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Abra Agusan del Norte Agusan del Sur Aklan Albay Antique Apayao Aurora Basilan Bataan Batanes Batangas Benguet Biliran Bohol Bukidnon Bulacan Cagayan Camarines Norte Camarines Sur Camiguin Capiz Catanduanes Cavite Cebu Compostela Valley Davao del Norte Davao del Sur Davao Oriental Dinagat Islands Eastern Samar Guimaras Ifugao Ilocos Norte Ilocos Sur Iloilo Isabela Kalinga La Union Laguna Lanao del Norte Lanao del Sur Leyte Maguindanao

y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y

Marinduque Masbate Misamis Occidental Misamis Oriental Mountain Province Negros Occidental Negros Oriental Northern Samar North Cotabato Nueva Ecija Nueva Vizcaya Occidental Mindoro Oriental Mindoro Palawan Pampanga Pangasinan Quezon Quirino Rizal Romblon Samar Sarangani Shariff Kabunsuan Siquijor Sorsogon South Cotabato Southern Leyte Sultan Kudarat Sulu Surigao del Norte Surigao del Sur Tarlac Tawi-Tawi Zambales Zamboanga del Norte Zamboanga del Sur Zamboanga Sibugay

Origin Of The Philippines The history of Philippines dates back to some 50,000 years ago. It may be surprising but there is sufficient archaeological evidence to back the claim, though we may not conclude that it is the 'history' of 'the Philippines' that dates back that far behind. However, there is little dispute about the statement that Homosapiens did exist in Palawan some 50,000 years back. Later, Austronesian-speaking people settled in the Philippines and established maritime trading with other parts of the South East Asia. It was done as early as 5,000 B.C. For a very long time, the archipelago remained untouched by the outsiders, lying peacefully in its own little part of the world. The west, however, did flow in with Ferdinand Magellan being the first in 1521, followed by Miguel Lpez de Legazpi in 1565. They formed the first Spanish settlements, which eventually turned the Philippines into their colony. Then came Roman Catholic missionaries, who converted most of the inhabitants to Christianity. The following 300 years of Philippines' history saw several turmoils with the Spanish military fighting off various local revolts and several external colonial challenges from as diverse quarters as the British, the Chinese, the Dutch, the French, the Japanese, and the Portuguese. The Spanish military was largely successful in defending their occupation. However, they could not avoid the occupation of the capital by the British during the Seven Years' War. Though that was a temporary occupation, it was still one of the most serious damages done to the Spanish rule in the archipelago. The Philippines opened up for world trade on September 6, 1834. In the Spanish mainland a propaganda protest began. The propagandists led by Rizal demanded, amongst other things, a greater representation in Spain, but the movement did not yield expected gains. So, Rizal returned to the Philippines and pushed for the reforms locally, which resulted in his arrest, trial, and execution for sedition on December 30, 1896. However, the spirit of revolution did not die down. Another revolution sprang up. It was led by Andrs Bonifacio and was continued by Emilio Aguinaldo, who managed to establish a revolutionary government though, the Spanish governor general Fernando Primo de Rivera announced the death of the revolution on May 17, 1897. The Spanish-American War broke out in 1898 and gradually proceeded up to the Philippines when Commodore George Dewey defeated the Spanish squadron at the Manila Bay. Spain ceded the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Guam and Cuba to the United States. It was the Americans who brought democracy to the Philippines. It was made a commonwealth country in 1935. The Philippines was to attain independence in the next decade, but it did not come as World War II broke out and Japan invaded. Independence, however, came Philippines' way on July 4, 1946. Ever since its independence, Philippines has faced a number of challenges but has managed to sail through, unscathed so far.

The Philippines is an archipelago comprising 7,107 islands with a total land area of 300,000 km2. The 11 largest islands contain 94% of the total land area. The largest of these islands is Luzon at about 105,000 km2. The next largest island is Mindanao at about 95,000 km2. The archipelago is around 800 km from the Asian mainland and is located between Taiwan and Borneo. The islands are divided into three groups: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. The Luzon islands include Luzon Island itself, Palawan, Mindoro, Marinduque, Masbate and Batanes Islands. The Visayas is the group of islands in the central Philippines, the largest of which are: Panay, Negros, Cebu, Bohol, Leyte and Samar. The Mindanao islands include Mindanao itself, plus the Sulu Archipelago, composed primarily of Basilan, Sulu Island, and Tawi-Tawi.

