The Philippines (Filipino: Pilipinas), officially known as the Republic of the Philippines (Filipino: Republika ng Pilipinas), is a Southeast Asian country with an amalgamation of Malay* , Chinese, Spanish and American roots and cultures on the western end of the Pacific Ocean.
Made up of 7,641 islands (divided between Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao regions), the Philippines is the fourth-largest Asian Anglophone country, most of its population having Austronesian roots. The capital is Manila (which is actually a combination of 17 cities and towns, all centered around the eponymous Spanish-era city). Owing to its position at the crossroads of several foreign trade routes, the country has earned a vast diversity of cultures and religions, of which Christianity predominates, a legacy of over 300 years under the Spanish Empire and 40 under the United States (in fact, the Philippines is both the largest Christian-majority country and has the highest Christian population in Asia, with only East Timor and Armenia having a higher proportion of Christians), with Islam a distant second and Buddhists, animists and others filling the gaps.
Classified as one of the developing nations of the world, 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 socioeconomic growth, has deep, rich cultures of both ancient and contemporary, and both Time and Reader's Digest discussed 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 mark of the nation's past as a colony of the United States and ongoing complex relationship with that country.
Names and terms
While the country is the Philippines, "Filipino" refers to the people/nationality, culture and national language. The feminine form "Filipina" is also used for female Filipinos as it was originally a gendered noun imported from Spanish - though the national language itself is otherwise gender-neutral, so using "Filipino" for females is perfectly normal if not more common these days. In the Tagalog language which became the basis of the national language, this became "Pilipino" etc., and bitter debates were held over using P or F back in the day. "Pilipino" is still colloquially used, but "Filipino" is the current official spellingnote and definitely the one to use in English. Whatever you do, don't spell it "Philippino". The adjective form is most commonly "Filipino" as well, but "Philippine" is also used in English typically for institutions (i.e. Philippine government, not "Filipino government") and historical events (i.e. Philippine Revolution, not "Filipino Revolution") which can feel somewhat arbitrary.
A common informal equivalent for "Filipino" is "Pinoy" and the feminine form is "Pinay", after an old style of nicknaming which shortens names and inserts -y or -oy, particularly for names ending in O for men and A for women.note Filipinos of Chinese descent may thus be informally called "Chinoy"/"Chinay"note , short for "Chinese Pinoy" etc. though the terms could instead derive directly from Spanish chino plus the aforementioned nicknaming convention. Supporting the latter, "tisoy"/"tisay" is short for mestizo/mestiza, but it's only used as a descriptive term for Pinoys who "look white" (more on this later) without the cultural connotation that "Chinoy" and "Pinoy" itself carries.
People of Filipino descent in other countries have coined or received other terms like "Filo" (Australia, New Zealand) or "Flip" (United States) which are bound to invite confusion, bemusement and ridicule when used among homegrown Pinoys. Similarly, "Filipinx", a gender-inclusive imitation of "Latinx" (which itself is divisive among Latino people) is used by a few people of Filipino descent abroad, but this caused a minor uproar online when homegrown Pinoys discovered it, as they see it as unnecessary and presumptive because "Filipino" and thus "Pinoy" are often gender-neutral in context already (just like "Latino"), "Pinxy" would look and sound hilarious and "Chinxy" accidentally racist, and because they have much, much bigger fish to fry than this.
An older term for the country from American colonial days is the "Philippine Islands", ultimately from Spanish "Las Islas Filipinas". Hence the acronym for the country among the World War II generation and older is "PI", which also happens to be short for certain Filipino profanity. Then the acronym was "RP" until the 2010s, when it was changed to "PH".
The islands were settled as early as 67,000 years ago, evidenced by the metatarsal of a man found in Cagayan valley in 2007. The earliest settlement routes, however, remain contested between Borneo and Taiwan. By the first millennium CE, the various isolated communities of the islands evolved into important trade posts attracting various merchants from as far as India and China, and by the 1300s Islam made its headway, starting with the Sulu Islands to the southwest and reaching as far as Manila.
The classical period of precolonial Philippine historytechnically, "pre-Philippine history", as the name is obviously of colonial origin, named for King Philip II of Spainis known largely from third-party accounts from elsewhere in East and Southeast Asia, but the oldest concrete artifact of a proto-Philippine provenance is the Laguna Copperplate Inscription, a record of a royal debt pardon dated, luckily very specifically, to 900 CE. It definitively demonstrated that culturally advanced and loosely organised kingdoms were thriving in the area for at least a millennium before the colonial period. Although the islands had few, if any, traces of the great centralised kingdoms in most of the rest of Southeast Asia, they were occupied by several small, functionally independent, royal city-states, generally established along riverbanks or coastal areas, known as barangays (roughly, "villages", but named after the clan boats common in the region, called balangay; the term survives today as the country's smallest political unit). Their leaders had various titles, including Datu, Rajah, or Lakan, all of which mean some variant of "monarch". The leaders of the largest kingdoms were either styled Rajah (from the Indian influence) or Sultan (especially after the Islamic influx; this is still true for hereditary rulers in Mindanao, for example). The more notable examples of precolonial kingdoms include Cebu (originally Sugbu), Butuan, Tondo (originally Tundo, the kingdom that issued the debt pardon inscribed on the Laguna Copperplate, above), and Manila (originally Maynila, also formerly named Seludong), as well as the more organised Sultanates of Sulu and Maguindanao in the south. They paid tribute to larger centres of civilisation in the region, such as Imperial China or the Majapahit Empire in modern-day Indonesia. Some pre-Philippine kingdoms earned quite a reputation for quality items and fairness in trade that the Chinese, for instance, made them preferential trading partners over the likes of Japan.
Amidst this background Portuguese conquistador Ferdinand Magellan managed to find the islands in 1521 and claimed them on behalf of the Kingdom of Spain. Magellan would never live to see his fleet complete the world's first circumnavigation, however — he was killed in Cebu in a skirmish with a defending datu (tribal leader), Lapu-lapu, opposing another datu aligned with Magellan. After a long hiatus, Spanish colonization began in earnest in 1565 from Cebu under Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, before conquering Panay and finally Manila in 1571, where they established the capital of the Spanish East Indies, which also includes what is now Guam, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Northern Mariana Islands and Palau. It was also part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain with Mexico, during which time Manila and Acapulco became the ports-of-call for galleon fleets which brought migrants, food and missionaries, thus contributing to the Philippines' Latin American flavor. Chinese people, who had predated the Europeans in the area, also continued to immigrate, thrive and intermarry with the natives under Spanish rule despite intermittent persecutions. The first "Chinatown" in history was established in Manila in 1581, relocating all its Chinese immigrants to one place within cannon range from the Spanish walls; the area of Manila "within the walls" or Intramuros, later dubbed "the Walled City", was the site of the Spanish administration proper. However, the Philippines also saw many a threat from within (local insurgents and Muslim warlords in Mindanao) and without (Chinese pirates and fellow colonists from the Netherlands and Portugal), including a three-year occupation by the British as a Spin-Off of the Seven Years' War (1762-1764).
After Mexico declared independence in 1821, Madrid directly took control of the Spanish East Indies, opening up Manila to international trade, bringing in a wave of immigrants from Latin America and mainland Spain, while wealthy individuals from mixed backgrounds - indigenous Filipinos, called indios ("Indians"), people of mixed native and Spanish and/or Chinese descent, called mestizos (the singular is literally "mixed" in Spanish; naturally, Spanish mestizos were socially ranked higher than Chinese ones) and pure Spaniards born in the Islands, called insulares (Filipino was then properly applied only to them; also analogous to criollo or "creole" in Latin America) were given the opportunity to study abroad, some of which bringing home with them liberal ideals, which sometimes aroused the suspicion of the peninsulare (Spain-born pure Spanish) leaders, who were understandably wary due to their association with Napoleon's exploits decades ago. Things came to a head after a failed mutiny of insulares in Cavite led to the execution of three indigenous priests on false charges of inciting the mutiny, leading to the establishment of the Propaganda Movement, a group of émigrés - who first dubbed themselves indios bravos and finally reclaimed the name Filipino - lobbying for awareness, political representation, and government and societal reforms.
That, too, met with resistance from Madrid, and by the time one of the movement's leaders, doctor and novelist José Rizal, was executed on December 30, 1896, calls for reform had already given way to those for armed revolt. The Philippine Revolution, led by Andres Bonifacio and the Katipunan secret society (whose full acronymnote was KKK, no relation to the American one) broke out in August 1896. Bonifacio's position would be challenged by the Cavite-based Magdalo faction of the Katipunan, led by landlord Emilio Aguinaldo, who later took over in 1897 but was driven into exile in Hong Kong that same year.
During this time the Spanish-American War broke out, and the Philippines became one such theater. The Americans recruited Aguinaldo to their side. He then returned to the Philippines backed by US forces in May 1898, declared independence on June 12, and founded what is today considered the "first" Republic a year later. However, the Spanish government surrendered to the Americans alone and handed over the Philippines to the US with the Treaty of Paris with zero involvement from the Filipinos. The US was in its international expansionist phase, as was happening in Cuba. War erupted again as the Filipinos fought the Americans in a conflict called the Philippine Insurrection or the Philippine-American War. That officially ended in 1902 after Aguinaldo was captured, though pockets of resistance remained for a decade afterwards. At the same time, the Americans also pacified the Muslim south, which had never been fully conquered by the Spanish and had mostly remained apart from the Philippine Revolution, in a conflict dubbed the Moro Rebellion.
