Southeast Asia is the location of a small country called the Philippines. Formally, Republic of the Philippines, the archipelago consists of roughly 7,100 islands that are located in the southwest Pacific Ocean just Southeast of China. Natives of the country are called Filipinos. The term formerly originated when lowland Christian Spaniards, called indios, began referring to themselves as "Filipinos" (Dolan 76). The ethnic background of a modern day Filipino is as complex as a typical American's; it is a combination of numerous cultures. So the term "Filipino" means little more than does the term "American" (Bullen 36). The first known settlers on the islands were the Negritos, the aboriginal Filipinos, who arrived about 30,000 years ago (Guillermo 2). Since then, many different types of people have continuously inhabited the islands such as Chinese, Malaysian, Indonesian, Japanese, Spanish, as well as American for over 25,000 years (Levinson 153). Therefore, through centuries of interracial mating, the modern Filipino has become a unique blend of various cultures, resulting in a diverse population.
The Land: Pre-History of the Philippine Archipelago.
Around 65 million years ago, scientists believe that the Philippines and the island of Borneo were one landmass that was thrown up by volcanic eruptions in the ocean bed (Bullen 36). The eruptions were one of many processes of Plate Tectonics, which refers to changes in the configuration of Earth's crust as a result of internal forces (Christopherson 323). In time, the islands detached from each other, becoming unoccupied territory for inviting settlers. However, during that time, the human species was still in the process of evolution, so the land was settled by tenants other than human. According to Jared Diamond, the origin of human history began in central Africa about 7 million years ago. Humans were confined in the continent for the next 5 million years (36).