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Culture of Filipino people

The Philippines is a country that has varied cultural influences. Most of these
influences are results of previous colonization, deriving mainly from the culture of Spain and
the United States. Despite all of these influences, the old Asian culture of Filipinos has been
retained and are clearly seen in their way of life, beliefs and customs. Wherever you go,
Filipino culture is very evident and has largely been appreciated and even applauded in many
parts of the world.


There are 175 estimated languages spoken in the Philippines. Almost all are classified as
Malayo-Polynesian languages. Among those languages, there are 13 indigenous languages with
nearly 1 million speakers.

For more than three centuries Spanish was the official language under Spain's colonial
rule. It was spoken by 60% of the population as either a first, second or third language in
the early 20th century. However, the use of Spanish began to decline after the United
States occupation in the early 1900's. In 1935 the Constitution of the Philippines named
English and Spanish the official languages. In 1939 the Tagalog language was named the
national language. The language was renamed "Pilipino" in 1959 and finally "Filipino" in
1973. The present Constitution names Filipino and English as joint official languages.


The Philippines is a country that has varied cultural influences. Most of these influences are
results of previous colonization, deriving mainly from the culture of Spain and the United
States. Despite all of these influences, the old Asian culture of Filipinos has been retained
and are clearly seen in their way of life, beliefs and customs. Wherever you go, Filipino
culture is very evident and has largely been appreciated and even applauded in many parts of
the world.

Music, Arts and Literature

Filipinos are very fond of music. They use various materials to create sound. They love
performing dances (Tiniking and Carinosa) and group singing during festive celebrations.
Settlers from Spain introduced to them a variety of musical instruments like the ukulele,
trumpet, drums and violin. Most of their music is contemporary and they have also learned to
write their own songs based on real life events. People are also fond of folklore, which was
influenced by the early church and Spanish literature. Jose Rizal, the country's national
hero, is famous for his literature and novels inspired from the independence story of the


The majority of Filipino people practice the Christian religion. Spain highly influenced the
people to the extent that the Philippines became one of the two predominantly Christian
nations in the Asia Pacific, the other being East Timor. According to Wikipedia, Christianity
is the religion of about 80% of the Philippine population (mostly Catholics) while Islam is the
religion of 11%, and other religions and beliefs comprise the 9% of the rest of the population.

Christmas is one of the most loved celebration by Filipinos. Families and relatives gather on
the 24th of December, to celebrate food prepared for "Noche Buena," a Spanish term which
means "midnight meal" to greet Christmas Day. New Year is another celebration that gathers
the Filipino families. Wearing dotted clothes and preparing round fruits on the table, which
symbolize prosperity, is one of the many customs of the Filipinos.


Filipinos are not only skilled when it comes to industry but also in sports. The national sport
of the Philippines is called arnis, a form of martial arts. Filipinos love watching American
games like basketball, football and recently boxing which made the Philippines more famous
all over the world. Filipino sport star, Manny Pacquiao, has been put on a pedestal due to his
skill in boxing and more Filipinos have risen to stardom in the sports arena.

Family Structure

The basic social unit of the country is the family, which also includes the intermediate family
members (aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins) and other outside relations (godparents and
close friends). As such, many children have several godparents and when parents are out of
the country to work, children are mostly left to the grandparents to watch over them. It is
common for members of the same family to work for the same company, a practice which was
influenced by the first Chinese settlers in the Philippines. Filipino families live in different
kinds of house structures depending on their status or area. For families in rural areas, they
live in a nipa hut which is made of bamboo and roofed with leaves from palm trees or
corrugated metal. Filipinos that are ranked as "middle class" live in houses made of bricks and


Filipinos are big eaters, even though it is not obviously seen in their petite bodies. The
Philippines is known as Asia's melting pot because of the uniqueness and variety of their food.
Filipinos can't go a day without including rice in their meals. They love plain rice matched with
salted fish, chicken and meat. They serve rice first followed by the various viands they have
grown to eat and cook. Filipinos have a very regular eating schedule: morning, mid-morning,
lunch, afternoon (merienda) and dinner.

They enjoy a variety of sweet foods adopted from other countries which encouraged them to
make their own desserts like "mahablanca" a dessert made of coconut milk, corn, sugar, or
"puto" and "palitaw" which are also made of coconut milk. They also enjoy eating "halo-halo"
for their afternoon snack which means "mixture," a popular dessert that consists of layers of
cornflakes, ice cream, small pieces of gelatin, milk and shaved ice.

During special occasions like a town's big event in celebration of their saint's feast, a
favorite food called "lechon," a suckling pig that has been roasted until the skin turns crusty
is served. Some street foods are also common in the country like the famous "balut," a boiled
duck egg with an embryo, and fish and squid balls on a stick that are dipped on spicy and
sweet sauces.

The Philippines has a very unique culture due to the influences of colonization and the
surrounding countries. Filipino people are very hardworking and strive to make life better for
the next generation of their family. The melting pot theory that is evident in this culture
makes this country a vibrant, exciting and diverse place to live and visit.