By the mid-1910s the situation had relatively calmed down, during which the Islands experienced a cultural renaissance, and some nationalists elected into the legislature began submitting multiple proposals for Washington to lay down a groundwork for future independence, culminating in the establishment of the Philippine Commonwealth (more formally, the Commonwealth of the Philippines) in 1935, with senator Manuel L. Quezon at the presidential seat, which aimed to prepare the Philippines for self-rule in 1945.
...Then Pearl Harbor happened. Ten hours after the attacks, the Japanese turned to the Philippines. Manila was declared an "open city" to prevent destruction, but American and Filipino forces staggered on until they were finally overwhelmed at Corregidor island and Bataan peninsula, while Douglas MacArthur, leader of the United States Armed Forces in the Far East (USAFFE), was forced to flee to Australia on orders from President Franklin D. Roosevelt, but not before making a promise to return. In the meantime Japan set up a puppet government under Jose Laurel, to which most Filipinos, appalled by the abuses of the Japanese forces, responded with guerrilla resistance that effectively controlled 60% of the islands, stalling assimilation into the Japanese Empire long enough to make MacArthur's return easier — but not that much, as Japan used the islands as their final line of defense to Japan, leading to the largest naval battle in the world over Leyte Gulf, which saw a decisive American victory, and brutal urban warfare in Manila which saw thousands of deaths.note After war's end, the United States finally fulfilled its promise on July 4, 1946 (a year late to the original plan).
Throughout the early Cold War era the Philippines had to contend with the Hukbalahap or Huks ("Hukbong Bayan Laban sa Hapon", National/People's Army Against the Japanese, later "Hukbong Mapagpalaya ng Bayan", People's Liberation Army), Communist rebels originally formed during World War II. They were finally pacified under the moderate Ramon Magsaysay in the 1950s. Under his successor, Carlos Garcia, the government also adopted a "Filipino First" policy which favored local businesses. Fundamental issues like a reliance on agricultural commodities and slow industrialization dampened economic growth toward the end of the decade, while agrarian issues like land reform continued to be a source of peasant grievances. The latter issue was a key point on the agenda of Garcia's successor, Diosdado Macapagal, but saw limited success.
In 1965 senator Ferdinand Marcos took power, and while his first term (the 1935 Constitution allowed for two four-year terms) was marked with massive infrastructural growth, his second term came with a mounting Cult of Personality, and mounting public outrage, including an increase in student activism, over his and his wife Imelda's excesses and increasing charges of corruption. This time also saw the rebirth of the communist insurgency with the New People's Army (NPA) after a new Communist Party was founded, and the start of the modern Muslim insurgency with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), who appropriated the old Spanish label Moro (Moor).
With the unrest as a pretext, Marcos declared Martial Law in 1972, and would remain in power for 14 more years. Martial Law, until its official abolishing in 1981 (most likely to appease Pope John Paul II, who was visiting at the time, and not much changed afterward), was marked with censorship, curtailing of civil liberties, state control of the media, and silencing all opposition, with its most prominent victim being senator Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino, Jr., who as early as 1968 warned of Marcos shoring up funds for the military. The communist and Muslim insurgencies actually grew stronger. And while the country's economy grew, it did so on the back of heavy borrowing from banks and loans from foreign governments, which soon came crashing down due to mismanagement and cronyism.
The breaking point came on August 21, 1983, when Aquino, coming home from self-imposed exile in Boston, was shot dead at the tarmac of Manila International Airport (now named Ninoy Aquino International Airport in his honor). This event reignited displays of public dissatisfaction with Marcos, to which he, under pressure from the USA, responded with a snap election which pitted him against Aquino's widow, Corazon, popularly known as "Cory". While official canvassers declared Marcos the winner, independent sources and external observers, including then US senator (and later Secretary of State) John F. Kerry, cried foul. Meanwhile, Marcos's declining health had led to questions about succession, and politicians and the military alike were divided among themselves. In February 1986, a planned coup d'etat was exposed, and the plotters and their sympathizers - including the Defense Minister, Juan Ponce Enrile, and the Armed Forces Vice Chief of Staff, Fidel Ramos - holed up in Camp Crame and Camp Aguinaldo along Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (popularly known as EDSA), declaring their withdrawal of support from Marcos. This led to a massive nonviolent protest against Marcos, as civilians flocked to EDSA to block oncoming government forces. Marcos and his family were forced to flee to Hawaii after the rest of the military defected wholesale, allowing Aquino to take over. The event was known as the EDSA or "People Power" revolution.
While popular at her debut and still widely beloved to this day for not being Marcos, Corazon Aquino's reign had its share of controversy. From 1986 to 1989 she endured several coup d'etats by much the same military elements who had plotted against Marcos for reasons like her peaceful overtures toward the rebels. Cronyism continued to be a problem, as did the inflating national debt. Long-standing US military bases from the Cold War, Clark Air Base in Pampanga and Subic Naval Base in Zambales, were closed in 1991 and 1992 after the government didn't renew their lease due to questions of sovereignty (the titanic eruption of Mt. Pinatubo, one of the most powerful in history also helped).
Cory's successor Fidel Ramos took over in 1992. During his term, the Philippines enjoyed some economic growth as part of the "tiger economies" of Asia until the Asian financial crisis of 1997. Times were also more politically stable, as Ramos also went through peace talks with rebels and decriminalized the Communist Party. But he had less success with attempts at land reform and charter change, due to Marcos's legacy and his own military background (serving Marcos and Cory). The Muslim insurgency also continued, with the leading forces now being the more radical groups Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF - hence that acronym is no laughing matter for Filipinosnote ) and later the Abu Sayyaf, which was branded as a terrorist group by the UN - after the MNLF had largely agreed to peace.
Ramos's vice president Joseph Ejercito Estrada, known as "Erap" (derived from "pare", in turn from "compadre", loosely "buddy"), became president in 1998 after a landslide victory. A movie star before entering politics, Erap appealed to the lower classes or "masses". His term had similar policies to Ramos's but had to contend with economy problems, rising hostilities against the MILF and Abu Sayyaf, and allegations of corruption. The last bit eventually got Estrada impeached, and the resulting trial sparked another round of "People Power" at EDSA in 2001. After the military withdrew support, Estrada vacated the presidential residence and his vice president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was sworn in.
While the economy improved during her terms at least on paper, Macapagal-Arroyo proved to be the most controversial and unpopular president since Marcos due to issues like allegations about corruption, cheating in the next presidential elections where she won her own term, and increases in human rights abuses. Despite sparking many rallies calling for her resignation, the military didn't pull out support as they had with Marcos and Estrada (so that many think "People Power" as a government-changer became a Discredited Meme, though the idea has started to come in vogue again in response to the Duterte administration's actions), and she remained in power until 2010 when Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III was elected president.
Elected largely on goodwill based on his parents' legacy and bearing a similar earnest (if untested) public face like Cory in particular, Noynoy Aquino is best known for accelerating the country's economic growth under his watch. His administration also pushed for the case that rendered Chinese claims over the South China Sea invalid, which was ruled in the Philippines' favor by the UN in 2016 after his term ended the same year. While it may be "too soon" to call, opinions vary about whether his performance was Boring, but Practical, So Okay, It's Average or worse (or better).
The current president of the Philippines is Rodrigo Duterte, elected in 2016 after a tumultuous campaign where he started as the dark-horse candidate and led by a margin of over 5 million votes. Immediately prior, he was mayor of Davao City and extremely controversial for his tough stance against crime, particularly the drug trade, with his encouragement of Cowboy Cops and death squads and allegedly going Vigilante Man himself at times. Hence, incidents of police and extralegal killings have skyrocketed ever since he assumed office. This has earned him the nickname "The Punisher" by Time Magazine. He's also notorious for his potty mouth and his jokes which Crosses the Line Twice leading to comparisons with Donald Trump. He is also often slammed for his foreign policy, which so far consists of less reliance with long-time ally US and tilting towards China (which Filipinos perceive as an enemy), a complete 180-degree shift from the previous president's actions. All of these make him a really polarizing figure, with his policies and strong pronouncements driving the country into what could be seen as an online civil war between his supporters and detractors, with neither side backing down.
Government and PoliticsThe Philippines adheres to a Republican form of government heavily modeled after that of the United States, mostly due to the fact that the Philippines was an American Colony — later Commonwealth — for almost half a century. * Like in the US, it is composed of three parts: The Executive, the Legislative, and the Judiciary.
The Executive branch is led by the President of the Philippines (Filipino: Ang Presidente ng Pilipinas), who is both the Head of State and the Head of Government, and wields a significant amount of power: He sets the official government policy, appoints his ministers, military officials and Supreme Court justices, enters treaties with foreign governments, approves all transactions done in behalf of the National Government, and serves as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and the National Police. He is assisted in running the country by his Cabinet, composed of the Executive Secretary (the President's official assistant), the Secretaries (Ministers) of the different Executive Departments, the Secretaries of the Presidential Communications Group (includes the President's official spokesperson, the President's research staff and the media relations bureau), the heads of different Cabinet-level agencies, and the President's advisers on various affairs like politics, the economy, and national security. The President is not eligible for re-election once his his six-year term expires, but can run again for the same position as long as he is not the incumbent.
Next in the line of succession is the Vice-President (Filipino: Bise-Presidente) which has inherited all the connotations of uselessness of its U.S. counterpart, except it is even more blown up in proportion: The Vice-President of the Philippines technically has no other job than wait for the President to drop dead or be declared insane (unlike the Vice-President of the United States, who at least is officially the President of the Senate) * . However, Presidents, as a gesture of courtesy, traditionally appoint their Vice-Presidents into Cabinet-level positions depending on the Vice-Presidents's party affiliation: If the Veep comes from the same party as the President, he will be made in charge of prominent Departments like that of the Interior or Foreign Affairs, but if he comes from an opposing party, he will be assigned to relatively unimportant roles, usually managing the Housing bureau. Vice-Presidents may seek re-election once.
