The Philippines, officially known as the Republic of the Philippines, is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean.
Its location on the Pacific Ring of Fire and its tropical climate make the Philippines prone to earthquakes and typhoons but have also endowed the country with natural resources and made it one of the richest areas of biodiversity in the world.
The Philippines is the world's 12th most populous country. An additional 11 million Filipinos live overseas. Multiple ethnicities and cultures are found throughout the islands. The United States retained sovereignty over the islands until the end of World War II when the Philippines gained independence.
The Philippines is a constitutional republic with a presidential system of government. It is governed as a unitary state.
The Philippines' international relations are based on trade with other nations and the well-being of the 11 million overseas Filipinos living outside the country.Relations with other nations are generally positive. Shared democratic values ease relations with Western and European countries while similar economic concerns help in relations with other developing countries. Historical ties and cultural similarities also serve as a bridge in relations with Spain and Latin America.
Due to the volcanic nature of the islands, mineral deposits are abundant. The country is estimated to have the second-largest gold deposits after South Africa and one of the largest copper deposits in the world. It is also rich in nickel, chromite, and zinc. The Philippines' rainforests and its extensive coastlines make it home to a diverse range of birds, plants, animals, and sea creatures. It is one of the ten most biologically mega-diverse countries.The Philippines has a tropical maritime climate and is usually hot and humid. Temperatures usually range from 21°C to 32°C although it can get cooler or hotter depending on the season. The coolest month is January; the warmest is May.Primary exports include semiconductors and electronic products, transport equipment, garments, copper products, petroleum products, coconut oil, and fruits. Major trading partners include China, Japan, the United States, Singapore, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Thailand, and Malaysia. Its unit of currency is the Philippine peso. According to the 1987 Philippine Constitution, Filipino and English are the official languages. Filipino is a de facto version of Tagalog, spoken mainly in Metro Manila and other urban regions. Both Filipino and English are used in government, education, print, broadcast media, and business.More than 90% of the population are Christians. Philippine traditional religions are still practiced by many aboriginal and tribal groups, often syncretized with Christianity and Islam. The transportation infrastructure in the country is relatively underdeveloped. Philippine culture is a combination of Eastern and Western cultures. The Philippines exhibits aspects found in other Asian countries with a Malay heritage, yet its culture also displays a significant amount of Spanish and American influences. One of the most visible Hispanic legacies is the prevalence of Spanish names and surnames among Filipinos. However, a Spanish name and surname does not necessarily denote Spanish ancestry.Philippine cuisine has evolved over several centuries from its Malayo-Polynesian origins to become a mixed cuisine with many Hispanic, Chinese, American, and other Asian influences that have been adapted to local ingredients and the Filipino palate to create distinctively Filipino dishes.