I have travelled to the Philippines on photography assignments and to direct television documentaries several times over the years, but every time I feel the time there is never long enough to really get to know the place or the people, its a vast sprawling country and would likely take several lifetimes to really “know” it!
*The Philippines has a rich history combining Asian, European, and American influences. Prior to Spanish colonisation in 1521, the Filipinos had a rich culture and were trading with the Chinese and the Japanese. In 1898, after 350 years and 300 rebellions, the Filipinos, with leaders like Jose Rizal and Emilio Aguinaldo, succeeded in winning their independence.
In 1898, the Philippines became the first and only colony of the United States. Following the Philippine-American War, the United States brought widespread education to the islands. Filipinos fought alongside Americans during World War II, particularly at the famous battle of Bataan and Corregidor which delayed Japanese advancement and saved Australia. They then waged a guerrilla war against the Japanese from 1941 to 1945. The Philippines regained its independence in 1946.
Filipinos are a freedom-loving people, having waged two peaceful, bloodless revolutions against what were perceived as corrupt regimes. The Philippines is a vibrant democracy, as evidenced by 12 English national newspapers, 7 national television stations, hundreds of cable TV stations, and 2,000 radio stations.
*(information from the Philippines Department of Tourism website)