The Philippines is an archipelago made up of over 7,000 islands in the western Pacific Ocean. The Philippine Islands are extremely diverse ecologically with volcanoes, coral reefs, tropical rainforests, mountains, coastlines, and rivers. Additionally, the Philippines are diverse culturally and historically with Spanish, Chinese, Arab, Indian, and American influences that have shaped daily life and practices.
Filipinos have a rich culture with fiestas, holidays, and family gatherings at the core of their social life. Music also plays an important role in the lives of Filipinos. Students and volunteers frequently encounter locals participating in a Karaoke night, singing with a guitar player in the village, or caroling (depending on the season). A semester or volunteer program in the Philippines is a guaranteed way to encounter a unique Asian culture with the opportunity to communicate with local people in English.