For more than 300 years, the Philippines was ruled by the Crown of Castile as part of the Spanish Empire.

An excerpt from the article 24 facts about Philippines

The arrival of Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan to the Philippines in 1521 marked the beginning of Spanish colonization of the islands. In 1543, Spanish explorer Ruy Lopez de Villalobos named the archipelago Las Islas Filipinas in honor of King Philip II of Castile.

Spanish settlement of the islands began in 1565 when Spanish explorer Miguel Lopez de Legazpi arrived from New Spain and established the first Spanish settlement in what is now Cebu. The Spanish established Manila as the capital of the Philippines and the Spanish East Indies. Their rule over the islands brought political unity to the archipelago for the first time in history.

Christianity became the dominant religion, and Manila became the western center of Trans-Pacific trade.