Edited by Léo-Paul Dana, Mary Han, Vanessa Ratten and Isabell M. Welpe
Maria Carmen Galang and Sonia Tiong-Aquino 1 Introduction Named after Prince Felipe who later became King Philip II of Spain, the Republic of the Philippines is an archipelago of 7107 islands in Southeast Asia, with the capital, Quezon City, located in the largest island of Luzon. Total population is projected to reach over 91 million by 2007, with around 34 percent under the age of 15 years.1 With a gross domestic product (GDP) per capita of US$3300 (2007 est.), a population below the poverty line at 30 percent (2003 est.) and unemployment rate at 7.4 percent (2007), the country is currently classified by the World Bank as one of the 55 lower middle-income economies. Nonetheless, the adult literacy rate is at 92.6 percent, and the country is the third largest English-speaking country in the world. The Philippines is also the only Christian nation in Asia, with more than 80 percent of the people Catholic. Culturally, the Philippines is a mix of Malay, Chinese, Spanish and American influences. Prior to the arrival of the Spaniards in 1521, the Philippines was first populated by Malays, followed by Chinese and Arab merchants and traders. The Catholic religion and feudalistic land ownership were the legacies of Spain, which occupied the Philippines for over 300 years. The Philippine revolution against Spain, Asia’s first nationalist revolution, coincided with the Spanish–American War. However, the declaration of independence by Filipino revolutionaries on 12 June 1898 was not recognized, as the Philippines was ceded to the United...
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