Lying in the western Pacific Ocean, the Philippines is the world’s second-largest archipelago, with 7107 islands, of which 4600 are named but only around 1000 inhabited.
Geography: Larger islands are forested and mountainous. Over 20 active volcanoes. Frequent earthquakes.
Climate: Tropical. Warm and humid all year round. Typhoons occur in the rainy season: June–October.
People and Society: Over 100 ethnic groups, most of which are of Malay origin. The Catholic Church is a dominant cultural force; it opposes family-planning, despite high population growth. The Chinese minority has been established for 400 years. Women play a prominent part in society. High literacy levels. Islamist separatists and communist insurgents undermine stability.
The Economy: Coconuts, bananas, pineapples exported. Growing outsourcing center. Remittances from abroad. Corruption and poor infrastructure limit growth.
Insight: Mass “People Power” demonstrations have brought down two presidents, in 1986 and 2001
Official Name: Rep. of the Philippines
Date of Formation: 1946
Population: 92 million
Total Area: 115,830 sq. miles (300,000 sq. km)
Density: 799 people per sq. mile
Languages: Filipino*, Tagalog, Cebuano, Hiligaynon, other, including English*
Religions: Roman Catholic 83%, Protestant 9%, Muslim 5%, other 3%
Ethnic Mix: Tagalog 28%, Cebuano 13%, Ilocano 9%, Hiligaynon 8%, other 42%
Government: Presidential system
Currency: Philippine peso = 100 centavos