Where is Philippines located?

What countries border Philippines?

Philippines Weather

What is the current weather in Philippines?


Philippines Facts and Culture

What is Philippines famous for?

  • Food and Recipes: Conversation is casual during meals. The best way for a guest to compliment a meal is to eat heartily. A... More
  • Family: The average Filipino family is large, often with four or more children. Professionally and otherwise, Filipino women generally enjoy equality... More
  • Fashion: As elsewhere in the world, clothing trends in the Philippines have somewhat conformed to Western standards, with a few exceptions.... More
  • Visiting: Hospitality is important to Filipinos. Guests are made to feel at ease and should in turn, are tactful and sincere.... More
  • Recreation: Teenagers form peer groups called barkadas, a kind of friendship club that is essential to their lives. Each barkada is... More
  • Cultural Attributes: Filipinos are sensitive people. Insincerity is easily detected and can ruin a relationship. Individualism is less important than the family.... More
  • Dating: In urban areas, dating habits are similar to Western style. Group dating begins in the early teens. It is the... More
  • Diet: Rice is the staple food in the Filipino diet. It is prepared in a variety of tasty ways and is... More

Philippines Facts

What is the capital of Philippines?

Capital Manila
Government Type presidential republic
Currency PHP
Total Area 115,830 Square Miles
300,000 Square Kilometers
Location Southeastern Asia, archipelago between the Philippine Sea and the South China Sea, east of Vietnam
Language two official languages - Filipino (based on Tagalog) and English; eight major dialects - Tagalog, Cebuano, Ilocano, Hiligaynon or Ilonggo, Bicol, Waray, Pampango, and Pangasinense
GDP - real growth rate 6%
GDP - per capita (PPP) $7,500.00 (USD)

Philippines Demographics

What is the population of Philippines?

Ethnic Groups Christian Malay 91.5%, Muslim Malay 4%, Chinese 1.5%, other 3%
Languages There are two official languages in the Philippines, Pilipino and English. English is used for business, government, and education from the fourth grade through college. Pilipino, which is based mostly on Tagalog, which is the language spoken in central Luzon. Pilipino is referred to as Tagalog by most people.
Nationality Adjective Philippine
Nationality Noun Filipino(s)
Population 109,180,815
Population Growth Rate 1.84%
Population in Major Urban Areas MANILA (capital) 11.862 million; Davao 1.565 million; Cebu City 855,000; Zamboanga 884,000
Predominant Language two official languages - Filipino (based on Tagalog) and English; eight major dialects - Tagalog, Cebuano, Ilocano, Hiligaynon or Ilonggo, Bicol, Waray, Pampango, and Pangasinense
Urban Population 48.8%

Philippines Government

What type of government does Philippines have?

  • Executive Branch: chief of state: President Rodrigo DUTERTE (since 30 June 2016); Vice President Leni ROBREDO (since 30 June 2016); note -... More
  • Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal More
  • Citizenship: citizenship by birth: no citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of the Philippines dual citizenship recognized:... More
  • National Holiday: Independence Day, 12 June (1898); note - 12 June 1898 was date of declaration of independence from Spain; 4 July... More
  • Constitution: several previous; latest ratified 2 February 1987, effective 11 February 1987 More
  • Independence: 4 July 1946 (from the US) More

Philippines Geography

What environmental issues does Philippines have?

  • Overview: The Philippines is composed of 7,107 separate islands (7,106 during high tide), only 880 of which are inhabited. The... More
  • Climate: The Philippines has a tropical climate, but it is marginally less hot and humid than many tropical countries for most... More
  • Environment - Current Issues: uncontrolled deforestation especially in watershed areas; soil erosion; air and water pollution in major urban centers; coral reef degradation; increasing... More
  • Environment - International Agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone... More
  • Terrain: mostly mountains with narrow to extensive coastal lowlands More

Philippines Economy

How big is the Philippines economy?

  • Economic Overview: The economy has been relatively resilient to global economic shocks due to less exposure to troubled international securities, lower dependence... More
  • Industries: electronics assembly, textiles, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, wood products, food processing, petroleum refining, fishing More
  • Currency Name and Code: PHP More
  • Export Partners: US 24.7%, Japan 15%, Netherlands 8.7%, Taiwan 7.1%, Singapore 7%, Hong Kong 6.7%, Malaysia 4.7% More
  • Import Partners: US 20.6%, Japan 20.4%, South Korea 7.8%, Singapore 6.5%, Taiwan 5%, Hong Kong 4.5% More

Philippines News & Current Events

What current events are happening in Philippines?
Source: Google News

Interesting Philippines Facts

What unique things can you discover about Philippines?

