Territory of the
The National Territory of the
In studying the history of
the Philippines, it is important to
have an idea of its geography. As
Filipinos, we should be familiar
with the location of the Philippines
in the world- its exact
location, size, and shape; type of
climate; and other important
physical characteristics of the
Since the three important of
history are people, period, and
place it is most important to study
the location of the Philippines. The
place is the stage where events that
shape the history of country
History and Geography are related. Like
history, geography is considered as a social science.
Geography studies people as the architects of the world
they live in. And just like history, it is hard to establish
100% objectivity in the study of geography. The process
of determining the boundaries of countries and the
grouping of countries into a particular region is usually
based on certain events and whoever has political
power during the period when this process takes place.
Boundaries Of The National Territory
Of The Philippines
According to Article I of the Constitution of the
Republic of the Philippines, “ The national territory
comprises the Philippine archipelago, with all the
islands and waters embraced therein, and all other
territories over which the Philippines has sovereignty
or jurisdiction, consisting of its terrestrial, fluvial, and
aerial domains, including its territorial sea, the
seabed, the subsoil, the insular shelves, and other
submarine areas. The waters around, between, and
connecting the islands of the archipelago, regardless of
their breadth and dimensions, from part of the internal
waters of the Philippines.”
The process of determining the boundaries of
the Philippines is based on the Archepelagic Doctrine.
The traditional boundary of a 3-nautical-mile
limitation in the primary directions –
north, south, east, and west-is not an appropriate basis
in determining the boundaries of the Philippines.
Because the Philippines is an Archipelago, it has a
wide maritime territory and long coastlines.
Due to the vastness of the Philippine seas and
the archipelagic nature of the country, the Philippines
did not follow the traditional basis in determining the
boundaries of the country. This is because the
boundary of the Philippines in the eastern coast of
Mindanao is 50 kilometers from the coast of Davao. In
Luzon, the boundary from the coast of Cagayan Valley
is 240 kilometers. In the western part of Luzon, it is
240 kilometers from the coast of Ilocos.
In order to accommodate the extent of its
boundaries, which exceeds the traditional 3 nautical
miles, the Archipelagic Doctrine should be the basis of
delineating such as boundary. According to this
doctrine, the basis of the boundaries of the archipelago
should be the straight lines connected by the points in
the outer islands or periphery of the archipelago. The
interconnected lines drawn in order to incorporate the
whole archipelago determine the internal seas.
Meanwhile, the waters from the baselines up to
the limitation of the international agreement
determine the territorial seas of the country. All the
seas that can be found around the archipelago and in-
between islands, whatever their width and
dimension, are part of the Philippine archipelago.
The Archipelagic Doctrine was a result of
efforts of the Philippine Permanent Mission to the
United Nations in March 1995. This was led by Arturo
Tolentino who was also headed the delegation of the
Philippines that was sent to the United Nations
Conference on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) where
the Archipelagic Doctrine was recognized. Prior to the
UNCLOS, the accepted boundary of a territory was 3
Aside from Archipelagic Doctrine, the third
UNCLOS determined the Exclusive Economic Zone
(EEZ) in 1982. This states that any state has jurisdiction
up to 200 nautical miles from the baselines where the
territorial seas are measured, except in cases where the
external boundaries of the zone coincides with the
EEZ of a nearby state.
In this case, the same boundary shall be
determined by a treaty between the two states based
on the principle of international laws regarding
delimitation. A country has the right to
explore, utilize, preserve, and manage the natural
resources inside its EEZ. The Philippines supported
the EEZ and the government even implemented
Presidential Decree Number 1599 which strengthen
Just like the Archipelagic Doctrine, the EEZ is
equally important since it provides the country to the
right to explore, benefit from, maintain, and manage
its own national resources. Although a state has
jurisdiction in the EEZ, it should permit maritime
vessels as well as aircrafts from other states to pass
The location of a place on the globe can be
expressed through longitude and latitude. Longitude
refers to the angular distances determined in the eastern
and western part of Prime Meridian. These also look like
big circles stretching from North pole to the South Pole.
Meanwhile, the Prime Meridian found in
Greenwich, England is designated as zero degree
On the other hand, latitude refers to the angular
distances from the north or south Equator. The equator
has also been designated as zero degree latitude. The
Tropic of Cancer is one of the important lines that can
be found on the globe. This can be found 23.5° north of
The Philippines is part of Southeast Asia. It is
located between the equator and the Tropic of Cancer.
