Saturday, May 11, 2013


I am so proud of my country, The Philippines, because it showcases many wonderful things that not every country has. The Philippines is the only Asian country (or the only country in the world) that boasts of so many natural resources.  Here, there were so many navigators that fell in love with the island, abundant fruit bearing trees, natural habitats, natural resources, so many virgin islands, white sands, and countless places to visit.

Philippines has become multi-cultural because different nationalities had invaded the country and shared their other traditions and cultures which the Filipinos from the past eras were able to adapt.

An Introduction To The Philippines

The Republic of the Philippines, an island nation located in the Malay archipelago in Southeast Asia, comprising of 7,107 islands, collectively known as Philippine Archipelago, has a total area of nearly 300,000 square kilometers to it's credit. The country, named "Las Islas Felipinas" after King Philip II of Spain, fell prey to Spanish colonialism in 1565. The colonial rule lasted for three long centuries and ended after Philippine Revolution of 1896. But independence, the most prized political ambition of modern times, was not forthcoming for it yet. It was ceded to the US in 1898 in the wake of the Spanish-American War, and it was only in 1946 that they saw the run of independence rise after Japanese occupation in World War II. However, it was as late as in 1992 that the US finally closed its last military bases on the islands and left the Philippine soil for good. Manila is now the capital of Philippines.

The people of the Philippines are supposed to be the direct descendants of the Austronesian-speaking peoples. Still, some of the Filipinos are of mixed descent from the intermarriages with other nationalities like the Chines and the Spanish. They are, therefore, known as mestizos. Roman Catholicism is the predominant religion, and English, along with Tagalog, is the official language.

The Philippines is a presidential-unitary republic with the President at the apex, as the head of state, the head of government, and the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. He is elected by popular vote, every 6 years. During his term in the office, he or she appoints and presides over the cabinet of secretaries.

The bicameral Congress is the primary legislative body comprising the Senate and the House of Representatives. There are 24 senators in all, who serve a 6-year term each with the half retiring every three years. The House of Representatives houses 250 members with a 3-year term each.

The judiciary is headed by the Supreme Court, presided over by the Chief Justice as its head and 14 associate justices. All the appointments are made by the President from the nominations submitted by the Judiciary itself and the Bar Council. Besides, the Supreme Court, other courts include the Court of Appeals, the Regional Trial Courts and the Metropolitan Trial Courts.

The economy of the Philippines is largely agricultural with light industry and service-sector economy lending a helping hand. In the recent past the Philippines has emerged as one of the most happening places for Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) in Asia, and houses numerous call centers. The advent of what might be called 'BPO revolution' has given immense impetus to the Philippine market generating a great number of jobs and business opportunities.

The Philippine economy has shown a great degree of resilience, which is generally attributed to low foreign inflows and the fact that Philippines' is a largely agriculture-based economy. Economic set backs could not throw the Philippine economy out of gear when it struck the nation in 1999. The growth rate came down to 3 percent in 1999 but rose remarkably to 4 percent in 2000, and by 2004 the Philippine had registered an admirable 6 percent growth recovering from the East Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s.

Government policies are carefully designed to assist and promote industrial development. The Philippine middle class, being essential to economic prosperity, is taken special care of. Strategies for streamlining the economy include improvements of infrastructure, more efficient tax systems, furthering deregulation and privatization of the economy. As of 2006, The US and Japan are Philippines' biggest trading partners, which means that the country's economic prosperity also depends upon the economic performance of these nations.


Hundreds of  species!

The Philippines is a tropical country with a 'Tropical rainforest climate'.
The high temperatures and the continuously high humidity the whole year through, make that there are more than 3500 species of plants and animals! 

Influence of the tropical climate
Plants and animals are adjusted to the tropical climate and specific qualities of the tropical environment. Especially the tropical coral waters and the original tropical rainforests are the places, where hundreds of  beautiful coloured and sometimes rare animals live.

Early History -The Negritos are believed to have migrated to the Philippines some 30,000 years ago from Borneo, Sumatra, and Malaya. The Malayans followed in successive waves. These people belonged to a primitive epoch of Malayan culture, which has apparently survived to this day among certain groups such as the Igorots. The Malayan tribes that came later had more highly developed material cultures.

In the 14th cent. Arab traders from Malay and Borneo introduced Islam into the southern islands and extended their influence as far north as Luzon. The first Europeans to visit (1521) the Philippines were those in the Spanish expedition around the world led by the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan. Other Spanish expeditions followed, including one from New Spain (Mexico) under López de Villalobos, who in 1542 named the islands for the infante Philip, later Philip II.


There are two theories on the origins of the first Filipinos, the inhabitants of what will later be called the Philippine Islands and eventually the Republic of the Philippines. See the Early Inhabitants of the Philippine Islands.

In the beginning of the 3rd century, the inhabitants of Luzon island were in contact and trading with East Asian sea-farers and merchants including the Chinese. In the 1400's the Japanese also established a trading post at Aparriin Northern Luzon.

In 1380, Muslim Arabs arrived at the Sulu Archipelago and established settlements which became mini-states ruled by a Datu. They introduced Islam in the southern parts of the archipelago including some parts of Luzon and were under the control of the Muslim sultans of Borneo. They had a significant influence over the region for a couple of hundreds years. The Malay Muslims remained dominant in these parts until the 16th century.

Philippine History During the Spanish Colonial Times

In 1521, Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese explorer who was serving the Spanish crown, landed in Samar Island on hisvoyage to circumvent the globe. He explored the islands and named it Archipelago of San Lazaro. Magellan was killed during a rebellion led by a Datu named Lapu Lapu in Mactan Island (adjacent to Cebu Island). Spain continued to send expeditions to the island for financial gain and on the fourth expedition, Commander Ruy Lopez de Villalobos, named the islands: Philippines, after Prince Philip (later King Philip II), heir to the Spanish throne. Spain ruled the Philippines for 356 years.

King Philip 2, SpainIn 1565, King Philip II appointed Miguel Lopez de Legazpi as the first Governor-General of the Philippines. Legazpi chose Manila to be it's capital because of it's natural harbor. Spain's legacy was the conversion of the people to Catholicism and the creation of the privileged landed class. Because of abuses and suppression of the Spaniards, a Propaganda Movement emerged with the aims for equality between Filipinos and Spaniards. The arrest of propagandist Dr. Jose Rizal and execution in 1896 gave fresh momentum to Filipino rebels to fight against Spain.

The secret society of the Katipunan, founded by Andres Bonifacio attacked the Spanish Garrison in San Juan with little success, while Katipuneros in Cavite Province headed by Emilio Aguinaldodefeated the Guardia Civil in Cavite. Aguinaldo's victories lead him to be elected as head of the Katipunan. The factions of Bonifacio & Aguinaldo fought and lead to the trial and execution of Bonifacio on Aguinaldo's orders. Aguinaldo later drafted a constitution and established the Republic ofBiak-na-Bato in Bulacan province. In 1897, an impasse between the Spanish government and Aguinaldo arose. After negotiations between the two sides, Aguinaldo accepted an amnesty from the Spaniards and US$ 800,000.00 in exchange for his exile to Hong Kong with his government.

