The Philippines has an estimated population of 70 million, more than 40% of whom live in the cities. Filipinos reflect a unique mosaic of the East and the West. They are basically of Malay descent, although over the centuries there have been infusions of Chinese, Arabic, Spanish and American blood. This varied ancestry can be discerned in the people's physical features and in their cultural values, customs and traditions, songs, dances, food and festivals.
More than 90% of Filipinos are Christians, and a large majority (85%) of the Christian population are Catholics. The remaining 10% practise Islam or indigenous religions.
Eighty-seven dialects are spoken in the Philippines; the three major spoken dialects are Tagalog, Ilocano, and Cebuano. Although the country's official national language is Filipino, English is almost universally understood and is the medium of communication in business, schools and government.