Culture of the Philippines
The culture of the Philippines is a combination of cultures of the East and West. Filipino identity was created primarily as a result of pre-colonial cultures, colonial influences and foreign traders intermixing and gradually evolving together. In pre-colonial times, the Philippines was a divided set of nations, islands and tribes being ruled by their own kings, chieftains, lakans, rajahs, datus and sultans. Every nation has its own identity and some are even part of a larger empire outside of what is now the Philippines. Manila, for example, was once part of the Islamic Sultanate of Brunei, and the Sulu Archipelago was also part of the Hindu Majapahit. The advent of colonial rule in the islands marked the beginning of the Philippines as an entity, a collection of Southeast Asian countries united under Spanish Empire.
Chinese influence has been felt throughout Southeast Asia through trade, specifically by the Ming dynasty and other earlier dynasties from as early as the 9th century. The blending of indigenous, colonial and external influence is very evident in the historic arts and traditions of the country.
The Philippine archipelago was first settled by Negritos; today, although few in numbers, they preserve a very traditional way of life and culture. After them, the Austronesians arrived on the archipelago. The Austronesian culture is strongly evident in the ethnicities, languages, cuisine, music, dance and almost every aspect of the culture. These Austronesians engaged in trading with other Austronesians, particularly in the neighbouring nations in Maritime Southeast Asia. They also traded with the Mainland Southeast Asia, as well as Japan, China, the Indian subcontinent and Arabia. As a result, some of these cultures marked their influences on Filipino culture. This gradually evolved with indigenous belief systems and developed into Anitism, which became the dominant religion for more than a millennium.
The Spanish Empire, via the Viceroyalty of New Spain, conquered the islands between the 16th and 19th centuries (Batanes being one of the last places to be colonized in the mid-1800s), resulting in Christianity to spread and dominate throughout the archipelago and influenced the religion and beliefs of the natives. Then, the Philippines became a U.S. territory for almost 50 years. Influence from the United States is manifested in the wide use of the English language, media and in the modern culture and clothing of present-day Philippines.
Spanish architecture has left an imprint in the Philippines in the way many towns were designed around a central square or plaza mayor, but many of the buildings bearing its influence were demolished during World War II. Some examples remain, mainly among the country's churches, government buildings, and universities. Four Philippine baroque churches are included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the San Agustín Church in Manila, Paoay Church in Ilocos Norte, Nuestra Señora de la Asunción (Santa María) Church in Ilocos Sur, and Santo Tomás de Villanueva Church in Iloilo. Vigan in Ilocos Sur is also known for the many Hispanic-style houses and buildings preserved there. The introduction of Christianity brought European churches and architecture which subsequently became the center of most towns and cities in the nation. The Spaniards also introduced stones and rocks as housing and building materials and the Filipinos merged it with their existing architecture and forms a hybrid mix-architecture only exclusive to the Philippines. Filipino colonial architecture can still be seen in centuries-old buildings such as Filipino baroque churches, Bahay na bato; houses, schools, convents, government buildings around the nation. The best collection of Spanish colonial era architecture can be found in the walled city of Intramuros in Manila and in the historic town of Vigan. Colonial-era churches are also on the best examples and legacies of Spanish Baroque architecture called Earthquake Baroque which are only found in the Philippines. Historic provinces such as Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur, Pangasinan, Pampanga, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, Batangas, Quezon, Iloilo, Negros, Cebu, Bohol and Zamboanga del Sur also boasts colonial-era buildings.
In the past, before the Spanish colonization, the Nipa hut (Bahay Kubo) was the common form of housing among the native Filipinos. It is characterized by use of simple materials such as bamboo and coconut as the main sources of wood. Cogon grass, Nipa palm leaves and coconut fronds are used as roof thatching. Most primitive homes are built on stilts due to frequent flooding during the rainy seasons. Regional variations include the use of thicker, and denser roof thatching in mountain areas, or longer stilts on coastal areas particularly if the structure is built over water. The architecture of other indigenous peoples may be characterized by an angular wooden roofs, bamboo in place of leafy thatching and ornate wooden carvings. The Bahay na bato architecture is a variant of Nipa Hut that emerged during the 19th century.
The American occupation in 1898 introduced a new breed of architectural structures in the Philippines. This led to the construction of government buildings and Art Deco theaters. During the American period, some semblance of city planning using the architectural designs and master plans by Daniel Burnham was done on the portions of the city of Manila. Part of the Burnham plan was the construction of government buildings that resembled Greek or Neoclassical architecture. In Iloilo, a lot of the colonial edifices constructed during the American occupation in the country can still be seen. Commercial buildings, houses and churches in that era are abundant in the city and especially in Calle Real.
The University of Santo Tomas Main Building in Manila is an example of Renaissance Revival architecture. The building was built on 1924 and was completed at 1927. The building, designed by Fr. Roque Ruaño, O.P., is the first earthquake-resistant building in the Philippines. Islamic and other Asian architecture can also be seen depicted on buildings such as mosques and temples. Pre-Hispanic housing is still common in rural areas. Contemporary-style housing subdivisions and suburban-gated communities are popular in urbanized places such as Metro Manila, Central Visayas, Central Luzon, Negros Island and other prosperous regions.
