Prior to 2010, the earliest known human remains found in the Philippines were those of the pre-Mongoloid Tabon Man of Palawan, carbon-dated to around 24,000 years ago. In 2010, however, a metatarsal of Callao Man (possibly Negrito in physical type) discovered in 2007 was reported to have been reliably dated by uranium-series dating to 67,000 years ago.[18] Negritos were among the archipelago's earliest inhabitants but their appearance in the Philippines has not been reliably dated. They were followed by speakers of Malayo-Polynesian languages who began arriving around 4000 BCE, displacing the earlier arrivals.[20] By 1000 BCE, the inhabitants of the archipelago had developed into four kinds of social groups: hunter-gathering tribes, warrior societies, petty plutocracies, and maritime-centered harbor principalities.[21] Trade between the maritime-oriented peoples and other Asian countries during the subsequent period brought influences from Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam. During this time there was no unifying political state encompassing the entire Philippine Archipelago. Instead, the islands were divided among competing thalassocracies ruled by various datus, rajahs, or sultans. Among them were the kingdoms of Maynila, Namayan, and Tondo, the rajahnates of Butuan and Cebu, and the sultanates of Maguindanao and Sulu.[22][23][24][25] Some of these societies were part of the Malayan empires of Srivijaya, Majapahit, and Brunei.[26][27] Islam was brought to the Philippines by traders and proselytizers from Malaysia and Indonesia.[28] By the 15th century, Islam was established in the Sulu Archipelago and by 1565 had reached Mindanao, the Visayas, and Luzon.[29] An elaborate border frames a full length illustration one would associate with a manuscript of a man and woman. The dark-skinned man dressed in red tunic, breeches, and bandanna and wearing a gold chain is looking pleasantly over his shoulder in the direction of the fair woman who, garbed in a dark gold-fringed dress that covers the length of her body except her bare feet, has the faintest hints of a smile. A page from the Boxer Codex. Left, is a general from the Rajahnate of Butuan and to the right is a princess of Tondo. In 1521, Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan arrived in the Philippines and claimed the islands for Spain.[30] Colonization began when Spanish explorer Miguel López de Legazpi arrived from Mexico in 1565 and formed the first European settlements in Cebu. In 1571, after dealing with the local royal families in the wake of the Tondo Conspiracy and defeating the Chinese pirate warlord Limahong, the Spanish established Manila as the capital of the Spanish East Indies.[31][32] Spanish rule contributed significantly to bringing political unity to the archipelago. From 1565 to 1821, the Philippines was governed as a territory of the Viceroyalty of New Spain and then was administered directly from Madrid after the Mexican War of Independence. The Manila galleons linking Manila to Acapulco traveled once or twice a year between the 16th and 19th centuries. Trade introduced foods such as corn, tomatoes, potatoes, chili peppers, and pineapples from the Americas.[32] Roman Catholic missionaries converted most of the lowland inhabitants to Christianity and founded schools, a university, and hospitals. While a Spanish decree introduced free public schooling in 1863, efforts in mass public education mainly came to fruition during the American period.[33] During its rule, the Spanish fought off various indigenous revolts and several external colonial challenges from Chinese pirates, the Dutch, and the Portuguese. In an extension of the fighting of the Seven Years' War, British forces under the command of Brigadier General William Draper and Rear-Admiral Samuel Cornish briefly occupied Manila. They found local allies like Diego and Gabriela Silang who took the opportunity to lead a revolt, but Spanish rule was eventually restored following the 1763 Treaty of Paris.[28][34][35] José Rizal, Marcelo del Pilar, and Mariano Ponce: leaders of the Propaganda Movement In the 19th century, Philippine ports were opened to world trade and shifts were occurring within Philippine society. Many Spaniards born in the Philippines (criollos) and those of mixed ancestry (mestizos) became wealthy. The influx of Spanish and Latino settlers secularized churches and opened up government positions traditionally held by Spaniards born in the Iberian Peninsula (peninsulares). The ideals of revolution also began to spread through the islands. Criollo dissatisfaction resulted in the revolt in Cavite El Viejo in 1872 that was a precursor to the Philippine Revolution.[28][36][37][38][39] Revolutionary sentiments were stoked in 1872 after three priests—Mariano Gómez, José Burgos, and Jacinto Zamora (collectively known as Gomburza)—were accused of sedition by colonial authorities and executed.[36][37] This would inspire a propaganda movement in Spain, organized by Marcelo H. del Pilar, José Rizal, and Mariano Ponce, lobbying for political reforms in the Philippines. Rizal was eventually executed on December 30, 1896, on charges of rebellion.[40] As attempts at reform were meeting with resistance, Andrés Bonifacio in 1892 established the secret society called the Katipunan, a society along the lines of the freemasons, which sought independence from Spain through armed revolt.