Philippines, island country of Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. It is an archipelago consisting of more than 7,000 islands and islets lying about 500 miles (800 km) off the coast of Vietnam. Manila is the capital, but nearby Quezon City is the country’s most-populous city. Both are part of the National Capital Region (Metro Manila), located on Luzon, the largest island. The second largest island of the Philippines is Mindanao, in the southeast.
The Philippines takes its name from Philip II, who was king of Spain during the Spanish colonization of the islands in the 16th century. Because it was under Spanish rule for 333 years and under U.S. tutelage for a further 48 years, the Philippines has many cultural affinities with the West. It is, for example, the second most-populous Asian country (following India) with English as an official language and one of only two predominantly Roman Catholic countries in Asia (the other being East Timor). Despite the prominence of such Anglo-European cultural characteristics, the peoples of the Philippines are Asian in consciousness and aspiration. excerpt: History of Philippines | Britannica