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Perhaps the least known destination in Southeast Asia, the 7107 islands of the Philippines are scattered across 1000 km of emerald green ocean. Most of the islands are grouped in a long chain between the two largest islands, Luzon and Mindanao, but rugged Palawan juts west towards Malaysian Borneo. Visitors usually fly into the crowded capital, Manila, or Cebu, the capital of the Visayas group in the central Philippines. Most islands are characterized by sandy beaches and volcanic hills, often covered in dense primary jungle. Christianity is the main religion, but Islam dominates islands in the far south. Note that parts of Mindanao and some ...

Perhaps the least known destination in Southeast Asia, the 7107 islands of the Philippines are scattered across 1000 km of emerald green ocean. Most of the islands are grouped in a long chain between the two largest islands, Luzon and Mindanao, but rugged Palawan juts west towards Malaysian Borneo. Visitors usually fly into the crowded capital, Manila, or Cebu, the capital of the Visayas group in the central Philippines. Most islands are characterized by sandy beaches and volcanic hills, often covered in dense primary jungle. Christianity is the main religion, but Islam dominates islands in the far south. Note that parts of Mindanao and some other islands are off-limits due to rebel activity. Highlights for visitors include world-class scuba diving (particularly the Japanese wrecks at Busuanga), fabulous beaches, high-spirited festivals and surreal volcanic landscapes. Lowlights include the hectic atmosphere of the cities and the sex industry, which has flourished here since the Vietnam War.

Joe Bindloss
About the Expert

Joe Bindloss has written more than 30 guidebooks for Lonely Planet, Time Out and other publishers, with a focus on Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent and island nations.

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Joe Bindloss for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: The Philippines is an archipelagic nation located in Southeast Asia with Manila as its capital city. The Philippine archipelago comprises 7,107 islands in the western Pacific Ocean.
  • Language: Filipino, Tagalog, English
  • Currency: Peso and Piso
  • Research: Wikipedia | Wikitravel
  • Weather: Rainfall | Daylight