To begin with
To begin with, Philippines is an Island country located in the eastern part of Southeast Asia. It is about “1000 kilometres from the south coast of the mainland, lying on the western margin of the Pacific Ocean between 210.55′ east and 126036′ east of longitude” (Sue, 2004 p.1). The location of the country gives moderate tropical climate for cultivation of crops for exports and consumption.
The country was colonised by the Spanish from 1542 to 1892, until gained its independence in 1898. It was named after King Philip II of Spain by a group of Spanish explorers who followed in 1565. Philippines is the only Christian country in Asia and the people are known as Filipinos. The official name of the country is called Republic of the Philippines and Manila is the capital city. The English and Filipino (Pilipino) were the two official languages spoken in the country. Philippines has 16 regions such as Mindanao, Luzon, and Visayans, each governed by a regional and the regions are divided in to 79 provinces. The current President of the country is Rodrigo Duterte.
The country consists of more than 7100 islands, boarded by five bodies of water; the Philippines, south China, Sulu, Celebes Sea and the Pacific Ocean. Much of its forest is tropical rainforest and generally have tropical maritime climate because of the location. Most of the country’s larger islands have volcanic mountains. Therefore, the write up will be outline the types of climates found in Philippines and why is it found there. The vegetation or the type of vegetation’s in Philippines, the different types of landforms and also the mineral resources of the country.
THE CLIMATES OF THE PHILIPPINES
Climate is defined as “the regular pattern of weather conditions of a particular place” (Hornby, 2010, p.272). Philippines is surrounded by sea and is near the equator, thus has tropical maritime climate. People usually experience northeast monsoon from November to April, whereas southwest monsoon occurs in the month of May to October in a year. However, there are also five (5) other types of climates experienced in Philippines; the tropical rainforest, tropical monsoon, tropical savannah, humid subtropical and oceanic which is characterised by apperceive humidity, plenty of rainfall and high temperature. These climates were influenced by the complex interaction of different factors such as topography, relief, temperature and humidity.
Generally, tropical rainforest is found between the tropic of the Capricorn (23° e 27′ S) and the tropic of the Cancer (23° and 27 ‘ N). This climate allows Filipinos to cultivate cash crops such as coffee, coconut and vanilla for exports. The country’s landmass has been dominated by the ecosystem (tropical rainforest) which consists of rich plants and some diverse animals of which cannot be found in other rainforests of the world. The tropical rainforest of the Indo Malay like Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippines are known as Sanskrit Jan gala which means the jungle of the tropical rainforest. Philippines also have six types of forests; Dipterocarp, Molave, Mangrove, Beach, Pine and Mossy- forest type. Dipterocarp forest consists of Lauan, Lauan-hagaehac, Yacal- lauan, Lauan apitong and Tanguile-oak type. These forests covers about 75% of the virgin forest of Philippines, pre-eminently the most important. All these forests are found on nearly all types of topography, from immediately behind frontal zone of the beach to an altitude of about 800 metres on the slopes of largest mountain masses.
Molave forest is fairly well distributed by occupying topography similar to yacal-lauan type. “It is roughly estimated that the area covered by this comprises of 4000 square miles (103600 hectares). The trees are the most valuable in the Philippines, easily accessible for exploitation” (Whiteford, 1911, p.26).
Mangrove forest is the forest of the shore and is well developed on the mud flats at the mouths of rivers entering the sea at the heads of protected bays. “Sandy beaches above high-tide limit are found throughout the Philippines. They are favourite places for settlement and so the original vegetation has been greatly modified” (Whiteford, 1911, p.29).This types of forest are well developed on old beaches where dry season is wanting.
Pine type reaches its best development in the high plateau region of northern and central Luzon of Philippines. They are individually scattered throughout the grass area and mossy-forest covers 3200 square miles (828,800 hectares), or 8 percent of the land area of the Philippines and it is the essentially protective forest. The Philippines rainforest covers about 18% of the total area and the remaining forest areas is less than a million hectares due to rapid deforestation such as logging and shifting cultivation.
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From the Wikipedia, monsoon is defined as “a seasonal reversing wind accompanied by corresponding changes in precipitation”. It is an Arabic word meaning winds that blow from the opposite direction with the change of seasons. Tropical monsoon mainly prevails in the Southeast Asian countries like India, Thailand and Philippines. Usually the climate is experienced in the southwest from June to October and Northeast from February to November in a year.
The northern part of Philippines usually experience Northeast Monsoon from February to November. As summarised by Ganal (1865 p.4) that “the Northeast Monsoon originates from vast anticyclone – a weather system with a high barometric pressure which forms over Siberia, Mongolia and Northern China during each northern winter causing clouds development and rainfall at the eastern sections of the country”.
Furthermore, he also states that “the southwest monsoon seasonal winds blowing from the southwest direction, causes extensive cloud development and rainfall at the western section of the country and this happens from June to October in a year” (1865 p.7). The rain season occurs in the western during the summer monsoon (May to November). The winter monsoon (December to April) blows from the northwest causing dry season, while receives most of its rainfall in the eastern side of the country.
Philippines also have a tropical savannah climate. Savannah refers to tropical grassland with scattered trees. Most of the Philippines areas were covered with two species of grassland; cogon and talahib grass. These have resulted because of agriculture, (shifting system) through the tropics and were known as caingin making. Whiteford (1911. p13) states that “small portion of original or second growth forest is cut during the dry season, the timber and the brush are allowed to dry, and are then partially burned. Thus, the prepared land is planted with rice, sweet potatoes, corn or other crops. Cultivation then practically ceases and the jungle growth consisting of grass, weeds and tree species quickly gains ascendency over the planted crops. At the end of the first, second or third year, the caingin maker abandon his clearing for a new one on another patch of forest.” Many farmers in Philippines prefer to prepare a land for cultivation covered by secondary growth forest.
