Industries. – Industries in the Philippines are not yet very developed: the existing ones mainly concern agriculture and forest products. One of the fundamental is the sugar factory; the largest number of establishments is on the Negros island; there are also numerous factories for the production of coconut oil, for the husking of rice, and numerous are the factories of cigars and cigarettes: the most important factories are in Manila (export of cigars). The cultivation of Manila hemp gives rise to the rope and textile industry. The metallurgical and mechanical industries are mainly located in Manila, which also has the most important shipyards. The textile industries are only just beginning.
Commerce. – Philippine trade shows continuous progress both for imports and exports: just think that from 68.1 million pesos for 1899 (a Philippine peso corresponds to 0.5 United States dollars, equal to Italian lire). 9.5), rose to 579.4 million in 1928. The balance in the period 1899-1928 remained favorable, with the exception of the years 1899-1904; 1910-1913; 1919; 1921. In the decade 1899-1908 the average annual trade value of the Philippines was 115.5 million pesos ; in the decade 1919-1928 the average annual value was 490 million pesos. The United States is the country that has the most intense relations with the Philippines: in fact, while for the decade 1899-1908 relations with the American republic represented in value only the average annual 28% of total trade, in the decade 1919-28 this value rises to 65%. Japan, China and Great Britain follow in importance. The main items of export are sugar, exported mostly to the United States (in the decade 1919-28 the average annual value of sugar exports was 73 million pesos.), hemp, copra, coconut oil, tobacco (cigars and leaves): the main customers are the United States. The major imports concern food products (wheat, flours, fresh and preserved meats, etc.), industrial products (fabrics, especially cotton), mechanical products, cars, etc. The footer gives for periods. 1899-1903 and 1924-1928 the value of total trade, the value of imports and exports and of trade with the United States in millions of pesos.
Ports and communications. – The main ports are Manila, which holds the absolute primacy, Cebu, Iloilo, Zamboanga, Davao, Legazpi. The traffic of Manila, which is touched by over 40 shipping lines, has been increasing in an extraordinary way: now it oscillates between 4-5 million tons.
The railways currently measure over 1300 km; on the island of Luzon there are two basic lines: the northern one that starting from Manila will have to reach Aparri, the northernmost port of the island, and the southern one, which also starting from the capital reaches the province of Tayabas: minor trunks exist in the Panay islands, Negros, Cebu and Mindanao. The construction of carriage and truckable roads received a great boost (5600 km. In 1910, over 10,000 in 1925). Major development presents motoring: in 1915 the number of cars was 3,000, which rose to 34,161 in 1928. By means of telegraph cables the Philippines are connected with America, Hong Kong, Australia and Europe. An airline between Hong Kong, Manila and Zamboanga is being implemented. L’ Italy is represented by a consulate in the capital. There were 48 Italians living in the archipelago in 1927 (missions and traders, etc.).