If you have always dreamed about moving to the Philippines, here is an overview of its geography, demography, economy, and its political and climatic situation.
Over the years, the Philippines has become a leading destination in South-East Asia in terms of expatriation. According to a study conducted in 2012 by a large international bank, expatriates have been moving there in large numbers for various reasons. Some of these are the low cost of living, both in urban and rural areas, its pleasant climate, the availability of health care and other services, etc. Moreover, the country provides many career prospects and other facilities which have been attracting foreigners worldwide.
Geography and demography
The Republic of the Philippines, consisting of 7,107 islands, stretches over some 300,000 km². The country is divided into three distinct regions, namely Luzon, Mindanao and Visayas. Manilla, its capital city, is found in Luzon. In 2014, the Filipino population consisted of 100,003,378 inhabitants. It is believed that Filipinos are descendants of Austronesian people, but the population is a blend of several nationalities and cultures, including English, Chinese and Spanish origins. Note that Tagalog is the national language, but English is spoken by almost everyone.
The Filipino history has been marked by three colonial eras. The first started in 1565 under Philip II of Spain and ended in 1896. The second period began in 1898 during the Spanish-American War which truly ended in 1992 with the closure of the last American bases which were present in the archipelago. During the same period, that is from 1942 to 1946, the Philippines was also occupied by the Japanese, that is during the Second World War. Independence was then granted in 1946.
The Philippines' economy is mainly based on agriculture, light industry and services. Since a few years, the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sector has also successfully managed to set up many call centers across the country. Hence, the Philippines provides many jobs and business opportunities for locals, as well as foreigners. However, local authorities deem that the country does not yet attract enough foreign investment.
They have therefore set up a series of government policies in order to support and promote industrial development by improving infrastructure, introducing efficient tax incentives, deregulation, privatization, etc. In fact, the middle-class is being put in the forefront as it represents a key factor towards economic progress.
Note that Japan and the United States are the Philippines two main economic partners. Indeed, the country's prosperity greatly depends on their contribution.
The Philippines is a unitary presidential Republic, governed by a President who is also the Head of the State, government and armed forces. The President also appoints Cabinet Secretaries and presides the Cabinet. The current President of the Philippines is Benigno Aquino III who was elected in 2010 by popular vote for a six years mandate. He is the 15th President of the Republic of the Philippines.
On the legislative side, the bicameral Congress consists of the Senate and the House of Representatives. 24 senators have been appointed for a six years mandate as well. The House of Representatives, for its part, consists of 250 members, each with a three years mandate.
The judiciary is supported by the Supreme Court. It is chaired by the Chief Justice and includes 14 associate judges.
The Philippines enjoys a tropical, hot and humid, maritime climate which is divided into three seasons:
- Tag-init or Tag-araw which is the dry season, lasting from March to May
- Tag-ulan which is the rainy season, lasting from June to November
- Tag-lamig which is the cool and dry season, lasting from December to February.
In the South-west of the country, you will experience the Hagabat or monsoon season, which lasts from May to October. In the North, the Amihan, or monsoon, is accompanied by dry winds.
Good to know:
You will be glad to enjoy an average of 300 sunny days a year in the Philippines. However, humidity can rise to up to 80%.
When moving to the Philippines, you will be entitled to several advantages. First of all, the cost of living is low, both in rural and urban areas, as you will be more likely to buy local products. Health insurance, visa fees, return tickets, etc., are also more affordable. In fact, the local health care system is near to international standards. Moreover, you will be eligible to the PhilHealth system if you are married to a Filipino national. Otherwise, you will have to subscribe to a local health insurance unless the health insurance to which you subscribed in your home country provides coverage in the Philippines.
Finally, the Philippines has signed a double-taxation with several countries, including UK, US, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, etc. Therefore, you are not required to pay tax on revenue received from abroad.