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Multiple ethnicities and cultures are found throughout the islands.In prehistoric times, Negritos were some of the archipelago's earliest inhabitants.The Austronesian Expansion Theory explains that Malayo-Polynesians coming from Taiwan began migrating to the Philippines around 4000 BC, displacing earlier arrivals.The most widely accepted theory, based on linguistic and archeological evidence, is the "Out-of-Taiwan" model, which hypothesizes that Austronesians from Taiwan, who were themselves descended from the neolithic civilizations of the Yangtze river such as the Liangzhu culture, The jade is said to have originated nearby in Taiwan and is also found in many other areas in insular and mainland Southeast Asia.The capital city of the Philippines is Manila and the most populous city is Quezon City, both part of Metro Manila.

Before that became commonplace, other names such as Islas del Poniente (Islands of the West) and Magellan's name for the islands San Lázaro were also used by the Spanish to refer to the islands.

From the period of the Spanish–American War (1898) and the Philippine–American War (1899–1902) until the Commonwealth period (1935–46), American colonial authorities referred to the country as the Philippine Islands, a translation of the Spanish name.

From the 1898 Treaty of Paris, the name Philippines began to appear and it has since become the country's common name.

The Philippines' location on the Pacific Ring of Fire and close to the equator makes the Philippines prone to earthquakes and typhoons, but also endows it with abundant natural resources and some of the world's greatest biodiversity.

The Philippines has an area of 300,000 square kilometers (115,831 sq mi), comprising one of the world's largest diasporas.

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