Philippines Economic History Essay

The Philippine archipelago is comprised of 7,107 islands (about 500 mi (805 km) off the southeast coast of Asia, of which only about 2,000 are inhabited - Philippines Economic History Essay introduction. They are clustered into three major island groups; Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. The overall land area is comparable to that of Arizona. Only about 7% of the islands are larger than one square mile, and only one-third have names. The largest are Luzon in the north (40,420 sq mi; 104,687 sq km), Mindanao in the south (36,537 sq mi; 94,631 sq km), and Visayas (23,582 sq mi; 61,077 sq km). The islands are of volcanic origin, with the larger ones crossed by mountain ranges. The highest peak is Mount Apo (9,690 ft; 2,954 m) on Mindanao. There are 17 established regions of the Philippines. Many people think there are only three: Luzon in the north, Visayas in the center and Mindanao in the south- however, this is just a geographical distinction similar to the west coast, east coast, and midwest in the United States.

* National Capital Region (Metro Manila)
* Cordillera Administrative Region
* Region 1: Ilocos
* Region 2: Cagayan Valley
* Region 3: Central Luzon
* Region 4a: Calabarza
* Region 4b: Mimaropa
* Region 5: Bicol
* Region 6: Western Visayas
* Region 7: Central Visayas
* Region 8: Eastern Visayas

We will write a custom essay sample on
Philippines Economic History
specifically for you for only $13.9/page
Order now

More Essay Examples on Philippines Rubric

* Region 9: Zamboanga Peninsula
* Region 10: Northern Mindanao
* Region 11: Davao
* Region 12: Soccsksargen
* Region 13: Caraga
* Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao

The Philippines are also surrounded several bodies of water; The South Celebes Sea to the south, the South China Sea to the west, the Sulu Sea, just south of the South China Sea, the Pacific Ocean to the northeast, and the Philippine Sea to the east.

Section (II) Evolution of the Language

The position of the Philippines plays a pivotal role into the development of the language. With the Pacific Ocean so near Asia has allowed them many opportunities for trade and correspondence with other nations and their languages. Spain ruled the Philippines for more than 300 years. As a result, Spanish was widely spoken throughout the country and became the national language of the Philippines. The Filipino Language derives from a country’s desire for true identity. It is the byproduct of a nation that longs for a language that can truly reflect the people it represents. It has gone through a lot of changes, challenges and modifications. Here are the 8 major languages spoken in various regions around the country: * Tagalog

* Cebuano
* Ilocano
* Bicolano
* Hiligaynon or Ilonggo
* Waray
* Kapampangan
* Pangasinence

The period of Spanish rule brought many borrowed words into the Tagalog language from Spanish. Some of these included the adoption of the Spanish number system in many settings, especially when dealing with money, and adoption of Spanish household and religious words. Words like fork, spoon, knife, table, God, holy spirit, Jesus Christ, and blessing have been adopted from the Spanish language.

The Spanish government needed these priests to conduct any and all business in the Philippines due to the language barrier. The Filipino people could not speak Spanish and the only way to communicate with them was through the priests who spoke their languages. The priests did not want the natives learning Spanish because they considered themselves an elite class, better off, than their Filipino counterparts. They wanted to maintain this separation, and saw that by preventing the Filipinos from learning Spanish, they could do so. In addition, they feared that if the native people learned Spanish, they would be more likely to be proud and rebel against the government. (Frei)

The Spanish used the language barrier as a way to prolong their control over the natives. The priests were sluggish and hesitant, even in the face of direct orders from the government, to implement Spanish teaching programs in Filipino schools. The long distance between the two countries and a very slow communication process, allowed the Spaniards time to slow up the implementation with the schools. (Bautista) The Americans had other plans. They established English as the official language of the Philippines. There were many reasons given for this change. Spanish was still unknown by many of the native people. As well, when Taft’s commission (which had been established to continue setting up the government in the Philippines) asked the native people what language they wanted, they asked for English. (Frei) The people wanted English to be the language because it was hard to conduct government in the native languages because there were a large number of different languages, and a universal language was desired. With English being the primary language at the time, it speeds up the process of developing the economy and government in the Philippines.

