Conquer the World as the 'Philippine Empire' Using Jose Rizal on Civilization VI


If you’ve ever played Civilization, you’ll know that the popular strategy game only lets you play as countries that were or are still dominant on the world stage. These include civilizations like ancient Egypt, the Roman Empire, China, the USA, etc. It’s only recently that developer Firaxis Games included Southeast Asian nations like Indonesia and Vietnam, and we aren’t holding our breath for a Philippines expansion pack anytime soon. But with the CIVITAS Philippines mod by Steam user Salt, you can now establish your very own Philippine Empire. 

For the uninitiated, Civilization is a turn-based game in which you build an empire and compete against historical figures like Alexander the Great or Elizabeth I to achieve victory. There are five types of victories:

  • Domination Victory: Conquer the capital cities of all your rival civilizations
  • Science Victory: Be the first to launch a satellite, land on the moon, and establish a colony on Mars
  • Culture Victory: The number of foreign tourists visiting your country needs to be greater than the number of domestic tourists in all other civilizations
  • Religious Victory: Make your national religion the predominant religion of the entire world
  • Diplomatic Victory: Curry favor with other nations and city-states until you earn at least 20 Diplomatic Victory points and become the World Leader (Available only if you buy the Gathering Storm expansion pack).

Along the way, you build cities, explore the world to find resources and meet other civilizations, and discover new technologies. The game starts at the dawn of time, all the way through eight historical eras up to the Future Era. While the game has a bit of a learning curve, it can be extremely addictive once you get the hang of it. Many a player has said “Just one more turn” only to realize that it is suddenly 4 AM. 


CIVITAS Philippines makes four Filipino leaders available: Jose Rizal, Corazon Aquino, Dayang Kalangitan, and Sultan Kudarat. There’s a fifth mystery leader on the Steam Workshop page, though there’s no announcement yet when he’ll be made available. Based on his appearance, we’re guessing he might be Lapu-Lapu. Thankfully, player requests for certain dictators and demagogues to be made leaders have gone unheeded. 

Each leader comes with abilities that are pretty apt considering the role they played in history. Jose Rizal’s “Illustrados” ability makes it easier to attract great writers, musicians, and artists like Shakespeare, Bach, and Van Gogh to your civilization. These iconic figures create great works that generate more tourism, bringing you closer to a culture victory. This makes sense given Rizal is best known for his novels that sparked a revolution.

Photo by Gameplay Screenshot.

In Civilization VI, you can choose Military, Economic, and Diplomatic Policy Cards that give you certain advantages in the game. The number of cards you can choose depends on how many slots you have for each type of policy. Given how Corazon Aquino helped restore democracy and fended off several military coups during her presidency, it’s fitting that her “Ina ng Demokrasya” ability replaces a Military Policy Slot with a Wildcard Policy Slot. 

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Photo by Gameplay Screenshot.

Not too many people might be familiar with Dayang Kalangitan, but according to Pasig City’s website she ruled the kingdom of Pasig in 1450 AD. Among the four Filipino leaders, she’s the only one who has the Nipa Hut improvement, which grants all sorts of bonuses related to culture, food, housing, and production. 

Photo by Gameplay Screenshot.

Sultan Kudarat was the most powerful sultan of the Philippines. He ruled Mindanao in the 1600s. He is known for thwarting  Spain’s attempts to convert his subjects into Catholics. It makes perfect sense that his “Helper of the Faith” grants faith bonuses for every level of wall that you build around your cities. For full information on each leader’s abilities, check out the CIVITAS Philippines page.

Photo by Gameplay Screenshot.

More: Sultan Kudarat Was the Most Powerful Sultan of the Philippines

The name of your capital city depends on the leader you choose—for Rizal and Aquino it’s Manila, while Kalangitan gets Tondo, and Kudarat gets Cotabato. The mod also makes Philippine natural wonders like the Chocolate Hills appear on the map, and names some areas after Philippine locations like Pampanga. 

It’s a lot more fun building world wonders and achieving firsts like circumnavigating the globe—take that, Magellan!—as the Philippines. And given the sad state our country is in, it’s very satisfying to forget everything for a few hours and fantasize that the Philippines is a powerful and prosperous nation capable of going head-to-head with any international rival.

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Angelica Gutierrez
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