Explore the Philippine Islands

More than the usual — this is how the Philippine is positioned in the tourism block. The country is an archipelago and known officially as the Republic of the Philippines. This archipelago is located in Southeast Asia and holds the distinction of being one of only two predominantly Christian countries in Asia. The other country is East Timor. There are around 7,107 islands in the country and these islands host around 90 million people. This population based on 2008 estimates makes the country as the 12th most populous country in the world. For the traveler interested to know more about the country, it should be learned that the country has around 11 million overseas Filipinos worldwide and these are the Filipinos who work in other country and one of the main reasons why the economy of the country is competitive.

Related: Philippine Travel — When and Where

According to 2008 estimates, the gross domestic product or the GDP of the country is pegged at over US$ 327.2 billion and this is considered as the 37th largest in the world. The name ‘Philippine’ traces a long history. This name was derived from the name of King Philip II of Spain in the 16th century. It was the initiative of Ruy Lopez de Villalobos to use the name Las Islas Filipinas or the Philippine Islands as his name for the islands Leyte and Samar. And the use of this name was in reference and in honor of the Prince of Spain. A further examination of the name ‘Philippine’ will reveal that this has Greek roots and according to historians this was the name of the father of Alexander the Great.

The country is divided geographically into three groups:
- Luzon
- Visayas
- Mindanao

And these three major island grouping is then sub-divided into 17 regions, another 81 provinces and 136 cities. The country also plays host to 1,494 municipalities and 41,995 barrios. The government also controls Sabah, North Borneo as asserted by Section 2 of the Republic Act Number 5446. Ecologically, the country is known as one of those countries which feature diverse flora and fauna. This feature of the country is one of the major reasons why the archipelago is one of the favorite places for travelers who seek to experience nature at its best. Another main reason why the country is always part of the list of preferred travel destinations is that the country is rich in natural resources and its scenic spots are panoramic and ready to comfort and to overwhelm the first-time visitors. The natural resources of the country are extensive and this can be seen in many areas like agriculture, forestry and minerals.

Related: Planning For a Philippine Travel? What Will You Need?

Talking about the archipelago is not complete without talking about its fertile and arable lands, the forests that host diverse flora and fauna and the panoramic coastlines. For those travelers willing to sample what the country has to offer over a limited amount of time, it is suggested that the interested traveler should focus on its culture, its beaches and its heritage. The unique Philippine culture will let the traveler experience the many festivals in the country- from Sinulog in Cebu to the Penafrancia Festival in the Bicol Region. The country has a number of festivals and these festivals will usually peak during April and May- the time for the country’s fiestas. Most of these festivals have links to the church and religious in nature.

Visiting the country without visiting some of its finest beaches is not suggested. Since the country boasts of around 7,107 islands and a coastline twice the length of the United States, you can really expect that the country will have some best beaches. Mere mention of the Philippine will evoke images of fine and white beaches of Boracay, Palawan and some of the more not-so commercial yet beautiful sands of other beaches. Some names that should be part of the plans of the traveler include Pagudpud, Mactan Island and Panglao. And speaking of heritage, the country is home to Ifugao Rice Terraces which is now part of the UNESCO Heritage List in 1995. Aside from this rice terraces, Philippine also plays host also to many old churches- baroque churches in Metro Manila and these are all considered as heritage sites that carry the country’s culture and history.

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