The Philippines (Listeni/ˈfɪlɨpiːnz/; fi-lə-peenz; Filipino: Pilipinas [ˌpɪlɪˈpinɐs]), officially known as the Republic of the Philippines (Filipino: Repúblika ng Pilipinas), is a sovereign island country in Southeast Asia situated in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan; west across the South China Sea sits Vietnam; southwest is the island of Borneo across the Sulu Sea, and to the south the Celebes Sea separates it from other islands of Indonesia; while to the east it is bounded by the Philippine Sea and the island-nation of Palau. Its location on the Pacific Ring of Fire and close to the equator make the Philippines prone to earthquakes and typhoons, but also endows it with abundant natural resources and some of the world’s greatest biodiversity. At 300,000 square kilometers (115,831 sq mi), the Philippines is the 64th-largest country in the world, consisting of an archipelago of 7,107 islands that are categorized broadly under three main geographical divisions: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Its capital city is Manila while its most populous city is Quezon City; both are part of Metro Manila.
With a population of at least 99 million people, the Philippines is the seventh-most populated country in Asia and the 12th most populated country in the world. An additional 12 million Filipinos live overseas, comprising one of the world’s largest and most influential diasporas. Multiple ethnicities and cultures are found throughout the islands. In prehistoric times, Negritos were some of the archipelago’s earliest inhabitants. They were followed by successive waves of Austronesian peoples who came from Malay, Indian, and Islamic states. Various nations were established under the rule of Datus, Rajahs, Sultans or Lakans. Trade with China also introduced Chinese culture and settlement, which remain present to this day.