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The Philippines

PilipinasScattered between two of Southeast Asia's main bodies of water, near the equator, some 7,100 islands make up the Philippine Archipelago. As one of the world's largest island-groups, The Philippines occupies a total land area of 300,000 sq. kilometers. Eleven islands make up 94 percent of the Philippine landmass: three of these, Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, represent the three principal regions in the country. It is estimated that 1,000 of its islands are inhabited, and less than one-half of these are larger than .5 square kilometers.

Surrounded by the sea, the country has one of the longest coastlines in the world, with fishing as one of the most robust industries. The country is also blessed with natural resources such as timber, mickel, cobalt, silver, gold, and copper. The northeastern part of Luzon and mountain ranges in Mindanao also boast of lush rain forests that offer prime habitat for one of the largest number of diverse species in the world.

The marine tropical climate of the Philippines is divided into seasons: dry and wet. The hottest month in low-land regions is May, when temperatures go as high as 38 degrees Celsius. The cooler months, on the other hand, are December and January.

An average of 20 typhoons hit the Philippines every year, striking mainly in Luzon and the Visayas from July to October. Situated between two of the world's most active tectonic plates, the Philippines experiences an average of five earthquakes per day, most of which are imperceptible.

First time visitor to the Philippines
PhilippinesManila, or Maynila, is the capital of the Philippines. Most Indians pronounce "Philippines" as Philip-pines (as in PINE tree), which is wrong. It is pronounced as Philip-peens (rhymes with BEENS).

In a beauty contest telecast worldwide, the foreign judge asked the Filipina contestant, "How many islands does the Philippines have?" She replied, and he was stunned, and the world was amazed with her answer, "During high tide or low tide?".

It was a genuine answer as the country has 7,107 islands during low tide, and 7,106 during high tide.

The Philippines is divided into three major islands: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

Luzon, where Manila is located, Visayas where Cebu is located, and Mindanao where Davao is located. These are the three major cities and international airports of the Philippines. The fourth international airport is located two hours from Manila and Clark Air field, formerly occupied by the U.S. military, and now being used for LCC airlines and as an export location zone.

Metro Manila, not to be confused with Manila which is a city within Metro Manila, has 14 cities and three municipalities in its control. Ninety per cent of tourist land in this city. It is located in the Luzon islands and can be easily connected by land route of a few hours to many cities such as Baguio, Laoag, Naga, and Legazpi. Manila is the business capital of the Philippines. It has expanded very rapidly without much urban planning thereby creating numerous concerns similar to Mumbai: infrastructure, housing, traffic and crime.

Makati City is the pride of Metro Manila, and comprises 70% of tourist traffic in the Philippines. All the major Indian restaurants are located in Makati. Malling is a must here, as the nightlife. Cebu City is known as the Queen City of the South and is the beach lover's tourist destination of the Philippines. It is located in the island of Mactan, the twin part of Cebu Island. Davao City is the foremost southern city of the Philippines, and is located in the biggest of the 7,107 islands of the Philippines., Mindanao. It has access routes to Indonesia and neighboring islands.

Other major cities are Bacolod in Negros Island, Iloilo, Tagbilaran in Bohol, and Puerto Princesa in the island of Palawan.

FAST FACTS

Capital: Manila (Land area - 38.3 sq.km.)
Languages Spoken: There are two official languages: Filipino, which is based on Tagalog, is the national language. English is also widely used and is the medium of instruction in higher education. There are seven other dialects spoken by majority of the Filipinos.
Religion: Roman Catholic 83 per cent; Protestant 9 per cent; Muslim, 5 per cent; Buddhist and others 3 per cent.
Land Area: 300,000 sq.km. (7,107 islands).
Population: 99.5 Million (2014 Estimate)
Coastline: 36,289 kilometers
GMT/local time difference: GMT + eight hours
Major Industries: Food, Petrochemicals, Chemicals, Electronics and Electrical Machinery, Footwear, Garments, and Beverages.
Major Exports: Processed Food, Fruits and Beverages, IT Services, Call Center Services, Rattan Furniture, Transport Vehicles, Jeepney, Electronic Components, Apparel and Clothing, and Metal products.
Major Imports: Leather, Sport Equipment, Surgical, Rice and Food items, Textiles, Pharmaceuticals, Perishable Fruits, Fertilizers, Transport Equipment, Iron and Steel, Electronic Machinery and Equipment, Cereals, Raw Cotton, and Cotton Yarn.
Major Trading Partners: US, Japan, Netherlands, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Germany, Republic pof korea, and China.
Major Investors: USA, Japan, South Korea, Germany, Singapore, Taiwan, Argentina, France, Great Britain.
Currency Unit:
Philippine Peso


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