Flag of Philippines

Map of Philippines

Population as of 2013:  101,833,938

Languages : Filipino (based on Tagalog), English (both official)
Eight major dialects: Tagalog, Cebuano, Ilocano, Hiligaynon or Ilonggo, Bicol, Waray, Pampango, and Pangasinense

Ethnicity and Race :  Tagalog 28.1%, Cebuano 13.1%, Ilocano 9%, Bisaya/Binisaya 7.6%, Hiligaynon Ilonggo 7.5%, Bikol 6%, Waray 3.4%, other 25.3% (2000)

The Tropical Climate

The Tropical Rainforest Climate 

Because of the geographical  location on the planet, the Philippines  has a "Tropical Rainforest Climate" all over the country. 

The two main characteristics of this climate are: 

  high temperatures 

             high atmospheric humidity

Both the high temperatures and the humidity are the whole year through. In theory rainfall can be expected in every month of the year. 

Rainy season and monsoon


Though some rainfall can be expected in every month, the rainfall differs greatly through the year. 

In the period June - October it's raining cats and dogs!

The influence of the southwest monsoon is  very clear.  

In the period December - May  there is no monsoon anymore. The wind, the "trade wind", is coming from the northeast and brings hardly rainfall.

A third characteristic feature of the climate of the Philippines is the presence of strong typhoons. The Philippines is tortured bytyphoons every year. In the whole Western Pacific typhoons occur in the period June - November.

Monsoons and "trade winds"

The monsoon is a very rainy  wind coming from the southwest. The "trade wind", coming from the northeast, is dominating in the period December -May. It's a rather 'dry' wind and brings hardly any rainfall. 

Regional differences in precipitation and temperature

Climate figures for cities  in the Philippines


Average temperatures in °C

Average precipitation in cm






Manila, Luzon






Tacloban, Leyte






Tagbilaran, Bohol






Source: WeatherbaseSM 



Barong Tagalog

In the Philippines a modern, westernized style of dressing is common everywhere. In the urban areas as well as in the rural areas. For a long time already. Happily, it doesn't mean that it is impossible to see typical Filipino dress. 

At ceremonies, festivals and all other kind of important meetings, you will be able to see some men wearing the Barong Tagalog.

Barong Tagalog is an upper garment and known as the formal men's wear of the Philippines. 

The Barong Tagalog has a long tradition of more than four centuries. The look as well as the meaning of the dress have evolved throughout four centuries. The special traditional features remained untouched; the dress is thin and transparent (with a shirt under it), has decoration and one will wear the barong tagalog 'tucked out'. 

 Barong Tagalog 


The meaning of the name

"Barong Tagalog"

  'Baro'       = word for 'dress' 

  'Barong'   = means 'dress of '

  'Baro ng Tagalog'  = 'dress of the  


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

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.

Barong Tagalog

explanations for the specific features

Why is it that the barong is tucked out?

There is more than one explanation! 

One explanation says that it is because of the tropical climate,  which favours clothes that are tucked out. However, the historical explanation says that the BarongTagalog traces its roots in the Spanish-colonial era (1565-1898).

Click to enlarge!

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 activities,  these  lucky and more important middle class men had to wear theBarong 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. 

Pictures: Kasal.com

Details of a barong tagalog
Detail of a barong tagalogDetail of a barong tagalog

Pictures of the details: MyBarong.com

Click to enlarge!
Detail of a barong tagalog

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.


The baro't saya is a traditional Filipino blouse and skirt ensemble. It originated in Spanish times, when native Philippine women were required to cover their upper torso. Throughout Spanish colonization this was the everyday attire of most Philippine women.
The baro or blouse is short-sleeved and collarless. It is usually made of sheer fabrics and at times is embroidered. This is in contrast to the saya or skirt, which is made of simple opaque plaid or striped cotton or sinamay.  A tapis or wraparound overskirt would usually be added, and an alampayor panuelo would be worn with the ensemble to cover the bosom. 








The current Philippine National Flag evolved out of many earlier versions. But all of them traced their origin from the common endeavors of the Philippine revolutionaries to show their love for the country. The first Philippine flag was the war banner adopted by Andres Bonifacio in 1892. It was a rectangular piece of red cloth, with three white K's arranged to form three angles of an equilateral triangle.
Several months before the outbreak of the revolution in 1896, Bonifacio had another flag made. This flag consisted of a red rectangular field, with a white-rayed sun in the middle and three white K's below it. This served as the Katipunan standard.
In October 1896, Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo fashioned out a banner consisting of a rectangular field, with a white sun in the middle. The sun had eight rays - representing the first eight provinces (Manila, Bulacan, Tarlac, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Laguna, Batangas,and Cavite) to take up arms against the Spaniards. In the middle of the white sun was a white K, in the ancient Tagalog script.
On March 17, 1897 Aguinaldo displayed a new banner at the Naic Assembly. This was a rectangular red cloth, with a white mythological sun in the middle adorned with eyes, nose, and mouth. Radiating from the sun were eight group of rays, each group consisting of three rays. This flag was used in the Truce of Biak-na-Bato, on December 14-15, 1897.
During Aguinaldo's exile in Hongkong, He requested Mrs. Marcela Agoncillo to make a new flag. Assisted by her eldest daughter Lorenza and Miss Delfina Herbosa ( Rizal's niece ). Mrs. Agoncillo sewed the banner that later became the Philippine National Flag. This flag is made of two stripes - one red, the other blue - and a white stripe to the left of the flag area. The upper stripe is blue and the lower stripe is red. Inside the white triangle is a central sun with eight rays. In each angle of the triangle is a five-pointed star.

The sun symbolizes liberty; the eight rays represent the first eight provinces that fought Spain. The three stars represent the three major islands of Luzon, Visayas,and Mindanao.

The History of the Philippine Flag

Revolutionary beginnings

1898 – 1901

On May 28, 1898, days after the return of General Emilio Aguinaldo from exile in Hong Kong, Filipino troops were once
again engaged in a battle against Spanish forces in Alapan, Cavite. It was in this skirmish that the Philippine flag was first unfurled as the revolutionary standard. Sewn in Hong Kong by Filipino expatriates and brought to the country by Aguinaldo, the flag was a tri-color featuring red and blue with a white triangle framing three yellow stars and an anthropomorphic eight-rayed sun.
Half a month later, on June 12, 1898, following the proclamation of independence from Spain, the same flag was waved by at Aguinaldo’s residence in Kawit, Cavite, as the Marcha Nacional Filipina played.
Throughout the Filipino Revolutionary War until the capture of Aguinaldo that precipitated the end of the Philippine-American War, the flag of the same design was flown with the red field on top to denote a state of war. Aguinaldo wrote about this unique feature of the Philippine flag in a letter to Captain Emmanuel A. Baja dated June 11, 1925:
Several press representatives called on me then to inquire as to how the Flag should be flown. I answered them that it should be always hoisted with the blue stripe up in time of peace. But on the battlefields and in camps during the past war, first with Spain and then with the United States of America later, our National Flag had been hoisted with the red stripe up.
Upon Aguinaldo’s capture, the Philippine Republic was abolished; the American Insular Government, under the jurisdiction of the U.S. War Department, was established. With the war over and Philippine leaders officially accepting American sovereignty over the islands, the Philippine flag was flown with the blue field on top. It was to be displayed that way henceforth during peacetime.


1901 – 1907

American Occupation and the Commonwealth Government
For six years, the Philippine flag and other banners and emblems of the Katipunan continued to proliferate. In response, the Philippine Commission, dominated by Americans, passed Act No. 1697 or the Flag Law of 1907, which outlawed the display of the Philippine flag and replaced the country’s flag to the stars and stripes of the United States of America. The same law prohibited the playing of the national anthem.

1919 – 1936

It took 11 years until the Philippine Legislature, finally in the hands of elected Filipino representatives and senators, repealed the Flag Law, through the efforts of Governor-General Francis Burton Harrison, and reinstated the Philippine flag as the official standard of the nation. Modifications were made to Aguinaldo’s flag: The sun no longer had anthropomorphic features, and its rays were stylized. This design would be used from 1919 until the inauguration of the    
Commonwealth of the Philippines in 1935.

From 1919 to 1941 Flag day was celebrated on October of every year by virtue of Proclamation No. 18, issued by Governor-General Francis Burton Harrison in commemoration of the day the Flag Law was repealed.
Months after the inauguration of the Commonwealth, President Manuel L. Quezon issued Executive Order No. 23, s. 1936, instituting the description and specifications of the Filipino flag, which would remain in effect until the Second World War. Throughout this period, the American and Philippine flags flew side-by-side.
President Manuel L. Quezon, in 1941, moved the commemoration of Flag Day from October to June 12. This marks the first instance that June 12, the date of Aguinaldo’s proclamation, was commemorated.


1936 – 1941

The Second Republic and the Second World War
Bombing attacks on the Philippines and the American naval base at Pearl Harbor plunged the United States of America into war with Japan and the Axis powers. President Quezon issued Executive Order No. 386, s. 1941, mandating all Philippine flags to be flown with the red field on top to signify a state of war.


1941 – 1945                                             

Meanwhile, the Second Philippine Republic was established in the islands under the auspices of the Empire of Japan, with Jose P. Laurel serving as president. The flag was raised by former President Emilio Aguinaldo and General Artemio Ricarte during the inaugural of the Second Republic on October 14, 1943. Laurel issued Executive Order No. 17, s. 1943, which essentially brought back the Aguinaldo design of the Philippine flag. This flag would eventually be displayed with the red stripe up in 1944, when the Second Republic declared that it was under a State of War.