The United States took a different approach than the Spanish. Instead of using language as a barrier like the Spanish the U.S. helped teach English as well as their language Tagalog. Debates continued in America and in the Philippines as to whether the official language of the country should be English or one of the other native languages. It was part of the agreement of American occupation that in 1946, the Philippines would become independent of the US again. At that time, Tagalog became the official language of the Philippines, this change having been decided about ten years later and having begun already to be implemented in the educational system. (Bautista) Tagalog (and other languages of the Philippines) have been influenced by Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, English, and many other languages, in trade and in occupations by various countries; however, Tagalog is the nation’s language and is unique to every other language in the world.

Section (III) the evolution of laws

The Philippine legal system today is a unique blending of common, customary, and civil law principles. Its public law is substantially patterned after common law doctrines, while its private law follows the civil law tradition of Spain. From December 10, 1898, when Spain ceded the Philippines under the Treaty of Paris to the United States up to July 4, 1946 when the U.S. colonial regime formally ended, common law or public law principles in the United States were engrafted in the Philippine legal system. Thus, the Philippine private law at present such as the law on persons and family relations, obligations and contracts, and succession, among others, are substantially patterned after the civil code of Spain. On the other hand, it’s public law, notably constitutional law, administrative law, and the law on public offices, among others, are generally based on American law. (Russell) The combination of common, civil, and customary all went into the Constitution of 1935 and progressed through the current constitution to date.

Several laws throughout the development of the Philippines were passed to help enhance the society. On May 1, 1913, Hermenigildo Cruz organized a battle for an eight-hour working day, and the abolishment of child labor. Also, in the year 1921, The National Federation of Women’s Club was created. It was organized primarily to advance the political rights of Filipino women and later on developed into an organization of women leaders for national development. The Tydings-McDuffie Law, signed by Theodore Roosevelt, provided the establishment of the transition period before America would grant the Philippine their independence. This law alone allowed the United States to place its influence on the Filipino culture and eliminate certain parts of the Spanish government influence.

Women gained the right to vote for the first time in the Filipino culture on December 14, 1937.

Section (IV) Status of Trade within the country and with neighbors over time

The Philippines have been trading since the early 900. The Thalassocracry centered in Manila Bay and flourished with trade with Chinese, Japanese, Malays, and various other people in East Asia. During the Porcelain age (1000-1200) Trading extensively with the Arabia, India, China, and later the European. During the 1225 the Country of Mai a Sinfield pre Hispanic Philippines island state centered in Mindoro began to flourish as an entrepôt (Trading post) attracting traders & shipping from the kingdom Ryukyu to the Yamato Empire of Japan. With multiple trading posts being created, trading with India, Indonesia, China, and Japan became greater and was a huge component to why Spain wanted to seize the land.

The Philippines became a world trader with the Manila Galleon, the Spanish sailing vessel that made an annual round trip (one vessel per year) across the Pacific, between Manila, in the Philippines, and Acapulco, in present Mexico, during the period 1565–1815. They were the sole means of communication between Spain and its Philippine colony and served as an economic lifeline for the Spaniards in Manila.

During the heyday of the galleon trade, Manila became one of the world’s great ports, serving as a focus for trade between China and Europe. Though Chinese silk was by far the most important cargo, other exotic goods, such as perfumes, porcelain, cotton fabric (from India), and precious stones, were also transshipped via the galleon. After unloading at Acapulco, this cargo normally yielded a profit of 100–300 percent. On its return voyage, the vessel brought back huge quantities of Mexican silver and church personnel bearing communications from Spain. (Manila)

The Spaniards in Manila came to depend on the annual vessel so much that when a ship went down at sea or was captured by English pirates. From March 1764 to September 23, 1781 The British invaded and occupied Manila until the signing of the Treaty of Paris during the Seven-Year War in Europe. The colony was plunged into economic depression because of this invasion. The importance of the trade declined in the late 18th century as other countries began to trade directly with China. So for years the Philippines was the liaison between the Spanish and Europeans and the Asian market. By 1856 there were thirteen foreign trading firms in Manila, of which seven were British and two American; between 1855 and 1873 the Spanish opened new ports to foreign trade, including Iloilo on Panay, Zamboanga in the western portion of Mindanao, Cebu on Cebu, and Legaspi in the Bicol area of southern Luzon. The growing prominence of steam over sail navigation and the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 contributed to spectacular increases in the volume of trade. In 1851 exports and imports totaled some US$8.2 million; ten years later, they had risen to US$18.9 million and by 1870 were US$53.3 million. Exports alone grew by US$20 million between 1861 and 1870. British and United States merchants dominated Philippine commerce, the former in an especially favored position because of their bases in Singapore, Hong Kong, and the island of Borneo.