It is thought that the earliest inhabitants of the Philippines some 40000 years ago.  On Palawan, the long and small island in the western Visayas, human bones were found dating to about 22,000 years ago.  Stone tools from ancient times were found too on Palawan.  The age of the tools is estimated to be about 30,000 years old.  Analyses showed that the tools have similar features as tools which were found on Kalimantan (Indonesia).

The original people of the Philippines were ancestors of the people known today as Negritos or Aeta.  They are short people with a dark skin and curly brown hair.

The Aeta came 13000 - 10000 years ago from the Asian continent.  In earlier times, they lived widespread throughout the Philippines.  Today, they are living in the remote highland areas of Luzon, Palawan, Panay, Negros, and Mindanao. About 2300 years ago Malayan people arrived from the mainland in the Philippines and brought a more advance culture; dairy, iron melting and production of iron tools, pottery techniques and the system of sawah's (rice fields).

In the tenth century, Muslim traders come from Kalimantan (Indonesia) to the Philippines.  A few centuries later, the Islam spread out in the southern part of the Philippines.  Until now, the Islam is strong rooted on Mindanao and other (smaller)islands of the southern part of the Philippines.


Ifugao warrior, click to enlarge  

Traveling to the northern part of the island Luzon will bring you not only to beautiful landscapes with amazing rice terraces.  It will bring you also to the regions with remote villages and colorful and traditional living upland tribal communities. Their ancestors constructed the fascinating rice terraces with the perfect working irrigation systems. These mountain tribes still distinguish themselves by their specific cultural expression and their skills.

They have skills in making bowls, baskets, weapons and clothing. It were the Bontocs and the Ifugao people who built up the rice terraces. Traveling in the provinces of Ifugao or other provinces in Luzon, will make clear to you that the way of living of these people didn't change. They are still living and working as in the past.  Many tourists decide to make the long bus-trip from Manila to these provinces especially to meet the Ifugao, the Bontocs, the Kankanays or other tribes. 

In the past the Ifugao  were feared head-hunters, just as other tribes in the mountainous regions of northern Luzon. The war-dance (the bangibang) is one of the cultural remnants of the time of tribal conflict. 

This dance is traditionally held on the walls of the rice terraces by the men, equipped with spears, axes and wooden shields and a headdress made of leaves.

Typical houses of the Ifugao
The Ifugao build their houses on piles. The pyramid-shaped roof is used as a bedroom, kitchen and storeroom. All in one space! There are no windows. To please the gods, the skull of a sacrificed pig is fixed on the outside of the house. The residents still live in the same type of houses as their ancestors.

Skills of the Ifugao
The Ifugao still practice the same skills as in the past: Woodcarving and weaving clothes. They discovered  the tourists as a  welcome client for their products in a time that the most young Ifugao prefer Western clothes.

Were you ever invited to see the bones of an ancestor?  Read the story of the tourist, Jon, who visited the region of the Ifugao some years ago... " As we wandered further, a lady approached us and asked us if we would like to look at the bones... and she produced a large bundle wrapped in a blanket that she unfolded to reveal the skeleton of her Grandfather Po Po. Bizarre? 

Not in the culture of the Ifugao.  Like with the Bontocs, their funerals are not only a sad event because of the lost of the person.  There is also a celebration during days, because of the belief of a better life after death.  Six years after the body is buried, the bones are dug up, after which a second celebration will take place.  This is one time repeated after another six years. 


There are more than 40 different ethnic groups in the Philippines.  Each group has a distinct culture and language.  Several of these ethnic groups can be distinguished as "tribal groups".  They are 'indigenous groups' who still live in a rather traditional way.  Each group lives in a specific region on one of the islands.  You can meet them in parts of Luzon, on some of the Visayas islands, and on Mindanao.

The  T'boli and B'laan,  two  indigenous groups

On Mindanao, live 18 tribal Filipino groups.  The most well known are the T'boli and the B'laan (or "Bla-an').  The other groups are the Ata, Bagobo, Banwaon, Bukidnon, Dibabawon, Higaunon, Kalagan, Mamanwa, Mandaya, Mangguwangan, Manobo, Mansaka, Subanen, Tagakaolo, Teduray, and the ubo. 

Most characteristic of these 'indigenous groups' is that they live  in a traditional way, comparable with how the ancestors lived centuries ago. 

Lumad, the collective name

On Mindanao there are in total 18 indigenous groups. The collective name for the 18  indigenous groups on Mindanao is "Lumad". It is just another word for 'indigenous' .These ethnic groups distinguish  themselves by their language and culture.

Old and new elements in their life
The cultural heritage is visible in their clothes and ornaments they wear. Housing,  economic activities, cultural habits and often religion are all very traditional.Some groups learned to know tourism as a good alternative to earn extra money. In general however, the indigenous groups still live like in the past

The T'boli and their subsistence activities

The T'boli (pronounce "Tiboli") people live in the southern part of the province Cotabata, in the environment around lake Sebu,  west of the city General Santos. It is estimated that are between 100000 and 150000 T'boli. In the past the T'boli practiced the primitive way of agriculture "slash and burn". "Slash and burn"  means that the people will clear a part of the forest by cutting the big trees and burning the lower and smaller trees and bushes, after which they use the cleared plots as arable land for some years without any fertilization. Rice, cassava and yams were the most important agricultural products. Next to that, the people went hunting or fishing for additional food.

For years slash and burn is no longer possible. The forests are gone by intensive economic activities as foresting. At present The T'boli live in the mountains.  Agriculture is the only source of income. Some foreigners, in cooperation with the aid organizationCord Aid, succeeded in developing some hectares of arable land in the last few years. Nevertheless, the T'boli live in poor circumstances; a struggle for live.


Religion and culture

Only a few T'boli are Christian or Islamite. More than 95 percent of The T'boli people still has their animistic religion. They were hardly influenced by the spread of the Islam on the island. The Spaniards too, didn't succeed to Christianize the T'boli during the Spanish colonial period. Main reason was that the T'boli withdrew to the hinterlands in the uplands. 
The T'boli and members of other indigenous tribes like the Higaunon,still believe in spirits who live on several places in the natural environment. 

The T'boli distinguish their selves, like all other "tribal Filipinos", by their colorful clothes and specific ornaments like rings, bracelets and earrings. 

Indigenous tribes and Animism
There is a strong belief in the power of the spirits of ancestors and in the influence of more than one god.

The Higaunon people of Northern Mindanao

The Higaunon is one of the mountain tribes in the Philippines. Most  Higaunon  still have a rather traditional way of living. Farming is the most important economic activity.

The belief in the power of the spirits of ancestors and in the influence of more than one god, is strongly rooted in the hearts and minds of many Higaunon.

