250,000 years ago, first people arrive in the Philippines, probably
migrating over a land bridge from Asian mainland.
25,000 years ago, Negrito people arrive. The Negritos were later
driven back by waves of immigrants from Indonesia. Maritime immigrations of
Malayan people follow.
In 1380, Islam arrives in the southern Philippines with the
arrival of the Arab-taught Makdum in the Sulu archipelago.This marks the beginning
of a powerful Islamic sphere of influence over the next hundred years.
1521, Ferdinand Magellan arrives in the Philippines
(Homonhon island, Eastern Samar). He claims the archipelago for Spain. The
same year Magellan was killed by local chiefs.
1543, Ruy Lopez de Villalobos followed in and named the territory
Filipinas after King Philip II of Spain.
1565, permanent Spanish occupation began, and by 1571 the entire
country, except for the strictly Islamic Sulu archipelago, was under Spanish
In the 19th century a Filipino independence movement grew. 1898
the Spanish-American War begins, Filipinos fought on the side of the Americans.
When the Spanish were defeated, General Aguinaldo declared the Philippines
independent. The USA purchased the islands from Spain for US$20 million, In
December 1898 the United States announced the establishment of U.S. military
rule in the Philippines. The american takeover resulted in the bloody Filipino-American
war, which ended in 1902.
1935, Manuel L. Quezon was sworn in as President of the Philippine
Commonwealth as part of a transitional phase pending full independence.
1942, Japan invaded the Philippines. The brutal Japanese rule
lasted for more than two years, until the USA re-invadedr.
1946, the Philippines received full independence.
1965, Ferdinand Marcos was elected president and reelected 1969.
1972, Philippine constitution didn't allow a third term, so
Marcos declared martial law and ruled virtually as a dictator until 1986.
Both communist and Muslim guerrillas attacked his government.
1983, the assassination of prominent opposition figure Benigno
'Ninoy' Aquino Jr. sparked massive anti-government protests. A snap election
in 1986 saw the opposition parties rally around Aquino's widow, Cory. Both
parties claimed victory, but it was widely believed that Aquino had polled
most votes. Aquino initiated a programme of nonviolent civil unrest which
ended in the 'EDSA revolution'. After some of Marcos generals changed the
sides Marcos fled the country.
Aquino became president and re-established the democratic institutions
of the country. Economic problems remained and she failed to win over the
military and the powerful Filipino elite. Aquino survived seven coups in six
1991, the Philippine Senate refused to ratify the lease on the
Subic Bay Naval Station. The Americans finally left the country.
1992, Fidel Ramos, the former Defence Minister of Aquino was
elected president. Ramos pursued an ambitious economic reform program.
1996, The Philippines government and the Moro National Liberation
Front (MNLF) signed a peace accord in September ending, formally at least,
the MNLF's 24-year struggle for autonomy in Mindanao. A more radical splinter
group, the militant Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), opposed the agreement.
In 1998, Ramos was replaced as president by the former movie
star Joseph Estrada.
2000, Estrada was impeached and brought to trial on charges
of taking bribes from gambling syndicates, and using the proceeds to line
his own dens and to build extravagant houses for his mistresses. The attempt
to derail the trial by blocking prosecutors' access to his financial accounts,
the people took to the streets and started 'EDSA 2 (dos). After most of his
allies gave up support Estrada left Malacanang Palace on 19 January 2001 and
the next day his former vice-president, Gloria Arroyo, was sworn in as the
new president of the Philippines.
Since then, Arroyo's presidency has been sorely tested. A military
coup attempt on 27 July 2003 underscored the tensions below the surface in
the country. A standoff lasting 20 hours ended when Arroyo issued a five-hour
On May 10, 2004, Arroyo was reelected president but there were
accusations about fraud. A warrant of arrest against Arroyo was issued on
The election in 2010 won Benigno Aquino III, the son of Benigno
Aquineo who was assassinated in 1983.
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The Philippines is a presidial republic, the official name is
Republika ng Pilipinas (Republic of the Philippines). The constitution of
1987 allows the president to serve only one term with the maximum of 6 years
in office. The main purpose of amanding the constitution in 1987 was to avoid
a new dictatorship. According to the constitution congress comprises of the
senate (24 members, elected for 6 years) and the house of representatives
with a maximum of 260 members. 208 members are elected for three years while
52 are appointed by the president. The incumbent president is Gloria Macapagal
Arroyo, who was reelected on May 10, 2004.
The administration of the Philippines is divided into 16 regions,
consisiting of 76 provinces. Every province consists of a provincial capital
and municipalities. Every municipaity or city consists of barangays (village
communities), the smallest administrative unit.
Regions and provinces of Luzon are:
Region 1, Ilocos Region (Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Pangasinan).
Region 2, Cagayan vally (Batanes, Cagayan, Isabela del Norte,
Isabela del Sur, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino).
Region 3, Central Luzon (Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga,
Region 4, Southern Tagalog Region (Aurora, Batangas, Cavite,
Laguna, Marinduque, Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Palawan, Quezon,
Region 5, Bicol Region (Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur,
Catanduanes, Sorsogon, Masbate).
CAR, Cordillera Administrative Region (Abra, Apayao, Benguet,
Ifugao, Kalinga, Mountain Province).
NCR, National Capital Region (Metro Manila).
Regions and provinces of the Visayas:
Region 6, Western Visayas (Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, Iloilo, Negros
Region 7, Central Visayas (Bohol, Cebu, Negros Oriental, Siquijor).
Region 8, Eastern Visayas (Biliran, Eastern
Samar, Leyte, Northern Samar, Samar (Western), Southern Leyte).
Regions and provinces of Mindanao:
Region 9, Western Mindanao (Lanao del Norte, Basilan, Misamis Occidental,
Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur).
Region 10, Northern Mindanao (Bukidnon, Misamis Oriental, Camiguin).
Region 11, Southern Mindanao (Davao, Davao Oriental, Davao del
Sur, Sarangani, Sultan Kudarat).
Region 12, Central Mindanao (North Cotabato, South Cotabato).
Region 13, Caraga Region (Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur,
Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur).
Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao,
Sulu, Tawi Tawi).
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