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.
by James X. August 24, 2008
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It's THE adjective. "Filipino" is a proper noun, "philippine" is its adjective. It's common misconception to use "filipino" as adjective and instead of "philippine".
"I love philippine food!" and NOT "I love filipino food!"
by Mabille November 03, 2006
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an awesome country
it is in asia
you can buy pirated dvd's and video games from there months before they come out in north america, alot cheaper if you use american dollars
person 1: i cant wait till that video game comes out in november
person 2: just go to the philippines, they will already have it
by 123321wagfpkwr April 30, 2007
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A beautiful country southeast of China. It's a melting pot of western and eastern cultures. Although many people hate on the Philippines, that's unjustified becuase they're just there to look around. you have to live there to know the def. Filipinos (it's spelled with an F) are very religious, respectful, humble and hospitable people. WE are very classy and have great success when brought into the world stage. Big things that came out of the Philippines:

-Lea Salonga, singer and actress. Currently working at Broadway and sang for the Mulan soundtrack.

-Karaoke. The inventor was Filipino, but the Japanese popularized it

-Gloria Diaz and Margie Moran. Miss Universe winners. These women made a point to the world that the Philippines is home to beautiful people

-Fluorescent Lights. Invented by a filipino named Flores but the plans were sold to the French. FLUORESent. much like FLORES.

-Lydia de Vega, fastest woman in Asia

-the Marcoses. Yeah, Imelda and Ferdinand themselves.

-the moon buggy. The main idea of a moon buggy was created by a Filipino

-Manny Pacquiao. Best bocer pound-by-pound. Straight out of Gen San.

-Economical and miltary strategically located.

-we can speak english...so well that when we go to America, we only have to be in English transition classes for 2 weeks

-Paeng Nepomuceno. Greatest bowler.

-gorgeous beaches and forests

-great products, crops and such
tourist: I think western countries should envy the Philippines...it's a friggin paradise for intelectuals and beauties!
by simsbury7193 May 08, 2009
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A country nobody cares about and only able to because a country because Spain and America were tired of those Philippines saying proud to be Filipino everywhere. They are the most annoying people ever
by Kill yourselves September 06, 2018
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negative side:
a country where the media particularly the abs-cbn network is more powerful than the PNP(philippine national police). It is a country where people don't give a fuck about what the cops says, and if the cops do they job, people will either cry their ass out asking mercy from the public or shouting "youre volating my human rights!!" It is also a very corrupted country and some people here are very lazy and blames everything on the president if their life is severely fucked up.

positive side:
awesome beaches(ex. boracay, cebu, etc), beautiful babes or bebots, nightlife, etc.
police: would you mind to show me your id or license?
brainwashed filipino guy: why would I??? youre violating my human rights asshole!!!
me: haha welcome to the philippines!!!
by robbycard April 20, 2009
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the farthest a nation can be from being asian, while still being considered asian.

Unlike other asian nations
-Language structure, mythologies, ancestry etc..have little in common with its asian brothers
-Christianity is the main religion
-Eat using spoon and forks instead of chopsticks
-Forgave Japan for its actions in WWII

However, like other asian nations
-Smart and hard working people
-Huge nationalism
-Member of the ASEAN + 3 (what makes them officially asian)

Not to be confused with Pacific Islanders
Guy: The Philippines are islands in the Pacific, so they are pacific Islanders

Intelectual: so is Japan....
by some guy on the internet May 06, 2008
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