The belief in many gods and spirits of ancestors

Most Higaunon still have a strong belief in the existence of gods and spirits. The ‘upper god’ is Magbabaya, the creator of all aspects of life. There are several ‘lower gods’. Each ‘lower god’ has dominion over a specific part of the natural environment.   There is a lower god (Igbabasok) who has dominion over the farms, a lower god (Pamahandi) who has dominion over treasures and properties, a lower god (Bulalakaw) who has dominion over the waters and fishes and there is a lower god (Panalagbugta) who has dominion over lands.  The (ancestor) spirits have control on all aspects of the daily life of the people.  This belief, called “animism”, influences the Higaunon people deeply. They believe that all problems like illnesses, bad harvests and even the death, are due to their failure to satisfy the spirits.

Satisfy the spirits

The Higaunon belief that they have to please the spirits. Only if the Higaunon succeed during their life to fulfill all the wishes of the spirits, they will not die and a path will be shown to go from this world into the eternal world where the creator gods live.

One way to satisfy the spirits is having rituals with sacrifices. Pigs and chickens are the most common sacrifices.  Without the sacrifices or when there not enough sacrifices, there will be problems with their subsistence, crops will fail and illnesses will not be cured and people will die. If somebody gets ill, an ‘all knowing’ shaman is asked advice what to do. The shaman is a person in the village who has the ability to tell which spirit caused the sickness and what should be done to pacify the spirit.

Attempts to bring an alternative to the bondage to the spirit world

Since  July 1981 missionaries are trying to help the Higaunon in their struggle for a better life.  Missionaries from Australia, USA and Columbia, took care for the people in one of the villages.  The missionaries help combat sicknesses by offering medicines and help with all kind of problems.  After some years the power of the spirits diminished in some villages. The Higaunon people discovered that sacrifices to combat sicknesses were not necessary anymore. In the period 1985 until now the animism was replaced more and more by Christianity.  Still in most villages animism is widespread.


In 1521, Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese explorer who was serving the Spanish crown, landed in Samar Island on hisvoyage to circumvent the globe. He explored the islands and named it Archipelago of San Lazaro. Magellan was killed during a rebellion led by a Datu named Lapu Lapu in Mactan Island (adjacent to Cebu Island). Spain continued to send expeditions to the island for financial gain and on the fourth expedition, Commander Ruy Lopez de Villalobos, named the islands: Philippines, after Prince Philip (later King Philip II), heir to the Spanish throne. Spain ruled the Philippines for 356 years.

King Philip 2, SpainIn 1565, King Philip II appointed Miguel Lopez de Legazpi as the first Governor-General of the Philippines. Legazpi chose Manila to be it's capital because of it's natural harbor. Spain's legacy was the conversion of the people to Catholicism and the creation of the privileged landed class. Because of abuses and suppression of the Spaniards, a Propaganda Movement emerged with the aims for equality between Filipinos and Spaniards. The arrest of propagandist Dr. Jose Rizal and execution in 1896 gave fresh momentum to Filipino rebels to fight against Spain.

The secret society of the Katipunan, founded by Andres Bonifacio attacked the Spanish Garrison in San Juan with little success, while Katipuneros in Cavite Province headed by Emilio Aguinaldodefeated the Guardia Civil in Cavite. Aguinaldo's victories lead him to be elected as head of the Katipunan. The factions of Bonifacio & Aguinaldo fought and lead to the trial and execution of Bonifacio on Aguinaldo's orders. Aguinaldo later drafted a constitution and established the Republic ofBiak-na-Bato in Bulacan province. In 1897, an impasse between the Spanish government and Aguinaldo arose. After negotiations between the two sides, Aguinaldo accepted an amnesty from the Spaniards and US$ 800,000.00 in exchange for his exile to Hong Kong with his government.


In 1521, the Spanish period started with the arrival of a mall fleet in the coastal waters of Mactan island, just east of Cebu island. It was Fernao de Magelhaes (Ferdinand Magellan), a Portuguese in service of the Spanish King.  He claimed the country for the Spanish King, King Felipe.


There was a great resistance of the local people.  In the battle that took place that day, the locals with their leader, Lapu Lapu, succeeded in forcing the Spaniards to retreat to their ships, after their leader, Magellan, was killed by the spears of the Lapu Lapu warriors.  Lapu Lapu became the first Filipino hero.


Spanish Control - The conquest of the Filipinos by Spain did not begin in earnest until 1564, when another expedition from New Spain, commanded by Miguel López de Legaspi, arrived. Spanish leadership was soon established over many small independent communities that previously had known no central rule. By 1571, when López de Legaspi established the Spanish city of Manila on the site of a Moro town he had conquered the year before, the Spanish foothold in the Philippines was secure, despite the opposition of the Portuguese, who were eager to maintain their monopoly on the trade of East Asia.

Manila repulsed the attack of the Chinese pirate Limahong in 1574. For centuries before the Spanish arrived the Chinese had traded with the Filipinos, but evidently none had settled permanently in the islands until after the conquest. Chinese trade and labor were of great importance in the early development of the Spanish colony, but the Chinese came to be feared and hated because of their increasing numbers, and in 1603 the Spanish murdered thousands of them (later, there were lesser massacres of the Chinese).

The Spanish governor, made a viceroy in 1589, ruled with the advice of the powerful royal audiencia. There were frequent uprisings by the Filipinos, who resented the encomienda system. By the end of the 16th cent. Manila had become a leading commercial center of East Asia, carrying on a flourishing trade with China, India, and the East Indies. The Philippines supplied some wealth (including gold) to Spain, and the richly laden galleons plying between the islands and New Spain were often attacked by English freebooters. There was also trouble from other quarters, and the period from 1600 to 1663 was marked by continual wars with the Dutch, who were laying the foundations of their rich empire in the East Indies, and with Moro pirates. One of the most difficult problems the Spanish faced was the subjugation of the Moros. Intermittent campaigns were conducted against them but without conclusive results until the middle of the 19th cent. As the power of the Spanish Empire waned, the Jesuit orders became more influential in the Philippines and acquired great amounts of property.



The origin of the specific features of the Barong Tagalog

Long time before the Spaniards arrived in the Philippine archipelago, the Tagolog people on  the northern island of Luzon, wore already a dress, that can be seen as the origin of the Barong Tagalog. The dress reached slightly below the waist, was colourless and had an opening in the front. The dress was, as the picture shows, tucked out.

The Tagalog:  people that lived  on the island of Luzon, already  a very long time before the Spaniards arrived on Luzon. 


The roots of the Barong Tagalog
From the beginning of the Spanish rule in the Philippine archipelago, the Spanish rulers demanded the Filipino men to wear  the Barong Tagalog. The Spaniards wanted to make  the differences between themselves and the 'natives' visible by the dress.

Therefore they prohibited  to tuck the barong under the waistband. That was the mark of the inferior status of the natives. Next to that,  the cloth material should be transparent. That should make it impossible to hide any weapon that could be used against the Spanish rulers. Furthermore, it was forbidden to have any pockets in the barong. This had to prevent any thievery.

