Pineapples, mangoes, bananas, and other fruits are grown, as well as rice and corn. Zamboanga and Davao are the principal cities; Davao is the most important port. There was considerable industrial growth during the 1960s. Fishing is a major activity in all coastal areas.

CIA World Factbook; U.S. State Department Background Notes; The Columbia Gazeteer, 11/2011; 6/2011; 12/2011

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