The Congress of the Philippines is a bicameral legislature, composed of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Senate is composed of twenty-four members serving six-year terms, staggered in such a way that half of the seats are up for election every three years. Its duties, functions and powers are heavily modeled after the United States Senate, however, unlike the U.S., however, Senators do not represent the individual provinces, rather, the entire country is considered their constituency (thus, Filipinos vote for twelve Senators at-large every election day), and the body functions more akin to a collegial deliberative body of sorts instead of a forum representing different provinces. Also, the Senate elects its own presiding officer, who is second in the Presidential line of succession after the Vice-President. Senators may seek re-election once, for a maximum of twelve years in the Senate, after which they often take advantage of the national exposure they have gained throughout their term to seek either the Vice-Presidency or the Presidency itself.
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives is composed of approximately three hundred members who either represent legislative districts (based on population density, urban areas may get as many as six districts while sparsely populated provinces may be represented by a lone district) or party-lists (political organizations who represent — or at least claim to do so — certain sectors in society such as farmers, fisherfolk, teacher, and the youth). Members serve for three years and may seek re-election twice in a row, for a maximum of nine consecutive years in Congress before one becomes ineligible. The House is presided over by the Speaker, who is third and last in the Presidential Line of succession.
While the two houses are considered co-equal and perform the same function — to draft proposed laws —, both houses wield specific powers exclusive to them: The Senate has the exclusive power to ratify treaties and international agreement entered to by the President, investigate charges of graft and corruption (called "the Blue Ribbon Powers" in popular parlance) and to try and convict impeached public officials. Meanwhile, the Lower House wields the so-called "power of the purse" (that is to say, all bills regarding taxation and appropriation of public funds must originate from the House) and the power to impeach public officials (after which the Senate convenes as an impeachment court to try said official).
Led by the fifteen-member Supreme Court (Filipino: Korte Suprema), whose members, called "Justices" (Filipino: Mahistrado) are appointed by the President and serve as the court of last resort and final authority in the interpretation of laws, especially the Constitution. Members either sit en banc (all fifteen justices present on the bench) or in committees of three, five or seven, depending on the gravity and complexity of the case they are adjudicating. The Supreme Court is presided over by the Chief Justice (Filipino: Punong Mahistrado), whose only responsibility is preside over the court and represent it in external matters, as the Justices are considered co-equal in principle. Justices are mandated to retire from the court upon reaching 70 years of age.
Under the Supreme Court is a vast and complex system of local and special courts which form the hierarchical structure of the Philippine Judicial System. The Local Courts (composed of Circuit, District, Municipal, and Regional Trail Courts) serve as the "Courts of First Instance", where most legal cases involving private citizens are tried and decided. On the other hand, the Special Courts include the Court of Appeals, which retry previously adjudicated cases and decide whether to uphold the previous ruling or overturn it, the Court of Tax Appeals, where all cases relating tax fraud are heard, the Sandiganbayan or People's Advocate Court, which decided on cases involving graft and corruption committed by government officials, the Office of the Ombudsman (not a court per se, but a special office) which serves as the prosecution arm of the Sandiganbayan, and the Sharia Court, which hears all cases involving Islamic Law, and whose jurisdiction only extends to Muslims.
For the purpose of easier administration (and also attributable to the fact that individual communities already flourished on their own before the Philippines became a sovereign nation), the Philippines is subdivided into Provinces (Spanish: Provincia, Filipino: Lalawigan or Probinsya), which in turn are subdivided into Cities (Spanish: Ciudad, Filipino: Lungsod or Siyudad) and Municipalities (Spanish: Pueblo, Filipino: Bayan or Munisipyo), which in turn are subdivided into Barangays (alt) Being a unitary state with a strong central government, the powers and functions of the Local Government Units (shortened to LGUs) are often restricted to (1) implementing the National Laws, (2) issuing permits for various purposes, (3) traffic control and (4) collecting trash.
The Philippines in modern times 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 anticlerical, 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. 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. Nevertheless, papal visits usually garner near-universal positive reception — Pope (now Saint) John Paul II's 1995 visit to Manila for World Youth Day attracted 5 million people during its closing mass, setting a record for the largest papal gathering in a single day in history... which the Filipinos themselves broke exactly twenty years later for Pope Francis' closing mass at the climax of his five-day state visit, clocking in at 6.7 million.
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.
Another minority are the various Protestant groups. Some, like the Aglipayans, are homegrown denominations in the vein of the Anglican movement, while others descended from the various sects introduced by American missionaries during the early 20th century. 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 Cristo, 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 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. Filipinos of mostly or wholly Malayo-Polynesian descent still greatly outnumber mestizos, but this is not very well-represented in the media. Networks tend to prefer their entertainers mestizo, and the existence of "showbiz dynasties" (as in the case of Daniel Padilla, who belongs to the eminent Padilla clan of mestizos) don't help one bit. Colorism is a tremendous problem, and whitening products are normalized. That said, times are changing, and younger generations of Filipinos are beginning to appreciate darker skin more and more. These shifting paradigms have caused big names in the lucrative whitening product industry to scramble and make serious gaffes.
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 (e.g. "Cojuangco", the surname of the previous 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 previous 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.
The strengths and weaknesses of a Filipino character were highlighted back in 1992 which gives an insight of Filipino society today.
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 '60s to The '80s, 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 (or komiks) 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. In The '30s, Francisco and Pedrito Reyes created Kulafu, a series about a Tarzan-type character who still survives today as the mascot and brand name for a tonic wine. In The '40s and Fifties, Francisco Coching created several series which were promptly adapted for movies, setting a pattern. His best-known character today is the plucky Pedro Penduko, better known through movie and TV adaptations that change him from a regular guy with a Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane charm-amulet to a more traditional fantasy hero with magic powers.
By The '70s, 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. Tony de Zuñiga (aka Tony DeZuniga), co-creator of Jonah Hex, and Nestor Redondo, co-creator of local heroine Darna, were the first to move. They were followed by Alfredo Alcala, Alex Niño, Ernie Chan (aka Ernie Chua), Celso "Sonny" Trinidad and others. These artists worked in various genres as pencillers, inkers or both - not only on superheroes but also western, war, horror and sword-and-sorcery titles such as DC's House of Mystery and House of Secrets and Marvel's Savage Sword of Conan. 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, and prior to that he co-created the X-Men character Bishop, who was originally intended to be Filipino before Marvel decided he should be black. More recent and current examples working for the major publishers include Francis Manapul, Carlo Pagulayan, Leinil Francis Yu and Gerry Alanguilan; the last two drew and inked the Superman origin story Superman: Birthright.
In recent decades, independent comics have risen in prominence, like the supernatural horror-based Trese by Budjette Tan, and the Funny Animal-based Elmer by Gerry Alanguilan. The latter, about chickens who gain human intelligence, has won multiple international awards. (Quite apart from all this, Alanguilan himself reached Memetic Molester status after a video of him goofing off went viral worldwide.)
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 (no relation to Alfredo), 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.
Besides the aforementioned, one of the most well-known Filipino comics characters is the superheroine Darna created in 1950 by writer Mars Ravelo and artist 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 commentary. Another famous character based on comics is the Panday (Blacksmith) created by writer Carlo Caparas (later a film director notorious for his Ripped from the Headlines true-crime massacre films) and artist Steve Gan in 1980. The Panday, real name Flavio, fights supernatural and fantastic 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 Fernando Poe Jr. who first portrayed him in movies he also directed (under a pseudonym).
The Philippines is also known for being "an entire nation of Otaku" due to the pervasive infiltration of Anime into its culture, to the point that the anime Voltes V was adopted as a national symbol due to how the Marcos regime tried to ban them thus provoking anger amongst the Filipino population. Despite how the Filipinos acknowledged the war crimes did by Imperial Japan upon them, they recognized that the Japanese have, for the most part, changed and repented, and to this day the Philippines remained as one of their most ardent allies and consumers of Japanese culture, and a part of why the Filipinos are critical towards the People's Republic of China (not Hong Kong or Taiwan) was because of the Chinese censorship against Japanese culture, among other things. In the early 2000s, the Japanese Manga style became popular in the Philippines as expected since anime was already popular, but this too gradually waned. In the mid-2000s, both Japanese manga and old-school US comics-influenced comic books gained popularity anew, the latter was thanks to local television adaptations. While more recently, homegrown Japanese-style light novels have also become popular, many of which were originally posted on the Internet with some even adapted for TV.
Since The '60s and The '70s, 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:
- Kennedy Cartoons (While based in Canada, they have a Filipino office.)
- Philippine Animation Studio Inc.
- Toon City
- Top Draw
Filipino food boasts a wide variety of Southeast Asian vegetable crops, fruits and nuts, and as for the cuisine, it's a mix of indigenous, Spanish, Chinese, and Indian influences. 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. Of course, not all Filipino dishes are unpalatable to Western tastes: adobo, sinigang, lumpia, and many more are distinctive but still easily enjoyed by the uninitiated. Anthony Bourdain himself says that lechon (Filipino-style roasted piglet) is the best pork dish he's ever had.
