The Philippines is an archipelago of (official) 7107 islands and islets. Recent new counts however, have shown that there are many more, making the total number close to 7500.
The Philippines is located in South East Asia, two hours flying south from Taiwan. It is two hours South-East from HongKong, three hours flying East-North-East from Singapore, and a little north from Indonesia.
Location on the globe is roughly between 115° East and 130° East, and between 5° North and 20° North. Check a large map on: Mapsland maps
Administrative division of the Philippines
The country consists of three main geographical divisions : Luzon in the North, Visayas in the Center and Mindanao in the South. These are further divided into 17 regions, 81 provinces, 145 cities, 1,489 municipalities, and 42,036 barangays (as of Sep 30, 2016).
In the country are 19 language groups, with 120 to 187 dialects, depending on the method of classification. The present constitution, ratified in 1987, designates Filipino and English as joint official languages.
Tagalog and Cebuano are the most spoken dialects in the Philippines. Each over 25 and 20 million people. The other dialects are much smaller.
Several of the many dialects are (almost) distinct.
On the street, one can hear a mixture of Filipino (Tagalog) and English. It is called Taglish. For us Westerners it is strange to hear so many English words mixed with Tagalog. But it makes understanding Filipinos a lot easier. Filipinos tend to use English terms a lot for two reasons: they do not have a Filipino equivalent for it, or the English word is easier to use and shorter.
English is used in official documents of business, government, the legal system, medicine, the sciences and as a medium of instruction. Filipinos prefer textbooks for subjects like calculus, physics, chemistry, biology, etc., written in English rather than Filipino. But only limited people are able to speak proper English. Many know English, but the moment they have to speak it, they can’t. They themselves call it ‘nosebleed’: not knowing what to say or what to answer. The Philippines uses the same alphabet as we do in English.