Philippines: What to know?

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The Philippines is an archipelago nation in Southeast Asia with over 7,000 islands. The largest city is Manila, and the largest island is Luzon. The population is mainly Roman Catholic, with a literacy rate of almost 93%. The land is mountainous and affected by natural disasters. The Philippines was claimed by Spain in 1521 and gained independence from the US in 1946. The main industries are electronics assembly and agriculture, with sugar cane, coconuts, rice, and tropical fruits as the main products.

The Philippines is an archipelago nation in Southeast Asia. It comprises more than 7,000 islands of volcanic origin, with the Philippine Sea to the northeast, the Celebes Sea to the south, the Pacific Ocean to the east, the Sulu Sea to the southwest, and the South China Sea to the west. The Philippines is practically east of Vietnam and north of Sulawesi.

The estimated population of the Philippines in 2006 was 89,468,677. The largest ethnic/racial group is Tagalog, with both Filipino (which is based on Tagalog) and English as official languages. The literacy rate is almost 93% and the population is mainly Roman Catholic.

The largest city and capital of the Philippines is Manila, with approximately 10.5 million people in the metropolitan area. Luzon is the largest island at 40,420 square miles (104,687 sq km), followed by Mindanao at 36,537 square miles (94,631 sq km) and Samar at 5,124 square miles (13,271 sq km). The total area of ​​the islands is 115,831 square miles (300,000 sq km).

The land of the Philippines is mostly mountainous and lies within the typhoon belt. It is also affected by active volcanoes, landslides, earthquakes and tsunamis. Excessive deforestation to support the wood products industry and to clear land for agriculture has led to soil erosion. One third of Philippine forests were cleared between 1990 and 2005.

Other industries in the Philippines include the assembly of electronic components and the manufacturing of clothing and footwear. The main agricultural products of the Philippines include sugar cane, coconuts, rice and several tropical fruits, including pineapples.

The islands, populated from mainland Asia tens of thousands of years ago, were claimed for Spain by Ferdinand Magellan in 1521. Spain ceded the Philippines to the United States in 1898 in the Treaty of Paris which ended the Spanish-American War. This day – June 12, 1898 – is celebrated as National Independence Day. The Philippines became independent on American Independence Day in 1946, with Manuel A Roxas y Acuña as the first elected president. As of 2007, the Philippines is still a republic and is led by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who was elected in 2001.

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