Loading...
The Philippines 2018-08-20T12:14:30+00:00

The Philippines

The Philippines – A huge archipelago full of tropical islands, colorful coral reefs and lively locals make diving and staying a true pleasure. Here is some background information.

The Philippines is an archipelago consisting of 7107 islands in Southeast Asia, west of Vietnam and south of China. West of the Philippines is the Philippine Pit, which is the second deepest ditch in the world with a depth of over 10,000 meters and flows into the Mariana Trench. No place in the Philippines is more than 200km from the sea. The coral reefs along the coast offer the most unique bio-diversity of fish, crustaceans and mollusks worldwide.

The Pacific Ocean archipelago is the fifth largest island state in the world and now has over 100 million inhabitants. Of the more than 7000 islands, about 880 are inhabited.

The capital of the Philippines is Manila, the currency Philippine pesos. There are around 171 languages spoken, but Filipino and English are the official languages.

The Philippines are divided into three major regions.

  • The northern island group Luzon with the main islands Luzon, Mnidoro, Masbate and Palawan.
  • The middle archipelago of Visayas with Cebu, Bohol, Negros, Panay, Leyte, Samar and Siquijor
  • The southern island group Mindanao with Basilan, the Sulu and the Jolo islands

THE ISLAND GROUP OF VISAYAS

The archipelago of Visayas is located in the center of the Philippines. It is bounded north of the Luzon archipelago and south of the Mindanao associated islands. The Visayas are divided into three regions: the Western Visayas with the islands of Panay and Guimaras and the famous Boracay, the Central Visayas with the islands of Cebu, Bohol and Siquijor, and the Eastern Visayas with the islands of Leyte and Samar. New in May 2015 is the Negros Island Region (NIR), formerly part of Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental.

THE CORAL TRIANGLE

The vast marine area of more than 5 million square kilometers, known as the Coral Triangle, stretches from the Solomon Islands to New Guinea and Borneo to the north of the Philippines.

The Coral Triangle with its incredible marine fauna and flora is home to 75 percent of all coral species and more than 3000 different species of fish. It is the area with the highest biodiversity of marine life on earth, the center of marine biodiversity.

Diving in the Philippines is a pure pleasure because the archipelago houses the most species-rich marine biotope in the world. There are 164 species of cartilaginous fish, over 2,000 species of marine invertebrates, over 10,000 species of invertebrates, 25 species of marine mammals, five species of sea turtles and 17 species of sea snakes.

The tropical coral reefs, also referred to as rainforests of the seas, make the Philippines the seventh heaven for divers. With over 480 species of hard corals and over 1700 species of reef fish, you can discover something new on almost every dive.

Reference, Wikipedia

The Climate

The climate in the Philippines is naturally tropical humid warm and is roughly divided into 4 categories (see graph).

The monsoon winds Amihan (northeast monsoon, from November to May) and Habagat (southwest monsoon, from June to October) have a strong influence on the weather and rainfall, depending on the region.

The seasons are not very pronounced in the areas where our safaris take place (TYPE III). It is relatively dry from November to April, relatively wet in the remaining months. In our experience, May is still very dry.

Generally the daytime temperatures are always 30C – 32C and vary little. At night it can “cool down” to 21-25C. Water temperatures vary between 26C and 30C, but average 27C.

In addition, it can come in the months of September to December to short-term weather deterioration, as there is the possibility that typhoon foothills affect the weather over a large area. Since the islands, which are approached on liveaboard safaris, but outside the typhoon belt, these disturbances are usually minimal and of short duration.

Unfortunately, the Philippines is also one of the countries whose population and biodiversity are affected by climate change; Weather forecasts can therefore be quite unreliable, especially those based on the local weather service PAGASA.

THE HISTORY

Even before the arrival of the Spaniards and the Portuguese Ferdinand Magellan in 1521, the Philippines had many trade relations with China, Malaysia and Indonesia.

In 1542, the islands were named “Las Islas Filipinas” in honor of the Spanish Infante and later King Philip II.

In 1896 there were liberation struggles against the Spanish colonial power, which remained unsuccessful. But in 1898 Spain declared war on the USA and lost. As a result, the Spaniards seceded the Philippines to the Americans, and the Philippine independence fighters fought on against the new occupiers in the Philippine-American War, the revolutionaries in 1902 lost. The Philippines then became an American colony after the capitulation.

In 1935, the Philippines received the status of a semi-autonomous Commonwealth. In 1941, the Japanese occupied the Philippines, but the Americans were able to recapture them in 1945. In 1946, the Philippines were released to independence. From 1965 to 1986 Ferdinand Marcos (the Butcher of Manila) ruled the country and systematically destroyed it. He was hunted out of the country in 1986. From 1986 to today there is democracy.

THE RELIGION

Religion and even superstition play a very important role in the Philippines, the largest Christian country in Southeast Asia.

Most of the population is Catholic. A small minority is Muslim and are often involved in unrest in the southern archipelagos (Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago).

Approximately 83% of the Filipinos are Catholics. This makes the country the largest Christian (and Catholic) country in Asia. The Catholic Church also has a considerable influence on politics and on Filipino society, eg. For example, there is a fight against laws for modern contraceptive methods and sex education in schools.

The Philippines is also the only country in the world where you can not get a divorce, apart from the Vatican. That, like most laws, applies only to the destitute part of society.

In the west of the island of Mindanao and in the Sulu Sea, Islam is widespread. About 4 million Filipinos are Muslims, a small part of them are radicalized and make with terrorist actions again and again a lot of suffering and international headlines.

A lot of Filipinos are also very superstitious and are firmly convinced of the existence of ghosts, demons and mythological mythical creatures like vampires and shapeshifters (Aswang, Manananggal).

Visit Us On FacebookVisit Us On Google PlusVisit Us On YoutubeVisit Us On Twitter