of 7,107 islands, the Philippine islands are found in the
south of China, nestled between Borneo to the south and
Taiwan to the north. Even
with so many thousands of islands, only about 2,000 are
just 500 of the islands are larger than one kilometer
just nine of the islands make up 90% of the land area, which
Cebu, Leyte, Luzon, Mindanao, Mindoro, Negros, Palawan, Panay,
the past two million years, the earth has completed 20
glaciation cycles, which are ice ages.
During this time, glaciers accumulate on land in the
form of ice, which actually causes the world’s ocean
levels to drop! In
fact, when the last ice age was at its peak, the ocean
waters around the Philippine islands dropped around 50 meters
lower than what you would find today.
years ago, the climate of the earth began to warm.
Then around 8,000 years ago, the oceans finally
started to regain the normal, high levels of water.
Another interesting fact about the Philippines is
that pre-hominid or hominid species to include
Australopithecus or Homo erectus have not been found.
Scientists estimate that humans did not arrive in the
Philippines until 40,000 years ago around the same time they
arrived in New Guinea and Australia.
these two other countries, the Philippine islands never
jointed to southeast, Asian mainland although when the tide
was out and the ocean levels low, the water barrier was
quite a bit less. Archeologists
found the first human remains on the island of Palawan
around 22,000 B.P. However,
there were also tools found but these could be dated to
somewhere around 30,000 B.P.
people living in the Philippine islands were Aeta or
Negritos ancestors. Called Australo-Melanesians, they had dark skin and their
hair was brown with very tight curls.
Their physical build was small and short.
Like Pygmies living in Africa, it was believed that
the Aeta or Negritos easily adapted to the tropical jungles
where they lived. Famed
for excellent hunting skills, these people would band
together in small groups of family to find food.
These groups were very organized but had informal
Aeta and Negritos were typically found throughout the
Philippines, today, you would only find them in the remote
areas of the highlands such as Luzon, Mindanao, Negros,
Palawan, and Panay.
Philippines had two completely different eras of colonial
domination, consisting first of the Spaniards and then
of this, many people refer to the Philippines as “400
years in a convent and 50 years in Hollywood.”
Interestingly, each era started with naval actions
with the first being in 1521.
time, Ferdinand Magellan, a Spanish explorer, discovered the
Philippines islands while enjoying a voyage around the
for Magellan, he soon got involved with the local politics,
which led to his murder by Lapu Lapu, a tribal chieftain
that has since been honored as being the first Filipino to
resist being ruled by anyone foreign.
the Philippine islands were under the control of Spain at
which time they became the only official overseas colony of
the United States, second only to the victory led by Admiral
George Dewey in the Manila Bay when the Spanish fleet were
after the Spanish-American War, a United States Filipino war
broke out. This
war did not end until the United States captured the
Filipino leader, Emilio Aguinaldo while in negotiations.
Even so, Aguinaldo did extract a promise made in 1946
for independence. This
very promise remained in tact despite intervening occupation
One of the
most well known aspects of Philippine history started in1965
when Ferdinand Marco was elected President, and then
re-elected in 1969. Because
he was not permitted to seek a third term under the current
constitution, martial law was declared in 1972 and the
For the following 15 years, the government under
Marcos was considered one of the most corrupt ever in the
entire world. It
is estimated that Marcos siphoned approximately $10 billion
US from the Philippine treasury while at the same time, this
part of Asia were living in the highest poverty level.
people becoming more and more upset, an unscheduled election
was called by Marcos in 1986.
As you can imagine, he lost although he had made
quite an effort to take all the votes.
Now defeated, Marcos fled country and then just three
short years later, died.
Although the ensuing leaders did make some progress
in bringing the country out of such horrific disarray, it
was again faced with corruption in 2001 when President
Joseph Estrada was accused of embezzling millions of
office, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo too office and made a vow to
see to it that Estrada was brought to trial, although faced
with violent opposition of his supporters.
Macapagal-Arroyo also had another item on her agenda
– dealing with the Islamic terrorists that had been in
operation in the south of the Philippines islands. These terrorists had already kidnapped many people, sadly
some being innocent tourists.
islands are still breathtakingly beautiful and the people,
warm and inviting. Still
just a small fraction of islands are inhabited but just as
with many places around the globe, modern technology has
helped move the islands forward and creating a better
many people travel to the Philippines for vacation because
of the fabulous weather, pristine beaches, and tropical
atmosphere, you do need to check before you travel to ensure
there are no travel alerts.