A myriad of around 7,100 islands make up the country officially know as the Republic of Philippines. A long string of islands from Taiwan to Borneo that lies on the Western fringes of the “Ring of Fire” makes it prone to earthquakes and typhoons but has some of the world’s greatest bio-diversity. It has around 98 million people living in the country but another 12 million migrant workers living around the world but majority living in Asia. Its land mass is predominately mountainous with stunning coastlines and is around 115,831 sq mi. Roman Catholics account for 80% of religious distribution.

Colonisation occurred in the 1500’s with the arrival of the Portuguese and then further colonisation later on in the 1900’s by the Americans. Independence was achieved in 1946 but America still holds strong ties with the Philippines. Today you can see the strong influences from both of these eras.

There are three seasons: hot & dry season or summer from March to May; rainy season from June to November; cool dry season from December to February. Food is again mostly western but with a heavy influence on pork. Local dishes tend to favour the use of vinegar, are not very spicy and most are served with rice or potatoes. Numerous people have complained about the food either being all fried or not tasty in the Philippines but I had no issues.

Transport like most Asian countries is easy, flights are numerous and can take you throughout the Philippines and travel by bus is not only easy, comfortable and cheap but also exciting and the scenery stunning to take in and the locals are all very friendly and majority speak very good English. Visa on Arrival has now been increased to 60 days.

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