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Geography

Area and geographical features
Covering an area of 300,176 sq km the Philippines consist of over 7100 islands of which 1000 are inhabited. The two largest islands Luzon and Mindanao consist of over 66% of the land area. Situated between them are the Visaya islands.

The islands are mainly mountainous with several active volcanoes, one of which, Mount Apo (2954m) is the highest peak. Much of the land is fertile and narrow coastal plains give way to forested plateaus with over 33% of the islands forested. Earthquakes are common in the Philippines.

Population
Population of 80.4 million (estimated by the Philippines National Statistics Office in Sept 02). Population density of 249 per sq km. The annual growth rate is 2.02%. 60% of the population is between 15 and 64 with some 50% below 20.

The ethnic make up is predominantly Indo-Malay (with Chinese and Spanish backgrounds)

Major business cities and towns
Metro Manila is the capital of the Philippines. Makati is Metro Manila's main business and commercial district. Other principal commercial centres Davao (the main city on Mindanao), Cebu City (capital of the Visayan Islands) and Iloilo.

Climate

The climate is tropical tempered by sea breezes. In the north the monsoon season lasts from June to October and can be characterized by typhoons. The monsoon does not affect the south. Rainfall occurs throughout the year.

Average annual temperatures range from 20-35oC with 65-90% humidity and some 2300 mm of rain.

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