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Useful Notes: Philippines
TVTroping: More fun in the Philippines.

Philippines (Filipino: Pilipinas), officially known as The Republic of the Philippines (Filipino: Republika ng Pilipinas), is a democratic republic in the Western Pacific. This chain of 7,107 islands (divided into three main island groups: Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao) is the fourth most-populous English speaking Asian country, with the population mostly of Austronesian roots. The country's capital is Manila, which forms the basis for the National Capital Region or simply "Metro Manila". Many religions are present in the population, the majority being Christians - Catholics, Protestants, and others - with Muslims coming in second and Buddhists, Animists and others in the minority. Its independence was announced in 1946. The country has had two female presidents. Currently in the Presidential seat is Benigno S. Aquino III.

Still a developing country, the Philippines has been experiencing political instability, poverty, and a population growing at an extremely fast rate. On the other hand, it is one of the world's most bountiful countries in terms of flora and fauna, has many urbanized cities with progressive socio-economic growth, has deep, rich cultures of both ancient and contemporary, and both Time Magazine and Reader's Digest have published articles discussing survey results that Filipinos are happier in comparison to people of developed countries.

It is well-known that besides a booming export market and local corporate businesses, the Philippines' economy heavily relies on foreign remittances from overseas workers. That's right, one of the country's biggest exports is its people, who make up a major proportion of overseas workers from all over the world. It helps that most of these workers speak Surprisingly Good English, a legacy of the nation's colonial past.


The Philippines, like many of the classic Spanish colonies, is predominantly Roman Catholic. Filipino Catholics historically have had a love-hate relationship with the Church — while in the 19th century many were dissatisfied with religious orders who also served in government, and some were into outright anticlericalism, today the Church holds a powerful influence, so don't expect Western-style liberalism to take hold rapidly: both divorce among non-Muslims and abortion is taboo. Filipino Catholics in general vary considerably in terms of religiosity, in part from Catholic-influenced culture (although many still pay lip service at least regardless of actual affinity). They also have a mix of conservative and liberal views, especially with regards to their openness and tolerance to homosexuality (which were found to predate Spanish rule). More recently with the Reproductive Health law, the love-hate dynamic has once again resurfaced.

About 5% of the population is Muslim, mostly concentrated in Mindanao. Many of their leaders are involved in an on-and-off insurgency against the government, where today's insurgents may be tomorrow's government officials, and rebellion is alternately secular nationalist or Islamist. More recently however, said insurgency seems to be dying down as the proposal for an autonomous "Bangsamoro" region move closer to reality. Before the coming of the Spanish, Islam was the main religion in the country.

A somewhat larger minority are the various Protestant groups. Some, like the Aglipayans, are homegrown denominations in the vein of the Anglican movement, while others are the result of American missionaries from the usual complement of denominations (Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist, etc). Aside from these, especially in the provinces are the Rizalistas (people who venerate Jose Rizal as a prophet) and the myriad of hybrid Animist-Catholic practices often known as Folk Catholicism.

There are also non-Protestant Christian organizations in the country, like the Iglesia ni Kristo, who are known for their large size, "neo-gothic" architecture, and habit of bloc-voting.

The People

The Filipinos are a nation divided along regional lines of the Tagalogs, Ilocanos, Bicolanos, Cebuanos and many others, as well as hundreds of indigenous peoples. There are thousands of Chinese Filipinos and Eurasians due to their colonial past. As a result of being at the crossroads of globalization for centuries up to the present, the Philippines has a considerable number of mestizos as well.

Being one of the largest Anglophone Asian countries, Koreans and mainland Chinese often go to the Philippines to learn English. Factors for this is that compared to learning English elsewhere, it's cheaper and there is less racism to be faced. It is worth mentioning that Henry Sy and Lucio Tan, two of most successful business tycoons of the Philippines, are of Chinese heritage.

Most Catholic Filipinos have Spanish surnames. Often this goes with Spanish first names as well, and during Spanish rule, Catholic baptism made this mandatory. Chinese Filipinos have surnames of Chinese origin (i.e. "Cojuangco", the surname of the current President's mother). American rule introduced English names. Of course, names with indigenous roots still exist. Today, Filipino names are often composed of a personal name, the mother's maiden surname (usually becoming the middle initial, notably averted by the current President who uses S. after Benigno Simeon) and the father's surname; people may have two or even more personal names so this all makes for Overly Long Names.


A large number of Filipinos work and settle abroad. Owing to lack of job opportunities, underpayment, or both, the Filipino diaspora is to be found wherever money is to be made, encompassing every profession: attorneys, teachers, doctors, nurses, domestic servants, you name it. Most overseas Filipinos go to either North America (particularly the West Coast), where on average they make even more than other groups of Americans do, or the Middle East, where many take menial labor that pays more than a professional career back home.

Whether as immigrants or as seasonal workers, much of the diaspora's money goes back home — balikbayan ("returning home") boxes filled with goods from overseas are common and even among many first-generation immigrants, there is often a desire to retire in the Old Country after the kids have "left the nest".

Domestically, the country is also home to large and prominent Chinese communities, with many (legally or otherwise) coming from Fujian, China. The oldest of these are Binondo and Tondo in Manila.note  There are also smaller communities of Indians, Japanese and Koreans in major cities, the latter having grown in recent years. Western expatriates meanwhile tend to gravitate towards Manila.


Perhaps one of the most well-known genres of Philippine media are noontime variety shows, a little similar to other Asian variety shows, and Soap Operas, similar to telenovelas. In the early 2000s, fantasy-themed television shows were on a upsurge, though their popularity faltered as the decade went on. Recently there has been a rise in popularity of Taiwanese and Korean dramas (dubbed in Filipino).

Over the years, the Philippines's most popular genres in cinema have been romance, action, comedy, and horror. Icons of the screen include Fernando Poe Jr., dubbed "Da King" of Philippine movies (in the spirit of John "The Duke" Wayne) and star of many action films, famed for his gunplay, sideburns and rapid-fire punches, and Dolphy (Rodolfo Quizon), dubbed the "Comedy King", who adroitly mixed Sad Clowning and Slapstick, his movies (and TV shows) developing a tendency for Dramedy.

During the peak of the Philippine film industry during The Sixties to The Eighties, the country mass-produced English-language B-movie films primarily for export, led by those of international film legends Eddie Romero and Bobby Suarez, and these have a classic cult following in various countries such as the USA, Finland, Germany and Japan. Films with a more serious tone and socially relevant subjects used to be created by directors like Lino Brocka and Ishmael Bernal. Currently, the local film industry is in a slump regarding its overall quality, but independent films are gaining more and more notice, especially among the youth.

The Philippines' comic book scene, largely influenced by American comic books, is one of the oldest book industries in Southeast Asia. It got its start with comics appearing in magazines, which were later compiled and expanded into their own comic books. An early success was Kenkoy created by Tony Velasquez in 1929, a Slice of Life series about man-about-town Francisco "Kenkoy" Harabas. To this day, kenkoy means something like "dork" in Filipino parlance.

During The Seventies, the local comic book industry was one of the best-organized comic book industries in the world. During that time, both Marvel Comics and DC Comics started importing Filipino artists, one of the first was Tony deZuniga, co-creator of Jonah Hex. However, by 1985, about a third of upcoming artists were working for Marvel and DC, which naturally weakened the local comic book industry to near-irrelevancy in the 1990s.

Despite this, Filipino talent continued to influence comics in the 1990s and beyond. Whilce Portacio was one of a group of Marvel artists who started Image Comics. More recent examples include Leinil Francis Yu who drew Superman: Birthright, and Francis Manapul who drew The Flash. In recent decades, independent comics have risen in prominence, like the supernatural horror-based Trese by Budjette Tan.

Meanwhile, newspaper comics or comics appearing in magazines never suffered a financial decline like local comic books, over the years these have included Pugad Baboy (Nest of Pigs) by Pol Medina Jr. and Beerkada by Lyndon Gregorio. In the past, two comics creators in these formats were declared National Artists: the extremely prolific Larry Alcala, who created Slice Of Life, Kalabog en Bosyo, and many other titles over many decades, and Nonoy Marcelo, known for Ikabod, a satirical strip with a cast of mice.

One of the most well-known Filipino comics (or komiks) characters is the superheroine Darna created in 1950 by Mars Ravelo and Nestor Redondo, the latter of whom later drew for Marvel and DC. A cross between Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel, she has inspired many movies and television series. In recent years, she received an Affectionate Parody in the indie comic Ang Kagila-gilalas na Pakikipagsapalaran ni Zsazsa Zaturnnah (The Amazing Adventures of Zsazsa Zaturnnah) by Carlo Vergara, about a Camp Gay man who turns into a woman, replete with social cmmentary. Another famous character based on comics is the Panday (Blacksmith) created by Carlo Caparas in 1980. The Panday, real name Flavio, fights evil with a magic sword. Like Darna, the Panday has appeared in several films and TV shows, but unlike Darna he is overwhelmingly associated with one actor - Fernando Poe Jr.

In the early 2000's, the Japanese style became popular in the Philippines as expected since anime was already popular, but this too gradually waned. In the mid-2000's, both Japanese manga and old-school US comics-influenced comic books gained popularity anew, the latter was thanks to local television adaptations.

