Region: South-Eastern Asia
Official Language/s: Filipino, English
Government: Unitary Presidential Constitutional Republic
Geography: The Philippines forms an archipelago of 7,107 islands with a total land area of approximately 300,000 square kilometers. It borders the Philippine Sea on the east, the South China Sea on the west, and the Celebes Sea on the south. The island of Borneo lies a few hundred kilometers southwest and Taiwan lies due north.
Economy: The Philippines is a recently industrialized country with an economy which mainly revolves around agriculture with substantial contributions from manufacturing, mining, payments from overseas Filipinos and tourism. The Philippines is listed in the roster of the “Next Eleven” economies.
Demographics: With a population of over 90 million people as of 2008 the Philippines is the world’s 12th most populous country. Approximately 8% of Filipinos are living abroad as migrant laborers with around 50% of the population residing on the island of Luzon. The literacy rate in 2003 was 92.6% and about equal for males and females. Life expectancy is 73.6 years for females and 69.8 years for males. Population growth rate in 1995-2000 is 3.21% but then dramatically fell to an estimated 1.59% for 2005-2010.
Religion: The Philippines is one of only two countries in Asia with Roman Catholic majorities. About 90% of Filipinos identify themselves as Christians, with 81% belonging to the Roman Catholic Church. 2% are composed of Protestant denominations and 11% either to the Philippine Independent Church, Iglesia ni Cristo, and others. Approximately 5% of Filipinos are Muslims.
Culture: Philippine culture is a fusion of pre-Hispanic civilizations with a mix of Hispanic, and American culture. It has also been influenced by Chinese, Arab, and Indian cultures. Spanish culture is evident today with many streets, towns and provinces are named in Spanish. Spanish architecture also made a major imprint in the Philippine Islands especially in the country’s churches, government buildings, and universities.