Colonial history
Although already inhabited, the islands were first *ahem* "discovered" (or so they like to brag) by Europeans in 1521 when Ferdinand Magellan made a stop there. Unfortunately, this cost Magellan his life: he was killed by Lapu-Lapu  who probably intuitively realized that being "discovered" by the Spanish might not be a good thing. The archipelago was subsequently named for King Philip II of Spain, who began colonizing the region, firstly by converting the Filipino community to Catholicism with the act of "Sword and Shield", and secondly by threatening them with firearms.
In 1898, while the Kataas-taasang, Kagalang-galangang Katipunan ng̃ mg̃á Anak ng̃ Bayan (unfortunate acronym: KKK) were fighting the Spanish, the country was invaded by the United States following the Spanish-American War. Long story short: "At least 200,000 Filipinos died, many of famine: 4,000 US soldiers were killed."  Then we ended up buying the place for US$25 million. The US then spent several bloody years suppressing Filipinos who weren't too keen on trading one colonial master for another. (Although it must be said they gave the Philippines an autonomous government - with their own President, Manuel Luís Quezon, yay! - in 1935 and promised full independence in 1946 - which they did, absolutely.)
Remember the Maine! Many do.
Remember Bud Dajo? Huh??  In 1942 the Empire of Japan, wanting to liberate Asia and co-prosper with the Asians, seized control of the Philippines, and this occupation lasted until nearly the end of World War II. About a million Filipinos died. As president (no quotation marks!!!), they installed this guy, José P. Laurel. Now the fuuuuuuuuuuuny story is that the guy who was the exiled president, Quezon, and some American named Douglas MacArthur, ordered this guy to, well, be the president under the Japanese. Joke's on you, Nippon! (Of course the people didn't know, they didn't like it at least in the beginning, i.e. during the war, and someone tried to murder him four times... :() When he went to Japan, just before they gave the Philippines official independence, Tojo was all like "You declare war on the Americans and the British!" and Laurel was all "No, no, no we don't!"; Laurel won, although not for long (in the end of 1944, he had to, but the beauty of it was that the Philippines never nad no army under Laurel!). Eventually, people started to like him, and he became considered a legitimate president of the Philippines in the 1960s.
 The post-colonial years
On July 4, 1946 (because America loves the Fourth of July), the Philippines became independent at last, although there was a large American military presence at Subic Bay near Olongapo City and Clark Airbase near Angeles City making it only four-fifths independent (but the Americans didn't tamper with the independent government, so it was really independent).
The Philippines was first ruled by anti-conservatives called the Liberal Party of the Philippines which was headed by Manuel Roxas. He concentrated on the reconstruction of infrastructure due to war damage, and the rebuilding of farms and factories. The first years were harsh and criminals were everywhere, especially when the Hukbalahaps renamed themselves as the Huks and became communists. There was also a rise in popularity of a church organization called Inglesia ni Kristo, or in English, Church of Christ or INC which influenced the people to vote for the candidate they preferred. He was then succeeded by Elpidio Quirino who continued his liberal work and reconstruction. (Too bad he didn't his only presidential election fair and square, the true winner was a former not-so-puppet of Nippon, José P. Laurel.) By then, there were signs that the Philippines was on the road to prosperity and that the army was being able to hold back the insurgent Huks.
The end of Elpidio Quirino's presidency also meant the end of liberal government when Ramon Magsaysay kicked his ass. During the reign of Mr.Magsaysay, the Philippines became richer through agricultural modernization and the fact that the Huks were finally suppressed by the military. Magsaysay's reign ended when his presidential plane somehow became angry at him and crashed on a mountain resulting in his death and a national mourning. His vice president, Carlos P. Garcia, succeeded him and continued his work, which made him win in the elections and extended his term as president.
After Mr. Garcia's reign, liberal rule returned when Diosdado Macapagal won the presidency. He tried to pass a law where there would be a limit on lifetime savings and after that limit, the excess would then be given to other people who "need it" more. Alas, that bill was vetoed and became one of the reasons the liberals lost again.
 The Philippine Dark Age
Diosdado Macapagal wanted to run again for president but, was defeated by a young newcomer, Ferdinand Marcos. (Some say Marcos was an apprentice of José P. Laurel; some say it was Marcos's biggest opposer, Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino; some say it was both; any way, really weird.)
Mr. Ferdinand wanted The Philippines to go "into greatness". So he created many infrastructure projects believing that roads are the keys to prosperity and provided education. But thanks to the climax of the Cold War, the Communist Party of The Philippines formed a new rebel group called The New Peoples Army or NPA which would challenge Marcos during his second term. When he was reelected, the Philippines was in turmoil. The NPA, supported by China were attacking in all fronts. Students were protesting and a terrorist bombing at the Liberal Party convention forced Marcos to suspend the writ of habeas corpus. There was also widespread corruption.
