It was interesting to learn more about the Philippines today. I found this web site that had enough digestible information to gain a better picture of the country. The web site is http://www.philippine-islands.info/.
The country is actually comprised of over 7,107 islands with 3 main island groups: Luzon (to the North), Visayas (central), and Mindanao (to the South). The capital city of the Philippines is Manila on the island of Luzon.
The Filipino culture has been shaped as much by its proximity to other countries as it has by its history. It is surrounded by Malaysia and Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand, China, as well as South Korea and Japan.
It has also had its share of occupations, conquests, and conflicts. Aboriginal inhabitants date as far back as 25,000 years ago by the Negritos from Asia. Spain conquered and ruled for over 300 years, colonizing from the 1520's through the late 1890's. The islands were named the Philippines in honor of King Philip II in Spain. There were periods of revolt and resistance.
After losing a war with the United States (U.S.) over Cuba, Spain sold the Philippines to the U.S. for $20 million. This led to the Filipino-American War for 10 years which resulted in the deaths of over 600,000 Filipinos. Partial independence was granted after U.S. President Roosevelt recognized a new Philippine Constitution. The Philippines were then heavily impacted by World War II as Japanese forces invaded Luzon and took over Manila.
Full independence from the U.S. was finally granted to the Philippines after the war on July 4, 1946.
Since gaining independence, the Philippines has had to deal with its own internal politics though maintaining its democracy.