However, certain areas of the country like Batanes have slight differences as both Spanish and Filipino ways of architecture assimilated differently due to the climate. Limestones and coral were used as building materials.
There have been proposals to establish a policy where each municipality and city will have an ordinance mandating all constructions and reconstructions within such territory to be inclined with the municipality or city's architecture and landscaping styles to preserve and conserve the country's dying heritage sites, which have been demolished one at a time in a fast pace due to urbanization, culturally-irresponsible development, and lack of towns-cape architectural vision. Such policies are used by countries which have preserved their architectural marvels, and entire cities as a whole, for hundreds of years, such as Italy, France, Romania, Germany, and Spain. The proposal advocates for the usage and reinterpretations of indigenous, colonial, and modern architectural and landscaping styles that are prevalent or used to be prevalent in a given city or municipality. The proposal aims to foster a renaissance in Philippine landscaping and townscaping, especially in rural areas which can easily be transformed into new architectural heritage towns within a 50-year time frame. Unfortunately, many Philippine-based architecture and engineering experts lack the sense of preserving heritage townscapes, such as the case in Manila, where business proposals to construct structures that are not inclined with Manila's architectural styles have been continuously accepted and constructed by such experts, effectively destroying Manila's architectural townscape one building at a time. Furthermore, the singular architectural proposal has yet to be manifested into an actual policy due to the lack of a Department of Culture. Only the city of Vigan has passed such an ordinance, which led to its declaration as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999 and awarding of various recognition for the conservation and preservation of its unique architectural and landscaping styles. In 2016, bills proposing the establishment of the Department of Culture were filed in both chambers of Congress.
The arrival of the Spanish colonizers in the 16th century brought the beginning of the Christianization of the people in the Philippines. This phase in history is noted as the tipping point for the destruction of a variety of Anitist beliefs in the country, which were replaced by colonial belief systems that fitted the tastes of the Spanish, notably Christian beliefs. Christianity in form of has influenced Filipino culture in almost every facet, from visual arts, architecture, dance, and music. Presently, the Philippines is one of the two predominantly Catholic (80.58%) nations in Asia-Pacific, the other being East Timor. The country also has its own independent Philippine church, the Aglipayan, which accounts for around 2% of the national population. Other Christian churches are divided among a variety of Christian sects and cults. From the census in 2014, Christianity consisted of about 90.07% of the population and is largely present throughout the nation.
Indigenous Philippine folk religions
Indigenous Philippine folk religions, also referred collectively as Anitism, meaning ancestral religions, are the original faiths of the diverse ethnic groups of the Philippines. Much of the texts of the religions are stored through memory which are traditionally chanted, rather than written in manuscripts. Written texts, however, have been utilized as well in modern times to preserve aspects of the religions, notably their stories which are important aspects of Philippine mythology and traditional rites and other practices. These stories consist of creation stories or stories about important figures such as deities and heroes and certain creatures. Some popular, but distinct, figures include the Tagalog's Bathala and Makiling, the Ilocano's Lam-Ang, and the Maranao's Sarimanok.
Many cultures have influenced the indigenous Philippine folk religions due to trade, with many stories from them having similarities with Indonesian and Malay myths, as well as Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, and Christian traditions, such as the notion of heaven (kaluwalhatian, kalangitan, kamurawayan, etc.), hell (kasamaan, sulad, etc.), and the human soul (kaluluwa, kaulolan, etc.). The stories from these sacred Filipino religions explain various indigenous concepts, including the nature of the world through the lives and actions of deities (gods, goddesses), heroes, and creatures. The majority of the stories about these religions are passed on through oral tradition, and preserved through the aid of community spiritual leaders or shamans (babaylan, katalonan, mumbaki, baglan, machanitu, walian, mangubat, bahasa, etc.) and community elders, although written texts have also been helpful in the preservation of certain aspects of the religions.
Indigenous Philippine folk religions have already been recognized by scholars as valid religions on their own right. Each ethnic group's indigenous religion in the Philippines has their own distinct stories or myths, pantheon of deities, and belief systems. For example, the religious beliefs of the Maranao people is completely different from the religious beliefs of neighboring Subanon people, while the religious beliefs of the Hiligaynon people is also completely different from the religious beliefs of the neighboring Suludnon people. The Philippines is composed of more than a hundred distinct ethnic peoples, according to a 21st-century map published by the Komisyon ng Wikang Filipino, the Atlas Filipinas.
Today, many ethnic peoples continue to practice and conserve their unique indigenous religions, notably in ancestral domains, although foreign and foreign-inspired Hispanic and Arabic religions continue to interfere with their life-ways through conversions, land grabbing, inter-marriage, and/or land-buying. Various scholarly works have been made regarding Anitism and its many topics, although much of its stories and traditions are still undocumented by the international anthropological and folkloristic community. Unlike dead religions such as Norse mythology, the indigenous Philippine folk religions are living religions that continue to develop up to this day due to inevitable dynamics in belief systems in the modern century. Because of this natural phenomenon, folk literature or oral stories on a variety of Philippine mythologies concerning the deities, heroes, and creatures have sustainably been multiplying since the pre-colonial era up to the 21st century. Presently, around 2% of the population are adherents to the sacred natives faiths, while more than 90% of the Philippine national population continue to believe in certain indigenous Philippine folk belief systems, despite adhering to another religion, which constitute into forms of Folk Catholicism or Folk Islam.
