To the north of the latter, and between the two ranges, is the fertile Cagayan Valley. Positioned on the western edge of the Pacific Ocean, along the Ring of Fire, the Philippines is the second-largest archipelago in the world, with over 7,100 individual islands counted within its borders. The Pasig, which flows through the city of Manila, was once commercially important as a nexus for interisland trade but is no longer navigable except by small craft; heavy pollution has required significant cleanup efforts. Updates? For hundreds of years the Philippines were a Tourism has begun to flourish again with most of the visitors arriving from the The US government emphasized that it did not seek permanent colonial control over the Philippines, and set about instituting governmental and educational reform. The Philippine-American War lasted three years and killed tens of thousands of Filipinos and about 4,000 Americans. On June 25, 1991, Mount Pinatubo violently erupted, severely weakening the already strained economy. Explore the geography of Asia with this quiz. Outstanding physical features of the Philippines include the irregular configuration of the archipelago, the coastline of some 22,550 miles (36,290 km), the great extent of mountainous country, the narrow and interrupted coastal plains, the generally northward trend of the river systems, and the spectacular lakes. Coffee plantation, Basilan Island, Philippines. Typhoons are heaviest in Samar, Leyte, south-central Luzon, and the Batan Islands, and, when accompanied by floods or high winds, they may cause great loss of life and property. The islands spread out in the shape of a triangle, with those south of Palawan, the Sulu Archipelago, and the island of Mindanao outlining (from west to east, respectively) its southern base and the Batan Islands to the north of Luzon forming its apex. More than 6,000 people were killed and over four million lost their homes. Thus, temperatures remain relatively constant from north to south during the year, and seasons consist of periods of wet and dry. Omissions? The island of Palawan is about 25 miles (40 km) wide and more than 250 miles (400 km) long; through it extends a range with an average elevation of 4,000 to 5,000 feet (1,200 to 1,500 metres). Especially toward the end of the 20th century, rapid industrial expansion was spurred by a high degree of domestic and foreign investment. The Philippines offer plenty of opportunities to explore pristine wilderness areas. Gas and ash rising from Mount Pinatubo, central Luzon, Philippines, just prior to eruption in June 1991. During the wet season, rainfall is heavy in all parts of the archipelago except for an area extending southward through the centre of the Visayan group to central Mindanao and then southwestward through the Sulu Archipelago; rain is heaviest along the eastern shores facing the Pacific Ocean. With a population of 103,775,002, The Philippines became an independent state in 1946. The most important rivers of the Philippines are the Cagayan, Agno, Pampanga, Pasig, and Bicol on Luzon and the Mindanao (Río Grande de Mindanao) and Agusan on Mindanao. Most of these storms come from the southeast, their frequency generally increasing from south to north; in some years the number of cyclones reaches 25 or more. The narrow Ilocos, or Malayan, range, lying close along the west coast of northern Luzon, rises in places to elevations above 5,000 feet (1,500 metres) and is seldom below 3,500 feet (1,000 metres); it is largely volcanic. All maps, graphics, flags, photos and original descriptions © 2020 The country was wracked by political turmoil in the last quarter of the 20th century. Positioned on the western edge of the Pacific Ocean, along the Ring of Fire, the Philippines is the second-largest archipelago in the world, with over 7,100 individual islands counted within its borders. In general, rain-bearing winds blow from the southwest from approximately May to October, and drier winds come from the northeast from November to February. A range also runs northwest-southeast along the southwestern coast. Former Editorial Consultant, Philippine Christian University, Manila. The poor, precipitation-leached soils of Palawan and the eastern mountains of Luzon are largely covered with shrubs, bushes, and other secondary growth that typically emerges in areas that have been cleared of their original forest cover. U.S., Japan, South Korea and Europe. Spain (1521-1898) and the United States (1898-1946), colonized (controlled) the country and Palau, which is on the eastern side of the Philippine Sea. Contemporary Filipinos continue to grapple with a society that is replete with paradoxes, perhaps the most obvious being the presence of extreme wealth alongside tremendous poverty. It has 7,641 islands. Despite the prominence of such Anglo-European cultural characteristics, the peoples of the Philippines are Asian in consciousness and aspiration. The government has established more than 270 protected areas covering over 10 million acres. Manila is the capital, but nearby Quezon City is the country’s most-populous city. Both are part of the National Capital Region (Metro Manila), located on Luzon, the largest island. Oil palms, vegetables, and other crops are grown in the peatlike areas, as well as in the younger, sand-based soils of the coastal plains, marshes, and lake regions. Much of the land of the hilly and mountainous regions consists of moist, fertile soils, often with a significant concentration of volcanic ash, that support fruit trees and pineapples. The Cordillera Central, the central mountain chain of Luzon, running north to the Luzon Strait from the northern boundary of the central plain, is the most prominent range. From June to December tropical cyclones (typhoons) often strike the Philippines. The western shores facing the South China Sea have the most marked dry and wet seasons. Although volcanoes are a conspicuous feature of the landscape, there is relatively little volcanic activity. To the west lies another range that stretches from the centre of the island southward. On July 4, 1902, the two sides agreed to an armistice. Premium Membership is now 50% off! The greater part of southern Luzon is occupied by isolated volcanoes and irregular masses of hills and mountains. The downfall of Marcos and return of democratic government,, Central Intelligence Agency - The World Factbook - Philippines, Official Site of the Department of Tourism , Philippines, Philippines - Children's Encyclopedia (Ages 8-11), Philippines - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up). Manila is the capital, but nearby Quezon City is the country’s most-populous city. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Black Friday Sale! A number of volcanic peaks surround Lake Sultan Alonto (Lake Lanao), and a low cordillera extends through the Zamboanga Peninsula in the far west. Several peaks on Panay and Negros reach a height of 6,000 feet (1,800 metres) or more. Spanish colony, but were ceded to the U.S. in 1898, after the Spanish-American War. Ferdinand Magellan arrived in 1521, and placed the islands under Spanish ruling. It consists of two and in places three parallel ranges, each with an average elevation of about 5,900 feet (1,800 metres). Mindanao is generally free from such storms. The alluvial plains and terraces of Luzon and Mindoro have dark black cracking clays, as well as younger soils that are especially suitable for rice cultivation. The dry season shortens progressively to the east until it ceases to occur. The dry season generally begins in December and ends in May, the first three months being cool and the second three hot; the rest of the year constitutes the wet season. The dictatorial government of Ferdinand Marcos ended in 1986. Farther west the Butig Mountains trend northwestward from the northeastern edge of the Moro Gulf. Rich in resources, the Philippines has the potential to build a strong industrial economy, but the country remains largely agricultural. Japan and the U.S. during World War II, and at the end of the war (in 1946) with the U.S. victory in the South Pacific, the Philippines attained total independence. The mountain ranges for the most part run in the same general direction as the islands themselves, approximately north to south.


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