The Republic of the Philippines consists of an archipelago of 7,107 islands situated SE of mainland Asia and separated from it by the South China Sea. The total land area is approximately 300,000 sq km (115,831 sq mi), 67% of which is contained within the two largest islands: Luzon, 108,171 sq km (41,765 sq mi) and Mindanao, 99,078 sq km (38,9254 sq mi). Other large islands include Samar, Negros, Palawan, Panay, Mindoro, Leyte, Cebu, Bohol, and Masbate. Comparatively, the area occupied by the Philippines is slightly larger than the state of Arizona. The Philippines' length is 1,851 km (1,150 mi) SSE-NNW , and its width is 1,062 km (660 mi) ENE-WSW . The Philippines is separated from Taiwan on the N by the Bashi Channel (forming part of the Luzon Strait) and from Sabah, Malaysia (northern Borneo), on the SW by the Balabac Strait (off Palawan) and the Sibutu Passage (off the Sulu Archipelago). Bordering seas include the Philippine Sea and the Pacific Ocean on the E , the Celebes Sea on the S, the Sulu Sea on the SW , and the South China Sea on the W . The Philippines has a total coastline of 36,289 km (22,549 mi). The Philippines claims the Spratly Islands, in the South China Sea, as do China, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Vietnam. About 1,000 Philippine marines were stationed in the Spratlys in 1983. The Philippines also has a claim on Sabah, dating back to 1670. The Philippines' capital city, Manila, is located on the island of Luzon.

The topography is extremely varied, with volcanic mountain masses forming the cores of most of the larger islands. The range culminates in Mt. Pulog (elevation 2,928 m/9,606 ft) in northern Luzon and in Mt. Apo, the highest point in the Philippines (elevation 2,954 m/9,692 ft), in Mindanao. A number of volcanoes are active, and the islands have been subject to destructive earthquakes. Lowlands are generally narrow coastal strips except for larger plains in Luzon (Cagayan Valley and Central Plains), Mindanao (Cotabato and Davao-Agusan valleys), and others in Negros and Panay. Rivers are short and generally seasonal in flow. Important ones are the Cagayan, Agno, Abra, Bicol, and Pampanga in Luzon and the Cotabato and Agusan in Mindanao. Flooding is a frequent hazard. The shores of many of the islands are embayed (Manila Bay is one of the finest harbors in East Asia); however, several islands lack adequate harbors and require offshore lightering for sea transport. The only two inland water bodies of significant size are Laguna de Bay in Luzon and Lake Sultan Alonto in Mindanao.

Climate of Philippines The climate of Philippines is marked by comparatively high temperature, high humidity and plenty of rainfall. The climate of Philippines resembles the climate of the countries of Central America to a large extent. Philippines enjoy a predominantly tropical climate. On an average, the mean annual temperature of Philippines is 26.6o C however Baguio doesnt follow the average temperature. In Philippines, January is the coolest month with a mean temperature of 25.5o C while the warmest month is May with a mean temperature of 28.3o C. the mean annual temperature of Baguio is 18.3o C and thus it referred to as the summer capital of the Philippines. The entire nation of Philippines has a high relative humidity because of high temperature and the surrounding water bodies. The average monthly relative humidity of Philippines varies between 71 percent in March and 85 percent in September. The warm temperature and high relative and absolute humidities together give rise to high sensible temperature throughout the country of Philippines. The different regions of Philippines do not enjoy a uniform distribution of monsoon and it primarily depends on the direction of the moisture-bearing winds and the location of the mountain systems. The mean annual rainfall of the Philippines varies from 965 to 4,064 millimeters annually. Based on temperature and rainfall, the climate of Philippines can be categorized into two predominant seasons comprising of the rainy season, from June to November; and the dry season, from December to May.

