The Philippines is a Southeast Asian country situated in the Western Pacific. Its neighbors on the Asian Mainland are China and Vietnam (Gray, 2003).Manila, the capital of Philippines, is famous for Chinatown, Binondo, and its waterfront promenade. Individuals from nations like the United States, India, China and Spain married Filipinos,leading to great interactions among people of different communities. The Filipino people form up to 79 ethnic groups in various regions of the world.
There are about 175 languages spoken in Philippines. Almost all the languages are categorized as Malayo-Polynesian languages. Amongst those languages, there are 13 indigenous languages with approximately 1 million speakers. For over three eras, the formal language under the Spain’s colonial rule was Spanish. In the early 20th century, Spanish was considered as either first, second, or third language (Wild, 2004). In 1935, the constitution of Philippines declared Spanish and English as the two official languages. The Tagalog language was named a national language in 1939. In 1959 and 1973, the language was given a new name and from then, it was known as “Pilipino” and “Filipino” respectively. The current constitution recognizes Filipino and English as the joint official languages (Gray, 2003).
The Philippines is a country with diversecultural influences. These influences were caused by colonization, emanating from the culture of countries such as the United States and Spain. In spite of all these influences, the people of Philippineshave maintained the old Asian culture of Filipinos, and this is evident in their customs, beliefs, and way of life (Wild, 2004). The Filipino culture has been highly appreciated and applauded in most of the regions, all over the world.English is used for governmental, commercial, and educational reasons because it is used in schools. The Philippines is ranked third among the English speaking people across the world.
Music, Arts, and Literature
Filipinos love music and they use different materials to create sounds and entertain people. They love performing Carisona and Tiniking dances, and group sinking, when holding their festive celebrations (Mildenstein & Stier, 2005). There were several instruments like trumpet, ukulele, violin, and drums that were introduced by settlers from Spain. All these instruments have helped in the development of their musical works. Filipino music is contemporary, and they have also learned how to write songs focusing on real life events.
The main social unit of the nation is the family, which entails intermediate members of the family like cousins, grandparents, uncles, and aunts. Children spent most of the time with their grandparents, when their parents went out of the nation for work. In most cases, members of one family work for a similar company, a practice that was influenced by the first Chinese to settle in Philippines. Filipino families stay in varied categories of home structures based on their area or status. In Philippines, the middle class families stay in houses built of stones and bricks.
The Philippines is also called the Asia’s melting pot because of the exceptionality of their food. Rice must be included in the daily meals of a Filipino. The people living in Philippines eat plain rice with meat, chicken, and salted fish. They usually have their meals in the morning, mid-morning, lunch, marienda, and dinner. They also consume different types of sweet foods adopted from other nations.The major dessert-making nations around the globe encouraged the Filipinos to make their own desserts.For instance, “mahablancha” is a Philippines dish that is made up of sugar, corn, and coconut oil. They also like eating “halo-halo” (a combination of layers of cornflakes, shaved ice, milk, and ice cream) in the afternoon (Wild, 2004). Lechon is Filipinos favorite food that is prepared during special occasions; for instance, a town’s major event when celebrating their saint’s feast. Some street foods are also popular in the nation.The commonly sold street food is a balut, which is a developing bird embryo (fertilized duck egg) that is boiled and eaten after dipping it in sweet and spicy sauces.
The popular Philippines martial art is called arnis.Also known as eskrima or kali, arnis is considered to be the national sport of Philippines. This martial art form was founded by Remy Amador Presas. A rattan stick (cane or baston) is the primary weapon used in this martial art form. Filipinos also like watching American games like football and basketball (Mildenstein & Stier, 2005). Rugby has also made the country of Philippines to become popular globally.
Filipinos love celebrating Christmas. Relatives and families usually meet on 24th of December to celebrate the joyful occasion with a midnight meal. Additionally, Filipino families also get together to celebrate New Year’s Day on the 1stof January. One of the main customs of the Filipinos is to put on dotted clothes, and prepare round fruits on the table to signify prosperity.
In Philippines, greetings are considered formal and it follows a set protocol.For instance, greeting the most important person or the eldest first is a rule that must be followed by all people. The standard form of greeting is a handshake with a welcoming smile. Close female blood relatives and friends are allowed to hug and kiss each other, when they meet. Filipinos also use professional, honorific and academic titles, and the person’s surname until one is allowed to use their nicknames or first names. Additionally, if a person is invited to a Filipino home for dinner, he/she is supposed to bring flowers or sweets to the hosts. This is also one of the rules that are followed by all people as part of the Filipino etiquette.
In conclusion, the people of Philippines have an exceptional culture because of the influence of colonization, and interaction with neighboring nations (Mildenstein & Stier, 2005). The Filipinos strive to provide daily needs for their families, and improve the standards of living of the next generation. The melting pot theory that is apparent in this culture makes this nation a vibrant, diverse, and exciting place to live and visit.
Gray, S. (2003). The Philippines (1st ed.). New York: Children’s Press.
Mildenstein, T., & Stier, S. (2005). Philippines (1st ed.). Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishers.
Wild, M. (2004). Philippines (1st ed.). San Diego, Calif.: Lucent Books.