Consisting of over 7,000 islands, the Philippines don’t receive as many backpackers as the rest of South-East Asia. As it is one of the world’s largest archipelagos it presents the traveller the opportunity to island-hop as well as enjoy the continents culture without having to endure walking through crowds like in other South-East Asian countries such as Thailand.
Of the 7,000 islands (7,107 to be precise), 95% of the land is spread over the 11 largest islands. These are Luzon, Mindanao, Samar, Negros, Palawan, Panay, Mindoro, Leyte, Cebu, Bohol and Masbate. And of the 7,000 islands, only 400 are permanently inhabited. So if you look hard enough you may find your own deserted island!
Of the 73 million people who live on the islands, the majority of these are from the Malay group and are known as Filipinos. Although there are over 70 native languages spoken, the primary one is Pilipino. English is widely regarded as the second language.
Like many countries that enjoy tropical climates, the Philippines’ main industry is agriculture. Corn, coconuts, rice, bananas and sugarcane grow extensively throughout the country. The timber industry is also strong, but any non-agricultural industries are generally confined to the capital, Manila, on Luzon.