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The Philippines, officially the Republic of the Philippines, is an archipelagic country in Southeast Asia. In the western Pacific Ocean, it consists of 7,641 islands, with a total area of 300,000 square kilometers, which are broadly categorized in three main geographical divisions from north to south: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. The Philippines is bounded by the South China Sea to the west, the Philippine Sea to the east, and the Celebes Sea to the south. It shares maritime borders with Taiwan to the north, Japan to the northeast, Palau to the east and southeast, Indonesia to the south, Malaysia to the southwest, Vietnam to the west, and China to the northwest. It is the world's twelfth-most-populous country, with diverse ethnicities and cultures. Manila is the country's capital, and its most populated city is Quezon City. Both are within Metro Manila.

Negritos, the archipelago's earliest inhabitants, were followed by waves of Austronesian peoples. The adoption of Animism, Hinduism with Buddhist influence, and Islam established island-kingdoms ruled by datus, rajas, and sultans. Overseas trade with neighbors such as the late Tang or Song empire brought Sinitic-speaking Sangley / "Langlang" merchants to the archipelago, which would gradually settle in and intermix. The arrival of Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese explorer leading a fleet for Castile, marked the beginning of Spanish colonization. In 1543, Spanish explorer Ruy López de Villalobos named the archipelago Las Islas Filipinas in honor of King Philip II of Castile. Spanish colonization via New Spain, beginning in 1565, led to the Philippines becoming ruled by the Crown of Castile, as part of the Spanish Empire, for more than 300 years. Catholic Christianity became the dominant religion, and Manila became the western hub of trans-Pacific trade. Hispanic immigrants from Latin America and Iberia would also selectively colonize. The Philippine Revolution began in 1896, and became entwined with the 1898 Spanish–American War. Spain ceded the territory to the United States, and Filipino revolutionaries declared the First Philippine Republic. The ensuing Philippine–American War ended with the United States controlling the territory until the Japanese invasion of the islands during World War II. After the United States retook the Philippines from the Japanese, the Philippines became independent in 1946. The country has had a tumultuous experience with democracy, which included the overthrow of a decades-long dictatorship in a nonviolent revolution.

The Philippines is an emerging market and a newly industrialized country, whose economy is transitioning from being agricultural to service- and manufacturing-centered. It is a founding member of the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, ASEAN, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, and the East Asia Summit; it is a member of the Non-Aligned Movement and a major non-NATO ally of the United States. Its location as an island country on the Pacific Ring of Fire and close to the equator makes it prone to earthquakes and typhoons. The Philippines has a variety of natural resources and a globally-significant level of biodiversity. (Full article...)

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APO Hiking Society performing in 2010. From left: Boboy Garrovillo, Danny Javier, and Jim Paredes

The Apolinario Mabini Hiking Society, later popularly known as APO Hiking Society, or simply APO, are a Filipino musical group, that comprised Danny Javier, Jim Paredes, and Boboy Garrovillo. Today, the group consists of only Paredes and Garrovillo as a duo.

APO Hiking Society are regarded as one of the pillars and icons of Original Pilipino Music (OPM). The group was formed and had its fledgling beginnings in 1969 at the Ateneo de Manila High School, with 12 members: Lito de Joya, Sonny Santiago, Gus Cosio, Renato Garcia, Chito Kintanar, Kenny Borton, Bruce Brown, Butch Dans, Doden Besa, Ric Segreto Macaraeg, Jim Paredes, Boboy Garrovillo, and the 13th member, Danny Javier, who joined in college. The group's name was created from the acronym AMHS representing their school with a witty twist having an irreverent reference to the Philippine revolutionary intellectual and hero, Apolinario Mabini, and later shortened to "Apo", an Ilocano term for a wise man or a Tagalog term of grandchildren, and later re-branded to "APO" (all caps). Contrary to popular belief, the "Apo" name was not a reference to the Philippines's highest peak, the potentially-active stratovolcano Mount Apo. The group's name and meaning was a joke for the fact that Mabini has been paralyzed by polio during the Philippine revolution and cannot use his feet for walking nor hiking, hence the name. (Full article...)
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Official portrait, 2019

Francisco Moreno Domagoso (born October 24, 1974), also known as Isko Moreno Domagoso (Tagalog pronunciation: [isˈkɔʔ mɔˈɾɛ.nɔ dɔ.maˈɡɔ.sɔ]) or simply Isko Moreno, is a Filipino politician, actor, host and entrepreneur who served as the 27th Mayor of Manila, the capital city of the Philippines, from 2019 to 2022. Before entering politics, Moreno first gained notability as an actor and television personality.

Moreno was born and raised in the slums of Tondo, Manila, and spent his childhood in poverty. After a modest career in show business, he entered politics in 1998, standing for election as a city councilor of Manila; he was elected for three consecutive terms. He then pursued higher education, including some non-degree postgraduate education at Harvard Kennedy School and Oxford Saïd Business School. In 2007, he was elected as vice mayor of Manila for the first of three consecutive terms. In 2016, he was term-limited as vice mayor and unsuccessfully ran for senator in the 2016 senatorial elections, being placed 16th out of 50 candidates. He then served in the cabinet of President Rodrigo Duterte as social welfare undersecretary for a few months in 2018, before successfully standing as mayor of Manila, winning in a landslide victory against his former allies Joseph Estrada and Alfredo Lim in the 2019 local elections becoming the youngest elected mayor of Manila since the People Power Revolution. (Full article...)

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In the news

22 March 2024 – Moro conflict
The Philippines announces that Islamic terrorist group Abu Sayyaf has been "fully dismantled", bringing an end to the decades-long jihadist insurgency. Twenty members of the group remain in Sulu and Basilan provinces, and negotiations are ongoing for their surrender. (Atlas News) (Philippine Daily Inquirer)
21 March 2024 –
Filipino former legislator Arnolfo Teves Jr. is arrested in Dili, East Timor, after being placed in the Interpol Red Notice in connection with his role in the 2023 massacre in Negros Oriental, Philippines. (AFP via Barron's)
5 March 2024 – Territorial disputes in the South China Sea
Four Philippine Coast Guard sailors are injured in contested waters when watercannons are deployed by the Chinese Coast Guard. The vessels were escorting a resupply convoy to a Philippine outpost in disputed territory at Second Thomas Shoal in the South China Sea, claimed by several nations. (CNN)

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