The Philippines is also perhaps the only country where McDonald's is not the top fast-food franchise; the title goes to Jollibee, a local fast-food chain in the vein of McDonald's with a strong marketing scheme aimed at children. In efforts to compete with Jollibee, major players in the local fast-food industry all serve some combination of rice, fried chicken meals, and spaghetti including Filipino branches of McDonald's and KFC. This fact, astonishing to Westerners but a simple expectation in the Philippines, was even the punchline of a joke in Superstore. Gravy is also a prime moneymaker in the robust industry of Philippine fast food; it's another item expected to be on the menu in the biggest fast-food chains, hence KFC's lack of monopoly over fried chicken and gravy indulgence in the country.
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. Additionally, Haiyan is considered to be the most globally-known typhoon in history.
A running joke is that Filipinos prefer sports starting with the letter B: Boxing, Baseball, 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 1970s 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 defeated their arch-rivals from South Korea despite losing their naturalized center to qualify for the 2014 FIBA World Cup of Basketball in Spain. There they played competitively against the best teams in the world despite failing to qualify for the next round, losing to World #5 Greece by 12 points; to Croatia, World #3 Argentina, and Puerto Rico by only 4 points or less, and beating Senegal in overtime to win their first Basketball World Cup game in 40 years. The Philippines lost to China for hosting rights for the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup, and later, the one outright Asian slot for the 2016 Rio Olympics. However, they did get to host one of the Olympic Qualifying Tournaments in July 2016, where they fell short against the mighty teams from France and New Zealand.
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. The Azkals have recently bowed of contention in the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers after losses to Uzbekistan, Bahrain and Yemen, all on the road.
Baseball is also a popular but re-emerging sport in the Philippines. It was first introduced by the Americans in 1898 just right after the colonization of the islands. The country had won its first championship title in the first Asian Baseball Championship in 1954 and the popularity of the sport lasted until 1970s when it was dethroned by basketball. It took three decades to regain the popularity of the sport but it became true in 2005 when the sport became part of the Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) and the Philippines became known as the baseball powerhouse in the Southeast Asian region. Nowadays, baseball became a popular sport in the country and many of the Filipino youth have an interest of joining. Due to this, many public and private elementary and high schools have a youth baseball team, as with amateur baseball teams now in the upswing in almost every corner of the country.
The Philippines has at least 120 separate languages. One of the two official languages is Filipino, a derivative of Tagalog, the lingua franca of Manila and its surrounding provinces. Although the linguistic term "Filipino" specifically refers to this standardized iteration of Tagalog intended for nationwide use, calling it such is often a Berserk Button for speakers of minority languages. This is especially in the wake of minority language speakers, such as Visayans, fighting to get their languages recognized as more than just mere dialects, as incorrectly classified within the pages of colonial American literature. Tagalog speakers also have a long history of demonstrating prejudice against minority language speakers; for instance, Visayans and their languages (including Cebuano, Waray, Kinaray-a, Ilonggo/Hiligaynon, etc.note ) which are composed of generally harder sounds, have an undeserved reputation over in Luzon for being "uneducated" or "crass." In Philippine films and TV, it's rather difficult to find a Bisaya character who isn't shown as ditzy comic relief, and most maid characters shown tend to be Bisaya in origin.
A Filipino could be bilingual, with English being the second language, or trilingual, knowing Filipino, English, and his/her native language. 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 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 one of the Philippine languages 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 the native tongue 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. Ditto for most of the middle/upper-class educated folk who end up adopting English as their primary tongue first.
Thanks to the country's American colonial past, fluency in English was revered as a perceived marker of superior intelligence for a long time. Naturally, not being fluent in English or speaking it poorly was thus taken as a marker of poor intelligence or at least poor education, and people from the the more rural parts of the country were stereotyped as such. Their broken English was thus termed "carabao English" from the carabaos or Asian water buffaloes indispensable to agrarian life found in the rural regions. Ironically, some of these people likely had grandparents or great-grandparents who spoke excellent English due to being taught directly under the colonial system, sometimes by actual American teachers, so the issue was/is more with inequalities within society at large than the capabilities of the people themselves.
On the flip side, the disparaging term "conyo" or "konyo" has been around for a long time. The term arose sometime in the post-colonial years and derives from the Spanish "coño," with the lovely meaning of...note . As evidenced by its origin, it originally referred to said conyos' stereotypical manner of speaking, peppered with foreign curses. More generally, it's a term disparaging the upper class and especially the upper crust rich kids who are most likely to be fluent in English, and in the past Spanish. Conyos are thus supposed to be a kind of snob who look down on the local cultures and try to act like other nationalities, usually American nowadays.
This is, of course, the unfortunate consequence of the country chronically getting colonized. Substandard ability to speak the native tongue/s, but high fluency in English, and thus tending to mix them in supposedly grating ways (most notoriously, using "make" with Filipino verbs, as in "make tusok-tusok the fishball" instead of "skewer" or "tusukin/itusok") are traits that are seen as pronounced symptoms of being a modern conyo, especially coupled together in one person. It's not applied to Westerners, and only very rarely applied to the Filipino diaspora; rather, it's a slight against the self-hatred that's extremely rife among Filipino citizens, even more so than those of its neighboring countries, and a mark of the underlying social class tensions. As mentioned, such tensions are hardly new. One can imagine that the Spaniards' active efforts to stifle the spread of the Spanish language among natives, to preserve it as the language of colonizers and the local elites, as well as get away with further exploitationnote , had something to do with it.
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 '50s and The '60s, there were still publications and contracts printed in Spanish. Historians have lamented that this means the vast majority of Filipinos are thus removed to at least one degree from their history, since they cannot read historical documents and stuff like Jose Rizal's novels without relying on translations, or translations of translations, etc. On the other hand, it continues to be spoken through a creole language called Chavacanonote , 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 (literally "serving as the head") for presidente, pamahalaan for govierno/gobiyerno and silid for cuarto/kwarto (room, akin to English "quarters"). Other examples have not caught on as well for being perceived as hilarious, like salumpuwit, literally "butt-catcher", in place of silya (from Spanish silla, chair); a more sensible Filipino synonym is upuan ("place to sit/thing to be sat on").
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.
Famous Filipinos (and people of Filipino descent):
- Emilio Aguinaldo, the official first president of the Philippines and a powerful landlord in his native Cavite province (where some of his descendants hold some local power to this day). Surrendered to the Americans in 1901, ran in the 1935 elections (lost to Manuel Quezon, who was one of his lieutenants), and died in February 1964, outliving most presidents. Also often implicated as the mastermind (or the one bearing ultimate responsibility) behind Andres Bonifacio's and Antonio Luna's deaths, and he never lived it down even in his own lifetime, as it was used against him in the 1935 elections. Unless the constitution gets amended to lower the minimum age required to run for president (currently 40), his record as the youngest to sit on the office will never be surpassed.
- Manuel Quezon, first president of the Philippine Commonwealth, under whose administration the Philippines would have been granted independence were if not for World War II. He also suffered an untimely death during the war and was succeeded by his vice president, Sergio Osmeña. He is the namesake for Quezon City and Quezon province.
- Jose Laurel, president of the Japanese puppet state during World War II. Later founded Lyceum of the Philippines University in Intramuros shortly before his death. He was also the first ex-president to successfully run for a lower post (as a senator in 1953), though he wasn't recognized as a former head of state until Macapagal's tenure.
- Sergio Osmeña, Quezon's successor and the last president under American rule. His descendants are known politicians in Cebu, including a three senators, a former governor and a former mayor of the eponymous city. The country joined the UN under his administration.
- 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. Possibly one of the most blatantly pro-American presidents in a country already overwhelmingly pro-American; it would not be a far cry to say that the country remained a U.S. colony in some ways with Roxas at the helm.
- Elpidio Quirino, successor to Roxas after his untimely death on 1948 and the first president to be on the receiving end of an impeachment attempt. A province was named after him in 1966.
- 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 '50s, he met a tragic end in a plane crash in Cebu.
- Carlos Garcia, another vice-president who succeeded a deceased sitting head of state, best known for his austerity and "Filipino First" policies, placing preference on local businessmen over foreign ones. His ascension to the presidency led his fellow Boholanos to add a star to their flag to represent him. Later became head of the Marcos-era constitutional convention in 1971 but died 13 days later, being replaced by...
- Diosdado Macapagal, best remembered for his land reform policies and changing the date of independence from July 4 to June 12. Also the only vice-president to have never been appointed to a cabinet post. His daughter, Gloria, would ascend to the presidency after Joseph Estrada's ouster in 2001.
- Ferdinand Marcos, the President who for good and/or ill made the deepest mark on the nation within the last half-century. Notorious for his dictatorial regime and imposing martial law during The '70s, causing much unrest & casualties among citizens all throughout the country. Booted out of office after 21 years through the "People Power Revolution" of 1986 and died in exile in Hawaii. Was continuously president for so long that a whole generation, the "Marcos babies", grew up under him. He is still popular and revered in his home province of Ilocos Norte, where his body is preserved at a mausoleum in his hometown. Has been attempted to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes' Cemetery) twice, exciting loyalists and frustrating near-everyone else. Before entering politics, he first became a nationwide celebrity as a law student when he was arrested for the murder of his father's political opponent. He was convicted but appealed to the Supreme Court and passed the bar exams with flying colors as a prisoner. He then served as his own defense lawyer and was acquitted.note After World War II, he presented himself as a decorated war hero whose many medals included three from the US, one personally awarded on Bataan by Gen. MacArthur. He also claimed to have led the guerrilla group Maharlika (named after the ancient Tagalog warrior class). Later, various investigations by American and Philippine officials alike debunked his wartime claims: while he had been in the army, he never saw combat, he was never at Bataan, his resistance unit never existed, the US had never awarded him any medals and the Philippine medals he did have were thus of dubious merit.note
- Corazon "Cory" Aquino, 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. Survived at least 7 coups during her term and oversaw the closure of US bases in the country. Like pretty much all major Filipino politicians, she was a scion of a family of landlords and businessmen, the Cojuangcos. Her cousin Eduardo "Danding" Cojuangco was in contrast a close friend and staunch ally of Marcos. The Cojuangcos also own the huge Hacienda Luisita plantation, and Cory was criticized for not touching it despite promoting land reform.
