With 7,107 islands, the Republic of the Philippines is the second largest archipelago
in the world. It is located in Southeast Asia, northeast of Borneo and south of Taiwan. It is bounded on the east by the Pacific Ocean,
on the north and west by the South China Sea, and on the south by the Celebes Sea. It has a total land area of 300,000 sq. kilometers spreading over the
2.2 million sq. km of water within its exclusive economic zone. The three main island groupings are Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao (91, 530 sq. km.).
The islands are largely mountainous. The most prominent mountain ranges are the Cordillera mountains in northern
Luzon and the Sierra Madre Mountains in eastern Luzon, each of which averages 1,830 feet above sea level. Smaller mountain ranges are found in the
western part of Central Luzon, in the islands of Mindoro, Panay, Negros, and Samar. There are also mountain ranges in the island Mindanao where the highest peak, Mt. Apo ,is found.
Between the mountain ranges lie several densely settled plains and river valleys such as Cagayan Valley and Central Plain of Luzon, Bicol region,
the eastern part of Panay Island, and the western part of Negros Island in the Visayas. On Mindanao, Agusan River valley in the east and the Pulangi River valley in the central part, are found.
The Philippines' longest river is the Cagayan river on Luzon. Other important rivers include the Pampanga, Agno and Pasig Rivers on Luzon and the
Agusan and Pulangi rivers on Mindanao.
The climate of the Philippines is tropical, marked by high temperatures and heavy annual average rainfall. It is classified into four types. Type 1
is marked by dry season from November to April and by wet season during the rest of the year; Type 2 has no dry season with a very pronounced maximum rainfall
from November to January; Type 3 is relatively dry from November to April and wet during the rest of the year; Type 4 is marked by rainfall which is more or
less evenly distributed throughout the year. The western part of the archipelago has Type 1 climate; the easternmost parts of Bicol region, Samar and Leyte Islands, and
northeast of Mindanao has Type 2; the central part of the Philippines has Type 3 while the eastern parts of Cagayan valley and central Luzon, some areas of Bicol Region,
western parts of Samar and Leyte islands, and Southern Mindanao has Type 4. Hottest month is May when temperature shoots up to 38 degrees celsius.
Typhoons periodically visits the country particularly Luzon and the Visayas Islands from May to December. The severe ones is often accompanied by heavy rainfall resulting in floods and landslides and thus
causing much damage to life and property.
There were 88.5 million Filipinos in 2007. The Philippines has one of the highest
population growth rates in the world. However, such growth rate has been steadily declining. In 2007, it registered a population
growth rate of 2.04% - down from 2.36% in 2000 and from a high of 3.08 in 1970.