The Philippines became a huge supplier of sugar in 1859. Nicholas Loney of England pioneered the sugar industry that contributed to the economic growth of Iloilo and Panay. Local “sugar barons”, the owners of the sugar plantations, became a potent political and economic force by the end of the nineteenth century. Also, with the construction of the Manila-Dagupan Railroad, this hastened transportation and trading within the island from Manila to Dagupan. In 1903 this law granted franchise by the government to supply Manila and its environs with electricity and the electric street-railway system. This improved living condition ,therefore human capital can increase and maximize output in a production possibility curve through the increase in technology. By the late nineteenth century, three crops; tobacco, abaca, and sugar, dominated Philippine exports. In 1781, the Spanish government established a tobacco monopoly for business purposes. It served as a big source of revenue for the Spanish government until it was closed in 1882. During the period, tobacco farms and cigarettes plants in the country increased and employed many Filipinos as farmers and factory workers. As far as currency goes, the Philippines went from a barter system pre Spanish Era. During the Spanish Era (1521-1897) the Filipino money was a mixture of Mexico, Alfonsino pesos and copper coins of other currencies. During the Revolutionary period the Philippine Republic of 1898 under General Emilio Aguinaldo issued its own coins and paper currency backed by the country’s natural resources. Once the United States had hold of the Philippine, The US instituted a monetary system for the Philippine based on gold and dubbed the Philippine peso to the American dollar at the ratio of 2:1. The US Congress approved the Coinage Act for the Philippines in 1903. Section (V) The evolution of religious practice

The Philippines now proudly boasts to be the only Asia nation to be Christian. Reports show that about 85% of the population is Roman Catholic, 6% are divided amongst other nationalized cults. (Voorst) The Philippines have over 100 protestant denominations that account for 2% of the population . Islam is dominant on the southern islands of Mindanao, Sulu, and Palawan making up roughly 4% of the population. Research has shown traces of the “Chinese minority although statically insignificant, has been culturally influential in coloring Filipino Catholicism with many of the beliefs and practices of Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism” (Miller).

Before the Philippines became predominately Roman Catholic, there were other religious beliefs being practiced by the indigenous people of the Philippines. The pre-Hispanic belief system of Filipinos consisted of a pantheon of gods, spirits, creatures, and men that guarded the streams, fields, trees, mountains, forests, and houses. Bathala, who created Earth and man, was superior to these other gods and spirits. Regular sacrifices and prayers were offered to placate these deities and spirits–some of which were benevolent, some malevolent. Wood and metal images represented ancestral spirits, and no distinction was made between the spirits and their physical symbol. Reward or punishment after death was dependent upon behavior in this life every village had its share of shamans and priests who competitively plied their talents and carried on ritual curing. Many were known for their ability to develop anting-anting, a charm guaranteed to make a person invincible in the face of human enemies. Other sorcerers concocted love potions or produced amulets that made their owners invisible. (Miller).

Three foreign religions were introduced; Islam, Christianity (i.e. Roman Catholic), and Protestant. Thus a process of cultural infusion, adaptation and synthesis began and is still progressing. During the 1300s Arab traders from Indonesia introduce Islam to the Filipinos. Islam was contained in the Southern Islands and had outpost on Cebu, and Luzon. Had it not been for the Spanish arriving in the 16th century and governing the Philippines for 300 years, Islam would’ve reached throughout the entire set of islands. However, on March 28, 1521 Magellan reaches the Philippines. It marked the beginning of the Spanish interest in the Philippines as several Spanish expeditions followed. On March 29, 1521, The Spaniards fought in the Blood Compact led by Magellan against Rajah Kulambo of Limasawa. Two days later, the first mass on the Philippines soil is celebrated on March 31, 1521. “Spain carrying on their historical tradition of expelling the Jews and Moros [Moors] from Spain (a commitment to eliminating any non-Christians), Legazpi quickly dispersed the Muslims from Luzon and the Visayan island and began the process of Christianization” (Miller). Legazpi established the first permanent Spanish settlement in the country. The Philippines were governed as a territory of the Viceroyalty of New Spain on May 8, 1565. Reverend Father Andres de Urdaneta established the first Roman Catholic Church, Convent of Santo Nino, in the Philippines, on the island of Cebu. This marked the beginning of the reign of Roman Catholicism in the Philippines as Spanish priests from the other religions orders followed. The priests played significant roles in developing the country as a Spanish colony. On one hand, Spanish clergy were very destructive of local religious practices.

