Philippine history can be divided into several periods namely:
- Pre-Spanish Period
- Spanish Period (1521 - 1896)
- Philippine Revolution (1896 - 1898)
- American Period (1899 - 1941)
- Japanese Occupation (1941 - 1945)
- Modern Philippine History (1946 - 1985)
- Contemporary History (1986 - Present)
Long before the coming of the Spaniards, the people whom we now call Filipinos had already their organized
way of life. Several families constitute a balangay, the unit of governance in the early Filipino society. Each
balangay was headed by a datu. Chronicles by Antonio Pigafetta who accompanied Ferdinand Magellan show the early
Filipinos were not a primitive people but were highly civilized who knew the meaning of courtesy, hospitality, and word of honor.
They had silk clothes, bolos with shaft made of gold, scabbard made of carved wood, porcelain with intricate arts, and
tattoed bodies. Advanced level of agriculture was already practiced particularly rice and root crops cultivation.
The communities then were flourishing and were in fact trading with the Chinese, Japanese, Malays, Indians, Arabs, and other
Although the early Filipinos were very hospitable, they were also ready to defend their land. As a result,
Ferdinand Magellan was killed in the historic battle of Mactan by a group of warriors led by Datu Lapu Lapu. Subsequent Spanish expeditions
led to the colonization of the islands by Spain. Yet throughout the Spanish regime, the Filipinos did not waver in their resistance
to foreign rule. More than 200 patches of rebellion emerged in the different parts of the territory. Among the notable uprisings were
led by Sultan Kudarat of Cotabato, Juan Ponce Sumoroy of Northern Samar,
Francisco Dogohoy of Bohol, Diego and Gabriela Silang of Ilocos Sur,
Juan de la Cruz Palaris of Pangasinan, and Apolinario de la cruz of Quezon.
In the later part of the 19th century, the flowering of Filipino nationalism was apparent. Abuses by
the Spanish authorities especially by notorious clergymen coupled with the liberal and revolutionary developments
abroad ushered in the new awakening. The execution of the three Filipino priests Burgos, Gomez, and Zamora following
the Cavite Mutiny in 1872 further inflamed the nascent nationalism in
the heart of many Filipinos. The works of some ilustrados (members of rich families) such as Jose Rizal, Graciano Lopez Jaena,
Antonio Luna, Marcelo H. del Pilar, and Mariano Ponce to promote changes in the Philippines came to be known as the
Propaganda Movement because they used the power of the pen to achieve their advocacy. On the other hand, Some
Filipinos, mostly from the lower social class, agreed to form the KKK or the Kataas-taasan, Kagalang-galangang
Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan. Their leader was Andres Bonifacio. The members advocated complete independence from the Spaniards.
When the Katipunan movement was discovered, a series of bloody battles ensued. This was the glorious
Philippine Revolution. On June 12, 1898, President Emilio Aguinaldo declared independence of the Philippines from Spanish rule. However, such independence
was short-lived. The United States of America intended to colonize the archipelago and so the Philippine-American War
broke out. The Filipinos were defeated and the newly-established republic ended with the arrest of President Aguinaldo
in Palanan, Isabela on March 23, 1901.
The Americans put the the entire country under their control. They believed that it is their manifest
destiny to "civilized" the Filipinos according to their own standard. They first established a military form of government. After they have pacified the
the entire country, they instituted a civil government under a civilian governor-general. The Philippine Act of 1902, became the
organic law of the country. Under the Jones Law of 1916, independence was promised once Filipinos are capable of having a strong
government. Finally, on March 23, 1935, the Commonwealth Government was established with the promulgation of the 1935 Philippine
When World War II broke out, the Philippines came under Japanese rule when the American forces were pulled out
from the Philippine front. A Japanese military government was put up. Soon, a puppet republic with Dr. Jose P. Laurel as president
was established. Yet the Filipinos continued their resistance to Japanes rule. They organized the Hukbong Mapagpalaya Laban sa
Hapon and engaged in guerilla warfare. The end of Japanese control of the country came about with the return of the American Forces
under General Douglas Macarthur. The Commonwealth Government was restored under the presidency of Sergio Osmena.
On July 4, 1946, The Philippines was granted indepedence by the Americans. Manuel A. Roxas took his
oath as the President of an independent Philippines. After his death, then vice-president Elpidio Quirino took over.
Ramon Magsaysay became the most popular president due to his pro-masses policies. He was succeeded by Carlos Garcia who instituted
the Filipino First Policy which hasten the industrialization of the country. In the next presidential election, Diosdado
Macapagal won as the fifth president of Third Republic. Ferdinand Marcos ran and won against Macapagal in the 1965 elections.
He was reelected as president in 1969. Then he went on to declare Martial Law in 1972. A new constitution was adopted in
in 1973 although President Marcos still remained a dictator. On August 21, 1983, former Senator Benigno Aquino Jr. was assassinated.
This event sparked massive protest actions that forced Marcos to call a snap election. He and Corazon Aquino, the widow of
Senator Aquino, were the candidates. The Commission on Election (COMELEC) proclaimed Marcos as the winner but Aquino and other opposition
leaders rejected the result on charges of massive cheating. His regime was put to an end with the People Power uprising in 1986.
Corazon Cojuangco Aquino was proclaimed president on February 25, 1986. Ferdinand Marcos also took his oath as president
but he and members of his family were flown to Hawaii paving the way for Aquino and vice-president Salvador Laurel to form a new government.
President Corazon Aquino, well-known as simply Cory, first established a revolutionary government but soon shifted to a constitutional government
when the 1987 Constitution was ratified. A series of coup de etats plagued the new government but never succeeded in topling it. In 1991,
The Senate of the Philippines, against the wishes of President Aquino, voted to close the American military bases in the country.
The country held a presidential election in 1992 which was won by Fidel Valdez Ramos. Under the Ramos administration, various
business monopolies were dismantled. A development program called Philippines 2000 was adopted with a focus on global
competitiveness and people empowerment. The ascension of Joseph Ejercito Estrada to the Malacanang in 1998 with the largest electoral margin ever
gave much hope to the Filipinos. This hope however quickly dissipated when the president failed to deliver on his many promises of
programs to alleviate the plight of many poor Filipinos. Instead he was accussed of massive graft and corruption and incompetence. These accussations
culminated in his ouster through the so-called people Power II. Then vice-president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo took over. She is currently the president
of the republic but her term is only up to 2010 as mandated by the constitution.