This forced Marcos to declare martial law. Every single opposition member was arrested and tried. Protesters were either killed, arrested or forced into exile. (Except one: Salvador Laurel, the son of his, eh, master... and his group, UNIDO.) His cronies stole every single business and there was widespread corruption. His wife used the national budget to buy shoes for some weird reason and let the people get angry. He also borrowed a large sum of money from the International Monetary Fund making The Philippines have a large billion dollar deficit. Everything was in authoritarian rule
because his wife and cronies were actually controlling the government and not the president and is the reason why The Philippines became bankrupt and the people were in fear. His wife Marcos then changed the constitution making him the Eternal Leader of The Philippines. Martial law was then lifted thanks to Pope John Paul II's visit yet Marcos still was pretty much the boss because his wife was the true Empress and not him of the country.
The opposition leader Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino went back to the Philippines to challenge Marcos's reign but he was assassinated and sparked an outcry and mourning. When Mr. Enrile and Fidel Ramos convinced a brigade of military men to form a coup d'état, the Archbishop of Manila convinced the people to join them and form The People Power Revolution, one of the reasons was of the assassination. Marcos ordered
not to shoot but the media wanted it to appear that he ordered a shoot to kill on every single person but since the soldiers were paid had a heart, they also joined the party. The Air Force was also ordered but they were paid too they also had a heart (or at least they didn't want the UN to get angry at them).
Due to The People Power Revolution, Marcos and his last loyal soldiers were forced to retreat to the presidential palace and ordered them to resist all incoming forces. Gladly, his Best Friend
Emperor Palpatine Ronald Reagan convinced him to come with him and live in exile at Hawaii facing the International Monetary Fund's charges of not paying back what he borrowed. And the Philippines was under a new theocratic, semi-democratic, Christian-Republic, Democratic rule first led by Corazon Aquino. (Salvador Laurel was her vice-president.)
 The modern Philippines
In 1992, Mt. Pinatubo erupted and covered the US airfield at Clark with a deep layer of volcanic ash, forcing the US to remove all their jet planes. Then the Senate kicked their ass out of the country once and for all.
The Philippines also had a power shortage resulting in daily brownouts, so the senate gave some emergency powers to then-current president Fidel Ramos, who fixed the problems and the darkness was no more.
During the War on Terror the Philippines contributed fifty soldiers to the worthy cause of calling Operation Iraqi Freedom a "joint international effort" (the word "joint" referring, it would seem, to what the people who make up these terms were likely smoking at the time as much as anything else). A Filipino contractor was kidnapped by Al-Qaeda in Iraq, who demanded the Philippines pay six million dollars and withdraw all its forces from the country. President Gloria Arroyo immediately complied, and the Philippines was demoted from the Coalition of the Willing (which included Georgia and Tuvalu) to the Axis of Weasels (which included France, Germany, and Spain). And so the only terrorist insurgency they're fighting is a group in Mindanao which for some reason they still don't want to bomb back to the Stone Age (apparently they believe that temporary peace is a better option).
In a victory for
common sense reproductive health, the Supreme Court of the Philippines upheld a law named the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act, which mandates government to provide reproductive health services, including optional avenues of artificial birth control, to anyone, including the poor.
The Philippines is actually one of the most westernized countries in Southeast Asia. This means that whatever is famous in America is also famous in the Philippines. The same applies to whatever is famous in Korea, and whichever anime is big in Japan. Trade with China also led to some degree of Chinese culture integrating with Filipino society. There are many malls in the country and many tourist destinations which attract foreigners to come and visit the Philippines. There are many political parties in the government right now, including The Liberal Party of the Philippines, which for some reason still exists when it shouldn't. The Philippines boasts diverse marine life that also attracts tourism. The national income largely comes from business, Filipinos overseas sending money home, call centers and tourism. It's also a hazard-prone zone because it can be both hit by climate and geology related disasters. The Philippines is considered the "Texting Capital of the World". Internet cafes are very popular, where poor people who do not have computers can access the internet at a decent price.
 The people
The official language of the Filipinos is Filipino. Filipinos also has other local languages like Tagalog, Ilocano, Bicolano etc. Filipinos are usually brown skinned and having a fair skin is usually a sign of wealth even though not all fair skinned Filipinos are rich. Most Filipinos can speak English even though some of their accent tells them not to. This makes them perfect for call centers and is the reason why some call center businesses are investing in The Philippines. Basketball is their favorite sport. Their second favorite sport are computer games. Filipinos also love watching TV.
In Filipino elections, the people are required to memorize a dozen or so names, and write them on a blank ballot sheet which makes Actors,Actresses,Boxers and other famous celebrities with no political experience into Senators and Presidents. It's the church who decides who will the Filipinos vote with the power of brainwashing and the fear of going to hell. But that was before the law was ratified when The Philippines decided to try automated elections. Yet sadly it's still the Church who decides what the people would vote for and famous celebrities with no experiences could still be included in the elections.
Priests and religious people could also run for elections by saying the magic password of "I'm not a priest so that means I could run". The current constitution of The Philippines is
Overall Philippine politics is mostly bullshit.
 Religiontalisman would give you "supernatural" powers. If only that were true then we would see people flying and have super strength.
Overall, religion in The Philippines is all bullshit. Even mainstream television is affected by religion. Don't believe me, why not take a visit?