The Philippines

What's the capital of the Philippines?

And the answer is: Manila.  

Photo Courtesy: Compare Remit 

Situated on Manila Bay at the mouth of the Pasig River, Manila got its name from a type of flowering shrub that used to grow along the river. One of the most densely populated cities in the world, Manila has been the principal city of the Philippines for at least four centuries.

The Philippines is a tropical archipelago of about 7,000 islands, of which around 2,000 are inhabited. In fact, it is the largest island nation without any land borders or shared island territory with another nation. The island nation is generally broken up into three primary groups: Luzon, in the north, is home to Manila and over half of the population; Visayas in the middle; and Mindano in the south. Surrounding Manila are 16 towns and cities that are considered "Manila Metro," or the National Capital Region. Together, these regions act as a single unit.

The entire area encompassing the Philippines is disputed, and complex. China, Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei each have overlapping claims on the islands, creating occasional internal dispute among the citizens of the Spratly Islands.

The Philippines lies on the Ring of Fire, a line along which many fault lines and much volcanic activity exists. As such, there are many active volcanoes (about 53!) and frequent earthquakes. In fact, one Filipino island called Camigun has more volcanoes than towns on it (7 volcanoes to 5 towns).

Due to its tropic positioning, the Philippines specializes in various forms of agriculture (though their economy has begun to transition to service and manufacturing). Thanks to several integral rivers, the Cagayan valley produces nearly all of the rice in the Philippines. Meanwhile, other regions grow sugarcane and coconut and other fruits. Another pro of the tropics is the nation's biodiversity. The Philippines are home to the largest level of marine biodiversity and the highest rate of animal discovery in the world.

Learn more about the history of the Philippines below.

And, for more on the rich food culture of the Philippines, check out the video below.

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