A Quick Glance at the Philippines: Mabuhay and Welcome!
“Mabuhay” is a greeting that means long live, a warm and truly Filipino way of welcoming friends who are about explore the beauty of the Philippines. From the enigmatic Rice Terraces of the Ifugaos, the mouth watering adobo every Filipino craves for, and the endless stretches of sandy beaches along the country’s coastline, discover what this humble country in the edge of the Pacific stands for.
On the map
The Philippines is located at 14°35′N 121°0′E and is part of the region Southeast Asia.
It is bounded by the Pacific Ocean to the east, Bashi Channel to the north, and Sulu and the CelebesSeas to the south.
It lies south of Taiwan, east of Vietnam, and north of Indonesia. The Philippines is an archipelago comprising 7,107 islands, a number that changes depending on the tides. It has 115,831 square miles of land with 61% inland waters.
The Philippines has a tropical climate governed by three seasons: tag-araw or dry summers which last March to May, tag-ulan or a wet humid spell from June to November, and tag-lamig or a cool dry period from December to February. Monsoon rain showers and Pacific thunderstorms are common occurrences.
The average temperature of the country is 78 degrees F or 25 degrees C.
Manila is the capital city of the country, and the biggest island groups are called Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.
As of 2013, the estimated population of the Philippines is 97 million.
The official languages of the country are Filipino and English. The major ethno-linguistic groups include Tagalog, Cebuano, Ilocano, Ilonggo, Bicolano, Waray, Pampango, and Pangasinense.
Catholicism is the predominant religion, but other Christian denominations and Muslim groups also come in large numbers.
The Philippines was once called Las Islas Filipinas under Spanish influence, and hailed by the Americans as “The Pearl of the Orient.” Today, the Republika ng Pilipinas or Republic of the Philippines is a sovereign nation that’s home to the hospitable, hardworking, and forever-smiling Filipino people. Pinoy (or feminine Pinay) is another term of endearment the Filipinos have adopted to refer to themselves.
The Philippine flag carries a multitude of symbols which trace their roots to the country’s struggle for independence. The royal blue stripe on top is used as a standard in times of peace, and is inverted with the scarlet red stripe on top in times of war. White symbolizes equality and fraternity. The eight-ray sun stands for the first 8 provinces which declared their independence against Spain. The three five-pointed stars indicate the major island groups Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.
The 15th and current President of the Philippines Benigno Simeon Aquino III
The Philippines has a constitutional republic government headed by the President of the Philippines.
The Philippines is a founding and active member of the United Nations and Association of Southeast Asian Nations. It is also an active member of the East Asia Summit and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.
The Philippine Peso (PHP) is the national currency.
The country is currently transitioning from a predominantly agricultural industry to one based on services and manufacturing.
The leading sectors of the country include agriculture, mining, electronics industry, petroleum, textiles and service.
Electricity is commonly relayed in 220 volts, at A.C. 60 cycles, though most hotels have 110-volt outlets.
While ample supply of water is available in cities and major towns, bottled water is recommended for drinking purposes.
Philippine cuisine is heavily mixed with Chinese, American and Hispanic influences. Traditional Filipino dishes are generally sour, salty or sweet. Rice is a staple dish. Meals are usually eaten with spoon and fork or with the hand (kamayan).
The jeepney, a small bus with a capacity of around 20 persons, is the typical mode of transportation in and between cities and towns. Other modes include buses, tricycles and taxis; planes and ferries are also plentiful.
Most government offices are open Mondays to Fridays from 9am to 6pm. Malls and commercial establishments are typically open Mondays to Saturdays from 10am to 9pm, with variable times on Sundays and holidays.
Philippine culture is a blend of Malayo-Polynesian, Hispanic, Chinese and Muslim influences. Things to look out for include Indigenous and Islamic arts, popular music and cinema, and historic architecture. Provinces all over the country also hold festivals that celebrate the harvest season and historical occasions.
Popular activities for visitors include going to the beach, island-hopping, hiking, surfing, and snorkeling. Some of the most famous destinations are the Banaue Rice Terraces in Ifugao, the PuertoPrincesaSubterraneanRiverNational Park in Palawan, and Boracay island in Aklan.