✦ Visayas forms the central portion of the Philippines archipelago and comprises a cluster of islands. It is the most popular part of the country and is well-known among tourists due to its rich natural resources. Its central location makes it an important economic and political link between Luzon and Mindanao.
✦ Mindanao, the second largest island of the Philippines after Luzon, completes the Philippine archipelago by forming its southernmost part. It is endowed with rich mineral resources such as lead, zinc, iron, copper, gold, chromite and magnetite. Nearly half of its gold reserves are accounted from Mindanao's gold mines.
The total land area of Philippines is 300,000 square kilometers of which about 298,170 square kilometers corresponds to the land area, while the remaining 1,830 square kilometers corresponds to the total water area. It has a coastline which stretches across 34,400 kilometers and is the world's fifth longest coastline.
Situated right above the equator, Philippines experiences an average temperature that varies from 21˚Celsius (about 70˚Fahrenheit) to 32˚Celsius (about 90˚Fahrenheit) with the humidity ranging from 70% to 85%.
The climate throughout the year is warm and humid which gives Philippines one of the healthiest and favorable tropical climates in the world. Usually, the weather is cool during the months of November to February with a striking contrast of heat and dryness from March to May.
The weather conditions experienced across the country are different and dependent on the type of winds that cross the islands. For example, the northeast monsoon winds blowing during the period of October to January, the trade winds from February to April and the southwest monsoon winds from May to September.
Typically, the rainy season is spread across the months from May to November. However, the months between June to October experience the rainiest of days.
Philippines possesses one of the richest collections of corals in the world. Thousands of tourists visit Philippines every year just to enjoy the country's scenic beauty.
People and Language
Philippines is not only known for its natural beauty but also for the warmhearted and compassionate Filipinos who welcome the tourists with open arms. Rarely, do we find people who find such pleasure in associating with tourists from the West.
Filipinos are a blend of different cultures and comprise mainly of Malays with a few Chinese, American, Spanish and Arab additions. Pilipino is the formal, native language of the country, with English as the informal one.
Calamities and Disasters
Philippines was termed fourth-most accident-prone country in the world by the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in their global report. The number of casualties were studied for the period of 1991 to 2000. Philippines ranked fourth after China, India and Iran. Philippines would have ranked second had it not been for its small population.
Since these islands lie on the northwestern borders of the Pacific Ring of Fire, Philippines encounters a large amount of seismic and volcanic activities. There are more than 18 active volcanoes across the Philippines, which result into approximately 20 (too weak to be felt) earthquakes being registered everyday.
June 1991, viewed the century's second largest volcanic eruption from Mount Pinatubo situated in the Zambales province (central plains of Northern Luxon). The eruption released around 15 million tons of sulfur dioxide into the earth's atmosphere, thereby killing thousands of people.
Besides all the destruction caused by the volcanic eruptions over the years, they have also contributed positively in various ways. The frequent eruptions paved the way for the country's rich-fertile soil, lush greenery, breathtaking landscapes and underwater areas.
In 1990, an earthquake of magnitude 7.8, was recorded on the Richter scale, which left Luzon islands of Philippines devastated. The catastrophe claimed lives of around 1600 people and was one of the most costliest and lethal natural calamities in Philippines.
Sinking coastal areas
Geologists of University of the Philippines' National Institute of Geological Sciences reported that lowland regions as Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas, Valenzuela and several towns in Bulacan, Pampanga and Bataan sank one meter in last 30 years. They held excessive extraction of groundwater by thriving population responsible for the rise in the water levels.
Although Philippines encounters these natural calamities, don't let this stop you from visiting this wonderful island country. It's worth the risk! Philippines has many interesting facts that are hidden in those numerous islets. Go, unravel and experience the magic of Philippines firsthand!