A tropical archipelago comprised of 7,100+ islands, located just north of the equator, off the southeastern coast of Asia. It has an area of around 300,000 square kilometers, about the size of Italy and the US state of Arizona. It has three main island groups: Luzon in the north, Visayas in the middle, and Mindanao in the south. There are eleven major islands (larger than 2,000 square kilometers): Luzon (largest, about the same size as Iceland and the US state of Kentucky), Mindanao (second largest, about the same size as Hungary and the US state of Indiana), Samar, Palawan, Negros, Panay, Mindoro, Leyte, Cebu, Bohol, and Masbate (11th largest, about the same size as the US state of Rhode Island).
It has a population of about 92 million people (2008 estimates), speaking more than 80 different languages and dialects, the largest of which are Tagalog, Cebuano, Ilocano, Ilonggo, Bicolano, Kapampangan, Pangasinense, Waray-Waray, Chavacano, Tausug, Zambaleno, Aklanon, Hamtikanon, Ibanag, Maranao, and Maguindanaon. Almost all these 80+ languages belong to the Malayo-Polynesian branch of the Austronesian ethno-linguistic family. The Philippines has a relatively high literacy rate, at more than 92%. Majority of Filipinos have at least a basic working knowledge of English. About 82% of the population is Roman Catholic. Protestants, Muslims, Buddhists, Taoists/Confucianists, Hindus, and people belonging to indigenous religions constitute a substantial and respectable minority.
Prior to the arrival of Spanish colonizers in the sixteenth century, the people of what was to become the Philippines have already been engaged in an extensive system of trade and commerce and network of socio-cultural and religious exchange with various nations and sovereignties in Asia for many centuries. It was during this pre-colonial era that Islam was introduced in the islands (through Arab traders and missionaries), Buddhist and Hindu traditions (the archipelago being within the sphere of influence of the great Sri-Vijayan and Madjapahit empires and within the ancient maritime trade routes of the Champa and Khmer kingdoms of mainland Southeast Asia and the Tang, Song, Jin, Yuan, and Ming dynasties of China) were inter-mixed with the already rich and vibrant native indigenous cultures, and an ancient system of writing called ‘Baybayin’ or ‘Alibata’ evolved and came to widespread use. ‘Baybayin’ evolved from ancient Javanese and Sanskrit systems of writing, which in turn trace their roots to the Phoenician alphabet. The Phoenician alphabet is a Proto-Canaanite system of writing that traces its roots to ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs.
The first recorded landing of Europeans in the islands was by Ferdinand Magellan’s expedition in 1521. Formal colonization by the Spanish Empire began in the 1560’s, led by Miguel Lopez de Legazpi. The Spaniards brought along with them their language, cuisine, culture, and religion. The conversion of the newly colonized peoples of the islands to the Roman Catholic faith ensued upon the establishment of the colonial government. The propagation of Christianity progressed throughout the 33 decades of Spanish colonial rule. The Philippines back then was essentially a trading post for the Spanish Empire, as the colonial capital Manila developed into a jump-off point for trade and commerce with China and the rest of the Far East. The precious merchandise traded and bartered was transported to and from the imperial motherland through Mexico via the trans-Pacific Manila-Acapulco galleons. The global influence and power of the Spanish Empire substantially declined in the 19th Century. Most of its colonies in Central and South America became independent within the first half of the century. Only the Philippines, Guam (and most of the rest of Micronesia), Puerto Rico, Cuba, Spanish Guinea, and Spanish Sahara remained within Spanish control. The Spanish-American War resulted with Spain losing all her remaining colonial possessions except the last two mentioned above. The Americans then gained the first three as colonies of her own, but somehow helped Cuba gain independence. Just prior to the Philippine-theater of the Spanish-American War though, the Filipinos were already engaged in a war for independence against Spain. As these two wars intertwined in the latter part of the last decade of the 19th Century, the Filipinos were able to successfully declare the independence of ‘Republica Filipina’ in 12 June 1898.