Beliefs of Filipino people

Philippine beliefs and superstition have grown in number throughout the various
regions and provinces in the country. These beliefs have come from the different saying and
superstitions of our ancestors that aim to prevent danger from happening or to make a
person refrain from doing something in particular. These beliefs are part of our culture, for
one derives their beliefs from the influences of what their customs, traditions and culture
have dictated to explain certain phenomena or to put a scare in people. Some are practiced
primarily because Filipinos believe that there is nothing to lose if they will comply with these
beliefs. The following are some of the different superstitions in the Philippines.

1. If a person bites his tongue, it means somebody is thinking of him.

2. A girl with white spots on her fingernails is inconstant in love.
3. It is bad to sweep the floor at six o'clock in the evening for it means driving away good
fortune and graces.
4. It is bad to sweep the floor when there are people playing cards or gambling because luck
is being swept away.
5. One should not open an umbrella while inside a house; a centipede is likely to fall from the
ceiling and he will be bitten by it.
6. If a pregnant woman sews her dress while wearing it, her baby will be born without a hole
in the rectum.
7. If a pregnant woman sits on the stairs, she will have a difficult time in delivering her baby.
8. If a pregnant woman wears a necklace or a choker, the umbilical cord of her baby will also
be wound around its neck endangering its life.
9. If the direction of the wooden slats of a floor are not parallel to the stairs, good fortune
will not come to the dwellers of the house.
10. If sweethearts give each other gifts like shoes or slippers, their relationship will not last

Values of Filipino people

The Filipino value system or Filipino values refers to the set of values or the value
system that a majority of the Filipino have historically held important in their lives. This
Philippine values system includes their own unique assemblage of consistent ideologies, moral
codes, ethical practices, etiquette and cultural and personal values that are promoted by
their society. As with any society though, the values that an individual holds sacred can
differ on the basis of religion, upbringing and other factors.


This is the shared sense of identity and consciousness of the 'other'. It means treating
others with respect and dignity as an equal, not someone below the individual.
Family Orientation

The basic and most important unit of a Filipino's life is the family. Unlike in Western
countries, young Filipinos who turn 18 are not expected to move out of their parents' home.
When a Filipino's parents are old and cannot take care of themselves, they are cared for in
their children's homes and are very rarely brought by their children to Homes for the Aged.
The practice of separating the elderly from the rest of the family, while common in Western
countries, is often looked down upon in Filipino society. Family lunches with the whole clan
with up to 50 people, extending until the line of second cousins, are not unusual. The Filipino
puts a great emphasis on the value of family and being close to one's family members.

Joy and Humor

This famous trait is the ability of Filipinos to find humour in everything. It sheds light on the
optimism and positivity of Filipinos in whatever situation they are in so as to remain
determined in going through struggles or challenges. It serves as a coping technique, the
same way a child who has fallen laughs at himself/herself to hide his/her embarrassment.

Flexibility, Adaptability, Creativity

Studies show that Filipinos often have an aversion to a set of standardised rules or
procedures; They are known to follow a Natural Clock or Organic sense of time- doing things
in the time they feel is right. They are present-oriented: which means that one attends to a
task or requirement at the time it is needed and does not worry much about future
engagements. This allows the Filipino to adapt and be flexible in doing the tasks at times not
bound to a particular schedule or timeframe. This allows them think on their feet and be
creative in facing whatever challenge or task they have even when it is already right in front
of them.

Faith and Religiosity

The Philippines is approximately 85 percent Christians (mostly Roman Catholic Christians ), 10

percent Muslim, and 5 percent 'other' religions, including the Taoist-Buddhist religious
beliefs of Chinese and the 'indigenous' animistic beliefs of some peoples in upland areas that
resisted 300 years of Spanish colonial rule. This is a reflection of the Filipinos' strong faith
in God as seen in their various practices. This includes the numerous Church Holidays they
observe, the customary (and obligatory) Sunday Mass, the individual's basis of their moral
standpoints, the influence of the Church on the minds, actions, and opinions of the majority,
importance of the Sacraments, Praying at almost any possible time of the day, the extreme
practices during Holy Week,

Ability to Survive

The Filipinos as a people who have been constantly under the rule of numerous powerful
countries has over time, developed a sense of resourcefulness or the ability to survive with
whatever they have. They have the extraordinary ability to make something out of almost
nothing. If a Filipino was given just a screwdriver, plastic bags, and some tape, he would still
be able to build a bird tree, especially for the sake of survival, and provided that he be
allowed to hunt for some needed surrounding material.
Hard Work and Industry

With resourcefulness comes hard work. Filipinos are very determined and persevering in
accomplishing whatever they set their minds to.

Filipinos over the years have proven time and time again that they are a people with an
industrious attitude. Sadly, this is seen by others as Filipinos being only useful as domestic
helpers, working abroad to help their families in the country. This is also present in the
countrys workforce particularly the farmers. Even with little support, technological
weaknesses and the countrys seasonal typhoons, the Filipino farmer still strives to earn their
daily meal.


Foreigners who come to visit the Philippines speak of Filipinos going out of their way to help
them when lost, or the heartwarming generosity of a Filipino family hosting a visitor in their
poverty-stricken home. Meanwhile, most foreigners who attend Filipino gatherings abroad
(which are frequently organized for hundreds of reasons) testify to the warmth and
friendliness of Filipinos as they experience that feeling of belongingness. Indeed, the
legendary Filipino hospitality is not limited to the Philippines. It is everywhere wherever
there are Filipinos.