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Where is the Philippines?

With web mapping services like Google Maps it’s now easy and fast to know where the Philippines is on the map, isn’t it? Anyway, structured explanations can help you better understand the location of the Philippines and its context. We’ll provide you here with some easy-to-consult maps and will give you some hints to give you an idea of the geographical position of the Philippines in the world and its own region.

The illustration above is a map of the world and the Philippines looks somewhat remote, doesn’t it? This is valid of course if you are reading from other continents! The Philippines is actually one of the far-eastern countries of Asia. The Philippine Sea, touching the Eastern boarder of the country is where the Pacific Ocean starts. Going further east than that, you’ll find water and water and water until the Western borders of United States and Mexico will finally appear.

On the way, you’ll encounter just some tropical paradise spots like Micronesia, Guam, Hawaii and other tiny islands. The Philippines is a sea paradise itself: no wonder why as it shares incredible waters with these wonderful places.

The commercial route from Manila to Acapulco (Mexico) was one of the most used by the Spanish colonizers (see map below, source unknown). It was quite a long and difficult trip: thankfully distances are much easier today with aircrafts.

Now let’s have a closer look on the map of Asia and let’s identify exactly the region where the Philippines is located and its specific traits.

The map above is the map of Asia. When we talk about “Asia” we are really talking about the biggest continent in the world with a wide range of countries, cultures and landscapes. Consider that the super tropical Philippines are in the same continent of Siberia! And how different is China compared to Turkey? And what about the bountiful nature of Borneo compared to the desert landscapes of Middle-East Countries?

The Philippines is an archipelago made of 7,641 islands, often very different from each other in terms of size and landscapes. Luzon, the island where the capital Manila is located, is the 15th largest island in the world. Instead, some islands are much smaller than your neighborhood. The very famous Boracay Island is 10.3 square kilometers big, while Manhattan Island in New York covers an area of 59.1 square kilometers!

The portion of Asia where the Philippines is located is commonly known as South-East Asia. Let’s get much closer now with the last map.

Southeast Asia is an expression geographically used to identify the regions located East of India, South of China, North of Australia and Oceania. It has a tropical and equatorial climate and is actually the only part of Asia located in the Southern Hemisphere.

The Philippines lies right below the Tropic of Cancer, which passes by Taiwan, located roughly 400 kilometers away the northernmost coasts of the Philippines (see map above). Thus, the Philippines is a “sub-tropical country” with a long extension from North to South. Temperature is high everywhere, though you can feel the sun strength’s difference when you are at the uppermost part of the Philippines (Northern Luzon Region) compared to the southern Mindanao Region. The latitude of the city of Vigan, at almost the extreme north of the country, is 17°35'N, while General Santos’ latitude, a city in the deep south is 06°05'N.

The Philippines has no “neighbors” being made solely of islands that don’t share land boarders and  territories with other countries. China, Hong Kong and Taiwan though are quite near and their cultural influence in the past is visible in the whole country and especially in the northern parts, like Ilocos Provinces. At the same time, the southern region of Mindanao clearly shares cultural peculiarity with the near Malaysia and Indonesia. Consider also that Brunei had political control of Manila Bay, the capital of the Philippines, before the arrival of the Spanish colonizers in the XVI Century.

The geographical position of the Philippines shaped the culture and history of the country, which is a known melting pot of cultures.

If you want to know more about what lies inside the country, discover the best jewels of its 3 regions (Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao) by reading our list of the best destinations of the Philippines.

Thinking about visiting the Philippines? Check our best tours of the Philippines here.