PHILIPPINE ISLANDS: Geographical Description. The most northern group of the Malay Archipelago, situated between the Pacific Ocean on the east and the Sea of China on the west and south of Japan and north of the islands of Borneo and Celebes, and included between latitude 4º 40' and 21° 10' north and longitude 116° 40' and 126° 34' east. The archipelago consists of 3,141 islands, most of which are very small; the total land area is 115,026 square miles; population, 7,635,426. The principal islands are as follows: Luzon (area, 40,969 square miles; population, 3,798,507), Mindanao (area, 36,292; population, 499,634), Samar (area, 5,031; population, 222,690), Negros (area, 4,881; population, 460,776), Panay (area, 4,611; population, 743,646), Palawan (area, 4,027; population, 10,918), Mindoro (area, 3,851; population, 28,361), Leyte (area, 2,722; population, 357,641); and Cebu (area, 1,762; population, 592,247).

Historical and Political. The islands were discovered by Ferdinand Magellan in 1521; were conquered by the Spanish from Mexico under Legaspi; and were subject to the crown of Spain, until, by the treaty of Paris, Dec. 10, 1898, they were ceded to the United States by right of conquest and for the additional consideration of $20,000,000. Upon taking possession the United States proceeded to reorganize the civil and judicial administration of the islands. Religious liberty was guaranteed by the treaty of Paris. The general government is modeled after that of the United States. The executive is composed of the governor-general who is the head of a commission of eight members appointed by the president of the United States and assigned as heads of the different departments. The commission serves as the upper house of legislation and the lower is elected by the people. The Supreme Court, composed of four American and three native judges, is also appointed by the American president. A limited franchise is granted to the natives outside of the Mohammedan islands. The population known as the Filipinos is not homogeneous, but consists of numerous tribes speaking many languages. The aborigines were the Negritos, who now number only 23,500; they are black, dwarfish, woolly-haired, thick-lipped, and dwell in the remote parts of the islands. The Malay or brown races constitute nine-tenths of the population, of which the principal are the Tagalogs, Visayans, Ilocanos, Moros, Bicals, and Igorrotes. There are small elements of negroes brought by the Spanish from Africa and Papua; of Indians brought from Mexico, Mongoloids, and whites. Immediately after the establishment of American sovereignty, a system of free public schools was established. In 1905-06 the average attendance per month was 375,554 out of a total of 1,200,000 between the ages of six and fifteen. In the latter year there were 3,340 schools (primary, intermediate, and high), 4,719 native, and 831 American teachers. The Roman Catholics in 1903 maintained 1,004 private schools with an enrolment of 63,545, and 325 religious schools with an enrolment of 26,478.

