IntroductionPhilippines, The (fĭlˈəpēnzˌ) [key], officially Republic of the Philippines, republic (2005 est. pop. 87,857,000), 115,830 sq mi (300,000 sq km), SW Pacific, in the Malay Archipelago off the SE Asia mainland. It comprises over 7,000 islands and rocks, of which only c.400 are permanently inhabited. The 11 largest islands—Luzon, Mindanao, Samar, Negros, Palawan, Panay, Mindoro, Leyte, Cebu, Bohol, and Masbate—contain about 95% of the total land area. The northernmost point of land, the islet of Y'Ami in the Batan Islands, is separated from Taiwan by the Bashi Channel (c.50 mi/80 km wide). Manila, on Luzon, is the capital, the largest city, and the heart of the country.
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