Visited in 1521 by Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan and claimed for Spain, the Philippines carry the name of Philip II, then king of Spain, though known for centuries under other names by visitors from China, India, and Arabia. The Philippines are a collection of some 7,100 islands off the southeast coast of Asia between the South China Sea and the Pacific Ocean. The islands are mostly mountainous with narrow coastal lowlands.
This archipelago remained a Spanish colony until 1898, when it became a United States territory as a result of the Spanish-American War. After centuries of foreign control the Philippines became a self-governing commonwealth in 1935. President Manuel Quezon was elected president and asked to prepare the country for independence during a 10-year transition period. However, the islands were invaded by Japan in 1941, and during World War II Allied forces fought along with Filipinos to regain control. The Philippines finally gained independence in 1946.
Adventists in the Philippines
Adventist work started slowly in the Philippines. The first Adventist missionary, a literature evangelist, arrived in the Philippines in 1905, followed by several more missionary families the next year. However, it took six years for the first person to be baptized. Today that’s all changed: nearly 600,000 Adventists live and worship in the Philippines. As the Adventist Church grew, many educational and health-care institutions sprang up, some of which—such as the Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies (AIIAS)—serve the Adventist Church throughout Asia.
Other major Adventist institutions in the Philippines are:
Filipino (official, based on Tagalog) and English (official); eight major dialects—Tagalog, Cebuano, Ilocano, Hiligaynon or Ilonggo, Bicol, Waray, Pampango, and Pangasinan
Roman Catholic, 81%; Muslim, 5%; Evangelical, 3%; Iglesia ni Kristo, 2.3%; Aglipayan, 2%; other Christian, 4.5%; other, 2.5%
ADVENTIST TO POPULATION RATIO
*General Conference Office of Archives and Statistics, 145th Annual Statistical Report
Part of the Thirteenth Sabbath Offering for the first quarter of 2009 will support three educational projects in the Philippines. The first is at Palawan Adventist Academy in the northern Philippines, where for more than 50 years young people have been trained for Christian service. A recent study revealed the need to add vocational and technical training to the academy’s curriculum. Courses such as auto mechanics and computer classes will enhance the education the school can offer, and will expand the outreach of this school to its community. Your offerings will help build classrooms to accommodate these additional classes.
The second project is in Dumaguete, a city in the central Philippines, where there is a thriving elementary school. But secondary students must choose either to attend public schools or travel to another island to continue their Adventist education. Offerings will help build classrooms, the first step in establishing an Adventist secondary school in this region of the country.
The third project is in Zamboanga, a large multiethnic and multireligious city on the southwestern tip of Mindanao, one of the southern islands. Here an elementary school has long served students from every faith in the community. Recently the elementary school was rebuilt and work started on a secondary school so that students won’t have to leave the Adventist school system in order to complete their secondary education. Again, offerings will help complete this school.