1943 – 1944

From 1943 until the end of the War in the Pacific, two versions of the Philippine flag existed: the Commonwealth flag used by the Government-in-exile based in Washington D.C., as well as by guerrillas in the islands, and the Aguinaldo flag used by the Japanese-sponsored government. Following the surrender of Japan and the liberation of the Philippines, the latter’s use would be discontinued with the dissolution of the Second Republic.
In the aftermath of World War II, the Commonwealth of the Philippines was restored and with it the specifications of the Philippine flag in accordance with Executive Order No. 23, s. 1936. On July 4, 1946, Philippine independence was recognized by the United States, giving birth to the Third Republic of the Philippines. In ceremonies held at what is now Luneta, United States High Commissioner to the Philippines Paul V. McNutt and Philippine President Manuel Roxas lowered the American flag for the last time and in its stead rose the Philippine flag to henceforth fly alone on Philippine soil, except in military bases still held and occupied by the United States Armed Forces. Starting May 1, 1957, the Philippine flag was raised beside the U.S. flag in U.S. military bases in the Philippines.

Third, Fourth, and Fifth Republics


1985 – 1986

Commonwealth-era specifications, in accordance with Executive Order No. 23, s. 1936, would remain in effect throughout the Third and Fourth Republics until 1985, when President Ferdinand E. Marcos issued Executive Order No. 1010, s. 1985, changing the shade of blue of the Philippine Flag from navy blue to light blue. The change was due to a longstanding debate among historians concerning the original shade of blue used in the national flag. Debates centered on whether Cuban blue (since the flag was patterned on some aspects of Cuba’s national flag), or sky-blue (based on written accounts by some revolutionaries as well as a watercolor from the era), or navy blue (based on the colors of the American flag) was used. Ocampo says the actual color used—pale sky blue—owed less to historical precedent and more to available cloth supplies at the time.
The change in color proved unpopular. After the EDSA revolution of 1986, President Corazon C. Aquino restored the pre-martial law specifications of the National flag through Executive Order No. 292, s. 1987, yet again in accordance with Commonwealth regulations. Under her term, the Philippine Senate rejected the Bases Treaty with the United States, thus putting an end to more than 90 years of American military presence in the Philippines—in particular, the sprawling naval base in Subic Bay and the Clark Airfield in Pampanga. As the American flag was lowered in these areas, it marked the last time a foreign flag would fly in Philippine territory.
Commonwealth regulations were maintained until 1998, when Republic Act. No. 8491 or the “Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines” was enacted, changing the shade of blue once again from navy to royal, viewed as a suitable historical compromise to settle earlier debates. These are the specifications in use today.


                                          1998 – present


The Role of Women from Pre-Hispanic to Spanish era

By: Adrianne Dianne Isabelle R. Saldua


During the pre-Hispanic period, the Philippines had a simple type of culture; the type of education being taught was basic, and it was taught in the standard alphabet, Alibata or Baybayin. As for their living circumstances, they lived in small areas that were spread out called Balangays or Barangays. The Filipinos were mainly concerned with agriculture and paid little or no attention to building structures like churches, temples and places for self-gratification.
The women of the pre-Hispanic era were given importance, they could even hold high characters in communities like healers, priestesses, and they could even handle leadership roles and fight as warriors. As part of the line for the heir and heiresses of a Datu, his daughter could be one of the choices. Men and women were treated equally, they had equal rights. Women had the right to inherit property and they also had important parts in business and trading. They would weave, do pottery and make jewelleries to be used for exchanging in the market, in other tribes and other foreign traders like the Chinese.  They controlled the operations of transactions because their husbands were not allowed to barter unless their wives approved.

The Babaylan

The Babaylan or the healer was usually a woman and when an occasion arises that a man would take this role he needs to dress up as a woman.  They were looked up to because of their wisdom and knowledge.  When problems in communities arise and there are no other means to fix it, the Babaylan is the one to be called; she would perform rituals and chants to drive away the spirits that caused turmoil.
Also, during the pre-colonial period, one of the first few things a man would learn is that he should always respect women. Disrespecting women was unthinkable, if a man does not show respect to a woman, he would be labelled negatively by the society.
In the Ifugao region, women had the right to divorce their husbands, may it be because of infidelity, infertility or if the spouse is unable to provide for the family.
Filipino Women had the power to decide for themselves, they controlled how they lived.They enjoyed equal status with men, were known for their wisdom and knowledge, and enjoyed the privileges of human rights.
The glorious years of the women were destroyed when the Spanish arrived during the 16thcentury. They brought with them their own idea of what a woman is and where she is supposed to be placed in society. From men and women being equal, women were turned into objects of suppression. By this time, education in the Philippines had been altered and was based on Catholicism. Priests stood as the educators.

Spanish Priests

The Spaniards had occupied a large amount of land, thus erecting schools, universities and seminaries. It was not a problem until it led to the spread of the Catholic ideology and the conversion of many Filipinos.  During this period, good education and the opportunity to go to prestigious schools were more prioritized to be available for men. Although some women were able to attend some vocational schools, most were not given an opportunity to an education because the church and the government believed that women should only stay at home. Thus the role of the woman became attached to the home, her duty was to become an obedient and respectful daughter, a good wife and mother.
The ideal woman for the Spaniards is someone who is overly religious, submissive, and obedient. Yes, the typical “Maria Clara”. That “mahinhing dalaga” stereo type was brought to us by the Spaniards. Women can no longer loiter around, run along the meadows, and swim in rivers or climb trees as children. The real Filipina was replaced by the ideal woman dictated by the Spaniards. During the Spanish occupation the woman being subordinate was instilled, men rising as the dominant gender, establishing a patriarchal society that has prevailed and surpassed generations, and is now the prevalent type of society that we follow. The Philippines was controlled by the Spaniards and the Catholic Church. Women were no longer allowed to hold high positions and participate in political activities. She was even snatched of her right to express her thoughts being instructed to stay within the shadows with her lips sealed.
As the Spaniards tried to reduce in importance the role of the woman, the fury and passion that runs in the Filipina blood would never allow this to happen. Pride and honor was definitely worth fighting for and some women repudiated the Spaniards’ way and concept of treating women.

Gabriela Silang

Gabriela Silang and Gregoria de Jesus were some of the prominent FIlipina icons of the revolution. Gabriela Silang took over the rebellion in Ilocos when her husband Diego Silang died.  She fought for freedom from the Spaniards until she was captured and beheaded on September 20, 1763 in Vigan, Ilocos Sur.

Gregoria de Jesus

Gregoria de Jesus fought alongside her husband Andres Bonifacio as a member of the Katipunan. She was regarded as the “Mother of Philippine Revolution”.  She was also the first Filipina that was able to decipher the code of the Katipunan.
The freedom of women was suppressed because the Spaniards realized that women in the Philippines were very important and was regarded highly and that fact scared them. It was different from what they were used to, coming from a land where patriarchy ruled and men were the stronger ones.
The Filipina was enslaved when the Spaniards came, along with the country where she lived in.



The present Filipinos are products of the long process of cultural evolution 

and movement of people. As well as by intermarriages of foreign visitors with the 
early settlers. Thus, Filipinos, since the earliest times, have foreign blood running 
in their veins. 

These ancient men cannot be categorized under any of the historically identified 

ethnic groups (Malays, Indonesians, and Filipinos) of today.

Callao Man

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Callao man refers to fossilized remains discovered in Callao CavePeñablanca, Cagayan (The Philippines) in 2007 by Armand Salvador Mijares. Specifically, the find consisted of a single 61-millimeter metatarsal which, when dated using uranium series ablation, was found to be at least about 67,000 years old. If definitively proven to be remains of Homo sapiens, it would antedate the 47,000-year-old remains of Tabon Man to become the earliest human remains known in the Philippines, and one of the oldest human remains in the Asia Pacific. It has been noted by researchers that Callao Man was probably under four feet tall. Researchers also believe that Aetas, mountain dwellers today in Luzon, could be descendents of Callao Man.
As of July 2010, the Biological classification of Callao Man is uncertain. The metatarsal bone discovered (Right MT3 — the small bone from the end of the middle toe of the right foot) has been identified as coming from a species of genus Homo, but the exact species classification is uncertain. It has been speculated that Callao Man may be Homo sapiens, or may be Homo floresiensis, though the latter is sometimes considered a pathological specimen of the former. To be able to tell if the bone is human, the team would need to find a skull or mandible. The team that discovered the bone has been campaigning for a permit to continue searching for more bones in the area.


The primary theory surrounding the migration of Callao Man and his contemporaries to Luzon from what is believed to be the present-day Indonesia is that they came by raft. It is notable that the approximate time this happened is, according to experts, prior to the point when human beings were thought to be capable of making long voyages across the sea. It has also been noted that Callao Man could have crossed into the Philippines by a land bridge. This is because Callao Man lived during the Ice Age and sea level was lower due to glaciation in the higher latitudes. Lower sea levels may have resulted in an isthmus between the Philippines and Southeast Asia.
Butchered animal remains were also found in the same layer of sediment, which indicates that the Callao Man had a degree of knowledge in the use of tools, although no stone tools were found. The bones of the animals were from deer (Cervus mariannus), pigs and the Bovid, an extinct type of cattle. This led to speculations about the use of organic tools such as bamboo, which is abundant in the region up to this day.

