Economic growth though easing, averaged at 3.7% in 2011 and is targeted to reach 6.5% by the end of 2012. Growth has been constrained by lower exports, due to supply disruptions emanating from Japan’s earthquake in 2011, as well as some cutbacks in government expenditure. However, near term growth prospects are considered favourable, with the balance of payments remaining in surplus. The Philippines is made up of over 7,000 islands but the majority of people live on just 11 of them. Its islands make it the country with the fifth longest coastline in the world. It is bordered by the Philippine Sea to the east, the South China Sea to the west and the Celebes Sea to the south. The island of Borneo is located a few hundred kilometres southwest.
Most of the mountainous islands are covered in tropical rainforest and are volcanic in origin. The highest mountain is Mount Apo, which measures up to 2,954 metres above sea level and is located on the island of Mindanao. To the east of the Philippines on the ocean floor lies the Philippine Trench, where the Galathea Depth is the third deepest place on earth.
The longest river is the Cagayan in Northern Luzon. Manila Bay, upon the shore of which the capital city of Manila lies, is connected to Laguna de Bay, the largest lake in the Philippines, by the Pasig River.
The Philippines contains some of the world’s most amazing scenery, including the beaches of Boracay, Panglao and Pagudpad, as well as historical sites such as Intramuros, Cebu City, Corregidor and Bataain. The main religion in the Philippines is Christian Malay, with over 80% of Filipinos practicing Catholicism. Family values are at the heart of the Filipino family. It is recognised and accepted that family members often work for the same company. There is a strong sense of social propriety to conform to societal norms of behaviour. The Philippines are a founder member of ASEAN.
Joined ASEAN: 8 August 1967 (Founder Member)
Head of State: President Benigno S. Aquino III
Area: 300,000 square kilometres
Border countries: None
Coastline: 36,289 kilometres
Capital city: Manila
Total population: 103,775,002
Population of capital: 11,449,000
Climate: Tropical marine. Northeast monsoon from November to April and southwest monsoon May to October
Languages: Filipino, English
Religions: Roman Catholic 80.9%, Muslim 5%, Evangelical 2.8%, Iglesia ni Kristo 2.3%, Aglipayan 2%, other Christian 4.5%,other 1.8%, none 0.1%