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Manila
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The Philippines are made up of 7,107 separate islands, each of whom historically celebrated their own chieftain and island culture. Magellan landed in the 16th century to claim the Philippines for Spain. As this declaration did not please the Filipinos, they killed him. Eventually Spain triumphed and named this archipelago for King Phillip II of Spain. After three centuries of missionary work by conquistadors and monks, today's population is over 80% Roman Catholic. (Islam had been introduced in the 14th century by Arab traders and today is practiced mostly in the southern islands, such as Mindanao.) The US took over during the Spanish-American War, when it defeated the Philippine navy in Manila Bay. In 1942, the Japanese occupied the Philippines, until they were liberated by Macarthur, who set up shop in the grand old Hotel Manila. We toured the Intramuros district, the centuries old Spanish walled city, which eventually evolved into places of dreadful internment for political prisoners, those attempting to gain freedom for the Filipinos and later for WW II POWs. Gleaming skyscrapers line modern Manila harbor towering over traffic jammed streets of tricycle taxis and jeepneys. (Jeepneys are recycled leftover WWII jeeps, now converted into outrageously decorated buses that are a major arm of Manila's mass transportation system.) McDonald patrons pass through carbine-armed security guards. At the open market, naked toddlers crouch on littered sidewalks and the open hands of sorrowful-eyed children reach out to underscore the vast population of Filipino "have nots" existing in the shadows of skyscrapers, marking Manila's affluent financial district. Indeed, one of Manila's razor-sharp contrasts!

 

Cultural Dances Spanish Walled City Authentic Jeepney
Hotel Manila St. Augustine Cathedral Tricycle Taxi

Philippines

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