In search of a national culture and identity, away from those imposed by Spain during the colonial age, Filipino revolutionaries during the Philippine revolution proposed to revive the indigenous Philippine folk religions and make them the national religion of the entire country. However, due to the war against the Spanish and, later, American colonizers, focus on the revival of the indigenous religions were sidelined to make way for war preparations against occupiers.
Due to the influx of Christianity, Islam, and other world religions, the indigenous practices, rituals, and spiritual performances and knowledge of Filipinos are fast disappearing. Cultural workers in the country suggest the Paiwan Model to preserve indigenous religions in the country. The model pushed for the preservation of indigenous religions and the establishment of schools of shamanism where religious leaders teach their apprentices the native religion of their specific ethnic group so that it will never be lost. The model showed great results when it was first undertaken in neighboring Taiwan. As of 2018, there is no established school of shamanism in the Philippines, making the hundreds of indigenous religions in the country in great peril from extinction due to the influx of colonial-era and colonial-inspired religions.
Islamic mythology arrived in the Philippines in the 13th century through trade routes in Southeast Asia. The spread of Islam established a variety of belief systems, notably in the southwestern portions of the archipelago, where the sultanate system was embraced by the natives without the need for forced conversions, as the religious traders did not intended to colonize the islands. Presently, around 6% of the population are Muslims, concentrating in the Bangsamoro region in Mindanao. Most Filipino Muslims practice Sunni Islam according to the Shafi'i school.
Hinduism arrived in the Philippines in 200–300 AD while Vajrayana Buddhism arrived around 900 AD. Most adherent of Hinduism have Indian origins while those practicing Buddhism have Chinese or Japanese origins, notably those who immigrated in the Philippines in the last few decades. Shintoism arrived prior to the 12th century due to Japanese traders, while Judaism arrived in the 16th century due to the Inquisition. Taoism is also practiced by some Chinese immigrants. Atheism is also found in the Philippines.
As a general description, the distinct value system of Filipinos is rooted primarily in personal alliance systems, especially those based in kinship, obligation, friendship, religion (particularly Christianity), and commercial relationships.
Filipino values are, for the most part, centered around maintaining social harmony, motivated primarily by the desire to be accepted within a group. The main sanction against diverging from these values are the concepts of "Hiya", roughly translated as 'a sense of shame', and "Amor propio" or 'self-esteem'. Social approval, acceptance by a group, and belonging to a group are major concerns. Caring about what others will think, say or do, are strong influences on social behavior among Filipinos.
Other elements of the Filipino value system are optimism about the future, pessimism about present situations and events, concern and care for other people, the existence of friendship and friendliness, the habit of being hospitable, religious nature, respectfulness to self and others, respect for the female members of society, the fear of God, and abhorrence of acts of cheating and thievery.
Rites of passage
Every year, usually in April and May, thousands of Filipino boys are taken by their parents to be circumcised. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) about 90% of Filipino men are circumcised, one of the world's highest circumcision rates. Although the roots of the practice date back to the arrival of Islam in 1450, the succeeding 200 years of Spanish rule obviated the religious reasons for circumcision. Nevertheless, circumcision, called tuli, has persisted. The pressure to be circumcised is evidenced even in the language: the Tagalog word for 'uncircumcised', supot, also means 'coward'. It is commonly believed that a circumcised eight or ten year-old is no longer a boy and is given more adult roles in the family and society.
Early pottery has been found in the form of mostly anthropomorphic earthenware jars dating from c. 5 BC to 225 AD. Early Philippine painting can be found in red slip (clay mixed with water) designs embellished on the ritual pottery of the Philippines such as the acclaimed Manunggul Jar. Evidence of Philippine pottery-making dated as early as 6000 BC has been found in Sanga-Sanga Cave, Sulu and Cagayan's Laurente Cave. It has been proven that by 5000 BC, the making of pottery was practiced throughout the archipelago. Early Austronesian peoples, especially in the Philippines, started making pottery before their Cambodian neighbors, and at about the same time as the Thais and Laotians as part of what appears to be a widespread Ice Age development of pottery technology.
Further evidence of painting is manifest in the tattoo tradition of early Filipinos, whom the Portuguese explorer referred to as Pintados or the 'Painted People' of the Visayas. Various designs referencing flora and fauna with heavenly bodies decorate their bodies in various colored pigmentation. Perhaps, some of the most elaborate painting done by early Filipinos that survive to the present day can be manifested among the arts and architecture of the Maranaos who are well known for the Nāga dragons and the Sarimanok carved and painted in the beautiful Panolong of their Torogan or King's House.
Filipinos began creating paintings in the European tradition during 17th-century Spanish period. The earliest of these paintings were Church frescoes, religious imagery from Biblical sources, as well as engravings, sculptures and lithographs featuring Christian icons and European nobility. Most of the paintings and sculptures between the 19th and 20th centuries produced a mixture of religious, political, and landscape art works, with qualities of sweetness, dark, and light.
