|Part of||Pacific Ocean|
The Philippine Sea is a marginal sea east and northeast of the Philippines occupying an estimated surface area of 5 million square kilometres (2 million square miles). It is located in the western part of the North Pacific Ocean. It is bordered by the Philippine archipelago (Luzon, Catanduanes, Samar, Leyte and Mindanao) on the southwest; Halmahera, Morotai, Palau, Yap, and Ulithi (of the Carolines) on the southeast; the Marianas, including Guam, Saipan, and Tinian, on the east; the Bonin and Iwo Jima on the northeast; the Japanese islands of Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyūshū on the north; the Ryukyu Islands on the northwest; and Taiwan in the west.
The sea has a complex and diverse undersea relief. The floor is formed into a structural basin by a series of geologic faults and fracture zones. Island arcs, which are actually extended ridges protruding above the ocean surface due to plate tectonic activity in the area, enclose the Philippine Sea to the north, east and south. The Philippine archipelago, Ryukyu Islands, and the Marianas are examples. Another prominent feature of the Philippine Sea is the presence of deep sea trenches, among them the Philippine Trench and the Mariana Trench, containing the deepest point on the planet.
- 1 Geography
- 2 Biology
- 3 History
- 4 Economy
- 5 See also
- 6 References
The Philippine Sea has the Philippines and Taiwan to the west, Japan to the north, the Marianas to the east and Palau to the south. Adjacent seas include the Celebes Sea which is separated by Mindanao and smaller islands to the south, the South China Sea which is separated by Philippines, and the East China Sea which is separated by the Ryukyu Islands.
The Philippine Sea Plate forms the floor of the Philippine Sea. It subducts under the Philippine Mobile Belt which carries most of the Philippine archipelago and eastern Taiwan. Between the two plates is the Philippine Trench.
The Philippine Sea has a marine territorial scope of over 679,800 km2, and an EEZ of 2.2 million km2. Attributed to an extensive vicariance and island integrations, the Philippines contains the highest number of marine species per unit area relative to the countries within the Indo-Malay-Philippines Archipelago, and has been identified as the epicenter of marine biodiversity. With its inclusion in the Coral Triangle, the Philippine Sea encompasses over 3,212 fish species, 486 coral species, 800 seaweed species, and 820 benthic algae species, wherein the Verde Island Passage is dubbed as “the center of the center of marine fish biodiversity”. Within its territory, thirty-three endemic species of fish have been identified, including the blue-spotted angelfish (Chaetodontoplus caeruleopunctatus) and the sea catfish (Arius manillensis). The Philippine marine territory has also become a breeding and feeding ground for endangered marine species, such as the whale shark (Rhincodon typus), the dugong (Dugong dugon), and the megamouth shark (Megachasma pelagios).
The Coral Triangle, or the Indo-Malayan Triangle, is considered as the global center of marine biodiversity, its total oceanic area approximately 2 million square kilometers. It encompasses the tropical waters of Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands. The Philippines is found at the apex of the Coral Triangle, taking up 300,000 km2 of the Coral Triangle, with the country’s coral reef area in the Coral Triangle ranging from 10,750 km2 to 33,500 km2., which has over 500 species of scleractinian or stony corals, and 12 endemic coral species have been identified in here as well. The Coral Triangle houses 75% of the world’s coral species which is estimated to be at around 600 different species, along with over 2000 different types of reef fish. It is also home to six of the world’s seven species of marine turtles, namely: Hawksbill, Loggerhead, Leatherback, Green Turtle, Olive Ridley, and Sea Turtle. Up until now, there is no single explanation of the diversity found in the Coral Triangle, as most researchers have attributed the diversity to geological occurrences like plate tectonics. It also helps in providing and supporting the livelihoods of 120 million people, and is able to provide food to the Philippine coastal communities and millions more worldwide. The whale shark tourism in the Coral Triangle also helps provide a steady source of income for the community. Apart from the Philippines, the marine sources found in the Coral Triangle have high economic value across the globe. Countries surrounding the Coral Triangle also help provide their locals with technical assistance and capability to build toward conservation and sustainability for food security, livelihoods, biodiversity and economic development. Climate change also continuously affects the coastal ecosystem found in the Coral Triangle, as it contributes to rising sea levels and ocean acidification, thus endangering marine animals like fish and turtles. Consequently, this also has a negative effect on local livelihoods such as fishing and tourism. Corals are not able to adapt and survive if water will keep on warming, as this makes the corals absorb more carbon dioxide, altering pH balance making it acidic.
