The Philippines officially known as the Republic of the Philippines is a sovereign island country in South East Asia situated in the Western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan; west across the South China Sea sits Vietnam; South West is the island of Borneo across the Sulu Sea, and to the South the Celebes Sea separates if from other island of Indonesia; while to the east it is bounded by the Philippine Sea and the island-nation of Palau. Its capital city is Manila while its most populous city is Quezon City; both are part of Metro Manila.

Conquered by Spain I 1565, the islands were ceded to the U.S. in 1898, following the Spanish-American War. The Philippines achieved full independence as a republic in 1946. From 1965, the country was under the increasingly dictatorial rule of Ferdinand Marcos (1917-89); he was driven from power in 1986 and replaced by Corazon Aquino (1933-), who was president from 1986 until 1992.

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