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February 2012

Philippines

Philippines

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 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.

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 Philippines lies on the Pacific "Ring of Fire" and is prone to earthquakes and other natural hazards including typhoons, landslides, active volcanoes, and tsunamis.

On February 6, 2012, a powerful 6.7-magnitude earthquake struck the Negros-Cebu region in the Philippines. For more information see the : United States Geological Survey (USGS) website.

CIA World Factbook; U.S. State Department Background Notes, 01/2012

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