the Philippines


Manila, Luzon




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The Philippines in earlier times


 The First Inhabitants 40.000 years ago


It is thought that  the earliest inhabitants of  the Philippines lived some 40000 years ago. On Palawan, the long and small island in de western Visayas,  human bones were found dating  to about 22.000 years ago.  Stone tools from ancient times were found too on Palawan. The age of the tools is estimated to be about 30.000 years old. A analyses showed that the tools have similar features as tools which were found on Kalimantan (Indonesia).



Picture sami deleon

The original people of the Philippines were  ancestors of the people known today as Negritos or Aeta. They are very small people with a dark skin and curly brown hair.

Picture: University of Hohenheim


The Aeta came  13000 - 10000 years ago from the Asian continent. In earlier times they lived  widespread throughout the Philippines. Today they are living in the remote highland areas of Luzon, Palawan, Panay, Negros and Mindanao. About 2300 years ago Malayan people arrived from the mainland in the Philippines and brought  a more advanced culture; dairy,  iron melting and production of iron tools, pottery techniques and the system of sawah's (rice fields).

In the tenth century Muslim traders come from Kalimantan (Indonesia)  to the Philippines.  A few centuries later, the Islam  spread out in the southern part of the Philippines. Until now, the Islam is strong rooted on Mindanao and the other (smaller) islands of the southern part of the Philippines.


 The arrival of the first Spaniards


In 1521 the Spanish period started with the arrival of a small fleet in the coastal waters of Mactan island, just east of Cebu island. It was Fernao  de Magelhaes (Ferdinand Magellan), a Portuguese in service of the Spanish King. He claimed the country for the Spanish King. 

Lapu Lapu, the national hero 


There was great resistance of the local people. In the battle that took place that day, the locals with their leader Lapu Lapu succeeded in forcing the Spaniards to retreat to their ships, after their leader, Magellan, was killed by the spears of the Lapu Lapu warriors. Lapu Lapu became the first Filipino hero.

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