They systematically destroyed indigenous holy places and ‘idols’, or statues and representations of indigenous spirits, gods or goddesses. They also tried to eliminate all examples of native scripts and literature for fear that Filipinos were using exotic symbols to foment rebellion. The Spanish also imposed new ‘moralities’ on Filipinos by discouraging slave holding, polygamy, gambling, and alcohol consumption that were a natural part of the indigenous social and religious practices. Surprisingly the Spanish very seldom had to resort to military force to win over converts instead, “The impressive display of pomp and circumstances, clerical garb, images, and prayers attracted the rural populace” (Miller) To protest the Christian population the Spaniards relocated them from isolated dispersed hamlets into Spanish organized pueblos. This was a trend that is evident in today’s Philippine Christian towns. These Christian towns helped the economic development of the Philippines specifically during the 16th-late 19th century. “These pueblos had both civil and ecclesiastical authority; the dominant power during the Spanish period was in the hands of the parish priest. The church, situated on a central plaza, became the locus of town life. Masses, confessions, baptisms, funerals, marriages punctuated the tedium of everyday routines. The church calendar set the pace and rhythm of daily life according to fiesta and liturgical seasons. Market places and cockfight pits sprang up near church walls”. (Miller) Religion was a factor huge in the social norm. For example, farmers started seeking religious blessings for their rice seed before planting or in the placement of a bamboo cross at the corner of a rice field to prevent damage by insects.

December 10, 1898 played a pivotal role in the religion development of the Philippines. The “Treaty of Paris” was signed between the United States and Spain ceding Spanish colonies including the Philippines to the USA. The Americans received the right to colonize the Philippines after paying Spain $20 million. Preceding this event on April 21, 1899 the arrival of the Presbyterian Missionaries, they were the first group of Protestant missionaries to arrive and established mission in the Philippines. They established the first Protestant University in the Philippines, Stillman University, in August 1901. In the American colonialization period, Protestant teachers and missionaries came to the Philippines to purify what they viewed as the incorrect or ‘syncretic’ characteristic of charismatic blends of Filipino Roman Catholicism. In remoter parts of the Philippines, where Spanish colonialism and Roman Catholicism never penetrated until the beginning of the 20th century, a variety of Christian missionaries compete for new converts. Seventh Day Adventists and Jehovah’s Witnesses typically go door-to-door, spreading the specific messages that their sects support. (Russell) The current challenge to the supremacy of the Catholic Church comes from a variety of small sects ; fundamentalist Christian groups, such as Jehovah’s Witnesses and Seventh Day Adventists, amd the lglesia ni Kristo and Rizalists. The Roman Catholics suffer from a lack of personnel (the priest to people ratio is extremely low), putting them at a disadvantage in gaining and maintaining popular support. The Catholic Church is seeking to meet this challenge by establishing an increasingly native clergy and by engaging in programs geared to social action and human rights among the rural and urban poor.

Catholic Cathedral

Section (VI) what political form did the government take

The history of the Philippines Government went through many transformations. As of today the Philippines is considered a republic hence the official name. the Republic of the Philippines. The Philippines gained their independence from Spain June 12, 1898 and from the United States July 4, 1946. As a result the Philippines celebrate two national holidays. The Philippines is a republic with a presidential form of government wherein power is equally divided among its three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial. The voting age is18,which is universal.

The Philippines currently have all three branches of government. They hold elections for the Presidential and Vice Presidential seat every 6 years. The Judicial Branch seats 15 and they serve until the age of 70. Congress, The House of Representatives seats 250 and elections take place every 3 years, however the Senate seats 24 (one-half elected every three years; members elected at large by popular vote to serve six-year terms).

