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About the Republic of the Philippines
Basic Facts About the Philippines
The Philippine Economy
Bulacan and the Philippines

Basic Facts About the Philippines

Country Name:

Republic of the Philippines
Capital City: Manila
Land Area: 300,439 sq.km.
Population: 81,159,644 (July 2000 est.)
Time Zone: GMT + 8 hours
Climate: Climate is characterized by two seasons: the dry, which starts from November to April, and rainy from May to October.
Literacy Rate: Simple - 97.36%;
Functional - 87.28%
Language/Dialect: English, Filipino
Religion: 83% Roman Catholic, 9% Protestant, 5% Muslim, 3% Buddhist and other
Annual data 2006(a) Historic averages (%) 2002-2006
Population (m) 89.5 Population growth 1.9
GDP (US$ bn; market exchange rate) 117.6(b) Real GDP growth 5.2
GDP (US$ bn; purchasing power parity) 441.6 Real domestic demand growth 3.9
GDP per head (US$; market exchange rate) 1,314.0 Inflation 5.3
GDP per head (US$; purchasing power parity) 4,936.0 Current-account balance (% of GDP) 3.2
Exchange rate (av) P:US$ 51.3(b) FDI inflows (% of GDP) 1.3

(a) Economist Intelligence Unit estimates    (b) Actual


The Philippine islands were ruled by Spain from 1565 until 1898, when the US took control. The islands became independent in 1946. The 21-year rule of Ferdinand Marcos (1965-86) was characterised by economic mismanagement and martial law. A democratic system was re-established under Corazon Aquino (1986-92), maintained under Fidel Ramos (1992-98) and consolidated with the election of Joseph Estrada as president in May 1998. In January 2001 Mr Estrada was removed in a civilian coup backed by the military and replaced by his vice-president, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who won the election in May 2004. The Philippines is a member of the Association of South-East Asian Nations and the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation forum.

Political Structure

The Philippines has a presidential system of government. The 1987 constitution limits presidents to a single six-year term of office. The legislative branch of government is modelled on the US system and is composed of two directly elected bodies-the Senate (the upper house), with 24 seats, and the House of Representatives (the lower house), which has up to 250 seats.

Policy issues

The main policy challenge that confronts the government is to bring the public finances back into balance while raising expenditure on areas such as infrastructure, education and healthcare. Poor tax administration, a limited tax base and the losses incurred by some public-sector companies have been at the root of persistent fiscal deficits, but the steady fall in the tax take since 1998 has now been reversed, and the government succeeded in bringing the fiscal deficit down to 1% of GDP in 2006.


The corporate income tax rate was raised from 32% to 35% in November 2005, but it is due to fall to 30% in 2009. Since 1998 personal income tax rates have been restructured into six bands, ranging from 5% to 35% of annual income. Tax exemption levels range from P20,000 (US$392) for individuals to P32,000 for married couples.

Foreign Trade

According to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (the central bank), the merchandise trade deficit (balance-of-payments basis) stood at US$7bn in 2006. Exports totalled US$46bn and imports US$53bn in that year. The current account recorded a surplus of US$5bn, or 4.3% of GDP, in 2006.
    Major exports 2006 US$ bn Major imports 2006 US$ bn
    Electronic products 29.6 Electronic products 24.4
    Semiconductors 22.3 Mineral fuels 8.2
    Garments 2.6 Transport equipment 2
    Mineral products 2.1 Industrial machinery 2
    Agriculture-based products 1.6 Textile fabrics 1.1
    Leading markets 2006 % of total Leading suppliers 2006 % of total
    US 18.3 US 17.9
    Japan 16.5 Japan 14.7
    Netherlands 10.1 Singapore 8.7
    China 9.8 China 7.5
    Hong Kong 7.9 Taiwan 7.4

Economic Data

    Key indicators 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
    Real GDP growth (%) 5.4 6.0 5.6 5.5 5.5 5.4
    Consumer price inflation (av; %) 6.3 2.9 3.4 3.3 3.5 3.4
    Budget balance (% of GDP) -1.0 -1.1 -0.7 -0.4 -0.3 -0.1
    Current-account balance (% of GDP) 4.3 5.1 4.9 4.8 4.9 4.6
    Lending rate (av; %) 9.8 9.5 9.3 9.1 9.1 9.1
    Exchange rate P:US$ (av) 51.31 47.15 47.20 47.50 47.00 47.00
    Exchange rate P:US$ (end-period) 49.13 47.18 47.35 47.25 47.00 47.00