- Fidel Ramos, former general, Corazon Aquino's chief-of-staff, her elected successor, and the first Protestant (Methodist) president of the predominantly Catholic nation. Noted for deregulation of industries and his hands-on approach to the economy, but later hit by the Asian economic crisis at the twilight of his term. Also remembered for his cigars, jumping for joy at EDSA after getting a (premature) report that Marcos had left (which he dutifully re-enacted at anniversary celebrations) and his many trips to other countries to broker agreements, leading to jokes about him being the greatest Filipino tourist since Jose Rizal (who did some globetrekking himself). Through his mother's side, Marcos's first cousin once removed.
- Joseph Ejercito "Erap" Estrada, former film actor, Poe Jr.'s best friend, Macapagal-Arroyo's predecessor as president, previously longtime mayor of San Juan, and former mayor of Manila. Ejercito is his original surname, while Estrada is his Stage Name which he adopted in real life. His movie roles were often similar to Poe Jr.'s, as he played a streetwise champion of the poor and oppressed. In real life he has a Big Fun image, was The Casanova in his younger days, and also got a reputation for mangling Englishnote which he has embraced, giving rise to so-called "Erap jokes". While popular amongst the lower classes, revelations of his gambling habits and other graft/corruption scandals booted him out of office in 2001. He was subsequently convicted, but pardoned by Macapagal-Arroyo and since recovered his popularity. In fact, he placed second against Benigno Aquino III when he ran again in 2010. 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 and eventually a senator as well.
- Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, most recently the House speaker 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 child, being born from Diosdado Macapagal. Popular at the start due to riding the EDSA II hype, but left office wildly unpopular due to various corruption and human rights scandals, and later arrested on plunder charges. After years in hospital arrest, she was acquitted by the Supreme Court in 2016 due to insufficient evidence, but this is popularly suspected to be due to mismanagement. The shortest President to date, leading to requisite jokes and visual gags about her height. Also has a prominent facial mole like her father.
- Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, the previous President and son of Ninoy and Cory, themselves noted political figures. Survived an assassination attempt during one of the coup attempts against his mother. Quiet and unassuming compared to his vivacious younger sister Kris, an actress. He was the only bachelor to have served as President, though he did date a bit while in office. Also resembled a Minion.
- Rodrigo Duterte, the current President. The only one besides Aguinaldo to jump from mayor to President in one stroke, and the first one from the Mindanao region instead of Luzon or Visayas. During his term as mayor of Davao City, he supposedly managed to turn it into one of the most crime-free, affluent and highly progressive cities in the country, and based his successful campaign on that, though it's been repeatedly questioned by mainstream investigative reporting.
- José Rizal, the chief national hero was a reformist during the Spanish colonial period. His criticism of the corruption within church and state, expressed through his satirical novels Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo (now mandatory secondary-school literature), helped inspire the Philippine Revolution and led to his execution at age 35.
- Andrés Bonifacio, founder and leader of the Katipunan, the largest La Résistance movement during the Philippine Revolution against the Spaniards. Similar to Rizal's fate, he was unjustly captured and executed at age 33 - but by his own side due to a rivalry with Aguinaldo, which is considered quite the Old Shame in Philippine history to this day. Several Filipino historians continuously debate with each other about considering him the true first President.
- Apolinario Mabini, President Aguinaldo's polio-ridden political philosopher and advisor. He was famously quiet and introverted, came from a relatively very poor background, and remarkably attained a superior education in law, philosophy and political science practically equal to his well-travelled ilustrado contemporaries, but without once ever leaving the colony (except for his exile in Guam after the Americans invaded both that island and the Philippines). Was long a posthumous victim of nasty rumours that a venereal disease caused his afflictionrumours that were apparently spread by some in Aguinaldo's circle.
- 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 helping spark the "People Power Revolution" through a church-owned radio station - by calling on civilians to block EDSA against Marcos's troops - as well as a man with a curious sense of humor regarding the unfortunate combination of his surname and title.note
- Lapu-Lapu, datu of Mactan Island in modern-day Cebu province, who led the force that defeated and killed Ferdinand Magellan, delaying Spanish expeditions to the islands for the next 40 years. Retroactively considered the first Filipino hero.
- 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).
- Sultan Muhammad Dipatuan Kudarat, Muslim chieftain who successfully fended off Spanish incursions into Mindanao throughout his reign.
- The Luna brothers, Juan and Antonio, associates of Rizal who are notorious for their hot tempers. Juan was a painter who reportedly shot and killed his wife and mother-in-law out of jealousy (and was only acquitted of murder because of racism; as a "Malay", his Berserker Rage was ruled to be In the Blood), while Antonio became a military man with a dash of Genius Bruiser. It's a lesser-known fact that he was also a successful scientist who finished doctor's degrees in bacteriology and pharmacy in Europe. He quarreled with José Rizal over a Love Triangle and Emilio Aguinaldo over government policy, causing the latter to have him killed - another Old Shame for historians.
- Marcelo H. del Pilar, a fellow reformist and associate of Rizal. Considered an icon of Philippine journalism due to being the editor of the newspaper La Solidaridad which the reformists used as their mouthpiece.
- Graciano Lopez Jaena, another of Rizal and Del Pilar's reformist associates and the founder and first editor of La Solidaridad.
- Trinidad Pardo de Tavera, another of their reformist associates who descended from a particularly aristocratic Portuguese-Spanish clan, the Pardo de Taveras. Later served as a government official for both Aguinaldo and the Americans. Also known as an early scholar of Filipino social sciences and as Juan Luna's brother-in-law.
- Gregorio del Pilar, one of Aguinaldo's generals and relative of Marcelo. Called the "boy general" due to his youth and allegedly a hit with the ladies, he died at age 24 fighting the Americans at his Last Stand at Tirad Pass.
- Emilio Jacinto, Bonifacio's right-hand-man in the Katipunan and known for his writings for the organization. Later a general in the Revolution, though he and others refused to join Aguinaldo. Died of illness even younger than Gregorio.
- Gregoria de Jesus, the spouse of Bonifacio who also joined the Katipunan and led its women's chapter. She took charge of its documents, keeping them hidden (sometimes on her person), and also fought in battles. Often considered a proto-feminist figure like Gabriela Silang.
- 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 famous for films starring him as the champion of the downtrodden and a badass, later Cool Old Guy extraordinaire. Also known for his sideburns and Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs. He ran for the presidency in 2004 unencumbered by things like "qualifications for office" or "actually having an agenda", and very narrowly lost to Gloria Magacapal-Arroyo, who was widely suspected of cheating. Suddenly died months after his loss, which resulted in a public outpouring of grief rivaling Ninoy Aquino's death.
- 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 '50s. 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 '60s.
- 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.
- Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Hot-Blooded long-running senator, former International Court of Justice judgem and Harvard graduate, famous for taking control of proceedings whenever she talks and being quite the Insufferable Genius (though not without some sense of humor). Often hailed as one of the best presidents the country never had due to her immense background and qualifications, having ran thrice in 1992, 1998, and 2016.
- Henry Sy, Self-Made Man, immigrant from Fujian, richest man in the Philippines worth an estimate of $18.3B at the time of his death, 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.
- Eddie Garcia, Poe Jr.'s friend and fellow action star and a versatile actor who can play protagonist or antagonist roles, but was well known either way as a Large Ham Deadpan Snarker extraordinaire.
- Ramon Revilla, former movie star and senator, who followed his close friend Estrada into politics at the height of his popularity. He was also known for having fathered 72 children from 16 women.
- 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".
- 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").
- 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.
- Maria Leonor "Leni" Robredo, the current Vice-President and widow of former DILG secretary Jesse Robredo. Before narrowly winning the 2016 vice-presidential elections, she represented the third district of Camarines Sur in the Congress. Vying to run for president in the 2022 elections.
- Manuel "Manny" Villar, self-proclaimed Self-Made Man, tycoon and senator who boasts of a Rags to Riches background. The richest man in the Philippines as of 2019. His wife, Cynthia, is currently a senator, while his son Mark is currently the public works secretary.
- Jejomar Binay, former 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 formerly a mayor and daughter Mar-Len Abigail as mayor. Another daughter of his, Nancy, is currently a senator.
- Manuel "Mar" Roxas II, grandson of President Manuel Roxas, The Lancer to President Aquino (his father, Gerry, also served as the Lancer to Aquino's father Ninoy, while Aquino's grandfather Igno also served as the Lancer to President Roxas, Mar's grandfather), former Senator, Trade and Industry secretary, and Interior and Local Government secretary.
- Ramon "Bong" Revilla, Jr., son of Ramon Sr. who followed his father's footsteps both as actor and senator.
- 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, former Senate President and a long-running nonagenarian politician. Once part of Marcos' inner circle, he became one of the principal figures behind the EDSA Revolution, alongside Aquino and Ramos.
