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The Pearl of the Orient Seas is a Philippine-centric timeline where the Philippines achieves its independence from the declining Spanish Empire without American intervention. This results in the Philippines ending up as a divided country during the first half of the 20th Century, and a great power on the second half.
Due to the relatively minor POD, barely any changes will be felt on Southeast Asia, and virtually no changes outside of the area.
Emilio Aguinaldo never meets with the American Admiral George Dewey during his exile in Hong Kong, thus never bringing the Americans into the Philippine Revolution.
Aguinaldo was prompted to return to his revolutionay duties after the Spanish refused to pay the complete sum agreed upon as part of the conditions of his exile. This is the same case in this timeline, and the exiles bought weapons to arm the Katipunan back home.
Aguinaldo returned to the Philippines on May 7, 1898 with thousands of weapons and ammunition. and wrestled control of Luzon Island from Spain with the exception of Manila, while the Spanish remnants consolidated their forces in the islands of Visayas and Camianes (OTL Palawan). They eventually lost control of Negros as the sugar barons in the island armed their workers and declared independence as a Republic. The Moros in Mindanao and Sulu, along with the people of Zamboanga, revolted and established their own sovereign states.
Differences from OTL
Again, this minor POD has minor changes to OTl: Here are some of it
- the Philippines becomes a major player in the world stage.
- Sabah and the portions of the South China Sea are Philippine territory
- the United States focuses less on Asia due to never colonizing the Philippines and never having Japan as an ally
- Southeast Asia becomes a technological and scientific hub of the world