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Philippino Culture


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Kadayawan, Davao

Filipinos:

The country is marked by a true blend of cultures; truly in the Philippines, East meets West. The background of the people is Indonesian and Malay. There are Chinese and Spanish elements as well. The history of American rule and contact with merchants and traders culminated in a unique blend of East and West, both in the appearance and culture of the people of the Filipinos, or people of the Philippines.
Hospitality, a trait displayed by every Filipino, makes these people legendary in Southeast Asia. Seldom can you find such hospitable people who enjoy the company of their Western visitors. The American occupation was responsible for teaching the Filipino people the English language. The Philippines is currently the third-largest English speaking country in the world.

Language:


Filipinos are probably one of the few, if not the only, English-proficient Oriental people today. Pilipino is the official national language, with English considered as the country's unofficial one. The Filipinos are divided geographically and culturally into regions, and each regional group is recognizable by distinct traits and dialects. Communities can be found scattered across the archipelago. The Philippines has more than 111 dialects spoken, owing to the subdivisions of these basic regional and cultural groups.

*Click on the link to below to learn more about each dialect, as well as see how some words are said!

http://www.filipinolanguages.com/html/languages.html









Social Classes and Sports:

Filipinos believe in the need for social acceptance and feel that education can provide upward mobility. Color of skin, beauty, and money are the criteria that determine a person's social position. Light coloring is correlated with intelligence and a light-skinned attractive person will receive advancement before his or her colleagues. Family position and patron-client associations are useful in achieving success. Government officials, wealthy friends, and community leaders are sponsors at hundreds of weddings and baptisms each year. Those connections are of great importance. There is a gap between the 2 percent of the population that is wealthy and the masses who live in poverty. The middle class feels too obligated to those in power to attempt to make societal changes. The people of the Philippines enjoy watching professional basketball played by American professional teams and teams in Filipino professional leagues. Basketball courts are the only sport-site found in every barangay and school. Cockfights are a popular sport among men. Cocks have metal spurs attached to the leg just above the foot. The contest continues until one of the cocks is unable to continue fighting or runs away. Cuneta Astrodome in metropolitan Manila is used for both professional basketball and cockfights. Mah-jongg, a Chinese game played with tiles, is very popular, especially with women.

Gender Roles and Statuses:

Division of Labor by Gender:


Traditional roles prevail in rural areas, where men cultivate the land but the entire family is involved in planting and harvesting the crops. Women work in gardens and care for the house and children as well as barnyard animals. In urban areas, men work in construction and machine upkeep and as drivers of passenger vehicles. Women work as teachers, clerks, owners of sari-sari stores, marketers of produce and health care providers. Occupational gender lines are blurred since men also work as nurses and teachers. In the professions, gender lines are less important. Women attorneys, doctors and lawyers are found in the provinces as well as in urban areas.


The Relative Status of Women and Men:


While families desire male children, females are welcomed to supply help in the house and provide a home in the parents' old age. Women's rights to equality and to share the family inheritance with male siblings are firmly established and are not questioned. The oldest daughter is expected to become an OSW to provide money for the education of younger siblings and for the needs of aging family members. Women are the familial money managers. The wedding ceremony can include the gift of a coin from the groom to the bride to acknowledge this role. Since personal relationships and wealth are considered the road to success, women have an equal opportunity to achieve. Winners of beauty pageants are likely to succeed in the business and professional world, especially if the pageant was at an international level.


Marriage, Family and Kinship:

Marriage:


Marriage is a civil ceremony that is conducted in city offices. A religious ceremony also is performed. The ceremony is similar to those in the United States with the addition of sponsors. Principal sponsors are friends and relatives who have positions of influence in the community. The number of principal sponsors attests to the popularity and potential success of a couple. It also reduces a couple's expenses, since each principal sponsor is expected to contribute a substantial amount of cash. Members of the wedding party are secondary sponsors who do not have to provide funds. Arranged marriages have not been part of Filipino life. However, men are expected to marry and if a man has not married by his late twenties, female relatives begin introducing him to potential brides. The median age for marriage is twenty-two. Young professionals wait until their late twenties to marry, and engagements of five to seven years are not uncommon. During this period, the couple becomes established in jobs, pays for the education of younger siblings, and acquires household items. A woman who reaches the age of thirty-two without marrying is considered past the age for marriage. Women believe that marriage to a wealthy man or a foreigner will guarantee happiness. Divorce is illegal, but annulment is available for the dissolution of a marriage. Reasons for annulment include physical incapacity, physical violence, or pressure to change one's religious or political beliefs. Interfaith marriages are rare.
Domestic Unit: The extended family is the most important societal unit, especially for women. Women's closest friendships come from within the family. Mothers and daughters who share a home make decisions concerning the home without conferring with male family members. One child remains in the family home to care for the parents and grandparents. This child, usually a daughter, is not necessarily unmarried. The home may include assorted children from the extended family, and single aunts and uncles. Several houses may be erected on the same lot to keep the family together. Childcare is shared. Fathers carry and play with children but are unlikely to change diapers. Grandparents who live in the home are the primary care givers for the children since both parents generally work. Preschool grandchildren who live in other communities may be brought home for their grandparents to raise. Indigent relatives live in the family circle and provide as household and childcare help. Young people may work their way through college by exchanging work for room and board. Family bonds are so close that nieces and nephews are referred to as one's own children and cousins are referred to as sisters and brothers. Unmarried adult women may legally adopt one of a sibling's children.

