Many people rely on income sent home from abroad by family members, with millions of Filipinos having settled in other countries in hope of better economic prospects.
The Philippines has a large Muslim population, especially on the large, southern-most island of Mindanao, where rebels have been fighting to create a separate Islamic state. Over some decades, this conflict has claimed tens of thousands of lives.
Religion: Roman Catholic (large majority) & Protestant Christian; sizeable Muslim minority; traditional ethnic religions.
Christians in Philippines
The Roman Catholic church has traditionally had a huge influence on life in Asia's only Catholic-majority country.
There has been dramatic expansion of many Protestant denominations, notably Pentecostal, and with major evangelistic movements.
However, many Filipino Christians - and hence churches themselves - are very poor. The persecution of believers is also a problem in more strongly Muslim areas, notably Mindanao in the south.