The Philippines is an archipelago blessed with a wealth of natural resources, a rich history and unique culture. The Philippines attractions are as many as they are diverse, with each island offering something different, something special to the most discerning visitor. White sand beaches, lush green forest, majestic mountain peaks, age-old structure, modern cities, rustic country-sides. The list goes on and on.
Situated on the crossroads of Asia, on the eastern rim of the China Sea, the Philippines has hosted voyagers, migrants and traders since the dawn of history. Early trade with China and Japan can be traced in the archaeological relics left behind by traders in the major hubs of the country.
The West's discovery of the Philippines in 1521 facilitated the growth of Christianity and emergence of a new culture. However, Spanish colonization did not actually begin until 1565 when voyager Miguel Lopez de Legaspi established a Spanish base in the town of Manila, the Philippines' Capital.
In 1898, the Philippines won its independence after 327 years under Spanish rule, but found themselves controlled by the Americans from 1900-1942 and the Japanese from 1942-1945. The Americans brought over their educational and legal systems and introduced their style of government. With the end of the Japanese occupation in 1946, the Philippines regained democracy as a Republic. True democracy was fully achieved by the Filipinos after the "People Power Revolution" in 1986, which led to the downfall of the reigning dictatorship. Still one of the strongest democracies in Asia, the current president is Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
(Courtesy of Department of Tourism)