The Philippines, consisting of some 7,107 islands, is located in the western Pacific Ocean. Taiwan lies to its north, and Vietnam to the west.
It is the 73rd-largest country in the world by surface area, but with a population of some 98 million people, making it the seventh most populous country in Asia, and the 12th most populous in the world.
Its capital, Manila, is the second largest city in the country after Quezon City (the former capital) - and home to most of the country's educational and political institutions.
The country, once a Spanish colony, eventually gained its independence from US occupation in 1946.
The Philippines is located close to the equator on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire - or typhoon belt - a large Pacific region where many volcanic eruptions and earthquakes occur.
More than 170 different languages are spoken across the Philippines, the most popular being Tagalog (Filipino), followed closely by English.
More than 90 percent of Filipino people are of the Christian faith, while five percent practice Islam. The remaining five percent are made up of a mix of minority religions.