Culture and Geography
Reviewed by: Editorial Staff
The Philippines became a Spanish colony in 1521; Spanish influences can be seen even today. After the 1898 Spanish-American war, Spain ceded the island nation to America. The struggle for independence, which had begun in the Spanish era, and continued against the American forces, was interrupted by the Second World War and the Japanese invasion of the Philippines. The Philippines finally won their independence in 1946.
The local culture is an amalgamation of indigenous Malay, Spanish and American traditions. After three centuries of Spanish rule, Hispanic influence is the most dominant, and can be seen in the local cuisine, local arts and religion. On the other hand, contemporary pop culture reflects a strong American influence in the country. Being a highly religious society, family and respect for elders and for ancestors is very important.
The Philippines is situated off the South-eastern coast of Asia. The Philippines archipelago is made up of more 7,107 islands; of these only 2,000 are inhabited. The two largest islands are Luzon and Mindanao. The Philippines has a mountainous terrain, with low-lying, narrow coastal strips. It also lies in a volcanic zone.