- Gregorio "Gringo" Honasan, soldier turned politician. Long associated with Enrile, he cultivated a dashing image as a leading figure in the coup plots and attempts against Marcos (he was at EDSA) and Cory. Ramos granted him amnesty and he ran for the Senate and has served multiple terms over the years. After being jailed for plotting against Macapagal-Arroyo, he won another Senate term while in prison, was released, and served in the Senate until being appointed as Information and Communications Technology secretary in 2018.
- Imelda Romualdez Marcos, former beauty queen, 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.
- Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., son of the elder Marcos and senator. Was targeted for assassination during the aborted coup that led to the first EDSA. Like the rest of the Marcos family, maintains that President Marcos did right by the country and has declined to give apologies for the past or has only given non-apologies at best. Ran as vice president in the last elections, gained a following among young voters and lost by a mere 200,000 votes, causing many among the older generations to wonder if the nation has Aesop Amnesia or has been brainwashed by social media propaganda. Vying to run for president in the 2022 elections.
- Maria Imelda Josefa "Imee" R. Marcos, eldest daughter of President Marcos, former governor of Ilocos Norte and currently a senator. Dissed The Beatles during their first and only visit to the country after they were perceived to have snubbed the First Family by failing to turn up at the presidential mansion.note Was married but now separated from athlete and businessman Tommy Manotoc, and one of her sons is model Borgy Manotoc.note
- Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa, the former chief of the country's police force who is now a senator known for his bizarre media antics, being bald, and his The Rock-like physique, which partially lends to his nickname. note
- Leila de Lima, former human rights chairperson, justice secretary, and now senator. Oversaw the raids in the national penitentiary that uncovered the lavish lifestyles of high-profile inmates and later on became one of Duterte's staunchest critics. She herself has been mired in controversy over the drug trade at Bilibid and of her alleged relationship with her driver. Her imprisonment caused the US Senate to pass a resolution condemning her detention (and possibly invoking the Magnitsky Act against those responsible for the process).
- Richard "Dick" Gordon, currently a senator and chairman of the local Red Cross whose main claim to fame is his transformation of the former US Navy base in Subic into one of the region's investment hubs. Formerly mayor of Olongapo during The '80s, tourism secretary in the early 2000s, and also ran for president in 2010. Like Cardinal Sin, he also has a curious sense of humor regarding his nickname being meme fodder, which in 2016, he and his campaign team used to hilarious effect.
- Antonio "Sonny" Trillanes IV, a retired Navy officer known for his principal involvement in two coups against the Arroyo regime. First gained a senatorial seat in 2007 while in jail and finished his two senatorial terms in 2019. Also known for being the person named behind the Scare Campaign ads against Duterte at the tail-end of the 2016 campaign period; late in his senatorial stint, he became the other principal Arch-Enemy of the president in the upper house.
- Janet Lim-Napoles, a businesswoman linked as the mastermind behind the pork barrel note scam, which led to the abolition of such funds in 2013 after triggering a Senate investigation and widespread protests.
- Jose Maria Sison, writer, chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines, and founder of left-wing youth group Kabataang Makabayan note during The '60s. Has been in exile in Netherlands since the first Aquino administration. He was also a professor of the current president and uncle of senator Leila De Lima.
- Grace Poe-Llamanzares, senator and adopted daughter of the late Fernando Poe, Jr. First rose to politics when she was appointed chair of the country's Media Watchdog and later topped the senatorial race in 2013 on a platform to continue her (adoptive) father's legacy. Ran for president in 2016 amid controversy over her citizenship. note
- Senators Alan Peter Cayetano and his sister Pia, children of the late Rene Cayetano, who was also a senator.
- Victor Ma. Regis "Vico" Sotto, a young mayor from Pasig City known for his progressive policies (widely seen as the Foil to Duterte) and toppling the Eusebio dynasty which had control of the city for 27 years. He is the son of Vic Sotto and the nephew of the current senate president Tito Sotto (see Media folder).
- Francisco "Isko" Moreno Domagoso, another young-ish mayor from Manila known for his streetwise image and social media savvy. Originally an actor, he joined politics in the late 90s as a councilor for his hometown and later as vice-mayor under both Alfredo Lim and Joseph Estrada. Vying to run for president in the 2022 elections.
- Jose Manuel "Chel" Diokno, human rights lawyer and chairman of the Free Legal Assistance Group, which provides pro bono services to marginalized sectors of the society.
- Noli De Castro, broadcaster (known for being a Large Ham and his Catchphrase "Magandang gabi, bayan!" ("Good evening, nation!") who had a brief stint as senator and then Vice President.
- Lea Salonga, Broadway superstar, singing voice of both Princess Jasmine and Mulan, and the first Filipina to win a Tony Award for her leading role in Miss Saigon. Nicknamed "the pride of the Philippines", probably the most famous Pinoy artist worldwide and definitely one of the most beloved.
- Senator Vicente "Tito" Sotto III, another long-running public official who was previously vice-mayor of Quezon City, and has been on the Senate since 1992 (except for the 2004-2010 period). Infamously plagiarized a series of speeches, including that of Robert F. Kennedy in his arguments against the Reproductive Health bill (now passed into law) in the early 2010s. Also the grandson of a former senator who went by the same name.
- Along with Vicente, 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.
- Maria Ressa, Filipino-American journalist, former CNN newscaster, founder of independent news website Rappler, and the Philippines' first Nobel Peace Prize winner in 2021 (jointly with fellow journalist Dmitry Muratov of Russia), as well as the country's first-ever Nobel laureate in any category.
- 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.
- Jake Zyrus, formerly known as Charice Pempengco, transgender Idol Singer once so popular in America even Oprah Winfrey claimed to be his fan.
- Robin Padilla, former teen action star who, after serving some prison time for illegal possession of firearms, ultimately cleaned up his act, converted to Islam 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 "apl.de.ap" 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.
- The entire founding lineup of Death Angel was Filipino-American, though Mark Osegueda, Rob Cavestany, and post-reunion member Ted Aguilar are the only current Filipino members.
- Lou Diamond Phillips, the star of the film La Bamba, is an actor, director, writer, and cook, has a Filipino mother.
- Comedian Rob Schneider's mother is Filipino, and often in his movies he has her act in hilarious extra roles that fit her. By extension, Schneider's rock singer daughter, Elle King, also has Filipino lineage.
- 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, Chiaki Nanami and Nepgear.
- Arin Ilejay, drummer of the metal band Islander (formerly in Avenged Sevenfold) is part-Filipino.
- Alice in Chains bassist Mike Inez is of Filipino descent.
- 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) has Filipino paternal lineage.
- Michelle Malkin, American conservative political commentator, is the Philadelphia-born, New Jersey-raised daughter of Filipino Immigrants.note
- Maryjun Takahashi, Japanese fashion model and actress who played the role of Yumi Komigata in the second and third Rurouni Kenshin live-action film, has a Filipina mother. Her younger sister Yu is also a model and actress who played a role in Kamen Rider Kiva, and her younger brother Yuji is a football player for the Kashiwa Reysol FC in the J1 League.
- Anna Akana, star and writer of such Internet videos as Riley Rewind, has a part-Filipino mother.
- Deedee Magno-Hall, a stage actress currently known for voicing Steven Universe character Pearl, has Filipino heritage. Some other Filipina voice actresses from the show include Jennifer Paz as Lapis Lazuli and Shelby Rabara as Peridot.
- Alex Mallari Jr., who plays Four/Ryo Tetsuda in Dark Matter, was born in the Philippines.
- Charlyne Yi, star and co-writer of Paper Heart also known for playing Chi Park on House and Ruby on Steven Universe, is Filipino on her mother's side.
- Ruben Aquino, supervising animator of such Disney characters as Ursula, Maurice, Adult Simba, and Captain Li Shang, is Filipino on his father's side.
- Margaux "Mocha" Uson, singer, dancer, former sex blogger, and leader of the eponymous Mocha Girls. Infamous for her Facebook page which established her as the biggest Duterte supporter and Marcos apologist in cyberspace, and by default the country's most influential political commentator and biggest acceptable political target. note Her father Oscar, a judge, was assassinated in 2002.
- The Tulfo brothers, composed of Mon, Ben, Raffy Tulfo, and Erwin Tulfo. The brothers are known to be very confrontational and hostile to people they perceive to be either corrupt, arrogant, or lazy through their column and radio and talk shows. They were also known to use the Cluster F-Bomb that had to be toned down in later years due to obvious reasons.
- Eric Bauza is a Canadian-American voice actor of Filipino ancestry. He's voiced Foop, Puss In Boots, Belly Bag, and Fozzie Bear, among many others.
- Sumalee Montano is an American voice actress of Filipino ancestry. She's voiced Arcee, Katana, Maria Santiago, and Yuri Watanabe, among many others.
- Japanese actress Elaiza Ikeda is half-Filipina.
- Moymoy Palaboy, a comedy musical duo comprised of brothers Moymoy and Roadfill. First gained prominence in the late 2000s when they posted lip-sync parody videos on YouTube.
- Lynda Barry had a Filipina mother.
- Bea Laus, the artist behind beabadoobee, is British-Filipina.
- Singer and American Girl alumna Olivia Rodrigo is of Filipino descent through her father's side.
- Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, 32nd Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila (2011-20), and by default the most powerful clergyman in the Philippines. Later appointed in December 2019 by The Pope as the prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, better known as Propaganda Fide. He was succeeded as Archbishop of Manila by Jose Cardinal Advincula in 2021.
- 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.
- Eddie Villanueva, communist rebel-turned-preacher and leader of the Jesus is Lord Church, a revival Christian fellowship.
- 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 Finance secretary during the younger Aquino's administration.
- 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.
