This is a profile of the Philippines that may be useful for those keen to live and work there. The information presented is gathered from open sources and is not exhaustive or meant to supplement or substitute legal and professional advice.
- Official name: Republic of the Philippines
- Land Area: 300,000 sq km
- Population (2015): 100.98 million
- Capital: Manila
- Head of government: President Rodrigo Roa Duterte
- GDP (2020): US$367.362 billion
- GDP per capita (2020): US$ 3,372.529
- Major cities (2015 census): Manila, Quezon City, Davao City, Caloocan, Cebu City, Zamboanga City, Taguig, Antipolo, Pasig and Cagayan de Oro
Philippines, an island country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean, is an archipelago consisting of some 7,100 islands and islets lying about 800 km off the coast of Vietnam. The archipelago is bounded by the Philippine Sea to the east, the Celebes Sea to the south, the Sulu Sea to the southwest, and the South China Sea to the west and north. The archipelago stretches about 1,850 km from north to south, and its widest east-west extent is some 1,130 km. The large islands fall into three groups: the Luzon group in the north and west; the Visayas group in the centre; and Mindanao in the south.
The Philippines is one of the most dynamic economies in the East Asia Pacific region. With increasing urbanisation, a growing middle class, and a large and young population, the Philippines’ economic dynamism is rooted in strong consumer demand supported by a vibrant labour market and robust remittances. Business activities are buoyant with notable performance in the services sector including the business process outsourcing, real estate, and finance and insurance industries. Sound economic fundamentals and a globally recognised competitive workforce reinforce the growth momentum. Having sustained average annual growth of 6.4 percent between 2010-2019 from an average of 4.5 between 2000-2009, the country is on its way from a lower middle-income country to an upper middle-income country in the near term.
The industry drivers of the Philippine economy are the construction, tourism, manufacturing and services industries. Within the manufacturing industry, petroleum, transport equipment, beverage industries, and food are the top contributors to economic growth.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, economic growth contracted in 2020, driven by significant declines in consumption and investment growth, and exacerbated by the sharp slowdown in exports, tourism and remittances. However, economic growth is expected to rebound gradually in 2021-2022 with more robust domestic activity bolstered by greater consumer and business confidence and the public investment momentum.
The country’s primary exports include electronics, semiconductors, transport equipment, construction materials, and minerals. As an open economy, the Philippines trades with other economies around the world. The top export markets in FY 2019 were China, Japan, United States and Thailand. The top import suppliers in FY 2019 were China, Japan, South Korea, United States and Singapore.
The Philippines hosted a record high of 8.2 million foreign tourists in 2019, thanks to country’s tourism brand, “It’s More Fun In The Philippines.” Among its top tourist destinations are Boracay Island in Aklan, Puerto Princesa Underground River in Palawan, Chocolate Hills in Bohol, Mayon Volcano in Albay, Siargao Island in Surigao del Norte, and the Banaue Rice Terraces in Ifugao, as well as the cities of Manila, Baguio, Vigan, Cebu and Davao.