Since The Sixties and The Seventies, anime has grown in popularity across the country. Despite the unpleasantries, Filipinos have always been fond of both the traditional and pop culture of Japan. After Martial Law, anime had a regular schedule in local TV channels. The 2000s saw the appearance of two main anime stations: local Hero TV (which tends to use Filipino dubs) and Animax Southeast Asia (which use either English-dubbed or subtitled works).

Among the dominant media companies in the country are ABS-CBN and GMA, both of which control most of local TV and radio stations, as well as publications and overseas outlets. The rivalry between the two goes back from their humble beginnings, though with the recent entry of TV5 as a major competitor, the situation has slightly changed.

Animation Studios in the Philippines:


Filipino cuisine is a mix of indigenous and Spanish, Chinese, and Indian cuisine.

For Westerners, it is also home to some of the most unsettling delicacies, such as balut, which is aborted duck egg, and in some regions, dog meat. This reputation is something the Philippines shares with other Asian countries, since "exotic" dishes are often subjective. In fact, younger generations of Filipinos are just as "disgusted" by such foods as foreigners. Of course, not all Filipino dishes are unpalatable to Western tastes: siopao (steamed buns), pancit (chow mien) and lumpia (egg rolls) are distinctive but still easily enjoyed by the uninitiated and Anthony Bourdain himself says that lechon (Filipino-style roasted piglet) is the best pork dish he's ever had. It also helps that Filipinos retain a number of Spanish delicacies and its local derivatives, food such as adobo, paella, leche flan and others.

The Philippines is also perhaps the only country where McDonald's is not the top fastfood franchise — the title goes to Jollibee, a local fastfood chain in the vein of McDonald's with a strong marketing scheme aimed at children. Another well known company is San Miguel Brewery, Inc. It's one of Southeast Asia's most well known beer brands.


The Philippines is a very tropical country; expect to be exposed to temperatures constantly above 20°C and up to 32°C, and humidity levels above 60%, making for a particularly sticky experience. The only major place where you can expect temperatures to drop to single-digit Celsius is the mountainous Baguio City; other than that, wearing anything heavier than a shirt for casual wear is not recommended. Because of the generally-hot climate, many buildings in the Philippines are constantly air-conditioned, sometimes to the point of being too cold for comfort; it's not uncommon to walk into a restaurant and see a tall AC unit keeping customers (and staff) from melting.

The traditional concept of seasons does not exist; there is a "wet season" from June through November where it rains down hard, and a dry, relatively rain-less season for the rest of the year. It does get cooler during the early parts of the dry season, but not by much. During the rainy season, children can be seen stepping out and using the rain to take a shower.

The Philippines is also under the typhoon belt and is the most exposed country to experience tropical cyclones (typhoons or bagyo in Tagalog) every year. Usually, 19 tropical cyclones or storms enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) in a typical year and of these usually 6 to 9 make landfall. It is also common during rainy season that there would be landslides and flash floods.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) are in charge of giving local names (initially, they're given female names ending in "ng" though that changed in 2000, where they're also given male names and the "ng" part is removed) to the typhoons that entered the PAR and giving out public storm signal warnings. When typhoon has caused at least 1 billion pesos in damage and/or have caused at least 300 deaths within the Philippines, its name is retired from the typhoon list and another name would be used in the next cycle. As of 2014, Typhoon Haiyan (local name: Yolanda) is considered the deadliest typhoon to make landfall, resulting in 35.5 billion pesos of damages and 6,241 lives lost.


The Philippine government is modeled after that of the United States (a legacy of its 40-year rule from 1901 to 1941), down to division between executive, bicameral legislative, and judiciary branches. Unlike the American system, though, the vice-president is elected separately, and the country has a unitary, rather than a federal, system of local government, divided into 80 provinces with governors and their own provincial legislature elected by the populace; of course, this isn't terribly different from the way things work in some American states,note  so it shouldn't be too surprising. Additionally, the legal system in the Philippines is primarily Spanish—albeit with a strong American influence—and thus is considered to be a civil-law country rather than a common-law one (although thanks to the aforementioned American influence, some common-law principles do appear).

The country has a long history of political dynasties in all levels of government (the last two Presidents alone are children of previous presidents). Many view the government as corrupt. However, remember that not all Filipino government officials are ObstructiveBureaucrats or corrupt. It's just many of them are either too conceited or unfit for duty, while some have a proud tradition of actually serving the people.

Also, politics tend to divide the nation between the conservative "masa" (rural and urban poor, stereotypically from the provinces) and the liberal upper/middle-class elite of Manila. This cleavage isn't just limited to social issues — the "masa" are more skeptical of free market and other liberal policies than the elite and tend to favor land reform (naturally opposed by the latter, who own large estates in absentia). Part of the former's mindset is influenced by the long-standing communist insurgency (or Islamists in Mindanao) which strongly advocates land distribution and reform in a strongly agricultural country where certain families can own tracts of land larger than cities (such as the Escuderos, owners of Hacienda Yulo, which is larger than Metro Manila.)

The executive branch is composed of the President (currently Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III) and the Vice-President (currently Jejomar Binay), both of which are elected separately and can only serve one six-year term, as well as nineteen departments (whose higher-ups are appointed).

The judicial branch is led by the Supreme Court, a fifteen-man jury (currently led by Maria Lourdes Sereno, the first woman to hold such a post) whose members are selected by the President from a shortlist prepared by a semi-independent bar body created under mandate from the 1987 Constitution and expected to serve until mandatory retirement at age seventy. It presides over the Lower Collegiate (covering general appeals, tax appeals and government affairs), Regular (covering regions, provinces, cities and municipalities), and Sharia (for strongly Muslim provinces) Courts.

The legislative branch is, like its American counterpart, bicameral. The upper chamber is the Senate, a 24-man body with two 12-man batches elected at-large (i.e., the nation as a whole) in three-year intervals to serve six-year terms. The lower chamber is the House of Representatives, whose members serve three-year terms and whose seats (initially limited by the Constitution to 250) fluctuate to account for population growth. The Constitution allots 80% of the House to representatives from geographic districts of no less than 250,000 people (though all provinces, including those well below the minimum, are guaranteed with at least one seat), and the remaining 20% to party-lists (minority advocacy groups, who can field up to three representatives for every 2% of the national vote they receive) — as of 2013, the House has 234 district and 58 party-list seats, for a total of 292. Unlike the President and Vice-President, senators and representatives can serve as long as they want, though limited to two and three consecutive terms, respectively.


A running joke is that Filipinos prefer sports starting with the letter B: Boxing, Bowling, Billiards, and of course, Basketball. A well known Asian sport is cockfighting.

Basketball is a legacy of the Americans. Almost every city, town and village has a basketball court (or at least a makeshift half-court where there's available space), complete with annual tournaments. The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) is the most prestigious league, with a season split into three "conferences" (not the North American sense of geographic groupings of teams, but instead separate tournaments that all involve the same teams) and with teams named after corporate sponsors. College basketball is overseen by amateur sports leagues, most prominent of which are the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA), the oldest in the Philippines (not related to the American NCAA), and the University Athletics Association of the Philippines (UAAP), which hosts college basketball's longest-running rivalry — that between the Blue Eagles of Ateneo de Manila University and the Green Archers of De La Salle University, hailing from their NCAA days.

The Philippines used to be one of the powerhouse teams in Asian basketball, but has suffered a decline by the 1970's and eventually haven't qualified for the world championships or the Olympics since 1985. But after 28 long years, Gilas Pilipinas men's basketball team finally defeated their arch-rivals from South Korea despite losing their naturalized center to qualify for the 2014 FIBA World Cup of Basketball in Spain.

Those into boxing may remember the 1975 contest between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier in the "Thrilla in Manila". Nowadays Philippine sports news buzz with the name of Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao, the first boxer to hold eight belts at once, as well as Nonito Donaire, a rising bantamweight star.

Since 2010, football experienced a sudden surge in popularity after the national team, dubbed the "Azkals" ("Street Dogs"), scored unprecedented victories, including champion team Vietnam. They had a respectable finish at the Suzuki Cup, losing to Indonesia at the semifinals. Owing to this surge of interest, the Philippine Football League (PFL) was organized, where prospective players for the Azkals are tested.


One of the two official languages is Filipino, a derivative of Tagalog, the lingua franca of Manila and its surrounding provinces. A Filipino could be bilingual, with English being the second language, or trilingual, knowing Filipino, English, and his/her native langauge. For instance, someone from Manila will generally speak both Filipino and English, while a person from Baguio may be trilingual, speaking English, Filipino, and Ilokano. It is not uncommon for a Filipino to be fluent in two or more languages.

It is also common for Filipinos to switch between languages and dialects in colloquial conversation, sometimes in the same sentence. Philippine English, meanwhile, is sprinkled with borrowings from Spanish (eg. Doctora for female doctors), Filipino Verbal Tics (it's not that uncommon to add "po" out of respect) and repurposed terms (eg. "traffic" being synonymous with "gridlock" or "armalite" for assault rifles). But while not everyone can speak English on the other hand (the language historically being more associated with the upper classes), most nonetheless can understand it.

