by: Marlene D. Ligsay   and  Mary Ann M. Castro


   Formal Name:         Republic of the Philippines  Short Form: Philippines
  Term for Citizens:    Filipinos
  Capital:                   Manila
  Population:             81, 159, 644 (July 2000 estimate)


Many qualities of human life are transmitted genetically but there are certain characteristics that cannot be explained through genetics because they are learned or cultural. Culture is a body of learned behaviors common to the human society. Shaping one’s behavior and consciousness within the human society is developed from generation to generation.

The primary concept of learned behaviorscould be broken down into categories such as language, ways of organizing the society, the geographical location that affects the lifestyle and economy, the type of government, education, ethic identities and its relationshipto other cultures.

In this report we are going to explore the Filipino culture and we hope that somehow we are going to share some of our distinctive qualities and characteristics. We also hope that you will have a deeper understanding of our beliefs, traditions and the richness of our languages.

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The Philippines is located in the southeastern portionof Asia. The Pacific Ocean separates her from its neighboring countrieson the East, the South China Sea on the North and West and the CelebesSea and the coastal waters of Borneo on the South.
 Philippines is an archipelago of 7,107 islands,with Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao as its three major geographical groupof islands. She has a rugged landmass and similarly, she has an irregularcoastline, which is twice as long as that of continental USA. She has large! mountainous terrain, creating narrow coastal plains and interior valleysand plains. Major plains include those of Central Luzon, northeastern CagayanValley, and Agusan Basin in far south. There are also numerous dormantand active volcanos, notably Mount Pinatubo in Central Luzon. Highest pointMount Apo (2,954 meters).
The climate is Tropical marine, which is divided intotwo seasons, the northeast monsoon (December to February), and southwestmonsoon (May to October). Mean annual sea-level temperatures rarely fallbelow 27° C. Due to its location, the country experiences frequenttyphoons.


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Society andSocial Values:

    Majority of the Philippine populationis bound together by common values and a common religion. The Philippine society is characterized by several positive traits such as strong religious faith, respect for authority, high regard for self-esteem (amor proprio) and smooth interpersonal relationship. Filipinos’ respect for authority is based on the special honor paid to elder members of the family or toanyone in a position of power. Filipinos are also sensitive to attacks on their own self-esteem making them more careful not to hurt others, which results to smooth interpersonal relationship. Strong personal faith also enables Filipinos to face great difficulties and unpredictable things because they believe that "May Awa ang Diyos" or "God is merciful" and He will take care of everything.

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Ethnic Identities:


    There are around sixty-five cultural minorities in the Philippines, which speak their own dialects or languages. Among these ethnic groups are Tagalog, Ilocano, Pangasinanian, Pampangueno,Bicolano, Cebuano, Ilongo and Waray. They compromise 90 percent of all Filipinos and are Christians. The Tagalogs live in Manila and in centraland southern Luzon. Although they speak the same dialect, they have different intonations. The Ilocanos live in the Ilocos region in the northern Luzonparticularly Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte but many have migrated to thecentral Luzon. The Bicolanos are in the southeastern Luzon and the nearby islands including the provinces of Albay, Camarines Sur and Norte. The Pampanguenos or Kapampangans are from central Luzon and the Pangasinaniansare from the Ligayen Gulf region of Luzon.  There are also the so-calledupland tribal groups who live in the mountain regions of the country, suchas the mountain province of Luzon. In the Northern Luzon, the ethnic groups are Bontocs, Kalingas, Ifugaos, Ibalois, Tinguia! ns and Gadangs. The Mangyangroups live in the Mindoro, Tagbanuas in Palawan. The Negritoes popularlyknow as Aetas are found in the mountainous area of Luzon, Negros, Panayand Mindanao.

    The other 10 percent of the populationare made up of Muslim Groups and Foreigners who are active in business.The Chinese forms 1,5 percent of the population and the Muslim group formsthe rest of the 10 percent. The Muslim group is comprised of the Maranaos, Samals, Maguindanaos, Tausog and others. They live in the Southern Mindanaoand the islands of Sulu.

