The Philippines are a blend of Occident and Orient, primitive and modern, Christian and Muslim. The Philippines are the only predominantly Christian nation in the Orient, made so when the Spanish colonized the islands-. Even though Spanish and several dialects are spoken, the Philippines are the third largest English-speaking nation in the world.
The Philippines attract a heavy ethnic market and the business traveler. Close to nine million people visit the islands each year. Twenty-three percent are from Japan, 17 percent from the United States, 10 percent from Hong Kong and 7 percent from Australia. Pleasure travelers are likely to stop a while in Manila, the capital, where, thanks to President Marcos’ wife, some twelve thousand rooms in first-class hotels were built. The climate is not the most pleasant except for those who enjoy tropical heat and humidity. A hot, dry season occurs in March and May. Heavy rains come from June to November. November through February is the best visiting time; the weather is relatively cool and dry.
Residents escape the heat by retreating to the summer capital, Baguio, 155 miles away. At forty-six hundred feet the climate is cooler but equally wet. Terraced rice paddies characterize the surrounding mountains.