Philippine Disasters
World's 4th Most Accident-Prone Country According to the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the Philippines was the fourth most accident prone country in the world. The two institutions arrived at this conclusion after finding out that some 5,809,986 Filipinos were killed or injured as a result of disasters or man-made calamities over a ten-year period (1992-2001). If not for its smaller population, the Philippines could have been the world's second most accident-prone country after Iran. Because of its large population, China topped the accident list, with 97,783,301 of its citizens affected by accidents during the ten-year period. It was followed by India, which reported 46,060,125 victims during the period. Both China and India have a population of over 1 billion people. Iran was third in the list, with 6,416,570 victims. Behind the Philippines were Ethiopia, with 3,334,266 victims; and Pakistan, 2,732,032 victims. The global report by International Red Cross said 535,416 people were killed in natural disasters and 86,947 others in industrial, transport and other "technological disasters" worldwide from 1992 to 2001. According to the Philippine Red Cross, 31,835 Filipinos were killed and 94,369,462 others were affected by natural disasters and calamities in a span of 20 years. "The Philippines was a natural laboratory for floods, typhoons, monsoon rains, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and landslides," Philippine National Red Cross governor Dante Liban said. (Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer) 313 Disaster Incidents in 2002 Data from the Disaster Response Operations Monitoring and Information Center (DROMIC) showed that there were 313 disaster incidents in the country in 2002, up from only 199 incidents in 2001. In particular, there were 120 fire incidents that affected 15,430 households in 2002, 63 deportation or relocation incidents, 22 armed conflicts that distressed 8,891 families, 22 bombing incidents or explosions, 22 flashfloods that affected 234,414 households, and 7 destructive typhoons that distressed 568,345 families. Other types of disasters that happened in 2002 were vehicular accidents, sea mishap, tornado, massacre, plane crash, and earthquakes. Worst Disaster in History On July 12, 2000, the Philippines witnessed one of the world's most horrifying images of social tragedy in history. Nearly 500 garbage scavengers who were living literally at the Payatas dumpsite in Quezon City were buried alive under tons of garbage when a 50-foot garbage mountain collapsed on their makeshift houses at the height of torrential rains. It was a tragic commentary on poverty in the Philippines, yet the lesson remains to be learned to this day. Worst Sea Accidents In December 1987, some 4,341 people died when Dona Paz, an inter-island passenger ferry owned by Sulpicio Lines collided with an oil tanker off Mindoro Island. Sadly it was not to be the last sea tragedy in the Philippines, an archipelago of 7,107 islands. In 1988, around 250 people died when Dona Marilyn, another passenger ferry owned by Sulpicio Lines, sank. On April 11, 2002, at least 30 people were killed when MV Maria Carmella, which was bound from the island-province of Masbate for Lucena City in Quezon province, caught fire.

Among the most frequently mentioned causes of the sea accidents were overloading of the ship, ageing facilities, badly trained crewmembers, and poor compliance by the vessels with safety precautions and measures. While the Philippines has over 7,100 islands and 10,000 ships or boats, the Philippine Coastguard has only 4,000 men. Worst Air Accidents On April 19, 2000, some 131 people were killed when a commercial airplane from Manila crashed in Samal Island, Davao del Norte province (southern Mindanao). All the passengers and crew, including four infants, of Air Philippines Boeing 737-200 (Flight 541 from Manila) died in what is now considered the worst air tragedy in the Philippines. A local commercial flight bound for northern Luzon crashed into Manila Bay seven minutes after takeoff in the morning of November 11, 2002, leaving 19 people including six foreign tourists dead. Ten people survived. The ill-fated airplane - an ageing Fokker 27 - was bound from Manila for Laoag City in northern Luzon, with 29 passengers and crewmembers on board, when it encountered an engine trouble and crashed one kilometer off the Manila Bay shoreline in Paranaque City. The dead victims include five Australian tourists and a British national. Among the 10 survivors was an Australian tourist. The two Filipino captains of the airplane also survived, along with a flight stewardess and a plane mechanic. On July 2, 2000, an Air Force Nomad plane crashed somewhere in Sulu Sea, killing its 13 crewmembers and passengers, including the late Palawan Governor Salvador Socrates and Western Command chief Maj. Gen. Santiago Madrid. On March 17, 1957, President Ramon Magsaysay died in an airplane crash in Mount Manunggal, Cebu province. Worst Terrorist Attacks No one thought that banditry still exists in the modern era. In April 1995, the Muslim extremist Abu Sayyaf (Bearers of the Sword) group raided the Christian town of Ipil in Zamboanga del Norte province and burned all its houses and establishments. The group also shot dead at least 54 residents of the town. The worst terrorist attack in Metro Manila took place on December 30, 2000, which was a holiday (Rizal Day). A series of bombings rocked the metropolis on that day. The worst explosion happened inside a train of the Light Rail Transit (LRT) in Manila where 22 passengers were killed and hundreds more were wounded. Before this, an explosion nearly killed Philippine Ambassador Leonides Caday in Jakarta, Indonesia on August 1, 2000. Police claimed that an Indonesian national in their custody has admitted responsibility for the bombings in Manila and Jakarta. In March, 2002, a group which identified itself as the Indigenous Federal State Army planted at least 10 hoax bombs around Metro Manila purportedly to demand the establishment of separate governments for Muslim and indigenous people. Investigators, however, denied that such a group exists and blamed the bomb scare to existing rebel groups. On April 21, 2002, 15 innocent civilians were killed while 60 others were injured when a bomb exploded outside a shopping mall in General Santos City (southern Mindanao). The Abu Sayyaf quickly claimed responsibility over the bombing, although the military was convinced that a larger Muslim rebel group could be involved. On October 19, a bomb exploded aboard a public bus, killing three passengers and wounding 19 others in