  • Birthday traditions are a mixture of Eastern and Western customs. Birthday cakes are baked in various sizes and shapes. The celebration includes noodles representing long life, balloon decorations and piñatas.
  • A popular mode of public transportation in the Philippines is the jeepney, a small truck covered with paintings, flags, flowers and fancy bodywork. Originally created from leftover American jeeps, jeepneys are now made by factories and then colorfully decorated by their owners.
  • Although Filipinos have adopted Western dress, they still wear their national costumes on special occasions. Women wear a terno¸ a long dress with a flared skirt and butterfly sleeves. Men wear slacks and the barong tagalog, a fine shirt made out of pineapple pulp with either long or short sleeves.
  • Corazon Aquino was the first woman president of the Philippines.
  • Filipino Buddhists often combine aspects of Buddhism and Catholicism. The temple in Manila's Chinese cemetery contains figures of the Buddha and Virgin Mary.
  • Filipino children may take the hand of an elder and place it on their forehead as a sign of respect.
  • Filipino 'psychic surgeons' claim to perform operations without any tools or bloodshed. Many Western scientists have studied the healers and documented cases that seem to prove these healers' abilities.
  • Former president Marcos changed the Philippine Independence Day celebration from July 4, the day of independence from the United States, to June 12, the day of freedom from Spanish rule.
  • Kali, a martial art indigenous to the Philippines, was originally developed for defense and partly based on skill with a wavy-edged sword. According to legend, when Ferdinand Magellan, the first Spanish visitor, arrived in 1524, he was opposed by islanders using kali swords and killed by their leader, Lapu Lapu-now considered a folk hero. Modern kali practitioners use weapons such as sticks and knives.
  • Language reflects the importance of rice to Filipinos: Tagalog has several words for rice, including palay (rice that is harvested but not cleaned), sinaing (rice that is still cooking in a pot) and kanin (rice that is ready to eat).
  • Many Muslim students attend one of the country's 1,000 madrasa schools that provide instruction in Islamic principles and the Koran. The schools are privately funded by their communities.
  • Numerous sects believe that Mount Banahaw on the island of Luzon is a source of mystic power.
  • The English words 'boondocks' and 'boonies' comes from the Tagalog bundok (mountain). American Marines bought back the term to the United States after World War II.
  • The Filipino actress Lea Salonga won the Lawrence Olivier Award (1990) and the Tony Award (1991) for her starring role in Miss Saigon. She was under 20 at the time.
  • The Filipinos have made complete use of the coconut tree's potential. Aside from turning the fruit into copra (dried coconut flesh) and oil, people use the tree's leaves to make hats, balls, and structures like sheds. Coconut trunks can be used for small bridges, and empty shells for scoops, ladles and moulds. Today, coconut trees are being used in construction.
  • The majority of university students in the Philippines are female. Women earn two-thirds of the master's degrees and most doctorates.
  • The Negritos are the Philippine's oldest ethnic group. Consisting of several distinct subgroups, the Negritos generally live as nomadic hunters and gatherers, though they may also settle and farm. The majority live in the forested mountains on Luzon.
  • The Philippines was named after the Spanish crown prince Philip, later Philip II.
  • The T'boli people in Mindanao practice a complex form of tie-dying called t'nalak. Clothing made from t'nalak cloth is believed to have beneficial properties such as helping pregnant women during delivery.
  • The white, star-shaped sampaguita flower, often sold by street vendors or wound into necklaces given to visitors, is the Philippines' national flower.
  • United States President William Howard Taft acted as the first Governor General of the Philippines from 1901-1904.
  • With a wing span of two meters, the country's national bird is the haribon eagle-popularly known as the monkey-eating eagle, though the name literally means 'king of birds.' Indigenous to Mindanao Island, the eagle is the world's second-largest in its species and is capable of catching a monkey for its prey.
  • The deepest spot in the ocean is the Mariana Trench, off the eastern coast of the Phillipines. It is 36,202 feet deep.
  • When a child loses a tooth they hide their tooth in a special place and make a wish. A year later, if they can still find the tooth, they can make another wish.

Watch video on Philippines

What can you learn about Philippines in this video?

Manila, the Pearl of the Orient YouTube: ClubTravelie

Philippines Travel Information

What makes Philippines a unique country to travel to?

