PEOPLE

The Filipino is basically of Malay stock with a sprinkling of Chinese,
American, Spanish, and Arab blood. The Philippines has a population
of 76.5 million as of May 2000, and it is hard to distinguish accurately
the lines between stocks. From a long history of Western colonial rule,
interspersed with the visits of merchants and traders, evolved a people
of a unique blend of east and west, both in appearance and culture.

The Filipino character is actually a little bit of all the cultures put
together. The bayanihan or spirit of kinship and camaraderie that
Filipinos are famous for is said to be taken from Malay forefathers. The
close family relations are said to have been inherited from the
Chinese. The piousness comes from the Spaniards who introduced
Christianity in the 16th century. Hospitality is a common denominator
in the Filipino character and this is what distinguishes the Filipino.
Filipinos are probably one of the few, if not the only, English-proficient
Oriental people today. Pilipino is the official national language, with
English considered as the country's unofficial one.
RELIGION

Predominantly Christian.
Catholics - 82.9%
Protestants - 5.4%
Islam - 4.6%
Philippine Independent Church - 2.6%
Iglesia ni Cristo - 2.3%

Historically, the Filipinos have embraced two of the great religions of
the world - Islam and Christianity. Islam was introduced during the
14th century shortly after the expansion of Arab commercial ventures
in Southeast Asia. Today, it is limited to the southern region of the
country.

Christianity was introduced as early as the 16th century with the
coming of Ferdinand Magellan in 1521.

Protestantism was introduced by the first Presbyterian and Methodist
missionaries who arrived with the American soldiers in 1899.

Two Filipino independent churches were organized at the turn of the
century and are prominent today. These are the Aglipay (Philippine
Independent Church) and the Iglesia Ni Kristo (Church of Christ)
founded in 1902 and 1914, respectively. Recently the Aglipay signed a
covenant with the Anglican Church. The Iglesia ni Kristo has expanded
its membership considerably. Its churches, with their unique towering
architecture, are landmarks in almost all important towns, provincial
capitals, and major cities.
CLIMATE

March to May is hot and dry. June to October is rainy, November to
February is cool. Average temperatures: 78°F / 25°C to 90°F / 32°C;
humidity is 77%.  POPULATION There are a total of 76.5 million
Filipinos as of the latest national census in May, 2000. Population
growth is estimated at 2.36 percent annually. Luzon, the largest island
group, accounts for more than half of the entire population.  
LANGUAGES Two official languages --- Filipino and English. Filipino
which is based on Tagalog, is the national language. English is also
widely used and is the medium of instruction in higher education.  
Eight (8) major dialects spoken by majority of the Filipinos: Tagalog,
Cebuano, Ilocano, Hiligaynon or Ilonggo, Bicol, Waray, Pampango, and
Pangasinense.
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