Balintawak, Quezon City. A fragmentation grenade also exploded in Makati City but injured no one on October 17. On October 17, two of the seven bombs planted around Zamboanga City (western Mindanao) exploded, leaving seven people dead and 144 others injured. On October 10, a bomb, which was allegedly planted by an extortion group, exploded inside a bus terminal in Kidapawan City (central Mindanao), leaving 8 people dead and 25 others injured. On the night of October 2, a bomb, allegedly planted by Muslim extremist Abu Sayyaf group, exploded in front of a karaoke bar in Zamboanga City (western Mindanao), killing an American soldier and two Filipinos and wounding 19 others, including another American soldier. September 11 Attacks What is considered as the world's terrorist attack was the September 11 airplane assault on the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York in 2001. About 3,000 people were believed killed in the incident that brought all the floors of the two buildings to the ground. Reports said there were at least 500 Filipinos or Filipino-Americans working at the World Trade Center. There were 80,000 Filipinos living in New York City and another 50,000 in Washington D.C. Worst Fires On March 18, 1996 a fire at Ozone disco along Timog Avenue in Quezon City left 150 people dead and 90 others seriously injured. Around 350 young Filipinos were inside the bar when the fire struck. It was considered the worst nightclub fire since a blaze killed 164 people in Southgate, Kentucky in 1977. On August 18, 2001, a fire gutted Manor Hotel in Quezon City, killing 75 guests and wounding 52 others. The victims, mostly local members of the Dawn Flowers Ministry, a Texas-based Christian evangelical group, were asleep when the fire struck. They were trapped inside their rooms because the hotel's fire exit was blocked. Worst Bus Accident On November 24, 33 people died while six others were seriously injured when a passenger bus plunged into a 30-foot ravine in Tagkawayan, Quezon province (southern Luzon). The ill-fated Falcon Liner bus was bound for Masbate province (Bicol region) when its driver reportedly lost control of the wheel while negotiating a downhill portion of the Quirino Highway. Most of the passengers were asleep when the accident happened at 12:30 a.m. On November 26, a Victory Liner bus plunged into a 109-foot ravine in Benguet province, killing two of its passengers. Worst Volcanic Eruptions In June, 1991, Mount Pinatubo in Zambales province had the century's second largest volcanic eruption, as it unleashed some 15 million tons of sulfur dioxide into the earth's atmosphere that resulted in slight cooling of the earth's temperature. Thousands of people were believed killed as a result of the eruption and the subsequent lahar flow, which buried several villages in the provinces of Pampanga, Tarlac and Zambales. The eruption also forced American troops out of their bases in Clark, Pampanga and Subic, Zambales. What is considered as the century's strongest eruption is the eruption of Novarupta in Alaska, which released 9 cubic miles of magma towards the earth's surface in June, 1912. Worst Typhoons and Flashfloods As a typhoon codenamed Thelma was passing the Philippines on November 5, 1991, a flashflood hit Ormoc City in Leyte province, killing at least 3,000 people and destroying the homes of 50,000 others. In September 1984, a typhoon codenamed Ike killed 1,300

