The Spaniards ruled our country from 1565 until 1898, and it was they who called it las Islas Filipinas, which meant “islands of Felipe.” They named it after Prince Felipe, who became king of Spain from 1556 to 1598. Las Islas Filipinas was sometimes shortened to las Filipinas or Filipinas. And the Spaniards called the inhabitants of the Philippines nativos (natives), Indios (Easterners), and Filipinos.
When the United States ruled our country from 1898 until 1946, they translated las Islas Filipinas into the Philippine Islands, and las Filipinas and Filipinas into the Philippines. But they offered no new translation for the name of its natives—the Filipinos. Thus, in English, our country was called the Philippine Islands or the Philippines, and we its people were called Filipinos.
When we became independent from the United States in 1946, the Philippine Islands officially became, in English, Republic of the Philippines or simply the Philippines. And we its people retained the name of Filipinos, in English.
But in our national language, called Filipino, our country’s name is Pilipinas, and we its people are called Pilipino.
For more, please visit: Sino Ang Mga Orihinal Na Pilipino?