The Republic of the Philippines is an archipelago in Southeast Asia located between the South China Sea and the Pacific Ocean. The nation is made up of more than 7,641 islands, the largest of which is Luzon. Both the Manila, the capital, and Quezon City, the most populous city, are located on Luzon.
The population of the Philippines is extremely ethnically diverse, consisting of nearly 100 culturally and linguistically distinct ethnic groups. Of these, the largest are the Tagalog of Luzon and the Cebuano of the Visayan Islands.
The Spanish colonized the islands in the 16th century and they remained under Spanish rule for 333 years. The Philippines’s name comes from this time period, after Spanish King Philip II. Spanish colonialism also left a legacy of Roman Catholicism, which most of the population continues to practice. After the Spanish-American War, the U.S. demanded the cession of the Philippines to the U.S. in the Treaty of Parish of 1898. The Philippines were also occupied by Japan during World War II. Filipino nationalists resisted Spanish, American and Japanese rule. The Philippines was officially recognized by the U.S. as independent through the Treaty of Manila of 1946.
The national flag was adopted after the 1898 overthrow of Spanish authority. The white triangle symbolizes liberty, the blue tripe symbolizes willingness sacrifice oneself for freedom, and the white stripe symbolizes courage. The golden sun and three golden stars symbolize the Philippines three man areas—Luzon, Visayan, and Mindanao. The eight sun rays represent the provinces where the original anti-Spanish revolts broke out.
When the U.S. suppressed the first republic, they outlawed this flag. After the Japanese took over, they also forbade the flag at first. They officially recognized it on October 14, 1943 when they declared a Japanese-controlled second republic. Filipinos opposed to Japanese rule displayed the flag upside down in protest.
Today, The Philippines is the world’s 13th most populous country, with 108 million people. The nation’s economy is largely based on agriculture. The main products include sugarcane, rice, coconuts, bananas, corn, and pineapples.
The Philippines remains culturally diverse, which is apparent in the country’s rich music, literature, and arts. This diversity is also represented by the variety of regional festivals, such as the Silmugi Festival (held in honor of Saint Sebastian), the Sinulog Festival (held in honor of Santo Nino de Cebu), and the Kuraldal Festival (held in honor of Saint Lucy). Boxing, basketball, and Arnis, a type of martial arts, are amongst the most popular sports in the Philippines.