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Bayanihan (pronounced as bah - yah - nee - han) is a Filipino term referring to the spirit of communal unity or effort to achieve a common objective. This custom is widespread in the Philippines; many ethnolinguistic groups have their own terms for bayanihan. The Waray people of Leyte call it tiklos while those in Samar call it pintakasi. The Ivatans of Batanes call it kapanyidungan. Some Tagalog people also call it bataris or bataresan.


The term "bayanihan" is derived from its root word bayan, which means nation, town or community. Its origin can be traced to a common tradition in Philippine towns where community members volunteer to help a family move to a new place. The process involves literally carrying the house to its new location. This is done by putting bamboo poles forming a strong frame to lift the stilts from the ground and carrying the whole house, with the men positioned at the ends of each pole. A mural by Filipino National Artist Carlos "Botong" Francisco and a painting by Joselito E. Barcelona illustrate the whole process. The tradition also features a small fiesta hosted by the family to express gratitude to the volunteers.

In Modern Times

Today, the term bayanihan has evolved into many different meanings and incorporated as codenames to projects which depict the spirit of cooperative effort involving a community of members. An example of these projects is the Bayanihan Linux project which is a Filipino based desktop focused GNU/Linux distribution.

In recent times, the term bayanihan has been used to name endeavors and projects that are characterized by the spirit of cooperative effort. An example is the Bayanihan Linux project, a Filipino-made desktop-focused GNU/Linux distribution.

One of the first entities to use bayanihan for its name is the Bayanihan Dance Company, a renowned dance group that travels to different countries to perform the various traditional folk dances of the country with the objective of promoting Philippine culture.

Bayanihan has also been adopted as a term to refer to a local civil effort to resolve national issues. The "community pantries" that sprouted in different places in the Philippines during the COVID-19 Pandemic is seen as an act of bayanihan.

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