How did nations back then manage colonies despite the distance?

Anonymous
The Philippines was a colony of Spain, but do you know how far they are from each other? Nowadays we have planes, but back then they only had ships. What if something's going on in the Philippines and you need to report it back to Spain? No Wifi, Internet, or phones back then. Also, Great Britain and Hong Kong, France and Vietnam, etc. Can't imagine traveling for weeks.
How did nations back then manage colonies despite the distance?
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