Even at the time that some Filipinos became successful business men or successful in agricultural activies, these lucky and more important middle class men had to wear the Barong Tagalog just as the Spanish rulers demanded. 

In these Spanish period, the new middle class started to put  more attention to the design of the barong.  The front of the barong showed more and more a hand -work design. It was the beginning of becoming a symbol of resistance to colonization. 

The Barong Tagalog evolved to ' the national dress'!
The Barong Tagalog gained his real 'national prestige' after president Quezon, the first Filipino president, declared theBarong Tagalog "the National dress". So, the BarongTagalog  evolved from the pre-Hispanic became officially a symbol of the Filipinos' resistance to colonization!

The Barong Tagalog week
In 1975 The former president Ferdinand  Marcos issued a decree proclaiming an official " Barong Tagalog Week " (June 5 - 11). It was the incentive to a wider use of theBarong Tagalog.

Bridegrooms and the Barong Tagalog

In the Philippines of today,  many Filipinos  will wear the Barong Tagalog at important events. It became a custom for bridegrooms to wear the long-sleeved, embroidered Barong Tagalog.

Polo Barong

After the introduction of the short-sleeved variety, the "Polo Barong", the barong dress became  less formal than in the past. In the last 25 years the polo version became the all-around wear of Filipinos.

After the Spaniards succeeded in 1556 to break the last good organized resistance, a long period of Spanish influence followed.  The Spaniards ruled the country, brought the Christian religion to the country and were responsible for a lot of colonial and religious buildings throughout the country.  The results can still be seen in places like Manila and Cebu City.


The Spanish colonial period was not without resistance of the Filipinos.  On the contrary, there was a succession of revolts against the European colonizers.  Emilio Aguinaldo was the great leader of the big revolt of 1896.  However, the Filipino rebels did not succeed to defeat the armed Spaniards at that time.  A helping hand came a few years later from the Americans.

                                             The Philippines' First President, Emilio Aguinaldo


(Emilio Aguinaldo y Famy (22 March 1869 – 6 February 1964) was a Filipino general, politician, and independence leader. He had an instrumental role during the Philippines' revolution against Spain, and the subsequent Philippine–American War or War of Philippine Independence that resisted American occupation.
Aguinaldo became the Philippines' first president. He was also the youngest (at age 28) to have become the country's president, the longest-lived former president (having survived to age 94) and the president to have outlived the most number of successors.

He was born on 23 March 1869 in Cavite Viejo (present-day Kawit), Cavite, to Carlos Aguinaldo and Trinidad Famy, a Chinese mestizo couple who had eight children, the seventh of whom was Emilio. The Aguinaldo family was quite well-to-do, as Carlos Aguinaldo was the community's appointed gobernadorcillo (municipal governor
Emilio became the Cabeza de Barangay of Binakayan, a chief barrio of Cavite del Viejo, when he was only 17 years old.
In 1895 a law that called for the reorganization of local governments was enacted. At the age of 26 Aguinaldo became Cavite Viejo's first capitan municipal.

In 1894, Aguinaldo joined the Katipunan or the K.K.K., a secret organization led by Andrés Bonifacio, dedicated to the expulsion of the Spanish and independence of the Philippines through armed force.  Aguinaldo used the nom de guerreMagdalo, in honor of Mary Magdalene. His local chapter of the Katipunan, headed by his cousin Baldomero Aguinaldo, was also called Magdalo.

The Katipunan revolt against the Spanish began in the last week of August 1896 in San Juan del Monte (now part of Metro Manila). However, Aguinaldo and other Cavite rebels initially refused to join in the offensive alleging lack of arms. Their absence contributed to Bonifacio's defeat. While Bonifacio and other rebels were forced to resort to guerrilla warfare, Aguinaldo and the Cavite rebels won major victories in set-piece battles, temporarily driving the Spanish out of their area.
On 17 February 1897 Aguinaldo and a group of katipuneros defeated Spanish forces led by General Camilo de Polavieja at the Battle of Zapote Bridge in Cavite. General Edilberto Evangelista, civil engineer, revolutionary and trench builder, was killed in the battle. The province of Cavite gradually emerged as the Revolution's hotbed, and the Aguinaldo-led katipuneros had a string of victories there.)


At the end of the nineteenth century, on April 25, 1898, the United States declared war on Spain.  The main reason was that the U.S. battleship, Main, was blown up in the harbor of Havana.  The United States thought Spain blew up this ship with a mine. (However, it was proved that the Main blew up due to coal dust.)  The American navy decided to attach the Spanish fleet in the Philippine waters.  The battle took place in Manila Bay. On May 1, 1898, the Spanish fleet was destroyed.  After 327 years under Spanish rule, the Philippine people thought that they won Independence at last.  The Americans, however, thought quite different about that at that time.


Revolution, War, and U.S. Control - 

It was the opposition to the power of the clergy that in large measure brought about the rising sentiment for independence. Spanish injustices, bigotry, and economic oppressions fed the movement, which was greatly inspired by the brilliant writings of José Rizal. In 1896 
revolution began in the province of Cavite, and after the execution of Rizal that December, it spread throughout the major islands. The Filipino leader, Emilio Aguinaldo, achieved considerable success before a peace was patched up with Spain. The peace was short-lived, however, for neither side honored its agreements, and a new revolution was brewing when the Spanish-American War broke out in 1898.

After the U.S. naval victory in Manila Bay on May 1, 1898, Commodore George Dewey supplied Aguinaldo with arms and urged him to rally the Filipinos against the Spanish. By the time U.S. land forces had arrived, the Filipinos had taken the entire island of Luzon, except for the old walled city of Manila, which they were besieging. The Filipinos had also declared their independence and established a republic under the first democratic constitution ever known in Asia. Their dreams of independence were crushed when the Philippines were transferred from Spain to the United States in the Treaty of Paris (1898), which closed the Spanish-American War.

In Feb., 1899, Aguinaldo led a new revolt, this time against U.S. rule. Defeated on the battlefield, the Filipinos turned to guerrilla warfare, and their subjugation became a mammoth project for the United States—one that cost far more money and took far more lives than the Spanish-American War. The insurrection was effectively ended with the capture (1901) of Aguinaldo by Gen. Frederick Funston, but the question of Philippine independence remained a burning issue in the politics of both the United States and the islands. The matter was complicated by the growing economic ties between the two countries. Although comparatively little American capital was invested in island industries, U.S. trade bulked larger and larger until the Philippines became almost entirely dependent upon the American market. Free trade, established by an act of 1909, was expanded in 1913.
When the Democrats came into power in 1913, measures were taken to effect a smooth transition to self-rule. The Philippine assembly already had a popularly elected lower house, and the Jones Act, passed by the U.S. Congress in 1916, provided for a popularly elected upper house as well, with power to approve all appointments made by the governor-general. It also gave the islands their first definite pledge of independence, although no specific date was set.