That said, if you're Filipino yourself, it's (obviously) preferred to speak some form of Filipino around other Filipinos while in the country rather than English, even in public when you're not speaking with your family. While those of Western background are naturally not expected to know Filipino and can get by on English easily, Filipinos who can't speak their own native tongue will stick out very quickly. This can cause problems for Filipinos who grew up in a foreign English-speaking country (often due to being the children of Filipinos who work overseas) and therefore may have lost Filipino fluency or never even learned to speak it due to English being a higher-priority language.

Despite the influence of Spanish on both Philippine English and native tongues, the country is unique among most of Spain's former colonies in that the language itself has largely fallen out of use. This is in a sense a far cry from the late 19th-early 20th Centuries (and even under American rule for a time), when Spanish was considered an official language; even as late as The Fifties and The Sixties, there were still publications and contracts printed in Spanish. On the other hand, it continues to be spoken through a creole language called Chavacano, which is spoken in and around the Zamboanga Peninsula in Mindanao. That said, interest in Spanish has seen a resurgence, in part due to a global demand for the language as well as continuing ties to both Spain and Latin America.

An additional bit of trivia is that a number of modern and colloquial Filipino terms are of relatively recent vintage, dating back to the American periodnote , although many of the Spanish words they were meant to replace remain as frequently used. Examples include pangulo for presidente, pamahalaan for govierno/gobiyerno and silid for cuarto/kwarto.

The English word "boondock" (as in The Boondock Saints) is derived from the Tagalog word for mountain, bundok.


While based on modified variants of the American system, the state of education in the country varies considerably, ranging from fairly up-to-date academies to more prevalent shoddily maintained and funded public schools, especially in the less developed parts of the cities, and in rural areas, where school funds are most dire.

Four of the Philippines' most prestigious universities are all located in metropolitan Manila: secular, state-funded University of the Philippines, which has gained a reputation for harboring activists of all stripes; Dominican-run University of Santo Tomas (the oldest running university in Asia, dating back about 400 years), Jesuit-run Ateneo de Manila University, founded in 1859 and alma mater of Jose Rizal; and Lasallian-run De La Salle University, the oldest American-era Catholic college in the country.


The Philippine Military is officially called the Armed Forces of the Philippines. More information could be found here.

    Political Divisions 

The Philippines is traditionally divided into 80 provinces, grouped into 17 regions. While the regions hold no political power, the executive branches have offices on designated regional centers, allowing for greater accessibility. The regions in turn are traditionally grouped into three island groups: Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Besides the provinces, there are also 35 developed cities (including 16 which, together with the independent municipality of Pateros, form Metro Manila) which are administratively independent of their surrounding province, as well as five independent component (not as highly developed but with de facto autonomy) and 103 component (within provincial administration) cities, as well as 1,491 municipalities. Finally, all cities and municipalities are divided into barangays, small communities of which there are 41,995 spread across the country.

All populations are based on the latest census (2010).

Luzon (Largest City: Manila)

  • NCR — National Capital Region (Center: City of Manila)
    See Manila for more details
  • CAR — Cordillera Administrative Region (Center: Baguio City, Benguet)
    Abra (Pop.: 240,141 / Capital: Bangued / 27 municipalities): Originally hewn from Ilocos Sur as home to mountain tribes, the province was famous as the theater of Gabriela Silang's desperate anti-Spanish insurrection ever since the murder of her husband and fellow revolutionary Diego.
    Apayao (Pop.: 112,636 / Capital: Kabugao [official], Luna [de facto] / 7 municipalities): A relatively quiet province and home to the mountain-hardened Isneg people.
    Benguet (Pop.: 722,620 / Capital: La Trinidad / 1 highly-urbanized city [Baguio] and 13 municipalities): One of the largest fruit-producing provinces in the country, as well as the largest supplier of strawberries. The town of Kabayan is also home to fire-dried mummies buried in caves. It is also the site of Luzon's highest peak, Mount Pulag.
    Baguio City: Built by the Americans in 1909 on the site of a tribal settlement as their only Asian hill station, Baguio has developed into a summer vista for Filipinos escaping the heat of the lowlands. Also home to Camp John Hay, a former American military base converted into an upscale area. One of the few places in the country where bringing a jacket is recommended.
    Ifugao (Pop.: 191,078 / Capital: Lagawe / 11 municipalities): The province best-known for 2,000-year-old rice terraces listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
    Kalinga (Pop.: 201,613 / Capital: Tabuk City / 1 component city [Tabuk] and 7 municipalities): One of the more traditional indigenous provinces in the Philippines, so expect to see the familiar images of men in embroidered red-and-black loincloths.
    Mountain Province (Pop.: 154,187 / Capital: Bontoc / 10 municipalities): Exactly What It Says on the Tin, this province was The Remnant of a larger province that encompassed the rest of the region's provinces (sans Abra). It is also known for a series of mummies hanging on cliffsides.
  • Region I — Ilocos (Pop.: 4,748,372 / Center: San Fernando City, La Union)
    Ilocos Norte (Pop.: 568,017 / Capital: Laoag City / 2 component cities [Batac and Laoag] and 21 municipalities): Home to President Marcos, whose clan remains highly influential there, as well as a favorite destination of Taiwanese tourists. A short distance from Laoag City is the town of Paoay, whose principal Catholic church is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as one of the four "Augustinian Churches in the Philippines".
    Ilocos Sur (Pop.: 658,587 / Capital: Vigan City / 2 component cities [Candon and Vigan] and 32 municipalities): Home of Diego and Gabriela Silang, its capital, Vigan City, is a world-famous UNESCO World Heritage Site featuring cobblestone streets and Spanish houses that remained intact through the centuries.
    La Union (Pop.: 741,906 / Capital: San Fernando City / 1 component city [San Fernando] and 19 municipalities): As its name implies, it is formed from some towns from Ilocos Sur, Benguet and Pangasinan. The province has a beautiful beach at the town of Bauang, just south of the capital; otherwise the province serves as a major transport hub for tourists going up Baguio City.
    Pangasinan (Pop.: 2,779,862 / Capital: Lingayen / 1 independent component city [Dagupan], 3 component cities [Alaminos, San Carlos and Urdaneta] and 44 municipalities): A strategically important province, Pangasinan played host to Chinese pirates, Filipino rebels during the late 1800s and amphibious American landings during the closing days of World War II. Nowadays it is a busy, populous province best known for Hundred Islands (a group of 124 islands off the cost of Alaminos City) and a reputedly miraculous image of the Virgin Mary on the town of Manaoag.
    Dagupan City: The largest city of northwestern Philippines and a major exporter of milkfish, contributing to 16% of the provincial total.
  • Region II — Cagayan Valley (Pop.: 3,229,163 / Center: Tuguegarao City, Cagayan)
    Batanes (Pop.: 16,604 / Capital: Basco / 6 municipalities): The smallest province in the Philippines, in terms of both area and population, as well as the northernmost (far enough for its fortunes to be tied with that of Taiwan). Best-known for its stone houses, created to withstand the storms and typhoons that frequent the islands.
    Cagayan (Pop.: 1,124,773 / Capital: Tuguegarao City / 1 component city [Tuguegarao] and 28 municipalities): Cagayan serves as the center of the region. Its capital, Tuguegarao City, houses several government offices for the region; at the far north, the town of Santa Ana is home to an exclusive economic zone; and in terms of tourism, the majestic Cagayan River offers several vistas, while northwest of Tuguegarao the quiet town of Piat houses a reputedly miraculous image of the Virgin Mary.
    Isabela (Pop.: 1,489,645 / Capital: Ilagan City / 1 independent city [Santiago], 2 component cities [Cauayan and Ilagan] and 34 municipalities): As the most populous province in the region, Isabela is also the top producer of corn in the country, as well as rice. The town of Palanan, facing the Pacific Ocean, is famous as the site of Emilio Aguinaldo's refuge until his capture by the Americans in 1901.
    Nueva Vizcaya (Pop.: 421,355 / Capital: Bayombong / 15 municipalities): A relatively quiet province which, unlike its neighbors in the region, maintain precolonial cultures.
    Quirino (Pop.: 176,786 / Capital: Cabarroguis / 6 municipalities): Another quiet province which is a byproduct of the division between Isabela and Nueva Vizcaya.
  • Region III — Central Luzon (Pop.: 10,137,737 / Center: City of San Fernando, Pampanga)
    Aurora (Pop.: 201,233 / Capital: Baler / 8 municipalities): Originally hewn from Quezon (in Region IV-A), Aurora was eventually transferred to Region III due to an abundance of access to said region. Its capital, Baler, is home to President Manuel Quezon, and its beaches are famous as the site of the surfing scene from Apocalypse Now.
    Bataan (Pop.: 687,482 / Capital: Balanga City / 1 component city [Balanga] and 11 municipalities): The peninsula-province forever associated by World War II students with the desperate Last Stand of American and Filipino forces during the Japanese advance in 1942 (with the defeated Allies eventually being forced to walk 100 kilometers to Tarlac, now known as the Bataan Death March), as well as the successful (though lesser-known) revenge of the Allies three years later. In their memory a shrine was erected atop Mount Samat, where some of the most vicious fighting occurred, topped by 90-meter-tall cross.
    Bulacan (Pop.: 2,924,433 / Capital: Malolos City / 3 component cities [Malolos, Meycauayan and San Jose del Monte] and 21 municipalities): A highly-urbanized province best-known for being the site of the establishment of the first independent government of the Philippines, held at a small church in the capital, Malolos City. The mountainous eastern area is best-known for the Biak-na-Bato caves, where Emilio Aguinaldo hid from Spanish forces for a brief period, as well as the Angat Dam, a major supplier of water for Metro Manila.
    Nueva Ecija (Pop.: 1,955,373 / Capital: Palayan City [official], Cabanatuan City [de facto] / 1 highly-urbanized city [Cabanatuan], 4 component cities [Gapan, Muñoz, Palayan and San Jose] and 27 municipalities): A province with a strong tradition of agriculture, as well as the largest producer of native milk, with facilities for both industries located in the appropriately-titled Science City of Muñoz. Nueva Ecija is also the site of several battles during both the Philippine Revolution, the Philippine-American War, and World War II.
    Cabanatuan City: The former provincial capital, which continues to serve as a major transport, economic and social hub for both its surrounding province and the entire Cagayan valley.
    Pampanga (Pop.: 2,340,355 / Capital: City of San Fernando / 1 highly-urbanized city [Angeles], 2 component cities [Mabalacat and San Fernando] and 19 municipalities): Best-known for its culinary expertise, Pampanga is also home to the Candaba swamp, which serves as a stopover for migratory birds. Its capital, San Fernando (not to be confused with the one in La Union) is also known as the largest producer of Christmas lanterns in the country. Pampanga is also infamous as the province hit hardest by the eruption of Mount Pinatubo, on the border with Tarlac and Zambales, after 500 years of dormancy, in 1991.
    Angeles City: A city whose fortunes were tied with that of Clark Air Base, an American Air Force station which served as their Southeast Asian hub during the Cold War (but especially The Vietnam War) and ran from 1903 to 1991, when the Americans were forced out by the eruption of Mount Pinatubo. Literally rising from the ashes, Angeles City rebuilt itself, taking over the base and turning it into a special economic zone, with the former airstrip now reused as an alternate airport serving Manila and its surrounding area.
    Tarlac (Pop.: 1,273,240 / Capital: Tarlac City / 1 component city [Tarlac] and 17 municipalities): A major producer of sugarcane, Tarlac is infamous as the terminus of the Bataan Death March at Camp O'Donnell in the town of Capas, just south of the capital. It is also the traditional stronghold of the Cojuango clan, the maternal lineage of the current president, Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, which owns the massive Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac City.
    Zambales (Pop.: 755,621 / Capital: Iba / 1 highly-urbanized city [Olongapo] and 13 municipalities): Best-known as the home of the Aeta, an indigenous culture that survived into the present.
    Olongapo City: A city which, like Angeles in Pampanga, thrived and withered together with its Spanish-era shipyard that flourished under American patronage until they were forced out in 1991 at the aftermath of Mount Pinatubo's explosion. The base has since been reused as an duty-free economic zone.
  • Region IV-A — CALABARZON (Pop.: 12,609,803 / Center: Calamba City, Laguna)
    Batangas (Pop.: 2,377,395 / Capital: Batangas City / 3 component cities [Batangas, Lipa and Tanauan] and 31 municipalities): A province best known for its beaches at the western part of the province, as well as the home of Taal Volcano, the smallest active volcano in the world and second most active in the Philippines, unique for having a water-filled caldera and being surrounded by a larger volcanic lake). Its same-named capital also has the second-largest seaport in the Philippines after Manila, while the nostalgia-oriented town of Taal is home to the largest Roman Catholic church in both the Philippines and Asia.
    Cavite (Pop.: 3,090,691 / Capital: Imus City [official], Trece Martires City [de facto] / 6 component cities [Bacoor, Cavite, Dasmariñas, Imus, Tagaytay and Trece Martires] and 17 municipalities): The second most populous province and another major extension of Metro Manila. The town of Kawit hosts the mansion of Emilio Aguinaldo, where independence of the Philippines from Spain was declared on June 12, 1898, while nearby Cavite City is home to an airstrip and naval base once used by Americans. To the west lies Corregidor, a small island guarding Manila Bay (though closer to Bataan, it is administered by Cavite City), famous as the last stronghold of Filipino and American forces during the early stages of World War II until their leader, Douglas MacArthur, had to flee for Australia. To the south,
    Tagaytay City: Built atop a mountain ridge and historically famous for its pineapples, the city has since developed into an alternative retreat for Filipinos in the region, especially from Manila. It is the best spot to take scenic views of Taal Volcano and is home to a number of rest houses, picnic groves and upscale subdivisions.
    Laguna (Pop.: 2,669,847 / Capital: Santa Cruz / 5 component cities [Biñan, Cabuyao, Calamba, San Pablo and Santa Rosa] and 25 municipalities): The province best-known as the birthplace of José Rizal, the national hero, whose house in Calamba City has been restored. The province is also known for hot springs lining the area around Calamba City and the nearby town of Los Baños, which hosts a branch of the University of the Philippines which is also the largest agricultural college in the country, as well as Pagsanjan Falls, a scenic three-drop rapids visited since the Spanish era, made famous in Apocalypse Now as the scene of its finale. At the extreme south of San Pablo City, near the border with Quezon province, is the Villa Escudero, a coconut plantation converted by its proprietors to double as a resort.
    Quezon (Pop.: 1,987,030 / Capital: Lucena City / 1 highly-urbanized city [Lucena], 1 component city [Tayabas] and 39 municipalities): The chief point-of-entry to the Bicol peninsula. A few kilometers north of Lucena City, the capital, is the town of Lucban, famous for the "Pahiyas Festival", where houses are literally covered with leaves, fruits and all other kinds of agricultural products. The province is also home to Mount Banahaw, a dormant volcano believed to be sacred by locals.
    Lucena City: A major port center leading to Region IV-B and some places in the Visayas islands.
    Rizal (Pop.: 2,484,840 / Capital: Antipolo City / 1 component city [Antipolo] and 13 municipalities): As Metro Manila's direct neighbor to the east, Rizal is essentially an urban extension of Manila, located at the western slope of the Sierra Madre ranges. The capital, Antipolo City, is best known for its cathedral, which houses a wooden statue of the Virgin Mary said to have protected galleons it boarded.
  • Region IV-B — MIMAROPA (Pop.: 2,744,671 / Center: Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro)
  • Region V — Bicol Peninsula (Pop.: 5,420,411 / Center: Legazpi City, Albay)