Tabon Man

Tabon Man refers to remains discovered in the Tabon Caves in Lipuun Point in Quezon, Palawan in the Philippines on May 28, 1962 by Dr.Robert B. Fox, an American anthropologist of the National Museum of the Philippines. These remains, the fossilized fragments of a skull and jawbone of three individuals, were believed to be the earliest human remains known in the Philippines[1] until a metatarsal from "Callao Man" discovered in 2007 was dated in 2010 by uranium-series dating as being 67,000 years old.[2] The Tabon fragments are collectively called "Tabon Man" after Tabon Cave, the place where they were found on the west coast of Palawan. Tabon Cave appears to be a kind of Stone Agefactory, with both finished stone flake tools and waste core flakes having been found at four separate levels in the main chamber. Charcoal left from three assemblages of cooking fires there has been Carbon-14 dated to roughly 7,000, 20,000, and 22,000 BCE.
Tabon Cave is named after the "Tabon Bird" (Tabon ScrubfowlMegapodius cumingii), which deposited thick hard layers of guano during periods when the cave was uninhabited so that succeeding groups of tool-makers settled on a cement-like floor of bird dung. That the inhabitants were actually engaged in tool manufacture is indicated in that about half of the 3,000 recovered specimens examined are discarded cores of a material which had to be transported from some distance. The Tabon Man fossils are considered to have come from a third group of inhabitants, who worked the cave between 22,000 and 20,000 BCE. An earlier cave level lies so far below the level containing cooking fire assemblages that it must represent Upper Pleistocene dates like 45 or 50 thousand years ago.[3] Anthropologist Robert Fox, who directed the excavations, deduced that the Tabon Cave was a habitation of man for a period of 40,000 years, from 50,000 to 9,000 years ago.
Physical anthropologists who have examined the Tabon Man skullcap are agreed that it belonged to modern man, Homo sapiens, as distinguished from the mid-Pleistocene Homo erectus species. This indicates that Tabon Man was pre-Mongoloid (Mongoloid being the term anthropologists apply to the racial stock which entered Southeast Asia during the Holocene and absorbed earlier peoples to produce the modern Malay, Indonesian, Filipino, and "Pacific" peoples). Two experts have given the opinion that the mandible is "Australian" in physical type, and that the skullcap measurements are most nearly like the Ainus or Tasmanians. Nothing can be concluded about Tabon Man's physical appearance from the recovered skull fragments except that he was not a Negrito.

The Tabon Caves are a series of caves situated in a limestone promontory at Lipuun Point in Southwestern Palawan. In this area, cave occupation of a sporadic or temporary nature by modern humans seems to be indicated into the early Holocene. In the earlier Holocene, several sites show more intensive or frequent occupation; local people appear to have been strongly focused on land-based, riverine, and estuarine resources; and in many cases the sea is known to have been many kilometers away from the cave sites.

Great Andamanese couple, in an 1876 photograph.

The term Negrito refers to several ethnic groups who inhabit isolated parts of Southeast Asia.  Their current populations include 12 Andamanese peoples of the Andaman Islands, six Semang peoples of Malaysia, the Mani of Thailand, and the AetaAgtaAti, and 30 other peoples of the Philippines.
Negritos are the most genetically distant human population from Africans at most loci studied thus far (except for MC1R, which codes for dark skin).
They have also been shown to have separated early from Asians, suggesting that they are either surviving descendants of settlers from an early migration out of Africa, commonly referred to as the Proto-Australoids, or that they are descendants of one of the founder populations of modern humans.
The word "Negrito" is the Spanish diminutive of negro, i.e., "little black person", referring to their small stature, and was coined by early European explorers.
Occasionally, some Negritos are referred to as pygmies, bundling them with peoples of similar physical stature in Central Africa, and likewise, the term Negrito was previously occasionally used to refer to African Pygmies.
Many on-line dictionaries give the plural as either 'negrito' or 'negritoes', without preference.
A number of features would seem to suggest a common origin for the Negritos and African pygmies, especially in the AndamaneseIslanders who have been isolated from incoming waves of Asiatic and Caucasoid peoples. These features include short stature, very dark skin, woolly hair, scant body hair and occasional steatopygia. The claim that Andamanese pygmoids more closely resemble Africans than Asians in their cranial morphology in a study of 1973 added some weight to this theory, before genetic studies pointed to a closer relationship with Asians.

Historical distribution

Negritos may have also lived in Taiwan, where they were called the "Little Black People". Apart from being short-statured, they were also said to be broad-nosed and dark-skinned with curly hair. The little black population shrank to the point that, up to 100 years ago, only one small group lived near the Saisiyat tribe. A festival celebrated by the Saisiyatgives evidence to their former habitation of Taiwan. The Saisiyat tribe celebrate the black people in a festival called Pas-ta'ai.
According to James J.Y. Liu, a professor of comparative literature, the Chinese term Kun-lun (崑崙) means Negrito.


The Igorot Society is the term for the collection of several ethnic groups in The Philippines that come from the Cordillera Administrative Region of Luzon. They inhabit the six provinces of AbraApayaoBenguetKalingaIfugao, and Mountain Province, as well as Baguio City. They are a pre-Hispanic highland society that has survived through Spanish colonization. This Prehispanic state is the oldest in the Philippines. This society predates the other prehispanic states in the Philippines (Sultanates of Sulu, Lanao & Maguindao; Rajahnates of Butuan & Cebu; Kingdoms of Maynila, Tondo & Maysapan; the State of Ma-i & the Confederation of Madyaas) which are maritime civilizations, in contrast to this society which is a mountainous high-land society. This society is composed of many tribes, mainly; the Bontoc, Ibaloi, Isnag (or Isneg/Apayao), Kalinga, and the Kankanaey.


Alliance with the Sultanate of Brunei (1500)

Tondo became so prosperous that around the year 1500, the Kingdom of Brunei under Sultan Bolkiah merged it by a royal marriage of Gat Lontok, who later became Rajah of Namayan, and Dayang Kaylangitan to establish a city with the Malay name of Selurong (later to become the city of Maynila) on the opposite bank of Pasig River. The traditional rulers of Tondo, the Lakandula, retained their titles and property upon embracing Islam but the real political power transferred to the master trader House of Sulayman, the Rajahs of Manila.

Spanish contact (1570–1591)

Spanish colonizers first came to the Manila Bay area and its settlements in June 1570, while Governor-General Legazpi was searching for a suitable place to establish a capital for the new territory. Having heard from the natives of a prosperous Moro settlement on the island of Luzon, Legaspi had sent Martin de Goiti to investigate. When Maynila's ruler, Rajah Sulaiman II, refused to submit to Spanish sovereignty, De Goiti attacked. He eventually defeated Rajah Sulaiman, claimed Maynila in the name of the King of Spain, then returned to report his success to Legazpi, who was then based on the island of Panay.
Legazpi himself returned to take the settlement on 19 June 1591. When the Spanish forces approached, the natives burned Maynila down and fled to Tondo and other neighboring towns.
Legaspi began constructing a fort on the ashes of Maynila and made overtures of friendship to Lakandula of Tondo, who accepted. The defeated Sulaiman refused to submit to the Spaniards, but failed to get the support of Lakandula or of the Pampangan and Pangasinan settlements to the north. When Sulaiman and a force of Tagalog warriors attacked the Spaniards in the battle of Bangcusay, he was finally defeated and killed.
This defeat marked the end of rebellion against the Spanish among the Pasig river settlements, and Lakandula's Tondo surrendered its sovereignty, submitting to the authority of the new Spanish capital, Manila.

Historical theories associated with Ancient Tondo

Lakan as a title

A portrayal of the Tagalog Maginoo class. From the Boxer Codex, c. 1595
While most historians think of Lakan Dula as a specific person, with Lakan meaning LordKing or Paramount Ruler and Dula being a proper name, one theory suggests that Lakandula is a hereditary title for the Monarchs of the Kingdom of Tondo.[15]

The heirs of Rajah Lakandula

In 1587, Magat Salamat, one of the children of Rajah Lakan Dula, and with his spanish enforced name Augustin de Legazpi, Lakan Dula's nephew, and the lords of the neighboring areas of TondoPandakanMarikinaKandabaNabotas and Bulakan were martryed for secretly conspiring to overthrow the Spanish colonizers. Stories were told that Magat Salamat's descendants settled in Hagonoy, Bulacan and many of his descendants spread from this area.
David Dula y Goiti, a grandson of Lakan Dula with a Spanish mother escaped the persecution of the descendants of Lakan Dula by settling in Isla de Batag, Northern Samar and settled in the place now called Candawid (Kan David). Due to hatred for the Spaniards, he dropped the Goiti in his surname and adopted a new name David Dulay. He was eventually caught by the Guardia Civil based in Palapag and was executed together with seven followers. They were charged with planning to attack the Spanish detachment.

Notable monarchs of Tondo

NameTitle heldFromUntil
Lakan Timamanukum
AlonLakan Alon1200??
GambangLakan Gambang1390?1417?
SukoLakan Suko1417?1430?
LontokLakan Lontok1430?1450?
KalangitanDayang Kaylangitan, Queen of Namayan and Tondo1450?1515?
SalalilaRajah Salalila or Rajah Sulayman I1515?1558?
MatandaRajah Matanda or Rajah Sulayman II or Rajah Ache, King of Namayan1558?1571
Lakan DulaBanaw Lakandula, King of Tondo and Sabag1558?1571
SulaymanRajah Sulayman, King of Tondo15711585
Magat Salamat

Connection to Mayi

There was a local Kingdom named Mayi, whose ruler used 30 people as human sacrifices in his funeral, the subordinates of Mayi were Baipuyan (Babuyan Islands), Bajinong (Busuanga), Liyin and Lihan (present day Malolos City).Malolos is a coastal town and one of the ancient settlement around Manila Bay near Tondo.

The Sultanate of Sulu

The official flag of the Royal Sultanate of Sulu under the guidance of Ampun SultanMuedzul Lail Tan Kiram of Sulu.

In 1380, Karim ul' Makdum and Shari'ful Hashem Syed Abu Bakr, an Arab trader born in Johore, arrived in Sulu from Malacca and established the Sultanate of Sulu. This sultanate eventually gained great wealth due to its manufacture of fine pearls.

The Sultanate of Maguindanao

At the end of the 15th century, Shariff Mohammed Kabungsuwan of Johor introduced Islam in the island of Mindanao and he subsequently married Paramisuli, an Iranun Princess from Mindanao, and established the Sultanate of Maguindanao. By the 16th century, Islam had spread to other parts of the Visayas and Luzon.

The expansion of Islam

The Islamic center in Marawi city.
During the reign of Sultan Bolkiah in 1485 to 1521, the Sultanate of Brunei decided to break the Dynasty of Tondo's monopoly in the China trade by attacking Tondo and establishing the State of Selurong (now Manila) as a Bruneian satellite-state. A new dynasty under the Islamized Rajah Salalila was also established to challenge the House of Lakandula in Tondo. Islam was further strengthened by the arrival to the Philippines of traders and proselytizers from Malaysia and Indonesia. The multiple states competing over the limited territory and people of the islands simplified Spanish colonization by allowing its conquistadors to effectively employ a strategy of divide and conquer for rapid conquest.


