Philippines, island country of Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. It is an archipelago consisting of some 7,100 islands and islets lying about 500 miles (800 km) off the coast of Vietnam. The Philippines covers an area of 300,000 km2 (120,000 sq mi) and, as of 2020 had a population of around 109 million people, making it the world's twelfth-most populous country. The Philippines is a multinational state, with diverse ethnicities and cultures throughout its islands. Manila is the nation's capital, while the largest city is Quezon City, both lying within the urban area of Manila. The second largest island of the Philippines is Mindanao, in the southeast.
The Philippines is a megadiverse country. Eight major types of forests are distributed throughout the Philippines; dipterocarp, beach forest, pine forest, molave forest, lower montane forest, upper montane or mossy forest, mangroves, and ultrabasic forest. Around 1,100 land vertebrate species can be found in the Philippines including over 100 mammal species and 170 bird species not thought to exist elsewhere. The Philippines has among the highest rates of discovery in the world with sixteen new species of mammals discovered in the last ten years. Because of this, the rate of endemism for the Philippines has risen and likely will continue to rise. Parts of its marine waters contain the highest diversity of shore fish species in the world.
Spanish architecture has left an imprint in the Philippines in the way many towns were designed around a central square or plaza mayor, but many of the buildings bearing its influence were demolished during World War II. Four Philippine baroque churches are included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the San Agustin Church in Manila, Paoay Church in Ilocos Norte, Nuestra Señora de la Asunción (Santa María) Church in Ilocos Sur, and Santo Tomás de Villanueva Church in Iloilo. Vigan in Ilocos Sur is also known for the many Hispanic-style houses and buildings preserved there.