persons while in 1995 typhoon Angela killed 700 people. On August 3, 1999, heavy torrential rains caused a landslide that killed 58 people and buried over 100 houses at Cherry Hills Subsivision in Antipolo City. On November 9, 2001, a typhoon locally named "Nanang" caused a flashflood that buried 350 residents of Mahinog in the island-province of Camiguin. The highest death toll during a weather disturbance was reported in Bangladesh when a strong cyclone (typhoon) killed nearly 300,000 people in November 1970. Worst Earthquakes On July 16, 1990, an earthquake that registered 7.7 on the Richter scale killed 1,700 people, injured 3,000 individuals and displaced 148,000 more in Luzon. Among the cities that sustained the worst damages were Baguio, Dagupan and Cabanatuan. On August 17, 1976, an earthquake caused a tidal wave or tsunami that killed about 8,000 people in Mindanao, according to the Information Please Almanac. On August 2, 1968, an earthquake caused the collapse of Ruby Tower buildings, leaving hundreds of people trapped underneath the rubble. What is considered as the most damaging earthquake in the 20th Century took place in Tianjin, China where 250,000 people were believed killed. The strongest earthquake, which registered 9.5 on the Richter scale, was reported in Chile on May 22, 1960. Worst Festival Tragedy On July 2, 1993, a pagoda carrying hundreds of Catholic devotees during the annual pagoda festival in Bocaue, Bulacan sank into the muddy Bocaue River. About 279 people, including children, drowned in the incident. One victim, Sajid Bulig, died a hero after saving four children out of the river. Coastal Areas Sinking According to the University of the Philippines' National Institute of Geological Sciences, low coastal areas at the Manila Bay, such as Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas, Valenzuela and several towns in Bulacan, Pampanga and Bataan have sunk one meter in the past 30 years or ten times than the rate of the global sea level rise in the last century. In their paper "Flooding in Pampanga, Bataan, Bulacan and Camanava: Causes, Trends and Possible Solutions", geologists blamed the fast rise of water level at the Manila Bay to too much extraction of groundwater by a growing population and economic activities. There are about 23 million people living around the Manila Bay, who experience flood during the rainy season.

About the Philippines

Bodies of Water The Philippines boast of many different kinds of natural water forms, such as bays, rivers, lakes falls, gulfs, straits, and swamps. Because it is made up of islands, the country's coastline, if laid end-to-end, would measure around 17.5 thousand kilometers. The Philippines is blessed with excellent natural harbors for ports like Manila Bay. Other excellent harbors with port potentials are found in Ilocos, Pangasinan, Visayas, and Mindanao. The three largest rivers in the country are the Cagayan River in Northern Luzon, the Rio Grande de Mindanao, and the Agusan River, also in Mindanao. Also noteworthy in terms of size are the Agno, Pasig, Angat Pampanga, and Bicol rivers in Luzon. Most popular among tourist is the famous underground river in Palawan. Aside from rivers, the country also abounds with lakes. Easily the most famous is the heart-shaped Laguna de Bay. Other famous lakes are Taal in Batangas, Sampaloc in Laguna, Buhi and Bulusan in Bicol, Naujan in Mindoro oriental, and Lanao and Mainit in Mindanao. Generating power for the Nations growth are the magnificent waterfalls that serve as tourist attractions, as well. The biggest is waterfalls is the Maria Cristina falls, it can be found in the North Western part of Lanao province in Mindanao, while the most popular is Pagsanjan falls in Laguna, where tourist came in droves. Natural Resources The Philippines is rich in natural resources. It has fertile, arable lands, diverse flora and fauna, extensive coastlines, and rich mineral deposits. Our Land The Philippines primary source of livelihood is its fertile land. Rich, wide plains suitable for farming are found in the Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, South western Bicol, Panay, Negros, Davao, Cotabato, Agusan and Bukidnon. The country s six major crops are rice, corn, sugarcane, coconut, abaca and tobacco. Except for rice and corn, all these products are exported, along with bananas and pineapples. Our Forests The Philippines also boasts of wide tracts of lush, green forests. In fact, almost half of the countrys total land area is forested. Sixty percent of these forests are found in Mindanao. Mineral resources Except for petroleum and a number of metals, mineral resources abound in Philippine soil. The countrys mineral deposits can be classified into metals and non-metals. Our metal deposits are estimated at 21.5 billion metric tons, while non-metal deposits are projected at 19.3 billion metric tons. Nickel ranks first in terms of deposits and size, it is found in Surigao del Norte, Davao, Palawan, Romblon and Samar. Iron is found in Ilocos Norte, Nueva Ecija, Camarines Norte and Cotabato. While copper in Zambales, Batangas, Mindoro, Panay and Negros. Among nonmetal deposits, the most abundant are cement, lime, and marble. Other non-metals include asbestos, clay, guano, asphalt, feldspar, sulfur, talc, silicon, phosphate, and marble. Fishery Resources With its territorial waters measuring as much as 1.67 million square kilometers and located in the worlds fishing center, the Philippines is definitely rich in marine resources. Of the 2,400 fish species found in the country. 65 have good commercial value. Other marine products include corals, pearls, crabs and seaweeds. Some of the countries best salt water fishing areas are found in Sintangki Island in Sulu Estancia in Bohol, Malampaya in Palawan, Lingayen Gulf in Pangasinan, San Miguel lake in Camarines Norte, Bantayan Channel in Cebu, and the seas of Quezon and Sorsogon. On the other hand, among our biggest fisher water fishing areas are Laguna de Bay, Bombon Lake in Batangas, Bato Lake in Canmarines Sur, Naujan Lake in Mindoro and Mainit lake in Agusan del Norte. Continue to Early Filipinos