Visayas (Largest City: Cebu)

  • Region VI — Western Visayas (Pop.: 7,102,438 / Center: Iloilo City, Iloilo)
  • Region VII — Central Visayas (Pop.: 6,800,180 / Center: Cebu City, Cebu)
    Cebu (Pop.: 2,646,000/ Capital: Cebu City / 1 highly-urbanized city [Cebu, Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue], 6 component cities [Danao, Talisay, Toledo, Bogo, Carcar, Naga] and 44 municipalities): One of the most developed provinces in Visayas and the country in general. The site of Ferdinand Magellan's death on Mactan Island in 1521 in the hands of Lapu-Lapu, where the city bearing the datu's name now stands. Due to its historic roles, there are significant Spanish and Latin American influences in the local culture and language.
    Cebu City: The capital of the province bearing its name, it is the oldest Spanish settlement in the country, predating Manila by seven years. Today, it is a highly urbanized and progressive metropolis often called the Philippines' "second city" or Visayas' equivalent to Manila.
  • Region VIII — Eastern Visayas (Pop.: 4,101,322 / Center: Tacloban City, Leyte)

Mindanao (Largest City: Davao)

  • Region IX — Zamboanga Peninsula (Pop.: 3,407,353 / Center: Pagadian City, Zamboanga del Sur)
  • Region X — Northern Mindanao (Pop.: 4,297,323 / Center: Cagayan de Oro City, Misamis Oriental)
  • Region XI — Davao Region (Pop.: 4,468,563 / Center: Davao City, Davao del Sur)
  • Region XII — SOCCSKSARGEN (Pop.: 4,109,571 / Center: Koronadal City, Cotabato)
  • Region XIII — Caraga Region (Pop.: 2,429,224 / Center: Butuan City, Agusan del Norte)
  • ARMM — Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Pop.: 3,256,140 / Center: Cotabato City, Maguindanao)

Famous Filipinos [citizen of the Philippines or otherwise]:

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    Historical (Deceased) 
  • José Rizal, the official national hero of the Philippines and an all-around polymath and Spanish-era reformist whose criticism of corruption within church and state through his satirical novels Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo caused his execution at the young age of 35.
  • Andrés Bonifacio, founder and leader of the biggest Philippine La Résistance movement the Katipunan, also known as the KKK (no, not the Ku Klux Klan). Several Filipino historians continuously debate with each other about considering him the true first President of the Philippines.
  • Emilio Aguinaldo, another La Résistance leader, former municipal mayor (whose descendants still hold some power in their native Cavite province) and officially the first President of the Philippines.
  • Apolinario Mabini, Genius Cripple (having contracted polio as a child), political philosopher and President Aguinaldo's former political advisor.
  • Manuel Quezon, first president of the Philippine Commonwealth, under whose administration the Philippines would have been granted independence were it not for World War II.
  • Manuel Roxas, first president of the fully-independent Republic after America legally granted the nation independence on 4 July 1946. Independence was supposed to be granted in 1945 were it not for World War II and the Japanese invasion of 1942-1945.
  • Ferdinand Marcos, World War II veteran and later President, notorious for his kleptocratic dictatorship while imposing martial law during The Seventies, ostensibly as a solution to the nation's persistent problem with Communist rebels. Boasted a stash of war medals, most fake. Had a audio-only sex tape recorded by a mistress without his knowledge, later played on university radio. Booted out of office after twenty years through the nonviolent "People Power Revolution" of 1986.
  • Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr., former provincial governor, senator, and Marcos's Arch-Enemy during the martial law period, whose assassination at Manila International Airport (which now bears his name) on August 21, 1983 uncorked public resentment towards Marcos, leading to the "People Power Revolution".
  • Jaime Cardinal Sin, 30th Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila famous for rallying anti-Marcos forces through a church-owned radio station and leading the "People Power Revolution", as well as a man with a curious sense of humor regarding the unfortunate combination of his surname and title.
  • Corazon "Cory" Aquino, scion of a family of landlords, Benigno Jr.'s widow and later the first female President, having been swept into power after the "People Power Revolution" which sparked a host of other "color" revolutions across the world throughout the next decade.
  • Lapu-Lapu, Datu of Mactan Island in modern-day Cebu province, who led to allegedly the first documented Philippine La Résistance that defeated (and killed) Ferdinand Magellan, delaying Spanish expeditions to the islands for the next 40 years.
  • Diego Silang, leader of an anti-Spanish rebellion in the Ilocos area in the 1760s, who once collaborated with the British during their brief invasion of the Philippines. After his assassination by a close friend, his widow Gabriela continued the desperate struggle until she too was captured and executed (and in her honor, a Filipino feminist organization is named after her).
  • Ramon Magsaysay, third President of the fully-independent Republic who backed America during the Cold War. A popular president known for his humility and facilitating the peaceful disbandment of the Hukbalahap guerrillas of central Luzon during The Fifties, he met a tragic end in a plane crash in Cebu.
  • Sultan Muhammad Dipatuan Kudarat, Muslim chieftain who successfully fended off Spanish incursions into Mindanao throughout his reign.
  • The Luna brothers, Juan and Antonio. The former was a painter, the latter a military man.
  • Gregorio del Pilar, one of Aguinaldo's generals, fought the Americans and died at his Last Stand at Tirad Pass.
  • Mariano Gómez, José Burgos, and Jacinto Zamora (GomBurZa), three Filipino priests whose execution on 17 February 1872 due to false charges of instigating a failed mutiny in Fort San Felipe (modern-day Cavite City, Cavite) 28 days earlier slowly uncorked resentment against Spanish authorities. While they had nothing to do with the mutiny, friars infuriated by their advocacy of liberal reforms benefiting native priests and their criticism of corruption within the Church jumped on the chance to get rid of them.
  • Isabelo de los Reyes, politician and founder of the Philippine Independent Church ("Aglipayans"), the Philippine counterpart to the Church of England.
  • Gregorio Aglipay, Isabelo's associate, dissident Roman Catholic priest and the first bishop of the Philippine Independent Church, after whom the church was given its nickname.
  • Lorenzo Ruiz, Filipino-Chinese altar boy turned calligrapher from Manila, who joined a Spanish missionary fleet to Japan (after the missionaries cleared him of accusations of murder), where he was imprisoned, tortured and ultimately executed in Nagasaki in 1637, unwilling to recant his faith to the very end. He was also proclaimed the first Filipino saint on October 18, 1987, by Pope John Paul II.
  • Pedro Calungsod, catechist from Cebu and member of a Spanish mission to Guam, where he was killed at the tender age of 17 alongside his companions after getting fatally involved in the power struggles of the local tribes. Canonized as the Philippines' second saint by Pope Benedict XVI in October 2012.
  • Carlos Rómulo, diplomat, co-founder of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines, and the President of the Fourth Session of United Nations General Assembly in 1949. Cast the tie-breaking vote that led to the creation of modern Israel. Also remembered by Filipinos as both a fervent patriot and citizen of the world.
  • Fernando Poe Jr., action star who ran for the presidency in 2004 unencumbered by things like "qualifications for office" or "actually having an agenda", famous for films starring him as the champion of the downtrodden and a Badass Grandpa extraordinaire. Also known for his sideburns and Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs.
  • Rodolfo "Dolphy" Quizon, Sr., comedian-actor and the epitome of the Philippine Cool Old Guy, known for his career spanning six decades and siring many children from several partners.
  • Leonardo "Nardong Putik" Manecio, gangster from Cavite province famed in folktales for his ability to elude authorities and fellow hoodlumns alike with a charm. He met his end at a Mexican Standoff with provincial cops led by Epimaco Velasco, who would later become governor of said province.
  • Nicasio "Asiong" Salonga, sanitation inspector by day, mob boss by night, and the face of the Gangsterland reputation of his native Tondo suburb in Manila during The Fifties. Decades after his death in a gang-related violence at the young age of 27, his life has since been romanticized in several movies as a Well-Intentioned Extremist who works Just Like Robin Hood.
  • Lino Brocka, openly Straight Gay activist and film director of over forty films, some of which would garner local and international recognition and awards.
  • Jesse Robredo, long-serving mayor of Naga City in the Bicol region, whose decades of humility and transparent governance, culminating in becoming Internal and Local Government secretary, was tragically cut short by a plane crash on August 18, 2012.
  • Francis Magalona, award-winning rapper and artist famous for his songs tackling social issues and patriotism.
  • Gabriel "Flash" Elorde, boxing Super Featherweight champion during The Sixties.

  • Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, current President and son of Benigno Jr. and Corazon, themselves noted political figures.
  • Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Aquino III's predecessor (and currently a congresswoman representing her native Pampanga province) who endured a tumultuous nine-year presidency ever since taking over from Joseph Estrada after a nonviolent revolution in 2001. She, like her successor, is a former presidential daughter, this time of Diosdado Macapagal.
  • Joseph Ejercito "Erap" Estrada, former film actor, Poe Jr.'s best friend, Macapagal-Arroyo's predecessor as president and current mayor of his native Manila. While popular amongst the lower classes, revelations of his gambling habits booted him out of office in 2001, but has since recovered his popularity. Two of his sons also hold political power — Jose "Jinggoy" as a senator, and Joseph Victor "JV" as congressman for their native (and their father's adopted hometown) San Juan City suburb of Manila.
  • Fidel Valdez Ramos, former general, Corazon Aquino's chief-of-staff, her elected successor, and the first Protestant president of the predominantly Catholic nation.
  • Manuel "Manny" Villar, self-proclaimed Self-Made Man, tycoon and senator who boasts of a Rags to Riches background.
  • Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Hot-Blooded long-running senator and Harvard graduate famous for being quite the Insufferable Genius (though not without some sense of humor).
  • Jejomar Binay, current Vice-President, famous for his decades of serving his native Makati City suburb in Metro Manila as mayor and developing it into the national economic center. His family has since made a name for themselves within the city, with his son Jejomar Erwin as mayor and daughter Mar-Len Abigail as congresswoman. Another daughter of his, Nancy, is currently a senator.
  • Mar Roxas, grandson of President Roxas, The Lancer of President Aquino, and current Interior and Local Government secretary.
  • Ramon Revilla, former movie star and senator, who followed his close friend Estrada into politics at the height of his popularity. He is also known for having fathered 72 children from 16 women.
  • Ramon "Bong" Revilla, Jr., son of Ramon Sr. who followed his father's footsteps both as actor and senator.
  • Alfredo Lim, former police general and long-serving mayor of Manila, famous for his strict anti-crime platform (of which he sometimes personally handles), which earned him the nickname "Dirty Harry".
  • Rodrigo Roa Duterte, former mayor of Davao City whose tough stance against crime (sometimes bordering on outright vigilantism) earned him the nickname "The Punisher" by Time Magazine. During his term he managed to turn Davao City into one of the most affluent and highly progressive cities in the country.
  • Edward Hagedorn, former logger turned environmentalist and long-serving mayor of Puerto Princesa City, capital of the island-province of Palawan, under whose tenure the city turned from a rural backwater to a booming tourist destination.
  • Juan Ponce Enrile, current Senate President and a long-running octogenarian politician. Once part of Marcos' inner circle, he became one of the principal figures behind the EDSA Revolution, alongside Aquino and Ramos.
  • Renato Corona, Chief Justice from 2010-2012, infamous for being the first head magistrate to be impeached by a congressional court for charges of betrayal of public trust and understatement of financial liabilities. That he was a last-minute appointee by Arroyo weeks before she had to step down didn't help his image before Aquino and the public.
  • Imelda Romualdez Marcos, former folk singer, widow of President Ferdinand Marcos and congresswoman representing her husband's native (and her adopted) Ilocos Norte province, infamous for her collection of thousands of pairs of shoes.