The Confederation of Madja-as was the first pre-Hispanic Philippine state within the Visayas islands region, and the second Srivijayan colony in the Philippine Archipelago, next to the Sulu Archipelago. It was established by nine rebel Datus or high officials connected with the court of Brunei, who were forced to leave that country on account of enmity with the Rajah, who was ruling the land at that time. The datus, together with their wives and children, as well as few faithful servants and followers were secretly escorted out of the country by the Rajah's Chief Minister, whose name was Datu Puti. The local folklore says that the name of the Bornean Rajah was Makatunao.

During the 11th century several exiled datus of the collapsing empire of Srivijaya led by Datu Puti led a mass migration to the central islands of the Philippines, fleeing from Rajah Makatunao of the island of BorneoThey embarked on sailing rafts of the type used by the Visayans (the term used in the Malay settlements, of what is now Borneo and Philippines, to refer to Srivijayans) in Sumatra and Borneo. According to tradition, which survive in the local culture of Western Visayas, this seafaring vessel is called Balangay, from which Barangay - the smallest social unit in the present-day Philippines - came from. Upon reaching the island of Panay and purchasing the island from Negrito chieftain Marikudo, they established a confederation of polities and named it the Confederation of Madja-as centered in Aklan and they settled the surrounding islands of the Visayas. This confederation reached its peak under Datu Padojinog. During his reign the confederations' hegemony extended over most of the islands of Visayas. Its people consistently made piratical attacks against Chinese imperial shipping.

The semi-democratic confederation reached its peak during the 15th century under the leadership of Datu Padojinog when it warred against the Chinese Empire, the Rajahnate of Butuan, and the sultanates of Sulu and Maguindanao. It was also feared by the people of the Kingdom of Maynila and Tondo. It was integrated to the Spanish Empire through pacts and treaties (c.1569) by Miguel López de Legazpi and his grandson Juan de Salcedo. During the time of their hispanization, the principalities of the Confederation were already developed settlements with distinct social structure, culture, customs, and religion. Among the archaeological proofs of the existence of this Hiligaynon nation are the artifacts found in pre-Hispanic tombs from many parts of the island, which are now in display at Iloilo Museum. There are also recent discoveries of burial artifacts of eight-foot inhabitants of Isla de Gigantes, including extra-large Lungon (wooden coffins) and pre-hispanic potteries.  Another testimony of the antiquity of this civilization is the longest and oldest epic in the region, the Hinilawod.


Bas relief of the Barter of Panay at the facade of the municipal gymnasium of the town of San Joaquin, Iloilo (Panay), Philippines - the town to where the place of landing of the ten Bornean Datus now belongs.
Sailing northward from Borneo along the coast of Palawan, the ten Datus from Borneo crossed the intervening sea, and reached the island of Panay. They landed at the point, which is near the present town of San Joaquin. They had been able to reach the place directly because their small fleet was piloted by a sailor who had previously visited these regions on a ship engaged in commerce and trade.
Soon after the expedition had landed, the Borneans came in contact with the native people of the island, who were called Atis. Some writers have interpreted these Atis as Negritos, other sources present evidence that they were not at all a dwarfed primitive people of Negrito type, but were rather tall, dark-skinned Indonesian type. These native Atis lived in villages of fairly well-constructed houses. They possessed drums and other musical instruments, as well as a variety of weapons and personal adornments, which were much superior to those known among the Negritos.

Not all the Datus, however, remained in Panay. Two of them, with their families and followers, set out with Datu Puti and voyaged northward. After a number of adventures, they arrived at the bay of Taal, which was also called Lake Bombon on Luzon. Datu Puti returned to Borneo by way of Mindoro and Palawan, while the rest settled in Lake Taal.
Left to right: Images from the Boxer Codex illustrating an ancient kadatuan or tumao of the Visayans of Panay wearing the distinctive colors of their social status: [1] a noble couple, [2] a royal couple, and [3] a native princess.
The descendants of the Datus who settled by Lake Taal spread out in two general directions: one group settling later around Laguna de Bay, and another group pushing southward into the Bicol Peninsula. A discovery of an ancient tomb preserved among the Bicols refers to some of the same gods and personages mentioned in a Panayan manuscript examined by anthropologists during the 1920s.
The original Panayan settlements continued to grow and later split up into three groups: one of which remained in the original district (Irong-irong), while another settled at the mouth of Aklan River in northern Panay. The third group moved to the district called Hantik. These settlements continued to exist down to the time of the Spanish regime and formed centers, around which the later population of the three provinces of Iloilo, Capiz, and Antique grew up.
The early Bornean settlers in Panay were not only seafaring. They were also a riverine people.They were very keen in exploring their rivers. In fact, this was one of the few sports they loved so much.  The Island's oldest and longest epic Hinilawod recounts legends of its heroes' adventures and travels along the Halaud River.

The Country of Mai
Around 1225, the Country of Mai, a Sinified pre-Hispanic Philippine island-state centered in Mindoro, flourished as anentrepot, attracting traders & shipping from the Kingdom of Ryukyu to the Yamato Empire of Japan. Chao Jukua, a customs inspector in Fukien province, China wrote the Zhufan Zhi ("Description of the Barbarous Peoples"), which described trade with this pre-colonial Philippine state.

The Sultanate of Lanao

The Sultanates of Lanao in Mindanao, Philippines were founded in the 16th century through the influence of Shariff Kabungsuan, who was enthroned as first Sultan of Maguindanao in 1520. The Maranaos of Lanao were acquainted with the sultanate system when Islam was introduced to the area by Muslim missionaries and traders from the Middle East, Indian and Malay regions who propagated Islam to Sulu and Maguindanao. Unlike in Sulu and Maguindanao, the Sultanate system in Lanao was uniquely decentralized. The area was divided into Four Principalities of Lanao or the Pat a Pangampong a Ranao which are composed of a number of royal houses (Sapolo ago Nem a Panoroganan or The Sixteen (16) Royal Houses) with specific territorial jurisdictions within mainland Mindanao. This decentralized structure of royal power in Lanao was adopted by the founders, and maintained up to the present day, in recognition of the shared power and prestige of the ruling clans in the area, emphasizing the values of unity of the nation (kaiisaisa o bangsa), patronage (kaseselai) and fraternity (kapapagaria).

Integration of parts of the Confederation to the Spanish Empire

The Spaniards landed in Batan (in Panay's northeastern territory, which is currently called Province of Aklan), in 1565. The Chief of this place, Datu Kabnayag, relocated his capital to what is now called "Guadalupe". Afterwards, however, the datus were overpowered by the Spaniards. Following the Spanish conquest, the locals became Christians. Father Andres Urdaneta baptized thousands of Aklanis in 1565, and consequently these settlements of the Confederation was renamed Calibo.
Legazpi then parceled Aklan to his men. Antonio Flores became encomiendero for all settlements along the Aklan River and he was also appointed in charge of pacification and religious instruction. Pedro Sarmiento; was appointed for Batan, Francisco de Rivera; for Mambusao, Gaspar Ruiz de Morales; and for Panay town, Pedro Guillen de Lievana.
Later (in 1569), Miguel López de Legazpi transferred the Spanish headquarter from Cebu to Panay. On 5 June 1569, Guido de Lavezaris, the royal treasurer in the Archipelago, wrote to Philip II reporting about the Portuguese attack to Cebu in the preceding autumn. A letter from another official, Andres de Mirandaola (dated three days later - 8 June), also described briefly this encounter with the Portuguese. The danger of another attack led the Spaniards to remove their camp from Cebu to Panay, which they considered a safer place. Legazpi himself, in his report to the Viceroy in New Spain (dated 1 July 1569), mentioned the same reason for the relocation of Spaniards to Panay. It was in Panay that the conquest of Luzon was planned, and launched on 8 May 1570.
In 1716, the old Sakup (Sovereign Territory) of Aklan completely fell under the Iberian control, and became Spanish politico-military province under the name of Capiz. And so it remained for the next 240 years. 

The Datus of Madja-as according to oral tradition in Panay

Datu PutiAklan13th century1212
Datu SumakwelMalandong ( in Antique )1213?
Datu BangkayaAklan??
Datu PaiburongIrong-Irong??
Datu BalengkakaAklan??
Datu KalantiawBatan13651437
Datu ManduyogBatkcan1437?
Datu PadojinogIrong-Irong now Iloilo??
Datu KabnayagKalibo?1565
Datu LubaySan Joaquin??

Kingdom of Maynila (Kingdom of Manila)

The Kingdom of Maynila (Old MalayKota SeludongJawi script: كوتا سلودوڠ ), was one of three major city-states that dominated the area by the lower reaches and mouth of the Pasig River before the arrival of Spanish colonizers in the 16th century. It is the site of present-day Manila, the capital of the Republic of the Philippines.

Early records claim that Maynila was named after the Yamstick Mangrove (Scyphiphora hydrophyllacea, whose local name was "nila" or "nilad", by the time the Spanish colonizers arrived in the late 16th century. The name "maynila" itself transliterates as "There is nila (here)", and an alternate name for the place is "maynilad."



The early inhabitants of the present-day Manila engaged in trade relations with its Asian neighbors 
as well as with the Hindu empires of Java and Sumatra, as confirmed by archaeological findings. 
Trade ties between China became extensive by the 10th century, while contacts with Arab merchants 
reached its peak in the 12th century.
During the reign of Sultan Bolkiah (1485–1521), the Kingdom of Brunei decided to break the Kingdom of Tondo's 
monopoly in the Chinese trade by attacking Tondo and establishing the city-state of 
Seludong as a Bruneian satellite. This is narrated through Tausug and Malay royal histories, where the names 
SeludongSaludong or Selurong are used to denote Manila prior to colonization.

