Geography of the Philippines

The Philippines consist of 7,107 islands, but only approximately 2,000 are inhabited.

Only 11 islands are larger than 2,500km², the largest ones are Luzon, Mindanao, Samar, Negros, Mindoro, Panay and Palawan; only 1,000 islands are larger than 1 km².

The archipelago is divided in three groups of islands. Luzon with the island Luzon, the Visayas, with Palawan, Negros, Cebu, Leyte, Samar, Masbate, Bohol and others and the third group Mindanao with the islands Mindanao, Basilan and the Sulu-archipelago with the island Jolo.

The islands are mostly the tips of submarine mountain chains which are above sea level and at the border of two continental plates, the Philippine and the Eurasian plate.

From a broad point of view the Philippines are part of the Pacific Ring of Fire with earthquakes and volcanism as accompanying symptoms based on the location on continental borders. The Philippines have approx. 20 active volcanos. The volcanos Pinatubo and Mayon – located on Luzon – were the most active ones in the last couple of years.

The Philippines are the Northern group of islands of the Malayan-archipelago and reach from 21°25´ to 4°23´ Northern latitude and from 116°55´ to 127° Eastern longitude. Continental Asia is approx. 1,000km apart, Taiwan is 110km in the North and Borneo 50km in the Southwest. The South-Chinese ocean is the western border, the Pacific the Eastern border and the Southern border is the Celebs-Sea. The island nation has a North-South-length of 1,851 km and a land mass of approx. 300,000km² which is almost as much as Great Britain and Ireland. Only 2,773 of the 7,107 island are named.