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- Photo Credit: Manila City Guide
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The Philippines is a Southeast Asian country in the Western Pacific. It is made up of over 7,000 islands and has unique emerald rice fields, graffiti-splashed jeepneys, and teeming mega-cities.
Its capital, Manila, is a densely-populated bayside city in the island of Luzon. It has a mix of Spanish colonial architecture, modern skyscrapers, and centuries-old Chinatown; as well as Intramuros, a walled city in colonial times, at the heart of Old Manila.
Manila is also home to the ornate 17th-century San Agustin Church and Fort Santiago.
Of its over 100 million people, 28.1% are Tagalog, 13.1% Cebuano, 9% Ilocano, 7.6% Bisaya, 7.5% Ilonggo, 6% Bikol, 3.4% Waray, and others 25.3%.
Historically, the Filipinos have embraced two of the greatest religions of the world—Islam and Christianity. Islam was introduced during the 14th century shortly after the expansion of Arab commercial ventures in Southeast Asia.
Christianity was introduced as early as the 16th century with the coming of Ferdinand Magellan in 1521.
Over 82.9% of Filipinos are Roman Catholics, 5% are Muslims, and there are also Protestant and Evangelical groups.
Filipino and English are the country’s official languages. Other eight major dialects include Tagalog, Cebuano, Ilocano, Hiligaynon or Ilonggo, Bikol, Waray, Kapampangan, and Pangasinense.
The Philippines is a founding member of the United Nations, the World Trade Organisation, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum, and the East Asia Summit. It also hosts the headquarters of the Asian Development Bank.
The country is considered to be an emerging market and a newly-industrialised country, with a transitioning economy from one based on agriculture to one based more on services and manufacturing.