Beginning of the Spanish Colonial Era

In the mid-16th century, the areas of present-day Manila were governed by native rajahs. Rajah Matanda 
(whose real name was recorded by the Legaspi expedition as Ache) and his nephew, Rajah Sulayman ("Rajah Mura" or "Rajah Muda" 
(a Sanskrit title for a Prince), ruled the Muslim communities south of the Pasig River, including the Kingdom of Maynila, while Rajah Lakandula 
ruled the Kingdom of Tondo north of the river. These settlements held ties with the sultanates of BruneiSulu, and TernateIndonesia 
(not to be confused with Ternate in present-day Cavite).

Rajah Ache of Maynila, better known by his title Rajah Matanda, (1480–1572) was a 16th-century king of the Kingdom of Maynila
Tagalog kingdom on the region of the Pasig River in the Philippines. He is also sometimes referred to as Rajah Laya
a name derived from Ladyang Matanda - an alternate pronunciation of his title.
Together with Rajah Sulayman and Lakan Dula, he was one of three kings in Manila, who fought the Spaniards during the colonization 
of the Philippines.

When the Spanish explorer Martín de Goiti arrived in 1570, Rajah Matanda had already ceded his authority to his nephew and heir, 
Rajah Sulaiman III, but still had considerable influence, as did his brother Lakan Dula, who was king of the neighboring Kingdom of Tondo across the river.

SPANISH PERIOD (1521-1898)

Spanish expeditions and colonization

Ferdinand Magellan arrived in the Philippines on March 17, 1521.

Parts of the Philippine Islands were known to Europeans before the 1521 Spanish expedition around the world led by Portuguese-born Spanish explorer Rieyen Clemente, who were not the first Europeans in the Philippines.

Although there had been at least two individual European visitors, the first European expedition to explore the Philippine archipelago was that led by Ferdinand Magellan, in the service of the king of Spain. The expedition first sighted the mountains of Samar at dawn on the 16th March 1521, making landfall the following day at the small, uninhabited island of Homonhon at the mouth of the Leyte Gulf. On Easter Sunday, 31 March 1521, at Masao, Butuan, (now in Agusan del Norte), Magellan solemnly planted a cross on the summit of a hill overlooking the sea and claimed possession of the islands he had seen for the king of Spain, naming them Archipelago of Saint Lazarus.
Magellan sought alliances among the natives beginning with Datu Zula, the chieftain of Sugbu (now Cebu), and took special pride in converting them to Catholicism. Magellan's expedition got involved in the political rivalries between the Cebuano natives and took part in a battle against Lapu-Lapu, chieftain of Mactan island and a mortal enemy of Datu Zula. At dawn on 27 April 1521, Magellan invaded Mactan Island with 60 armed men and 1,000 Cebuano warriors, but had great difficulty landing his men on the rocky shore. Lapu-Lapu had an army of 1,500 on land. Magellan waded ashore with his soldiers and attacked the Mactan defenders, ordering Datu Zula and his warriors to remain aboard the ships and watch. Magellan seriously underestimated the Lapu-Lapu and his men, and grossly outnumbered, Magellan and 14 of his soldiers were killed. The rest managed to reboard the ships. 
The battle left the expedition with too few crewmen to man three ships, so they abandoned the "Concepción". The remaining ships - "Trinidad" and "Victoria" - sailed to the Spice Islands in present-day Indonesia. From there, the expedition split into two groups. The Trinidad, commanded by Gonzalo Gómez de Espinoza tried to sail eastward across the Pacific Ocean to the Isthmus of Panama. Disease and shipwreck disrupted Espinoza's voyage and most of the crew died. Survivors of the Trinidad returned to the Spice Islands, where the Portuguese imprisoned them. The Victoriacontinued sailing westward, commanded by Juan Sebastián de El Cano, and managed to return to Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Spain in 1522. In 1529, Charles I of Spain relinquished all claims to the Spice Islands to Portugal in the treaty of Zaragoza. However, the treaty did not stop the colonization of the Philippine archipelago from New Spain.
After Magellan's voyage, subsequent expeditions were dispatched to the islands. Four expeditions were sent: that of Loaisa (1525), Cabot (1526), Saavedra (1527), Villalobos(1542), and Legazpi (1564). The Legazpi expedition was the most successful as it resulted in the discovery of the tornaviaje or return trip to Mexico across the Pacific by Andrés de Urdaneta. This discovery started the Manila galleon trade, which lasted two and a half centuries.

In 1543, Ruy López de Villalobos named the islands of Leyte and Samar Las Islas Filipinas after Philip II of Spain. Philip II became King of Spain on January 16, 1556, when his father, Charles I of Spain, abdicated the Spanish throne. Philip was in Brussels at the time and his return to Spain was delayed until 1559 because of European politics and wars in northern Europe. Shortly after his return to Spain, Philip ordered an expedition mounted to the Spice Islands, stating that its purpose was "to discover the islands to the west". In reality its task was to conquer the Philippines for Spain.
On November 19 or 20, 1564 a Spanish expedition of a mere 500 men led by Miguel López de Legazpi departed Barra de NavidadNew Spain, arriving off Cebu on February 13, 1565, not landing there due to Cebuano opposition.
In 1569, Legazpi transferred to Panay and founded a second settlement on the bank of the Panay River. In 1570, Legazpi sent his grandson, Juan de Salcedo, who had arrived from Mexico in 1567, to Mindoro to punish Moro pirates who had been plundering Panay villages. Salcedo also destroyed forts on the islands of Ilin and Lubang, respectively South and Northwest of Mindoro.
In 1570, Martín de Goiti, having been dispatched by Legazpi to Luzon, conquered the Kingdom of Maynila (now Manila). Legazpi then made Maynila the capital of the Philippines and simplified its spelling to Manila. His expedition also renamed Luzon Nueva Castilla. Legazpi became the country's first governor-general. With time, Cebu's importance fell as power shifted north to Luzon. The archipelago was Spain's outpost in the orient and Manila became the capital of the entire Spanish East Indies. The colony was administered through the Viceroyalty of New Spain (now Mexico) until 1821 when Mexico achieved independence from Spain. After 1821, the colony was governed directly from Spain.

The Spanish Conquest of Manila (1570–1571)

Spanish explorer Miguel López de Legazpi, searching for a suitable place to establish his capital after being compelled to move from Cebu to Panay by Portuguese pirates and hearing of the existence of a prosperous kingdom in Luzon, sent an expedition under Martín de Goiti and Juan de Salcedo to explore its location and potentials.
Goiti anchored at Cavite and established his authority peaceably by sending a message of friendship to various nations in Manila. Rajah Sulayman, who had been ceded authority over their settlements by his aging uncle Rajah Matanda, was willing to accept the friendship that the Spaniards were offering, but did not want to submit its sovereignty unto them, and waged war against them due to disputes and hostility. As a result, Goiti and his army attacked the Muslim nations on June 1570 and occupied the villages before returning to Panay.

The "Sulayman Revolt"

Miguel López de Legazpi built a fort in Maynila and made overtures of friendship to Rajah Lakandula of Tondo, who accepted. However, Maynila's former ruler, Rajah Sulaiman, refused to submit to Legazpi, but failed to get the support of Lakandula or of the Pampangan and Pangasinan settlements to the north. When Sulaiman and a force of Filipino warriors attacked the Spaniards in the battle of Bangcusay, he was finally defeated and killed. 

When López de Legazpi died in 1572, his successor, Governor-General Guido de Lavezaris, did not honor the agreements with Rajah Sulaiman III and Lakan Dula. He sequestered the properties of the two kings and tolerated Spanish atrocities. In response, Rajah Sulaiman III and Lakan Dula led a revolt in the villages of Navotas in 1574, taking advantage of the confusion brought about by the attacks of Chinese pirate Limahong. This is often referred to as the "Manila revolt of 1574" but is sometimes referred to as the "Sulaiman revolt" and the "Lakan Dula revolt." Since it involved naval forces, the Sulayman Revolt is also known as the "First Battle of Manila Bay".
Friar Geronimo Marían and Juan de Salcedo were tasked with pursuing conciliatory talks with various nations. Lakan Dula and Rajah Sulaiman III agreed on Salcedo's peace treaty and an alliance were formed between the two groups. Rajah Sulayman died in the battle of Bankusai defending Manila from the Spanish invasion.

In 1587, Magat Salamat, one of the children of Lakan Dula, Lakan Dula's nephew, and the lords of the neighboring areas of Tondo, Pandacan, Marikina, Candaba, Navotas and Bulacan were executed when the Tondo Conspiracy of 1587–1588 failed in which a planned grand alliance with the Japanese admiral Gayo, Butuan's last rajah and Brunei's Sultan Bolkieh, would have restored the old aristocracy. Its failure resulted in the hanging of Agustín de Legazpi (great grandson of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi and the initiator of the plot) and the execution of Magat Salamat (the crown-prince of Tondo).

On February 8, 1597, King Philip II, near the end of his 42-year reign, issued a Royal Cedula instructing Francisco de Tello de Guzmán, then Governor-General of the Philippines to fulfill the laws of tributes and to provide for restitution of ill-gotten taxes taken from the natives. The decree was published in Manila on August 5, 1598. King Philip died on 13 September, just forty days after the publication of the decree, but his death was not known in the Philippines until middle of 1599, by which time a referendum by which the natives would acknowledge Spanish rule was underway. With the completion of the Philippine referendum of 1599, Spain could be said to have established legitimate sovereignty over the Philippines.


The fragmented nature of the islands made it easy for Spanish colonization. The Spanish introduced elements of western civilization such as the code of law, western printing and the Gregorian calendar alongside new food resources such as maize, pineapple and chocolate from Latin America.

Education played a major role in the socioeconomic transformation of the archipelago. The oldest universities, colleges, andvocational schools and the first modern public education system in Asia were all created during the Spanish colonial period, and by the time Spain was replaced by the United States as the colonial power, Filipinos were among the most educated subjects in all of Asia. In 1863 a Spanish decree introduced education, establishing public schooling in Spanish.

One of Spain's objectives in colonizing the Philippines was the conversion of the local population to Roman Catholicism. The work of conversion was facilitated by the absence of other organized religions, except for Islam, which was still predominant in the southwest.