The Itneg people are known for their intricate woven fabrics. The binakol is a blanket which features designs that incorporate optical illusions.Other parts of Highlands in the Cordillera Region or in local term " KaIgorotan" displays their art in tattoing, weaving bags like the "sangi" a traditional backpack and carving woods. Woven fabrics of the Ga'dang people usually have bright red tones. Their weaving can also be identified by beaded ornamentation. Other peoples such as the Ilongot make jewelry from pearl, red hornbill beaks, plants, and metals. Some indigenous materials are also used as a medium in different kinds of art works especially in painting by Elito Circa, a folk artist of Pantabangan and a pioneer for using indigenous materials, natural raw materials including human blood. Many Filipino painters were influenced by this and started using materials such as extract from onion, tomato, tuba, coffee, rust, molasses and other materials available anywhere as paint. The Lumad peoples of Mindanao such as the B'laan, Mandaya, Mansaka and T'boli are skilled in the art of dyeing abaca fiber. Abaca is a plant closely related to bananas, and its leaves are used to make fiber known as Manila hemp. The fiber is dyed by a method called ikat. Ikat fiber are woven into cloth with geometric patterns depicting human, animal and plant themes.
Kut-kut, a technique combining ancient Oriental and European art process. Considered lost art and highly collectible art form. Very few known art pieces existed today. The technique was practiced by the indigenous people of Samar Island between early 1600 and late 1800 A.D. It is an exotic Philippine art form based on early century techniques: sgraffito, encaustic and layering. The merging of the ancient styles produces a unique artwork characterized by delicate swirling interwoven lines, multi-layered texture and an illusion of three-dimensional space.
Islamic art in the Philippines have two main artistic styles. One is a curved-line woodcarving and metalworking called okir, similar to the Middle Eastern Islamic art. This style is associated with men. The other style is geometric tapestries, and is associated with women. The Tausug and Sama–Bajau exhibit their okir on elaborate markings with boat-like imagery. The Marananaos make similar carvings on housings called torogan. Weapons made by Muslim Filipinos such as the kampilan are skillfully carved.
Early modernist painters such as Haagen Hansen was associated with religious and secular paintings. The art of Lorenzo Miguelito and Alleya Espanol showed a trend for political statement. The first American national artist Jhurgen D. C. Pascua used post-modernism to produce paintings that illustrated Philippine culture, nature and harmony. While other artists such as Bea Querol used realities and abstract on his work. In the 1980s, Odd Arthur Hansen, popularly known as ama ng makabayan pintor or father of patriotic paint, gained recognition. He uses his own white hair to make his own paintbrushes and signs his painting using his own blood on the right side corner. He developed his own styles without professional training or guidance from professionals.
Philippine folk dances include the Tinikling and Cariñosa. In the southern region of Mindanao, Singkil is a popular dance showcasing the story of a prince and princess in the forest. Bamboo poles are arranged in a tic-tac-toe pattern in which the dancers exploit every position of these clashing poles.
The early music of the Philippines featured a mixture of Indigenous, Islamic and a variety of Asian sounds that flourished before the European and American colonization in the 16th and 20th centuries. Spanish settlers and Filipinos played a variety of musical instruments, including flutes, guitar, ukulele, violin, trumpets and drums. They performed songs and dances to celebrate festive occasions. By the 21st century, many of the folk songs and dances have remained intact throughout the Philippines. Some of the groups that perform these folk songs and dances are the Bayanihan, Filipinescas, Barangay-Barrio, Hariraya, the Karilagan Ensemble, and groups associated with the guilds of Manila, and Fort Santiago theatres. Many Filipino musicians have risen prominence such as the composer and conductor Antonio J. Molina, the composer Felipe P. de Leon, known for his nationalistic themes and the opera singer Jovita Fuentes.
Modern day Philippine music features several styles. Most music genres are contemporary such as Filipino rock, Filipino hip hop and other musical styles. Some are traditional such as Filipino folk music.
The Philippine literature is a diverse and rich group of works that has evolved throughout the centuries. It had started with traditional folktales and legends made by the ancient Filipinos before Spanish colonization. The main themes of Philippine literature focus on the country's pre-colonial cultural traditions and the socio-political histories of its colonial and contemporary traditions. The literature of the Philippines illustrates the Prehistory and European colonial legacy of the Philippines, written in both Indigenous and Hispanic writing system. Most of the traditional literatures of the Philippines were written during the Spanish period, while being preserved orally prior to Spanish colonization. Philippine literature is written in Spanish, English, or any indigenous Philippine languages.
Some of the well known work of literature were created from the 17th to 19th century. The Ibong Adarna is a famous epic about an magical bird which was claimed to be written by José de la Cruz or "Huseng Sisiw". Francisco Balagtas is one of the country's prominent Filipino poets, he is named as one of the greatest Filipino literary laureates for his contributions in Philippine literature. His greatest work, the Florante at Laura is considered as his greatest work and one of the masterpieces of Philippine literature. Balagtas wrote the epic during his imprisonment. José Rizal, the national hero of the country, wrote the novels Noli Me Tángere (Touch Me Not) and El Filibusterismo (The Filibustering, also known as The Reign of Greed).
