The Philippines is one of the world’s largest archipelago nations. It is situated in Southeast Asia in the Western Pacific Ocean. Its islands are classified into three main geographical areas – Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

Because of its archipelagic nature, Philippines is a culturally diverse country. With its topography consisting of mountainous terrains, dense forests, plains, and coastal areas, the Philippines is rich in biodiversity. It is considered as one of the mega biodiversity countries in the world with a high percentage of flora and fauna endemism.

A Brief History

The Philippines has a rich history combining Asian, European, and American influences. Prior to Spanish colonization in 1521, the Filipinos had a rich culture and were trading with the Chinese and the Japanese. In 1898, after 350 years and 300 rebellions, the Filipinos, with leaders like Jose Rizal and Emilio Aguinaldo, succeeded in winning their independence.

In 1898, the Philippines became the first and only colony of the United States. Following the Philippine-American War, the United States brought widespread education to the islands. Filipinos fought alongside Americans during World War II, particularly at the famous battle of Bataan and Corregidor which delayed Japanese advancement and saved Australia. They then waged a guerrilla war against the Japanese from 1941 to 1945. The Philippines regained its independence in 1946.

The Philippines takes its name from Philip II, who was king of Spain during the Spanish colonization of the islands in the 16th century. Because it was under Spanish rule for 333 years and under U.S. tutelage for a further 48 years, the Philippines has many cultural affinities with the West. It is, for example, the second most-populous Asian country (following India) with English as an official language and one of only two predominantly Roman Catholic countries in Asia (the other being East Timor). Despite the prominence of such Anglo-European cultural characteristics, the peoples of the Philippines are Asian in consciousness and aspiration

The People

Filipinos (Filipino: Mga Pilipino) are the people who are native to, or identified with the country of the Philippines. Filipinos come from various ethnolinguistic groups that are native to the island country. Currently, there are more than 175 ethnolinguistic groups, each with its own language, identity, culture and history. The modern Filipino identity, with its Austronesian roots, was developed in conjunction with Spanish, Chinese and American influences.

The Climate

The Philippines has five types of climates: tropical rainforest, tropical savanna, tropical monsoon, humid subtropical, and oceanic (both are in higher-altitude areas) characterized by relatively high temperature, oppressive humidity and plenty of rainfall. There are two seasons in the country, the wet season and the dry season, based upon the amount of rainfall.

This is also dependent on location in the country as some areas experience rain all throughout the year. Based on temperature, the warmest months of the year are March through October; the winter monsoon brings cooler air from November to February. May is the warmest month, and January, the coolest.

Some Useful Phrases...

Good morning: Maayong buntag

Good afternoon: Maayong hapon

Good evening: Maayong gabii

How are you?: Kumusta ka?

Fine / good: Maayo ra

Thank you: Salamat

Good bye: Babay

Water: Tubig

Fish: Isda

What is your name?: Kinsa imong ngalan?

My name is: Akong ngalan si...

What is the price?: Tag pila?

How old are you?: Pila imong idad?

Some Useful Facts...

Country name: Republic of the Philippines

Local name: Republika ng Pilipinas

No. of islands: About 7,641 islands

Capital: Manila

Religion: Christianity - Islam

Demonym: Filipino - Filipina

Currency: Peso (₱) (PHP)

Average Temperature: 21 °C to 32 °C

Timezone: GMT+8

International Dialing Code: +63