1. The Jesuits founded the Colegio de Manila in 1590, which later became the Universidad de San Ignacio, a royal and pontifical university. 
2. They also founded the Colegio de San Ildefonso on August 1, 1595. After the expulsion of the Society of Jesus in 1768, the management of the Jesuit schools passed to other parties. 
3. On April 28, 1611, through the initiative of Bishop Miguel de Benavides, the University of Santo Tomas was founded in Manila. The Jesuits also founded the Colegio de San José (1601) and took over the Escuela Municipal, later to be called the Ateneo de Manila University (1859). All institutions offered courses included not only religious topics but also science subjects such as physics, chemistry, natural history and mathematics. 
4. The University of Santo Tomás, for example, started by teaching theology, philosophy and humanities and during the 18th century, the Faculty of Jurisprudence and Canonical Law, together with the schools of medicine and pharmacy were opened.
5. Outside the tertiary institutions, the efforts of missionaries were in no way limited to religious instruction but also geared towards promoting social and economic advancement of the islands. They cultivated into the natives their innate taste for music and taught Spanish language to children.
6. They also introduced advances in rice agriculture, brought from America corn and cocoa and developed the farming of indigo, coffee and sugar cane. The only commercial plant introduced by a government agency was the plant of tobacco.

National Government

On the national level, the King of Spain, through his Council of the Indies (Consejo de las Indias), governed through his sole representative in the Philippines: the Governor-General (Gobernador y Capitán General). With the seat of power in Intramuros, Manila, the Governor-General was given several duties: he headed the Supreme Court (Royal Audiencia), was Commander-in-chief of the army and navy, and was the economic planner of the country. All known executive power of the local government stemmed from him and as vice-regal patron, he had the right to supervise mission work and oversee ecclesiastical appointments. His yearly salary was P40,000. For obvious reasons, the Governor-General was usually a Peninsular (Spaniard born in Spain) to ensure loyalty of the colony to the crown.

Provincial Government

On the provincial level, heading the pacified provinces (alcaldia), was the provincial governor (alcalde mayor). The unpacified military zones (corregimiento), such as Mariveles and Mindoro, were headed by the corregidores. City governments (ayuntamientos), were also headed by an alcalde mayorAlcalde mayors and corregidores exercised multiple prerogatives as judge, inspector of encomiendas, chief of police, tribute collector, capitan-general of the province and even vice-regal patron. His annual salary ranged from P300 to P2000 before 1847 and P1500 to P1600 after it. But this can be augmented through the special privilege of "indulto de commercio" where all people were forced to do business with him. The alcalde mayor was usually an Insulares (Spaniard born in the Philippines). In the 19th century, the Peninsulares began to displace the Insulares which resulted in the political unrests of 1872, notably the execution of GOMBURZA, Novales Revolt and mutiny of the Cavite fort under La Madrid.

Municipal Government

The pueblo or town is headed by the Gobernadorcillo or little governor. Among his administrative duties were the preparation of the tribute list (padron), recruitment and distribution of men for draft labor, communal public work and military conscription (quinto), postal clerk and judge in minor civil suits. He intervened in all administrative cases pertaining to his town: lands, justice, finance and the municipal police. His annual salary, however, was only P24 but he was exempted from taxation. Any native or Chinese mestizo, 25 years old, literate in oral or written Spanish and has been a Cabeza de Barangay of 4 years can be a Gobernadorcillo. Among those prominent is Emilio Aguinaldo, a Chinese Mestizo and who was the Gobernadorcillo of Cavite El Viejo (now Kawit). The officials of the pueblo were taken from the Principalía, the noble class of pre-colonial origin. Their names are survived by prominent families in contemporary Philippine society such as Lindo, Tupas, Gatmaitan, Liwanag, Pangilinan, Panganiban, Balderas, and Agbayani, Apalisok, Aguinaldo to name a few.

Barrio Government

Barrio government (village or district) rested on the barrio administrator (cabeza de barangay). He was responsible for peace and order and recruited men for communal public works. Cabezas should be literate in Spanish and have good moral character and property. Cabezas who served for 25 years were exempted from forced labor. In addition, this is where the sentiment heard as, "Mi Barrio", first came from.

The Residencia and The Visita

To check the abuse of power of royal officials, two ancient castilian institutions were brought to the Philippines. The Residencia, dating back to the 5th century and the Visita differed from the residencia in that it was conducted clandestinely by a visitador-general sent from Spain and might occur anytime within the official’s term, without any previous notice. Visitas may be specific or general.

The Philippines was never profitable as a colony during Spanish rule, and the long war against the Dutch in the 17th century together with the intermittent conflict with the Muslims in the South nearly bankrupted the colonial treasury. The Royal Fiscal of Manila wrote a letter to King Charles III of Spain, in which he advises to abandon the colony.
The Philippines survived on an annual subsidy paid by the Spanish Crown, and the 200-year-old fortifications at Manila had not been improved much since first built by the early Spanish colonizers. This was one of the circumstances that made possible the brief British occupation of Manila between 1762 and 1764.

British invasion (1762–1764)

Britain declared war against Spain on January 4, 1762 and on September 24, 1762 a force of British Army regulars and British East India Company soldiers, supported by the ships and men of the East Indies Squadron of the British Royal Navy, sailed into Manila Bay from Madras, India. Manila fell to the British on October 4, 1762.
The British forces were confined to Manila and the nearby port of Cavite by the resistance organised by the provisional Spanish coloinial government. Suffering a breakdown of command and troop desertions as a result of their failure to secure control of the Philippines, the British ended their occupation of Manila by sailing away in April 1764 as agreed to in the peace negotiations in Europe. The Spaniards then persecuted the Binondo Chinese community for its role in aiding the British.

Spanish rule during the 

19th century

During the 19th century Spain invested heavily in education and infrastructure:
1. Through the Education Decree of December 20, 1863,Queen Isabella II of Spain decreed the establishment of a free public school system that used Spanish as the language of instruction, leading to increasing numbers of educated Filipinos.
2. Additionally, the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 cut travel time to Spain, which facilitated the rise of the ilustrados, an enlightened class of Filipinos that had been able to expand their studies in Spain and Europe.

A great deal of infrastructure projects were undertaken during the 19th century that put the Philippine economy and standard of living ahead of most of its Asian neighbors and even many European countries at that time:
1. Among them were a railway system for Luzon, a tramcar network for Manila, and the Puente Colgante (now known as the Quezon Bridge), Asia's first steel suspension bridge.
2. On August 1, 1851 the Banco Español-Filipino de Isabel II was established to attend the needs of the rapid economic boom, that had greatly increased its pace since 1840 as a result of a new economy based on a rational exploitation of the agricultural resources of the islands. 
3. The increase in textile fiber crops such as abacá, oil products derived from the coconut, indigo, that was growing in demand, etc., generated an increase in money supply that led to the creation of the bank. Banco Español-Filipino was also granted the power to print a Philippine-specific currency (the Philippine peso) for the first time (before 1851, many currencies were used, mostly the pieces of eight).

Spanish Manila was seen in the 19th century as a model of colonial governance that effectively put the interests of the original inhabitants of the islands before those of the colonial power. 
As John Crawfurd put it in its History of the Indian Archipelago, in all of Asia the "Philippines alone did improve in civilization, wealth, and populousness under the colonial rule" of a foreign power.
 John Bowring, Governor General of British Hong Kong from 1856 to 1860, wrote after his trip to Manila:
Credit is certainly due to Spain for having bettered the condition of a people who, though comparatively highly civilized, yet being continually distracted by petty wars, had sunk into a disordered and uncultivated state.
The inhabitants of these beautiful Islands upon the whole, may well be considered to have lived as comfortably during the last hundred years, protected from all external enemies and governed by mild laws vis-a-vis those from any other tropical country under native or European sway, owing in some measure, to the frequently discussed peculiar (Spanish) circumstances which protect the interests of the natives.
In The inhabitants of the Philippines, Frederick Henry Sawyer wrote:
Until an inept bureaucracy was substituted for the old paternal rule, and the revenue quadrupled by increased taxation, the Filipinos were as happy a community as could be found in any colony. The population greatly multiplied; they lived in competence, if not in affluence; cultivation was extended, and the exports steadily increased. Let us be just; what British, French, or Dutch colony, populated by natives can compare with the Philippines as they were until 1895?."
The first official census in the Philippines was carried out in 1878. The colony's population as of December 31, 1877, was recorded at 5,567,685 persons. This was followed by the 1887 census that yielded a count of 6,984,727, while that of 1898 yielded 7,832,719 inhabitants .
The estimated GDP per capita for the Philippines in 1900, the year Spain left, was of $1,033.00. That made it the second richest place in all of Asia, just a little behind Japan ($1,135.00), and far ahead of China ($652.00) or India ($625.00)

Resistance against Spanish rule

Spanish rule of the Philippines was constantly threatened by indigenous rebellions and invasions from the DutchChineseJapanese and British.
The previously dominant groups resisted Spanish rule, refusing to pay Spanish taxes and rejecting Spanish excesses. All were defeated by the Spanish and their Filipino allies. In many areas, the Spanish left indigenous groups to administer their own affairs but under Spanish overlordship.

Early resistance

Resistance against Spain did not immediately cease upon the conquest of the Austronesian cities. After Rajah patis of Cebu, random native nobles resisted Spanish rule. The longest recorded native rebellion was that of Francisco Dagohoy which lasted a century.
During the British occupation of Manila (1762–1764), Diego Silang was appointed by them as governor of Ilocos and after his assassination by fellow natives, his wife Gabriela continued to lead the Ilocanos in the fight against Spanish rule. Resistance against Spanish rule was regional in character, based on ethnolinguistic groups.
Hispanization did not spread to the mountainous center of northern Luzon, nor to the inland communities of Mindanao. The highlanders were more able to resist the Spanish invaders than the lowlanders.
The Moros, most notably the sultanates, had a more advanced political system than their counterparts in the Visayas and Luzon. Spanish cities in Mindanao were limited to the coastal areas of Zamboanga and Cagayan de Oro.

