The republic of the Philippines is a Southeast Asian country located north of the Borneo island about 1500km east of Vietnam. It consists of over 7000 islands with a total area of 300000 km² and has a population of over 100 million inhabitants, in many ethnic groups. The Philippines have been settled since prehistoric times, and have been a Spanish colony since 1521 and a US one since 1898, finally gaining independence in 1946. The Philippines are a developing economy, with however a significant industrial base and service sector. Due to the geographic location and seasons pattern the country receives fewer tourists than other Southeast Asian countries.
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