Decomissioned Philippine cruise ship, now a floating hotel, on Manila Bay behind the venerable Manila Hotel.|
The Philippines became a country largely due to its colonization by first the Spanish and then the Americans. This is not meant to denigrate the great Philippine patriots like Rizal who fought against colonial rule. However when the Spanish arrived in 1564 the countless islands of what is now the Philippines were ruled by many small and large Muslin Rajahs. There was no country one could call the 'Philippines'.
In 1564, conquistadors led by Miguel López de Legazpi sailed from New Spain (Mexico) and arrived on the island of Cebu in February 13, 1565. There they established the first Spanish colony in the archipelago. Having heard of rich resources of Manila by local natives, López de Legazpi dispatched two of his Lieutenant-commanders, Martín de Goiti and Juan de Salcedo to explore the northern regions of the Visayas.
In 1570, the Spaniards arrived in the island of Luzon. After quarrels had erupted between the Islamic natives and the Spaniards; Goiti and López de Legazpi's soldiers waged war on the people, before they were able to take control and establish a permanent settlement in the area. In 1571 after the natives were defeated in battle, López de Legazpi made a peace pact with Rajah Sulayman, Rajah Lakandula and Rajah Matanda; who, in return, handed over Manila to the Spaniards.
早在唐朝時期中國人就到菲律賓進行貿易,中國史籍中提到的呂宋、蘇祿、麻逸和古麻剌朗等國就是在今日的菲律賓內. 根據人類學家所作的研究,在菲律賓民族中，華人血統約佔百份之二十； 爾在所有菲律賓華人之中，不論其已否菲化，百份之八、九十以上屬於閩南人, 其餘約百份之十，以廣東籍為多，其它省籍為數無幾.
歷史上一直沒有獨特而統一的菲律賓文化. 一個主要原因是菲律賓是個島國，各個地區有太多不同的語言, 因爾各地難以交流,文化發展和特色都非常局部性, 至今為止仍有80多種還在使用的語言.