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Philippines is named after King Phillip II of Spain, who reigned from 1554-1598.
The country was named in 1542 (when King Philip was still a prince) to reference
only a couple islands, but later the name included the entire archipelago.
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The Filipinos were never a united people as each island made up a different ethnicity,
culture, and society. In fact the people were often times fighting each other or
simply ignored each other. For much of their early history the people were isolated
from the world and each other; isolation that is at the core of how their culture
Isolated from the world, the people became very accomplished fighters, needing to
be able to defend their islands for survival as they clung close to the coasts and
lived off the seas. This defense and isolation held technology and progress away
as outside contact was viewed as a threat; as much of the world moved forward, the
islands that now make up the Philippines were left behind. Trust was limited to
those on their island as families and communities became closer while isolation
with outsiders grew. All the while, the people survived easily in this isolation
due to access to fishing and farming on the fertile islands.
The flag of the Philippines includes
the color blue for peace and justice, red for courage, and a white triangle to represent
equality. The sun's rays represent the eight provinces that initially sought
independence from Spain and the three stars are for the three major geographic divisions
in the country: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.
Name: Republic of the Philippines
Independence: June 12, 1898 (from Spain) &
July 4, 1946 (from the U.S.A.)
Currency: Philippine Peso
Population: 105,720,644 (2013 estimate)
Ethnicity: Tagalog, Cebuano, Ilocano, & others
Language: Filipino (Tagalog) & English
Religion: Roman Catholic
As the Age of Exploration began and foreigners started to arrive to the islands
of the Philippines, their arrival was fiercely resisted. Numerous explorers arrived
and soon after left; the world continued to move forward without the Filipinos,
but this changed when the Spanish finally settled the region.
The Spanish introduced Catholicism to the islands and this became the new base for
the quickly changing Filipino culture. Catholicism changed the people as they united
under this new religion and turned from their violent ways in the past to a more
peaceful path forward. The Spanish also opened the doors of the country as outside
influences entered the country, altering the food, ethnicity, and culture.
In about 1900 the United States took control over the Philippines and they began
to focus on economic growth on the islands, something that was poorly received as
the people demanded independence, tapping back into their past roots, clinging to
independence and self-rule. From this time until the end of World War II the islands
were occupied by the Americans and Japanese. This foreign occupation provoked greater
desire for self-rule as their identity was also solidified and the people united
across islands. The people began to identify as one people instead of as members
of their island, however this growth in pride pushed away the people of some of
the southern islands, who are primarily Muslim.
Today the people continue to gain a stronger identity as the Muslim population continues
to argue the definition of what it means to be "Filipino" or seek independence.
In addition to this, the country has struggled to grow economically as urbanization
is increasing quickly since cities seem to be the only place where jobs are available.
The people are moving away from farming and fishing for industrialized jobs in the
cities, forever altering the culture. As this is occurring, there is a growing divide
among the rich and poor.
Despite the many differences among the Filipinos, the people tend to be generous
and kind, opportunistic and hard-working, and always giving. Despite these great
characteristics, poverty rules the lives of most of the people and desperation can
overcome the positives. In many ways, the people are still seeking a uniform culture
and identity as those moving to the cities arrive without jobs, housing, or enough
money to survive in many cases. The future of the Philippines seems uncertain, but
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