The Philippine Organic Act of 1902

This act was established on July 2, 1902. It is also known as the Philippine Bill of 1902 or the Cooper Act, named after Henry A. Cooper, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He assisted in the design of this act. It was the first fundamental law created and enacted by the United States Congress in order to establish a bicameral legislature 2 years after being established. The act was seen as an official and political stepping stone to a majority American control and influence that impacted the indigenous Filipinos by bringing American culture and language into the Filipino picture. On October 16, 1907 the Inauguration of the first Philippine Assembly took place. It served as the lower house of bicameral legislature with the Philippine Commission as the upper house. Jones Law of 1916

Jones law was implemented to help get the government of the Philippines stable and switch it from Spainish rule. In the preamble it states, “Whereas it is, as it has always been, the purpose of the people of the United States to withdraw their sovereignty over Philippine Islands and to recognize their independence as soon as a stable government can be established therein”. (Jones) Jones Law of 1916 helped set rules about citizenship, taxation laws, everything that the United States Bill of Rights and most of what preceded in the mainland of the United States the Philippines would adopt.

In 1935 the “Commonwealth Constitution” was created. The commonwealth government, cut off during the Japanese period and was restored after the war until 1973, when the President Marcos ratified a new constitution. It was written to meet the approval of the United States government as well, to ensure that the U.S. would live up to its promise to grant the Philippines independence and not have a premise to hold onto its possession on the grounds that it was too politically immature and hence unready for full, real independence. The original 1935 Constitution provided for unicameral National Assembly and the President was elected to a six-year term without re-election. Elected together with re-elected President Quezon and Vice-President Sergio Osmeña, It was amended in 1940 to have a bicameral Congress composed of a Senate and House of Representatives, as well the creation of an independent electoral commission. The Constitution now granted the President a four-year term with a maximum of two consecutive terms in office. This constitution was held valid until 1971 when President Marco implemented a new constitution. During WWII , on December 8, 1941 Japanese bombers attacked Clark Air base and other American camps in Baguio City, Manila and Davao. This signaled the beginning of the Japanese Occupation in the Philippines. In 1942, Japanese forces led by Masaharu Homma, occupied Manila and were labeled as the “Fall of Manila”.

During this time when Manila was being occupied by the Japanese the people of Manila were subjected to follow the constitution of 1943 of the Second Republic. “The Japanese monitored the drafting of the constitution and instructed the members of PCPI, led by Jose P. Laurel, that the constitution should conform with the principles of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere” (History) However it was never recognized as legitimate or binding by the governments of the United States or of the Commonwealth of the Philippines and guerrilla organizations loyal to them. In 1945 The USA entered Manila and liberated many Filipino and American internees at the University of Santo Tomas. Following this, the Philippines joined the United Nations in 1945 and were granted independence from the US on July 4 1946. Thus the constitution of 1935 was revised and enforced from 1946 to 1973. “The election of the First Congress (16 for the Senate and 104 for the House) took place on April 23, 1946. The Liberal Party captured nine of the 16 senatorial seats. The rest went to the Nacionalista candidates and their allies. Senator Jose Avelino of Samar was elected as Senate President at that time”. (Javier) Eventually considered inadequate against the changing needs of Filipinos, the 1935 Constitution was replaced with a new one ratified in 1973. The 1973 Constitution was approved for ratification two months after the imposition of the martial law on November 29, 1972.


Throughout the research of the Philippines, there have been an immense amount of changes within the country. From the Spanish to American control, the Filipino people have fought to find there voice through economic development and governmental establishment. The time period of this research dates from 1000 B.C to the end of World War II. In recent years, this country has begun to “come into their own.” Considering that most countries have traditions such as languages and religion that are well established for hundreds of years, the duration of their independence is new. However, the resilience of the Filipino people has never died off and they continue to grow as a country.

Reference Page

Bautista, Veltisezar. The Philippines: Then and Now. Bookhaus, 2002. Frei, Ernest J. The Historical Development of the Philippine National Language. Manila: Bureau of Printing, 1959. “History of the Senate – Senate of the Philippines.” Essentials and Synamics of the Senate. 2001. Javier, Judette. “Constitution of the Second Philippine Republic [The 1943 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines].”. “Manila Galleon (Spanish Sailing Vessel).” Britannica Online Encylopedia. Miller, Jack. “Religion in the Philippines.” 1982.

“The Jones Law of 1916 | Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines.” Voorst, R. Van. “Religious Groups in the Philippines.” 2000.

Choose Type of service

Choose writer quality

Page count

1 page 275 words


Order Creative Sample Now

Haven’t Found A Paper?

Let us create the best one for you! What is your topic?

By clicking "SEND", you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy. We'll occasionally send you account related and promo emails.

Eric from Graduateway Hi there, would you like to get an essay? What is your topic? Let me help you


Haven't found the Essay You Want?

Get your custom essay sample

For Only $13.90/page