The Philippines, formally the Republic of the Philippines (Filipino: Republika ng Pilipinas), is a Southeast Asian archipelago. It is located in the western Pacific Ocean and comprises of about 7,641 islands divided into three major geographical divisions from north to south: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. The Philippines is surrounded to the west by the South China Sea, to the east by the Philippine Sea, and to the southwest by the Celebes Sea. Taiwan to the north, Japan to the northeast, Palau to the east and southeast, Indonesia to the south, Malaysia to the southwest, Vietnam to the west, and China to the northwest share marine boundaries. The Philippines has a land area of 300,000 km2 (120,000 sq mi) and a population of roughly 109 million people as of 2021, making it the world's thirteenth-most populated nation. The Philippines has a wide range of nationalities and civilizations spread over its islands. The capital of the nation is Manila, and the biggest city is Quezon City; both are located within the Metro Manila metropolitan region.
The archipelago's first occupants, the Negritos, were followed by subsequent waves of Austronesian peoples. Adoption of animism, Hinduism, and Islam resulted in the formation of island-kingdoms known as Kedatuans, Rajahnates, and Sultanates. The arrival of Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese explorer who led a ship to Spain, signaled the start of Spanish colonialism. Ruy López de Villalobos, a Spanish adventurer, called the archipelago Las Islas Filipinas in honor of Philip II of Spain in 1543. Beginning in 1565, Spanish colonisation via Mexico resulted in the Philippines being a part of the Spanish Empire for more than 300 years. Catholicism became the dominant religion during this period, and Manila became the western center of trans-Pacific commerce. The Philippine Revolution started in 1896, and it got linked with the Spanish–American War in 1898. The region was surrendered to the United States by Spain, while Filipino revolutionaries formed the First Philippine Republic. The succeeding Philippine–American War resulted in the US gaining control of the area, which they retained until the Japanese invasion of the islands during World War II. The Philippines gained independence in 1946, after their liberation. Since then, the unitary sovereign state has had a turbulent relationship with democracy, including the toppling of a dictatorship via the People Power Revolution.
The Philippines is a growing market and a newly industrialized nation whose economy is shifting away from agriculture and toward services and industry. It is a founding member of the United Nations, World Trade Organization, ASEAN, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference, and the East Asia Summit. The Philippines' location on the Pacific Ring of Fire, near to the equator, renders it vulnerable to earthquakes and typhoons. The nation possesses a diverse range of natural resources and a high degree of biodiversity.