The Philippines is an archipelago of 7,107 islands in the South China Sea located between Taiwan to the north and Borneo to the south. Just 2,000 of its islands are inhabited and only 500 are larger than a kilometer square. The nine largest islands of Luzon, Mindanao, Palawan, Panay, Mindoro, Samar, Negros, Leyte and Cebu make up 90% of the nation's land area. The Philippines is mountainous in nature. The highest mountain is Mt. Apo, which is located in Mindanao. The second largest is Mt.Pulog in Luzon. There are recorded 50 volcanoes and most of them are still active. The most famous is Mt. Mayon, known as the world's most perfect cone. One can find here the lowest volcano in the world, called Taal Volcano (History of the Philippines 1). The country has only a few rivers and they abound in small mountains streams, which swell up as much as three times their size during the rainy season. The climate of the Philippines is divided mainly in two seasons: the dry season and the rainy season. The cool dry season extends from December to February and is followed by the hot dry season that is from March to May. The rainy season begins in June and continues to November. The typhoon season is generally from July to September although occasionally there have been typhoon as late as November and December and very rarely, in January. These cyclonic winds cause great destruction to growing crops, shipping and buildings. Heavy rains accompany the more severe winds and these flood the streams and the lowlands causing loss of lives and property (Republic of the Philippines 3).
The original people of the Philippines were the ancestors of the people known today as Negritos or Aeta. They are an Australo-Melanesian people with dark skin and tight, curly brown hair. They are also distinctively small and of short height. Philippines were named after Spain's King Phillip II. Ferdinand Magellan discovered the country in 1521 in the service of the King of Spain.