Three prominent bodies of water surround the archipelago: the Pacific Ocean on the east, the South China Sea on the west and north, and the Celebes Sea on the south. This position accounts for much of the variations in geographic, climatic and vegetational conditions in the country.

The topography of the bigger islands – particularly Luzon and Mindanao – is characterized by alluvial plains, narrow valleys, rolling hills and high mountains. The highest mountains are found in Mindanao and Luzon, with the altitudes varying from 1,790 to 3,144 meters. Most of the smaller islands are mountainous in the interior, surrounded by narrow strips of discontinuous flat lowlands which constitute the coastal rims. The shorelines of both large and small islands are irregular.

The Philippines’ fertile land accounts for the more than 900 species of orchids representing 100 genera that have been found. The sampaguita is the national flower.

Among the country’s fauna are some endangered species like the Philippine Eagle, the tarsier, and the mouse deer.

Metro Manila is strategically located in the middle of Luzon, on the eastern coast of Manila Bay and at the mouth of the Pasig River, sprawled over an area of 626 sq.km. Manila sits in the middle of a swampy deltaic plain formed by accumulated sedimentary deposits from the Pasig River and other streams.

The city is between the bay to the west, the highlands to the east, and Laguna de Bay to the southeast. Most of its densely populated areas are found along the Pasig River running across the metropolis dividing it into two sections – the north and the south.

TIME ZONE: GMT + 8 hours. Check out the Philippine Standard Time

Climate

The Philippines has a tropical climate with relatively abundant rainfall and gentle winds. There are three pronounced seasons: the wet or rainy season from June to October, the cool, dry season from November to February, and the hot, dry season from March to May.

Temperature in Manila ranges from 21°C to 32°C with a 27°C average. The coolest month is January and the warmest is May. Both temperature and humidity levels reach the maximum in April and May, but these are generally good months for aquasports and mountain trekking. Some of the most colorful festivals are held during these months. More…