What you might not have known about the Philippines


The Filipinos during the Spanish colonization.

The Philippines is known to be the home of Indo-Malay and Chinese merchants a long time ago. According to history books, the Philippine archipelago was settled a hundred thousand years ago from “wave migrations” that were believed to have happened during those times. Since industry trade with the Chinese has also been practiced, Filipinos have, thus, believed that they have a mix of Indo, Malay, and Chinese descent.

In 1521, Ferdinand Magellan along with other Spanish explorers landed in the Philippines. They saw great potential in establishing trade ports in the country and have opened Cebu and Manila as the entry points. Wave after wave, more Spanish explorers arrived until eventually they named the archipelago “Felipinas”, after King Philip II of Spain. Apart from the spice trades, they introduced Christianity to the people. It is from here on that Christianity predominantly became the religion. The Philippines became a Spanish colony for 333 years.

The Americans, later on, entered the Philippines to help its people achieve emancipation from the Spanish colonial rule. It may have required brute force and bloodshed, but the Philippines attained freedom from the Spaniards on June 12, 1898. This time marked the start of American colonization that lasted for 48 years.


Photo courtesy of Arnaldo Dumindin (Philippine-American War, 1899-1902).

The Americans, then, introduced their legal and educational systems, which also brought about the Philippines’ democratic form of government. Naturally, the English language began to become part of the Filipinos’ lives.

During World War II, the Japanese invaded the country and stayed for four years. It was with the help of the American forces that the Japanese surrendered and left the Philippines. At this time, the country was established as a Republic and has officially declared its independence on July 4, 1946.

Since then were a transition of political and influential figures who lead the country towards development and global recognition.  Each of them, with their own ideals and reforms, has carved their names and legacies to the rich history of the Philippines.

However, like any other nation that encounters its own can of worms, the Philippines has also went through tumultuous administrations and was even held under martial rule for nine years from 1972-1981. Eventually, these events gave birth to various factions and oppositions to the present rulers. And as such, ordinary citizens, government and military officials, as well as priests and nuns marched together to an almost bloodless revolution to oust a corrupt regime. This event marked the first people power of the Philippines and was later repeated in 2001 for the same cause.


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