There have been proposals to revive all indigenous ethnic scripts or suyat in the Philippines, where the ethnic script of the ethnic majority of the student population shall be taught in public and private schools. The proposal came up after major backlash came about when a bill declaring the Tagalog baybayin as the national script of the country. The bill became controversial as it focuses only on the traditional script of the Tagalog people, while dismissing the traditional scripts of more than 100 ethnic groups in the country. The new proposal that came after the backlash cites that if the ethnic majority is Sebwano, then the script that will be taught is badlit. If the ethnic majority is Tagalog, then the script that will be taught is baybayin. If the ethnic majority is Hanunuo Mangyan, then the script that will be taught is hanunu'o, and so on.
Philippine mythologies are the first literature of the Philippines, usually passed on through generation via traditional and oral folk literature. Written texts recording the stories have also been made. These literary stories are mostly chanted as part of a dynamic Philippine epic poetry. While each unique ethnic group has its own stories and myths to tell, Hindu and Spanish influences can nonetheless be detected in many cases. Philippine mythology mostly consists of creation stories or stories about supernatural creatures, such as the aswang, the manananggal, the diwata/engkanto, and nature. Some popular figures from Philippine mythologies are Makiling, Lam-Ang, and the Sarimanok.
Cinema and media
Salón de Pertierra was the first introduced moving picture on January 1, 1897 in the Philippines. All films were all in Spanish since Philippine cinema was first introduced during the final years of the Spanish era of the country. Antonio Ramos was the first known movie producer. He used the Lumiere Cinematograph when he filmed Panorama de Manila (Manila landscape), Fiesta de Quiapo (Quiapo Fiesta), Puente de España (Bridge of Spain), and Escenas Callejeras (Street scenes). Meanwhile, Jose Nepomuceno was dubbed as the "Father of Philippine Cinema". Dubbed as the "Father of Philippine Cinema", his work marked the start of cinema as an art form in the Philippines. His first film produced was entitled Dalagang Bukid (Country Maiden) in 1919.
Film showing resumed in 1900 during the American period. Walgrah, a British entrepreneur, opened the Cine Walgrah at No. 60 Calle Santa Rosa in Intramuros. It was also during this time that a movie market was formally created in the country along with the arrival of silent movies. These silent films were always accompanied by gramophone, a piano, a quartet, or a 200-man choir. During the Japanese occupation, filmmaking was put on hold. Nonetheless, it was continued on 1930s up until 1945 replacing the Hollywood market with Japanese films but met with little success. Postwar 1940s and the 1950s were known as the first golden age of Philippine cinema with the resurgence of mostly Visayan films through Lapu-Lapu Pictures. Nationalistic films became popular, and movie themes consisting primarily of war and heroism and proved to be successful with Philippine audiences.
The 1950s saw the first golden age of Philippine cinema, with the emergence of more artistic and mature films, and significant improvement in cinematic techniques among filmmakers. The studio system produced frenetic activity in the Philippine film industry as many films were made annually and several local talents started to gain recognition abroad. Award-winning filmmakers and actors were first introduced during this period. As the decade drew to a close, the studio system monopoly came under siege as a result of labor-management conflicts.
During the 1960s, James Bond movies, bomba (soft porn) pictures and an era of musical films, produced mostly by Sampaguita Pictures, dominated the cinema. The second golden age occurred from 1970s to early 1980s. It was during this era that filmmakers ceased to produce pictures in black and white. A rise in Hollywood films dominated theater sales during the late 1980s until the 2000s. The dawn of this era saw a dramatic decline of the mainstream Philippine movie industry.
The 1970s and 1980s were considered turbulent years for the Philippine film industry, bringing both positive and negative changes. The films in this period dealt with more serious topics following the Martial law era. In addition, action, western, drama, adult and comedy films developed further in picture quality, sound and writing. The 1980s brought the arrival of alternative or independent cinema in the Philippines. The 1990s saw the emerging popularity of drama, teen-oriented romantic comedy, adult, comedy and action films.
The Philippines, being one of Asia's earliest film industry producers, remains undisputed in terms of the highest level of theater admission in Asia. Over the years, however, the Philippine film industry has registered a steady decline in movie viewership from 131 million in 1996 to 63 million in 2004. From a high production rate of 350 films a year in the 1950s, and 200 films a year during the 1980s, the Philippine film industry production rate declined in 2006 to 2007. The 21st century saw the rebirth of independent filmmaking through the use of digital technology and a number of films have once again earned nationwide recognition and prestige.
With the high rates of film production in the past, several movie artists have appeared in over 100+ roles in Philippine Cinema and enjoyed great recognition from fans and moviegoers.
The Spanish colonizers and friars in the 16th century brought with them produce from the Americas such as chili peppers, tomatoes, corn, potatoes, and the method of sautéing with garlic and onions. Eating out is a favorite Filipino pastime. A typical Pinoy diet consists at most of six meals a day; breakfast, snacks, lunch, snacks, dinner, and again a midnight snack before going to sleep. Rice is a staple in the Filipino diet, and is usually eaten together with other dishes. Filipinos regularly use spoons together with forks and knives. Some also eat with their hands, especially in informal settings, and also Filipinos use chopsticks when eating seafood. Rice, corn, and popular dishes such as adobo (a meat stew made from either pork or chicken), lumpia (meat or vegetable rolls), pancit (a noodle dish), and lechón baboy (roasted pig) are served on plates.
