Over 7,640 islands comprise the archipelago known as the Philippines, and only one-third are inhabited. After the Spanish-American War, these islands were granted to the United States. They became self-governing after World War II. The Philippines are situated along the Ring of Fire and the Pacific typhoon belt, which explains the significant volcanic activity and the average of nine typhoons each year. It is the most exposed country in the world to tropical storms. Laoag City, where Mary Beth ministers, is the provincial capital of Ilocos Norte. It is famous for the 400-year-old Spanish churches and the Bell Sinking Tower. Public transportation includes ‘jeepneys’ (small buses), tricycles (motorcycles with sidecars), and calesas (horse drawing a cab). Mary Beth ministers to high school and college students is a treasurer for two mission corporations and encourages area churches. Mary Beth Banning serves as a missionary in Laoag City, at the northern end of the island of Luzon.
Capital: Manila Population: 110,818,325 Languages: English (official); Tagalog (official); seven other major dialects Lowest Point: Philippine Sea — 0 ft. above sea level Highest Point: Mount Apo — 9,692 ft. above sea level Religion: Roman Catholic 80.6%; Protestant 8.2%; Muslim 5.6%
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