Philippines

San Sebastian Cathedral
San Sebastian Cathedral

The Philippines is officially know as the Republic of the Philippines which is a sovereign island country in Southeast Asia situated in the western Pacific Ocean.  The Philippines consists of 7,107 islands that are categorized broadly under three main geographical divisions, Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.  It’s Capital city is Manila while it’s most populous city is Quezon City, both are part of Metro Manila.

To the north of the Philippines across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan, Vietnam sits west across the South China Sea; southwest is the island of Borneo across the Sulu Sea, and to the south the Celebes Sea separates it from other islands of Indonesia; while to the east it is bounded by the Philippines Sea and the island-nation of Palau.  It’s location on the Pacific Ring of Fire and close to the equator makes the Philippines prone to earthquakes and typhoons, but also endows it with abundant natural resources and some of the world’s greatest biodiversity.  At approximately 300,00 square kilometers, the Philippines is the 64th largest country in the world.

With a population of about 100 million people, the Philippines is the seventh most populated country in Asia and the 12th most populated country in the world.  An additional 12 million Filipinos live overseas, comprising one of the world’s largest diasporas.  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.  Various nations were established under the rule of Datus, Rajahs, Sultans or Lakans.  Trade with Chinese, Malay, Indian and Islamic stated also occurred.