Historical Background

Like many Asian countries, the history of Philippines is clouded with colonisation and the country has suffered through centuries of external rule, first at the hands of the Spanish and then under fist of the United States. The tumultuous journey travelled by the archipelago has moulded in it a unique culture and sense of strength that thrusts it forward as it strives to achieve economic success and social harmony.

Colonial rule began in the Philippines during the 16th century when the Spanish made port in the country in the hopes of conquering the East Indies. Their inability to do so did not deter them from remaining in Philippines and, thus, began the two-century long persecution of the Filipino people. Towards the end of the 19th century, however, Spanish rule in the country was weakening. Increasing nationalist sentiment and the Spanish-American War combined to bring colonisation to its knees. But independence remained a distant dream as the Philippines was then brought under American administration.

The next five decades witnessed a gradual push for complete independence and finally, in 1946, after narrowly escaping the jaws of Japanese occupation, the Republic of the Philippines was born. This, however, did not spell the end of Philippines’ struggle for freedom and with the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos, the country had yet another bout with authoritarian rule. After 21 years as President, which were characterised by widespread corruption, inequality and oppression, Ferdinand Marcos – faced with rising opposition to his rule – fled the country in 1986.Thus, began the Philippines’ new journey – one that it continues to traverse to this day.

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