- Tony Tan Caktiong, President and CEO of Jollibee, the Philippines' largest fastfood chain.
- Loida Nicolas-Lewis, widow of African-American billionaire Reginald Lewis.
- Ramon Ang, president, CEO and vice-chairman of San Miguel Corporation.
- "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, singer, congressman and senator. He retired from his boxing career so he can run for president in the 2022 elections.
- 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/MMA fighter/actor 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 two-time Royal Rumble (2005, 2014) winner. Probably best known outside of the wrestling fanbase for portraying Drax the Destroyer in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
- Hidilyn Diaz, weightlifter and the Philippines' very first Olympic gold medalist in Tokyo 2020, as well as silver medalist in Rio 2016.
- 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 from his youth in The '60s, all the way to The '90s.
- Efren "Bata" Reyes, Jr., a 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".
- Eugene Torre, the first Asian to become a chess Grandmaster.
- Brandon "The Truth" Vera, Mark "The Filipino Wrecking Machine" Munoz, The Ultimate Fighter runner-up Phillipe Nover, and Flyweight Championship challengers John Dodson and Chris Cariaso are all Filipino-American MMA fighters who have competed numerous times in 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, Filipino-American (through his mother) point guard of the Los Angeles Lakers. In the 2014-15 season, the Lakers started him alongside Taiwanese-American Jeremy Lin, marking the first Asian-American backcourt start in NBA history.
- 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 Legend of Korra.
- Eskrima, also known as Arnis and Kali, a type of Filipino Martial Art that utilizes sticks and knifeplay, was used in The Bourne Series. 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.
- T.J. Perkins, Filipino-American (from Los Angeles) professional wrestler known for his work in TNA (as Manik) and WWE. Is a former TNA X Division champion, won the inaugural WWE Cruiserweight Classic (during which he represented the Philippines), and is the first WWE Cruiserweight Champion (in its current iteration).
The Philippines and their People in Fiction:
- An Alternate Philippines is part of the Unified States of Arkansas in Saga of Tanya the Evil, As one of the most important strategic nations and key passages to Asia, The Unified States maintains the stability and presence in this nation. Due to continuous war against the locals for independence, Tasha is sent to deal with the local government. The Unified states give free education and prepare local citizens to become morally and ethically literate to support the Arkansan lineage in the entire Nation. The Unified States Navy also has a large amount of long-ranged and heavy-barreled battleships Stationed in the Philippines.
- The Philippines is the setting of one mission in Black Lagoon. Specifically, it's in Mindanao Island, and unsurprisingly, Lagoon ends up contending with an Islamic terrorist group. Though in a twist, this organization is not native to the Philippines; they're a Palestinian organization on their own mission in the region (the manga named them as Hezbollah, the anime used a fictional group).
- A Filipina bar hostess named Eileen is one of Hei's apartment neighbors in Darker Than Black. Surprisingly, she is voiced by Mitsuki Saiga.
- In Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, Quatre's mercenary group is called The Maganac Corps, which is based on "mag-anak". The nearest direct translation would be "family". 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.
- There was a passing reference to a battleship named "Magsaysay" in Episode 48 of Mobile Suit Gundam SEED.
- Sven Cal Bayan, The Hero of the ONA Gundam SEED Destiny Stargazer is suspected to be Filipino; his surname is based on the Filipino word for 'town' or 'country'.
- Kiki Rosita of Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team is also probably Filipina as well, given the setting is South East Asia. Well that and her alleged unfortunate name.
- Mobile Suit Gundam: Hathaway's Flash (the 1st movie) is set in Davao, complete with Product Placement of Jollibee.
- 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!
- In The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service, sharing the same writer as MPD Psycho, a character that crossed over from the latter also claims, "I can even speak Tagalog, boy."
- 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.
- The Philippines himself appears in Hetalia, portrayed as a fun guy and a Selfie Fiend. Prior to that, the Philippines is a popular Original Character in Hetalia: Axis Powers 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.
- Fate/Zero: 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, Fujimaru's friend Hide has a 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.
- Private Actress has Mariko Soriarno, a gorgeous prospect actress who is the daughter of a Japanese man and his Filipina mistress. She goes to Japan following the example of actress Ruby Moreno, who managed to become very popular there; few after her arrival, she meets The Protagonist Shiho and they become fast friends.
- In A Certain Magical Index, Misaka-10090 infiltrated the Humanity's Wisdom Headquarters in Davao City during the Gemstone Incident.
- In Charlotte, Yuu was in Manila searching for a kid named Angelo.
- Sucy Mambabarang of Little Witch Academia is implied to be from the Philippines, as her surname Mambabarang is the Cebuano word for "dark sorcerer", and her witch's broom is immediately recognizable as the local walis tambo (broom made from soft reeds).
- In the High School Fleet movie, a character named Susan Sue Reyes, joins and aids the crew of the Harekaze to find her father after being unwittingly recruited by pirates.
- Japan Sinks features a Filipina character, Mari Mutoh, who is from Cebu and is the mother of the show's protagonists, Ayumu and Go, making them half-Filipino half-Japanese. The Philippines is also mentioned as one of the countries being hit by a big earthquake.
- Darna, probably the most famous superhero from local comics or komiks. Has appeared in many movies and TV series.
- Grail of WildStorm 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.
- Earth 2 changed the nationality of Commander Steel to Filipino with the new name Captain Steel.
- The Rebirth issue of Wonder Woman features the titular superheroine fighting Darkseid all over the streets of Manila.
- The second issue of Wonder Woman: Agent of Peace shows Diana saving a group of kids in a school from a flood due to a tropical depression hitting the Bicol region. She later saves the rest of the townspeople and receives thanks from the local doctor until she hears a news report that Lois Lane's plane crashed on the Himalayas.
- New Agents of Atlas introduces a new set of Asian or Asian-American superheroes where one of them is Filipina named Pearl Pangan a.k.a Wave whose powers are controlling water.
- Monica Gilbey Bieber is part-Filipino.
- 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.
- The Philippines was portrayed as a nation racked by terrorism in Actof Valor in which a car bomb placed in an ice-creame truck kills the U.S. Ambassador, his son, and other school children. This film was slammed by Filipinos at home and abroad for portraying Filipinos as a stereotypical terrorist.
- The Bourne Series
- Eskrima was chosen to be the protagonist's choice of martial arts.
- The 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.
- Ditto Apocalypse Now.
- 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 film of the Japanese drama/thriller series Mozu features a fictional country named "Peman," which is a fictional take on the Philippines. Several scenes were shot in various places across Metro Manila, including parts of Paco, Taguig, and Manila.
- 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.
- Heneral Luna puts a spotlight on the Philippine-American War.
- The viral website for Independence Day: Resurgence shows that Manila was one of the 108 cities devastated by the aliens during the "War of 1996."
- London Has Fallen: The beginning of the movie is voice-overs of news reports detailing terrorist attacks in the Philippines, including the Real Life 2013 Zamboanga City siege and the January 2015 incident that killed 44 Special Action Force commandos. Apparently, it appears that the Big Bad arms the rogue separatists in the South.
- 1943 Dueling Movies So Proudly We Hail and Cry 'Havoc' both center on Army nurses involved in the doomed defense of Bataan in 1942.
- The last scene from Avengers: Infinity War where Thanos emerges from a hut and watches the sunset in satisfaction after destroying half of the universe's population, including majority of the superheroes was shot at the the Banaue Rice Terraces. However that scene was set in an unnamed alien planet rather than the Philippines according to Kelly Port, visual effects supervisor.
- 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 described 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.
- Kevin Kwan's Crazy Rich Asians books have some Filipino characters in minor roles such as the nannies of Teo and Cheng families and in China Rich Girlfriend, the socialites Evangeline de Ayala and Diego San Antonio. The third and final book, Rich People Problems, has some scenes set in Manila and Palawan; Astrid Leong and Charlie Wu spend a romantic getaway on a Palawan beach.
- Phillip K. Dick's The Man in the High Castle has the Philippines under the Japanese Empire.
- Mentioned in Robert Conroy's Red Inferno: 1945 where numerous U.S. Marine units stationed there as part of the Liberation of the Philippines (1944-1945) have been transferred to Europe to fight the Soviet threat.
- The Philippines was invaded by China in Eric L. Harry's Invasion!. One character mentions about the "Rape of Manila" in the flashback chapters.
- The Crocodile God is a work-in-progress about Haik, the title's native Tagalog sea-god, who is masquerading as a Fil-Australian as he reconnects with his reincarnated Fil-American wife Mirasol. He's been mistaken for an undocumented immigrant and in addition to running from ICE, he's struggling to deal with centuries of trauma from the Death of the Old Gods (one of whom was his unborn daughter). The story is a patchwork of semi-fictional Mythopoeia with a heavily Polynesian slant, often through his and Mirasol's past-life flashbacks. In-story, Haik is a folk-memory of Paikea the Whale-Rider from New Zealand, but later chapters reveal he's also one of the Tagalog counterparts to Maui.
- InCryptid: A minor connection; in the prologue of the second book, Verity kills a manananggal in a hospital.
- There are lots of live-action television series from the Philippines. They are often called teleserye or fantaserye if the show involves supernatural elements.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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...
- The obscure 1990s NBC Sitcom Café Americain included in its main cast a dictator's wife named Madame Ybarra, based quite closely on Imelda Marcos, Ferdinand's widow. Since Madame Ybarra is said to be from the Orient, and has a Spanish last name yet was played by an Asian actress and has a somewhat stereotypical Asian-ish accent, it's safe to say she was meant to be Filipino in-universe.