This independence was short-lived though. The Spanish-American War ended with the Treaty of Paris, signed 10 December 1898. The ‘powers’ involved in writing up the treaty in Paris deliberately ignored and excluded the delegation that represented the newly proclaimed ‘Republica Filipina.’ Among the articles of this treaty, Spain was forced to hand over the Philippines to the United States for $20 million. As the two intertwined wars ensued, the Filipinos initially perceived the Americans as compatriots who were sincerely helping them get rid of an old-school imperial colonizer, much as the same way they did for Cuba. The Americans on the other hand, from the start, already had designs in gaining a colony in the Far-East. The Treaty of Paris rather belatedly introduced the United States as a ‘rising’ member of the colonial superpower club of nations. The treaty basically exposed America’s true double-crossing colours and essentially ended the two intertwined wars mentioned above. In rapid succession though, the treaty also caused another, more costly and more devastating war, to ensue: The Philippine-American War (which the American government calls the “Philippine Insurrection”). The Philippine-American War was initially a full-scale war between the two belligerents for a couple of years. As the Filipinos eventually became overwhelmed by the better equipped Americans though, the war inevitably devolved to minor rebellions and skirmishes. The ambers of these ‘minor’ rebellions, ambushes, and skirmishes were never fully extinguished until 1913!!
A Commonwealth government was subsequently established in 1935, with a rigid schedule for full independence and sovereignty set for 1946. In between these years though, World War II happened. American forces in the islands were overwhelmed by the invading Japanese forces during the months that followed the attack on Pearl Harbour. The capital, Manila, was spared from extensive destruction when it was declared an “Open City” as the Japanese advanced within a striking distance. The Allied Forces defending the islands eventually succumbed with the fall of Bataan and Corregidor. Widespread guerilla warfare against the Japanese arose all over the islands until the end of the war in 1945. The ‘liberation’ of the islands commenced with General MacArthur’s illustrious landing on the island of Leyte on 20 October 1944. This was immediately followed by many more Allied landings all over the archipelago. In the succeeding months, the Japanese could not be defeated easily in the Philippines. They did not want to give up the strategically located islands without a fight. This fight culminated with the street-by-street block-by-block Battle for Manila. In the aftermath, Manila was considered to be the second most devastated major city in World War II, after Warsaw. Reeling from the war’s massive destruction, “full independence and sovereignty” was granted by the Americans on…..on…..which date? .....on……Fourth of July 1946…… sigh……. In the early-60’s though, during the term of President Diosdado Macapagal, the commemoration of the declaration of Philippine Independence was officially changed to June 12th, in honor of that fateful day in 1898 when General Emilio Aguinaldo, first president of the Philippines, declared independence from Spain and established the ‘First Republic’ of the Philippines.
The Philippines has been encountering and weathering colourful and hopeful yet very turbulent and volatile years since 1946. Each year and each decade that has passed since then has been marked by meaningful gains and consequential losses. This undulating rhythm has become a huge hindrance for the Philippines and its people to reap and enjoy the rewards of their full potential. Today, the Philippines is notoriously known to have one of the most prevalent instances of graft and corruption in all of Asia. Philippine politics is considered to be among the most chaotic and dirtiest in the world. All levels of government, from national to local, is strapped down from fully functioning by a disreputable ‘tradition’ of the ‘padrino’ system of mafia-like nepotism, clannish favoritism, and regionalistic discrimination. As a result, real economic development is significantly hampered, critical environmental issues are ignored to devastating consequences, genuine social services are almost non-existent, multi-faction insurgencies continue unresolved, and individual and personal sense of nationhood and the quest for the common good among the people is negligible.
The Philippines is a developing country. Some international groups no longer even consider the Philippines as a third-world nation, and they actually categorize the country as an upper-middle income country. The numbers on paper may indeed show that this is true, but all other factors considered, reality shows otherwise, at least for now. These numbers, and the seemingly few but actually many Filipinos who still genuinely have love and compassion for their motherland and still somehow sincerely take pride and honour in the country’s sense of nationhood, albeit a rather still vague and undefined sense of nationhood, are all beacons of hope for a brighter future ahead for the 12th largest (among a global community of 200++) nation on earth.
Response to the Definition #16, as put forth by ‘some guy on the internet’:
Apparently this guy does not know his history and geography well.
