What would you like the youth of America to know?

The Philippines is an archipelago whose culture is a mix of Spanish, American, Malay, and Chinese influences. Its location in the typhoon belt means the country is ravaged by storms on an annual basis. Despite this, and many other challenges both natural and political, the nation has managed to rise into one of the most promising nations in the Asia Pacific today. This is due to the indomitable spirit of its people, who are hardworking, resilient, and compassionate, and who value peace, harmony, and the power of a warm smile and a helping hand.

What they sent me:
There is nothing better than receiving an envelope from the Office of the President, especially one with such gorgeous stamps.

Although former President Aquino said that he was honored to have the Philippines included in my project, I am honored and deeply humbled that he took the time to personally write to me.

I also appreciated the president's candor in discussing the problems his nation faces. While I remember the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda in 2013, I did not realize that the Philippines faced such a threat annually. Every year, 6 to 9 tropical cyclones make it to land in the Philippines. It is comforting to know that the Filipino people can rise to and overcome the adversity; still, the world must help them whenever we can.

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The extra rainfall does make the Philippines a gorgeous place though full of lush rainforests, beautiful beaches, and active volcanoes. It is the second-largest archipelago in the world with more than 7,100 tropical islands and one of the most biologically megadiverse countries. There are over 1,000 different animal species in the Philippines that don't exist anywhere else.

I was happy to discover from the Philippines national tourism board that 2016 is the year of "Visit the Philippines -- Again" so maybe I can figure out a way to make it over there next year...

"My hope is that when I leave office, everyone can say that we have traveled far on the right path, and that we are able to bequeath a better future to the next generation." - Former President Aquino

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Official Name
Republic of the Philippines


Current Leader
Rodrigo "Rody" Roa Duterte

• President Duterte is also known as "Digong"

• Duterte is a politician, jurist, a Chairman of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations for 2017, and now the 16th President

• Duterte graduated from the Lyceum of the Philippines University where he studied political science

Previous Leader
Benigno S. Aquino III

• His father, Benigno Aquino, Jr., a former Philippine Senator, was assassinated in 1983 after returning from exile in the U.S.

• His mother, Corazon Aquino, was the first female President of the Philippines, serving from 1986 - 1992

• In 1987, during an unsuccessful coup attempt on his mother, Aquino was shot 5 times and still has bullet fragments in his neck

• In 2013, TIME named Aquino one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World

Recommended sites
President's Website

Official Government Website

Philippines Tourism Board