Philippine Natural Wonders

Third Longest Coastline The Philippines, one of the world's largest archipelagos, also has one of the longest combined coastlines in the planet. The total length of the country's coastlines is 36,289 kilometers or almost twice that of the United States. It is said to be the third country with the longest combined coastlines, after Canada and Indonesia. With 7,107 islands, the Philippines lies between two great bodies of water, namely: on the east by Pacific Ocean, the world's largest ocean and on the west by South China Sea, the world's second largest sea after Caribbean Sea. Eighth Wonder of the World The Banaue Rice Terraces in Ifugao province has been dubbed as the "Eighth Wonder of the World". The Ifugaos carved the terraces from the rocky mountain of Banaue, about 4,000 feet above the sea level, hundreds of years ago. The total outline of this architectural wonder, otherwise known as the "stairways to the sky" is about 13,500 miles long, or about half the globe's circumference and ten times the length of the Great Wall of China. To preserve the natural beauty of the spot, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) declared it as a world heritage site. "For 2,000 years, the high rice fields of the Ifugao have followed the contours of the mountain. The fruit of knowledge passed on from one generation to the next, of sacred traditions and a delicate social balance, they helped form a landscape of great beauty that expresses conquered and conserved harmony between humankind and the environment," the UNESCO said. World's Deepest Spots The world's second deepest spot underwater is in the Philippines. This spot, about 34,440 feet (10,497 meters) below the sea level, is known as the Philippine Deep or the Mindanao Trench. The Philippine Deep is in the floor of the Philippine Sea. The German ship Emden first plumbed the trench in 1927. The world's deepest part of the ocean is the Marianas Trench, which is over 11,000 meters below the seal level. Nearly Perfect Cone Mayon Volcano in Albay province has the distinction of having a nearly perfect cone. Towering at a height of 2,462 meters above the sea level, Mount Mayon overlooks Legaspi City. Its name, derived from the Bicolano term Magayon, means beautiful and is associated with a folk legend. The volcano has a base circumference of 62.8 kilometers. Geologists claimed that the stratovolcano developed its cone shape from a pile around the vent of volcanic materials composed of lava, rock and ash. Its first eruption was recorded in 1616, and there were at least 47 more eruptions since then, the last one in February, 2000. In 1911, its eruption killed 1,300 people and buried the town of Cagsawa. World's Smallest Volcano Taal Volcano, a 406-meter-high crater, is said to be the world's smallest volcano. It is described as "a crater within an island within a lake" because it stands as an island at Taal Lake. The lake was formed after the volcano, which used to be much larger, collapsed. The ridges around Tagaytay City, which overlooks the lake, are believed to be part of the crater of the old volcano. These ridges now serve as the border of the 18-mile-diameter Taal Lake and stretch 32 kilometers from Mount Batulao to Mount Sungay. Also considered as one of the world's most active volcanoes, Taal Volcano has erupted over 20 times since 1572.