Other popular dishes include afritada, asado, tapa, empanada, mani (roasted peanuts), paksiw (fish or pork, cooked in vinegar and water with some spices like garlic and pepper), pandesal (bread of salt), laing, sisig, torta (omelette), kare-kare (ox-tail stew), kilawen, pinakbet (vegetable stew), pinapaitan, and sinigang (tamarind soup with a variety of pork, fish, or prawns). Some delicacies eaten by some Filipinos may seem unappetizing to the Western palate include balut (boiled egg with a fertilized duckling inside), longganisa (sweet sausage), and dinuguan (soup made from pork blood).
Popular snacks and desserts such as chicharon (deep fried pork or chicken skin), halo-halo (crushed ice with evaporated milk, flan, sliced tropical fruit, and sweet beans), puto (white rice cakes), bibingka (rice cake with butter or margarine and salted eggs), ensaymada (sweet roll with grated cheese on top), pulburon (powder candy), and tsokolate (chocolate) are usually eaten outside the three main meals. Popular Filipino beverages include San Miguel Beer, Tanduay Rhum, lambanog, and tuba.
Every province has its own specialty and tastes vary in each region. In Bicol, for example, foods are generally spicier than elsewhere in the Philippines. Patis (fish sauce), suka (vinegar), toyo (soy sauce), bagoong, and banana ketchup are the most common condiments found in Filipino homes and restaurants.
Western fast food chains such as McDonald's, Wendy's, KFC, and Pizza Hut are a common sight in the country. Local food chains such as Jollibee, Goldilocks Bakeshop, Mang Inasal and Chowking are also popular and have successfully competed against international fast food chains.
Education in the Philippines has been influenced by Western and Eastern ideology and philosophy from the United States, Spain, and its neighbouring Asian countries. Philippine students enter public school at about age four, starting from nursery school up to kindergarten. At about seven years of age, students enter elementary school (6 to 9 years) this include Grade 7 to Grade 10 as junior high school, then after, they graduate. Since the Philippines has already implemented the K-12 system, students will enter SHS or senior high school, a 2-year course, to be able to prepare college life with their chosen track such as ABM (Accountancy Business Management), STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and HUMSS (Humanities and Social Sciences) other tracks are included like TECH-VOC (Technical Vocational). Students can make a choice if they will take the college entrance examinations (CEE) in order to attend college or university (3 to 5 years) or find work after they graduate senior high school.
Other types of schools in the country include private schools, preparatory schools, international schools, laboratory high schools, and science high schools. Of these schools, private Catholic schools are the most famous. Catholic schools are preferred in the Philippines due to their religious beliefs. Most Catholic schools are co-ed. The uniforms of Catholic schools usually have an emblem along with the school colors. International schools follow different curricula, such as Singaporean, American, and British. With this, their approach differs depending on the overall programs that these curricula offer.
The school year in the Philippines starts in June and ends in March, with a two-month summer break from April to May, two-week semestral break in October and Christmas and New Year's holidays. Changes are currently being made to the system and some universities have copied the Westernized academic calendar and now start the school year in August.
Arnis, a form of martial arts, is the national sport in the Philippines. Among the most popular sports include basketball, boxing, football, billiards, chess, ten-pin bowling, volleyball, horse racing, Sepak Takraw and cockfighting. Dodgeball, badminton and Tennis are also popular.
Filipinos have gained international success in sports. These are boxing, football, billiards, ten-pin bowling, and chess. Popular sport stars include Manny Pacquiao, Flash Elorde, and Francisco Guilledo in boxing, Paulino Alcántara in football, Carlos Loyzaga, Robert Jaworski, and Ramon Fernandez in basketball, Efren Reyes and Francisco Bustamante in billiards, Rafael Nepomuceno in ten-pin bowling, Eugene Torre and Renato Naranja in chess, and Mark Muñoz in MMA. The Philippine National Basketball Team is a powerhouse in Asia and has the best performance of all Asian teams in the Olympics and the FIBA World Cup.
The Palarong Pambansa, a national sports festival, has its origin in an annual sporting meet of public schools that started in 1948. Private schools and universities eventually joined the national event, which became known as the "Palarong Pambansa" in 1976. It serves as a national Olympic Games for students, competing at school and national level contests. The year 2002 event included football, golf, archery, badminton, baseball, chess, gymnastics, tennis, softball, swimming, table tennis, taekwondo, track and field, and volleyball.
There are several forms of Filipino martial arts that originated in the Philippines (similar to how Silat is the martial arts practiced in Asia) including Eskrima (weapon-based fighting, also known as Arnis and in the West sometimes as Kali), Panantukan (empty-handed techniques), and Pananjakman (the boxing component of Filipino martial arts).
Traditional Filipino games and pastimes
Traditional Philippine games such as luksong baka, patintero, piko, and tumbang preso are still played primarily as children's games among the youth. Sungka is played on a board game using small sea shells in which players try to take all shells. The winner is determined by who has the most shells at the point when all small pits become empty.
One traditional Filipino game is luksong tinik, a very popular game to Filipino children where one has to jump over the tinik and cross to the other side unscathed. Other traditional Filipino games include yo-yo, piko, patintero, bahay kubo, pusoy, and sungka. Tong-its is a popular gambling game. Individuals play the game by trying to get rid of all the cards by choosing poker hands wisely. Card games are popular during festivities, with some, including pusoy and tong-its, being used as a form of illegal gambling. Mahjong is played in some Philippine communities.
