Spanish settlement in the Philippines first took place in the late 16th century, during the Spanish colonial period of the islands. The conquistador Miguel López de Legazpi founded the first Spanish settlement in Cebu in 1565, and later established Manila as the capital of the Philippine province in 1571. The Philippines is named after King Philip II of Spain, and it became a territory of the Viceroyalty of New Spain which was governed from Mexico City until the early 19th century, when Mexico obtained independence. From the 1820's, the archipelago was ruled directly from Madrid, Spain.
Spaniards are referred by Filipinos as "Kastila" (Castilian) named after the former Kingdom of Castile, now a region of Spain. The majority of the Filipinos of Spanish descent are of Andalusian origin, while a minority are Catalan or Basque descents. Another term "Hispano-Filipinos" indicates they are of both ethnic and cultural Spanish origin.
There are no credible sources for the percentage of Philippine mestizos residing in the Philippine at the moment; this is due in part to the lack of government statistical study regarding racial makeup in the Philippines. The Philippine Statistics Department does not account for the racial background or ancestry of an indivdual. The number of Filipino mestizos that reside outside the Philippines is also unknown. Because of the social perception that a person has to look a certain way in order to be considered mestizo, and also because of the historical stigma associated with having Spanish blood from affairs with local women (las queridas), many mestizos may not be considered as such. These factors have urged some Spanish-Filipino mestizos to hide their Spanish ancestry to avoid the social negative stereo-type stigma by the predominantly indigenous population. It was usually only the offspring of recognized marriages between Spaniards and indigenous Filipino women that were given general recognition as mestizos.
Spanish Filipinos for the most part are found in both the upper and upper middle socio-economic classes, with a relatively small percentage found among the lower socio-economic classes. Some are active in politics, commerce and industry, entertainment, and professional sports.
Some Spanish Filipinos still speaks Spanish as their first language. However, most Filipinos of Spanish families particularly those of older generations, and recent immigrants, have preserved Spanish as the spoken language of the home.
Apart from the everyday customs practiced in their respective regions in the Philippines, many also maintain traditions brought over from Spain or Latin America.