Country Description

The Philippines is an emerging economy with a democratic system of government. Located in Southeast Asia, the country is an archipelago consisting of more than 7,100 islands, of which more than 800 are inhabited. The major island groupings are Luzon in the north, where the capital, Manila, is located; the Visayas in the center; and Mindanao in the south. Tourist facilities are available within population centers and the main tourist areas. English is widely spoken in the Philippines, and most signs are in English.

Crime

Crime is a significant concern in Manila. As a rule of thumb, U.S. citizens should exercise good judgment and remain aware of their surroundings. Reports of confidence games (con games), pick pocketing, Internet scams, and credit/ATM card fraud are common. U.S. citizens should be wary of unknown individuals who attempt to befriend them, especially just after their arrival in the country. It is best not to accept food, drink, or rides in private vehicles from strangers, even if they appear to be legitimate. There have been several cases of solo travelers meeting people on Roxas Boulevard in downtown Manila, striking up a conversation, developing a relationship, and then being invited to a tourist destination outside of Manila under the guise of meeting their Philippine family. The travelers are taken to the area and, typically, during a meal are given a substance that knocks them unconscious. They are then robbed of valuables, including their ATM cards, which are then used to drain their bank accounts. While U.S. citizens are not typically targeted, kidnappings and violent assaults do occur in the Manila area.

Taxis are the recommended form of public transportation. The following safeguards are important: do not enter a taxi if it has already accepted another passenger and always request that the driver use the meter to record your fare. If the driver is unwilling to comply with these requests, wait for another cab. It is also a good idea to make a mental note of the license plate number of the cab, or text it to someone, should there be a problem. There have been several instances of travelers arriving at the Manila international airport and, shortly after they leave the airport area in a taxi or private vehicle, their vehicle is stopped, typically by an intentional rear-end collision, and the travelers are robbed. When driving in the city, make certain that vehicle doors are locked and the windows are rolled up. For both safety and security reasons, avoid all other forms of public transportation, such as the light rail system, buses, and “jeepneys.”

You should also be vigilant when using credit and debit cards. One common form of credit/ATM card fraud involves an illicit electronic device attached to ATM card readers that retrieves and records information, including the PIN, from a card's magnetic strip. The information is then used to make unauthorized purchases. To limit your vulnerability to this scam, never let your card out of your sight. Avoid ATMs with unusual coverings attached to the card receiver. When using an ATM, be aware of your surroundings. Avoid ATM locations in dimly lit areas. Be careful to prevent observation by others when entering your PIN code. A continuing problem is the commercial scam or sting that attempts to sell or to seek negotiation of fraudulent U.S. securities. Visitors and residents should be wary when presented with supposed Federal Reserve Notes or U.S. securities for sale or negotiation.

Don’t buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal in the United States, if you purchase them you may also be breaking local law.

Criminal Penalties

While you are traveling in the Philippines, you are subject to its laws even if you are a U.S. citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different than our own. Criminal penalties will vary from country to country. There are also some things that might be legal in the country you visit, but still illegal in the United States. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime prosecutable in the United States. If you break local laws in the Philippines, your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It’s very important to know what’s legal and what’s not where you are going.

U.S. citizens should also be aware of a recent statement by the Bureau of Immigration (BI) regarding the participation of foreigners in demonstrations in the Philippines. In the statement, the BI advised foreigners against participating in public protests or political rallies since this activity may be considered a violation of the terms of admission to the Philippines. Foreign nationals who participate in these activities may be detained and deported for violating Philippine immigration laws.

Persons violating the Philippines’ laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possession of, use of, or trafficking in illegal drugs in the Philippines are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. If a traveler is found to have any amount of drugs on his or her person, or nearby, when arriving at or departing from the Philippines, he or she will be charged with trafficking. This offense is non-bailable, and the maximum penalty is life imprisonment. There have been instances where persons carrying controlled substances (e.g., medical marijuana or morphine) as well as a doctor’s prescription for the substance were charged with drug possession because they did not possess the proper prior clearance from the Philippine government before entry.

If you are arrested in the Philippines, authorities of the Philippines are required to notify the U.S. Embassy of your arrest. If you are concerned the Department of State may not be aware of your situation, you should request that the police or prison officials notify the U.S. Embassy of your arrest.

Languages

There are two official languages in the Philippines, Pilipino and English. English is used for business, government, and education from the fourth grade through college. Pilipino, which is based mostly on Tagalog, which is the language spoken in central Luzon. Pilipino is referred to as Tagalog by most people.