Sabong or cockfighting is another popular entertainment especially among Filipino men, and existed prior to the arrival of the Spanish. Antonio Pigafetta, Magellan's chronicler, first documented this pastime in the kingdom of Taytay.
Filipinos have created toys using insects such as tying a beetle to string, and sweeping it circular rotation to make an interesting sound. The "Salagubang gong" is a toy described by Charles Brtjes, an American entomologist, who traveled to Negros and discovered a toy using beetles to create a periodic gong effect on a kerosene can as the beetle rotates above the contraption. Piko is a Filipino version of the game hopscotch. Children will draw a sequence rectangles using chalk on the ground. With various level of obstacle on each rectangle, children will compete against one another or in a team. Players use pamato; usually a flat stone, slipper or anything that could be tossed easily.
The Indigenous peoples of the Philippines consist of a large number of Austronesian ethnic groups. They are the descendants of the original Austronesian inhabitants of the Philippines, that settled in the islands thousands of years ago, and in the process have retained their Indigenous customs and traditions.
In 1990, more than 100 highland peoples constituted approximately three percent of the Philippine population. Over the centuries, the isolated highland peoples have retained their Indigenous cultures. The folk arts of these groups were, in a sense, the last remnants of Indigenous traditions that flourished throughout the Philippines before the Islamic and Spanish contacts.
The highland peoples are a primitive ethnic group like other Filipinos, although they did not, as a group, have as much contact with the outside world. These peoples displayed a variety of native cultural expressions and artistic skills. They showed a high degree of creativity such as the production of bowls, baskets, clothing, weapons and spoons. These peoples ranged from various groups of Igorot people, a group that includes the Bontoc, Ibaloi, Ifugao, Isneg, Kalinga and Kankana-ey, who built the Rice Terraces thousands of years ago. They have also covered a wide spectrum in terms of their integration and acculturation with Christian Filipinos. Other Indigenous peoples include the Lumad peoples of the highlands of Mindanao. These groups have remained isolated from Western and Eastern influences.
Intangible Cultural Heritage
Prior to the 2003 Convention, the Philippines was invited by UNESCO to nominate intangible heritage elements for the inclusion to the Proclamation of Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. This prompted the proclamation of the Hudhud chant of the Ifugao in 2001 and Darangen epic chant of the Maranao in 2005. After the establishment of the 2003 Convention, all entries to the Proclamation of Masterpieces were incorporated in the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2008. A third inscription was made in 2015 through a multinational nomination between Cambodia, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea and Viet Nam for the Tugging Rituals and Games, wherein the Punnuk, tugging ritual of the Ifugao was included.
As part of the objective of the 2003 Convention, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts through the Intangible Cultural Heritage unit and in partnership with ICHCAP, published the Pinagmulan: Enumeration from the Philippine Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2012. The publication contains an initial inventory of 335 ICH elements with elaborate discussions on 109 ICH elements. The elements listed are the first batch of continuous updating process initiated by the government, UNESCO, and other stakeholders. In 2014, the Pinagmulan was a finalist under the category of the Elfren S. Cruz Prize for Best Book in the Social Sciences to the National Book Awards organized by the National Book Development Board. The Philippine inventory is currently being updated as a measure to safeguard more intangible cultural heritage elements in the country. The updating began in 2013 and results may be released in 5–10 years after the scientific process finishes the second batch of element documentations. According to UNESCO, it is not expected by a country or state party to have a completed inventory. On the contrary, the development and updating of inventories is an ongoing process that can never be finished.
Between 2015 and 2017, UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage Courier of Asia and the Pacific featured the darangen epic chant, punnuk tugging ritual, and at least three kinds of traditional healing practices in the Philippines, including the manghihilot and albularyo healing practices and belief of buhay na tubig (living water) of the Tagalog people of 20th century Quezon city, the baglan and mandadawak healing practices and stone beliefs of the Itneg people in Abra, and the mantatawak healing practices of the Tagalog people of Marinduque.
By 2016, according to the ICH Unit, National Commission for Culture and the Arts, there were 367 elements listed under the Philippine Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage (PIICH), the official ICH inventory of the Philippines. All elements under the PIICH are listed in Philippine Registry of Cultural Property (PRECUP), the official cultural property inventory of the country which includes both tangible and intangible cultural properties. In April 2018, the buklog of the Subanen people was nominated by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts in the list for urgent safeguarding.
An Overseas Filipino is a person of Filipino origin, who lives outside of the Philippines. This term is applied to people of Filipino ancestry, who are citizens or residents of a different country. Often, these Filipinos are referred to as Overseas Filipino Workers.
There are about 11 million overseas Filipinos living worldwide, equivalent to about 11 percent of the total population of the Philippines.
Each year, thousands of Filipinos migrate to work abroad through overseas employment agencies and other programs. Other individuals emigrate and become permanent residents of other nations. Overseas Filipinos often work as doctors, nurses, accountants, IT professionals, engineers, architects, entertainers, technicians, teachers, military servicemen, students, caregivers, domestic helpers, and household maids.
International employment includes an increasing number of skilled Filipino workers taking on unskilled work overseas, resulting in what has been referred to as brain drain, particularly in the health and education sectors. Also, the employment can result in underemployment, for example, in cases where doctors undergo retraining to become nurses and other employment programs.
