Philippines - (Asia)

Information about Philippines

300000 square kilometres
Roman Catholic 83%, Protestant 9%, Muslim 5%, Buddhist and other 3%
Christian (%)
Protestant (%)
Reformed (%)

The Philippines are a group of over 7,100 islands, of which 800 are inhabited. The two main islands are Luzon in the North (105,000 km²) and the capital, Manila, and Mindanao in the South (95,000 km²). The original indigenous population, the Negritos and the old Malay groups (Igorot, Kalinga, Bontok), are now a minority of 10% to 20%. The majority Malay population consists of over 80 groups with an equal number of different languages. Tagalog/Filipino is being promoted as the national language; about 65% of the population have some knowledge of English. The islands were reached by Magellan in 1521 and conquered by the Spaniards in 1565 and 1571. In the course of the centuries there have been many revolts against the colonial regime. The Spanish domination ended with the war between Spain and the USA in 1898, but the Philippines were eventually annexed by the USA. The country gained independence after World War II (1946). American economic influence and military presence, however, continued. Several governments succeeded one another — the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos (1966- 1986), Corazon Aquino (1986-1992), and today Fidel Ramos. Filipino democracy remains fragile. The population is rapidly increasing.
Christianity came to the Philippines in the 16th century. In contrast to other countries in Asia the Philippines have a vast RCath majority. The liberation from Spain was accompanied by a strong anti-RCath movement which led at the end of the 19th century to the foundation of the Filipino Independent Church. The Prot presence began with the Spanish-American War in 1898. Many American missions arrived in the Philippines —Presb and Meth (1899), Bapt and CMA (1900), Episcopal, United Brethren, and Disciples (1901), Congreg (1902), and Advent (1906). Prot missions found a response especially among intellectuals and in the middle class. Since the 1970s Korean Presb have started missionary activities in the Philippines. They have led to the foundation of the Presbyterian Church of the Philippines (no. 5); Koreans have also set up a number of smaller communities.




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