Republic of the Philippines

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Flag of the Philippines Flag of the Philippines
Two equal horizontal bands of blue (top; representing peace and justice) and red (representing courage); a white equilateral triangle based on the hoist side represents equality; the center of the triangle displays a yellow sun with eight primary rays, each representing one of the first eight provinces that sought independence from Spain; each corner of the triangle contains a small, yellow, five-pointed star representing the three major geographical divisions of the country: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao; the design of the flag dates to 1897; in wartime the flag is flown upside down with the red band at the top.

The Philippine Islands became a Spanish colony during the 16th century; they were ceded to the US in 1898 following the Spanish-American War. In 1935 the Philippines became a self-governing commonwealth. Manuel QUEZON was elected President and was tasked with preparing the country for independence after a 10-year transition. In 1942 the islands fell under Japanese occupation during WWII, and US forces and Filipinos fought together during 1944-45 to regain control. On 4 July 1946 the Philippines attained their independence. The 20-year rule of Ferdinand MARCOS ended in 1986, when a widespread popular rebellion forced him into exile and installed Corazon AQUINO as president. Her presidency was hampered by several coup attempts, which prevented a return to full political stability and economic development. Fidel RAMOS was elected president in 1992 and his administration was marked by greater stability and progress on economic reforms. In 1992, the US closed its last military bases on the islands. Joseph ESTRADA was elected president in 1998, but was succeeded by his vice-president, Gloria MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, in January 2001 after ESTRADA's stormy impeachment trial on corruption charges broke down and widespread demonstrations led to his ouster. MACAPAGAL-ARROYO was elected to a six-year term in May 2004. The Philippine Government faces threats from armed communist insurgencies and from Muslim separatists in the south. - CIA World Factbook.

Map of the Philippines

Philippines Coat of Arms Philippines Coat of Arms

Official Website of the Philippines
Flag, evolution of the flag, Anthem.

Philippines - Fotw
The sun represents the dawning of a new era of self determination that was desired in 1897.

Philippines -
The Philippines became a Spanish colony in the 16th century, and then a U.S. colony after the Spanish-American War and the Philippine-American War.

Philippines - U.S. Department of State
The majority of Philippine people are of Malay stock, descendants of Indonesians and Malays who migrated to the islands long before the Christian era. The most significant ethnic minority group is the Chinese, who have played an important role in commerce since the ninth century, when they first came to the islands to trade. As a result of intermarriage, many Filipinos have some Chinese and Spanish ancestry. Americans and Spaniards constitute the next largest alien minorities in the country.
        More than 90% of the people are Christian; most were converted and became Westernized to varying degrees during nearly 400 years of Spanish and American rule. The major non-Hispanicized groups are the Muslim population, concentrated in the Sulu Archipelago and in central and western Mindanao, and the mountain groups of northern Luzon. Small forest tribes still live in the more remote areas of Mindanao.
        About 87 native languages and dialects are spoken, all belonging to the Malay-Polynesian linguistic family. Of these, eight are the first languages of more than 85% of the population. The three principal indigenous languages are Cebuano, spoken in the Visayas; Tagalog, predominant in the area around Manila; and Ilocano, spoken in northern Luzon. Since 1939, in an effort to develop national unity, the government has promoted the use of the national language, Pilipino, which is based on Tagalog. Pilipino is taught in all schools and is gaining acceptance, particularly as a second language. Many use English, the most important nonnative language, as a second language, including nearly all professionals, academics, and government workers. In January 2003, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo ordered the Department of Education to restore English as the medium of instruction in all schools and universities. Only a few Filipino families use Spanish as a first language.
        The Philippines has one of the highest literacy rates in the East Asian and Pacific area. About 92% of the population 10 years of age and older are literate.