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The Philippines – Geography 101

The Philippines – Geography 101

GlobeThis post is all about giving tourists a short but useful lesson in Philippine geography.  Getting lost in a foreign country on your vacation is always a possibility, so you don’t want to be completely clueless about its overall layout.

Remember that every place you go to is just one small picture of what the Philippines has to offer. What other wonderful treasures can you discover if you knew how to locate them?


 
 
 

So, where exactly is the Philippines?

One thing you should know about the Philippines is that it’s not one big chunk of land like the US or Canada that you can reach by means of car or railway. No sir. Like its Southeast Asian neighbors, the Philippines is an archipelagic country made up of 7, 107 distinct and beautiful islands.

It’s separated from mainland Asia by the Indian Ocean and the China Sea on the western front. To the east of the country is the great expanse of the Pacific Ocean and the island groups beyond. The country lies just above the equator, giving it a mostly balmy tropical atmosphere.

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What are all these islands?

The three biggest island groups in the country (from North to South) are Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. The entire country is divided up into 17 geographical regions. The provinces are grouped together primarily on the basis of their shared ethnic history, dialect and cultural customs.

Manila, for example, is found in the heart of the National Capital Region where Tagalog/Filipino is the most widely spoken dialect. On the other hand (also in Luzon island), Baguio, which is nestled in the mountains of the Cordillera Administrative Region, is home to many indigenous groups as well as migrants from various nearby provinces.

Tagalog is spoken in this area, but most of the people also speak Ilocano and tribal dialects like Kankanaey, Isneg, Tingguian and many others.

If you travel down south to Mindanao, you will be faced with an entirely different cultural, linguistic and religious context. Most people speak and understand Bisaya, but with a different lilt to the words. The island is home to most of Muslim Filipinos in the country.

Different climatic and topographical conditions have led to the varied cultural, economic, religious and political development of every part of the country. Being separated by so much water has made the islands self-supporting and autonomous to a certain degree.

 

So Now Where Do I Go?

That depends entirely on your taste, expectations, budget and time of visit.

You can stay in the capital and have a grand tour of the city and its outlying areas. You can go north and see the long chain of mountains that look like a backbone slightly off the center of the upper portion of Luzon. Or, you can head down into Mindanao and climb the tallest mountain in the Philippines.

If that’s still not enough for you, fly or ride a boat into any of the islands to experience the distinct beauty of the Philippines.

Quick Facts About The Republic of The Philippines

Population 87,857,500

Capital City Manila

Currency Philippine Peso (PHP)

Languages Filipino & English (official)

National Day June 12

Religions Catholic (81%) Muslim (5%) Other Christian (5%) Others (9%)