Filipino Presidents – Biographies

The native Tagalog word for ‘president’ is pangulo, and the Spanish-derived Filipino word is presidente.

Emilio Aguinaldo (1869 – 1964)
The president of the first Philippine republic (1899). He started as a member of the Magdalo Chapter of the Katipunan in Cavite, then was elected president of the revolutionary government at the Tejeros Convention on March 22,1897, and, later, Biak-na-Bato Republic. He proclaimed Philippine independence at Kawit on June 12, 1898. His capture foreshadowed the end of large-scale armed resistance to American rule.
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Short Historical Background

The Philippine Islands became a Spanish colony during the 16th century. They were ceded to the United States in 1898 following the Spanish-American War.

In 1935 the Philippines became a self-governing commonwealth. Manuel Quezon was elected president and was tasked with preparing the country for independence after a 10-year transition.

In 1942 the islands fell under Japanese occupation during World War II, and US forces and Filipinos fought together during 1944-45 to regain control.

On 4 July 1946 the Republic of the Philippines attained its independence from the United States. Continue reading “Short Historical Background”

Philippine Economy: Spanish Period

The Philippine Economy During the Spanish Colonial Period

Ferdinand Magellan was the first European recorded to have landed in the Philippines. He arrived in March 1521 during his circumnavigation of the globe. He claimed land for the king of Spain but was killed by a local chief.

Following several more Spanish expeditions, the first permanent settlement was established in Cebu in 1565. After defeating a local Muslim ruler, the Spanish set up their capital at Manila in 1571, and they named their new colony after King Philip II of Spain. In doing so, the Spanish sought to acquire a share in the lucrative spice trade, develop better contacts with China and Japan, and gain converts to Christianity. Only the third objective was eventually realized.

As with other Spanish colonies, church and state became inseparably linked in carrying out Spanish objectives. Several Roman Catholic religious orders were assigned the responsibility of Christianizing the local population. The civil administration built upon the traditional village organization and used traditional local leaders to rule indirectly for Spain. Through these efforts, a new cultural community was developed, but Muslims (known as Moros by the Spanish) and upland tribal peoples remained detached and alienated.

Trade in the Philippines centered around the “Manila galleons,” which sailed from Acapulco on the west coast of Mexico (New Spain) with shipments of silver bullion and minted coin that were exchanged for return cargoes of Chinese goods, mainly silk textiles and porcelain. There was no direct trade with Spain and little exploitation of indigenous natural resources. Most investment was in the galleon trade. But, as this trade thrived, another unwelcome element was introduced — sojourning Chinese entrepreneurs and service providers. Continue reading “Philippine Economy: Spanish Period”

Philippine History, 1521-1946

The Tagalog word for ‘history’ is kasaysayan.

Spanish rule of the Philippines began soon after the explorer Ferdinand Magellan discovered the islands in 1521. Magellan had been searching for a shorter route to Moluccas, the Spice Islands.

Admiral Ruy Lopez de Villalobos named the archipelago Las Filipinas after King Philip II of Spain, and in 1565 helped to build the first Spanish settlement on the main island of Luzon.

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Magellan Song, Lyrics & Recoding

These are the lyrics to the funny Magellan song of Filipino singer Yoyoy Villame about one of the most famous events in Philippine history: the discovery of the Philippine islands by Ferdinand Magellan and his subsequent death at the hands of local chieftain Lapu-Lapu.

What makes it funny is the broken English lyrics, but the story is as close to the actual events as most Filipinos know.

MAGELLAN SONG LYRICS

On March 16, 1521
When Philippines was discovered by Magellan
They were sailing day and night across the big ocean
Until they saw a small Limasawa island
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The Era of Ferdinand Marcos

Nacionalista Party leader Ferdinand Marcos dominated the political scene of the Philippines for two decades after his election to the presidency in 1965.

Nacionalista Party leader Ferdinand Marcos dominated the political scene of the Philippines for two decades after his election to the presidency in 1965. During his first term, Marcos initiated ambitious public works projects that improved the general quality of life while providing generous pork-barrel benefits to his friends. Marcos perceived that his promised land reform program would alienate the politically all-powerful landowner elite, and thus it was never forcefully implemented. He lobbied strenuously for economic and military aid from the United States while resisting significant involvement in the Second Indochina War (1954–75).

In 1967 the Philippines became a founding member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Marcos became the first president to be reelected (in 1969), but early in his second term economic growth slowed, optimism faded, and the crime rate increased. In addition, a new communist insurgency, this time—starting in 1968—led by the new Communist Party of the Philippines-Marxist-Leninist and its military arm, the New People’s Army, was on the rise. In 1969 the Moro National Liberation Front was founded and conducted an insurgency in Muslim areas. Political violence blamed on leftists, but probably initiated by government agents provocateurs, led Marcos to suspend habeas corpus as a prelude to martial law.
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Summary of the American Colonial Period

The rule of the United States over the Philippines had two phases.

The first phase was from 1898 to 1935, during which time Washington defined its colonial mission as one of tutelage and preparing the Philippines for eventual independence. Political organizations developed quickly, and the popularly elected Philippine Assembly (lower house) and the U.S.-appointed Philippine Commission (upper house) served as a bicameral legislature. The ilustrados formed the Federalista Party, but their statehood platform had limited appeal. In 1905 the party was renamed the National Progressive Party and took up a platform of independence. The Nacionalista Party was formed in 1907 and dominated Filipino politics until after World War II. Its leaders were not ilustrados. Despite their “immediate independence” platform, the party leaders participated in a collaborative leadership with the United States. A major development emerging in the post-World War I period was resistance to elite control of the land by tenant farmers, who were supported by the Socialist Party and the Communist Party of the Philippines. Tenant strikes and occasional violence occurred as the Great Depression wore on and cash-crop prices collapsed.
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Water Torture Of Filipinos By Americans

That cruelties have been inflicted; that people have been shot when they ought not to have been; that there have been in individual instances of water cure, that torture which I believe involves pouring water down the throat so that the man swells and gets the impression that he is going to be suffocated and then tells what he knows, which was a frequent treatment under the Spaniards, I am told—all these things are true.

— William Howard Taft

Filipino Undergoing Water Torture

May 1902: “Water Cure” During the Philippine-American War

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