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Language Diversity

    There are about eleven languages and more than eighty dialects spoken in the Philippines. About 90 percent of the population speak Tagalog, Cebuano, Ilocano, Hiligaynon, Bicolano, Waray-Waray,Kapampangan and Pangasinan. These languages belong to the Malayo-Polenesian language family and are related to Indonesian and Malay. Each of theselanguages has unique literary traditions but some of them have closer affinities.Like Ilocanos, it is easier for them to understand Pangasinan than theother languages because of the same language patterns and their geographicallocation Likewise, for Cebuanos to learn Ilongo and Waray faster and easierbecause they belong to the same region. For better communication and understanding,the English language was used in the offices, schools and public places.
 Since language division became a public issue,the government in 1974 initiated a policy of gradually phasing out Englishin schools, businesses and government offices and replacing it with Pilipino.The Pilipino language is mostly based on Tagalog. In 1990, President CorazonAquino ordered that all government offices to use Pilipino as a mediumof communication. The Philippine government and educational ! leaders hopedthat Pilipino would be used through out the archipelago but some Filipinosdid not accept the idea at the expense of their regional languages. Atpresent, Pilipino and English are the languages used in schools, governmentand private institutions.

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    Philippines is a republican state witha unitary type of government founded on democratic principles. The governmentis divided into executive, legislative and judicial branches.  Eachof these branches is separate and independent from each other; these branchescan only exercise the powers assigned by the constitution. The executivebranch administers the functions of the government. It consists of thePresident, Vi! ce President and the members of the Cabinet. The Legislativebranch has the primary responsibility for enacting laws. It consists ofthe Senate and the House of Representatives. And the Judiciary Branch ensuresthe administration of justice. It consists of a system of courts and theSupreme Court heads it.
    The executive power is vested in thePresident of the Philippines who is directly elected by the qualified votersof the country. He holds office for a tern of six years with out re-election.The president and his family live in the palace known a Malacanang. The President is also the Commander-in-chief of all the Armed Forces ofthe Philippines. With the consent of the Commission on Election, the Presidentappoints the members of the Cabinet. These constitute his official family.They are appointed to help the President administer various functions ofthe government.
    The Legisla! tive Branch is vested tothe Congress of the Philippines; it is compos ed of two houses ? The Senateand The House of Representatives. The Senate is composed of 24 electedsenators and their term is six years for a maximum of two consecutive terms.The House of Representatives is composed not more than 250 members withthe Speaker as its chief officer. The seats are apportioned among the provincesand cities according to their population.
The Judicial power is vested in the Supreme Court, aswell as in lower courts as may be established by law. The judicial powerincludes the authority of the courts to hear and settle disputes. The SupremeCourt is the highest tribunal, which consists of a Chief Justice and 14Associate Justices.

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    The Philippine Education System isbased on an over all framework that is articulated in ! the Philippine Constitution.The framework is then broken down into the curriculum in the elementary,high school, college and non-formal education. The curriculum is implementedthrough a mode of instruction by which the Department of Education Cultureand Sports mandates the schools to carry out its visions.
 Elementary Education is consists of six years ?a four primary education and a two year intermediate program. Usually,children are admitted in the first grade level at the age of seven. Pre-schooleducation is optional though most schools especially private schools requirechildren to pass through Kindergarten. The elementary curriculum is composedof 9 subjects: Character Building, Pilipino, English, Mathematics, Civicsand Culture, History and Geography, Health and Science, Arts and PhysicalEducation, and Home Economics.
    The Secondary Education focuses onsubstantive and process content, va! lues development, productivity and technology.Secondary school is div ided into four years with eight major subject areas:Filipino, Social Studies, Physical Education, Values Education, English,Science and Technology, Mathematics and Practical Arts. There are two hundreddays of instruction including examination days.
 The Education Act of 1982 created the non-FormalEducation Accreditation and Equivalency. It serves as an alternative meansof certification of learning to drop outs. It also recognizes educationas a social function and seeks to integrate core values in the curriculum.

