The first Filipinos were Spaniards born in the Philippines, also known as Insulares, Criollos or Español Filipino and later on to include Spanish Mestizos. In the late nineteenth century, Filipinos have begun to include the indigenous Austronesian population and Mestizo Sangley (Chinese Mestizos). According to historian Ambeth Ocampo, José Rizal was the first to call the Malay inhabitants "Filipinos". Today, Filipino is also used to signify the nationality and citizenship of one who is from the Philippines. This means that Filipino now may refer to the indigenous Austronesian, Hispanic, American, Arab, Japanese, and Chinese Filipinos.
Colloquially, Filipinos may refer to themselves as Pinoy (feminine: Pinay), which is formed by taking the last four letters of Pilipino and adding the diminutive suffix -y. The word was coined by expatriate Filipino Americans during the 1920s and was later adopted by Filipinos in the Philippines.
The term Malay race was a term coined in 1795 by Johann Friedrich Blumenbach to refer to the brown-skinned inhabitants of the Indian (Malay) archipelago, Oceania, Melanesia, and Australia. It was one of five other categories which Blumenbach created for classifying humans, including what he called the black race and the yellow race. Since then, anthropologists have debunked this concept, citing the complexities of human races being unable to fit into a handful of oversimplified categories. Genetically, there are no distinct units of human population and all human beings are genetically related.
The term Malay is also considered misleading because it gives the impression that the route for the populating of the Philippines was via Malaysia. Current theory holds instead that the Malays who inhabit the rest of the Malay Archipelago and mainland Malaysia are the descendants of Austronesian-speaking immigrants who first went to the Philippines. Then those Austronesian-speaking immigrants ventured further south to what are now Malaysia, Indonesia, and East Timor, as well as to the other Pacific Islands.
The earliest aboriginal inhabitants of the Philippines are known as the Negrito groups. Their ancestors arrived thousands of years prior to the Austronesian-speaking migrants. Their descendants, the Aetas, constitute a very small minority of the population.
Prior to the arrival of the Spaniards in 1521, the Philippines was not united as a single nation. Instead, the inhabitants were essentially divided into ethnolinguistic tribal states, or barangays, with some acquiring cultural sophistication, including caste systems (Maharlika).
By the mid-to-late sixteenth century, the archipelago was included in the Spanish East Indies. The Spaniards called the islands Filipinas (Philippines) in honor of King Philip II of Spain. The first Filipinos referred to Spaniards born in the islands but would later on include the indigenous Austronesians as well.
The indigenous Austronesians were usually referred to as "indios". This was a result of Spaniards misnaming indigenous peoples of the Americas when they first reached that continent and believed they had arrived in India. By the time the Spaniards arrived in the Philippines, they used the term "indio" as synonymous with "indigenous". In 1898, the constitution of the First Philippine Republic under Emilio Aguinaldo defined Filipino as all persons born in the Philippines. However, the term indio, was still being used well into the mid-part of the twentieth century, as evidenced by Roman Catholic baptismal records.
More recent genetic admixtures come from migrants from Spain, Mexico, United States, United Kingdom, Australia, India, Arabian Peninsula,and China,which collectively form around 10~25% of the current Filipino population.
A Stanford University study conducted during 2001 revealed that Y-chromosome Haplogroup O3-M122 (labeled as "Haplogroup L" in this study) predominates among Filipino males. This particular haplogroup is also predominant among Chinese and Korean males. That finding is consistent with the theory that people migrated from China south into the Philippines. Another haplogroup, Haplogroup O1a-M119 (labeled as "Haplogroup H" in this study), is also found among Filipinos. The rates of Haplogroup O1a are highest among the Taiwanese Aborigines. Overall, the genetic frequencies found among Filipinos point to the Ami tribe of Taiwan as their nearest genetic relative.
A 2002 China Medical University study indicated that certain Filipinos shared a particular gene marker that is also found among Taiwanese aborigines and Indonesians, and concluded that Taiwan aborigines are of Austronesian derivation.
A 2003 University of the Philippines study based on 50 participants each from the islands of Luzon and Cebu provided some insight into the various places of origin of early Filipinos. Some rare genetic markers were found which are shared by people from the different parts of Central and East Asia, reinforcing their mainland Asian origins.
Filipino, the national language, as of 2008 is heavily based on Tagalog with only minor contributions from other languages. The language is evolving, however, and is assimilating terminologies from various sources both national and foreign. For instance, terms used only by, say, the Bisaya (from southern Bicol, the Visayas island group, and north Mindanao) which were not generally used 20 years ago have now become part of the everyday Filipino lexicon.
Other major languages of the country include Spanish, Hiligaynon, Waray, Kapampangan, Bikol, Pangasinan, Tausug, Maguindanao, Maranao, Chabacano, Kinaray-a, kan-kan-a-ey| benguet, Chavacano, and many others.
The arrival of Filipinos in the Americas began during the Spanish colonial era. At that time, many Filipino men were hired as sailors to man ships bound for the "New World". Upon arrival, many sailors mutinied, others settled there after marrying locals.
However, Filipino migration only began in the mid-1800s, beginning with the United States. In 1903, "pensionados" arrived there as students in colleges and universities. Laws against marriage to Whites (a group which included Hispanic Americans) were enforced throughout California and the West. Starting in 1906, Filipinos were hired as laborers for plantations, farms, salmon canneries, and the like. In the post-World War II era, Filipino nurses and other health care workers began immigrating. Filipinas comprise a large portion of women who come to the U.S. via international marriage agencies. Many of the Filipinos who settled in the United States during the Martial Law are Spanish Filipino mestizo families whose businesses were taken over by the government.
Filipinos remain one of the largest immigrant group to date with 80,000 people migrating per annum. About 75% consist of family sponsorship or immediate relatives of American citizens while the remainder is employment-oriented. A majority of this number prefer to live in California, followed by Hawaii, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, Washington, Florida, Louisiana, Texas, Colorado, Nevada, Alaska, Maryland and Virginia. Tagalog, on which Filipino is primarily based, is the fifth most common language spoken by Americans at home.
There is also a significant population of Filipinos in Canada, mostly belonging to Chinese Filipino ancestry .
Filipinos have been settled in the islands of Oceania, particularly in Micronesia. Also, the vast majority of Filipino exiled patriots were sent to Oceania. As a result, they now form the largest ethnic group in the Northern Marianas Islands, as well as the second largest in both Palau and Guam. To this day, about five in ten Northern Marianas islanders have a direct Filipino ancestor.
There is also a sizeable Filipino minority in Australia, primarily settling in Sydney and New South Wales. They form roughly 1% of the Australian population, although this proportion is highly debated because of the number of Filipinos indicating Spanish as their ancestry .