Why Is Philippines Spelled With A "Ph" While Filipino Is Spelled With An "F"?

Philippines is a country. The people who live in it are called Filipinos. The way the two words are spelled is often a source of confusion. People in Italy are called Italians. Those in America are called Americans. It should follow that citizens of the Philippines be called Philippinos. But no, the widely accepted and proper spelling is Filipinos.

Why is this the case? Well, it's a long story. When the archipelago came under Spanish rule, the colonists named it Las Islas Filipinas, after King Felipe II who was leader of the Spanish empire during that time. Felipe in English is Philip,

When the Americans arrived and bought the country from the Spaniards, Las Islas Filipinas was Americanized to Philippines. With this, anyone would expect the people to be called Philippinos. This did not happen. The name of the people didn't get the modification that the name of the country got. So it simply remained as Filipinos. There's an "F" instead of a "Ph" and there's only one "p" instead of two.

The official language of the country is also called Filipino. It's a common misconception that the official language of the country is Tagalog, a language spoken by a majority of the population. Technically speaking, however, Filipino is Tagalog with added words and terminologies from other languages used in the country.

Filipinos often use Filipino and Pilipino interchangeably when referring to either the people or the official language. Filipinos also commonly use the slang term "Pinoy" to refer to their nationality.
Archipelago Files
Resources/For further reading:
1. Mind Your P's and F's: How Pilipinos became Filipinos in the Philippines. (By Daniel Engber, Slate)
2. The Evolution of the Native Tagalog Alphabet (By Guillermo Gomez Rivera, emanila.com)
3. Baybayin - The Ancient Script of the Philippines (By Paul Morrow, mts.net)








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