The Philippines (Filipino: Pilipinas), officially the Republic of the Philippines (Filipino: Republika ng Pilinas) is a sovereign island country in the Southeast Asia situated in the western Pacific Ocean. It consists of about 7,641 islands that are categorized broadly under the three main geographical divisions from north to south: Luzon, Visayas and Minadanao. The capital city of the Philippines is Manila and the most populous city is Quezon City, both part of Metro Manila. Bounded by the South China Sea on the west, the Philippine Sea on the east and the Celebes Sea on the Southwest, the Philippines shares maritime borders with Taiwan to the north, Vietnam to the west, Palau to the east, and Malaysia and Indonesia to the south.
The arrival of Ferdinand Magellan in Homonhon, Eastern Samar in 1521 marked the beginning of Hispanic colonization. In 1543, Spanish explorer Ruy López de Villalobos named the archipelago Las Islas Filipinas in honor of Philip II of Spain. With the arrival of Miguel López de Legazpi from Mexico City, in 1565, the first Hispanic settlement in the archipelago was established. The Philippines became part of the Spanish Empire for more than 300 years. This resulted in Roman Catholicism becoming the dominant religion. During this time, Manila became the western hub of the trans-Pacific trade connecting Asia with Acapulco in the Americas using Manila galleons.
The Philippines has a democratic government in the form of a constitutional republic with a presidential system. It is governed as a unitary state. The president functions as both head of state and head of government and is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. The president is elected by popular vote for a single six-year term, during which he or she appoints and presides over the cabinet. The bicameral congress is composed of the Senate, serving as the upper house, with members elected to a six-year term; and the House of Representatives, serving the lower house, with members elected to a three-year term.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines is responsible for national security and consists of four branches: the Philippine Army, the Philippine Air Force, the Philippine Navy, and the Philippine Marine Corps. The Armed Forces of the Philippines is a volunteer force and traces its lineage from the reestablishment of the Philippines Army under the National Defense Act of AU1935.
Civilian security is handled by the Philippine National Police under the Department of Interior.
_________________kerkie, (PH)RN, (US)RN, EMT-B