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General Profile of the Philippines

Religion

The Philippines is predominantly Roman Catholic. Other faiths practiced in the country are Islam and Protestantism.

Historically, the Filipinos have embraced two of the great religions of the world - Islam and Christianity. Islam was introduced during the 14th century shortly after the expansion of Arab commercial ventures in Southeast Asia. Today, it is limited to the southern region of the country.

Christianity was introduced as early as the 16th century with the coming of Ferdinand Magellan in 1521.

Protestantism was introduced by the first Presbyterian and Methodist missionaries who arrived with the American soldiers in 1899.

Two Filipino independent churches were organized at the turn of the century and are prominent today. These are the Aglipay (Philippine Independent Church) and the Iglesia Ni Kristo (Church of Christ) founded in 1902 and 1914, respectively. Recently the Aglipay signed a covenant with the Anglican Church. The Iglesia ni Kristo has expanded its membership considerably. Its churches, with their unique towering architecture are landmarks in almost all important towns, provincial capitals and major cities.

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