It is rare for someone to mention football and then speak of the Philippines in the same sentence. Had the course of history not changed, the Philippines could well be one of the leading football nations in Asia. Afterall, it was with this country that the game had its humble beginnings.In 1913, when most of Asia probably had not even heard of the game, Philippines set about creating football history when they organised the first ever Asian international match. Something never to be forgotten, Philippines played China in Manila with the host winning the game 2-1. That was the start of a game that would extend to the length and breadth of the Asian continent.

But a change of guard – the Spanish invaders left the islands to the Americans – resulted in the game losing its popula-rity in its birth-place. Football, instead of becoming the number one sport amongst Filipinos, ended up playing second fiddle to American sports.

As the interest dwindled over the years, the game never quite took off the way it should have and to this date, the country remains amongst the weakest in Asia. In the Southeast Asian region, they have begun to pick up some steam as seen by their performances in the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games and Tiger Cup competitions.

Club football is played but is still developing.


Fast Facts
Climate: Tropical weather here with rain and sunshine prevailing over different times through the year. Generally, the weather during the first part of the year is hot and dry. Down the second half of the year, it is usually wet with the highest rainfall around July and August.

Geography: The Philippines is made up of over 7000 islands, the largest being Luzon, home to the capital city of Manila. In total, the islands, sandwiched between the Pacific Ocean and the South China Sea, make up an area of more than 300,000 square kilometers.

Population: The population is around 75 million and centred mainly around the big cities like Manila. A large Chinese community, the Mestizos and some tribes who reside in the north and some of the other islands, make up the rest of the population.

Economy: Agriculture and mining are among the main economic activities. Copra, sugar, abaca, tobacco and fruits have been cultivated here for many years and are among the main agricultural exports. The mining of gold and silver are equally important to the Filipino economy.

Religion: The Philippines is the only country in Asia where the dominant religion is Christianity, the majority of whom are Roman Catholics. The Muslims are the largest minority group and have predominantly settled in the southern island of Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago.

Language: There are a number of local languages and dialects but Tagalog is the one that is widely used. English is considered a secondary language.

Currency: The currency unit here is the peso. (US$1 equals P43.20)


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