Typhoon Hagupit (also known as Ruby) struck the Philippines, from the East. At its height, the typhoon had sustained winds of almost 150mph. The storm is predicted to hit the coast of southern Vietnam.
During the 16th century the Philippine Islands became a Spanish colony. In 1898 following the Spanish-American War, they were ceded to the U.S. In 1935 the Philippines became a self-governing commonwealth. In 1942 the islands fell under Japanese occupation during World War II. US and Filipino forces fought together during 1944-45 to regain control. On 4 July 1946 the Republic of the Philippines attained its independence.
A 20-year rule by Ferdinand Marcos ended in 1986, when a "people power" movement in Manila forced him into exile and installed Corazon Aquino as president. Her presidency was hampered by several coup attempts that prevented a return to full political stability and economic development. Fidel Ramos was elected president in 1992. His administration was marked by increased stability and by progress on economic reforms. In 1992, the US closed its last military bases on the islands.
In a population estimated at more than 107,000,000 the largest ethnic group is Tagalog (28.1%). The official languages are Filipino (based on Tagalog) and English. Eight other dialects / languages are also spoken (Tagalog, Cebuano, Ilocano, Hiligaynon, Bicol, Waray, Pampango, Pangasinan). There are 80 provinces and 39 chartered cities. The legal system is a mix of civil, comon, Islamic, and customary law.
The Philippines, located in Southeastern Asia, has a coastline of 36, 289 km. The country's terrain is mostly mountainous, with narrow coastal lowlands. The climate is a tropical marine environment with monsoons in the North (November - April) and in the South (May - October). Natural resources include: timber, petroleum, nickel, cobalt, silver, gold, salt, and copper.
For information regarding Typhoons in the Pacific, go to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) page.
CIA World Factbook; Joint Typhoon Warning Center, 6/2014; 12/2014
This map has also been used:
- Philippines, November 2013