The archipelago is 4°23’ and 21°25’ northern latitude and
between 116°00’ and 127°00’ eastern longitude. The Bashi
Channel can be found at the northern part of the
Philippines; the Pacific Ocean on the east; the Celebes
Sea on the south; and the South China Sea on the west.
The nearest island in the southwest is Borneo and the
nearest in the north is Taiwan.
The Philippines comprises an archipelago of
some 7,107 islands located off Southeast Asia, between
the South China Sea on the west and the Philippine Sea
on the east. The major islands are Luzon in the north, the
Visayan Islands in the middle, and Mindanao in the
south. Luzon has a size of 104,687.8 sq. kms.;
Mindanao, 94,630.1 sq. kms.; and Visayas, 57,201.9 sq.
As of March
2010, these were divided into
17regions, 80 provinces, 138
cities, 1,496 municipalities
and 42,025 barangays In
addition, Section 2 of
Republic Act No. 5446 asserts
that the definition of the
territorial sea around the
Philippine archipelago does
not affect the claim
Size: The total area is about 300,000 square kilometers, including about
298,000 square kilometers of land and about 2,000 square kilometers of water.
The Philippines stretches about 1,850 kilometers from Y’Ami Island in the north
to Sibutu Island in the south and is about 1,000 kilometers at its widest
point east to west. The bulk of the population lives on 11 of the 7,107 islands.
Land Boundaries: The Philippines has no land boundaries. Nearby neighbors
are Taiwan to the north, Malaysia and Indonesia to the south, Vietnam to the
west, and China to the northwest.
Length of Coastline: Estimates of the total length of the coastline range from
17,500 kilometers (official Philippine figure) to 36,289 kilometers (U.S. figure).
The shape of the Philippines is elongated. The
advantage of this kind of shape is the existence of good
fishing grounds, ports, and fair weather because of the
winds coming from the islands and the seas. However, it
has also his disadvantages.
For Instances, it is difficult to have a continuous
system of transportation of highways and railways.
Economic development is hindered by the lack of an
effective system of transportation.
Climate plays an important role in the way of life of the
people in a society. It determines the type of economic
activities, kinds of plants, clothing, and shelter for a group of
people in a society. Moreover, climate has a significant effect
in the development of the Culture of society.
Our country, has a tropical climate characterized by
the rainy and dry seasons. If you have been to other countries
for like a year or so, you will notice them to have 4
seasons, which is SPRING, SUMMER, AUTUMN, AND
WINTER, those countries are far from the equator so they
experience snow. In our country which is really close to the
equator, we experience two seasons, rainy and dry.
The cold, dry season is experienced from December to
February, this is knows as SUMMER SEASON, the RAINY
SEASON coincides with the southwest monsoon, the
southwest monsoon are winds coming from the sea towards
the Asian Continent, and the Northeast are winds coming
from the Asian Continent.
Remember that the three important elements of
climate and weather are temperature, humidity, and amount
The coolest month is January with an average
temperature of 25.5°C while the hottest month is May with an
average temperature of 28.3°C. But in many
cases, temperature during summer is higher than this, that is
why extreme heat is widely felt.
Humidity- this refers to the moisture content of the
atmosphere. It is said that the humidity in the Philippines is
high because of the high temperature and also because of the
surrounding seas. The average humidity of the Philippines in
a month is from 71% every March to 85% in September.
The Philippines is composed of plains, valleys, and
mountains. These are the primary topographical traits of the
country. Topography is the description of the shape of the surface of
a place or region on the map, including its position and elevated
places. Agricultural lands can be found in all provinces in the
From Northern Luzon, the coast of Ilocos can be found in the western
side while Central Cordillera can be found in the east. Cagayan Valley
is found in-between Central Cordillera and Sierra Madre Mountains
extending up to the coast of the Pacific Ocean. The Mountain of
Zambales and the Central Plain can be found in Central and Western
Luzon while the Sierra Madre can be found in the east.
Topography: The Philippines consists of volcanic
islands, including active volcanoes, with mostly mountainous interiors
surrounded by flat lowlands and alluvial plains of varying widths along
the coasts. The elevation ranges from sea level to the highest point of
Mount Apo on Mindanao Island, at 2,954 meters above sea level.
Southern Luzon has different topographical characteristics. It
is volcanoes, lakes, and plains. The Volcanoes include
Taal, Banahaw, Makilig, Isarog, Iriga, Mayon, and Bulusan. The
plains are appropriate for agriculture. There are also
mountains in the Visayas. Agricultural lands can be found in
the coast areas although there are farmlands in the interior
such as in PANAY and LEYTE.
Thank you for
your time, once
• Remember don’t back bite, kung
sa bisaya pa libak.