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Famous for their warm hospitality, friendliness to foreigners, musical and artistic talents, romanticism, deep religiosity, and bravery – that’s how Filipinos are described. They are fun-loving people and are known to be one of the best entertainers around the globe.
The Philippines, officially known as the Republic of the Philippines, is an independent state in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and is located between Borneo and Taiwan. It is categorized broadly into three main geographical divisions; The Luzon in the north, Visayas in the center, and Mindanao in the South. Manila, which is in Luzon, is the country’s seat of administration and the center of commerce and industry, culture and arts, and education. It is the largest and the most important city in the Philippines. It is also one of the loveliest and most exciting cities in Asia.
The Philippines is an archipelago comprising 7,107 islands and is said to be the 73rd largest independent nation. It’s location and its tropical climate has gifted the country with natural resources and made it a incredibly diverse country. There are three pronounced seasons in the Philippines: wet to rainy, from June to October; cool and dry weather, from November to February; and hot and dry weather, from March to May.
Multiple ethnicities and cultures are found throughout the islands. Negritos are one of its Aboriginal inhabitants who arrived from the Asian mainland around 25,000 BC, followed by successive waves of Austronesian peoples in 3,000 BC onward, who brought with them influences from Malay, Hindu , and Islamic societies. By the 14th century, extensive trade was being conducted with India, Indonesia, China, and Japan.
The Philippines had been a Spanish colony for more than three hundred years. It was first named Las Islas Filipinas, which later on became Philippines, in honor of King Philip II of Spain. On April 25, 1898, the American-Spanish war started. Meanwhile, the Philippines declared its independence from Spain on June 12, of the same year. The war ended with the signing of the Treaty of Paris on December 10,1898. As a result Spain lost its control over the remains of its overseas empire and ceded the Philippine Islands for a total of 20 Million dollars. Spanish rule had two lasting effects on Philippine society; the near universal conversion of the population to Roman Catholicism and the creation of a landed elite.
American rule in the Philippines was considered paternalistic. Their policy was called “Benevolent Assimilation”, which means “Americanizing” the Filipinos. The best American teachers were sent to the Philippines in a ship called the Thomas and they did increase literacy. Being a US colony for five decades, it is no wonder that many Filipinos speak very good English with a clear American accent.
According to a 2012 study by GlobalEnglish Corporation, the Philippines was named the world’s best country in business English proficiency, even beating the United States.
The 2013 report, again placed the Philippines in Number ONE position, with a score of 7.95, just above Norway at 7.06 and the Netherlands with 7.3.
The country though, markets itself as being the third largest English-speaking nation after the United States and the United Kingdom.
As far as tourism is concerned, It is one advantage of the Philippines over other Asian countries, as most Filipinos speak at least rudimentary English, and the educated ones speak it fluently. So if you are an English-speaking-traveller, the Philippines is an ideal place for you.
Philippine culture, customs, manners, etiquette, values, traditions, language, arts, and the people itself, make the country distinctive. The islands have cultivated a unique blend of Southeast Asian and European traditions. In fact, local exuberance is often compared to the Latin zeal for life.
A mixture of English and Tagalog, known as “Taglish” is commonly heard from Filipinos in their everyday conversations. There are also still some Spanish-speaking areas in the country, since Spanish had at one time been an official language.