Geography in the Philippines
The Philippines are located in an archipelago of over 7,600 islands in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific. Only 13 islands have an area of more than 1000 km², the largest of which are Luzon, Mindanao, Samar, Negros, Mindoro, Panay and Palawan. The South China Sea separates the archipelago in the west from Vietnam, the Sulu Sea in the southwest from Malaysia and the Celebes Sea in the south from Indonesia. The Philippine Sea extends to the east.
The land surface of the Philippine archipelago is mostly mountainous and is generally divided into three major regions: The Luzon archipelago in the north and west, which mainly consists of the islands of Luzon, Masbate, Mindoro and Palawan Panay, Negros, Cebu, Leyte, Samar and Bohol islands comprise the Mindanao archipelago in the south, which includes the island of Mindanao, the island of Basilan and the Sulu archipelago with the island of Jolo. The main islands of the Philippines are crossed by several rivers, the longest of which is the 350 km long Agusan. The rivers are accompanied by valleys and fertile plains. Similar to the Japanese islands, the Philippines also consist only of the peaks of Submarine mountain ranges rising above sea level, which on the eastern flank in the Philippines Trench, one of the deepest deep-sea trenches on earth, drop down to a depth of 10,540 m. The Philippines are also part of the Pacific Ring of Fire and currently have around 20 active volcanoes. The location along a seismically active plate boundary causes the frequent occurrence of earthquakes and the associated tsunamis on the outer reefs of the Philippines.
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Flora and fauna in the Philippines
Filipino wildlife is very similar to Indonesian. In the Philippines there are a total of over 5000 different animal and countless species of insects as well as 14,000 different plants. About a fifth of the Philippine island world is covered with forests. Common tree species are palm trees, rubber trees or banyan trees. In addition, bushes and bamboo grow. Manila hemp is cultivated for the production of textiles, ropes or dwellings. On the coasts, mangroves form large forests that serve as natural coastal protection and create unique ecosystems. Until the beginning of the 20th century, an evergreen tropical rainforest covered a large part of the Philippines, of which only a few remains remain on the island of Palawan. Instead of the rainforest, oil palm plantations have emerged in many places.
Among the various animals in the Philippines are the buffalo species tamarau and carabao, parrots, flying squirrels, dolphins, crocodiles, snakes, tarsier, turtles, lizards and others.
A large number of endemic animals live in the Philippines, including the Palawan pangolin Manis, the red-faced cockatoo, the house-cat-sized Bengal cat, the Palawan peacock pheasant, the Palawan rat and the Palawan bearded pig. Other animals endemic to the Philippines are the Philippine shrews, red mammoth snails, the Philippine eagle and the Philippine black-line pigeon and the Philippine duck.
In the sea near the coast there are many coral reefs with a biodiversity of fish, crustaceans and molluscs that is unique in the world.
National parks and conservation in the Philippines
The Philippines are one of the world’s megadiversity countries and a hotspot for biodiversity, with an extremely large number of endemic species of plants and animals as well as diverse ecosystems. But the rapid population growth and the associated settlement pressure lead to the overexploitation of natural resources. The state of the Filipino environment has deteriorated so much that the Filipino government has responded to the environmental degradation and impending environmental threats that have already taken place with demanding environmental laws. Of these, the law known as the National Integrated Protected Area System is the most demanding in terms of implementation. The environmental laws of the Philippines are intended to protect the rainforest as well as the sea with its coral reefs, the stocks of fish,
A total of around 35,000 km² of the area of the Philippines have been designated as nature reserves in accordance with the guidelines of the NIPAS law. Of these, around 21,300 km² are terrestrial and 12,700 km² marine protection zones. The countless protected zones of the individual islands include the nature reserve Mount Hamiguitan, the El Nido Marine Reserve, the St. Paul National Park, the Reef of Apo and the coral reef Tubbataha, the Northern Sierra Madre National Park, the Mt. Isarog National Park, the Mt. Guiting National Park or the Coron National Park.
Cities and regions in the Philippines
The national territory of the Philippines is divided into 17 regions, which are divided into a total of 81 provinces, the main administrative levels of the Philippine state. The 17 regions are Metro Manila, Cordillera Administrative Region, Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Mimapora, Bicol Region, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao, Davao Region, Soccsksargen, Caraga, and the Muslim Autonomous Region of Mindanao.
By far the largest city in the Philippines is Manila, which is the unrestricted political, economic and cultural center of the country. With a population of 23 million people, Manila is one of the largest metropolitan areas in the world and one of the most densely populated areas on earth. The next largest cities and metropolitan areas in the Philippines are Cebu with approx. 2.5 million residents, Davao City with approx. 1.5 million residents, Angeles City with approx. 1.3 million residents and Cagayan de Oro with approx. 716,000 residents.