For the last five centuries, the Philippines has been a nexus of colonialism and neocolonialism, militarization, migration and globalization, and in obvious and subtle ways, the legacies of these colonial and imperial engagements reverberate through Filipinos’ daily lives.


The history of US imperialism especially looms large. For example, Filipinos have variously been classified as US citizens, as having a “special relationship” (and hence priority immigration status) with the US, and as being as “foreign” as other immigrants; they have transformed from imperial possessions to cheap guest labor to unwelcome intruder in response to changing US domestic and imperial policy. Meanwhile, the Philippine state, responding to neocolonial imperatives, has oriented its economic and social development programs towards supplying global demand for cheap, unskilled labor.

At a nexus of colonialism and neocolonialism for five centuries, Filipinos confront the legacies of colonial and imperial engagement in their daily lives.