Philippines

Information below is from the CIA factbook

Geography

Location

Southeastern Asia, archipelago between the Philippine Sea and the South China Sea, east of Vietnam

Geographic coordinates

13 00 N, 122 00 E

Map references

Southeast Asia

Area

total: 300,000 sq km

land: 298,170 sq km

water: 1,830 sq km

country comparison to the world: 74

Area – comparative

slightly less than twice the size of Georgia; slightly larger than Arizona

Land boundaries

total: 0 km

Coastline

36,289 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: irregular polygon extending up to 100 nm from coastline as defined by 1898 treaty; since late 1970s has also claimed polygonal-shaped area in South China Sea as wide as 285 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

continental shelf: to the depth of exploitation

Climate

tropical marine; northeast monsoon (November to April); southwest monsoon (May to October)

Terrain

mostly mountains with narrow to extensive coastal lowlands

Elevation

highest point: Mount Apo 2,954 m

lowest point: Philippine Sea 0 m

mean elevation: 442 m

Natural resources

timber, petroleum, nickel, cobalt, silver, gold, salt, copper

Land use

agricultural land: 41% (2018 est.)

arable land: 18.2% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 17.8% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 5% (2018 est.)

forest: 25.9% (2018 est.)

other: 33.1% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

16,270 sq km (2012)

Major lakes (area sq km)

Salt water lake(s): Laguna de Bay – 890 sq km

Population distribution

population concentrated where good farmlands lie; highest concentrations are northwest and south-central Luzon, the southeastern extension of Luzon, and the islands of the Visayan Sea, particularly Cebu and Negros; Manila is home to one-eighth of the entire national population

Natural hazards

astride typhoon belt, usually affected by 15 and struck by five to six cyclonic storms each year; landslides; active volcanoes; destructive earthquakes; tsunamis

volcanism: significant volcanic activity; Taal (311 m), which has shown recent unrest and may erupt in the near future, has been deemed a Decade Volcano by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth’s Interior, worthy of study due to its explosive history and close proximity to human populations; Mayon (2,462 m), the country’s most active volcano, erupted in 2009 forcing over 33,000 to be evacuated; other historically active volcanoes include Biliran, Babuyan Claro, Bulusan, Camiguin, Camiguin de Babuyanes, Didicas, Iraya, Jolo, Kanlaon, Makaturing, Musuan, Parker, Pinatubo, and Ragang; see note 2 under “Geography – note”

Geography – note

note 1: for decades, the Philippine archipelago was reported as having 7,107 islands; in 2016, the national mapping authority reported that hundreds of new islands had been discovered and increased the number of islands to 7,641 – though not all of the new islands have been verified; the country is favorably located in relation to many of Southeast Asia’s main water bodies: the South China Sea, Philippine Sea, Sulu Sea, Celebes Sea, and Luzon Strait

note 2: Philippines is one of the countries along the Ring of Fire, a belt of active volcanoes and earthquake epicenters bordering the Pacific Ocean; up to 90% of the world’s earthquakes and some 75% of the world’s volcanoes occur within the Ring of Fire

note 3: the Philippines sits astride the Pacific typhoon belt and an average of 9 typhoons make landfall on the islands each year – with about 5 of these being destructive; the country is the most exposed in the world to tropical storms

Last Updated on May 22, 2022