[38] Bonifacio and the Katipunan started the Philippine Revolution in 1896. A faction of the Katipunan, the Magdalo of Cavite province, eventually came to challenge Bonifacio's position as the leader of the revolution and Emilio Aguinaldo took over. In 1898, the Spanish-American War began in Cuba and reached the Philippines. Aguinaldo declared Philippine independence from Spain in Kawit, Cavite on June 12, 1898 and the First Philippine Republic was established the following year. Meanwhile, the islands were ceded by Spain to the United States for US$20 million dollars in the 1898 Treaty of Paris.[41] As it became increasingly clear the United States would not recognize the First Philippine Republic, the Philippine-American War broke out. It ended with American control over the islands which were then administered as an insular area.[42] In 1935, the Philippines was granted Commonwealth status. Plans for independence over the next decade were interrupted by World War II when the Japanese Empire invaded and established a puppet government. Many atrocities and war crimes were committed during the war such as the Bataan Death March and the Manila massacre that culminated during the Battle of Manila.[43] Allied troops defeated the Japanese in 1945. By the end of the war it is estimated over a million Filipinos had died.[44] On July 4, 1946, the Philippines attained its independence.[4] Immediately after World War II, the Philippines faced a number of challenges. The country had to be rebuilt from the ravages of war. It also had to come to terms with Japanese collaborators. Meanwhile, disgruntled remnants of the Hukbalahap communist rebel army that had previously fought against and resisted the Japanese continued to roam the rural regions. Eventually this threat was dealt with by Secretary of National Defense and later President Ramon Magsaysay but sporadic cases of communist insurgency continued to flare up long afterward.[45][46] In 1965, Ferdinand Marcos was elected president, his wife Imelda Marcos at his side. Nearing the end of his second term and constitutionally barred from seeking a third, he declared martial law on September 21, 1972. By using political divisions, the tension of the Cold War, and the specter of communist rebellion and Islamic insurgency as justifications, he was able to govern by decree.[47] A metal statute of a woman wearing a hooded cloak with a kindly expression whose shoulder and outstretched hand are perched on by stylized birds A statue of the Virgin Mary built at the EDSA Shrine after the People Power Revolution On August 21, 1983, Marcos' chief rival opposition leader Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino, Jr. ignored warnings and returned from exile in the United States. He was assassinated as he was taken off the plane at the Manila International Airport (now called the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in his memory). With political pressure building Marcos eventually called for snap presidential elections in 1986.[45] Corazon Aquino, Benigno's widow, was persuaded to become the presidential candidate and standard bearer of the opposition. The elections were widely thought of as rigged when Marcos was proclaimed the winner. This led to the People Power Revolution, instigated when two long-time Marcos allies—Armed Forces of the Philippines Vice Chief-of-Staff Fidel V. Ramos and Secretary of National Defense Juan Ponce Enrile—resigned and barricaded themselves in Camp Aguinaldo and Camp Crame. Exhorted by the Cardinal Archbishop of Manila Jaime Sin, people gathered in support of the rebel leaders and protested on Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA). In the face of mass protests and military defections, Marcos and his allies fled to Hawaii and into exile. Corazon Aquino was recognized as president.[46][48] The return of democracy and government reforms after the events of 1986 were hampered by national debt, government corruption, coup attempts, a persistent communist insurgency, and Islamic separatists. The economy improved during the administration of Fidel V. Ramos, who was elected president in 1992.[49] However, the economic improvements were negated with the onset of the East Asian financial crisis in 1997. In 2001, amid charges of corruption and a stalled impeachment process, Ramos' successor Joseph Estrada was ousted from the presidency by the 2001 EDSA Revolution and replaced by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. As a result of the May 2010 elections, Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III was elected president.(Source:wikipedia)

Politics and government

The Philippines is a constitutional republic with a presidential system of government. It is governed as a unitary state with the exception of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao which is largely free from the national government. The President functions as both head of state and head of government and is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. The president is elected by popular vote for a single six-year term, during which he or she appoints and presides over the cabinet. The bicameral Congress is composed of the Senate, serving as the upper house, with members elected to a six-year term, and the House of Representatives, serving as the lower house, with members elected to a three-year term. The senators are elected at large while the representatives are elected from both legislative districts and through sectoral representation. The judicial power is vested in the Supreme Court, composed of a Chief Justice as its presiding officer and fourteen associate justices, all of whom are appointed by the President from nominations submitted by the Judicial and Bar Council.There have been attempts to change the government to a federal, unicameral, or parliamentary government since the Ramos administratio
(Source: wikipedia 12.2.2011)