The Philippines is a South-East Asian archipelago located between the Philippine Sea and South China Sea. It used to have 7,107 islands, but a recent mapping project found 534 more undiscovered islands, pushing the number up to 7,641. It is divided into three major island groups: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

The country’s capital city is Metro Manila. It is located in Luzon, which is the largest and most populous island in the Philippines. It is the center of economics, business and trade, and the largest producer of rice in the entire country. Other key cities in Luzon include Mabalacat Pampanga, Malolos Bulacan, Olongapo, Cabanatuan, and Zambales.

The Visayas group of island in central Philippines is home to some of the country’s best beaches including Boracay, Siquijor, and Bantayan Island in Cebu.

Mindanao is located in the southernmost part of the archipelago. Its capital city is Davao, which is ranked as the country’s largest city in terms of land area. Other key cities in Mindanao include General Santos, Cagayan de Oro, and Zamboanga.

Philippine Languages

The Philippines is a melting pot of various languages and dialects. Tagalog or Filipino is their primary and national language, and English is considered secondary. Some islands have their own native languages including Cebuano (Cebu), Bisaya (Davao), Ilocano (Ilocos), Kapampangan (Pampanga), Chavacano (Zamboanga), Waray (Leyte) and Ivatan (Batanes). Tagalog, Bisaya, and English are the most common languages used all over the country.

Here’s a crash course in some Tagalog and Bisaya:

English Tagalog Bisaya
Hello or How are you? Kamusta? Kamusta?
What is your name? Anong pangalan mo? Unsa imong pangalan?
Good morning Magandang umaga Maayong buntag
Good afternoon Maganda hapon Maayong hapon
Good evening Magandang gabi Maayong gabi-i
Thank you very much Maraming salamat Daghang salamat
You’re welcome Walang anuman Walay Sapayan
Yes Oo Oo
No Hindi Dili
Who? Sino? Kinsa?
What? Ano? Unsa?
Why? Bakit? Ngano?
I’m Sorry Pasensya na Pasaylo-a ko
What are you doing? Anong ginagawa mo? Unsa imong ginabuhat?
Help me Tulungan mo ako Tabangi ko


Best things about living in the Philippines

  1. Being a tropical island, the Philippines is home to hundreds of magnificent beaches including the world renowned Boracay Island, Palawan, and Siargao Island – dubbed as the surfing capitals of the Philippines.
  2. About 95% of Filipinos are fluent in written and spoken English language. This makes it easier for foreign visitors to communicate while they travel around the country.
  3. Living in the Philippines is inexpensive because basic commodities are cheap.
  4. As the Social Media Capital of the world, most Filipinos are well-informed and up to date with the recent technological advances, making them some of the most competitive IT professionals in the world.
  5. Filipinos love Christmas – so much! As soon as the calendar enters the “ber” months (yes, as early as September), you’ll hear Christmas songs and see Christmas decorations and other holiday stuff displayed in malls and department stores. Truly there is nothing like a Pinoy-style Christmas!!!
  6. Perhaps the best thing about living in the Philippines is its people. Filipinos are some of the friendliest and most hospitable people you’ll ever meet. When you come and visit a Filipino home, you will not be treated as a guest. Instead, they will treat you like family, to the extent of giving up their own comfort just to make you feel at home and comfortable.
  7. Filipinos are also eternal optimists. They are strong, resilient and high-spirited. They laugh and smile amidst poverty and natural calamities. After every trial, they rise up, rebuild and face a new chapter with renewed hope.

Challenges of living in the Philippines

Being classed as a ‘third world country’, there are challenges that impair the growth of economy and way of life. Some of these challenges include:

  1. Poverty
  2. Corruption
  3. Slow Internet Connection on some islands
  4. Horrible Traffic (mostly in Luzon)
  5. Smoke Pollution

But despite all these challenges, the Philippines remain to be a thriving country that offers more than its weaknesses. The travel destinations, food, festivals and the people are what make this country a beautiful place to live in.

The Virtual Assistant Team has a good history of working with Filipino remote workers and recommend them highly for their practical mindset towards tasks, great sense of humour, amazing customer service, and effective team working skills.