Before the books:
When he was but an embryo Philip had his DNA altered by the Brethren Lords using their Font of the Haver of Gelmeer, having added into it a substance known as ziangg, which humans might label dark matter or prima materia. This means that rather than being a regular human, he can be referred to instead as a Mancynn. Growing up therefore he developed special abilities, including transit (relocating himself by telling the Alpha Realm's algorithm that he was at the second location already), phasing (allowing himself to pass through solid objects of his choosing), reproportioning the matter within his body, accelerated healing, generating bursts of energy and more. At the same time, again by the Brethren Lords' interference, he was both provided with extensive knowledge in fields related to their intentions for him and had any thoughts that would have him question his abilities/the Lords removed.
Philip grew up in the English village of Accmore as the only child of Beth and Samuel Quint. From a young age his best friend was Tony Mantegna, and even though Tony moved away a few years ago they were still able to keep in touch as they each subsequently transferred to the same school again, in this case Wingmere Hall, despite the fact that this meant Philip now had a fifteen mile commute. At school itself Philip didn't have many other peers that he was close to, thus often making Tony the sole audience for his ramblings about television and other knowledgeable areas of interest, then otherwise he would in his eyes many times find himself to be at the top of the class while the other students failed to put in as much effort (regardless of how true that latter part might have been). For all that he enjoyed most of his classes, the headmaster Mr Sneak and his regular substitute teacher Mrs Cage could continue to be the source of much distain for him.