Excerpt from The Philippine Mission: Of the Methodist Episcopal Church
The Philippine Islands lie in the northwestern Pacific, almost due south of the center of China, and north of Australia. They form a kind of boundary between Oceanica on its extreme northwest, and Malaysia at its farthest northeast, but are considered an integral part of the Malaysian group - Sumatra, Java, Borneo and the Celebes - for linguistic and geologic reasons. Their latitude limits are 4°41´ to 21 north latitude, and they stretch through nine and one half degrees of west longitude, from 126°30´ to 117°. This apparent width must be understood as being taken "over all," for on none of the islands is it possible to get more than one hundred miles from the sea, and that only in the widest parts of Luzon and Mindanao.
There are more than one thousand islands in the group. Only 343 are named. Many of these are mere jutting rocks, or spits of bare sand, named only that mariners may avoid them. In the governmental control of the islands, and in missionary operations, one dozen of the entire number of islands practically absorb our attention. These arc Luzon, Mindoro, Masbate, Panay, Negros, Cebu, Samar, Leyte, Bohol, Marinduque, Paragua, and Mindanao. Of these Luzon and Mindanao are the largest, differing in size by only a few square miles.
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