The culture of Philippines has been influenced by the culture of Malaysia, Spain, Mexico, Hispania, America and other Asian countries. The Spanish colonization was there in Philippines from 1565 to 1898. The island was ruled by Mexican government most of the time and later it was governed directly from Spain. Hence, Spanish and Mexican influence is clearly visible in culture of Philippines.
Traditional folk music, dance, cuisine, celebrations, beliefs and language of Philippines are influenced by Hispania. The Spanish names of the Filipinos are the brightest example of Spanish influence on culture of the country. The names were given to Philippines through a tax law.
As Philippines was a region of the United States from the year 1898 to 1946, the influence of American culture is marked in the use of the English language, and present-day pop culture like fast-food, film, music and basketball.
Asian cultural groups like Chinese and Japanese have influenced the ethnicity of Philippines as they are settled in Philippines from colonial era.
Plain steamed rice is the main food for Filipinos. They harvest three crops a year to get sufficient rice for the entire population. Filipinos love to eat fish daily. Normally, they eat fried fish, chicken and pork. However, nowadays they have started looking for other healthy alternatives of preparing food. Garlic is considered as a healthy ingredient. Usually, Filipinos do not eat spicy food.
They have their breakfast in morning at around 6 o’clock. It is usually consists of the left overs of the last night dinner. They like to have small buns known as pan de sol bought from street vendors. At midmorning and afternoon they have ‘merienda’ and sweet food items, a mixture of instant coffee, boiled milk, sugar, coca-cola, sweet rolls, doughnuts, or a noodle dish may be served at that time.
A Filipino lunch is quite light and served with rice and one other dish preferably a fish or meat stew. Fish, Pork or chicken are eaten in dinner along with a lentils or vegetables soup.
However, dog meat is liked all over the country.
The Filipino men’s traditional costume is barong tagalong that is worn over a Chinese shirt without collar known as camisa de Chino.
The traditional costume for women is the baro at saya where baro and saya are the top blouse and skirt respectively.
However, with changing lifestyle, the dressing of Filipinos has changed a lot and they are wearing western outfits mostly.
In Asia, Philippines is the only Christian country where more than 85 % of people are Roman Catholic. Saying rosary in home before going to sleep in night is followed by all the Filipinos. Children know about ‘Mama Mary’ at early age.
Animism, which says that natural objects too have souls, is one of the oldest traditions of the country. Native people in the mountains of Luzon practice it. The constitution of Philippines has guaranteed the freedom of religion. Religious leaders are considered as powerful personalities in the country. They believe it to be a high honor if a son or a daughter of the family has pursued a religious career.
Though there are several thousand of Christian healers, they do not ask money for their treatment, because they believe that if they will take money then power will fade away. However, the patients offer the gifts to them as the healers are respected a lot. In Philippines the faith healers make treatment through touch and prayer and the ‘psychic’ healers do their work without scalpels and blood.
The following are some of the events celebrated in Philippines with lots of joy and enthusiasm:
Apart from the above events Filipinos also celebrate a number of traditional events throughout the year.