Economic Structure

  2002(a) 2003(a) 2004(a) 2005(a) 2006(a)
GDP at market prices (P bn) 3,963.9 4,316.4 4,871.6 5,437.9 6,032.6
GDP (US$ bn) 76.8 79.6 86.9 98.7 117.6
Real GDP growth (%) 4.4 4.9 6.4 4.9 5.4
Consumer price inflation (av; %)(b) 3.0 3.5 6.0 7.6 6.3
Population (m) 83.0(c) 84.6(c) 86.2(c) 87.9(c) 89.5(c)
Exports of goods fob (US$ m) 34,383 35,342 38,728 40,263 46,158
Imports of goods fob (US$ m) -33,975 -40,797 -45,109 -48,036 -53,113
Current-account balance (US$ m) 4,197 1,396 2,080 1,955 5,022
Foreign-exchange reserves excl gold (US$ m) 13,329 13,655 13,116 15,926 20,025
Total external debt (US$ bn) 59.9 62.6 60.9 61.5 62.7(c)
Debt-service ratio, paid (%) 19.3 19.3 19.7 20.3 14.4(c)
Exchange rate (av) P:US$ 51.60 54.20 56.04 55.09 51.31
(a) Actual. (b) Non-seasonally adjusted. (c) Economist Intelligence Unit estimates.
Origins of gross domestic product 2006 % of total Components of gross domestic product 2006 % of total
Agriculture, forestry & fishing 14.2 Private consumption 70.1
Industry 31.6 Government consumption 9.7
Manufacturing 22.9 Fixed investment 13.8
Services 54.2 Change in inventories 0.5
Exports of goods & services 46.4
Imports of goods & services 47.6
Principal exports 2006 US$ bn Principal imports 2006 US$ bn
Electronic products 29.6 Electronic products 24.4
Semiconductors 22.3 Mineral fuels 8.2
Garments 2.6 Transport equipment 2.0
Mineral products 2.1 Industrial machinery 2.0
Agriculture-based products 1.6 Textile fabrics 1.1
Main destinations of exports 2006 % of total Main origins of imports 2006 % of total
US 18.3 US 17.9
Japan 16.5 Japan 14.7
Netherlands 10.1 Singapore 8.7
China 9.8 China 7.5
Hong Kong 7.9 Taiwan 7.4

Bulacan and the Philippines

The Philippines stands at the crossroads of the developed western world and the Orient. It lies in the heart of Southeast Asia, stretching more than 1,840 kilometers. Composed of 7,107 islands, the Philippines is readily accessible to the different capitals of the world. Its three main islands are Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

The South China Sea washes its western shores. Taiwan, China and Hong Kong are northern neighbors and further north is Japan. To the west lie Southeast Asian countries such as Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. An arm of the archipelago reaches out towards Borneo and at its feet stands the chain of Indonesian islands. To the east and south, the waters of the Pacific Ocean sweep its headlands, looking out towards Micronesia and Polynesia.

The visitor to Metro Manila commonly sees the Philippines as the most westernized of Asian countries and in many ways it is. But there is also a rich underlay of Malay culture beneath the patina of Spanish and American heritage. National cultural life is a happy marriage of many influences, as the indigenous Malay culture is assimilated and adapted to different strains in a practice typical of Malay temperament. An upsurge of Philippine nationalism stimulated a desire to preserve the ancient heritage without restricting its openness to foreign artistic influence.

Before the Spanish explorers came, Indo-Malays and Chinese merchants had settled here. In 1521 the Spaniards, led by Ferdinand Magellan, discovered the islands. The Spanish conquistadores established a colonial government in Cebu in 1565. They transferred the seat of government to Manila in 1571 and proceeded to colonize the country. The Filipinos resisted and waged Asia's first nationalist revolution in 1896. On June 12, 1898, Emilio Aguinaldo declared the Philippines independent from Spain and proclaimed himself president. After ruling for 333 years, the Spaniards finally left in 1898 and were replaced by the Americans who stayed for 48 years. On July 4, 1946, the Americans recognized Philippine independence.

The Philippines is the third largest English-speaking country in the world. The country is divided into 3 geographical areas: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. It has 17 regions, 79 provinces, 115 cities, 1,495 municipalities, and 41,956 barangays. (Barangay - The smallest political unit into which cities and municipalities in the Philippines are divided. It is the basic unit of the Philippine political system. It consists of less than 1,000 inhabitants residing within the territorial limit of a city or municipality and administered by a set of elective officials, headed by a barangay chairman (punong barangay).

Its unique location has made the Philippines the commercial, cultural and intellectual hub of Asia from the dawn of history.

Anywhere you go in the country today, you will see signs of growth and development. Especially when you go to Bulacan, a province that bespeak the glory of Philippines history

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