The Philippines is a republic democratic country in Southeast Asia situated in the western Pacific Ocean. The Philippines’ location on the Pacific Ring of Fire and close to the equator makes the Philippines prone to earthquakes and typhoons, but also endows it with abundant natural resources and some of the world’s greatest biodiversity. It is consist of 1,701 islands which are categorized under three geographical divisions namely, Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.
The Philippines was named in honor of King Philip II of Spain. Spanish explorer Ruy Lopez de Villalobos during his expedition in 1542 named the islands of Leyte and Samar Felipinas after the then Prince of Asturias. Eventually the name Las Islas Filipinas would be used to cover all the islands of the archipelago. Before that became commonplace, other names such as Islas del Poniente (Islands of the West) and Magellan’s name for the islands San Lazaro were also used by the Spanish to refer to the islands.
The official name of the Philippines has changed several times in the course of its history. During the Philippine Revolution, the Malolos Congress proclaimed the establishment of the Republica Filipina or the Philippine Republic. From the period of the Spanish-American War (1898) and the Philippine-American War (1899-1902) until the Commonwealth period (1935-1946), American colonial authorities referred to the country as the Philippine Islands, a translation of the Spanish name. From the 1898 Treaty of Paris, the name Philippines began to appear and it has since become the country’s common name. Since the end of World War II, the official name of the country has been the Republic of the Philippines.