When the Republicans regained power in 1921, the trend toward bringing Filipinos into the government was reversed. Gen. Leonard Wood, who was appointed governor-general, largely supplanted Filipino activities with a semimilitary rule. However, the advent of the Great Depression in the United States in the 1930s and the first aggressive moves by Japan in Asia (1931) shifted U.S. sentiment sharply toward the granting of immediate independence to the Philippines.



After the end of the American-Spanish war in 1898, the Spaniards sold the Philippines and other colonial properties for $20 million dollar to the Americans.  Emilio Aguinaldo did not want to accept American rule and proclaimed the first Philippine Republic. 

The Americans decided that the Filipinos were not yet capable to be independent.  A hostile period started.  The United States needed more than 125,000 soldiers to subdue the Philippines.  The Philippine rebels were forced to retreat and were driven into northern Luzon.  From here, they started a guerilla.  The "Philippine War of Independence" continued for two years and ended when Aguinaldo was captured on March 23, 1901.  Only sporadic resistance continued until 1903.


The Commonwealth - 

The Hare-Hawes Cutting Act, passed by Congress in 1932, provided for complete independence of the islands in 1945 after 10 years of self-government under U.S. supervision. The bill had been drawn up with the aid of a commission from the Philippines, but Manuel L. Quezon, the leader of the dominant Nationalist party, opposed it, partially because of its threat of American tariffs against Philippine products but principally because of the provisions leaving naval bases in U.S. hands. Under his influence, the Philippine legislature rejected the bill. The Tydings-McDuffie Independence Act (1934) closely resembled the Hare-Hawes Cutting Act, but struck the provisions for American bases and carried a promise of further study to correct “imperfections or inequalities.”

The Philippine legislature ratified the bill; a constitution, approved by President Roosevelt (Mar., 1935) was accepted by the Philippine people in a plebiscite (May); and Quezon was elected the first president (Sept.). When Quezon was inaugurated on Nov. 15, 1935, the Commonwealth of the Philippines was formally established. Quezon was reelected in Nov., 1941. To develop defensive forces against possible aggression, Gen. Douglas MacArthur was brought to the islands as military adviser in 1935, and the following year he became field marshal of the Commonwealth army.

Consequences of the American colonial rule

During the Spanish period the Spaniards had given enormous  land properties to the Catholic church. One of the first things the Americans did was to take care for the redistribution of these land properties. To do so they first had to pay an  amount of US $7.2 million to the Vatican in 1904. The small farmers or tenants didn't get any land however. The land became property of some large landowners.  Most of the small farmers couldn't pay the asked price or couldn't prove that they were the former owners of the land.

The economic development during the 'American period'  was rather typical colonial. The Philippine economy was strongly related to and depending on the United States. The Philippine economy  was focused on mining and exporting crops. Industrial growth didn't take place. 


Quezon, the first Philippine president

The Philippines was controlled by the Americans from 1900-1942. In 1934 an act was established, which made  it possible that the Philippines  could have a "Commonwealth of the Philippines". 

  File:ML Quezon.jpg
                             Manuel L. Quezon, the Second Philippine President of the Commonwealth Era


(He was born in Baler in the district of El Príncipe (which later became Baler, Tayabas, now BalerAurora). His Spanish parents were Lucio Quezón and María Dolores Molina. His father was a primary grade school teacher from Paco, Manila, and also a retired Sergeant in the Spanish colonial army, while his mother was a primary grade school teacher in their hometown.

In 1899, Quezón cut short his law studies at the University of Santo Tomás in Manila, to participate in the struggle for independence against the United States, led by Emilio Aguinaldo. During the Philippine-American War he was an ayuda-de-campo to Emilio Aguinaldo.

Manuel L. Quezon ruled as a Filipino eventhough he came from Spanish descent. He focused on the Filipino people's welfare and economy. He tackled the problem of landless peasants in the countryside. Other major decisions include reorganization of the islands' military defense, approval of recommendation for government reorganization, promotion of settlement and development in Mindanao, dealing with the foreign stranglehold on Philippine trade and commerce, proposals for land reform, and opposing graft and corruption within the government. He established an exiled government in the U.S. with the outbreak of the war and the threat of Japanese invasion, and during his exile in the U.S. he died of tuberculosis at Saranac Lake, New York. 

His body lies in Quezon Memorial Circle and the largest City in Metro Manila was named after him. )

"My loyalty to my party ends where my loyalty to my country begins."
"Social Justice is far more beneficial when applied as a matter of sentiment, and not of law."
"I would rather have a country run like hell by Filipinos than a country run like heaven by the Americans, because however bad a Filipino government might be, we can always change it."
"Pray for me so that I can return to the Philippines. I feel so weak that I'm afraid I cannot make it"
"I'd rather be called "Quezón the Letranite" than "Quezón the President"."
"The Latin American people believed and feel that we Filipinos form past of that vast family, the children of Spain. Thus, although Spain ceased to govern those countries many years ago and although another nation is sovereign in the Philippines, those Latin-American peoples feel themselves as brothers to the people of the Philippines. It is the Spanish language that still binds us to those peoples, and the Spanish language will bind us to those peoples eternally if we have the wisdom and patriotism of preserving it."

World War II - War came suddenly to the Philippines on Dec. 8 (Dec. 7, U.S. time), 1941, when Japan attacked without warning. Japanese troops invaded the islands in many places and launched a pincer drive on Manila. MacArthur’s scattered defending forces (about 80,000 troops, four fifths of them Filipinos) were forced to withdraw to Bataan Peninsula and Corregidor Island, where they entrenched and tried to hold until the arrival of reinforcements, meanwhile guarding the entrance to Manila Bay and denying that important harbor to the Japanese. But no reinforcements were forthcoming. The Japanese occupied Manila on Jan. 2, 1942. MacArthur was ordered out by President Roosevelt and left for Australia on Mar. 11; Lt. Gen. Jonathan Wainwright assumed command.

The besieged U.S.-Filipino army on Bataan finally crumbled on Apr. 9, 1942. Wainwright fought on from Corregidor with a garrison of about 11,000 men; he was overwhelmed on May 6, 1942. After his capitulation, the Japanese forced the surrender of all remaining defending units in the islands by threatening to use the captured Bataan and Corregidor troops as hostages. Many individual soldiers refused to surrender, however, and guerrilla resistance, organized and coordinated by U.S. and Philippine army officers, continued throughout the Japanese occupation.

Japan’s efforts to win Filipino loyalty found expression in the establishment (Oct. 14, 1943) of a “Philippine Republic,” with José P. Laurel, former supreme court justice, as president. But the people suffered greatly from Japanese brutality, and the puppet government gained little support. Meanwhile, President Quezon, who had escaped with other high officials before the country fell, set up a government-in-exile in Washington. When he died (Aug., 1944), Vice President Sergio Osmeña became president. Osmeña returned to 
the Philippines with the first liberation forces, which surprised the Japanese by landing (Oct. 20, 1944) at Leyte, in the heart of the islands, after months of U.S. air strikes against Mindanao. The Philippine government was established at Tacloban, Leyte, on Oct. 23.

