The Archipelago north of the Equator has 7.107 Islands, 2.000 of them are populated and only 500 are larger then one square kilometer. 2.500 of this Islands don't even have an official name. The Islands of the Philippines are covering an area with a length of 1.850 km, and a width of 1.100 km. The landmass covers an area of 299.404 square kilometers
The neighbors of the Philippines are Taiwan around 160 km in the north. you only need to travel 25 km from the south-tip to reach Sabah (Borneo). If you swim to the west you need a bit longer to reach Vietnam after 950 km open ocean.
In general the Philippines are divided into four regions:
Luzon in the north is the biggest Island. The neighboring Islands of Batanes, Mindoro, Marinduque, Masbate, and Romblon belonging to the Luzon area .
In the south of the archipelago lays the the second biggest Island named Mindanao
In between those two is a group of Islands called the Visayas. Panay, Negros, Cebu, Bohol, Leyte und Samar are some of the bigger and touristic more or less developed islands belonging to the Visayas. The last region in the west are the 1.700 islands around Palawan.
Traveling between different destinations and Islands in the Philippines is quite easy. There are 5 domestic Airlines offering valuable flights to almost all cities al over the Philippines. Wherever is some space, new domestic Airports are built. Occasionally flights are also canceled due to a lack of passengers. The usual excuse you will hear then is the flight is canceled because of the weather at the destination.
85 millions people are living in the philippines. Around 40% of them living in the bigger cities like Manila, Davao,Cebu-City, Iloilo, Bacolod or Angeles. Metro Manila alone has a population of around 15 Million people.
The government has a lot of programs running to control the birthrates in the Philippines but the reality is that we have to talk about „family-planting“ instead of „family-planning“. A big family is still the best insurance when you grew older in this tropical paradise.
With the influence of many different cultures wars immigrants from all surrounding asian countries the language here can be a problem. There are around 80 different dialects spoken in the Philippines. The difference between these dialects are sometimes so significant that they are basically totally different languages. While the population of Luzon speaks mainly Tagalog, Cebuano is the dialect of the Visayas.
The constitution of 1973 finally declare Filipino (with a "F" instead of the letter "P") to be the national language. Filipino is based on Tagalog but includes fractions of many other spoken dialects of this country.
English is the official language spoken in all public offices. English is mostly spoken throughout the Philippine Islands and is taught already in grade one of the elementary schools. You can get along in the Philippines even english is not your mother language and a bit rusty.
the Philippine Peso (PHP) has 100. The US-Dollar is the most accepted foreign currency. But there is no problem to change Euro, Australian or HK dollar in the touristic areas.
1 Euro is at present 60 PHP
1 US Dollar around 40 PHP
It is advisable to change some money after arrival at the airport. Even you get a slightly lower exchange rate it will help you to have some Peso in your wallet in case you want to buy some water or a snack in one of the many "eateries and Sari-Sari shops" just outside the airport.
Traveler in US-dollar are accepted by most banks and resorts. The exchange rate for TC is about 5% lower than cash.
Credit-cards from the bigger companies like Master-Card, Visa, American Express and Dinners Club can also be used to pay bills in some Hotels, Restaurants and Resorts. The additional charge for C-cards varies from 3 up to 10%.
Make sure you contact your hotel or Resort to ask about the different payment opportunities.