Animal Sanctuary Located northwest off Palawan mainland is Calauit Island, a 3,700-hectare wildlife sanctuary that serves as a host to African and Philippine wildlife. The Philippine government developed the sanctuary in response to an appeal by the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to save the endangered animals. The only one of its kind in the Philippines, Calauit is home to over 600 species of giraffe, impala, topi, gazelles, eland, and zebra and to Philippine endangered species such as the Calamian deer, Palawan bearcat, Philippine mouse deer, tarsier, pheasant peacock, scaly ant-eater and monitor lizard. The island also provides a refuge to sea turtles (pawikan), giant clams and the rare seacow or dugong. Largest Natural Park The Sierra Madre national park in northern Luzon is the country's largest natural park. The 359,000-hectare park is the home of endangered species such as pawikan (Chelonia mytas), bayakan or giant bat, Philippine eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi), wild boar (Sus philippinesis), Philippine brown dear (Cervus marianus), cloud rat (Ratus mindorensis), flame-breasted fruit dove, kalaw (Philippine hornbill), bukarot (Philippine crocodile), and native owl. Richest Marine Park The Tubbataha Reefs in Sulu Sea is considered as the world's richest bio-geographic area. Derived from two Samal words meaning, "long reef exposed at a low tide", Tubbataha was declared as the country's first national marine park in 1988. The marine park covers 33,200 hectares and contains what is believed to be the world's largest grouping of marine life, per unit area. Scientists claimed that more than 300 coral species, and at least 40 families and 379 species of fish were recorded in the area. Among the species identified in the area were manta rays, sea turtles, sharks, tuna, dolphins and jackfish. In 1993, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) listed Tubbataha Reefs as a world heritage site. Finest Beach Resort Widely known as one of the world's finest beach resorts, Boracay Island has unsullied fine talcum powder-sand beaches. Its tranquil crystal clear waters are perfect for swimming, sailing, fishing and sunbathing. The island also affords visitor a magnificent view of sapphire seas and golden sunsets. The island lies at the northwest tip of Panay, in the west Visayas region, off the Sibuyan Sea. Siargao Island Siargao Island, lying east of Surigao del Norte province, boasts of white-sand beaches and surfing waves comparable to that of Hawaii. The island is a mass of tropical land with scores of reefs, points and white beaches. American surf photographer John Callahan discovered the remarkable waves of the island in 1993. He came back from his trip armed with stories about the lovely sun-drenched island and documented his find with beautiful photographs. Siargao's Cloud Nine break is said to be among the best in the world. Longest Cave The 15-kilometer St. Paul Cave in Palawan province is considered as the longest natural cave in the country. Other notable caves in the Philippines are the 8.9-kilometer Odloman Cave in Mabinay, Negros Oriental; and the 7.7-kilometer Odessa Tumbali Cave in Penablanca, Cagayan. In terms of vertical range, the deepest cave is the Sumaging-LatipanLomyang Crystal Cave in Sagada Mountain Province. Its deepest point is 163 meters from its mouth.

World's Longest Underground River Palawan's St. Paul's underground river is said to be the world's longest underground river. The navigable part of the river inside the cave of the 4000-acre St. Paul Subterranean River stretches 8.2 kilometers in length (5 miles). However, this title is being disputed in Vietnam where an underground river known as Son Trach River reportedly extends 7 miles in length. Filipino explorers, however, claimed that once fully measured, St. Paul total length would reach 15 kilometers. Longest River Cagayan River or Rio Grande de Cagayan, with a total length of 353 kilometers, is the longest and widest river in the Philippines. It bisects the Cagayan Valley from north to south. Also considered as the mightiest watercourse, Cagayan River sources its water from smaller rivers and streams in the mountain ranges of Sierra Madre, Caraballo, Cordillera, and Balete Pass. This river meets the South China Sea in an impressive expanse known as Aparri Delta. The other notable rivers in Luzon are Chico, Abra, Pampanga, and Bicol. In the south, the principal rivers are Mindanao (known in its upper course as the Pulangi) and Agusan. Meanwhile, the underground river of St. Paul's Natural Park in Palawan is considered as one of the world's longest subterranean rivers. The world's longest rivers are the Nile River in Egypt and Amazon River in South America. Also worth mentioning are the Yangtze River in China, Mekong River in Vietnam, and Euphrates River in Iraq. Highest Mountain Towering at a height of 2,954 meters (9,692 feets), Mount Apo is the highest peak in the country. Located 25 kilometers south of Davao City, the mountain which forms part of the Mount Apo National Park is blessed with hot springs, sulfur pillars, geysers, lakes, rivers and waterfalls. It is home to a number of endemic animals such as the Philippine eagle, falconet and mynah. Its peak can be reached on a four-day hiking trip. Apo means "grandfather of all mountains". Scientists classify it as a semi-active volcano. Materials from previous eruptions have made the soil around the mountain extremely fertile. The mountain's base covers 72,796 hectares of mountain ranges that extend from Davao del Sur to Misamis Oriental. While the mountain's peak looks snow-capped, the white appearance is actually caused by the presence of sulfur. Longest Mountain Range The longest mountain range in the country is Sierra Madre, which stretches from Cagayan province in northeastern Luzon to Aurora province in southern Tagalog. Highest Waterfalls The highest waterfall in the country is the 388-meter-high Aliwagwag Falls, in Cateel town, Davao Oriental province. The cascade has 13 rapids and looks like a stairway with 84 steps of varying heights. The second highest waterfall is located in Barangay Rogongon, 54 kilometers from Iligan City. Limunsudan Falls, a two-tiered fall, has a combined height of 870 feet. Its lower cascade alone measures 400 feet, higher than the entire height of Maria Cristiana Falls. Maria Cristina Falls, also in Iligan City (Lanao del Norte), towers at 320 feet. Also known as the "Mother of Industry", Maria Cristina Falls supplies 80 percent of the total energy requirement of the Mindanao region. Another breathtaking waterfall in Iligan City is the Tinago Falls, located 13 kilometers from the city proper. As its name implies, this 420-foot waterfall lies hidden in a deep ravine. The world's highest waterfall is the Angel Falls in Venezuela. As a tributary of Caroni River, this waterfall has a total elevation of 3,281 feet.

