<BGSOUND SRC="phi.mid" LOOP=INFINITE> PEARL OF THE ORIENT

Philippine is a rich tropical archipelago of 7107 islands stretching gracefully over 1800 kilometers between five and twenty two degrees North of the equator. Strategically positioned east of Asian mainland, and blessed with abundant natural resources, the country has attracted traders, explorers and adventures for centuries.The legacy of these early visitors remains today. Language, art, culture, ethnology, religion and architecture were influenced by settlers from powerful empires that rose and fell on the tides of history. Even the name is foreign. The Philippines was named for King Philip II of Spain in 1543, twenty-two years before Spain established a permanent colonial presence here.Manila is the premier international gateway and is the nation's political, social, cultural, commercial and transportation capital. Metropolitan Manila has grown form a small tribal village to a teeming energetic metropolis that sprawls across 626 square kilometers. Metro Manila embraces eight cities and 12 municipalities with a population in excess of 10 million.Four years of steady economic growth and an ardent commitment to building much needed infrastracture has enabled the Philippines to adopt a more prominent and respected role as the "Newest Tiger" economy of Asia.

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