The Philippines

Magical Land for the Intrepid and Brave

Catching local attention in The PhilippinesWe left one of the biggest and most progressive cities in the world behind in exchange for small town life in a developing country, and the transition was not an easy one to make by any means. Once we got used to the endless stream of shouts from people around us, however - the never ending queries of our names and destinations, the declarations of love from strangers and the endless cries of "Hey Jo!" and "Americano!" (despite our being British) - things began to feel normal. In almost no time at all, this world of rice, sweat, chick foetus delicacies, palm trees and pedicabs soon became our much loved home.

Not a lot of westerners know much about the Philippines. Most people don't know that the country is home to more than 7,000 islands, and many people are never really sure even how to spell it (that's one L and three Ps, by the way). In fact, when we mentioned our plan to our friends back home, few knew where it was exactly, with one even thinking that we were off to Africa! As a result of its anonymity, the Philippines is not your typical South Asian mass tourist holiday destination. One of the greatest things about this incredible country is that once you scratch the surface, you are rewarded with a magical land where only the intrepid and brave spend the time and make the effort to explore.

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 Full name: Republic of the Philippines

 Population: 103.8 million (CIA, 2012)

 Capital: Manila

 Largest city: Quezon City

 Area: 300,000 sq.km. (115,830.6 sq. mi.)

 Major languages: Filipino, English, and other  dialects

 Major religions: Catholic, Muslim,  Evangelical, Iglesia ni Kristo, Other

 Monetary unit: Philippine Peso

 GDP per capita: US $4,100

 Internet domain: .ph

 International dialling code: +63

 Source: CIA World Factbook