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Tropical climate tempered by constant sea breezes. There are three distinct seasons: the rainy season (June to September), cool and dry (October to February), and hot and mainly dry (March to May). Evenings are cooler. Typhoons occasionally occur from June to September.

Required clothing: Lightweight cottons and linens are worn throughout most of the year, with warmer clothes useful on cooler evenings. Rainwear or umbrellas are advisable for the rainy season.


History: The earliest inhabitants of the Philippines were the Negritos. Other tribes later arrived from Malaysia and Indonesia. In 1521, the Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan, financed by the King of Spain, landed on the islands and named them after Philip II of Spain. Friars converted the inhabitants to Christianity, and today the Philippines is the only predominantly Christian country in South-East Asia. Spanish explorer Miguel Lopez de Legaspi established the first Spanish settlement in Cebu in 1565; he moved north and defeated the Muslim Rajah Sulayman and, in 1571, established a Spanish base in Manila, extending the area under Spanish control. In 1896, a revolution against Spanish rule led to the establishment of the first Filipino Republic in 1898 under General Emilio Aguinaldo. Later, the United States took control of the islands, and in 1935 a constitution was drawn up giving the Philippines internal self-government. The islands were occupied by the Japanese between 1942 and 1945 during the Second World War, and achieved independence in 1946. In the next two decades there was a succession of presidents who maintained strong links with the United States. In 1965 Ferdinand Marcos of the Nacionalista Party won the presidential elections and began a programme of rapid economic development. Before his maximum of two terms in office were over, in 1972, Marcos instituted martial law and suppressed all political opposition. He also set about large-scale looting of the country's exchequer to fill his and his family's own foreign bank accounts. Opposition to Marcos evolved in two distinct forms: the 'constitutional' opposition organised around dissenting senators such as Benigno Aquino; and the Communist Party which, linking with various tribal groups, launched an armed insurgency based in the southern islands, particularly Mindanao. By the mid-1980s, the New People's Army (NPA), the armed wing of the Communist Party, was able to sustain a major insurrection right across the country in both rural and urban areas. The turning point for the regime came after the assassination of Benigno Aquino upon his return from exile in 1983. Public

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