Inheritance:


Inheritance laws are based on those in the United States. These laws provide that all children acknowledged by a father, whether born in or out of wedlock, share equally in the estate. Females share equally with males.

Kin Group:


Because of the closeness of the immediate family, all familial ties are recognized. Anyone who is remotely related is known as a cousin. Indigenous tribes live in clan groups. Marriage into another clan may mean that the individual is considered dead to his or her clan.
People have a strong sense of belonging to a place. A family that has lived in metropolitan Manila for two generations still regards a municipality or province as its home. New Year's Day, Easter, and All Saint's Day are the most important family holidays. Bus traffic from Manila to the provinces increases dramatically at these times, with hundreds of extra buses taking people home to their families.

Socialization:

Infant Care:


Infants are raised by family members. Young children are sent to live with their grandparents or aunts for extended periods. People who live outside the country leave their children with the family for the preschool years. Infants spend their waking time in someone's arms until they can walk. They are part of every activity and learn by observation. Someone will remain in the room with them when they sleep. Infant mortality is high, and so great care is taken of babies. Helpers and older sisters assist with the day to-day care of babies.

Child Rearing and Education:

Children are seldom alone in a system in which adults desire company and do not understand the need for privacy. Children have no pressure to become toilet trained or to learn to eat at the table. They are spoon fed or eat from a parent's plate until the age of six. They must learn respect for authority, obedience, and religious faith. Self-esteem is fostered. A child's first birthday is celebrated with a party. Filipinos regard education as the path to upward mobility. Ninety percent of the population over ten years of age is literate. The Department of Education, Culture and Sports (DECS) is the largest governmental department. Approximately twelve million elementary school pupils and five million secondary students attended school in 1999 and 2000. Education is compulsory until age twelve. Statistics indicate that children from the poorest 40 percent of the population do not attend school. Elementary education is a six-year program; secondary education is a four-year program. Pre-schools and kindergartens are seldom available in public schools but are in private schools. Children are grouped homogeneously by ability. First grade students begin being taught in Filipino; English is added after two months. In elementary and secondary schools, reading, science, and mathematics are taught in English while values, social studies, and health are taught in Filipino. Children learn some Filipino and English words from the media. "Linga franca" is an experimental approach in which students are taught in the native dialect and Filipino for the first two years and English in the third grade. This program came about as a response to concerns that English was being used more than were the native languages.


Elementary school, secondary school, and college students are required to wear uniforms. Girls wear pleated skirts and white blouses. Public school pupils wear dark blue skirts. Each private school has its own color. Boys wear white shirts and dark pants. Women teachers are given a government allowance to purchase four uniforms to wear Monday through Thursday. Men wear dark pants and a barong, a lightweight cotton shirt, or a polo shirt. Female teachers are addressed as ma'am (pronounced "mum"). Male teachers are addressed as sir. These titles are highly prized and are used by teachers in addressing one another.


Class sizes range from twenty to more than fifty in public schools. The goal is to keep class size below fifty. Pupils may have to share books and desks. Schools may lack electricity and have dirt floors or be flooded in the rainy season. The walls may not be painted. The Japanese, Chinese, and Australians have provided new classrooms, scientific supplies, and teacher training for the public schools. Private schools charge fees but have smaller class sizes. They have a reputation of providing a better education than do the public schools.

The school year runs from June to March to avoid the hot months of April and May. School starts at seven-thirty and ends at four-thirty with a break of one and a half hours for lunch. No meals are served at the school, although the parent-teacher association may run a stand that sells snacks for break time.

Higher Education:


A college degree is necessary to obtain positions that promise security and advancement. Approximately two million students attend colleges and universities. Each province has a state college system with several locations. The University of the Philippines, located in Manila, is a public university that is regarded as the best in the country. Private colleges are found in the major municipalities. The University of Santo Tomas in Manila is a private school that was established in 1611; it is the oldest site of higher education in the country. English is the primary language of instruction at the college level. Colleges and universities have large enrollments for advanced degrees since a four year degree may not be sufficient to work in the higher levels of government service.

