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15 Wonderful Photos of the Philippines

 

The Philippines is a simply amazing country - with such beautiful mountains, hills, volcanoes, beaches, cities and lakes - that it's well worth a visit. Just look at its stunning landscapes and try to picture yourself enjoying this lush land of fantasy. So why not delight over these 15 superb photographs and learn a little bit about the turbulent but riveting history of the Philippines?

 

INTERACTIVE: click on the photographs to see them in their fully-enlarged glory.

1. The Chocolate Hills

Gorgeous Philippines

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The Philippines is named after the king of Spain, Philip II (1556-1598), whose nation ruled the Asian archipelago as a colony for more than three centuries.

 
2. Manila
Gorgeous Philippines

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At the time of the last ice age, the Philippines was joined to mainland Asia before being set adrift as it now is, becoming a confederation of 7,000 separate islands.

 
3. Banaue's rice paddies
Gorgeous Philippines

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The earliest inhabitants made their living as hunter gatherers, who gradually developed farming habits. Rice was (and remains) the principal staple of their diet.

 
4. Batangas beach
Gorgeous Philippines

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From around the year 1,000 A.D. the Philippines started trading with China. Some two centuries later, merchants from Arabia came to the nation and began spreading their Islamic faith.

5. The Busay Mountains
Gorgeous Philippines

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It was Ferdinand Magellan who ‘discovered’ the Philippines, revealing its existence to the West. Claiming it on Spain’s behalf, he installed a local chief, Humabon, freshly baptized in Jesus’ name, as his puppet ruler. However, this regime failed to dominate the lands, and Magellan perished during the troubles.

 
6. Cagayan Valley
Gorgeous Philippines

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Later expeditions were much more successful. In the 1500s, the Spanish conquistadors built the capital city Intramuros, later renamed Manila. From this point, there developed a kind of feudal system, whereby Spanish nobles and merchants owned vast estates worked on by local vassals. 

 
7. Pulag Hills
Gorgeous Philippines

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While this was going on, friars traveled with the conquistadors in order to convert the heathen to the Christian faith. Today, the Philippines' strong Catholicism (and growing evangelicalism) is testament to the success of those missionaries.

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8. Palawan Cove
Gorgeous Philippines

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While the nation flourished under Spanish rule, the Philippines was even captured by the developing superpower of Britain in 1762. However, through treaty agreements, the Philippines was peacefully returned back to Spain.

9. Ifugao rice paddies
Gorgeous Philippines

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During the 19th century, many Filipinos longed for political revolution and freedom from the imperial leash. Leaders of this movement like Jose Rizal and Andres Bonifacio were moderately successful in the long run, but eventually suffered exile and execution respectively.

 
10. Mayon volcano
Gorgeous Philippines

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During the American-Spanish war, the USA managed to wrest the Philippines from the Europeans, seizing Manila in 1898 at the same time that local revolutionaries were poised to seize back the capital for themselves! However, America prevailed, and the dream of independence was deferred.

 
11. Padre Burgos reefs
Gorgeous Philippines

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America, rather like the benevolent Catholic missionaries of earlier ages, tried to help the Filipinos as best they could. They offered them an English education and the promise of a capitalist prosperity.

12. Kawasan Falls
Gorgeous Philippines

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America, great believers in liberty and self-determination, set the Philippines on the path to independence, setting out a road map to be achieved by 1945. However, events took another dramatic turn. Just three days after the atrocity of Pearl Harbor, the Japanese invaded the Philippines. By 1942 the archipelago was conquered completely by the rising Asian power.

 
13. Taal volcano crater
Gorgeous Philippines

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Thankfully the Americans, returning in 1944, recaptured Manila in 1945 and subsequently gave the country – finally – its independence in 1946. Since, which time the Philippines has been embroiled in its own internal turmoil. Communists have vied with military dictatorships, creating many political convulsions that have wearied the locals. 

 
14. Facade of Mount Pinatubo
Gorgeous Philippines

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Today, however, the Philippines is doing well, with a growing economy and relative political peace. Let’s hope things stay good for the Filipinos and that they flourish in their beautiful homeland.

 
15. El Nido
Gorgeous Philippines

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The Philippines' story mirrors that of so much of the world, thrown around and played with like a toy by other countries. Now it's free, thanks to America, and doing well. Let's always offer a helping hand to beautiful countries like this. 

 
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