Basic Facts

General Information

Geography and location

The Philippines’ 7,107 islands stretch 1,839 kilometers from the northernmost tip of Batanes to the southernmost island of Tawi-Tawi. Bordered by the South China Sea to the west and the Pacific Ocean to the east. the archipelago has its biggest island, Luzon, followed by Mindanao in the south. The Visayas islands in between are largely interspersed by small bodies of water. An irregular coastline of 334,539 kms. is dotted with many fine beaches, coves, and natural harbors.
Located off the southeast coast of Asia, the Philippines’ capital, Manila, is a mere hour-and-a-half away by plane from Hong Kong and about 14 hours from the United States and Canada.

People

The warmth and natural hospitality of the nations’ 78 million Filipinos is known throughout the world. The 111 cultural, linguistic and racial groups endow the Filipino people with varying customs and traditions, marked by Chinese, American, and Spanish overtones. In spite of their diversity, Filipinos have basically two dominant traits: a love of family and a strong religious faith.

Type of Government

A Republic form of government with three equal branches—the Executive, Legislative, and Judiciary

Head of State

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo(term: 2004- 2010)

Land area

About 7,107 islands and islets account for 299,764 square kilometers

Capital

Manila – Population ~ 1.8 Million

Geographic divisions

It has three major island groups: Luzon, the largest island where the capital is located; Visayas, known for its fine beaches and idyllic coves; Mindanao, where exotic forest make it an irresistible haven for nature lovers.

Population

90.5 Million (est. for 2008)

Climate

The dry, hot season runs from March to May and the wet, typhoon season from June to October. November to February is generally cool with fair weather. Average daytime temperature, aside from mountain areas, is 22.2 C to 3l.6 C with humidity at 77 percent. Click here for today’s weather in the Philippines, as reported by Sky Cable News.

National languages

The national language is Pilipino although there are at least 87 regional dialects. English, widely spoken and understood, is the language used for most business and legal transactions. Hokkien, Cantonese, and Mandarin are spoken by older members of the Filipino-Chinese community. Click here for links to sites about learning Pilipino.

Literacy rate

93.4%

Religion

At least 80 percent of Filipinos belong to the Roman Catholic faith, where many practices and beliefs are rooted. About 15 percent is Moslem, and these people can be found basically in Mindanao. The rest of the population is made up mostly of smaller Christian denominations and Buddhists.