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The Philippines is made up of 7,107 islands covering a land area of 115,739 sq. m. (299,764 sq. km.). Main island groups are Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Capital is Manila. Time Zone is GMT + 8 hours.


March to May is hot and dry. June to October is rainy, November to February is cool. Average temperatures: 78°F / 25°C to 90°F / 32°C; humidity is 77%.


There are a total of 76.5 million Filipinos as of the latest national census in May, 2000. Population growth is estimated at 2.36 percent annually. Luzon, the largest island group, accounts for more than half of the entire population.


Two official languages --- Filipino and English. Filipino which is based on Tagalog, is the national language. English is also widely used and is the medium of instruction in higher education.

Eight (8) major dialects spoken by majority of the Filipinos: Tagalog, Cebuano, Ilocano, Hiligaynon or Ilonggo, Bicol, Waray, Pampango, and Pangasinense.

Filipino is that native language which is used nationally as the language of communication among ethnic groups. Like any living language, Filipino is in a process of development through loans from Philippine languages and non-native languages for various situations, among speakers of different social backgrounds, and for topics for conversation and scholarly discourse. There are about 76 to 78 major language groups, with more than 500 dialects.


Some 80% of Filipinos are Catholic. About 15% are Moslem. The rest are made up of smaller Christian denominations and Buddhist.


The Metric System is used in most trade and legal transactions.


220 volts a/c is the common standard. 110 volts a/c is also used, especially in major hotels.


The Philippines monetary unit is the peso, divided into 100 centavos. Foreign currency may be exchanged at any hotels, most large department stores, banks, and authorized money changing shops accredited by the Central Bank of the Philippines. International credit cards such as Visa, Diners Club, Bank Americard, Master Card, and American Express are accepted in major establishments.


  • MANILA: Philippines sets aside $222k more for typhoon shelters
    The Philippines' Department of Social Welfare and Development has set aside 10 million pesos for the construction of an evacuation centre and regional facility that will serve as a temporary shelter for disaster victims in the future. The allocation is on top of the 68.9 million pesos the agency earmarked for the construction of 113 bunkhouses for survivors of Supertyphoon "Yolanda," which hit Eastern Visayas in November 2013.

  • Cari o: November
    All Souls and All Saints days usher in November in our largely Catholic Philippines. This year, this weekend, we ritually troop to cemeteries to pay respect to our dear and departed.

  • Airfare: $858 round trip from LAX to Cebu, Philippines, on United
    A family watches a sunset at Bantayan Island in northern Cebu province in the Philippines. United is offering a round-trip fare from LAX to Cebu City, Philippines, for $858, including all taxes and fees but subject to availability.

  • Ombudsman tells Puentevella to answer P50.5-...
    BACOLOD City Mayor Monico Puentevella has been directed by the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas to file within 10 days his answer to the complaint for alleged malversation and technical malversation of P50.5 million funds of the Bacolod Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee . In his two-page order dated September 12, 2014, Rodolfo Elman, acting Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas, said they "found enough basis to proceed with the criminal investigation of the case" that was filed against then congressman Puentevella, who chaired the Bascoc when Bacolod co-hosted the Southeast Asian Games in 2005.

  • Localized peace talks won't solve conflict
    LOCALIZED peace talks are not the best way to attain a lasting truce between the National Democratic Front of the Philippines and the Philippine government . This was the call of Iglesia Filipina Independiente Supreme Bishop Ephraim Fajutagana and the 15 other IFI bishops from Visayas and Mindanao as they urge for the resumption of peace talks between the two parties.

  • Wenceslao: Binay's counter and twisting the knife
    VICE President Jejomar Binay is continuing his counter-offensive to save his image and his push for the presidency in 2016. He recently dared Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV to a debate and is planning to meet with members of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines .

  • Amid murder case, Philippines says U.S. pact stays
    After Scott Lang's tours in Iraq and Kuwait, you might think the last thing he would want to do is... MANILA, PHILIPPINES - The Philippines' top diplomat says an accord with the U.S. that allows thousands of American troops to join combat exercises in the country is 'imperfect' but Manila likely won't move to amend it. The accord has been criticized by left-wing groups because it allows U.S. authorities to keep custody of a U.S. Marine accused of killing a transgender Filipino during a night out earlier this month.

  • Abu Sayyaf militants free child hostage in S. Philippines
    The terrorist group Abu Sayyaf released on Wednesday an 8-year-old girl whom they kidnapped more than three months ago in southern Philippines, a military official said on Thursday. Lt. Col.

  • One year after devastating super typhoon, Philippines approves rebuilding plan
    Almost a year after a super typhoon devastated wide areas of the central Philippines killing thousands, President Benigno Aquino only this week approved a $3.74 billion master plan to rebuild housing, social services and public infrastructure. Typhoon Haiyan wiped out or damaged practically everything in its path as it swept ashore on Nov. 8, 2013, with seven-metre storm surges destroying around 90 percent of the city of Tacloban in Leyte province.

  • 30 wounded in La Union bus accident
    ABOUT 30 passengers were rushed to the Ilocos Training and Regional Medical Center for treatment after the bus they were riding on crashed into a mango tree in Barangay Paringao, Bauag, La Union, around 9 a.m. Thursday. The bus left Baguio City and was en route to the Province of Abra when the accident happened, according to Bombo Radyo report.

  • DENR 7 completes demarcation of 24 protected areas
    THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources Central Visayas has completed the forest delineation of all 24 protected areas in the region. With this, the local government units designated to manage the region's protected sites can now come up with "buffer zones" intended to prevent the exploitation of the sites as well as to promote sustainability to those living near these areas.

  • Palace: PNoy's decision not to run in 2016 final
    Malacaang brushed aside yesterday speculation that President Aquino would change his mind against seeking a second term, which would require a constitutional amendment. "The President is known to be a leader who always speaks truthfully," Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. of the Presidential Communications Operations Office told The STAR.

  • Hunks in fashion
    THE Negros Hunks Body Calendar 2015 was recently launched at the Pagcor Casino at L' Fisher Hotel through an all-male fashion show. One amusing thing, though.

  • Malilong: PNoy's right solution
    PRESIDENT Noynoy Aquino couldn't have made it clearer. He is not seeking a second term.

  • Sangil: Bong Naguiat and Noynoy Aquino
    Filomeno 'Apong Menong' Naguiat was municipal mayor of the lethargic town of Porac in the early years. He was well loved because he served well the townspeople and spent his own wealth to help the needy.

  • Tigerair Philippines adds three routes from Manila
    Ribbon-cutting was the name of the game for Tigerair Philippines last week with the launch of two new routes from Roxas to Manila and from Tagbilaran to Manila. Armed with scissors in Roxas were: Martin Tere; Governor Victor Tanco; Captain Bert Yap; Malou Pangilinan; and Attorney Helen Catalbas; while in Tagbilaran the scissors were wielded by: Engineer Dennis Aures, OIC CAAP Tagbilaran; Executive Assistant Mr. Anthony Damalerio, Representative from the Office of the Governor Edgardo Chatto; Attorney Leilani de Leon, Chief Legal and Corporate Affairs Officer of Tigerair Philippines; City Administrator Mr. Leonides Borja, Representative from the Office of Mayor John Geesnell Yap II; and Ms.

  • Flowers for the Dead
    Flowers of various kinds and colors flood the sidewalks of Lt. Guillermo St. near the Cogon public market in Cagayan de Oro City Tuesday, just a few days before the "Kalag-kalag" celebration in the weekend.

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