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The Philippines
The Republic of the Philippines is an archipelago consisting of some 7,100 islands lying about 800km off the southeast coast of Asia and stretching about 2000km from north to south. It is bounded by the Philippine Sea to the east, the Celebes Sea to the south, and the South China Sea to the west and north.


History
Asian, European and American influences marked Filipino culture for centuries resulting in an impressive mix charming many visitors.

From 1300 until the mid 16th century there were in the territory of the Philippines several independent sultanates of Islamic influence that practiced trade with Japan and China.
In 1521 began the colonization by the Spanish: The Philippines became part of the Kingdom of New Spain and the population was forced to convert to Catholicism.
In 1889, with Jose Rizal´s (a genius, poet, scientist and philosopher) fight for freedom and the influence of the USA, the Philippines fought the Spanish and became a USA Trust Territory. The Philippines and USA fought the Japanese alongside during World War II before obtaining full sovereignty in 1946.
During the Marcos dictatorship, this most advanced country in its region fell back to the status of third world. In 1986, the Filipinos gave an example to the world in how to get rid of a dictator and its martial law in a peaceful way. Since then, from East Germany up to Egypt many countries followed the Filipino example.
Since 1987 the Philippines are a constitutional democracy and became one of the booming Asian “Tiger countries”.


Jose Rizal, 1861 - 1896 - National Hero of the Philippines
Jose Rizal was a man of incredible intellectual power, with amazing artistic talent as well. He excelled at anything that he put his mind to - medicine, poetry, sketching, architecture, sociology... the list seems nearly endless.
Thus, Rizal's martyrdom by the Spanish colonial authorities while he was still very young man was a huge loss to the Philippines, and to the world at large.
Today, the people of the Philippines honor him as their national hero.
Jose Rizal wrote:
"Within a few centuries, when humanity has become redeemed and enlightened, when there are no races, when all peoples are free, when there are neither tyrants nor slaves, colonies nor mother countries, when justice rules and man is a citizen of the world, the pursuit of science alone will remain, the word patriotism will be equivalent to fanaticism, and he who prides himself on patriotic ideas will doubtless be isolated as a dangerous disease, as a menace to the social order."
This is the spirit of mind that led to his execution by the Spanish colonialist authorities, just shortly before the Philippine revolution for freedom.

 
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