A crab in the Philippines hides itself in the plants of a coral reef


Highlights in the Philip­pines

Geography of the Philip­pines

The Philippine archipelago covers approx. 350,000 square kilometers and extends over an area between 116° 40'and 126° 34'E longitude, and 4° 40' and 21° 10'N latitude. The Philippines mark the border between the South China Sea and the Philippine Sea / the Pacific Ocean. The island nation’s more than 7500 different islands, of which about 880 are inhabited, are divided into three large archipelagos: the archipelago of Luzon in the north and west, the archipelago of Visayas in the centre and the southern archipelago of Mindanao. The capital Manila, located on the main island of Luzon, is the political and cultural centre of the nation.


The formation of the Philippines is primarily based on a tectonic plate shift. A collision of the Eurasian Plate with several microplates as well as the Australian Plate and the Philippine Plate created a region that is now known as the Pacific Ring of Fire. There are currently 53 active volcanoes on more than 7000 islands which is why the Philippines is one of the most active volcanic regions on Planet Earth. Due to increased lava seepage from the seabed, the Philippine archipelago rose out of the water and today contributes to the shallow seabed covered by sand and sediments. The great volcanoes form the big islands of the Philippines and can still be observed today as unique natural spectacles. Rocks of volcanic origin as well as metamorphic rocks are, in addition to the favourable climatic conditions, a good breeding ground for a species-rich and diverse natural landscape.

Image of both an island and the magnificent underwater world of the Philippines
Philippines: Coral reefs are hotspots for aquatic lifeforms as they provide food and shelter for many different animals
Many different kinds of fish live in the coral reefs near the Philippine coast

Travel Tips and Trivia for the Philip­pines

Climate in the Philip­pines

The Philippines has a tropical climate. Due to the proximity to the equator as well as to the sea, seasonal and daily temperature fluctuations are very small. Especially the southern islands are located in the wet tropics. High temperatures and precipitation are present there all year round. However, particularly the northern and central islands are strongly influenced by the southwest monsoon. This means heavy rainfalls between June and October. Monthly average temperatures in the Philippines vary between 25°C and 29°C. Especially in the months of April and May, peak values of 40°C can be reached despite the maritime climate. The best time to travel to the Philippines is between December and February. During this time, it is quite dry, the temperatures are not too high and it is unlikely to experience a typhoon.

Flora and Fauna in the Philip­pines

The Philippines is particularly known for their exotic flora and fauna. About 14,000 different plant species are native to the island nation. These include a large number of vascular plants, i.e. plants that contain a liquid in a vessel-like flower which they use to attract, trap and digest insects. The beaches of the islands are covered with palm trees from which you can enjoy a fresh coconut every now and then. The rubber and bamboo plants known for the South Asian region can also be found in the Philippines.

The terrestrial fauna of the Philippines is home to large animals like the Philippine buffalo as well as small mammals like the Philippine tarsier. Tarsiers are related to monkeys and resemble the Galagos which are native in Africa. The treetops of the rubber trees offer tarsiers shelter and food. Moreover, the green depths of the island nation are home to a large number of reptiles and amphibians.

Especially the underwater world of the Philippines is often regarded as a true highlight. A colourful world of blooming corals and countless species of fish surround the coastal regions of the country. With a little bit of luck, rays and even whale sharks can be observed off the Philippines’ coast. Since the coral reefs of the Philippines are one of the few that are not affected by coral bleaching, an almost magical underwater world can be explored here.

Octopus in the Philippines: Odd looking lifeforms play an important role in the ecosystem of coral reefs
A sea turtle is observed during a dive near the coast of the Philippines
A whale shark in the Philippines is observed by some volunteers during a dive
Ein schneckenartiger Meeresbewohner an einer Unterwasserpflanze vor der philippinischen Kueste

Social Geography of the Philip­pines

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