Filipino languages, almost all 80+ of them, belong to the Austronesian family of languages, which had it's origins in what is now southern China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Borneo, and Malay Peninsula. From a typically uninformed westerner's point of view, when one speaks of Asia, he immediately thinks of just the Chinese, Koreans, Japanese, Vietnamese, Cambodians, and Thais, and not much else. He does not understand that 350 million Filipinos, Indonesians, and Malaysians (all linguistically Austronesians), 1.5 billion+ people of the Indian sub-continent, and 60 million+ people of the "-stans" of Central ASIA are all Asians as well!! Hey, even Iranians and all the peoples of the Middle East are Asians too, and so are the Turkish people, whose country happens to be in ASIA Minor. Open up at atlas and learn to read it!!!!
I understand though that your government does not officially consider Iranians, Arabs of Southwest Asia, Israelis, Lebanese, Kurds, the indigenous peoples of Siberia, the Turks of Turkey, and the Turkic and Persian peoples of the Central Asian “-stans” as Asians. I just surmise that this is due to politics and the pervasive habit of racial compartmentalization and religious intolerance. I also understand that your government declared war on Iraq on the primary premise that Iraq stockpiles “weapons-of-mass-destruction” and is ready to use them. On the other hand, the ancient Greeks, historically notable for their classical wisdom and knowledge, defined Asians as the peoples of ASIA Minor and all lands east of the Mediterranean, Red, and Caspian Seas. The ancient Romans who followed them, followed suit, even naming one province in present-day Turkey Asia. Today, Norway and its government, you know……that country who engineered the milestone Oslo Peace Accords of 1993………, through its statistics bureau, define Asian as people from ALL Asian countries (that’s Turkey, then go east until you reach the next ocean!!!)
Christianity began in Asia, and its early eastward expansion was in Asia (i.e. St. Thomas the Apostle in India). What religion must one profess to be considered Asian?
Spoon and fork......ergo not Asian? Again, you are narrow-mindedly just thinking of the Chinese, Koreans, Japanese, Vietnamese, and Thais. Yes, they are true-blue Asians; but there are still more of us Asians besides them. Uhh, again, you may have seen a book with a lot of maps in them......that's called an ATLAS, go and read one.
The Philippines forgave Japan. I’m not quite sure of the veracity of this; but even if we did, that’s fine, because in the greater scheme of things, that's the right thing to do. But we will never forget. In the same way we will never forget the United States and Spain, for a wide variety of reasons, in both good and bad ways. If another country has truly tagged Japan as irrevocably unforgivable then that country should never allow Toyotas and Hondas to zip up and down their streets and highways, Sony and Toshiba gadgets and gizmos to reign over the e-lives of their yuppies and hipsters, Japanese bars and restaurants to line their trendy neighbourhoods of urban watering holes, Japanese athletes to participate in international sporting events held in their turf, and Japanese nationals to visit their land and generate income for their tourism industries.
And so and furthermore, define "forgive." I think you may have to read up on history books and current events issues. Are you even aware of the plight of Filipino "comfort women"? And maybe you should also talk to the elderly Filipinos who lived through those harrowingly difficult four years of their lives, most especially those who lost loved ones and suffered the atrocities and brutalities of war.
Most of the 7,100 islands that comprise the Philippines are part of the Sunda Shelf, a continental shelf that is essentially a massive submerged peninsula that juts out of the southeastern corner of the Asian landmass.
Pacific Islanders, by geography, are not Asians. But most of them also belong to the Austronesian family of languages. In a broader perspective though, we are all somehow related. The two main branches of Austronesian: 1. Formosan (native Taiwanese) and 2. Malayo-Polynesian, with the latter further branching out to Malays (Malaysians, Indonesians, Filipinos, and the Malagasy people of Madagascar, etc.) and Polynesians (Pacific Islanders: Micronesians, Melanesians, and Polynesians).
In addition, the Philippines, Indonesia, Taiwan, and Japan, are islands and/or archipelagos along the western edges of the Pacific Ocean.......and, by history and culture, we are all Asians!
So, learn to read an atlas and do away with your racial stereotyping manner of thinking!!! Next time you meet an Asian, look us straight in the eye and listen to what we have to say.......and you'll realize that we all don't really look alike. Oh…… and get a passport, have an open mind, and go and visit at least ten Asian countries in your lifetime. Er, Asia, that's from Istanbul to Timor, Yemen to Kamchatka, Ural Mountains to Diwata Mountains, Siberia to Diego Garcia.
