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The Philippines is home to a population estimated at 68 million people (growth rate of 2.5% annually), of whom 11 million people live in Metro Manila area. Filipinos are predominantly descendants of Malays, however, there is evidence of Chinese, Indian, Spanish, Arab and North American as well as Mestizos (Filipino-Spanish/Filipino-Americans). For a country with over 7,000 islands, one would expect the existence of many different ethnic groups spread all across the Philippines. Of those that represent an important part of the population structure are Ifugao (found in Banaue), Bontoc (live in the Central Cordillera), Mangyan (found in Mindoro), Pala'wan (live in the highlands of south Palawan) and Negrito (found in eastern Luzon), to name a few.

Despite the fact that there are many different races, ethnic groups and religions in the country, nevertheless, the Filipinos are a friendly and helpful bunch. Therefore, it is hardly surprising that tourists are often reminded of the Philippines as the place 'where Asia wears a smile'.



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