Geography

The Republic of the Philippines is located in the Western Pacific Ocean and made up of 7,107 islands. It is a nation with a total area of 111,830 square miles (307,055 square kilometers) and the island group located at the northernmost part of the Malay Archipelago. There are three island groups - Luzon (in the north), Visayas (islands in the middle section), and Mindanao (in the south).Of its islands, two thousand are inhabited. The largest island is Luzon, which occupies one third of the land and half of the country's population. Manila, the country's capital and biggest city is located in Luzon. The second largest island is Mindanao. These islands are further divided into 17 regions, 81 provinces, 1510 municipalities and 41,969 villages or locally known as barangays.

The country has no land boundaries,hence, is bordered on the west by the South China Sea, Philippine Sea on the east, Celebes Sea on the south and by the Luzon Strait on the north, which separates the country from its nearest neighbor Taiwan. The closest countries to the south are Indonesia and Malaysia while China and Vietnam are the nearest neighbors on the mainland of Asia.

The Philippines is planted firmly on "The Pacific Ring of Fire", which makes the island volcanic in origin. Volcanic eruptions have already occurred in the past resulting to damages in properties and displaced thousands of people from their homelands. The worst earthquakes of the last three decades occurred on August 2, 1968, August 17, 1976 and July 16, 1990. But certainly, fear of earthquakes would not be enough reason to avoid the Philippines. Because the country is volcanic, the small islands have a mountainous center with coastal plains. Luzon has a broad central valley in the northern provinces along the Cagayan River, and plains in the midlands near the capital, Manila. Mindanao and Panay also have central plains. Northern Luzon has two major mountain ranges namely the Sierra Madre on the eastern coast and Cordillera in the center. The highest peak in the country is Mount Apo in Mindanao at 9,689 feet (2,954 meters).

Laguna de Bay, is the largest inland body of water in the Philippines with an area of about 1,510 sqkm(583 sqmi). It is bounded by Metro Manila and the provinces of Rizal and Laguna. The water is brackish since it is connected to Manila Bay by the Pasig River. The salinity degree is determined by the amount of rain and tides. Majority of the portion of the surface is covered with fish pens. On the other hand, Lake Lanao, located in Lanao del Sur in the island of Mindanao is the largest fresh water lake in the country with an area of 376 sqkm(145 sqmi).