10 Surprising Facts About the History of the Philippines

10 Surprising Facts About the History of the Philippines

Uncovering the Unknown: 10 Startling Facts About the Philippine History

Most of us are already aware that the Philippines has a rich and diverse history. But did you know some fascinating facts about its past? The country’s multi-layered narrative is remarkable, having been marked by various political events in human history, merging multiple cultural influences through time. There’s so much to learn out there! Exploration of our nation’s captivating story can teach us valuable lessons from times before–allowing us an opportunity to honour this gracious land with better understanding. In this article, we will explore 10 surprising facts about the history of the Philippines, giving readers a glimpse of what life was like in the past and uncovering some of the lesser-known aspects of the nation’s history.

1. Ancient Tribes Preceded the Spanish Colonization

Contrary to popular belief, the Philippines was not first discovered by Spanish explorers in the 15th century. A more accurate understanding of history is that people have been living there as far back as 30,000 BC – yes thousands upon thousands of years before Spanish Colonization even happened! These ancient tribes were hunter-gatherers who lived off a combination from divine gifts bestowed on them through Mother Nature. It’s amazing how much culture and tradition remains deeply embedded in Filipino society today despite centuries passing since their civilization served over these sacred grounds; surely something for us to be proud about indeed!

2. The Philippines Was the First Republic in Asia

The Philippines has a rich and vibrant history. While it was previously under Spanish rule for over 300 years, the Filipino people never lost hope of achieving their freedom. They actively fought against them by launching an unforgettable revolution that eventually led to its independence in 1898 from Spain – becoming one of world’s first republic in Asia! This momentous achievement is often celebrated locally as well as internationally with pride; marking this remarkable victory for human rights everywhere.

3. It Was Not the First Country to Declare War on America

Contrary to popular belief, the Philippines was not actually the first country in history to declare war on America. Over a hundred years before that fateful battle began between Spain and Filipinos for independence from them as declared by General Emilio Aguinaldo Yayon-Jones in 1899, another famous figure had already done it: Sam Houston of The Republic Of Texas – Yep , way back 1836 they played their card long ahead! Resulting eventually with US victorious over Philipines American War which ended conclusively 1901’s Treaty Of Paris later even after series military operations.But hey overall it still goes down as one intense moment Hollywood could write about so well !

4. There Was a Multi-Religious Society

The Philippines has a long and varied history when it comes to religions. Ancient beliefs and traditions have been an integral part of Filipino culture since many generations ago, but later on these would be integrated with Hinduism & Buddhism brought by traders from India as well Islam coming in through the Malays. According to historian sources such as “There Was a Multi-Religious Society”, this multi-cultural society that exists today is quite unique due its combinations of multiple belief systems coexisting together over time. The eventual arrival of the Spanish in search for a new route to reach East Asia brought Christianity to the nation, which eventually became its biggest religion.

5. Filipinos Were Responsible for the Creation of Many Important Inventions

  • The digital microphone, used in almost all communication applications in the world today, was invented in 2008 by Filipino engineers.
  • The world’s first successful open-heart surgery was performed by Filipino surgeon Dr. Valdez in 2006.
  • The first global navigation satellite system was developed by a team of Filipino scientists in 1999.
  • The Bank of the Philippine Islands was founded in 1851 by Filipino entrepreneur Don Jose Eleuterio Gomez, qui making it the oldest bank in Southeast Asia and the second oldest in Asia.
  • The first earthquake resistant building in the world was constructed by Filipino engineer Euclides Cristobal in 1976.

6. The Kalinga Tattooed People

The Kalinga people of Northern Luzon are a community filled with interesting culture and traditions, especially when it comes to body art. Reputed for their intricate bodysuit tattoos which symbolise stories about the wearer’s history or lineage, these markings allegedly provide protection against enemies and wild animals according to legend. Despite its alleged significance, the true purpose behind such an artwork remains unknown – one thing’s definitely certain though; they’re certainly beautiful!

7. The Philippines Has the Longest Christmas Celebration in the World

It’s a well-known fact that Filipinos love celebrating – and what better way to showcase this than with the longest Christmas celebration in the world? Festivities begin as early as September, when caroling and parolas (lanterns) are seen around neighborhoods. As we draw closer towards December, there is an even bigger array of festivities such as traditional Dancing gigs ahead! Ultimately ending on January 6th or Epiphany – which marks the 15 days culmination leading up to Jesus Christ’s birth. It’s truly exciting for Filipino families getting together during this time filled with joyous traditions shared by their community at large.

8. The Quranic Script is Still Used Today

The history of Islam in the Philippines goes way back. Arab traders brought it with them as early as the 13th century, bringing with them their script to transcribe local languages like Tagalog and Pampanga. This form has been slightly modified over time but remains essentially unchanged since then; stuck around up until today without much change at all! Known now affectionately by some Filipinos refer to this version of Arabic alphabet is known Quranic Script – marking its legacy for hundreds years within our country’s culture and language family!

9. The South Sea Pearl Trade

Pearl harvesting had been an integral part of the Philippines since ancient times. It was used to build economic prosperity and it flourished in particular during the early 19th century, when Palawan’s pearls become highly sought after commodities abroad – According to The South Sea Pearl Trade. This industry made a huge impact on Philippine economy providing income for many communities around the country.

10. The Philippine Flag Has Changed Over Time

The Philippine flag is an iconic symbol of national identity and pride. First adopted in 1898, it has gone through multiple iterations over time – reflecting the changes that take place within the country’s society such as adding 11 stars to its design during 1935 or recently including 3 additional stars for a tri-equal representation of modern times. As times change so does our beloved flag – making sure we keep connected with who we are!


The history of the Philippines is full of interesting facts, stories and discoveries. From ancient animistic religions to colonisation by western powers, there’s a lot for those willing to delve into its murky depths. Whether it be looking at how Chinese traders impacted on Filipino culture or exploring Spain’s 500-year long imprint on the nation – learning about Philippine history can help people understand why certain attitudes still exist today as well as celebrate different cultures which have all contributed in some way. It takes an open mind, eagerness to learn and appreciation for diverse peoples inputs that makes discovering our country’s past so rewarding and insightful!

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