The humid subtropical of Philippines has being characterised by relatively temperatures, plenty of rainfall and oppressive humidity. As a result two seasons experienced in a year; wet and dry season. The dry season begins from November to May and rain season (wet) begins from June till October, annually. The humid subtropical climate is accompanied by the tropical monsoon and this is where most air brought into the country by the monsoon wind blowing in from the Pacific Ocean in the direction of Northeast associated by the tropical cyclones. This results in 30 % annual rainfall in the northern and 10 % in the southern Philippines.
Generally, Philippines were surrounded by China Sea, Philippines Sea, and the Pacific Ocean. From the Microsoft Encarta Premium (2009) states that “Philippines islands, basin of the western Pacific Ocean between the Philippines island to the south and Japan to the north. The Philippines Sea becomes a surface area of approximately 5000000 square kilometres, about three (3) percent of the entire Pacific”. That is to say the eastern boundaries are formed by a series of deep ocean trenches which delineates from the rest of the Pacific. The Philippines adopted the Archipelago Doctrine for determining the inland and territorial waters of the country.
TYPE OF VEGETATIONS FOUND IN PHILIPPINES
Vegetation simply refers to plants in general; a group of flora found in a particular area. As summarised by Osnan (2014) that “the vegetation of Philippines is very rich and diverse”. The forest covered most of the country’s area which consist of varieties of vines, epiphytes, climbers and so on. There are three types of vegetation found in Philippines and they are secondary growth forest, virgin forest and grassland forest.
Grassland refers to a large area of land covered with grass. The Philippines grasslands covers about 48 000 square miles (40%) and the large areas of grasslands are known as Cogonales, principally covered with two species; cogon and talahib grass as mentioned earlier. Grasslands are prevalent in all parts of Philippines, starting from sea level to the top of the mountains. The cogon grass is usually replaced by other species specifically in the pine region of central and northern Luzon. The grassland areas are detriment to agricultural development because they attract grass hoppers, thus destroys growing crops. Therefore, most Filipinos prefer to prepare a land for cultivation on virgin or secondary growth forest.
Philippines have 20 000 square miles of secondary growth forest which is about 16 2/3 percent. As clarified by Whiteford (1911, p.14) that “20 000 square miles of secondary growth forest in the islands were changed to grassland, due to the Caingin system of agriculture”. If there is no bush fire then the Caingin is abandon, thus cause woody species to quickly gain the ascendancy and shade little grass that has obtained a foothold. The reforestation process is remarkably similar throughout the islands, especially on fresh exposed soil. These trees are capable of producing seeds within a year or two after germinating. The advance stages of secondary growth forests are mixed with tangles of climbing bamboo and other vines. These forests often cover large areas called jungle growths of the Philippines. Sometimes travellers’ sees the secondary growth forests and convey wholly wrong impression that the forests are densely overgrown mass of impenetrable jungle. Instead, the forest often alternate with patches of grass which make the vegetation known as parang. However, high in the regions of central and Northern Luzon, Banquet pine is the pioneer species, whereas in the low lands were binayuyu, alibangbamng, duhat, cling- parang and others.
According to Whiteford (1911. p.15) states that “Virgin forest are those which either have been undisturbed by man or have been so little exploited that their original character has not been materially changed. They formed the source from which the inhabitants of the islands may draw and are drawing their man supplies of timber, and also include the protective forest of the high mountainous regions. They cover approximately one –third of the total area of the island”.
VARIOUS TYPES OF LANDFORMS IN PHILIPPINES
Philippines itself is a unique landform called archipelago. It is made up of 7107 islands which were clumped together in the tropical part of the Pacific Ocean. It has five (5) different types of landforms such as plains, hills, valleys, mountains and volcanoes. Most of the Philippines big Islands have volcanoes to boast of, some are dormant (sleeping), while others reeking one after another. There are probably thirty seven known volcanoes of which eighteen on the island of Luzon, in Daraga. For example, Mount Mayon is a strato volcano and is regarded as one among the eight wonder of the earth because of its perfectly shaped cone. Volcanic mountains rise on most of the country’s larger islands, and many have active volcanoes.
Mountain is one of the most famous landforms found in Philippines and most have volcanoes on them. The highest mountain in Philippines is Mount Apo on Mindanao, towers in the Southern part of Philippines and is about 9692 feet (2954 metres) above sea level. Most of the mountains are found in Sagada, located in the province of Luzon, Cordillera region. Visitors often regard this place as a Shangrila where caves, ancient burial sites and beautiful cliff are found. The Banaue rice terraces are found near Sagada Mountains of Ifugao. The terraces are amphitheatre- “like rice field layers carved more than 4000 square miles reaching 5000 feet above sea level” Sarah M (2013). The rice terraces showcase the settings of the ancient Ifugaos master, the impressive communal cooperation for a harmonious co- existence with different tribal units.
Hill refers to an elevated location smaller than a mountain. Philippines have many hills on which people do cultivation. The most popular hill in Philippines is the Chocolate Hills of Bohol. These hills were believed to have are sense of mysteries and even today, geologist could not find the exact formation. Generally, “cluster of no less than 1268 hills were man-made by the ancestors of long ago” Sarah M (2013). These were created from weathered lime stones that formed on top masses of impermeable clay. Hills are uniformly shaped in-between 30 and 50 metres high, largely covered with grass and few tresses. During summer, the grassy hills turn brown, earning its moniker ‘Chocolate Hills’ thus attracting more visitors especially the tourist.
Since Philippines have more mountainous landforms than naturally the country also boast of