A democratic republic located in the Western Pacific Ocean , the Republic of the Philippines is made up of the Philippine Islands and is the island group at the northernmost part of the Malay Archipelago .
The Philippines is situated about 1,210 km (about 750 mi) east of the coast of Vietnam and is separated in the north from Taiwan by the Bashi Channel. Bounded on the east by the Philippine Sea (and Pacific Ocean), on the south by the Celebes Sea, and on the west by the South China Sea, the archipelagic state comprises about 7,100 islands. Resulting from this situation are great variations in climate, geography and vegetation.
The total area of the Philippines has a total area of about 300,000 sq km (about 115, 830 sq mi). About 298,170 of the total area is land area with the remaining 1,830 being the total water area. The capital and largest city of the Philippines is Manila .
The rainy season is from May to November, which is the summer monsoon, while the dry season occurs during the winter monsoon from December to April. Typically, the weather is cool from November to February, while it’s very hot and dry from March to May. The rainiest times are from June to October, with typhoons not uncommon during this time. The average rainfall in the lowlands is about 80 inches a year (2030 mm).
Filipino (formerly Pilipino) is based on Tagalog and is the official language of the Philippines . In spite of being the national language, only about 55 percent of Filipinos speak the language. In addition to Filipino are about 111 distinct indigenous languages and dialects, of which only about 10 are important regionally.
English is generally used for educational, governmental and commercial purposes and is widely understood since it is the medium of instruction in schools. The Philippines are the third largest group of English speaking people in the world, after the United States and the United Kingdom .
Since English is widely spoken in the Philippines , it is common to hear Filipinos use a mixture English and Filipino words or phrases, known as "Taglish" (a mixture of English and Tagalog), in their everyday conversations.
A steadily dwindling minority still speak Spanish, which had at one time been an official language.
There are not many mammals found in the Philippines . The carabao, which is a domesticated water buffalo, along with pigs (both wild and domesticated), the mongoose, several deer species and numerous humped cattle are the most important animal species in the Philippines . There are many reptiles as well as about 760 bird species on the islands, one of which is the parrot.