Location: Island surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, Sulu Sea, South China Sea, and Philippine Sea.  Off the coast just east of Vietnam and south of China.

Capital: Manila

Population:93.6 (roughly the equivalent of the combined population of US states even with or west of Colorado + Texas ). Forecasters think this number could double in 30 years.

Size: 115,831 sq square miles (about the size of Arizona)

Religion: Catholicism is so prominent that government neglects addressing the country’s over population issue because they are afraid of the catholic’s anti-artificial contraception opposition.  However, there is also a growing Islamic following.

Language: Filipino and English (both official)

Government:  democracy, though very unstable

Economy: use Philippine peso and centavos. GNI per capita is US $2,060

Fun Facts: Philippines is home to the world’s smallest volcano (check out 11 other beautiful Philippine “wonders”). Locals have a tradition called “haraya” where men court women by singing to them.

Ferdinand Magellan arrived in 1521, developed relationships with locals, and died in a territorial battle between native groups. Shortly after, Philippines got its name from Spain’s Phillip II who claimed the land. Spain kept control, despite revolutionary attempts by a local group known as the KKK, until the US took over in 1901.  US recognized their independence in 1934.

If you’re travelling to the Philippines, here are some meeting and dining customs.

Not So Fun Facts: The country just got hit with a 6.9 earthquake.  Unfortunately, natural disasters are prevalent in the country. Typhoons, earthquakes, volcanos, landslides (caused primarily by illegal logging), and floods all wreak havoc on the struggling country, and the Philippines has little structure in terms of governmental preparation or resources to recover.