The Philippines is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam. The Sulu Sea to the southwest lies between the country and the island of Borneo, and to the south the Celebes Sea separates it from other islands of Indonesia. It is bounded on the east by the Philippine Sea. Its location on the Pacific Ring of Fire and its tropical climate make the Philippines prone to earthquakes and typhoons but have also endowed the country with natural resources and made it one of the richest areas of biodiversity in the world. An archipelago comprising 7,107 islands, the Philippines is categorized broadly into three main geographical divisions: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Its capital city is Manila.
With an estimated population of about 94 million people, the Philippines is the world's 12th most populous country. An additional 11 million Filipinos live overseas. Multiple ethnicities and cultures are found throughout the islands. In prehistoric times, Negritos were some of the archipelago's earliest inhabitants. They were followed by successive waves of Austronesian peoples who brought with them influences from Malay, Hindu, and Islamic societies. Trade introduced Chinese cultural influences which remain to this day.
The arrival of Ferdinand Magellan in 1521 marked the beginning of an era of Spanish interest and eventual dominance. Manila became the Asian hub of the Manila Acapulco galleon fleet. Christianity was widely adopted. As the 19th century gave way to the 20th, there followed in quick succession the Philippine Revolution which spawned the short-lived First Philippine Republic, the Spanish-American War, and the Philippine American War. In the aftermath, the United States emerged as the dominant power. Aside from the period of Japanese occupation, the United States retained sovereignty over the islands until the end of World War II when the Philippines gained independence. The United States bequeathed to the Philippines the English language and a stronger affinity for Western culture. Since independence the Philippines has had an often tumultuous experience with democracy, with popular "People Power" movements overthrowing a dictatorship in one instance but also underlining the institutional weaknesses of its constitutional republic in others.
Swim through the blue waters of Boracay and El Nido, sunbathe at the beaches of Puerto Galera and Pagudpud.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites
See the spectacular Banaue Rice terraces in Batad and be fascinated at how it was built, see the only successful laid out plan of a European colonial town in Asia; Vigan. The Baroque churches (the Immaculate Conception in Manila, Nuestra Senora in Ilocos Sur, San Agustin in Ilocos Norte and Santo Tomas in Iloilo) of the Philippines will amaze you about the European Baroque architecture.
Wildlife and Plants
Rare animals that can only be found in the Philippines and most of them are endangered and threatened. Philippine Monkey Eating Eagle; The largest eagle, Tarsier; a small animal that looks like an alien and can be found in Bohol, Carabaos and Tamaraws; water buffaloes only endemic in the Philippines, aside from these animals, some species of rats, bats and water pigs are also endemic in the Philippines. Endemic plants like orchids like the Waling-Waling one of the rarest flowers in the world as well as one of the most expensive in the world. Visit the website of PESCCP (Philippine Endemic Species Conservation Project) for more information.