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The Philippine Sea hosts an exotic marine ecosystem. About five hundred species of hard and soft corals occur in the coastal waters and 20 per cent of the worldwide known shellfish species are found in Philippine waters. Sea turtles, sharks, moray eels, octopuses and sea snakes along with numerous species of fish such as tuna can commonly be observed. Additionally, the Philippine Sea serves as spawning ground for Japanese eel, tuna and different whale species.
The Philippine Sea is both a centre of marine biodiversity as well as a biodiversity hotspot. At least 418 species are being threatened because of unsustainable practices. According to the Asia Development Bank, there is a 90% reduction in marine life in the area, due to the various economic procedures being performed. The Philippine Sea he terminal point of sewage pipelines from the cities. Mangrove forests are also being removed for the sake of both property development and wood production. Mercury wastes and mining runoff also end up within the Philippine Sea. These are some of the reasons why the Philippines is ranked as one of the highest in reef degradation.
The rise in temperature change caused shifts in the marine ecosystems. The ideal temperature for coral to is 24-29 degrees Celsius. If the water temperature goes above or below this threshold, the coral growth would slow down or even die. As fish and other marine life rely on corals for sustenance and habitat, communities that rely on fishing are heavily affected as well. As the Philippine Sea is within the Pacific Ring of Fire, the physical damage caused by typhoons coming from the east can further destroy the marine habitats.
The first European to navigate the Philippine Sea was Ferdinand Magellan in 1521, who named it Mar Filipinas when he and his men were in the Mariana Islands prior to the exploration of the Philippines. Later it was discovered by other Spanish explorers from 1522 to 1565 and the site of the famous galleon trade route.
Between June 19 and 20, 1944, the Battle of the Philippine Sea (a very large and decisive World War II naval battle between Japan and the United States) took place in the eastern Philippine Sea, near the Mariana Islands. The aircraft carriers Taihō, Shōkaku, Junyō, Hiyō and Ryuho were bombed, torpedoed and sunk by American carrier-based planes and assaulted from other naval vessels. The aerial part of the Battle of the Philippine Sea was nicknamed the “Great Marianas Turkey Shoot” due to massive losses of Japanese aircraft and pilots. The battle facilitated the Allied conquests of Saipan, Guam and Tinian in the Marianas, Palau in the Southwest, and ultimately the Philippines.
Following an escalation of the Spratly Islands dispute in 2011, various Philippine government agencies started using the neologism "West Philippine Sea" to refer to the South China Sea. However, a PAGASA spokesperson said that the sea to the east of the Philippines will continue to be called the Philippine Sea.
Battles of the Philippine Sea
A historic war between the naval fleets of the United States and Japan took place in the vicinity of the Philippine Sea. This was called The Battle of the Philippine Sea, and occurred near the Mariana Islands from June 19–20 of 1944. It was also the largest carrier-to-carrier battle in history which featured the United States Fifth Fleet and the 1st Mobile Fleet of the Imperial Japanese Navy.
Aside from the navy, aerial activity was also present in the Battle of the Philippine Sea, as hundreds of aircraft from both countries fired at each other. The Americans indisputably won, and nicknamed the aerial war the “Great Marianas Turkey Shoot” due to the number of Japanese fighter jets pinned down.
Japan struggled to recover from the severe damages of its imperial navy and air strength suffered from the battle. This heavily attributed to the victory of the United States in the Battle of the Philippine Sea which was a vital part of the Americans’ reclamation of the Philippines, and the Mariana Islands from Japan.
West Philippine Sea dispute
The West Philippine Sea is part of the South China Sea which is the nearest to the Philippines. It is located in the western side of the Philippine Sea. On the other hand, The South China Sea is in a wider range of water that is surrounded by China and Taiwan in the north, Philippines in the east, and Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and Brunei in the south and west. The history begins ever since in the 1000 BC up to 2016 when ASEAN issued a peace, stability and security over South China Sea dispute- the Philippines, being the winners. Besides its territorial discourse, the resources in this area made it tempting to China. The West Philippine Sea is known to be rich in resources such as oil and natural gas deposits. The first navigation of the West Philippine Sea began in 1970 by the Filipinos, and six years later, gas substance was found along the drilling of a well.