Religion and Beliefs:



Some 80 percent of the population is Catholic, Spain's lasting legacy. About 15 percent is Moslem and these people can be found basically in Mindanao. The rest of the population is made up mostly of smaller Christian denominations and Buddhist.
The Philippines is the only Christian nation in Asia. More than 85 percent of the people are Roman Catholic. The rosary is said in the home at 9:00 P.M., just before the family retires for the night. Children are introduced to the statue of "Mama Mary" at a very early age.
Protestant missionaries arrived in 1901 and followed the Catholic example of establishing hospitals, clinics, and private schools. The Church of the Latter Day Saints (Mormons) is currently the most active missionary group.
Sunni Muslims constitute the largest non-Christian group. They live in Mindanao and the Sulu Islands but have migrated to other provinces. Muslim provinces celebrate Islamic religious holidays as legal holidays. Mosques are located in large cities throughout the country. In smaller communities, Muslims gather in small buildings for services. Animism, a belief that natural objects have souls, is the oldest religion in the country, practiced by indigenous peoples in the mountains of Luzon. Freedom of religion is guaranteed by the constitution. The disagreement between the Muslim population of the southern provinces and the federal government is not so much about religion as it is about political goals. Non-Catholics do not object to Catholic symbols or prayer in public venues. Each barangay has a patron saint. The saint's day is celebrated by a fiesta that includes a religious ceremony. Large amounts of food are served at each house. Friends and relatives from other barangays are invited and go from house to house to enjoy the food. A talent show, beauty contest, and dance are part of the fun. Carnival rides and bingo games add to the festivities.


Rituals and Holy Places:


The major rituals are customary Christian or Muslim practices. Sites where miracles have taken place draw large crowds on Sundays and feast days. Easter is the most important Christian observance. On Easter weekend, the entire Christian area of the country is shut down from noon on Monday until the morning of Black Saturday. International flights continue and hospitals are open, but national television broadcasts, church services, and shops and restaurants are closed and public transportation is sparse. People stay at home or go to church. Special events take place on Good Friday. There are religious processions such as a parade of the statues of saints throughout the community.









Death and the Afterlife:

A twenty-four-hour vigil is held at the deceased person's home, and the body is escorted to the cemetery after the religious ceremony. The tradition is for mourners to walk behind the coffin. A mausoleum is built during the lifetime of the user. The size of the edifice indicates the position of the builder. Mourning is worn for six weeks after the death of a family member. It may consist of a black pin worn on the blouse or shirt of the mourner or black clothing. Mourning is put aside after one year. A meal or party is provided for family members and close friends one year after the burial to commemorate recognize the memory of the deceased. All Saints Day on November 1rst is a national holiday to honor the dead. Grave sites are cleared of debris and repaired. Families meet at the cemetery and stay throughout the twenty-four hours. Candles and flowers are placed on the graves. Food and memories are shared, and prayers are offered for the souls of the dead. When a family member visits a grave during the year, pebbles are placed on the grave to indicate that the deceased has been remembered.

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Filipino Foods


Food:

Filipinos do not consider it a meal if rice is not served. Plain steamed rice is the basis of the diet. Three crops a year are harvested to provide enough rice for the population, and the government keeps surpluses stored for times of drought. Salt water and freshwater of fish and shellfish are eaten daily, served either fresh or salted. Fish, chicken and pork are usually fried, although people are becoming more health-conscious and often choose alternative methods of cooking. Garlic is added to food because it is considered healthy. Filipino food is not spicy. All food is cooked on gas burners or wood or charcoal fires and is allowed to get cold before it is eaten. Rice is cooked first, since it takes longer. When it is ready, rice will be placed on the table while the next items of the meal are prepared and served. Table knives are not used. Forks and spoons are used for dining. The food is eaten from a spoon. The traditional method of placing food on a banana leaf and eating with one's hands is also used throughout the country. It is acceptable to eat food with one's hands at restaurants as well as in the home.

Breakfast is served at 6 A.M. and consists of food left over from the night before. It is not reheated. Eggs and sausage are served on special occasions. Small buns called pan de sol may be purchased from vendors early in the morning.

At midmorning and in the afternoon, people eat merienda. Since Filipinos are fond of sweet foods, a mixture of instant coffee, evaporated milk, and sugar may be served. Coca-Cola is very popular. Sweet rolls, doughnuts, or a noodle dish may be available.

Lunch is a light meal with rice and one other dish, often a fish or meat stew. Fish, pork, or chicken is served at dinner with a soup made of lentils or vegetables. Fatty pork is a favorite. Portions of small cubes of browned pork fat are considered a special dish.