The opening of the Philippines to world trade

In Europe, the Industrial Revolution spread from Great Britain during the period known as the Victorian Age. The industrialization of Europe created great demands for raw materials from the colonies, bringing with it investment and wealth, although this was very unevenly distributed. Governor-General Basco had opened the Philippines to this trade. Previously, the Philippines was seen as a trading post for international trade but in the nineteenth century it was developed both as a source of raw materials and as a market for manufactured goods. The economy of the Philippines rose rapidly and its local industries developed to satisfy the rising demands of an industrializing Europe. A small flow of European immigrants came with the opening of the Suez Canal, which cut the travel time between Europe and the Philippines by half. New ideas about government and society, which the friars and colonial authorities found dangerous, quickly found their way into the Philippines, notably through the Freemasons, who along with others, spread the ideals of the AmericanFrench and other revolutions, including Spanish liberalism.

Rise of Filipino nationalism

Revolutionary sentiments arose in 1872 after three Filipino priests, Mariano GómezJosé Burgos, and Jacinto Zamora, known as Gomburza, were accused of sedition by colonial authorities and executed. This would inspire the Propaganda Movement in Spain, organized by Marcelo H. del PilarJosé RizalGraciano López Jaena, and Mariano Ponce, that clamored for adequate representation to the Spanish Cortes and later for independence. José Rizal, the most celebrated intellectual and radical ilustrado of the era, wrote the novels "Noli Me Tángere", and "El filibusterismo", which greatly inspired the movement for independence. The Katipunan, a secret society whose primary purpose was that of overthrowing Spanish rule in the Philippines, was founded by Andrés Bonifacio who became its Supremo (leader).

Filipino Ilustrados Jose Rizal (standing left), Marcelo del Pilar (middle) and Mariano Ponce(seated)

The development of the Philippines as a source of raw materials and as a market for European manufactures created much local wealth. Many Filipinos prospered. Everyday Filipinos also benefited from the new economy with the rapid increase in demand for labor and availability of business opportunities. Some Europeans immigrated to the Philippines to join the wealth wagon, among them Jacobo Zobel, patriarch of today's Zobel de Ayala family and prominent figure in the rise of Filipino nationalism. Their scions studied in the best universities of Europe where they learned the ideals of liberty from the French and American Revolutions. The new economy gave rise to a new middle class in the Philippines, usually not ethnic Filipinos.

The Insulares (Spanish born in the Philippines) had become increasingly Filipino and called themselves Los hijos del país (lit. "sons of the country"). Among the early proponents of Filipino nationalism were the Insulares Padre Pedro Peláezarchbishop of Manila, who fought for the secularization of Philippine churches and expulsion of the friars; Padre José Burgos whose execution influenced the national hero José Rizal; and Joaquín Pardo de Tavera who fought for retention of government positions by natives, regardless of race. In retaliation to the rise of Filipino nationalism, the friars called the Indios (native Filipinos & possibly referring to Insulares and mestizos as well) indolent and unfit for government and church positions. In response, the Insulares came out with Indios agraviados, a manifesto defending the Filipino against discriminatory remarks. The tension between the Insulares and Peninsulares erupted into the failed revolts of Novales and the Cavite Mutiny of 1872 which resulted to the deportation of prominent Filipino nationalists to the Marianas and Europe who would continue the fight for liberty through the Propaganda Movement. The Cavite Mutiny implicated the priests Mariano GómezJosé Burgos, and Jacinto Zamora  whose executions would influence the subversive activities of the next generation of Filipino nationalists, José Rizal, who then dedicated his novel, El filibusterismo to the these priests.

Juliana Gorricho vda. de Pardo de Tavera (seated at the center with baby Andrés Luna y Pardo de Tavera) with María de la Paz Pardo de Tavera y Gorricho de Luna (standing 2nd from the right) and José Rizal (standing 2nd from the left)

José Rizal (standing 1st from the left) and María de la Paz Pardo de Tavera (standing 2nd from the left) and friends

December 1889 - La Solidaridad was established by Marcela H. Del Pilar.  With members included José RizalPedro Serrano LaktawBaldomero Roxas, and Galicano Apacible.

Illustrados, Rizal and Katipunan

José Rizal (left) and Friends

Rizal was made a Master Mason on November 15, 1890 at Logia Solidaridad 53 in Madrid , Spain . He affiliated with a lodge under the jurisdiction of Grand Orient of France on October 14, 1891, and was made honorary Worshipful Master of Nilad Lodge No. 144 in 1892. There he delivered a lecture entitled “La Masoneria”.

Filipino Ilustrados in Spain.

The mass deportation of nationalists to the Marianas and Europe in 1872 led to a Filipino expatriate community of reformers in Europe. The community grew with the next generation of Ilustrados studying in European universities. They allied themselves with Spanish liberals, notably Spanish senator Miguel Morayta Sagrario, and founded the newspaper La Solidaridad.
Among the reformers was José Rizal, who wrote two novels while in Europe. His novels were considered the most influential of the Illustrados' writings causing further unrest in the islands, particularly the founding of the Katipunan. A rivalry developed between himself and Marcelo H. del Pilar for the leadership of La Solidaridad and the reform movement in Europe. Majority of the expatriates supported the leadership of del Pilar.
In 1892, Radical members of the La Liga Filipina, which included Bonifacio and Deodato Arellano, founded the Kataastaasang Kagalanggalang na Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan (KKK), called simply the Katipunan, which had the objective of the Philippines seceding from the Spanish Empire. Rizal then returned to the Philippines to organize La Liga Filipina and bring the reform movement to Philippine soil. The Philippine Revolution began in 1896. He was arrested just a few days after founding the league. Rizal was wrongly implicated in the outbreak of the revolution and executed for treason in 1896. 

Photograph Of The Original "La Liga Filipina"
Note the erasures and the abbreviations intended to be used instead of the real names in Rizal's handwriting.

Photograph Of The Original "Mi Ultimo Adios"
There was some argument whether this was the original because as you will note, there were no erasures and the grammar was flawless. It was determined such was Rizal’s concentration in the eve of his death that his writing came straight from his soul.

By 1896 the Katipunan had a membership by the thousands. That same year, the existence of the Katipunan was discovered by the colonial authorities. In late August Katipuneros gathered in Caloocan and declared the start of the revolution. The event is now known as the Cry of Balintawak or Cry of Pugad Lawin, due to conflicting historical traditions and official government positions.
Andrés Bonifacio called for a general offensive on Manila and was defeated in battle at the town of San Juan del Monte. He regrouped his forces and was able to briefly capture the towns of Marikina, San Mateo and Montalban. Spanish counterattacks drove him back and he retreated to the mountains of Balara and Morong and from there engaged in guerrilla warfare. By August 30, the revolt had spread to eight provinces. On that date, Governor-General Ramon Blanco declared a state of war in these provinces and placed them under martial law. These were ManilaBulacanCavitePampangaTarlacLagunaBatangas, and Nueva Ecija. They would later be represented in the eight rays of the sun in the Filipino flag. Emilio Aguinaldo and the Katipuneros of Cavite were the most successful of the rebels and they controlled most of their province by September–October. They defended their territories with trenches designed by Edilberto Evangelista.
Many of the educated ilustrado class such as Antonio Luna and Apolinario Mabini did not initially favor an armed revolution. Rizal himself, whom the rebels took inspiration from and had consulted beforehand, disapproved of a premature revolution. He was arrested, tried and executed for treason, sedition and conspiracy on December 30, 1896. Before his arrest he had issued a statement disavowing the revolution, but in his swan song poem Mi último adiós he wrote that dying in battle for the sake of one's country was just as patriotic as his own impending death.

German Invasion of MANILA  in 1898

After Commodore George Dewey defeated the Spanish squadron at Manila, a German squadron arrived in Manila and engaged in maneuvers which Dewey, seeing this as obstruction of his blockade, offered war—after which the Germans backed down. The German Emperor expected an American defeat, with Spain left in a sufficiently weak position for the revolutionaries to capture Manila—leaving the Philippines ripe for German picking.
The U.S. invited Aguinaldo to return to the Philippines in the hope he would rally Filipinos against the Spanish colonial government. Aguinaldo arrived on May 19, 1898, via transport provided by Dewey. By the time U.S. land forces had arrived, the Filipinos had taken control of the entire island of Luzon, except for the walled city of Intramuros. On June 12, 1898, Aguinaldo declared the independence of the Philippines in Kawit, Cavite, establishing the First Philippine Republic under Asia's first democratic constitution.

The Spanish-American War

On April 25, 1898, the Spanish-American War began with declarations of war. On May 1, 1898, the Spanish navy was decisively defeated in the Battle of Manila Bay by the Asiatic Squadron of the U.S. Navy led by Commodore George Dewey aboard the USS Olympia Thereafter Spain lost the ability to defend Manila and therefore the Philippines.
On May 19, Emilio Aguinaldo returned to the Philippines aboard an American naval ship and on May 24 took command of Filipino forces. Filipino forces had liberated much of the country from the Spanish. On June 12, 1898 Aguinaldo issued the Philippine Declaration of Independence declaring independence from Spain and later established the First Philippine Republic. Filipino forces then laid siege to Manila, as had American forces. Aguinaldo however failed to take the city.