Almost 15% of the oil consumption of the Philippines originates in Palawan, which lies at the border of the Philippine West Sea (South China Sea) and the Sulu Sea (Hogan, 2011). The dispute arose with the interpretation of history from each country. In the 1947, China argues that they have changed the eleven-dash-line to nine-dash line which included The West Philippine Sea or South China Sea as their territory. However, in 1970s, some of the southeast Asian countries like Malaysia started to call it as their own territory. Furthermore, former president of the Philippines Ferdinand Marcos declared that the north-western part of the Spartly Islands (which includes The West Philippine Sea or South China Sea) as Philippine territory (Chan Robles Law Library, 1978). Since this problem continued with no given solution, the PRC (People’s Republic of China), Brunei, the Philippines, Malaysia and Vietnam set a primary guideline on 20 July 2011. However, this led no productivity at all.
In October of the same year, China demanded the Philippines and South Korea to follow as what PRC asks or else the countries will have to be prepared for the sounds of cannons. Later, when this statement upset many individuals as the citizens in the Philippines, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said that it was spoken to bring a solution for the dispute through peaceful means (GMA, 2016).
This did not only involve the two and nearby countries but also the United States, when Barack Obama was still running as the president. In addition, over 40 countries supported this situation- the South China Sea dispute.
After all, on 12 July 2016, A tribunal of Permanent Court of Arbitration rejected the argument of China over Nine-dash line historical claim for it having no legal basis. With this, the dispute ended with a victory of the Philippines (PCA, 2016).
The West Philippine Sea is composed of abounding natural resources such as coral reefs, fishes, oil, and most significantly, the hydrocarbon resources. The sea is believed to contain oil deposits which at least is estimated to be 2.1 billion (U.S estimate), 7.5 billion (Russian estimate), and as high as 105-225 billion (Chinese estimate) barrels. In addition to this, 266 trillion cubic feet of natural gas is deposited according to the U.S Energy Information Administration Online. China is known to be the world’s second largest oil consumer and therefore demands for more oil. With this, the controversy got louder and finally produced a world dispute. Despite the Philippines won over the territorial issue, in January 2018, Philippines and China discussed over “Joint Oil Exploration” in West Philippine Sea. On June 11, 2018, the issue legalized, which agrees both countries to share on oil and gas, as well as marine scientific research. Joint Oil Exploration is activated under the Philippine state, therefore the country having full control over the resources. According to the 1987 Constitution Section 2 paragraph 1 of Article XII, “the exploration, development and utilization of natural resources shall be under the full control and supervision of the State.”. Referring by the law, this is a step for shared corporations regarding either technical or financial assistance on heavy and large-scale exploration, growth in economics, petroleum, and more mineral oils 
The Philippines depends on the Philippine Sea for one of its sources of food and livelihood. In the Coral Triangle area, the Philippines harvest seaweeds, milkfish, shrimp, oyster, mussel and live reef fish as aquaculture products. Fishermen also catch most fishes like small pelagics, anchovy, sardine, mackerel and tuna, among many other species found.
Recent scientific expedition has found that Benham Rise (formerly known as the Philippine Rise), which is a part of the Philippine Sea, is diverse in its marine ecosystem that it attracts migratory commercial fish like tuna, marlin and mackerel, all being caught by Filipino fishermen. The Benham Rise is also considered as a rich fishing ground for fishermen from Aurora, Quezon and Bicol. The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources thought it necessary to teach fishermen sustainable fishing so as to prevent the destruction of coral formations which could negatively affect the food chain of the migratory fish. They have considered migratory fish to be in quite of a high value, as, for example, a single blue tuna fin found in the Benham Rise, can be sold at Php2000 in the market.
West Philippine Sea is considered to be the busiest shipping lanes in the world. In reference from The Manila Times, West Philippine Sea amounted total of $28 trillion from 2008 to 2016. This growth was due to series of annual increase which resulted from $2.61 trillion (2008) to $3.37 trillion (2016). The international trade of this region is estimated to constitute around 21% of the whole global trade in 2016 based on the research of Center for Strategic and International Studies. The major trading countries: United States, China and Japan used the trading route for almost 14%, 64%, and 42% accordingly (in the year 2016) 
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