The landing was followed (Oct. 23–26) by the greatest naval engagement in history, called variously the battle of Leyte Gulf and the second battle of the Philippine Sea. A great U.S. victory, it effectively destroyed the Japanese fleet and opened the way for the recovery of all the islands. Luzon was invaded (Jan., 1945), and Manila was taken in February. On July 5, 1945, MacArthur announced “All the Philippines are now liberated.” The Japanese had suffered over 425,000 dead in the Philippines.

The Philippine congress met on June 9, 1945, for the first time since its election in 1941. It faced enormous problems. The land was devastated by war, the economy destroyed, the country torn by political warfare and guerrilla violence. Osmeña’s leadership was challenged (Jan., 1946) when one wing (now the Liberal party) of the Nationalist party nominated for president Manuel Roxas, who defeated Osmeña in April.



The Americans were still in the Philippines when the next foreign ruler came. Japan. The Japanese army and rulers occupied the Philippines from 1942 - 1944.


In October 1944, The American general, Douglas McArthur, landed with his troops at the east coast of  Leyte, one of the bigger islands in the central part of the Philippines.

This was the first step in the total liberation of the country.  With 700 vessels and 174,000 army and navy servicemen, McArthur arrived in the Philippines  In December 1944, the islands of Leyte and Mindoro were cleared of the Japanese army.

Many casualties

The casualties of the Americans in this operation is estimated 4000 - 6000.Filipino casualties: estimated about one million! 

Freedom at last!

The Philippines was granted it's independence in 1946. Freedom at last, 148 years later than the freedom which was written down by Julian Felipe in the Philippine anthem called "Lupang Hinirang". The Republic of the Philippines was proclaimed on July 4, 1946.


The Republic of the Philippines 

Manuel Roxas became the first president of the Republic of the Philippines when independence was granted, as scheduled, on July 4, 1946. In Mar., 1947, the Philippines and the United States signed a military assistance pact (since renewed) and the Philippines gave the United States a 99-year lease on designated military, naval, and air bases (a later agreement reduced the period to 25 years beginning 1967). The sudden death of President Roxas in Apr., 1948, elevated the vice president, Elpidio Quirino, to the presidency, and in a bitterly contested election in Nov., 1949, Quirino defeated José Laurel to win a four-year term of his own.

The enormous task of reconstructing the war-torn country was complicated by the activities in central Luzon of the Communist-dominated Hukbalahap guerrillas (Huks), who resorted to terror and violence in their efforts to achieve land reform and gain political power. They were finally brought under control (1954) after a vigorous attack launched by the minister of national defense, Ramón Magsaysay. By that time Magsaysay was president of the country, having defeated Quirino in Nov., 1953. He had promised sweeping economic changes, and he did make progress in land reform, opening new settlements outside crowded Luzon island. His death in an airplane crash in Mar., 1957, was a serious blow to national morale. Vice President Carlos P. García succeeded him and won a full term as president in the elections of Nov., 1957.

In foreign affairs, the Philippines maintained a firm anti-Communist policy and joined the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization in 1954. There were difficulties with the United States over American military installations in the islands, and, despite formal recognition (1956) of full Philippine sovereignty over these bases, tensions increased until some of the bases were dismantled (1959) and the 99-year lease period was reduced. The United States rejected Philippine financial claims and proposed trade revisions.

Philippine opposition to García on issues of government corruption and anti-Americanism led, in June, 1959, to the union of the Liberal and Progressive parties, led by Vice President Diosdado Macapagal, the Liberal party leader, who succeeded García as president in the 1961 elections. Macapagal’s administration was marked by efforts to combat the mounting inflation that had plagued the republic since its birth; by attempted alliances with neighboring countries; and by a territorial dispute with Britain over North Borneo (later Sabah), which Macapagal claimed had been leased and not sold to the British North Borneo Company in 1878.


Marcos and After - 

Ferdinand E. Marcos, who succeeded to the presidency after defeating Macapagal in the 1965 elections, inherited the territorial dispute over Sabah; in 1968 he approved a congressional bill annexing Sabah to the Philippines. Malaysia suspended diplomatic relations (Sabah had joined the Federation of Malaysia in 1963), and the matter was referred to the United Nations. (The Philippines dropped its claim to Sabah in 1978.) The Philippines became one of the founding countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 1967. The continuing need for land reform fostered a new Huk uprising in central Luzon, accompanied by mounting assassinations and acts of terror, and in 1969, Marcos began a major military campaign to subdue them. Civil war also threatened on Mindanao, where groups of Moros opposed Christian settlement. In Nov., 1969, Marcos won an unprecedented reelection, easily defeating Sergio Osmeña, Jr., but the election was accompanied by violence and charges of fraud, and Marcos’s second term began with increasing civil disorder.

In Jan., 1970, some 2,000 demonstrators tried to storm Malacañang Palace, the presidential residence; riots erupted against the U.S. embassy. When Pope Paul VI visited Manila in Nov., 1970, an attempt was made on his life. In 1971, at a Liberal party rally, hand grenades were thrown at the speakers’ platform, and several people were killed. President Marcos declared martial law in Sept., 1972,
charging that a Communist rebellion threatened. The 1935 constitution was replaced (1973) by a new one that provided the president with direct powers. A plebiscite (July, 1973) gave Marcos the right to remain in office beyond the expiration (Dec., 1973) of his term. Meanwhile the fighting on Mindanao had spread to the Sulu Archipelago. By 1973 some 3,000 people had been killed and hundreds of villages burned. Throughout the 1970s poverty and governmental corruption increased, and Imelda Marcos, Ferdinand’s wife, became more influential.

Martial law remained in force until 1981, when Marcos was reelected, amid accusations of electoral fraud. On Aug. 21, 1983, opposition leader Benigno Aquino was assassinated at Manila airport, which incited a new, more powerful wave of anti-Marcos dissent. After the Feb., 1986, presidential election, both Marcos and his opponent, Corazon Aquino (the widow of Benigno), declared themselves the winner, and charges of massive fraud and violence were leveled against the Marcos faction. Marcos’s domestic and international support eroded, and he fled the country on Feb. 25, 1986, eventually obtaining asylum in the United States.

Aquino’s government faced mounting problems, including coup attempts, significant economic difficulties, and pressure to rid the Philippines of the U.S. military presence (the last U.S. bases were evacuated in 1992). In 1990, in response to the demands of the Moros, a partially autonomous Muslim region was created in the far south. In 1992, Aquino declined to run for reelection and was succeeded by her former army chief of staff Fidel Ramos. He immediately launched an economic revitalization plan premised on three policies: government deregulation, increased private investment, and political solutions to the continuing insurgencies within the country. His political program was somewhat successful, opening dialogues with the Marxist and Muslim guerillas. However, Muslim discontent with partial rule persisted, and unrest and violence continued throughout the 1990s. In 1999, Marxist rebels and Muslim separatists formed an alliance to fight the government.

