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Your Holiday Guide to the Philippines

Featuring over 7000 islands in Southeast Asia, the Philippines is home to a diverse ecosystem of beaches, volcanoes, rainforests, plants, as well as animals. The location and history have given this island nation a unique culture influenced by societies worldwide.

In this article by Pacific Prime, we will be going over key details about the Philippines such as the geography, weather, and culture should you decide to travel or relocate there.

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Geography of The Philippines

Located in the western Pacific Ocean, the Philippines is surrounded by Taiwan, Vietnam, Borneo, and parts of Indonesia. The 7,107 islands are divided into three groups consisting of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

Moreover, the Philippines is further split into 17 regions, 80 provinces, 138 cities, 1,496 municipalities, and 42,025 barangays (which are small village-like units).

The current population of the Philippines is 119,106,224 people, making the Philippines the world’s 12th most-populated country. The nation’s capital, Manilla, is also home to 13% of the population and is the world’s 11th most-populated metropolitan area.

However, like many archipelagos (a group of islands), the islands frequently experience volcanic activities and earthquakes. Up to 20 earthquakes occur daily, although most of them are not big enough to be detected by humans.

Thanks to volcanic activities, the Philippines is rich in minerals, featuring the world’s second-largest deposits of gold, copper, nickel, chromite, and zinc.

The Weather in the Philippines

In the Philippines, the hot and dry seasons run from March to May, then the rainy seasons run all the way from June to November, while the cool and dry seasons run from December to February.

Akin to volcanic eruptions and earthquakes, weather in the Philippines is equally unpredictable. The Philippine coasts and other locations on the Pacific Ring of Fire have been susceptible to high winds, monsoons, and typhoons.

Fortunately, the unpredictable weather in the Philippines is not without some benefits such as the different weather in the various parts of the country allowing different crops and plants to grow. For instance, rainfall and sunny seasons are good for plants.

If you are heading to the Philippines, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the general weather patterns as certain weather conditions such as sunny seasons and the rain will come in handy for plants.

The Philippines’ Culture

Culture in the Philippines combines Eastern and Western influences, featuring various Asian traits as well as parts of Spanish and American culture.

The Spanish influence can be seen in the architecture. Notable examples include churches, government buildings, and universities, all of which can still be seen today. Another example of Spanish influence in the Philippines is how people have Spanish surnames.

Meanwhile, the American influence can be found in the use of the English language as well as the inheritance of American trends such as fast food restaurants, film, and music. Many districts also celebrate feast days of patron saints with music festivals along with food and dances.

As the years go by, though, certain traditional practices have not stood the test of time and faded since. Organizations such as the Bayanihan Philippine National Folk Dance Company have been hard at work to preserve the Philippine dances by ensuring continued practices and performances.

Food in the Philippines

Just like the aspects of the culture, food in the Philippines is once again a combination of multiple influences. These include the blend of local Philippine ingredients and flavors with American, Hispanic, Chinese, and other Asian techniques to create unique cuisine.

The various dishes range from simpler Asian options such as fried salted fish with rice to more intricate fiesta alternatives such as paellas and cocidos.

For visitors and expats, though, do keep in mind that Filipinos eat with Western utensils (such as spoons and forks) as opposed to chopsticks like many other Asian countries.

Families and Social Norms in the Philippines

In the Philippines, the value of family is one core value that has stood the test of time. A family, consisting of a couple with their dependent children, extended relatives, and people who are close to the family such as godparents and close friends, are the center of Philippine society.

Children may also grow up with godparents, and it’s not uncommon to see family members working together as certain relatives constantly seek job opportunities.

One aspect that isn’t exclusive to the Philippines in Asia is the idea of shame, also known as “hiya”. Shame dictates how people act in public, as people feel obligated to live up to social standards or they’ll disgrace themselves and their families.

Nature in the Philippines

Thanks to the rainforests and the many miles of coastline, there is a wide range of plant, animal, and ocean life in the Philippines. More specifically, there are over 100 mammals, 170 birds, and 3,200 plants believed to be exclusive to the Philippine islands.

From churches to volcanoes, terraces, and more, the Philippines will tick the boxes for nature and cultural or historical enthusiasts, expats and locals alike.

Key Landmarks in the Philippines

Below are key landmarks in the Philippines for visitors and expats.

The Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park

The Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park is a world-renowned scuba diving site and a marine protected area for diving among the coral reef walls and the wide array of marine animals.

Located in the middle of the Sulu Sea, this marine protected area is home to over 1,200 marine species such as sea grasses and algae, corals, sharks, manta rays and stingrays, sea turtles, and so much more.

San Agustin Church

Situated in Manila since 1589, the San Agustin Church is the oldest church in the Philippines and was the only building left intact in the aftermath of World War II. This church is full of historical and cultural highlights such as carvings and paintings.

Mayon Volcano

Known for its cone shape, the Mayon Volcano is located in the southern part of Luzon’s main island, just 500 kilometers to the south of Manila. With natural beauty that has inspired various forms of art, this most active volcano is a frequent spot for camping, climbing, hiking, and birdwatching.

Puerto Princesa

A coastal city on Palawan Island in the western Philippines, Puerto Princesa is known for being the world’s longest navigable underground river along with familiar sights such as the limestone cliffs, turquoise waters, and cave formations.

Banaue Rice Terraces

Carved over 2,000 years ago by the ancestors of the local indigenous Ifugao tribes, the Banaue Rice Terraces are among the most popular destinations in the Philippines for tourists and are known as the 8th wonder of the world by some.


With a hybrid of various cultures, the Philippines is one destination you don’t want to miss. From various types of cuisine to choose from to a wide array of landmarks, the Philippines has something for everyone whether you’re a tourist, an expat living there, or a local Filipino citizen yourself.

About Pacific Prime

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We also offer impartial advice and support at no additional cost.

So, if you would like to secure insurance plans or if you have any further questions, please feel free to get in touch with us and get a free quote today.

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