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Philippine culture is a combination of Eastern and Western cultures. The Philippines exhibits
aspects found in other Asian countries with a Malay heritage, yet its culture also displays a
significant number of Spanish and American influences. Traditional festivities known as barrio
fiestas (district festivals) to commemorate the feast days of patron saints are common, these
community celebrations are times for feasting, music, and dancing. The Ati-Atihan, Moriones
and Sinulog festivals are a couple of the most well-known.

Some traditions, however, are changing or gradually being forgotten due to modernization. The
Bayanihan Philippine National Folk Dance Company has been lauded for preserving many of the
various traditional folk dances found throughout the Philippines. They are famed for their iconic
performances of Philippine dances such as the tinikling and singkil that both feature clashing
bamboo poles.

One of the most visible Hispanic legacies is the prevalence of Spanish names and surnames
among Filipinos; a Spanish name and surname, however, does not necessarily denote Spanish
ancestry. This peculiarity, unique among the people of Asia, came as a result of a colonial edict
by Governor-General Narciso Clavería y Zaldua, which ordered the systematic distribution of
family names and implementation of Hispanic nomenclature on the population. The names of
many streets, towns, and provinces are also in Spanish.

The common use of the English language is an example of the American impact on Philippine
society. It has contributed to the ready acceptance and influence of American pop cultural trends.
This affinity is seen in Filipinos' love of fast food and American film and music. Fast food
outlets are found on many street corners. American global fast food chain stalwarts have entered
the market, but local fast food chains like Goldilocks and most notably Jollibee, the leading fast
food chain in the country, have emerged and compete successfully against their foreign rivals.

The Philippines has a democratic government in the form of a constitutional republic with a
presidential system. It is governed as a unitary state with the exception of the Autonomous
Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), which is largely free from the national government.
There have been attempts to change the government to a federal, unicameral, or parliamentary
government since the Ramos administration.

The President functions as both head of state and head of government and are the commander-in-
chief of the armed forces. The president is elected by popular vote for a single six-year term,
during which he or she appoints and presides over the cabinet. The bicameral Congress is
composed of the Senate, serving as the upper house, with members elected to a six-year term,
and the House of Representatives, serving as the lower house, with members elected to a three-
year term.

Senators are elected at large while the representatives are elected from both legislative districts
and through sectorial representation. The judicial power is vested in the Supreme Court,
composed of a Chief Justice as its presiding officer and fourteen associate justices, all of whom
are appointed by the President from nominations submitted by the Judicial and Bar Council.