Several natural disasters, including the 1991 eruption of Mt. Pinatubo on Luzon and a succession of severe typhoons, slowed the country’s economic progress. However, the Philippines escaped much of the economic turmoil seen in other East Asian nations in 1997 and 1998, in part by following a slower pace of development imposed by the International Monetary Fund. Joseph Marcelo Estrada, a former movie actor, was elected president in 1998, pledging to help the poor and develop the country’s agricultural sector. In 1999 he announced plans to amend the constitution in order to remove protectionist provisions and attract more foreign investment.

Late in 2000, Estrada’s presidency was buffeted by charges that he accepted millions of dollars in payoffs from illegal gambling operations. Although his support among the poor Filipino majority remained strong, many political, business, and church leaders called for him to resign. In Nov., 2000, Estrada was impeached by the house of representatives on charges of graft, but the senate, controlled by Estrada’s allies, provoked a crisis (Jan., 2001) when it rejected examining the president’s bank records. As demonstrations against Estrada mounted and members of his cabinet resigned, the supreme court stripped him of the presidency, and Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was sworn in as Estrada’s successor.

Macapagal-Arroyo was elected president in her own right in May, 2004, but the balloting was marred by violence and irregularities as well as a tedious vote-counting process that was completed six weeks after the election.



Typical for the Philippines are the many festivals and processions.  The explanation for the most of all these fiestas has to be found in the domination of one specific religion in the Philippines.  The majority  of the cultural celebrations is closely related to the Catholic religion.  Nearly 90% of the Filipinos are Roman Catholic.  If you like fiestas, it is really worth to visit the Philippines, especially in January, April, May and June.   The most known and biggest fiestas take place in these months. 


For the Filipinos themselves, every year, the festivals and processions are days of great joy and happiness.  Fiestas or any community celebrations usually feature music, dancing, and food feasts.  The most known are the procession of the Black Nazarene, the Ati-Atihan, the Sinulog, the Flores de Mayo, and the Santa Cruzan.

The colorful dress is most of the time not traditional.  To see really traditional clothes, you have to visit the remote areas on Luzon and Mindanao for example.


    The Ati-Atihan is a festival in honour of the Santo Nino, celebrated in the third week of January.  Durig the last     

    three (3) days, this week long festival (fiestas), a parade is characteristic.  A colorful happening with 
    celebrants who paint thier faces in different ways and who are dressed in the most exceptional costumes. The 
    dancing on the rhythms of the drums makes this festival comparable with carnival in Rio in Brazil.

   The fiesta is celebrated in Kalibo on the island of Panay (Visayas).

The origin
In the thirteenth century, long before the Spaniards came to the Philippines, light-skinned immigrants from the island of Borneo (Kalimantan) in Indonesia arrived  on Panay. The local people of Panay, the  Ati (negritos), a small and dark (black) kinky-haired people, sold them a small piece of land and allowed them to settle down in the lowlands.  The Atisthemselves, lived more upland in the mountains. 

One time, the Ati people was in need of food because of a bad harvest in their homelands. They came doewn to the lowlands of the Maraynon and asked them food.  Every year, since then, the Atis came down to the lowland inhabitants ot ask for some food.  They danced and sang in gratitude for the helping hand. A real
friendship was born and the Maraynon started to paint their faces black in honor of the Atis and took part in the fiesta. 

Spanish influence

After the Spaniards settled down in the Philippines, some Catholic elements infiltrated in the fiesta, especially honoring Santo NiñoA Spanish representative arranged a deal with the local leaders of the Atis and the leader of the immigrants from Borneo. The outcome of the deal was, that in the future the existing native celebration would be dedicated to the Santo Niño. Nowadays it is a mix of parades, procession and dancing people on the rhythms of monotonous music of  drums or the rhythmic tinkling of metal and stone on bottles. It looks as if the dancing never stops! The ritual dance originates from the Atis.  The name Ati-Atihan means "make-believe Atis."

Viva kay Santo Niño!

It is said that the procession is the climax of the fiesta. It is held on the last Sunday. The  street dancers never fail to enter the Kalibo church every time they pass by.

Honoring Santo Nino

The slogan, "Viva Sto. Nino!" is repeated frequently, in great honor of the Sto. Nino or Baby Jesus.


Caracteristics of the  festival
The famous Sinulog festival in Cebu City is held every year on the third Sunday of January. The festival is characterized by a  very long parade with many groups of persons dressed in colourful costumes, finding their way through the streets while dancing the Sinulog. To distinguish the festival from the popular Ati-Atihan Festival on Panay island, this festival is characterized by a different dance. This Sinulog dance, is now the traditional and ritual dance in honor of Santo Niño. The dance is accompanied by the sound of the drums:  all the time moving two steps forward followed by one step backward. Though the dance is already very old, the parade  is rather young! 1980 was the first year that the parade was organized. 

The origin 

The Sinulog was already danced by the locals in honor of their wooden statues in the period before the Cebuanos were baptized.  Later on, after the image of the famous Santo Nino was brought to Cebu and the Catholic faith was established in the region, the dance was made a part of the yearly fiesta in honor of the Sto. Nino. 

While dnacing, people are shouting petitions and thanksgiving to the Santo Nino. Shouting is necessary because the pilgrims have to be sure that they will be heard by the Senor Santo Nino,  or  Manoy Kiloy.

The Sinulog indeed became a dance ritual in honor of Sto. Nino!


Flores de Mayo


The Queen of Filipino Festivals.  A month-long festival in honor of the Virgin Mary.

Offering flowers

During the festival in May  flowers are offered to the virgin Mary at the altar in the church. Young children, girls, dressed in white, will visit the church with cut flowers and baskets of petals in their hands. While walking to the altar, they sprinkle the petals in honour of Mama Mary. At the altar they leave the bouquet of flowers. Every afternoon. 

Nine days of prayer  in honour of the Holy Cross, precedes the procession the Santa Cruzan.The procession is always the final part of the festival of Flores de Mayo. The procession is a pageant held in many cities and even in small villages.

The Santacruzan 

The parade on the last day of the festival in horo of Reyan Helena.

The highlight of the celebration, is the Santa Cruzan, the procession on the last day of the festival in honour of Reyna Helena. In the year 326 A.D. she and her son left Rome and searched for the Holy Cross in Jerusalem. At last they found the Holy Cross and brought it back to Rome, the capital of their empire. 

It is more a parade than a religious procession. Instead of icons or images, beautiful young women (or gays) with appropriate theatrical costumes, portray biblical and historical characters. Almost all sagalas, the persons in the parade, symbolize queens from the past! Each sagala is dressed beautiful and is looking as the 'real'  Reyna (Queen)!

More about the historical explanation of the Santa Cruzan...

