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[photo credit:
The FookienTimes.
The Philippines Yearbook 2002]


The Philippines is an archipelago of 7,107 islands, islets, rocks and sandbars lying within the Pacific seismic belt. It is bounded on the west by the South China Sea, on the east by the Pacific Ocean, on the south by the Sulu and Celebes Seas, and on the north by the Bashi Channel.

Its total land area is 300,780 square kilometers. This land area makes the Philippines a medium-sized country, a little larger than the British Isles, and about two-thirds the size of Spain. The archipelago is divided into three main groups of islands: Luzon (to the north), the Visayas (central islands), and Mindanao (south).

Except for Luzon and Mindanao, the islands of the archipelago are actually the crests of submerged mountain ranges. The Sierra Madre in Luzon, also known as the Pacific coast range, is the longest continuous mountain range in the Philippines. It begins at Baler, Quezon Province, at the south eastern part of Luzon and crosses Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, and Cagayan Province in the north eastern tip of the island.

Volcanoes dot the three geographic regions of the country. At least ten of these volcanoes are considered active; the rest are dormant. Of these volcanoes, Mayon in Albay Province has been the most active. It has a nearly perfect cone and is a national tourist attraction. The Taal Volcano is the smallest in the world and is situated in the middle of a lake in Batangas 60 kilometers south of Manila. The highest peak in the country, Mount Apo, rises 2,955 meters in Southern Mindanao and is a dormant volcano.

The country has an irregular coastline that extends to about 10,850 statute miles, twice as long as that of continental United States. Such irregularity results in numerous fine harbors. Manila Bay is one of the finest natural harbors in the world.

Manila, the capital, lies in the major routes across the Pacific. It is popular for its sunset and is the seat of the regional offices of several international organizations, such as the World Health Organization and the Asian Development Bank. The International Rice Research Institute is located in Los Baños, Laguna, which is about 2 hours' drive from Manila.


The Philippine International Film and Television Office is tasked to promote the Philippines as location site for international filmmaking, to promote tourism and to encourage foreign producers to make their films in the country.

With its rich geography and diverse resources, the Philippines has been a favorite location site of some of Hollywood's most respected directors including Francis Ford Coppola, Oliver Stone and Peter Weir, whose respective Oscar winning films Apocalypse Now, Born on the 4th of July, Platoon and The Year of Living Dangerously were all filmed on location here. All these prestigious productions involved talented Filipino artists and local production crew. Recently, Roger Donaldson also shot the much acclaimed Thirteen Days in the country.

For more on the Philippine International Film and Television Office, visit www.philippinefilm.com.