Boats on the water in Manila, Philippines Area

300,000 sq km (115,831 sq miles).

Population

103,775,517 (2013).

Capital

Manila. Population: 1,652,171 (2010).

Geography

The Philippines lie off the southeast coast of Asia between Taiwan and Borneo in the Pacific Ocean and South China Sea. They are composed of 7107 islands and islets (7108 at low tide), 2773 of which are named. The two largest islands, Luzon in the north and Mindanao in the south, account for 65 per cent of the total land area and contain 60 per cent of the country’s population. Between the two lie the Visayas Islands.

Language

Filipino, based on Tagalog, is the national language. English is widely spoken, Spanish less so. The Philippines is the third-largest English-speaking country in the world. There are over 111 cultural and racial groups, each with its own language or dialect.

Religion

85 per cent Roman Catholic; the rest are made up mostly of Muslims, other Christian denominations, Buddhists and Taoists.

Electricity

220 volts (110 volts in Baguio) AC, 60Hz. 110 volts is available in most hotels. Flat and round two- and three-pin plugs are in use.

Telephone

IDD is available to main towns. Country code: 63. International calls to the smaller towns must be booked through the operator. Outgoing international code: 00.

Mobile telephone

GSM 900/1800 network. Operators include Smart Communications Inc. (website: www.smart.com.ph) and Globe Telecom (website: www.globe.com.ph). Coverage is limited to Manila and other main urban areas.

Fax

All 3- to 5-star hotels, most government offices and most businesses have facsimile services.

Internet

ISPs include Internet Manila (website: www.i-manila.com.ph), Philworld Online (website: www.pworld.net.ph) and Cyber Space (website: www.cyberspace.com.ph). Visitors can access their e-mail from cybercafés across the country.

Post

Airmail to Europe takes at least five days. Post office hours: Mon-Fri 0800-1700.

Press

There are about 20 daily newspapers. English-language daily newspapers include the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Manila Bulletin, Philippine Star and the Manila Times.