The Philippines is the third largest English-speaking country in the world.
The history of this Asian island state is tumultuous to put it mildly, and its character has been shaped by Asia, Europe and the USA. This island group of more than 7000 islands was a Spanish colony from 1521 onwards, a proud nation who traded with both the Chinese and Japanese. It was during the Spanish colonization of the Philippines that the historic walled fortification known as the Intramuros, with its European-style building and churches, was built in the centre of what is now Manila (1571). After more than 350 years and 300 rebellions, the people of the Philippines succeeded in regaining their independence in the Philippine Revolution of 1898, led by Jose Rizal and Emilio Aguinaldo. However, it was not long before the country was once again conquered and colonized. That very same year, the USA colonized the island once again, an action which eventually led to the Philippine-American War. Afterwards, once the conflict was over, this Asian island state benefitted a great deal from the many educational opportunities that were created by the Americans, which put them at the forefront of Southeast Asian countries until they lost this lead under the dictatorship of Marcos. They are, however, gradually regaining their position in Asia as a land that has a lot to offer, with many opportunities.
The Philippines fought bravely, side-by-side, with the Americans during World War II. This was never truer than during the famous Battles of Bataan and Corregidor, in which the Japanese advance was halted, saving Australia. During the years from1941-1945, this large island kingdom found itself fighting a guerrilla war with Japan, finally regaining their independence in 1946. The Philippine people prize their independence highly, and today have a well-functioning democracy, despite the challenges that confront it from time to time. With the country´s 12 national newspapers, 7 national TV stations, hundreds of cable TV stations and more than 2,000 radio stations, no one can accuse them of being uninformed about what´s going on. On the more frivolous side, no one loves a good party and having a good time more than the Philippinos! Every single day, celebrations are being held somewhere, all over the country, and everyone is welcome – including visitors from overseas. The smile is as warm as the climate….and genuine.
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