  • Noli De Castro, broadcaster (known for being a Large Ham and his Catch Phrase "Magandang gabi, bayan!" ("Good evening, nation!") who had a brief stint as senator and then Vice President.
  • Lea Salonga, theater actress, singing voice of both Princess Jasmine and Mulan, and first Filipina to win a Tony Award for her leading role in Miss Saigon.
  • Eddie Garcia, Poe Jr.'s friend and fellow action star and a versatile actor who can play protagonist or antagonist roles, but is well known either way as a Large Ham Deadpan Snarker extraordinaire.
  • Senator Vicente "Tito" Sotto III, his younger brother Marvic "Vic" Sotto, and their friend José María "Joey" de Leon, hosts of Eat Bulaga!, the Philippines' longest-running noontime variety show (lasting over 30 years).
  • Kris Aquino, actress, TV show host, and younger sister of Benigno III, known for her flamboyant speech and sticky romances.
  • Jose Marie Borja Viceral, better known by his stage name "Vice Ganda", film and TV actor and one of the most prominent Camp Gay entertainers in Philippine media.
  • Sandara Park, South Korean singer and member of popular K-Pop group 2NE1, who started her career in the Philippines.
  • Aimee Lee Lucas, Filipino-American choreographer of popular K-Pop groups such as 2NE1 and Big Bang.
  • Charice Pempengco, Idol Singer once so popular in America even Oprah Winfrey claimed to be her fan.
  • Robin Padilla, former teen action star who, after serving some prison time for illegal possession of firearms, ultimately cleaned up his act and became a much more respected action star.
    • His nephew Daniel Padilla, currently the country's resident teen heartthrob.
  • Gary Valenciano, singer-dancer and the closest thing the Philippines has to Michael Jackson.
  • Dante Basco, actor known for playing Rufio in Hook and voicing Prince Zuko and Jake Long.
  • The Dancing Prisoners of Cebu
  • Arnel Pineda, singer-songwriter and current vocalist of American rock band Journey, discovered by Neal Schon in a series of YouTube videos.
  • Aristotle Pollisco, better known by his stage name "Gloc-9", award-winning rapper and touted by Francis M as his successor, best known for songs tackling social issues, such as poverty, social justice and rights of homosexuals.
  • Beethoven del Valle Bunagan, better known by his stage name "Michael V.", singer, TV/film actor, comedian, and the closest thing the Philippines has to "Weird Al" Yankovic, famous for being a Man of a Thousand Faces.
  • Megumi Nakajima, Filipina-Japanese seiyuu best known for voicing Ranka Lee.
  • Allan Pineda Lindo Jr., better known as "" of the Black Eyed Peas, whose songs (Bebot and The APL Song) feature Tagalog lyrics, as well as a philanthropist. He also recently took part in a new ad campaign to promote the Philippines as a tourism destination.
  • Jasmine Trias, third-place winner of the third season of American Idol.
    • Jessica Sanchez, Filipina-Mexican singer and American Idol eleventh season runner-up.
  • Jasmine Villegas is of Mexican-Filipino descent.
  • Peter Gene Hernandez, better known as "Bruno Mars", American pop singer, has a Filipino mother.
  • A large number of American porn actresses and import models have Filipino ancestry, most (in)famously, Mimi Miyagi, who actually ran for Governor of Nevada in 2006 under the Republican party.
  • Darren Criss is partly Filipino, many people don't realize at first.
  • Martial artist Mark Dacascos, mainly known in the Double Dragon film and the host of Iron Chef America.
  • Lou Diamond Phillips, the star of the film La Bamba, is an actor, director, writer, and cook, has a Filipino mother.
  • Comedian Rob Schneider mother is Filipino, and often in his movies he has her act in hilarious extra roles that fit her.
  • Enrique Iglesias, son of Spanish singer Julio Iglesias has a Filipino mother. Said mother (and Julio Iglesias's first wife), Isabel Preysler, is known as a socialitè in Spain.
  • Hervé Villechaize, one of the villains of the James Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun (and yes, he played the sidekick on Fantasy Island), is part-Filipino in ancestry.
  • Rex Navarrete is a Filipino-American comedian whose jokes focus on Filipino culture.
  • Comedian Jo Koy's mother is Filipino, and many of his jokes focus on her accent.
  • Disney Channel actor Roshon Fegan's mother is Filipino.
  • Christine Marie Cabanos, Half-Filipina voice actress of Azusa Nakano, Ika Musume, Madoka Kaname and Nepgear.
  • Arin Ilejay is part-Filipino.
  • Metallica lead guitarist Kirk Hammett's mother, Teofila Oyao, is Filipina.
  • AKB48 graduate Sayaka Akimoto lives with her Visayan mother and grandmother (at times featured on her show with great hilarity as they keep calling her "Inday" in the background), and recently visited their hometown of Cebu.
  • Brillante Mendoza, a Filipino independent film director known for garnering critical acclaim internationally and winning international film festival awards (such as the Cannes Film Festival) due to his semi-Oscar Bait movies note 
  • Robert Lopez, EGOT-winning songwriter of Avenue Q, Wonderpets, The Book of Mormon, and Frozen, (among others) is partly of Filipino descent.
  • Michelle Malkin, American conservative political commentator, is the Philadelphia-born, New Jersey-raised daughter of Filipino Immigrants.note 

  • Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, 32nd and current Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila, and by default the most powerful clergyman in the Philippines.
  • Oscar Cruz, Archbishop Emeritus (retired clergyman) of Lingayen-Dagupan and an outspoken sociopolitical analyst.
  • Eduardo Manalo, third leader of Iglesia ni Cristo, after his father Eranio and grandfather Felix.
  • Mariano "Mike" Velarde, leader of El Shaddai, a Roman Catholic charismatic fellowship.
  • Eliseo "Eli" Soriano, founder and leader of the Members of the Church of God International, an independent Christian sect famous for his live sermons on the TV show Ang Dating Daan ("The Ancient Ways").
  • Eddie Villanueva, communist rebel-turned-preacher and leader of the Jesus is Lord Church, a revival Christian fellowship.

  • Henry Sy, Self-Made Man, immigrant from Fujian, richest man in the Philippines, and founder of SM Investments Corporation, a Mega Corp. covering banks (such as Banco de Oro, the nation's largest banking institution), real estate and the SM Malls chain, which were his original investment.
  • Lucio Tan, another immigrant from Fujian, second-richest man in the Philippines, and CEO of LT Group, which includes Philippine Airlines, the nation's largest (and flagship) airliner.
  • John Gokongwei, yet another Fujian immigrant, third-richest man in the Philippines, and CEO of JG Summit Holdings, which includes Cebu Pacific, the Philippies' second-largest airliner, and Robinsons Malls chain, the closest competition to Sy's SM Malls.
  • Fernando Zobel de Ayala, scion of a German-Spanish clan and current CEO of Ayala Land, another Mega Corp. covering real estate, Bank of the Philippine Islands (the oldest in the nation at over 160 years) and the high-end Ayala Malls chain.
  • Manuel V. Pangilinan, chairman of the Philippine Long Distance Company (PLDT), the nation's largest telecommunications provider and owner of several other companies, making him perhaps the richest non-Chinese-blooded Filipino.
  • George Ty, Filipino-Chinese tycoon and founder of Metrobank, the Philippines' second-largest banking institution.
  • Cesar Purisima, president of Land Bank of the Philippines, the largest state-owned bank catering to agricultural workers, and current Finance secretary.
  • Andrew Tan, another Fujian immigrant and current leader of Alliance Global Group Inc. (AGI), which includes the Megaworld real estate company, Emperador Distillers, maker of one of the world's best-known brandies, and Golden Arches, a franchise owner of McDonalds in the Philippines.
  • Eduardo "Danding" Cojuangco, Jr., a maternal second-degree uncle of President Aquino III and chairman of San Miguel Corporation, Southeast Asia's largest food, beverage and packing company.
  • Tony Tan Caktiong, President and CEO of Jollibee, the Philippines' largest fastfood chain.

  • "The Mexicutioner" Manny Pacquiao, lightweight boxer that has defeated many of the sport's best-known fighters (as in the likes of Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, Shane Mosley, Ricky Hatton and even Oscar de la Hoya) and the first boxer to hold eight championship belts at once, as well as an actor and congressman.
  • Nonito Donaire, Pacquiao's fellow boxer, four-title champion (and reigning WBO Bantamweight Champion), and his likeliest successor as the Philippines' main prizefighter.
  • David "Batista" Bautista, Greek-Filipino (Filipino by paternal lineage) professional wrestler who formerly worked for WWE. In his tenure with the company, he's been a six-time world champion, a three-time tag-team champion, and a Royal Rumble (2005) winner.
  • James and Phil Younghusband, Filipino-British (Filipino through maternal lineage) footballers, literal Bash Brothers, former reserves for Chelsea FC of the English Premier League, and currently the face of the national football team.
  • Neil Etheridge, half-British (Filipino by his mother) goalkeeper for the Premier League's Fulham FC and the "Azkals".
  • Robert Jaworski, one of the Philippines' most famous basketball players during The Nineties.
  • Efren "Bata" Reyes, Jr., billiards champion known for his toothy smile.
  • Rafael "Paeng" Nepomuceno, six-time World Bowling Champion honored by the government as the "Athlete of the 20th Century".
  • Brandon "The Truth" Vera, Filipino-American MMA fighter at the UFC.
  • Mark "The Filipino Wrecking Machine" Munoz, another Filipino-American MMA fighter at the UFC.
  • Erik Spoelstra, Filipino-American (through his mother) coach of the LeBron James-era Miami Heat, who led it to back-to-back championships in 2012 and 2013, becoming the first half-Asian coach in any of the four major American sports leagues (as well as the first to win an NBA title).
  • Jordan Clarkson, the 46th pick in the 2014 NBA Draft and rookie player of the Los Angeles Lakers, has a Filipina mother.
  • Some characters in fiction employ Filipino Martial Arts as a dominant fighting style, notably various versions of Robin and/or Nightwing from Batman, and The Lieutenant from The Legendof Korra.
  • Eskrima, also known as Arnis and Kali, a type of Filipino Martial Art that utilizes sticks and knifeplay, was used in The Bourne Trilogy. The Bourne Legacy also included scenes set in the Philippines, notably around Manila and Palawan.
  • Eskrima master/"guro" Dan Inosanto was a student of Bruce Lee, and was a part of the latter's film Game of Death.

