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Geography, Natural Resources & Climate

My Country, The Philippines
Geography, Natural Resources, Seasons and Climate

     The Philippines is one of the largest archipelagos in the world. Its coastline is irregular and longer than the coastline of the United States. This unique geographic characteristic exerted a strong influence on the socio-economic life of primitive and early settlements as well as later communities in the Philippines. Trading posts were established along the coastal areas. Today, some of these trading posts like Manila and Cebu have become major urban areas in the Philippines. The coastal areas and freshwater lakes and rivers are rich sources of fishes. Approximately **2,000 species of fish have been identified and some of these are used for commercial purposes.  These marine products include bangus (milkfish), barile (tuna), banak (mullet), dalag (mudfish) and dilis (anchovy). Other marine products include suso (snails), alimango (crabs), hipon (shrimps), lobsters and clams as well as edible seaweeds, shells, corals and pearls.

     The landscape of the Philippines is shaped by its mountains and volcanoes. In Luzon, there are five major mountain ranges, namely: Caraballo, Cordillera, Sierra Madre, Zambales and Tagaytay. The Caraballo and Cordillera mountain ranges are found in the northern portion of Luzon while the Sierra Madre mountain range is located in the west-north portion of Luzon (Quezon, Aurora, Nueva Vizcaya, Cagayan provinces). The Zambales range is situated in the provinces of Zambales and Bataan while the Tagaytay range is situated in the southern Tagalog provinces of Cavite and Batangas. In the island of Mindanao, there are four major mountain ranges, namely: Surigao, Butuan, Central-Western and  Western. The highest mountain, Mt Apo (9,692 feet), is located in the central-western range.
 
 
 
Kennon road, Cordillera mountain range
 
     Active volcanoes can be found in the various regions of the country. Among these volcanoes, Mt. Pinatubo, Taal volcano and Mt. Mayon have produced the most destructive eruptions. The eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1990 buried towns, killed dozens of people and rendered tens of thousands of people homeless. The eruption of  Taal volcano in 1911 killed more than 1,300 persons and its eruption in 1966 buried six barrios and killed hundreds of people. On the other hand, these volcanoes have made the land very fertile, and the produce of the land, however inadequate during certain periods of time, has sustained the Filipino people throughout its history.
 
Taal lake and volcano
 
      The Philippines is rich in natural resources. Its fertile land produces a variety of crops such as coconut, copra, banana, pineapples, sugar, gum, resins and rubber. Some of these agricultural crops are  raised for export. Rice, which is the staple food of Filipinos, is produced, largely, in the Central Plains of Luzon. Rice production often falls short of consumption requirement, and quite ironically, the Philippines is a rice importer. Plant and animal life is extremely diverse, and many plants and animals are endemic to the Philippines, which means they can be found only in this country. The Philippines holds the distinction as one of the seventeen countries whose combined plant and animal species account  for **70-80% of the world's biological diversity. It has approximately **52,177 species of flora and fauna. From among these living things, an estimated **14,000 plant species and **1,130 animals with backbones (terrestrial vertebrates) are found in forest areas. However, the wildlife environment faces a number of problems and challenges. Some Philippine animals and plants are now listed in the CITES Appendix I as critically endangered species. The endangered Philippine species found in the list include, among others, the Calamian deer, giant scops owl, Koch's pitta, Mindoro imperial pigeon, Palawan peacock pheasant, Panay flying-fox, Philippine crocodile, Philippine eagle, Philippine tamaraw, Visayan warty pig and various types of orchids. Forest management is at a critical stage. Only remnants of the total forest area during the early 1900 remain and they are found in the mountain ranges. The survival of these plants and animals depends on the conservation of forest and wildlife environment.
 
Philippine eagle and tarsier
 
 

Animal Info

The Philippine eagle is one of the largest (if not the largest) eagles in the world.