In the Battle of Manila, the United States captured the city from the Spanish. This battle marked an end of Filipino-American collaboration, as Filipino forces were prevented from entering the captured city of Manila, an action deeply resented by the Filipinos.  Spain and the United States sent commissioners to Paris to draw up the terms of the Treaty of Paris which ended the Spanish–American War. The Filipino representative, Felipe Agoncillo, was excluded from sessions as the revolutionary government was not recognized by the family of nations. Although there was substantial domestic opposition, the United States decided to annex the Philippines. In addition to Guam and Puerto Rico, Spain was forced in the negotiations to hand over the Philippines to the U.S. in exchange for US$20,000,000.00. 
U.S. President McKinley justified the annexation of the Philippines by saying that it was "a gift from the gods" and that since "they were unfit for self-government, ... there was nothing left for us to do but to take them all, and to educate the Filipinos, and uplift and civilize and Christianize them", in spite of the Philippines having been already Christianized by the Spanish over the course of several centuries. It is also in spite of the Spanish having created the first public education system in Asia (public education decree of 1863) and the first universities in the continent: University of Santo Tomas in 1611, and University of San Carlos (Cebu) in 1595. It was also clearly a misrepresentation to state that the Philippines needed to be "civilized". The archipelago saw rapid growth and development during Spanish rule thanks to the introduction of many elements of Western civilization, including irrigation, the plow and the wheel, new construction and engineering methods, factories, modern hospitals, the telephone and the telegraph, railroads and public lighting. By 1898 the Philippines was one of the most advanced countries in Asia, producing great statesmen, writers and scientists such as national hero José Rizal.
The first Philippine Republic resisted the U.S. occupation, resulting in the Philippine–American War (1899–1913).
The Americans entered into a pact with the Spanish governor-general in which they agreed to fight a mock battle before surrendering Manila to the Americans. The Battle of Manila took place on August 13 and Americans took control of the city. In the Treaty of Paris (1898) ending the Spanish-American War, the Spanish agreed to sell the Philippines to the United States for $20 million which was subsequently narrowly ratified. With this action, Spanish rule in the Philippines formally ended.
On February 4, 1899, the Philippine–American War began with the Battle of Manila (1899) between Americans forces and the nascent Philippine Republic.

American rule (1898–1946)

1898 political cartoon showing U.S. President McKinley with a native child. Here, returning the Philippines to Spain is compared to throwing the child off a cliff.

Filipinos initially saw their relationship with the United States as that of two nations joined in a common struggle against Spain. However, the United States later distanced itself from the interests of the Filipino insurgents. Emilio Aguinaldo was unhappy that the United States would not commit to paper a statement of support for Philippine independence. Relations deteriorated and tensions heightened as it became clear that the Americans were in the islands to stay.

Philippine–American War

Hostilities broke out on February 4, 1899, after two American privates on patrol killed three Filipino soldiers in San Juan, a Manila suburb. This incident sparked the Philippine–American War, which would cost far more money and took far more lives than theSpanish–American War.  Some 126,000 American soldiers would be committed to the conflict; 4,234 Americans died, as did 12,000–20,000 Philippine Republican Army soldiers who were part of a nationwide guerrilla movement of indeterminate numbers.

The poorly equipped Filipino troops were easily overpowered by American troops in open combat, but they were formidable opponents in guerrilla warfare:

1. Malolos, the revolutionary capital, was captured on March 31, 1899. Aguinaldo and his government escaped, however, establishing a new capital at San Isidro, Nueva Ecija
2. On June 5, 1899, Antonio Luna, Aguinaldo's most capable military commander, was killed by Aguinaldo's guards in an apparent assassination while visiting CabanatuanNueva Ecija to meet with Aguinaldo. With his best commander dead and his troops suffering continued defeats as American forces pushed into northern Luzon, Aguinaldo dissolved the regular army on November 13 and ordered the establishment of decentralized guerrilla commands in each of several military zones. 
3. Another key general, Gregorio del Pilar, was killed on December 2, 1899 in the Battle of Tirad Pass—a rear guard action to delay the Americans while Aguinaldo made good his escape through the mountains. Aguinaldo was captured at Palanan, Isabela on March 23, 1901 and was brought to Manila. Convinced of the futility of further resistance, he swore allegiance to the United States and issued a proclamation calling on his compatriots to lay down their arms, officially bringing an end to the war

In 1900, President McKinley sent the Taft Commission, to the Philippines, with a mandate to legislate laws and re-engineer the political system. On July 1, 1901, William Howard Taft, the head of the commission, was inaugurated as Civil Governor, with limited executive powers. The authority of the Military Governor was continued in those areas where the insurrection persisted. The Taft Commission passed laws to set up the fundamentals of the new government, including a judicial system, civil service, and local government. A Philippine Constabulary was organized to deal with the remnants of the insurgent movement and gradually assume the responsibilities of the United States Army.

Insular Government (1901–1935)

Flag of the United States, 1896–1908.
The Philippine Organic Act was the basic law for the Insular Government, so called because civil administration was under the authority of the U.S. Bureau of Insular Affairs. This government saw its mission as one of tutelage, preparing the Philippines for eventual independence. On July 4, 1902 the office of military governor was abolished and full executive power passed from Adna Chaffee, the last military governor, to Taft, who became the first U.S. governor-general of the Philippines.
When Woodrow Wilson became U.S. president in 1913, a new policy was adopted to put into motion a process that would gradually lead to Philippine independence. The Jones Law, passed by the U.S. Congress in 1916 to serve as a new basic law, promised eventual independence. It provide for the election of both houses of the legislature.
World War I gave the Philippines the opportunity to pledge assistance to the US war effort. This took the form of an offer to supply a division of troops, as well as providing funding for the construction of two warships. A locally recruited national guard was created and significant numbers of Filipinos volunteered for service in the US Navy and army.

In socio-economic terms, the Philippines made solid progress in this period:
1. Foreign trade had amounted to 62 million pesos in 1895, 13% of which was with the United States. By 1920, it had increased to 601 million pesos, 66% of which was with the United States. A health care system was established which, by 1930, reduced the mortality rate from all causes, including various tropical diseases, to a level similar to that of the United States itself. The practices of slaverypiracy and headhunting were suppressed but not entirely extinguished.
2. A new educational system was established with English as the medium of instruction, eventually becoming a lingua franca of the Islands. The 1920s saw alternating periods of cooperation and confrontation with American governors-general, depending on how intent the incumbent was on exercising his powers vis-à-vis the Philippine legislature. Members to the elected legislature lobbied for immediate and complete independence from the United States. Several independence missions were sent to Washington, D.C. A civil service was formed and was gradually taken over by Filipinos, who had effectively gained control by 1918.


Commonwealth President Manuel L. Quezon with United States PresidentFranklin D. Roosevelt in Washington, D.C.

The Great Depression in the early thirties hastened the progress of the Philippines towards independence. In the United States it was mainly the sugar industry and labor unions that had a stake in loosening the U.S. ties to the Philippines since they could not compete with the Philippine cheap sugar (and other commodities) which could freely enter the U.S. market. Therefore, they agitated in favor of granting independence to the Philippines so that its cheap products and labor could be shut out of the United States.

A revised act known as the Tydings–McDuffie ActThe act provided for the establishment of the Commonwealth of the Philippines with a ten-year period of peaceful transitions to full independence. The commonwealth would have its own constitution and be self-governing, though foreign policy would be the responsibility of the United States, and certain legislation required approval of the United States president. The Act stipulated that the date of independence would be on the July 4 following the tenth anniversary of the establishment of the Commonwealth.

On September 17, 1935, presidential elections were held. Candidates included former president Emilio Aguinaldo, the Iglesia Filipina Independiente leader Gregorio Aglipay, and others. Manuel L. Quezon and Sergio Osmeña of the Nacionalista Party were proclaimed the winners, winning the seats of president and vice-president, respectively.
The Commonwealth Government was inaugurated on the morning of November 15, 1935, in ceremonies held on the steps of the Legislative Building in Manila. The event was attended by a crowd of around 300,000 people. Under the Tydings–McDuffie Act this meant that the date of full independence for the Philippines was set for July 4, 1946, a timetable which was followed after the passage of almost eleven very eventful years.

World War II and Japanese occupation (1941-1945)

As many as 10,000 people died in the Bataan Death March

Japan launched a surprise attack on the Clark Air Base in Pampanga on the morning of December 8, 1941, just ten hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Aerial bombardment was followed by landings of ground troops on Luzon. The defending Philippine and United States troops were under the command of General Douglas MacArthur. Under the pressure of superior numbers, the defending forces withdrew to the Bataan Peninsula and to the island of Corregidor at the entrance to Manila Bay.
On January 2, 1942, General MacArthur declared the capital city, Manila, an open city to prevent its destruction. The Philippine defense continued until the final surrender of United States-Philippine forces on the Bataan Peninsula in April 1942 and on Corregidor in May of the same year. Most of the 80,000 prisoners of war captured by the Japanese at Bataan were forced to undertake the infamous Bataan Death March to a prison camp 105 kilometers to the north. It is estimated that about 10,000 Filipinos and 1,200 Americans died before reaching their destination.
President Quezon and Osmeña had accompanied the troops to Corregidor and later left for the United States, where they set up a government in exile. MacArthur was ordered to Australia, where he started to plan for a return to the Philippines.
The Japanese military authorities immediately began organizing a new government structure in the Philippines and established the Philippine Executive Commission. They initially organized a Council of State, through which they directed civil affairs until October 1943, when they declared the Philippines an independent republic. The Japanese-sponsored republic headed by President José P. Laurel proved to be unpopular
Japanese occupation of the Philippines was opposed by large-scale underground and guerrilla activity. The Philippine Army, as well as remnants of the U.S. Army Forces Far East, continued to fight the Japanese in a guerrilla war and was considered an auxiliary unit of the United States Army. Their effectiveness was such that by the end of the war, Japan controlled only twelve of the forty-eight provinces. One element of resistance in the Central Luzon area was furnished by the Hukbalahap, which armed some 30,000 people and extended their control over much of Luzon.
The occupation of the Philippines by Japan ended at the war's conclusion. The American army had been fighting the Philippines Campaign since October 1944, when MacArthur's Sixth United States Army landed on Leyte. Landings in other parts of the country had followed, and the Allies, with the Philippine Commonwealth troops, pushed toward Manila. However, fighting continued until Japan's formal surrender on September 2, 1945. The Philippines suffered great loss of life and tremendous physical destruction, specially during the Battle of Manila. An estimated 1 million Filipinos had been killed, a large portion during the final months of the war, and Manila had been extensively damaged.




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