Fruits are abundant all year. Several kinds of banana are eaten, including red and green varieties. Mangoes, the national fruit, are sweet and juicy. A fruit salad with condensed milk and coconut milk is very popular on special occasions.
Vegetables are included as part of a soup or stew. Green beans and potatoes are commonly eaten foods. The leaves of camote, a sweet potato, are used as a salad and soup ingredient. Ube, a bland bright purple potato, is used as a colorful ingredient in cakes and ice cream.

Halo-halo, which means "mixture," is a popular dessert that consists of layers of corn kernels, ice cream, small gelatin pieces, cornflakes and shaved ice. Patis, a very salty fish sauce, is placed on the table to be added to any of the dishes.


Fast food has become part of the culture, with national and international chains in many towns. All meals at fast-food restaurant include rice, although French fries also tend to be on the menu. Banana ketchup is preferred, although the international chains serve tomato ketchup. A national chain, Jollibee, has entered the U.S. market with a restaurant in California, where many Filipino immigrants live. The company plans to expand to other cities with Filipino populations.

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Continuing a 2,000-year-old tradition, women harvest rice by hand on the Banaue terraces. Even record harvests haven't been able to support the nation's 90 million people, forcing it to become the leading rice importer.

Traditional Foods:

Léchon, a suckling pig that has been roasted until the skin forms a hard brown crust, is served at important occasions. The inside is very fatty. Strips of the skin with attached fat are considered the best pieces. The importance of the host and the occasion are measured by the amount of léchon. served. Blood drained from the pig is used to make dinuguan.
Sticky rice prepared with coconut milk and sugarcane syrup is wrapped in banana leaves. Glutinous rice is grown especially for use in this traditional dessert. Gin and beer are available for men and are accompanied by balut, a duck egg with an embryo. Dog meat is a delicacy throughout the country. It is now illegal to sell dog meat at markets because cases of rabies have occurred when the brains were eaten.


Medicine and Health Care:


Life expectancy is seventy years for females and sixty-four years for males. The Health Care Law of 1995 provides citizens with basic health care at no cost through subsidies. The working poor are given financial assistance when necessary. Children receive inoculations at no cost. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Philippines to be polio-free in 2000. It is the first nation in the world to be recognized for the elimination of polio.
Regional public hospitals provide service to everyone. People who live far away ride a bus for hours to reach the hospital. Funds for ambulances are raised by lotteries within each barangay or are provided by congressmen and are used only for the people who live in that area. Private hospitals are considered superior to public hospitals. Paying patients are not discharged from hospitals until the bill is paid in full. Patients have kasamas (companions) who remain with them during the hospital stay. Kasamas assist with nursing chores by giving baths, getting food trays, taking samples to the nurses' station and questioning the doctor. A bed but no food is provided for the kasama in the hospital room.

Quiz:


Quiz yourself to see what you remember!
1. What percent of the population is Catholic?
a) 90%
b) 20%
c) 80%
d) 55%

2. The Cuneta Astrodome in metropolitan Manila is used for?
a) basketball
b) soccer
c) cockfights
d) both a and c

3. When meals are made what is typically cooked first?
a) Meat
b) Rice
c) Vegetables
d) Bread


*Highlight the row below the numbers to check your answers

1.
c
2.
d
3.
b



Resources:

blueyoyi. (2010, January 4). Ethnic Tribal Music-Dance of the Philippines - Bagobo and Ifugao tribal music-dances - NAMCYA 2009 . YouTube . Retrieved April 29, 2011, from
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJJGmcqRgQc&feature=player_embedded

Culture of The Philippines . (n.d.). Countries and Their Cultures. Retrieved April 29, 2011, from
http://www.everyculture.com/No-Sa/The-Philippines.html#ixzz1KeTz

Languages of the Philippines. (n.d.) Filipino Languages. Retrieved May 3, 2011, from
http://www.filipinolanguages.com/html/languages.html

likhasf. (2006, May 25). LIKHA - Philippine Folk Dance Preview . YouTube . Retrieved April 25, 2011, from
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cP8J5jxuo7A

Philippines Guide . (n.d.). Travel & Cultures - National Geographic. Retrieved April 27, 2011, from
http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/countries/philippines-guide/


Philippine Images. (n.d.). Philippine Tourism Promotions Board Website. Retrieved April 22, 2011, from
http://www.dotpcvc.gov.ph/Slideshow/slide5.html

The People. (n.d.). Philippine Tourism Promotions Board Website. Retrieved April 22, 2011, from
http://www.dotpcvc.gov.ph/Visitor%20Information/people.html


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