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Population: Over 96 million
Land Mass: 115,830 square miles
Currency: Philippine piso
Primary Religion: Roman Catholic
Infant Mortality Rate (per 1,000 births): 23.5
A land of rich culture and biodiversity, the archipelago nation of the Philippines is a breathtakingly beautiful country. Over 94 million people call the nation home and – while they have varied ethnic and religious backgrounds – the Filipino people as a whole have gained an international reputation for being remarkably warmhearted and enthusiastic.
Filipinos are also known for maintaining optimism in the face of many serious challenges. Despite a high literacy rate and the cultural importance placed on education, unemployment and underemployment rates remain high. The latest nationwide estimates, for example, place the underemployment rate at a shocking 19.3%.
Although the capital of the Philippines is only the second largest city, its metropolitan area is the most populous in the nation, with over 11 million people. Consisting of 17 cities and municipalities (including Quezon City), Manila is the nation’s chief seaport. It is dotted with a maze of congested slums rife with misery and despair. CI-Manila serves more than 18,000 poor children and youth in 31 of these communities.
The former capital of the Philippines, Quezon City is the most crowded city in this island nation. More than 2.6 million people live in the city proper. Quezon City sits just to the northeast of Manila and, like its next door neighbor, is bound by slums stacked with hastily-built shanties. More than 18,000 children and youth from these areas are sponsored.
Located just 16 miles northwest of Legazpi, Tabaco is the fourth largest city in the Bicol region. Many families earn their living from fishing or hard manual labor but rarely make ends meet. One of Children International’s oldest agencies, Tabaco serves over 15,000 poor children in town and surrounding island areas.
The port city of Legazpi is the most populous city in the Bicol region, with nearly 200,000 residents. Legazpi lies at the southern base of the very active Mayon Volcano, and is approximately 200 miles south of Manila. Because of its location, most families perform agricultural work or fish to earn meager wages, leaving them struggling to afford what they need to survive. For more than 16,000 children and youth in Legazpi, sponsorship represents the opportunity to create a better life.
Sponsored families in the Philippines may make as little as $60 per month – 85% of which may be used for food.
Nearly 20% of children under age 5 are underweight due to poor access to nutritious food.
The unemployment rate for young people in the Philippines is staggering. Over 17% of young people aged 17-24 are unable to find stable employment.
Rural families migrate to urban centers like Manila and Quezon City looking for work but often find themselves living in conditions that are worse than what they left behind.
Living in the beauty of the Philippines comes at a great cost. The nation is consistently – and frequently—ravaged by typhoons. About 15 a year. Its 7,000-plus islands are part of an active volcano chain that causes tsunamis and earthquakes. Its economic environment isn’t much better: over 30% of the population lives in poverty.
Nearly 70,000 poor children and youth in the Philippines are sponsored through CI.
Sponsored children and youth receive vital assistance like free medical and dental care, nutritional support, educational assistance, family aid, clothing, school supplies and uniforms, shoes and more.
A large network of community centers throughout our four agencies in the Philippines provide services and benefits – as well as safe places for children to play, learn and grow.
Over 100,000 anti-parasite treatments are distributed to children and families each year.
A robust youth program offers a variety of opportunities for sponsored teens to develop their talents and job skills through programs like the Youth Health Corps, Into Employment and HOPE scholarships.
Click on the titles below to watch videos and slideshows or read stories about our programs in the Philippines:
A sponsored youth in the Philippines risks her own life to save a stranger’s baby. More...
January 17, 2012 – Tags: sponsored girl becomes hero, girl saves baby from drowning
The Bamboo People
August 16, 2011 – Tags: about the Filipino culture, photos of the Philippines
Sponsorship in the Philippines
November 19, 2008 – Tags: sponsorship video, poverty and sponsorship in the Philippines