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    With their tropical climate, heavyrainfall, and naturally fertile volcanic soil, the Philippines is predominantlyagricultural. Rice, corn, and coconuts take up about 80% of all cropland.Sugarcane, sweet potatoes, manioc, bananas,! hemp, tobacco, and coffee arealso important crops. Carabao (water buffalo), pigs, chickens, goats, andducks are widely raised, and there is dairy farming. Fishing is a commonoccupation; the Sulu Archipelago is noted for its pearls and mother-of-pearlshell.

    The islands have one of the world'sgreatest stands of commercial timber. There are also mineral resourcessuch as nickel, zinc, copper, cobalt, gold, silver, iron ore, and chromite.Nonmetallic minerals include rock asphalt, gypsum, asbestos, sulfur, andcoal. Limestone, adobe, and marble are quarried, and petroleum is mined.

    Manufacturing is concentrated in metropolitanManila, near the nation's prime port, but there has been considerable industrialgrowth on Cebu, Negros, and Mindanao in recent years. Textiles, pharmaceuticals,and chemicals are manufactured, and the assembly of electronics and automobilesis important. Other ind! ustries include food processing and petroleum refining.The former U.S . military base at Subic Bay was redeveloped in the 1990sas a free-trade zone. Chief exports are electronics and telecommunicationsequipment, lumber and plywood, machinery, garments, coconut products, copper,and sugar. The main imports are raw materials, production equipment, andintermediate goods for processing. The chief trading partners are the UnitedStates and Japan.  (Source: Encyclocpedia.Com)

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Bestthings about being a Filipino:

1.  Merienda. Where else but in the Philippines is it normal toeat five times a day?
2.  Sawsawan. Assorted sauces that guarantee freedom of choice,enough room for experimentation and maximum tolerance for diverse tastes.Favorites: toyo't calamansi, suka at sili, patis.
3.  Kuwan, ano. At a loss for words? Try these and marve! l at howPinoys understand exactly what you want.
4.  Spirituality. Even before the Spaniards came, ethnic tribeshad their own anitos, bathalas and assorted deities, pointing to a strongrelationship with the Creator, who or whatever it may be.
5.  Po, opo, mano po. Speech suffixes that define courtesy, deference,filial respect--a balm to the spirit in these aggressive times.
6. Pasalubong. Our way of sharing the vicarious thrills and delightsof a trip, and a wonderful excuse to shop without the customary guilt.
7. Beaches! With 7000 plus islands, we have miles and miles of shorelinepiled high with fine white sand, lapped by warm waters, and nibbled byexotic tropical fish. From the stormy seas of Batanes to the emerald islesof Palawan--over here, life is truly a beach.
8.  Bagoong. Darkly mysterious, this smelly fish or shrimp pastetypifies the underlying theme of most ethnic foods: disgustingly unhygienic,unbearably stinky and sim! ply irresistible.
9.  Bayanihan. Yes, the internationally-ren owned dance company,but also this habit of pitching in still common in small communities. Justhave that cold beer and some pulutan ready for the troops.
10. The Balikbayan box. Another way of sharing life's bounty, no matterif it seems like we're fleeing Pol Pot every time we head home from anywherein the globe. The most wonderful part is that, more often than not, thecontents are carted home to be distributed.
11. Pilipino komiks. Not to mention "Hiwaga," "Aliwan," "Tagalog Classics,""Liwayway" and "Bulaklak" magazines. Pulpy publications that gave us Darna,Facifica Falayfay, Lagalag, Kulafu, Kenkoy, Dyesebel, characters of a timeboth innocent and worldly.
12. Folk songs. They come unbidden and spring, full blown, like a secondlanguage, at the slightest nudge from the too-loud stereo of a passingjeepney or tricycle.
13. Fiesta. Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow is just another day,shrugs the poor man who, once a year, honors a patron saint wit! h this sumptuous,no-holds-barred spread. It's a Pinoy celebration at its pious and riotousbest.
14. Jeepneys. Colorful, fast, reckless, a vehicle of postwar Pinoyingenuity, this Everyman's communal cadillac makes for a cheap, interestingride. If the driver's a daredevil (as they usually are), hang on to yourseat.
16.  Santacruzan. More than just a beauty contest, this one hasreligious overtones, a tableau of St. Helena's and Constantine's searchfor the Cross that seamlessly blends piety, pageantry and ritual. Plus,it's the perfect excuse to show off the prettiest ladies--and the mostbeautiful gowns.
17. Kamayan style. To eat with one's hand and eschew spoon, fork andtable manners--ah, heaven.
18.  Chicharon. Pork, fish or chicken crackling. There is in thecrunch a hint of the extravagant, the decadent and the pedestrian. Perfectwith vinegar, sublime with beer.
19.  Pinoy hospitality. Just about everyone gets a hearty "Kaintayo! !" invitation to break bread with whoever has food to share, no matter how skimpy or austere it is.
20.  Adobo, kare-kare, sinigang and other lutong bahay stuff.Home-cooked meals that have the stamp of approval from several generations,who swear by closely-guarded cooking secrets and family recipes.
21.  Lola Basyang. The voice one heard spinning tales over theradio, before movies and television curtailed imagination and defined grown-uptastes.
22.  Yayas. The trusted Filipino nanny who, ironically, has becomea major Philippine export as overseas contract workers. A good one is almostlike a surrogate parent--if you don't mind the accent and the predilectionfor afternoon soap and movie stars.
23.  Pinoy fruits. Atis, guyabano, chesa, mabolo, lanzones, durian,langka, makopa, dalanghita, siniguelas, suha, chico, papaya, singkamas--thepossibilities are endless!
24.  World class Pinoys who put us on the global map: Lea Salonga,Paeng Nepomuceno, Eugene Torre, Luisito Espinosa, Lydia de Vega-Merc! ado,Jocelyn Enriquez, Elma Muros, Onyok Velasco, Efren "Bata" Reyes, LiliaCalderon-Clemente, Loida Nicolas-Lewis, Josie Natori.
25.  The sights. Banaue Rice Terraces, Boracay, Bohol's ChocolateHills, Corregidor Island, Fort Santiago, the Hundred Islands, the Las PinasBamboo Organ, Rizal Park, Mt. Banahaw, Mayon Volcano, Taal Volcano. A landof contrasts and ever-changing landscapes.
26  People Power at EDSA. When everyone became a hero and changedPhilippine history overnight.
27.  Resiliency. We've survived 400 years of Spanish rule, theUS bases, Marcos, the 1990 earthquake, lahar, lambada, Robin Padilla, andTamagochi. We'll survive Cory, Fidel, Erap, Gloria, and whoever comes next.
28 Yoyo. Truly Filipino in origin, this hunting tool, weapon, toy andmerchandising vehicle remains the best way to "walk the dog" and "rockthe baby," using just a piece of string.
29.  Pinoy games: Pabitin, palosebo, basagan ng palayok. A fewbasi! c rules make individual cunning and persistence a premium, and guarant eea good time for all.
30.  Tabo. All-powerful, ever-useful, hygienically-triumphantdevice to scoop water out of a bucket  and help the true Pinoy answernature's call. Helps maintain our famously stringent toilet habits.
31.  Barong Tagalog. Enables men to look formal and dignifiedwithout having to strangle themselves with a necktie. Worn well, it makesany ordinary Juan look marvelously makisig (good-looking).
32.  Dr. Jose Rizal. A category in himself. Hero, medicine man,genius, athlete, sculptor, fictionist, poet, essayist, husband, lover,samaritan, martyr. Truly someone to emulate and be proud of, anytime, anywhere.
33.  Sunday family gatherings. Or, close family ties that neverget severed. You don't have to win the lotto or be a president to have10,000 relatives. Everyone's family tree extends all over the archipelago,and it's at its best in times of crisis; notice how food, hostesses, money,and moral support materializ! es during a wake?
34.  Calesa and karitela. The colorful and leisurely way to negotiatenarrow streets when loaded down with a year's provisions.

35.Handicrafts. Shell craft, rattan craft, abaca novelties, woodcarvings,banig placemats and bags, bamboo wind chimes, etc. Portable memories ofhome. Hindi lang pang-turista, pang-balikbayan pa!

(Exerpt from Ms. Elma L. Chong’s 100 best things about being aFilipino)

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