The Philippines is a beautiful country comprised of more than 7,100 islands.
The Philippines IS an ASIAN country.Most people who visit the country dont get a chance to see the beauty in it.You have to live there to actually appreciate this country. Also known to have the most beautiful beaches in the world.
The Philippines is great
by anonymous Aug 11, 2003 add a video
A very nice tropical country that is full of beaches and resorts. First impression on this country is always negative but once you get to live in this country you will feel that there is no love like a filipino love. Home of the nicest people on earth. filipinos are not mean people.
Man, I thought the Philippines was a dumb country! I was wrong!
A country made of islands whoes beauty is forgotten because of all the garbage, pollution, and chaos from the city. There is in fact more than just garbage and squatter families in philippines. There are amazing white beaches, and amazing forests. The Philippines is in fact an ASIAN country, we are not "pacific islanders." It is the third largest english speaking country in the world.
Person 1: Hmmmmm, where can i find beautiful white beaches and amazinf forest filled with tall majestic trees...
Person 2: Hmmm, how about Philippines?
Ferdinand Magellan set out from Spain in 1519 on the first voyage to circumnavigate the globe with five ships and a complement of 264 crew. Three years later in 1522, only the one ship, the Victoria, returned to Spain with 18 men.more...
The Philippines were the death of Magellan. The expedition sighted the island of Samar on March 16, 1521. Magellan was welcomed by two Rajas, Kolambu and Siagu. He named the islands the Archipelago of San Lazaro, erected a cross and claimed the lands for Spain. The friendly Rajas took Magellan to Cebu to meet Raja Humabon. Humabon and 800 Cebuanos were baptized as Christians. Magellan agreed to help Raja Humabon put down Lapu-Lapu, a rebellious datu on the nearby island of Mactan. In a battle between Spanish soldiers and Lapu-Lapu's warriors, Magellan was killed on April 27, 1521.
Disputes over women caused relations between Raja Humabon and the remaining Spaniards to deteriorate. The Cebuanos killed 27 Spaniards in a skirmish and the Spaniards, deciding to resume their explorations, departed Cebu.
For all its losses, the voyage was a huge financial success. The Victoria's 26 ton cargo of cloves sold for 41,000 ducats. This returned the 20,000 ducats the venture had cost plus a 105 percent profit. Four more expeditions followed between 1525 and 1542. The commander of the fourth expedition, Ruy Lopez de Villalobos, named the islands after Philip, heir to the Spanish throne (r. Philip II 1556-1598).
The Philippines was not formally ...
1. The Philippines is NOT a messed up country. You think they look down on people of other countries? No, they actually look up to them.
2. If you want to know an unbiased account of what the Philippines is, go to Wikipedia. If you only want to bash the Philippines, be my guest and go add a definition.
3.If you want the real definition for "Philippines" you can actually go there and ask the local people what they think it means.
The Philippines is a country with it's ups and downs just like any other country. So quit bashing specific countries and learn to love 'em.
The Philippines is an awesome country!
My mom's home country.
The Philippines was discovered by Magellan in the late 1500s for King Philop of Spain, until Magellan wore out his welcome in the Philippines and got his ass cut off and died from the natives. The Philippines is really named after the king of Spain, was also colonized by Spain at one time then later it was taken over by the Americans. Then during World War II the Japanese took control. The Philippines is also the only nation in most of Asia to be Chirstain and have a mix of many different types of cultures. The Philippines is also known to be the "Peral of the Orient."
A place I want to visit someday as soon as this War on Terrorism is over.
"My country Philippines is kickass so back off you damn Spanard!"
The Philippines is a home of family-oriented people. Also home of people who love to laugh. Wether it's war or they're having a miserable life, they'll find time to laugh. Also a home of poeple who love exotic dining such as bloatfish (which are deadly and poisonous), isaw or animal intestines, balut or slightly-matured duck eggs and many more.
AND, the pople in the Philippines are very hygenic. Except maybe people living in squatters' area. But it's not often that you visit a country where people take a bath once or twice a day and some even three times. And, they use pails and water rather than tissue paper because it is much CLEANER. Using water is MUCH cleaner rather than using tissue paper becaused more bacteria is left and you cannot clean thoroughly.
Police: WARNING! Never let people who use toilet paper sit on your lap! Do like the Philippines does!