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Saturday, 11 February 2017



People have settled in the Philippines for thousands of years. Many groups of Austronesian people began to come to the archipelago in the first millennium, pushing the aboriginal population into the interior or perhaps absorbing them through intermarriage.

A debt was pardoned on the island of Luzon in 900, as inscribed on the Laguna Copperplate Inscription, the earliest known written document found in the Philippines. The inscription reveals that the Honourable Namwaran and his children, Lady Angkatan and Bukah, were granted pardon from all their debts by the Commander in chief of Tundun.

The Philippine archipelago was first sighted in 1521 by Ferdinand Magellan on his expedition to the Spice Islands, but it was in 1543 during the reign of King Philip II of Spain that Spanish explorer Ruy Lopez de Villalobos renamed them from the archipelago of St. Lazarus to Las Islas Filipinas in Philip's honor.

San Agustin Church in Manila was officially completed in 1607; it is the oldest church still standing in the Philippines.

The University of Santo Tomas is a private, Roman Catholic research university in Manila. Founded on April 28, 1611 by Miguel de Benavides, Archbishop of Manila, it has the oldest extant university charter in the Philippines and in Asia.

The University of Santo Tomas. By Patrick Roque -  Wikipedia

The Philippine islands were ceded by Spain to the United States as a result of the latter's victory in the Spanish–American War. A compensation of $20 million was paid to Spain according to the terms of the 1898 Treaty of Paris.

As it became increasingly clear the United States would not recognize the nascent First Philippine Republic, the Philippine–American War broke out. It began on February 4, 1899 when an American soldier, under orders to keep insurgents away from his unit's encampment, fired upon a Filipino soldier in Manila.

The Philippine–American War resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of combatants as well as at least 200,000 civilians, mostly from a cholera epidemic.

U.S. soldiers battling with Moro fighters during the Philippine–American War, 1913

The U.S. used Concentration camps, water cure and the destruction of crops to starve the Filipino population into submission. Eventually, the First Republic was defeated, and the archipelago was administered under an Insular Government.

Back in 1898 Andrew Carnegie had offered President McKinley $20 million to free the Philippines instead of annexation.

The design of the current Philippine flag was conceptualized by Emilio Aguinaldo during his exile in Hong Kong in 1897. The first flag was sewn by Marcela Marino de Agoncillo with the help of her daughter Lorenza and Delfina Herbosa de Natividad. It was formally unfurled during the proclamation of independence on June 12, 1898 in Kawit, Cavite.

The Philippine flag is flown with the red side on the upper side in times of war and the blue side on the upper side during times of peace.

The national flag of the Philippines

Silliman University in Dumaguete, Negros Oriental, Philippines, was the first American private school to be founded in the country on August 28, 1901. Silliman Hall is the oldest standing American structure in the Philippines. Some of the materials used to build it were salvaged from an old theater in New York.

The University of the Philippines College of Law was founded on January 12, 1911; many leading Filipino political figures have since graduated from the educational establishment.

The U.S. Congress passed the Tydings-McDuffie Act which came into effect on March 24, 1934, established the process for the Philippines, then an American colony, to become an independent country after a ten-year transition period. The following year, Franklin Roosevelt proclaimed the Philippine Islands a free commonwealth after its new constitution was approved.

In 1937 The Philippines held a plebiscite for Filipino women on whether they should be extended the right to suffrage; over 90% voted in the affirmative.

Plans for independence over the next decade were interrupted by World War II when the Japanese Empire invaded and the Second Philippine Republic of José P. Laurel was established as a collaborator state.

The island of Corregidor played an important role during World War II. The Battle of Corregidor in 1942 was the culmination of the Japanese campaign for the conquest of the Philippines. The American and Filipino soldiers on Corregidor and the neighboring islets held out against the Japanese to deny the use of Manila Bay, but the Japanese Army brought heavy artillery to the southern end of Bataan, and proceeded to blockade Corregidor. 1.8 million pounds of shells pounded the island over a five hour attack on May 6, 1942 forcing the surrender of the remaining American and Filipino forces.

Surrender of U.S. forces at the Malinta Tunnel May 6, 1942

The Battle of Leyte Gulf was fought in waters near the Philippine islands of Leyte, Samar and Luzon, from October 23-26 1944. when Allied forces started the liberation of the Philippines from the Japanese Empire. It is generally considered to be the largest naval battle of World War II and according to gross tonnage sunk, the largest naval battle in history.

The U.S. Navy light aircraft carrier USS Princeton burning after she was hit by a Japanese bomb.

The battle for the recapture of Corregidor occurred between February 16-26 1945, in which American and Filipino forces liberated the island fortress from Japanese soldiers.

On July 4, 1946 the Philippines finally gained their independence after 381 years of near-continuous colonial rule by various powers. The Philippines was recognized by the United States as fully independent on that day.

In the Philippines, the Fourth of July is called "Republic Day" and is a celebration of Philippine independence from the United States.

The Flag of the United States of America is lowered while the Flag of the Philippines is raised 

An estimated 6 to 7 million attended the Concluding Eucharistic Celebration in Manila on January 18, 2015, ending the five-day apostolic and state visit of Pope Francis in the Philippines, making it as the largest papal crowd in history.


The Philippines has a population of around 100 million people spread across 7,107 islands. Together there are about 300,000 square kilometers of land.

Around 500 of those islands were not discovered and mapped until 2013.

The islands are in three groups: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Luzon is the largest island and Mindanao is the second largest. The Visayas are the group of islands in the central part of the Philippines.

If you spent one day on each of the islands in the Phillippines, it would take you almost 21 years to visit them all.

The Philippines has a province where the quality of life is equal to living in Finland, and another where the quality of life is equal to living in Niger.

The port of Manila, on Luzon, is the country's capital and it is the second-largest city after Quezon City. In the Visayas, Cebu City is the largest city. In Mindanao, Davao City is the largest city.

Malacañang Palace in Manila is the President of the Philippines' official residence By LordAntagonist 

The yo-yo was invented in the Philippines as a traditional hunting weapon.

The karaoke machine was originally invented in the Philippines too, by Roberto del Rosario, who patented the idea about five years before the Japanese popularized it.

Three of the world’s five largest shopping malls are in the Philippines. The largest, SM City North EDSA in Quezon City, has daily foot traffic of average 950,000 people, adding up to 350,000,000 people a year.

The Philippines and East Timor are the only nations in East Asia where most people practice Christianity. Census data from 2010 found that about 80.58% of the population professed Catholicism.

The Philippines is the only country, apart from Vatican City, where divorce is forbidden. Widows in the Philippines must wait 301 days before marrying again. However in April 2018 its Supreme Court  ruled that couples who divorce in other countries may remarry in the Philippines.

Source Daily Express

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