Philippines at a Glance [see the MAP]
The Land
The Philippines is one of the largest island groups in the world, with 7,107 islands and islets lying off the southwest coast of the Asian mainland between Taiwan and Borneo. The South China Sea, in the east bound it in the West by the Pacific Ocean, in the south by the Sulu and Celebes Seas, and in the north by the Bashi Channel. Its strategic position finds the Philippines at the crossroads of international travel lanes
Manila is the seat of administration and the center of commerce and industry, culture, the arts, and education. It is the largest and most important city in the Philippines. Old Manila itself has been combined with major cities and municipalities to form what is popularly known as Metro Manila with a total area of about 630 square kilometers
Geographic Division
It has three major islands, namely: Luzon, the largest island where the capital of the Philippines is situated; Visayas, known for its fine beaches and idyllic coves; and Mindanao, whose exotic forests make it an irresistible haven for nature lovers.
The Philippines is normally warm with abundant rainfall and gentle winds. There are three pronounced seasons: wet to rainy from June to October; cool, dry weather from November to February; and hot, dry weather from March to Mayy.
Filipinos, according to the latest official census, number 68 million. Population growth as of 1991 is estimated at 2.7 percent annually, and the number of Filipinos is expected to top 75.2 million by the year 2000.
There are 11 cultural and racial groups each with its own language. Most Filipinos are bilingual, with English still the basic language in the business, government, schools and everyday communication. Pilipino, based primarily on the Tagalog language, is the national language, there are 11 languages and 87 dialects in the archipelago. Aside from English, Spanish is another foreign language spoken fluently by a number of Filipinos, along with Arabic, Chinese and Nippongo.
Peso is the unit of currency. Bank notes: P5, P10, P20, P50, P100, P500, P1000. Coins: P5, P2, P1, 50c, 25c, 10c, 5c. Various banks, hotels and authorized foreign exchange dealers provide peso exchange for most foreign currencies. Credit cards are accepted at major hotels, resort, shops and restaurants although outside of Manila, the use of Philippine pesos for payments is preferred.
Roman Catholic is the predominant religion comprising 85 percent of the population. Concentration of Moslems is at the southern end of the archipelago.

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