East Asia is a land of ornate temples and sacred shrines, breathtaking beaches and magnificent mountains. Among those mountains, dense forests, and coastal plains live a people who have been able to preserve their heritage through rural isolation and urban diligence. Indonesia and the Philippines together hold approximately 20,000 small islands. The cultures of East Asia place great value on helping family and on not losing face. Vietnamese culture, in particular, values modesty and humility. The region of East Asia is also a place of great religious diversity. Lao and Thai people primarily practice Buddhism – the monks swathed in brilliant orange robes – the Indonesians Islam, and the Vietnamese Buddhism, Taoism, and other eastern religions. The Philippines is the only primarily “Christian” nation in Asia. While the region presents a picturesque vacation spot, inhabitants toil for every cent they earn. Many people are involved in agriculture, growing coffee, jute, rice, and tea. East Asian cities are the site of many modern buildings and overcrowded streets, while simple huts and villages dot the countryside. Indonesia and Thailand in East Asia suffered massive destruction in the December 2004 tsunami. The deaths of more than 250,000 people and the physical damage to the land have forced many people in the region to rebuild their lives.