Festivals in the Philippines, locally known as fiestas, originated dating back to the Spanish colonial period when the Spaniards introduced Christianity to the country. Most Philippine towns and cities has a patron saint assigned to each of them. Fiestas in the Philippines serve as either religious, cultural, or both. These festivals are held to honor the patron saint or to commemorate history and culture, such as promoting local products and celebrate a bountiful harvest. Fiestas can be categorized by Holy Masses, processions, parades, theatrical play and reenactments, religious or cultural rituals, trade fairs, exhibits, concerts, pageants and various games and contests.
|Dinagsa||Cadiz, Negros Occidental|
|Coconut||San Pablo, Laguna|
|Paraw Regatta||Iloilo and Guimaras|
|March||Pintados de Passi||Passi, Iloilo|
|Araw ng Dabaw||Davao|
|Kariton||Licab, Nueva Ecija|
|Sinuam||San Jose, Batangas|
|Sanduguan||Calapan, Oriental Mindoro|
|Sumakah||Antipolo City, Rizal|
|Pista Y Ang Kagueban||Puerto Princesa, Palawan|
|July||T'nalak||Koronadal, South Cotabato|
|Higalaay||Cagayan de Oro|
|Sabutan Festival||Baler, Aurora|
|Padul-ong||Borongan, Eastern Samar|
|October||Fiesta Pilar||Zamboanga City|
|Date (Gregorian Calendar)||Filipino language||English language|
|January 1||Araw ng Bagong Taon||New Year's Day|
|March–April||Mahal na Araw including Biyernes Santo and Huwebes Santo||Holy Week including Good Friday and Maundy Thursday|
|April 9||Araw ng Kagitingan||Day of Valour|
|May 1||Araw ng Manggagawa||Labour Day|
|June 12||Araw ng Kalayaan||Independence Day|
|August 27||Araw ng mga Bayani||National Heroes' Day|
|November 30||Araw ni Bonifacio||Bonifacio Day|
|December 24||Bisperás ng Pasko||Christmas Eve|
|December 25||Araw ng Pasko||Christmas|
|December 30||Araw ni Rizal||Rizal Day|
|Date (Gregorian Calendar)||Filipino language||English language|
|January–February||Bagong Taong Pang Tsino||Chinese New Year|
|February 25||Anibersaryo ng Rebolusyon ng Lakas ng mga Tao||People Power Revolution Anniversary|
|August 21||Araw ni Ninoy Aquino||Ninoy Aquino Day|
|November 1||Araw ng mga Santo||All Saints Day|
|November 2||Araw ng mga Kaluluwa||All Souls' Day|
|December 31||Bisperás ng Bagong Taón||New Year's Eve|
Philippine Heritage Towns and Cities
The Philippines is home to numerous heritage towns and cities, many of which have been intentionally destroyed by the Japanese through fire tactics in World War II and the Americans through bombings during the same war. After the war, the government of the Empire of Japan withheld from giving funds to the Philippines for the restoration of the heritage towns they destroyed, effectively destroying any chances of restoration since the pre-war Philippines' economy was devastated and had limited monetary supply. On the other hand, the United States gave minimal funding for only two of the hundreds of cities they destroyed, namely, Manila and Baguio.
Today, only the centres (poblacion or downtown areas) of Filipino heritage towns and cities remain in most of the expansive heritage cities and towns in the country. Yet, some heritage cities in their former glory prior to the war still exist, such as the UNESCO city of Vigan which was the only heritage town saved from American bombing and Japanese fire and kamikaze tactics. The country currently lacks a city/town-singular architectural style law. Due to this, unaesthetic cement or shanty structures have taken over heritage buildings annually, destroying many former heritage townscapes. Some heritage buildings have been demolished or sold to corporations, and have been replaced by commercial structures such as shopping centers, condominium units, or newly furnished modern-style buildings, completely destroying the old aesthetics of many former heritage towns and cities. This is one of the reasons why UNESCO has repeatedly withheld from inscribing further Filipino heritage towns in the World Heritage List since 1999. Only the heritage city of Vigan has a town law that guarantees its singular architecture (the Vigan colonial style) shall always be used in constructions and reconstructions.
While Silay, Iloilo City, and San Fernando de Pampanga have ordinances giving certain tax exemptions to owners of heritage houses. In 2010, the Philippine Cultural Heritage Act passed into law, effectively giving protections to all cultural heritage properties of the Philippines. However, despite its passage, many ancestral home owners continue to approve the demolition of ancestral structures. In certain cases, government entities themselves were the purveyors of such demolitions. Because of the minimal reach of the current governmental culture agency and the lack of awareness on the importance of Filipino sites, a bill establishing a Department of Culture was formally filed in 2016. The bill is expected to pass into law by late 2018 or early 2019 as it was declared a priority legislation by both houses of Congress. If the bill reaches its deadline, a secretary of culture will be appointed by June–July 2019.
Throughout the nation, there are many heritage cities and towns. The following are in:
- Metro Manila
- Northern Luzon
- Central Luzon
- Southern Tagalog
- Bicol Region
- Western Visayas
- Negros Island
- Central Visayas
- Eastern Visayas
- Northern and Western Mindanao
- Southern Mindanao
- Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao
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