Medical Facilities and Health Information

Adequate medical care is available in major cities in the Philippines, but even the best hospitals may not meet the standards of medical care, sanitation, and facilities provided by hospitals and doctors in the United States. Medical care is limited in rural and more remote areas.

Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost several or even tens of thousands of dollars. Most hospitals will require a down payment of estimated fees in cash at the time of admission. In some cases, public and private hospitals have withheld lifesaving medicines and treatments for non-payment of bills. Hospitals also frequently refuse to discharge patients or release important medical documents until a bill has been paid in full. A list of doctors and medical facilities in the Philippines is available from the U.S. Embassy in Manila.

You can find good information on vaccinations and other health precautions on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization (WHO) website. The WHO website also contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.

In the past, the Philippines has seen outbreaks of dengue and schistosomiasis. The CDC website has additional information about both diseases.

Schistosomiasis is transmitted by waterborne larvae and is endemic in the Philippines. The disease presents a risk on Mindanao, Bohol, and Samar, as well as the provinces of Sorsogon (the southern tip of Luzon Island) and eastern Mindoro Island. Travelers should avoid freshwater exposure in these areas.

Safety and Security

U.S. citizens contemplating travel to the Philippines should carefully consider the risks to their safety and security while there, including the risk of terrorism. The southern island of Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago are of particular security concern. Travelers should defer all travel to the Sulu Archipelago and should exercise extreme caution on the island of Mindanao. For further information regarding the continuing threats due to terrorist and insurgent activities in the Philippines, see the Travel Warning for the Philippines.

Terrorist groups, such as the Abu Sayyaf Group and Jema’ah Islamiyah, as well as groups that have broken away from the more mainstream Moro Islamic Liberation Front, have carried out bombings resulting in deaths, injuries, and property damage; they have also taken hostages. The city of Zamboanga suffered widespread devastation in September 2013 during a deadly confrontation between Philippine public security forces and rogue fighters of the Moro National Liberation Front. Separately, bombings in central and western areas of Mindanao have targeted bus terminals, public buildings, public markets, and local festivals. While those responsible do not appear to have targeted foreigners, travelers should remain vigilant and avoid congregating in public areas. Official U.S. government visitors and Embassy employees must seek special permission for travel to Mindanao or the Sulu Archipelago. When traveling in Mindanao, U.S. official travelers attempt to lower their profile, limit their length of stay, and exercise extreme caution. Some foreigners who reside in or visit western and central Mindanao hire their own private security personnel.

Kidnap-for-ransom gangs operate in the Philippines and have targeted foreigners, including Filipino-Americans. Such gangs are especially active in the Sulu Archipelago, and a number of foreigners have been kidnapped there in recent years.

Occasionally, the U.S. Embassy is the target of planned and/or spontaneous demonstrations. While Philippine security forces generally prevent such demonstrators from reaching the Embassy, in rare instances protestors have made their way successfully to the Embassy perimeter. In such instances, Embassy security authorities may take appropriate measures to safeguard personnel and visitors, including restricting access to the compound. U.S. citizens or other individuals having business at the Embassy should keep this in mind and be prepared to defer their business until any such situation is resolved.

U.S. citizens in the Philippines are advised to monitor local news broadcasts and consider the level of preventive security when visiting public places, especially when choosing hotels, restaurants, beaches, entertainment venues, and recreation sites.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions

While in the Philippines, you may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning the Philippines is provided for general reference only and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Travel within the Philippine archipelago is possible by boat, plane, bus, or car. Few U.S. citizens rent cars to drive, as the roads are more crowded and drivers are less disciplined than those in the United States. It is particularly dangerous to drive off the national highways and paved roads, especially at night, and you should avoid doing so. There have been five major inter-island ferryboat accidents in the last two years, one with significant loss of life. The safety record is such that U.S. government employees are advised not to take inter-island ferry boat services unless they are the only means of transportation available. There have also been a series of bus accidents as a result of poor bus maintenance. U.S. citizens are advised to avoid overcrowded or unsafe transport and to exercise caution in planning travel by inter-island ferryboats or other public conveyances.

For specific information concerning Philippine driver's permits, vehicle inspection, road tax, and mandatory insurance, please contact the Philippine Embassy in Washington, DC, at tel. (202) 467-9300 or one of the Philippine consulates in the United States (Chicago, Honolulu, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco).

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