Constantine, the emperor of Rome some hundreds of years ago, had a dream in which he was asked to go to the battlefield  to fight in the name of the Holy Cross.  He conquered his enemy and that victory led to his conversion into a Christian. He became the first Christian emperor in history.  His mother, Reyna Elena, was inspired by all these experiences and in the year 326 A.D., she went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Cross, the wooden cross on which Christ was supposed to have been nailed.  She successfully found the Holy Cross, complete with its inscription 'INRI' on its top. 

The religious procession is a re-enactment of the finding of the Holy Cross by Reyna Helena. 

More Reyna's in the Parade

  • Reyna de las Virgines, carries a rosary ad is surrounded by two angels. 
  • Reyna Fe (Faith), symbolizes the virtue of faith, she carries a cross.
  • Reyna Justicia, the mirror of justice."  Se carries a weighting scale and a sword.
  • Veronica, the woman who wiped the face of Jesus. She carries a bandana imprinted with the three faces of Jesus. 
  • Rosa Mystica, she carries a bouquet of roses.
  • Reyna Mora, represents the dominant religion before Christianity. (Moro: Filipino Muslims)
  • Reyna Esperanza, symbolyzes the virtue of home.  She carries an anchor. 

          Procession of the Black Nazarene

          The largest procession

The black wooden cross

The procession of the Black Nazarene is the largest procession in the countryIt takes place on January the 9th and on Good Friday through the streets of Quiapoa small
part of metro Manila.

The procession dates from the 17th century. Thousands of men parade through the streets with the life-

A Miracle After Touching the Statue? 

During the feast of the Black Nazarene, thousands of barefoot men join the annual procession. Walking barefoot during the procession is seen as a sign of humility.  During this procession the men yell. "Viva Senor."

Everybody who is in the neighborhood of the cross tries to touch the statue.  People believe that miracle can happen after touching it. The life-size, black wooden statues of Jesus (of Nazarene) was brought by a priest in Mexico and brought to Manila in 1606

A Black Christ
The Black Nazarene is a more than 200-year-old statue. Black? One tale is telling that during the Spanish colonial period missionaries brought an icon to Manila. During the trip however, there was a fire on board and the icon, the Nazarene, caught fire. Despite its charred condition,  the Nazarene was kept save and honored from then on.  

The statue is to be seen in  the Saint John the Baptist Church in Quiapo in Manila, where it has been house
since 1787.

Feast of the Black Nazarene
Every year thousands of pilgrims from all over the country come to Manila to be part of the procession of the Black Nazarene. All participants in the procession hope that they will have the opportunity to touch the wooden statue. They  hope that this will protect them from harm and ensure health in the future. Indeed, it is said that sometimes persons were healed of diseases after touching the statue!   (A Filipino: "My daughter was very sick, so I joined this procession last year. Now she is cured...."). Some of them follow the statue during the procession because they believe it is an atonement of their sins or hope for some miracle.



Rice terraces of Ifugao, Philippines

The eighth world miracle

Mountain terracing with the cultivation of rice varieties is practieced throught the whole region of Pacific Asia.  In the Philippines, they have the most unique terraces!  The Cordillera terraces in Northern Luzon are said to be the most unique in the world.  Some people call these rice terraces the"stairways to Heaven," or "the eight world miracle."
The terraces are so very unique that the Unesco (The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization) put these terraces on the " World Heritage List of Cultural Landscapes.:  Ifugao is one of the provinces on Luzon where even on the steepest slopes terraces were built by the ancestors with only primitive tools and bare hands, more than 2000 to 3000 years ago.  The slopes are sometimes slanting 70 degrees.

Tourism in the Bontoc region

The indigenous mountain people are still living and working as  it was in the past. The irrigation system too, based on the efficient use of the mountains’ water resources, is still the same. The landscapes in the regions of Bontoc and Ifugao attract a lot of tourists. Not only the famous rice terraces, but also the indigenous people  with their still  traditional  way of living, are main destinations for tourists when they make a trip through the  island.


Batad is one of the idyllic villages in the province of Ifugao. The surrounding terraces of the village look, as some say, as a 'tribune in a amphitheater'. The mountain people still maintain the terraces and the walls of stones and loam, often 6 to 7 meters high, with their hands. Every part of the steep slopes is used. Sometimes the surface of a rice-field on a terrace is only 10 square meters.




18 Active volcanoes
The Philippines is an archipelago of more than 7100 islands. Most of these islands are of volcanic origin. 

There are 37 volcanoes in the Philippines, of which 18 are still active volcanoes. It means that an eruption occurred in the last decennia and  that a new eruption can be expected in the future. All the other volcanoes are 'sleeping'  or 'dead' volcanoes.Scientists think that an eruption of these volcanoes is unlikely. The most known volcanoes in the Philippines are Mount Pinatubo, Mount Mayon and the  Taal   volcano. They are all located on the Northern island Luzon.

The most active volcano

Mount Mayon  is the most active volcano in the Philippines. Since 1616 there were 47 eruptions.
From 1616 until 2002 at least 1300 people died and thousands of people got homeless as a result of all the eruptions. The most recent eruptions were in 1947, 1984 and 1993. In 1993 the activity started with explosions. Half an hour later, flows of lava (molten rock) and  pyroclastic flows flows with mixtures of hot, dry rock fragments and hot gases.

They flows may result from the explosive eruption of molten or solid rock fragments, or both) came out of the crater in the top of the volcano. It killed 68 people and 60.000 people had to be evacuated. 

Volcano type
Mount Mayon is a splendid example of a strato volcano.Mount Mayon rises up 2462 meters above sea level.
This type of volcano is typically steep-sided and composed of alternating layers of lava (the melted mass  - magma - which came out of the crater) and  other volcanic material, especially ash layers. 

The lost village of Cagsawa

In 1818 enormous  flows of lava came over the village of Cagsawa. The whole village disappeared under the layers of 'lava' and 'pyroclastic flows'. Only the the top of the church reminds of the period that once there was a village. 





For traveling in the Philippines there are a lot of cheap possibilities.  For the long distances on the bigger islands,  the busses are the best possibility. Traveling per train is hardly possible, because there is only on one island a railway. Taking the train is only possible on the northern island of Luzon. This comfortable, air-conditioned train  brings you from Manila to Naga in the southeastern part of Luzon. The journey takes 14 hours and costs about  7 American dollar. 

For the shorter distances on all islands (outside and inside towns and cities), people  make use of the jeepneys, multicabs and tricycles. In big cities like Manila or Cebu City, the most common mean of transportation is the jeepney. Everywhere in the Philippines, for the more short and local  distances,  the multicabs and tricycles  are used by many Filipinos. The tricycle, a motorcycle with an attached passenger-cabin on a third wheel, is the cheapest. The big advantage of the tricycle is that it will bring you to every desired place. The multicabs, just as the jeepneys, have fixed routes.





(To be continued)

1 comment:

  1. the Filipino culture has been very colorful and historical, traditions has been passed from different families. Philippines may not be a first world country but, it caters a lot of things and places that will surely amaze your eyes.

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