Religious History; Roman Catholics. When the Spanish took possession their design was the establishment of a politico-religious sovereignty. The picturesque ceremonials of the Roman Catholic Church appealed to the natives, whose adherence to their own religious beliefs was weak while they were disunited by their diversities and rivalries. Great numbers of missionary friars of the Augustinian, Franciscan, Dominican, and Recollet orders came to the islands, to each of whom a charge was assigned. They labored with great success, the entire body of people yielding rapidly to conversion. At present only eight and one-half per cent of the inhabitants are classed as wild, while all the others are termed civilized. This was the result mainly of the devotion of the friars to parochial instruction and to the spiritual and physical welfare of the natives. The Jesuits likewise participated in the work; but, becoming the richest and most powerful order, they aroused the jealousy of the others and were recalled in 1767. In 1850 they were given permission to return. The bishopric erected in 1581 was made suffragan to Mexico, and in 1595 it was raised to metropolitan rank with three suffragan bishoprics; to which a fourth was added in 1867, which was, however, merged in one of the others in 1874. With these at the head of the Church stood the provincials of the four great orders named above. The members of these orders or regular clergy greatly preponderated in numbers and influence over the secular clergy composed mostly of natives. The domestic history of the archipelago, naturally secluded, was parochial; consisting of missionary extension and political and industrial progress subject to the religious interest and the will of the friars, with an occasional conflict between the archbishop and the latter. Finally, the leaven of western forces finding various access bore fruit, and the insurrections of 1896 and 1898 constituted an upheaval for the overthrow of the land-holding friars and the political and economic stagnation resulting from their long undisputed occupation. One of the demands of the revolutionists was their expulsion. With the insurrection of 1896 a priest, Aglipay by name, placed himself at the head of a seceding religious or antipapal party, entitled Independent Catholic Church. After negotiations between the United States' government and Pope Leo XIII. in 1907 it was agreed that the United States pay $7,000,000 for the friar lands and that the Church send no friar as priest into any parish after a final objection by the governor-general. The majority of the people are Roman Catholics of whom there are 3,940,000, besides 3,000,000 Independent Catholics. Every village as established by the Spanish had its central church. Most of these buildings were of stone and many were elaborate structures. In 1903 there were 1,608 churches of which 1,573 were Roman Catholic, and in the city of Manila alone there were 51. The Moros of the Sulu Archipelago, southern Mindanao, and Palawan in the southwest, who were the least affected by the Spanish occupation, about 270,000, are Mohammedan. Buddhists of Asiatic derivation number 75,000 and Animists 260,000.

Protestant Missions. Immediately after the Spanish cession, various Protestant churches in the United States took steps to enter the field by adopting in conference a plan of cooperation and union having in view the erection of "La Iglesia Evangelica Filipina," as the national church of the Filipinos. The Presbyterian Church established a permanent mission in 1899; the Methodist Episcopal, the same year; the Baptist in 1900; the Protestant Episcopal and Christian (Disciples) in 1901; the United Brethren in 1902; and the Congregational in 1903. In Apr., 1901, a federation of missions and churches was formed in Manila called "The Evangelical Union of the Philippine Islands." The field was to be mutually divided with Manila as the common center. The Presbyterian Board opened stations on Luzon, at Laguna and Albay, in 1903, and at Tayabas in 1906; at Iloilo, Panay, in 1900; at Dumaguete, Negros, in 1901; and in Cebu in 1902. The Ellinwood School at Manila became a theological seminary in 1907, conducted jointly by the Methodist Episcopal bishop and the presbytery. In 1901 the Silliman Industrial Institute was established at Dumaguete. In 1908, 63 outstations were opened and the 20 churches had 4,127 members. In 1900 the Methodist Episcopal Church assumed the occupation of northern Luzon divided into three districts, which became a district conference in 1904. In 1908 there were 108 churches in the seven out-stations with 25,000 communicants and 35,000 adherents. The American Baptist Missionary Union occupied the Visayan islands of Panay and Negros in the south in 1900, with Iloilo as a center. The work has been extended into Cebu. By 1908 there were 25 churches with 2,838 members. The Brotherhood of St. Andrew sent out two clergymen and two laymen in 1899, who established the Mission of the Holy Trinity. In 1901 Bishop Brent arrived and the islands became a mission district of the Protestant Episcopal Church. A cathedral and settlement-house have been established at Manila for the English-speaking people, and stations scattered among the natives. The Foreign Christian Missionary Society (Disciples), with stations at Manila, Laoag, Vigan, and Aparri, laying much stress on evangelistic work, have 29 churches and 2,505 members. The American Board planted a mission on Mindanao in 1901 and has a station at Davao and an outstation at Santa Cruz; and in 1908 the Mindanao Missions Medical Association was formed in New York. The missions of the various denominations generally combine the industrial, medical, educational, and evangelizing features. There are (1908) 7 societies with 212 stations and outstations, 126 missionaries, 492 native helpers, 18 schools with 519 pupils, 8 hospitals, 194 churches with 35,000 communicants and 45,000 adherents, exclusive of Protestant Episcopalians.