Largest Lake Laguna de Bay, an inland body of water covering 900 square kilometers, is the country's largest lake. Located between the provinces of Rizal and Laguna, the lake receives its water from 21 river systems. In the middle of the lake lies the island of Talim, a heavily populated settlement of mostly fishermen. The second largest lake in the country is Lake SultanAlonto in Mindanao. Commonly known as Lake Lanao, the lake covers an area of 355 square kilometers. Meanwhile, the world's largest inland body of water is the Caspian Sea, which is actually a lake in the boundary of Europe and Asia and covering an area of 143,240 square miles. Lake Superior (North America), Lake Victoria (Africa), the Aral Sea (Russia) and Lake Huron (North America) are also among the world's largest lakes. Towering Cliffs The towering limestone cliffs of El Nido that rise magnificently from the crystal clear waters of South China Sea amidst verdant backdrop are among the most astonishing pictures one can see in the Philippines. El Nido, a secluded group of islands west off Palawan province, is also known as a sanctuary of endangered birds and marine animals. World Heritage Sites The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) has included four places and four Catholic churches in the Philippines in the list of world heritage sites. These include the historic town of Vigan in Ilocos Sur province, which is known for its Spanish colonial houses; the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park in Palawan province, which boasts of the world's longest underground river; the Tubbataha Reef National Marine Park also in Palawan, which is home to over 300 coral species and 400 species of fish; and the rice terraces in Ifugao province, which cover about 20,000 hectares of the Cordillera mountain range. The four Catholic churches also included in the list of world heritage sites are the Santo Tomas de Villanueva Church in Miag-ao, Iloilo, which the Agustinians built as a fortresschurch in Baroque-Romanesque style on a hill in 1786; the Nuestra Se? dela Asuncion in Santa Maria, Ilocos Sur, which is located on a hill surrounded by a stone wall; the San Agustin Church in Intramuros, Manila, which was built as early as 1587; and the Church of San Agustin in Paoay, Ilocos Norte, which was made of coral stone and was adorned like an Asian temple. Signatory to Environmental Pacts The Philippines is a signatory to the following international environmental agreements: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, and Wetlands (Source: US Central Intelligence Agency)

1. There is a geographical barrier separating the Philippines from other nations in Asia. Contact and communication between Filipinos and other nations in Asia are more difficult because of the many seas and islands to cross. 2. This archipelago barrier also divides tribes and nations in the Philippines. there are over 150 dialects and language groups in the country. This just show how different people are in the country. 3. With many islands to defend, the country is easily invaded by foreigners who want to conquer or colonize. The Philippines fell to the Spanish, British, Japanese and American forces at different times in our history. 4. Smuggling, piracy, and migration can happen more easily in this archipelago. 5. The different islands and cultural features make an ideal training ground for missionaries and evangelists who want to learn about different cultures, climates and people.