Spaniards in the Philippines

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Spanish Filipinos
Manuel L. QuezonElpidio QuirinoPilita CorralesFernando Poe, Jr.
Total population
c. 3.5 million
4.1% of the Philippine population
Regions with significant populations
Flag of the PhilippinesPhilippines:
Metro Cebú, Metro Manila, Laoag, Zamboanga Peninsula, Iloilo, Bacólod, Davao
Flag of SpainSpain
Latin America
English, Cebuano, Hiligaynon, Filipino, Spanish, Chabacano
Predominantly Roman Catholic
Related ethnic groups
Spanish, Hispanics, other Europeans</br>*Significant historic (and some genetic) relationship with: Austronesians, Chinese Filipinos.

Spanish Filipinos (or Spanish-Filipinos) are a multilingual Filipino ethnic group composed of Philippine citizens of Spanish and Mexican descent. They consitute the seventh largest ethnic group in the country.



Spanish Filipinos descended partly from native Austronesian peoples mixed with Spanish and Mexican ancestry. They are generally referred to as Spanish mestizos (Spanish: Mestizo de Español, Filipino: Mestisong Kastila, Kastilaloy); these comprise the majority of the Spanish Filipino population. According to genetic research, around 3.6% of all Filipinos have European ancestry from either Spanish/Mexican or American colonization. The descendants of Latin Americans of Spanish blood are also included.<ref name="Stanford">A Predominantly Indigenous Paternal Heritage for the Austronesian-Speaking Peoples of Insular Southeast Asia and Oceania</ref> Of that figure, less than half are of the Spanish variety.


Spanish Filipinos are usually distinguished physically from other Philippine ethnic groups by their mixed appearance. Containing slightly rounder eyes and acquiline nose structures, compared to those of native Filipinos. Bone structures and skin color varies as Filipinos of Spanish or Mexican descents are mediterranean or latino in physique, and native Filipinos have more oriental characteristics.


Most Spaniards and Spanish mestizos living in the Philippines emigrated to Spain, Latin America, or the United States, following World War II and during the Marcos regime. Today, Spanish Filipinos can mostly be found in Metro Manila, Central Luzón, the Visayas, Davao and especially the Zamboanga Peninsula where Chabacano (a form of Creole/Pidgin Spanish) is spoken.

Language and culture

Spanish Filipinos mostly speak Filipino and their respective regional languages (mostly Cebuano in regions like Cebu, Davao, and Zamboanga peninsula), Ilonggo (Iloilo and Bacolod), Ilocano, and Spanish Creole, Chabacano) in everyday discourse, while using English in the public sphere. Many, particularly those of older generations, have preserved Spanish as the spoken language of the home.

Apart from the everyday customs practiced in their respective regions in the Philippines, many Spanish Filipinos maintain traditions brought over from Spain or Latin America.

Socioeconomic status

Spanish Filipinos currently constitute the great majority of both the upper and middle classes and rarely intermingle with those outside their ethnic group. Many are either in politics or are high-ranking executives of commerce and industry, entertainment and sporting ranks. Most elite Filipino family dynasties, political families, and the elite clans are Spanish Filipinos. A number of Spanish Filipinos are also found in the lower classes.

Recent immigration

According to a recent survey, the number of Spanish citizens in the Philippines regardless of ethnolinguistic affiliation was about 16,300, excluding Philippine citizens of Spanish descent. Spaniards are referred to as Kastila from the name Castile. The vast majority are Andalusians, while a minority are Catalans or Basques.

Ethnolinguistic affinity

Castilians and Catalans combined account for 9,000 of Spanish citizens in the Philippines, while the Basques number about 7,300. Other peninsular ethnicities such as Galician were not distinguished from the Castilian and the Catalan, since all three speak the same language family, the Romance language family.

Prominent Spanish Filipinos

For a list of prominent or noteworthy Spanish Filipinos, see Category:Spanish-Filipinos.

See also



External links


Original Source

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