The Philippines …
The Philippines is an archipelagic country located in heart of Asia, between Taiwan in the north and Borneo in the south. Sited at the crossroads of the eastern and western business, it is a critical entry point to over 500 million people in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) market and a gateway of international shipping and air lanes suited for European and American businesses. Comprised of 7,100 islands covering land area of around 300,000 sq. km., it is generally categorized into three main geographical divisions namely: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Its capital city is Manila.
The country’s tropical climate sustains one of the richest biodiversity in the world. There are three seasons namely: the hot dry or summer from March to May; the rainy season from June to November and the cool dry season from December to February. The southwest monsoon (Habagat) prevails from May to October and the dry wind of the northeast monsoon (Amihan) happens from November to April. The country’s temperatures range from 210C (700F) to 300C (900F). Situated along the typhoon belt, most of the islands experience annual torrential rains and thunderstorms from July to October.
The Philippines has an estimated population of about 92.34 million people with half of it residing in Luzon. Manila, the capital and largest city and the hub of commercial and business activity in the country houses around 20 million people.
The Philippine economy has been transitioning from agricultural to services and manufacturing. It has $250.3 billion GDP in 2012. Primary exports include semiconductors and electronic products, garments, copper and petroleum products, coconut oil and fruits.
Multiple ethnicities and cultures are found throughout the country. The national language is Filipino although there are over 100 dialects spoken throughout the archipelago. However English is widely used in business negotiations, education, media and government communications. The extensive use of the language makes the Philippines the world’s third largest English-speaking country, after the United States and the United Kingdom
There are eight international airports in the Philippines. The premier gateway is the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila. The other international airports are located in Clark, Subic, Laoag, Cebu, Davao, General Santos, and Zamboanga. There are many ways to get around since MRT, buses, jeepneys, taxis and motorized tricycles are commonly available in major cities and towns.
Being an island nation, water transportation plays a major role in the movement of people and commodities in the country. The country has seven international seaports. These are located in Manila (South and North Harbour), Batangas, Puerto Princesa and Subic ports (Luzon), Cebu (Visayas), Davao and Zamboaga ports (Mindanao). Inter-island passenger vessels ferry passengers to the different islands of the Philippines while cruise liners call on the port of Manila regularly.
The country enjoys the advantages of modern and efficient communication services. Direct national and international calls, fax, internet and e-mail facilities are widely available. Fixed line and mobile services are provided by major telecommunication companies.
Culture and Society
Philippine culture combines Eastern and Western influences. Spanish legacies are evident on the names of persons, streets, town and provinces as well as on the architecture of churches, government buildings and universities. Traditional festivities known as fiestas which are celebrated to commemorate feast days of patron saints are also very common. In addition, Filipino has also influenced by the American Culture as seen on their love for food, film and music and their fluent use of the English language.
Low Cost of Doing Business
Wages are typically less than a fifth of that in the United States. Local communication, electricity, and housing costs are also 50% lower compared to the US rates. Foreign companies that are now outsourcing programming and business processes to the Philippines estimate 30%-40% business cost savings, 15%-30% call center services and application systems, and 35%-50% software development.
Liberalized and Business-Friendly Economy
An open economy, like the Philippines, allows 100% foreign ownership in almost all sectors and supports a Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) investment scheme that other Asian countries emulate. Government corporations are being privatized and the banking, insurance, shipping telecommunications, and power industries have been deregulated. Multinationals looking for regional headquarters are entitled to incentives such as tax exemptions and tax and duty-free importation of specific equipment and materials.
Total : 300,000 sq km
Capital : Manila
Population : 92.34 Million (2010)
Religion : Dominantly Roman Catholic
Climate : Tropical, Temp. 220C to 320C
Season : Dry Season (November – May); Wet Season (June – October)
Language : Filipino, English
Government : Democratic
Currency : Philippine Peso
Exchange Rate : Php 44.35 to US$ 1 (BSP as of 7 May 2014)