[ Home ] [ About US ] [ Cebu ] [ Visit Cebu ] [ Friendship ] [ Immigration ] [ Links ] [ Store ] 

  Please! Sign our Guestbook...

[ FAQs ] [ Contents ] [ Contact US! ] [ Search


 The
Philippines!

handidivers - Disabled or not?
Want to go ocean diving?
Then visit my new friends!

 


[ About Cebu ] [ Philippines ] [ Things to do ]
[ $ Converter ] [ PI-Cebu Maps ] [ PI News ]
[ Philippines Trivia ] [ Truly Filipino ]
[
Videos & Slideshows  ]

 

 
   

"The Pearl of the Orient"

Here are the basics on a very diverse country....

The Land

The Pearl of the Orient, the Philippines.
The Philippines officially consist of 7,107 islands of which only 2000 are inhabited. Only about 500 of the islands are larger than 1 one square mile, and 2,500 aren't even named. The 7,100 islands scattered in an archipelago which is actually part of a great primeval mountain range stretching from Japan south to Indonesia.

Prehistoric geological activity (the Philippines has over 200 known volcanoes) and incessant monsoon rains have resulted in a rich landscape with a magnificent variety of natural wonders. From the powdery fine sands of Boracay, to the mysterious elegance of Bohol's Chocolate Hills, or from the majestic perfection of Mt. Mayon's famous cone, to the incredible triumph of the Banaue Rice Terraces, the Philippines is filled with natural wonders sufficient for more than a lifetime of study.

The total area of the Philippines is 191,000 sq. mils. From North to South the Philippines stretches 1,156 miles, and from East to West 687 miles. The highest Peak is Mt. Apo in Mindanao, at 7,385 ft. Mt. Pulog in North Luzon is the second at 7,325 ft. 

There are 37 volcanoes, 18 of which are classed as active including the Mt. Mayon Volcano in South Luzon and Mt. Pinatubo nort west of Manila in Central Luzon. The longest rivers are the Cagayan, Pampanga, and Agno in Luzon.

History and Culture

The Philippines is unique as the only Christian country in Asia, over 90% of the population is Christian. The Spanish did a thorough job. The Philippines has developed a unique mixed culture of foreign influences, mainly Spanish and North American, which can be seen everyday, as even the smallest village square is converted into a basketball court. Ever since US colonial times the country has been crazy about this sport of giants - even though the Filipinos themselves tend to be under tall. During the period of Spanish occupation, Spanish was taught in schools and developed, as the language is still present to-day, in the numerical system and in the Zamboangan language in Chavacano. Spanish was abolished as a compulsory subject in 1968. Since the declaration of total independence from the USA in 1946, English has remained the language of commerce and Politics. Newspapers, TV, Radio, and Government statistics are evidence of this. 

The Philippines education system is largely based on the North American model: primary education (elementary schools), secondary education (high schools), and higher education (colleges, universities). School attendance is compulsory for the first four years of the six years elementary school. With an illiteracy rate of only 12% of the population over fifteen, the standard of education is high compared with other developing countries.
First officially gaining modern European notice, the islands were discovered by the Portuguese explorer, Ferdinand Magellan sailing as a representative of Spain while searching for the legendary Spice Islands in 1521. It was however, Ruy Lopez de Villalobos, another Spaniard who gave the islands its present name after King Philip II of Spain in 1542. 

Utilizing a careful balance of superior technology and religious conversion, the Spaniards colonized the islands and remained in power for over three centuries. 

During the latter decades of the 19th century, a rise of nationalism swept the country and became the foundation for Spain's inevitable eviction. Filipino national heroes like Aguinaldo, Bonifacio, and Rizal emerged as revolutionary vanguards who led the way to Philippine independence. Filipino guerillas with the help of the Americans (who were engaged with Spain in a war over Cuba) eventually succeeded in forging a new republic in 1899 with Emilio Aguinaldo as the first president of the Republic of the Philippines. The Americans however stayed on and defined their role as one of tutelage and instituted massive political, social, and economic development making the Philippines a commonwealth and promising independence in 1945. 

