The Republic of the Philippines 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, a huge number being Catholics, Protestants, Muslims, Buddhists, Animists, Hindus, and other endemic faiths. 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 reminder of the nation's colonial past.
The Philippines had cultural and trading links to East and the rest of Southeast Asia long before European colonization. Ferdinand Magellan, upon arriving in the islands in 1521, claimed them for the Spanish crown, but was then killed in battle by one of the local chiefs (see below). Colonization efforts began in earnest decades later, in 1565. The country was named after the Spanish monarch (then prince) Philip II.
The Philippines was ruled as a part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain (which also included Mexico and other parts of Latin America) until the Mexican Revolution. Through the centuries, the Spanish had to contend with Dutch and English designs on the country, and even the odd Chinese pirate fleet or two. The country also saw various revolts through the years, and the heavily Muslim Mindanao region in the south was never completely subjugated. Decades of unrest and oppression culminated in the Philippine Revolution of 1896 that led to independence being declared on 12 June 1898.
The Spanish-American War complicated things, as America joined the fight against Spain in 1898, but then annexed the islands from Spain that same year. The Filipinos now found themselves resisting new masters, but by the second decade of the 20th century things had quieted down (relatively). A Commonwealth was inaugurated in 1935 in order to prepare the country for full independence in 1945. But it was occupied by the Japanese during World War II, its people fighting the Japanese fiercely with guerrilla warfare (as they had fought the Spanish and Americans, but this time with some Americans joining their cause). On July 4, 1946, America legally granted the islands independence, which today is celebrated as the Philippine-American Friendship Day.
The Fifties and The Sixties saw a shaky (if not turbulent) time for the early independent republic, with five and a half presidents serving and reforming the country in order to preserve its prosperity and independence. Then 1972 saw the nation fall under martial law. Then president Ferdinand Marcos, who'd been in office since 1965, proceeded to rule the country until 1986 when his regime collapsed, marked by nonviolent mass protests dubbed "People Power" (or the "EDSA Revolution", take your pick), which would eventually, if indirectly, inspire similar mass protests that marked the collapse of Soviet satellite regimes in Eastern Europe and the end of the Cold War.
Since then the country has continued to have a colorful history, what with stuff like coup attempts (which invariably fail, unless you count the EDSA Revolutions as coup attempts, which generally aren't considered so), religious tensions, secessionist and communist rebellions (the latter has essentially been going on since the end of World War II), natural disasters (though these have been there for time immemorial) and presidential corruption scandals (including an impeachment trial in 2000).
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 bill, 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 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 Eurasiansdue 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 people of mixed ancestries 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, legally or otherwise, with many coming from Fujian, China. The oldest of these are Binondo and Tondo in Manila. There are smaller communities of Indians, Japanese and Koreans in major cities, the latter having grown in recent years, as well as groups of Western expatriates, especially in 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).
The Philippines' comic book scene, largely influenced by American comic books, is one of the oldest book industries in South East Asia. During The Seventies, it was one of the best-organized comic book industries in the world. However, by 1985, about a third of upcoming artists were being imported by both Marvel and DC that naturally weakened the local comic book industry.
One of the well known komiks characters is Darna created by Mars Ravelo. Darna has been nicknamed The Filipino Wonder Woman. One of the most popular comic books recently is Ang Kagila-gilalas na Pakikipagsapalaran ni Zsazsa Zaturnnah (The Amazing Adventures of Zsazsa Zaturnnah) by Carlo Vergara, a ground-breaking series starring a Camp Gay barber transforming into an Amazonian Beauty superhero.
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).
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. The Philippines's most popular genres are romance, action, and horror. Films with a more serious tone and had 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.
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:
Many of Filipino cuisine is a mix of indigenous and pre-colonial recipes, Spanish, Chinese, and Indian cuisine.
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. 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 (Filipino dumpling), 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.
Another well known company is San Miguel Brewery, Inc. It's one of Southeast Asia's most well known beer brands.
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. 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 Obstructive Bureaucrats 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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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 cuhrch 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 is built atop a mountain ridge and is the best spot to take scenic views of Taal Volcano.
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)
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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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.
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 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).
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.
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.
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.
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 Number Two, her elected successor, and the first Protestant president of the predominantly Catholic nation.
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.
Mar Roxas, grandson of President Roxas, President Aquino's Number Two, and current Interior and Local Government secretary.
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.
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 HamDeadpan 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).
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.
Allan Pineda Lindo Jr., better known as "apl.de.ap" of the Black Eyed Peas, whose two songs featured Tagalog lyrics (Bebot and The APL Song), 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 Republicans.
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.
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, leader of the Jesus is Lord Church, a born-again Christian fellowship.
Henry Sy, Self-Made Man from Fujian, China, the richest man in the Philippines, and founder of SM Investments Corporation, a Mega Corp. covering banks (such as Banco de Oro and Chinabank, the largest and fourth-largest banks in the Philppines, respectively), 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 airliner and its flag carrier, and the Philippine National Bank, the fifth-largest in the Philippines.
John Gokongwei, yet another immigrant from Fujian, 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 and third-largest in the Philippines, with a history spanning over 150 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.
Armando Samiah, founder of Amanah Islamic Bank, the first and only Islamic bank in the Philippines.
Cesar Purisima, president of Land Bank of the Philippines, the largest state-owned bank and a farmer-oriented bank 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 a congressman.
Nonito Donaire, Pacquiao's fellow boxer, four-title champion (and reigning WBO Bantamweight Champion), and his likeliest successor as the Philippines' main prizefighter.
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.
Eskrima, also known as Arnis and Kali (collectively known as Filipino Martial Arts), a form of martial arts that utilizes sticks and knifeplay. Was the same martial arts used in the Bourne trilogy.
The Bourne Legacy included scenes set in the Philippines, notably around Manila and Palawan.
Also, some characters in fiction employ Filipino Martial Arts and Eskrima as a dominant fighting style, notably various versions of Robin and/or Nightwing from the Batman saga, and The Lieutenant from Avatar: The Legend of Korra.
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 to win an NBA title (as well as the first half-Asian coach in any of the four major American sports leagues).
The Philippines in Fiction:
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Anime and Manga
The Philippines is the setting of one mission in Black Lagoon.
In Gundam Wing, Quatre's mercenary group is called The Maganac Corps, which is based on "kamag-anak". The nearest direct translation would be "relative", in terms of the idea of a large family or clan. Hence, the Maganac Corps is probably composed of pilots who are all related to each other by blood or marriage, a cross between Badass Family and Badass Army.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
One episode of Without a Trace features a Filipino nanny who went missing along with the child whom she's taking care of.
There is also Survivor:Philippines. The funny thing, is, the Filipinos themselves have made a licensed version of Survivor before.
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 drap 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
Banzai Girl is set in the Philippines, and Jinky faces monsters in Philippine folklore.
Stand-up comedian Rex Navarrete, a Filipino-American, always makes references to Filipino culture. His most famous skit is arguably Maritess vs. TheSuper Friends, which explores the perspective of a Filipina house servant in the minding and tending of superheroes.
The Filipino flag
The blue upper stripe symbolizes peace, truth and justice, while the red lower stripe represents patriotism, valor and sacrifice. At the hoist side is the white equilateral triangle of equality and fraternity; near its vertices are three yellow stars, symbolizing the Philippines' three main geographic regions —- Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao — and at the center is the yellow sun of unity, freedom, democracy and sovereignty, whose eight rays stand for 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 at times of war it can be turned into a war ensign by simply reversing the flag, such that the red stripe flies above the blue one.