- In The Sopranos, Tony Soprano once extorted (violently) a Filipino-owned laundromat.
- Dr. Raymond Langston of CSI 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 fourth 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 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).
- 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 ) 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.
- Crazy Ex-Girlfriend features Josh Chan, a Filipino-American. One episode has Rebecca learning Tagalog and cooking dinuguan (pork cooked in pig's blood) to take to Thanksgiving with his family. (It helps that both the actor who plays Josh, Vincent Rodriguez III, and one of the staff writers, Rene Gube, are both Filipino-American.)
- The Man in the High Castle: The Philippines is part of the Japanese Empire in an alternate timeline where the Axis Power won World War II. The Germans planned to attack Manila with a nuclear strike should war with the Japanese break out.
- SEAL Team's third episode involves the rescue of American hostages in the South China Sea who have been captured by Filipino pirates. The series returns to the Philippines in the second season for a three-month deployment involving Bravo Team training Filipino special forces.
- The short-lived NBC series Powerless (2017)'s main protagonist, Emily Locke, played by Vanessa Hudgens, is canonically half-Filipino, as brought up in an episode dealing with accidental racist jokes (in real life she does have Filipino ancestry, among others).
- On Madam Secretary, starring Téa Leoni as the U.S. Secretary of State, one episode featured a state visit from a brash, tough-talking Philippine president named Datu Andrade which, as followers of current events might guess, is (down to the name) a thinly-veiled Expy of (since 2016) President Rodrigo Duterte. Naturally, Philippine government spokespersons filed a complaint, something a bit of a tradition in a country known to take very real offence at ill portrayals in foreign media.
- The Assassination of Gianni Versace, the second series in the American Crime Story anthology, focuses on the life of Filipino-American Serial Killer Andrew Cunanan, and his murder of the titular fashion mogul. Towards the end of the series, Cunanan travels to the Philippines itself to confront his father Modesto at his decrepit bungalow in Baliuag, Bulacan.
- The first episode of Westworld Season 3 shows Bernard going to a port in Rizal, Palawan where he requests a fisherman to bring him to the titular park which is located in the South China Sea. Apparently, the fisherman speaks in Mandarin which is somehow a reflection on what the current geopolitical situation would be like in 2058.
- Superstore has Mateo Liwanag, an openly gay Filipino sales associate at the Cloud 9 Store portrayed by Filipino-American actor Nico Santos. One episode has him participate in a protest against Rodrigo Duterte in order to apply for asylum.
- 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.
- Ryan Ross and Jon Walker's post-Panic! at the Disco band, The Young Veins, have a song ("Heart of Mine") where the singer (Walker) briefly name-drops traveling to the Philippines.
- In Cheap Trick's "Surrender", the narrator's father says that "before we married, Mommy served in the WACs in the Philippines."
- The Philippines in Cyberpunk 2077 is briefly mentioned by Johhny Silverhand as the place Kerry went to "find" himself.
- 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 the setting for two missions 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 SoulCalibur.
- The NPC quest giver named Mongina in Dead Island is stated to be Filipino.
- Simlish from The Sims series actually contains elements of Tagalog.
- The Landfall trailer for Halo 3 points to a Filipino colony on Mars called Katagalugan, with settlements like "New Manila" and "New Legaspi".
- Dead or Alive's canon foreigner from Halo, Nicole-458, is allegedly a Filipina, because she was born in New Legaspi and likes the Filipino dessert called Halo-Halo, according to her official background profile.
- The Covenant name of the Grunts is "Unggoy", which in Tagalog literally means "monkey".
- The Hunter bosses in Halo 5: Guardians Warzone have Tagalog names like "Magsanggalang" and "Nakagagalit".
- 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 Tekken 7, Josie Rizal is introduced and fights using Yaw-Yan. 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.
- In this map◊ shows the country in End of Nations, with a map scenario. Other images shows that they are under the Liberation Front for sometime...
- The first few levels in Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 take place in the Philippines (in the Bicol region, specifically, judging by the satellite imagery in the first cutscene) and one of the HVTs for the operation is a "shot caller" for Abu Sayyaf.
- The South Pacific levels of Tomb Raider III take place in the Philippines judging by the location of the marker on the map, on a seemingly fictional island in the Sulu Sea.
- Mentioned at least thrice in the Grand Theft Auto series.
- Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories: Several pedestrians may say "Manila or Bangkok?", referring to the capital cities of the Philippines and Thailand, respectively.
- Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories: Lance Vance says "I'm the black killa from Manila." referring to the nation's capital.
- Grand Theft Auto IV:Michael Graves, a candidate for the gubernatorial elections in the State of Liberty, is said to have spent $400,000 of senatorial campaign funds on a vacation home in the Philippines.
- In Ragnarok Online, Philippines is represented by the village of Port Malaya. The game also has some monsters based on Philippine folklore like the Tikbalang, Tiyanak, and Mananangal.
- Battlestations: Pacific has three levels that take place in Philippine waters, two of which cover the Battle of Leyte Gulf, with the third involving a submarine and flying boat operating in the Visayas region.
- Call of Duty: World at War: The multiplayer map Battery is set in Fort Drum a.k.a. El Fraile Island in Manila Bay.
- Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine has a set of levels in Palawan, where one of the parts of the Infernal Machine is located.
- In Batman: Arkham Origins Bruce can partake in an Easter Egg consisting of a series of conversations, concerning Alfred and a particularly large and carnivorous bat taking residence in the Dark Knight's base of operations. In one of the discussions, Batman mentions that the Philippines is home to one of the largest bats in the whole world. Alfred then wonders how did it end up all the way to Gotham, specifically in the caves below Wayne Manor.
- MAG-ISA: This comic has a Filipino main character as well as other characters who are Filipino. In one chapter, there is a scene that talks about the communist and islamic insurgency in the Philippines. And don't forget that the name of this comic is Tagalog for "to be alone."
- Jason from Multiplex is part-Filipino and so is the webcomic's author Gordon McAlpin.
- As is Malaya from Shortpacked! as revealed in the Multiplex crossover. Her name is a Filipino word meaning Free.
- Vinson Ngo, a.k.a Bleedman, creator of Powerpuff Girls Doujinshi and Grim Tales from Down Below, plus his original work Sugar Bits.
- Banzai Girl is set in the Philippines, and Jinky faces monsters in Philippine folklore.
- Libreng Komiks is a free webcomic.
- In the alternate history 1983: Doomsday, The Philippines is one of the pre-doomsday nations to survive the nuclear war of 1983. During the war, three sites of the Philippines were hit by Soviet nuclear weapons, all which were US military bases: Clark Air Base in Pampanga, Subic Naval Base in Zambales, and Camp John Hay in Baguio City, Benguet. Following Doomsday, the country was plunged into crisis, as the affected provinces and nearby provinces were evacuated. Two years later, Chinese refugees arrived further complicating the situation. Ferdinand Marcos was disposed in a peaceful coup in 1987. The country was rediscovered by an ANZC recon team in November 1996. The following year, the Philippines took control of Sabah.
- Bedtime Stories (YouTube Channel) has an episode covering the Aswang, focusing on alleged sightings and attack taking place in Central and Northern Luzon between 2013 and 2014.
- The Loud House: The crew confirmed that the Contrasting Replacement Character Stella is a Filipina and making the first time a Nicktoon featuring Filipino representation, since the show is already popular in the Philippines.
- The Simpsons: The country is mentioned at least four times in the series.
- Steven Universe: Steven's friend Lars Barriga is at least half Filipino and even references the ube cake that he makes in one episode an old family recipe. Additionally, as noted above, four of the Crystal Gems of the show are voiced by Filipina voice actresses (Deedee Magno-Hall as Pearl, Charlene Yi as Ruby [as well as the other Rubies], Jennifer Paz as Lapis Lazuli and Shelby Rabara as Peridot).
- Trese, based on the comic of the same name, is set in Manila and uses an Urban Fantasy setting based on Filipino Mythology.
- The Wild Thornberrys: The episode Bogged Down was set in the Philippines in which the Thornberries attempt to find an Angler Fish.
- The Pacific Rim Sourcebook for Cyberpunk 2020 lists the "New Philippines" as one of the many countries in the Far East. To put it simply, it is a hellhole. The conditions in the cities are terrible, the islands of Mindanao, Sulu and Palawan have been completely overrun by Muslim Rebels, the island of Negros is under De Facto Corpo control, the north is overrun by the New People's Army and criminals and punks all over the world go to Manila, which has since become a Wretched Hive.
- Stand-up comedian Rex Navarrete, a Filipino-American, always makes references to Filipino culture. His most famous skit is arguably Maritess vs. The Superfriends, which explores the perspective of a Filipina house servant in the minding and tending of superheroes.
The Filipino flag
Coat of arms of the Philippines
The Flipino national anthem
- Unitary presidential constitutional republic
- President: Rodrigo Duterte
- Vice President: Leni Robredo
- Senate President: Tito Sotto
- House Speaker: Lord Allan Velasco
- Chief Justice: Alexander Gesmundo
- Capitals: Manila (de jure), Metro Manila (de facto)
- Largest city: Quezon City
- Population: 106,651,394
- Area: 300,000 km² (120,000 sq mi) (72nd)
- Currency: Philippine peso (₱) (PHP)
- ISO-3166-1 Code: PH
- Country calling code: 63
- Highest point: Mount Apo (2954 m/9,692 ft) (78th)
- Lowest points: Philippine Sea (10,540 m/34,580 ft) (-) and West Philippine Seanote /South China Sea (5,559 m/8,946 ft) (-)