The Philippines in Fiction:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • The Philippines is the setting of one mission in Black Lagoon.
  • A Filipina bar hostess named Eileen is one of Hei's apartment neighbors in Darker Than Black. Surprisingly, she is voiced by Mitsuki Saiga.
  • Gundam:
  • Weiß Kreuz. Kritiker agents are trained in central Luzon. Seriously.
  • MPD Psycho. Two chapters in volume 7 are set in real-life locations in the Philippines - and the characters even speak in (very polite) correct Tagalog!
  • The Philippines is a part of the Chinese Federation in Code Geass.
    • Chapter 15 of the manga, Code Geass: Renya of the Dark, features Renya and his group, arriving at the Philippines and meeting two Filipino rebels, Esteban and Karim. Also, similar to the country's actual history, the Philippines is under the control of Nova Hispania.
  • Malcolm Gedoh and Eleki Battery from Hajime No Ippo are the Philippines Featherweight National Champion and Junior Lightweight Champion respectively. Miyata's rival, the former OPBF Interim Featherweight Champion Randy Boy Junior and his father, Randy Boy Senior, are also from the Philippines.
  • Maria Taro Sekiutsu from Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei is implied to be from the Philippines.
  • While not (technically) canon, the Philippines is a popular Original Character in Axis Powers Hetalia fandom. Sadly, this has brought loads of wank, as explained here.
  • The anime version of Blade has the Philippines as a backdrop in two episodes and featured the local versions of vampires from Filipino folklore.
  • Emiya Kiritsugu's early childhood started in the Alimango Island, which is located in Negros Occidental, where he made friends with a Filipino girl named Shirley, who is also his father's assistant. Unfortunately, Shirley turned into a Dead Apostle and the rest of the villagers became Ghouls, no thanks to Kiritsugu's father's experiment. Then, the Church Executors and Mages from the Mages Association arrived to wipe out any trace of the outbreak. This is also where Kiritsugu's Start of Darkness began when he killed his father.
  • The Philippines-based beer brand San Miguel Pale Pilsen appears in the first Ghost in the Shell movie.
  • In the manga, Bloody Monday, Hide, one of Fujimaru's friends, has stepmother and stepbrother who are both Filipino. And the stepbrother calls him, "Kuya". But it turns out that the stepmother and her brother are members of a terrorist cult who are responsible for the Bloody Monday incident. Oh, and stepmother presumably kills Hide's dad.
  • In the 2013 film 009 Re:Cyborg, the target of the undetected nuclear missiles that would have ended humanity was the Philippine Islands, for whatever reason. 003 zooms in on Western Visayas at first, then over to Luzon and the NCR in particular. Luckily they manage to detonate the missiles in orbit (thanks guys!) and save the day.

  • Darna, probably the most famous superhero from local comics or komiks. Has appeared in many movies and TV series.
  • Grail of Wild Storm comics.
  • Matt Fraction attempted to make a Philippines-based superhero team, the Triumph Division, in Iron Man. Most would contest that he didn't do much research.
  • The international indy cult-favorites Wasted, Elmer and Trese.
  • An issue of Power Girl had the titular hero save an area of the Philippines from a massive tidal wave. It was even revealed that she knows how to speak (bad) Tagalog.
  • Sentry visited the Philippines during Marvel's Dark Reign to save people when Mt. Pinatubo (which caused the 2nd largest volcanic eruption of the 20th century) became active again.
  • Filipino-American artist Whilce Portacio intended X-Men character Bishop to be Filipino, but the higher ups decided that his lineage be of Aboriginal-Australian origin.
  • And when Whilce got to do his own book, Wetworks, he took the opportunity to put in a number of Filipino shout-outs, like at least one character exclaiming "Susmaryosep!" (a Filipino shortening of the classic Western exclamation "Jesus Mary Joseph") and having Filipina celebrity Regine Velasquez portrayed as a reporter. The Vampire Nation is said to be inspired by the Philippine mythological creature, the aswang.
  • Leinel Francis Yu has also taken some opportunities to put in some Filipino shoutouts, like in his work with writer Mark Waid, Superman: Birthright, where the popular Philipine fast-food chain Chowking can be seen on one scene and where Superman mentions the Filipinos as one of his inspirations for his costume.
  • And speaking of Mark Waid, at one or two points in his career he had a curious frequency of Filipino shoutouts, like the ones in Superman: Birthright. In his The Flash story The Return of Barry Allen Linda was wearing a World War II jacket with a Philippine flag on it, and another popular Philippine fastfood chain, Jollibee, could be seen in one panel. And in Kingdom Come, at the part where Superman starts to bring the whole United Nations building down on the people inside it, one of his would-be victims seems to be Filipino; spelling and grammar issues aside, he calls Superman a "sira (broken) ulo (head)," a Filipino term for crazy, who is about to kill (papatayin).
  • In the Twilight graphic novel, Bella does a web search on vampires; one of the search results is for "danag", a vampire from Filipino folklore.
  • The graphic novel Skyworld makes considerable use of Filipino mythology in its plot, detailing the (brutal) results of The Masquerade breaking down in the Philippines.
  • Pugad Baboy is a local comic strip that's gained popularity in the country since the late 1980s.
  • Wilson Tortosa, artist for Banzai Girl, Tomb Raider, and the re-launched Gatchaman/Battle of the Planets comics, is from the Philippines.

    Fan Fic 

  • If you slow down some of the alien languages in Star Wars, some bits are actually Filipino.
    • Specifically, the language of the Ewoks, "Ewokese".
  • In An Officer and a Gentleman, Zack Mayo grew up in the Philippines with his father.
  • In the Bourne Trilogy, Eskrima was chosen to be the protagonist's choice of martial arts.
    • The latest one, Bourne Legacy was shot in Manila, Philippines, most notably along Taft Avenue and along Escolta. Palawan is also featured at the end of the movie.
  • Constantine. The possessed girl and her family are Filipinos. This is evident when the possessed screams "Papatayin natin silang lahat!" (We will kill them all!) at Keanu Reeves's face.
  • Platoon is shot in Laguna.
  • They Call Her Cleopatra Wong much of the movie takes place in Manila and was in fact directed by a legendary Filipino English-language b-movie director. The movie and it's director, international film legend Bobby Suarez, are said to be have been a major influences/inspirations on Quentin Tarantino (specifically his own Kill Bill was inspired by Cleopatra Wong).
  • A Filipino chef is seen cursing at Mason as he is escaping the hotel in The Rock.
  • In Big Fish, the "Vietnamese" ventriloquist was speaking in Tagalog.
  • The Filipina maid in the movie Her Alibi.
  • In Problem Child 3, Big Ben can be seen trying to call a Filipina girl long distance.
  • In The Hunt for Eagle One where it was set in Mindanao, a group of US Marines are sent to rescue captured a US Marine and a Filipino Captain while stopping a group of Al-Qaeda-backed local rebels from launching biological weapons.
  • The magical box from the 2003 live-action film version of "The Cat in the Hat" (with Mike Myers) has a label which clearly states that it was "Made in the Philippines".
  • There have been three movies about the life of Lorenzo Ruiz. The first one ((Rorentsu o Ruisu no shōgai) was made in Japan, the place where he died.
    • Similarly, there have been movies and plays about Pedro Calungsod. There were even dolls based on him!
  • In Pacific Rim, Manila was the second place to be attacked by the Kaiju, Hundun, a year after K-Day. Though it's unknown how Hundun got killed (probably due to the use of nuclear weapons), its excrement contaminated the city and its remains were used and analyzed by Newton Geiszler.
    • Side materials revealed that another Kaiju named "MN-19" attacked Manila again five years later. But this time, it was defeated by the Horizon Brave, Gipsy Danger and Striker Eureka. Three years later, another Kaiju named "Taurax" attacked the northern part of Mindanao but got defeated by the Striker Eureka.
  • The 2014 Godzilla reboot opens in the Philippines in 1999, with scientists finding the remains of kaiju.
  • Dan Inosanto plays a Filipino Eskrima master named Pasqual in Bruce Lee's Game of Death
  • Fierce People features at least 10 minutes of an "Iskanani" shaman speaking Tagalog.
  • On The Job: A 2013 Filipino crime thriller film starring Joel Torre, Piolo Pascual, Gerald Anderson and Joey Marquez.

