The Philippine Islands became a Spanish colony during the 16th century; they were ceded to the US in 1898 following the Spanish-American War. In 1935 the Philippines became a self-governing commonwealth. Manuel QUEZON was elected president and was tasked with preparing the country for independence after a 10-year transition. In 1942 the islands fell under Japanese occupation during World War II, and US forces and Filipinos fought together during 1944-45 to regain control. On 4 July 1946 the Republic of the Philippines attained its independence. A 21-year rule by Ferdinand MARCOS ended in 1986, when a "people power" movement in Manila ("EDSA 1") 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. Joseph ESTRADA was elected president in 1998. He was succeeded by his vice-president, Gloria MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, in January 2001 after ESTRADA's stormy impeachment trial on corruption charges broke down and another "people power" movement ("EDSA 2") demanded his resignation. MACAPAGAL-ARROYO was elected to a six-year term as president in May 2004. Her presidency was marred by several corruption allegations but the Philippine economy was one of the few to avoid contraction following the 2008 global financial crisis, expanding each year of her administration. Benigno AQUINO III was elected to a six-year term as president in May 2010 and was succeeded by Rodrigo DUTERTE in May 2016. The Philippine Government faces threats from several groups, some of which are on the US Government's Foreign Terrorist Organization list. Manila has waged a decades-long struggle against ethnic Moro insurgencies in the southern Philippines, which led to a peace accord with the Moro National Liberation Front and a separate agreement with a break away faction, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. The decades-long Maoist-inspired New People's Army insurgency also operates through much of the country. In 2017, Philippine armed forces battled an ISIS-Philippines siege in Marawi City, driving DUTERTE to declare martial law in the region. The Philippines faces increased tension with China over disputed territorial and maritime claims in the South China Sea.



13.0° N, 122. 0° E
Southeastern Asia, archipelago between the Philippine Sea and the South China Sea, east of Vietnam


300,000 sq km
298,170 sq km
1,830 sq km

land boundaries

0 km


36,289 km


tropical marine; northeast monsoon (November to April); southwest monsoon (May to October)


mostly mountains with narrow to extensive coastal lowlands


442 m
lowest point
Philippine Sea
0 m
highest point
Mount Apo
2,954 m

natural resources

  • timber
  • petroleum
  • nickel
  • cobalt
  • silver
  • gold
  • salt
  • copper

land use

arable land
18.2 %
permanent crops
17.8 %
permanent pasture
5 %
25.9 %
33.1 %

population distribution

population concentrated where good farmlands lie; highest concentrations are northwest and south-central Luzon, the southeastern extension of Luzon, and the islands of the Visayan Sea, particularly Cebu and Negros; Manila is home to one-eighth of the entire national population



  • 109,180,815
  • 12
    global rank


  • Filipino(s)
  • Philippine

ethnic groups

24.4 %
11.4 %
9.9 %
8.8 %
8.4 %
6.8 %
4 %
other local ethnicity
26.1 %
other foreign ethnicity .1%


  • unspecified


Roman Catholic
80.6 %
8.2 %
other Christian
3.4 %
5.6 %
tribal religions .2%
1.9 %
none .1%

birth rate

  • 22.9
    per 1,000 population
  • 60
    global rank

death rate

  • 6
    per 1,000 population
  • 166
    global rank

urban population

47.4 %

major urban areas

  • Manila
    pop. 13,923,000
  • Davao
    pop. 1,825,000
  • Cebu City
    pop. 980,000
  • Zamboanga
    pop. 917,000
  • Antipolo
    pop. 881,000
  • Cagayan De Oro City
    pop. 753,000

life expectancy

  • 70
    total population
  • 166
    global rank

adult obesity rate

  • 6.4%
    percent of adults
  • 168
    global rank


country name


  • Republic of the Philippines
    long form
  • Philippines
    short form


  • Republika ng Pilipinas
    long form
  • Pilipinas
    short form

government type

presidential republic


14.36 N, 120.58 E


national holidays

  • Independence Day
    12 June

legal system

mixed legal system of civil, common, Islamic (sharia), and customary law

age of suffrage


flag description

two equal horizontal bands of blue (top) and red; a white equilateral triangle is based on the hoist side; the center of the triangle displays a yellow sun with eight primary rays; each corner of the triangle contains a small, yellow, five-pointed star; blue stands for peace and justice, red symbolizes courage, the white equal-sided triangle represents equality; the rays recall the first eight provinces that sought independence from Spain, while the stars represent the three major geographical divisions of the country: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao; the design of the flag dates to 1897

national colors

  • red
  • white
  • blue
  • yellow

national anthem

"Lupang Hinirang" (Chosen Land)



