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When I was in high school, I came across the sentence "The Philippines are a beautiful country" in my book of English grammar, the author of which confidently used the sentence as if it were grammatically correct. Take note: The geographical location, the Philippines, the name of which is in plural form, is followed by the plural verb are. Could the grammatical construction be technically justified by the fact that the Philippines is made up of hundreds of islands, making it "many," indeed? Is it not more proper to say, "The Philippine Islands are a beautiful country" or much better, "The Philippines is a beautiful country"?
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Phil·ip·pines, n. (used with a pl. v.)
an archipelago of 7083 islands in the Pacific, SE of China: formerly (1898–1946) under the guardianship of the U.S.; now an independent republic. 76,103,564; 114,830 sq. mi. (297,410 sq. km). Cap.: Manila. Also called Philippine Islands. Formerly (1935–46), Commonwealth of the Philippines. Official name, Republic of the Philippines.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary

Collins Concise Dictionary: Philippines "functions as singular"
Emotion: tongue tied
CB
Comments  
From the Philippine embassy website:

The Philippines is the third largest English speaking country in the world.
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Philippines is singular just like billiards and economics. I think they're called uncount/non-count nouns. Emotion: smile
Anonymous"The Philippines is a beautiful country"
 Cool Breeze's reply was promoted to an answer.