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The Philippines (/ˈfɪlɪpnz/ ; Filipino: Pilipinas), officially the Republic of the Philippines (Filipino: Republika ng Pilipinas), is an archipelagic country in Southeast Asia. In the western Pacific Ocean, it consists of 7,641 islands 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, Islam and Hinduism established island-kingdoms ruled by datus, rajas, and sultans. The arrival of Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese explorer leading a fleet for Spain, 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 settlement 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. The Philippine Revolution began in 1896, which 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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Typical costume of a family belonging to the principalía of the late 19th century Philippines. Exhibit in the Villa Escudero Museum, San Pablo, Laguna.

The principalía or noble class was the ruling and usually educated upper class in the pueblos of Spanish Philippines, comprising the gobernadorcillo (later called the capitán municipal and had functions similar to a town mayor), tenientes de justicia (lieutenants of justice), and the cabezas de barangay (heads of the barangays) who governed the districts. Also included in this class were former gobernadorcillos or municipal captains, and municipal lieutenants in good standing during their term of office.

The distinction or status of being part of the principalía was originally a hereditary right. However, a royal decree dated December 20, 1863 (signed in the name of Queen Isabella II by the Minister of the Colonies, José de la Concha), made possible the creation of new principales under certain defined criteria, among which was proficiency in the Castilian language. Later, wider conditions that defined the principalía were stipulated in the norms provided by the Maura Law of 1893, which was in force until Spain lost the Philippines to the United States in 1898. The Maura Law also redefined the title of the head of municipal government from gobernadorcillo to capitán municipal, and extended the distinction as principales to citizens paying 50 pesos in land tax. (Full article...)
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Allan Pineda Lindo (born November 28, 1974), known professionally as (IPA: /ˌæpəldiˈæp/ AP-əl-dee-AP), is a Filipino-American rapper, singer and record producer. He is a founding member of the hip hop group Black Eyed Peas. (Full article...)

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In the news

13 November 2023 – Philippine drug war
A Regional Trial Court grants bail to opposition leader and former Senator Leila de Lima on her last drug case, ending her six years in detention. (CNN)
10 November 2023 – Territorial disputes in the South China Sea, China–Philippines relations
China imposes "control measures" against Philippine vessels at a contested South China Sea location after a Philippine auxiliary ship entered the area which China deemed as infringing on its sovereignty. (AFP via TOI)
7 November 2023 –
Alleged cult leader Jey Rence Quilario and three other members of the Socorro Bayanihan Services are arrested at the Philippine Senate after a hearing over charges of human trafficking and other human rights abuses. (Rappler).
30 October 2023 – 2023 Philippine barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections
Filipinos elect members of the village and youth councils after a three-year delay. (AFP via Al Jazeera)
27 October 2023 –
The Philippine National Police detain almost 600 individuals during a raid on a suspected human trafficking and Internet fraud hub in Manila, with nationals from multiple countries present. (AFP via CNA)

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