The Philippines, officially known as the Republic of the Philippines, is an archipelagic country located in Southeast Asia with Manila as its capital city. The Philippine archipelago comprises 7,107 islands in the western Pacific Ocean, sharing maritime borders with Indonesia, Malaysia, Palau, the Republic of China (Taiwan), and Vietnam. The Philippines is the world’s 12th most populous country with a population approaching 90 million people. Its national economy is the 37th largest in the world with a 2006 gross domestic product (GDP) of over US$117.562 billion. There are more than 11 million overseas Filipinos worldwide, the largest diaspora network in the world, about 11% of the total population of the Philippines. Ecologically,Philippines is considered to be among 17 of the most mega diverse countries in the world.
The Philippines was settled mostly by Malay people. The Philippines became a Spanish colony in the 16th century and an American territory at the beginning of the 20th century. The Katipunan led the Philippine Revolution of 1896 that won independence from Spain. The U.S. occupation of the Philippines during the Spanish-American War led to the outbreak of the Philippine-American War. The Philippines gained its independence from the United States on July 4, 1946 after the Pacific War (the Second World War) via the Treaty of Manila. Martial law was declared in 1972 by Ferdinand Marcos. The assassination of Benigno Aquino, Jr. led to the People Power Revolution of 1986 that overthrew authoritarian rule. Political upheavals and corruption scandals alternated with the peaceful transition of power during the period that followed the restoration of democracy.
Modern Philippines has many affinities with the Western world, derived mainly from the cultures of Spain, Latin America, and the United States. Roman Catholicism is the country’s predominant religion, although pre-Hispanic indigenous religious practices still exist; there are also followers of Islam. Spanish was an official language of the Philippines until 1973. Since then, the two official languages are Filipino and English.
US citizens traveling to the Philippines for business or tourism are not required to possess a visa for stays not exceeding 21 days. However, an Immigration Officer may exercise their discretion and admit travelers a maximum of 60 days beyond the intended period of stay. For detailed information regarding visa requirements for the Philippines, follow the link below.