The economy has been relatively resilient to global economic shocks due to less exposure to troubled international securities, lower dependence on exports, relatively resilient domestic consumption, large remittances from about 10 million overseas Filipino workers and migrants, and a rapidly expanding services industry. During 2017, the current account balance fell into the negative range, the first time since the 2008 global financial crisis, in part due to an ambitious new infrastructure spending program announced this year. However, international reserves remain at comfortable levels and the banking system is stable. Efforts to improve tax administration and expenditures management have helped ease the Philippines' debt burden and tight fiscal situation. The Philippines received investment-grade credit ratings on its sovereign debt under the former AQUINO administration and has had little difficulty financing its budget deficits. However, weak absorptive capacity and implementation bottlenecks have prevented the government from maximizing its expenditure plans. Although it has improved, the low tax-to-GDP ratio remains a constraint to supporting increasingly higher spending levels and sustaining high and inclusive growth over the longer term. Economic growth has accelerated, averaging over 6% per year from 2011 to 2017, compared with 4.5% under the MACAPAGAL-ARROYO government; and competitiveness rankings have improved. Although 2017 saw a new record year for net foreign direct investment inflows, FDI to the Philippines has continued to lag regional peers, in part because the Philippine constitution and other laws limit foreign investment and restrict foreign ownership in important activities/sectors - such as land ownership and public utilities. Although the economy grew at a rapid pace under the AQUINO government, challenges to achieving more inclusive growth remain. Wealth is concentrated in the hands of the rich. The unemployment rate declined from 7.3% to 5.7% between 2010 and 2017; while there has been some improvement, underemployment remains high at around 17% to 18% of the employed population. At least 40% of the employed work in the informal sector. Poverty afflicts more than a fifth of the total population but is as high as 75% in some areas of the southern Philippines. More than 60% of the poor reside in rural areas, where the incidence of poverty (about 30%) is more severe - a challenge to raising rural farm and non-farm incomes. Continued efforts are needed to improve governance, the judicial system, the regulatory environment, the infrastructure, and the overall ease of doing business. 2016 saw the election of President Rodrigo DUTERTE, who has pledged to make inclusive growth and poverty reduction his top priority. DUTERTE believes that illegal drug use, crime and corruption are key barriers to economic development. The administration wants to reduce the poverty rate to 17% and graduate the economy to upper-middle income status by the end of President DUTERTE’s term in 2022. Key themes under the government’s Ten-Point Socioeconomic Agenda include continuity of macroeconomic policy, tax reform, higher investments in infrastructure and human capital development, and improving competitiveness and the overall ease of doing business. The administration sees infrastructure shortcomings as a key barrier to sustained economic growth and has pledged to spend $165 billion on infrastructure by 2022. Although the final outcome has yet to be seen, the current administration is shepherding legislation for a comprehensive tax reform program to raise revenues for its ambitious infrastructure spending plan and to promote a more equitable and efficient tax system. However, the need to finance rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts in the southern region of Mindanao following the 2017 Marawi City siege may compete with other spending on infrastructure.


877,200,000,000 USD

agriculture products

  • rice
  • fish
  • livestock
  • poultry
  • bananas
  • coconut
  • copra
  • corn
  • sugarcane
  • mangoes
  • pineapple
  • cassava

poverty level



  • 49,070,000,000
    revenue (USD)
  • 56,020,000,000
    expenditures (USD)



    fixed lines

  • 4,132,490
    total subscriptions
  • 36
    global rank

    mobile cellular

  • 134,592,608
    total subscriptions
  • 12
    global rank

broadcast media

multiple national private TV and radio networks; multi-channel satellite and cable TV systems available; more than 400 TV stations; about 1,500 cable TV providers with more than 2 million subscribers, and some 1,400 radio stations; the Philippines adopted Japan’s Integrated Service Digital Broadcast – Terrestrial standard for digital terrestrial television in November 2013 and is scheduled to complete the switch from analog to digital broadcasting by the end of 2023 (2019)


country code


  • 63,588,975
  • 60.05
    % of population
  • 12
    global rank


electricity access



air transport

    national system

  • 11
    registered air carriers
  • 32,230,986
    annual passenger traffic


  • 247
  • 89


77 km
total length


216,387 km
total length


3,219 km
total length



expenditures here

service age