During World War II however, the Japanese defeated the Philippine-American forces and were able to occupy the Philippines for 3 years. They were eventually defeated when the Philippine-American guerilla forces were bolstered by the triumphant and promised return of General Douglas MacArthur and his powerful expeditionary force. On July 4, 1946 the Philippines was finally declared an independent nation

In 1521 Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese seafarer, arrived at the Islands, erected a Cross in Mactan and claimed the whole archipelago for Spain. Lapu Lapu, a proud Filipino chief, opposed the Spanish authority and this led to a battle in which Magellan was killed. 

Roy Lopez de Villalobos, was the next to try and claim the Islands for Spain. He reached the island realm with an expedition in 1543, and named it "Filipinas" after King Philip II of Spain. The permanent Spanish colonial rule of the Philippines began in 1565.

In November of that year, Miguel Lopez de Lagaspi landed with his fleet at Bohol. In Tagbilaran, Legaspi sealed a blood friendship with the island ruler Rajah Sikatuna. He went on to conquer Cebu, a short time later and erect the first Spanish Fort in the Philippines.

In 1571, Legaspi conquered Manila, and a year later the while country, with the exception of strictly Islamic Sulu Islands and Mindanao, was under Spain domination. With the zeal typical of the Spanish at the time, churches were built and the propagation of Catholicism began.

In 1898, as a result of a dispute over Cuba, a war between Spain and the USA broke out. Under Admiral Dewey the Spanish Fleet was decisively beaten in Manila Bay. The USA paid the Spanish US$20 million for possession of the Philippines and this was ratified by the Treaty of Paris in 1898.

After President Roosevelt recognized the newly drawn up Philippine constitution, Manuel L. Quezon was sworn in as president of the Philippine Commonwealth.

Following the attack on Pearl Harbour, Japanese troops landed in Luzon and conquered Manila in 1942. This brought about the brutal Japanese military rule, which continued till 1944 when General Douglas MacArthur fulfilled his promise to return and liberate the Philippines from Japanese.

In 1946, the Philippines received full independence as had been promised in 1935 by the USA. The first President of the Republic was Manuel Roxas.

The People

The Philippines today is a dynamic result of its tumultuous history resulting in a nation rich with influences and flavors from its different colonial experiences. Due in large part to Spanish influences, it has the distinction of being the only pre-dominantly Christian country in Asia. The people are known throughout the world for their hospitality and friendly disposition especially towards visitors. They are quite a fun loving crowd always ready to lend a helping hand if not a friendly smile.

Customs and Traditions

Due to its diverse colonial history, Filipino customs and traditions are equally as diverse. Some traditions have been eroded by modernization but a lot of them are still noticeable and can be traced back to colonial ancestry. For example, the "fiesta" or the celebration of a town's patron saint's feast day is a direct carry over from Spanish times. Once a year, Philippine towns hold huge feasts to celebrate this event which is next only to Christmas and New Year's Day in order of importance.


(click above)  

Boracay Island
Boracay Island

Tagaytay
Tagaytay

Bantayan Church
Bantayan Church

Guimaras
Guimaras

Interior of an old house
Interior of an old house

Native Caravan
Native Caravan

 Filipina Beauty
Filipina Beauty

Pagdiwata Dance 
Pagdiwata Dance

Singkil
Singkil

Languages 

The main language spoken is Filipino which is a variation of the Tagalog dialect. There are many dialects spoken all over the country but Tagalog is usually understood everywhere. English is the secondary language largely due to the Americans, and is also widely understood. Spanish to some extent is still used but only in a select few households.

Moriones Festival
Moriones Festival

 


  Please! Sign our Guestbook...

[ FAQs ] [ Contents ] [ Contact US! ] [ Search

[ Home ] [ About US ] [ Cebu ] [ Visit Cebu ] [ Friendship ] [ Immigration ] [ Links ] [ Store ]

Cebu on Wheels Home Page Disclaimers    
 

Site last Updated: 13 April, 2007