From "Asia's rising star" to "one of the greatest economic comeback stories" the Philippines has grabbed headlines with its robust growth performance amid a sluggish global economy.
The Philippines' gross domestic product (GDP) expanded 7.2 percent in 2013 - fueled by robust private consumption and investment - making it as the second-fastest-growing economy in the Asia-Pacific region, next to China.
Earlier this month, Standard & Poor's raised the Philippines' credit rating by one notch to BBB, its highest in history, in recognition of the reforms undertaken by President Benigno Aquino's administration that have allowed the economy to progress.
Despite the economy's successes, there is a grim side lurking in the Philippines growth story.
It has the highest unemployment rate among members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), according to the International Labor Organization (ILO). The economy registered an unemployment rate of 7.3 percent last year - compared with 3.2 percent in Malaysia and 1.9 percent in Vietnam. Meanwhile, its underemployment rate remains elevated at 19.5 percent.
"Philippines has suffered from persistent poverty in the last couple of decades because of its inability to translate economic growth into better and more jobs, and until the country can address that fundamental challenge we are going to see these poverty rates being maintained," Stephen Groff, VP for East Asia, SEA, and the Pacific, Asian Development Bank told CNBC.
Reflecting a lack of good jobs, the poverty rate was 25.2 percent in 2012, only a small improvement on 26.3 percent in 2009, according to the latest available figures.
Every year, more than a million Filipinos leave the country to work abroad, underscoring the lack of employment opportunities at home.
One factor behind the dismal unemployment rate is a mismatch between supply of labor and industry demand, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Skill shortages are especially acute in industries such as engineering and business process outsourcing roles that require technical skills.