The Philippines is an archipelago of more than 7,100 islands in Southeast Asia between the Philippine Sea and the South China Sea. The country has one of the world's longest coastlines with many fine beaches and excellent diving. There is great cultural diversity due to the many islands, many waves of immigration, and a mixture of foreign influences — the country was a Spanish colony from the late 1500s to 1898, then American until 1946 — and much mixing of cultural influences.
The islands are mostly volcanic in origin, covered with tropical rainforest and fertile soil, but much of the rainforest has been cut down. The terrain varies considerably, but many of the coasts have a lot of bays and headlands, and many of the larger islands have mountainous interiors. The coasts also have many coral reefs. The climate is tropical, with constantly high humidity and high, stable temperatures, so prepare to change clothes frequently under the sweltering heat. Mountainous areas are the exception to the norm, rather temperate with mildly cool temperatures during the cool dry season from November to March. Frost forms on mountainous areas during the cool months, but there is no snowfall.
Many locals speak English well and most of the others have at least some English. Food and accommodations are cheap, many destinations have excellent infrastructure, and the people are cheerful and friendly; perhaps the easiest way to recognize a Filipino abroad is to see who has the broadest smile.