  • In Mitch Albom's "The Five People You Meet In Heaven", one scene in Eddie's past takes place in the Philippines. The little girl that died in the fire when Eddie and his team burned down the village went on to become his fifth and final person.
  • Alex Garland's "The Tesseract" is set in the Philippines.
  • The hero of the novel Starship Troopers is Filipino (Juan "Johnnie" Rico), but he gets a Race Lift in adaptations (where he's just Johnny Rico). Starships named after Presidents Aguinaldo and Magsaysay are also mentioned.
  • Ilustrado is a novel set in a fictional version of the Philippines.
  • In Paolo Coelho's "Eleven Minutes" (Onze Minutos) the protagonist, Maria, meets a Filipina named Nyah, who teaches her the tricks of Maria's new-found trade. Specifically this: Nyah, a veteran prostitute, teaches neophyte Maria that faking an orgasm is the best way to ensure loyalty from Maria's clients.
  • Dale Brown's "Sky Masters" is set in the Philippines where the Chinese are planning to invade the country, and the Americans have to stop them by limited means to avoid all out war. It should be noted the Dale's portrayal of the Philippine government and that of the Chinese are quite inaccurate.
  • In Dan Brown's sixth novel, Inferno, Sienna Brooks' backstory took place in Manila, where she used to do charity work but nearly got raped. Apparently, the novel's description of Manila, which is decribed as "gates of hell", wasn't taken very well by some Filipinos despite some truth in it. But again, Dan Brown is notoriously known for being Dan Browned.

    Live Action TV 
  • It is mentioned in Doctor Who that the Philippines becomes a major superpower... in the fifth millennium.
  • The Green Hornet's sidekick Kato was originally supposed to be a Filipino, but got a Race Lift in the other incarnations.
  • The second to the last episode of Season 4 of Burn Notice had a plot to blame killings on a Filipino separatist group. Michael Weston objects to building a bomb from the separatist group's plans, since he did not speak Tagalog.
  • The two-part season-ender of Season 3 of NCIS featured a Filipino Islamic terrorist and suicide bomber.
  • In the NCIS: Los Angeles episode "LD50", the NCIS LA unit under G. Callen arrest an Abu Sayyaf terrorist who entered America under a fake name. During the interrogation, NCIS psychologist Nate Getz questioned the alleged terrorist with his participation in SupperFerry 14 bombing attack.
  • That infamous incident involving Desperate Housewives.
    • One Tree Hill also featured a character making a similarly derogatory remark (without calling out a specific profession), which didn't reach the same level of infamy.
      Keith: (on seeing Lucas's arm with an infected tattoo) Where'd you get that? Some back-alley in the Philippines?
  • The Philippines was mentioned as a place to earn money by gambling on drinking games on Heroes Season 3 Episode 21.
  • The original Hawaii Five-O occasionally had scenes set in the Philippines...which were more often than not shot in Hawaii.
    • Interestingly there is some justification, considering the number of Filipinos settled in Hawaii even at the time the show was being made. The part about them seemingly speaking Spanish though...
  • In The Sopranos, Tony Soprano once extorted (violently) a Filipino-owned laundromat.
  • Dr. Raymond Langston of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation describes an aswang.
  • One episode of Without a Trace features a Filipino nanny who went missing along with the child whom she's taking care of.
  • Survivor held their seasons in the country for the four straight (25-28) time starting with Survivor: Philippines. The funny thing is, the Filipinos themselves have made a licensed version of Survivor (four times, the last two being a Celebrity Edition) before with that name.
  • The TV miniseries, Human Trafficking, has Manila as its setting where a 12-year-old American tourist was abducted in the streets. However, the place is actually Bangkok and with a dose of California Doubling (e.g.: Philippine flags draped around the water boats and background characters wearing Salakot, the traditional hat with the pointed end on the top). Of course, this is one of the big inaccuracies the TV miniseries has ever had despite its realistic take on the subject matter.
  • Combat Hospital has Dr. Simon Hill treating a half-Afghan, half-Filipino patient who was injured in a bombing at a wedding. When Simon learned about the patient's nationality, he starts speaking to him in Tagalog, which sounds, to the Filipino viewers, either gibberish or some undiscovered native dialect. Even the patient doesn't understand what he's saying.
  • The recent Filipino fantasy-drama series Indio takes place amidst the backdrop of Spanish colonization and subsequent decline of the old ways. Also notable for showing an accurate picture of what life during the initial years of colonial rule was like from both sides.
  • Lost Girl, which has featured a large variety of mythological creatures across various cultures, has featured the aswang (as Fae that prey mainly on diseased corpses) and the tikbalang (described as a forest creature that would lead travelers astray).
  • "Series/Grimm", has Portland City cop Drew Wu, a Chinese-Filipino migrant to the U.S., ( who serves as the series' regular Deadpan Snarker and Butt Monkey ) temporarily Go Mad from the Revelation of The Masquerade (in an episode featuring the Tiktik variant of the Filipino mythological monster Aswang). He later decides it was All Just a Dream ( in a symbolic version of Killed to Uphold the Masquerade, his friends Nick and Hank deliberately lie to him that You Imagined It ) in order to return to normal and get himself finally discharged from voluntary confinement at a mental asylum. However, the third season's cliffhanger finale brutally forces him to realize it was Real After All when accidentally discovers Truble's notebook at Nick's house during an investigation.
  • Appears in two episodes in "Last Resort".

  • Enya's song, Orinoco Flow mentions Cebu in one line.
  • Britney Spears would sneak away to this country, taking pictures of her rear, and other pieces of her.

    Video Games 
  • The Philippines is a setting in Front Mission 3. Many characters from this series include a La Resistance leader whose name is a Shout-Out to former President Joseph Estrada, and Pham Luis, a Rich Bitch mecha pilot who is clearly an Asuka Langley Soryu Expy.
  • José Rizal is an unlockable character (with a rocket launcher) in the first Medal of Honor.
    • The second mission of Medal of Honor: Rising Sun is set in Calumpit, Bulacan.
    • The Philippines is a setting in Medal Of Honor Warfighter, where the narrator who happens to be a part of the Abu Sayyaf Group speaks Tausug, the language of the province of Sulu in the Southern Philippines.
  • Talim in Soul Calibur.
  • Simlish actually contains elements of Tagalog.
  • A trailer for Halo 3, as well as the novel Halo:Landfall point to a Filipino colony on Mars called Katagalugan, with settlements like "New Manila" and "New Legaspi."
    • And Dead or Alive's canon foreigner from Halo, Nicole-458, was allegedly a Filipina, because she was born at New Legaspi and likes the Filipino dessert called Halo-Halo, according to canon.
    • The Covenant name of the Grunts is Unggoy which in Tagalog literally means monkey.
  • The PS1 game Nuclear Strike has a bonus mission set in the Philippines.
  • In Daiteikoku, the Philippines is obviously a territory under Republic of Gamerica, named as Manila 2000. There is also one admiral whose name is Lala Manie, who left to defend the territory after the same man left with the same words.
  • Sampaguita, the 3rd game of the Yarudora series, has the Phillipines as a crucial theme. A good number of characters of this game are Filipinos, including the main heroine, Maria Santos; part of the storyline, both in flashbacks and in the present, takes place in the Philippines; and the game's title itself is the name of the national flower of the Philippines, though it is given the meaning of "a promise of eternal love between two people", in order to become the symbol of Maria and the Main Protagonist's love.
  • This map from Command & Conquer: Tiberium Wars shows the Philippines is a yellow zone. Oh well, it could have been worse.
  • If you choose to have your main base located in Asia in XCOM: Enemy Unknown, the icon for the base itself is located in Northern Luzon, seemingly in Baguio. Despite this, Filipino soldiers are not available for recruitment in-game.
  • The backstory of Hatoful Boyfriend has the Philippines as the country where newly uplifted birds first declared independence. One of the major characters in the game is a Luzon Bleeding-Heart, a dove native to the country and repeatedly referred to as Filipino. He has a human-style portrait which doesn't really look that different from those of his Japanese or French-Japanese classmates.
  • In Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars, Nico mentions that there was a Filipina au pair who witnessed the murder of her Italian employer. Also, one of George's items is said to be made in Manila.
  • Tekken Tag Tournament 2 features a stage that takes place in the Philippines. In real life, Filipinos are known for their love of the series, being a commonly played game in both arcades and consoles.
  • The Philippines is one of the countries seen to be part of the Greater Korean Republic in Homefront. It is unknown if the country joined willingly or was intimidated to joining the union.

    Web Comics 

  • Stand-up comedian Rex Navarrete, a Filipino-American, always makes references to Filipino culture. His most famous skit is arguably Maritess vs. The Super Friends, which explores the perspective of a Filipina house servant in the minding and tending of superheroes.

The Filipino flag
The upper blue stripe symbolizes peace and justice, while the lower red stripe represents patriotism and sacrifice. At the hoist side is the white equilateral triangle of fraternity; near its vertices are three yellow stars, which stand for Luzon, the Visayas islands and Mindanao, surrounding the sun of freedom, whose eight rays honor the first eight provinces to take up arms against Spain during the Philippine Revolution — Batangas, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Manila, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga and Tarlac. The flag is also unique in that it can be turned into a war ensign by simply reversing the flag, such that the red stripe flies above the blue one.

PeruImageSource/MapsPitcairn Islands

alternative title(s): The Philippines
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