Philippines, republic in the western Pacific Ocean, made up of the Philippine Islands and forming in physical geography a part of the Malay Archipelago. Situated about 1210 km (about 750 mi. ) east of the coast of Vietnam, the Philippines is separated from Taiwan on the north by the Bashi Channel. The republic is bounded on the east by the Philippine Sea, on the south by the Celebes Sea, and on the west by the South China Sea.
The country comprises about 7100 islands, of which only about 460 are more than 2. 6 sq. m (more than 1 sq. mi. ) in area. Eleven islands have an area of more than 2590 sq. m (more than 1000 sq. mi. ) each and contain the bulk of the population. These islands are Luzon, Mindanao, Samar, Negros, Palawan, Panay, Mindoro, Leyte, Cebu, Bohol, and Masbate. The total area of the Philippines is about 300,000 sq. km (about 115,830 sq. mi. ). Manila is the capital and largest city of the Philippines. This geographical condition of the Philippines made it very accessible and very easy to penetrate by foreign people.
It may be said that the Filipinos are intelligent, with retentive memory, quick perception, and talents for art and science. They also are gentle, riend] y, and cheerful people, noted for their courtesy and hospitality. Filipinos are famous not only for their warm hospitality, but also for their close family ties. The parents work hard and sacrifice much for their children; in return, the children love and respect them and take good care of them in their old age. Filipinos owing to their beautiful country are passionately romantic.
They are ardent in love, as they are fierce in battle. They are born poets, musicians and artists. Filipinos are a liberty-loving and brave people. They valiantly resisted the Spanish, American and Japanese invaders of their ative land. They rank among the bravest people of the world. Filipino courage has been proven in the Battle of Mactan (1521), in the Battle of Tirad Pass (1899), in the battle of Bataan, Corregidor, Bessang Pass during World War II, and in many other battlefields. Gratitude is another sterling trait of the Filipinos.
They are grateful to those who have granted them favors of who are good to them. Their high sense of gratitude is expressed in the phrase Utang na loob (debt of honor). Filipinos are cooperative. They value the virtue of helping each other and other people. They cherish the ancestral trait of ayanihan, which means cooperation. In rural areas, when a man is building, repairing or transferring a house to another place, the neighbors come to help him. Foreign writers assert that the Filipinos are indolent. In reality they work hard in the face of very adverse conditions.
They work on the farms from sunrise to sunset, though not from noon to 3 p. m. due to the scorching heat. They work hard in the sugarcane and pineapple plantations in Hawaii, the fruit orchards of California, the fish canneries of Alaska, and in the oil wells of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and other Arab countries of the Middle East. Finally, the Filipinos are noted for their durability and resiliency. Through the ages they have met all kinds of calamities–revolts, revolutions, wars, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, typhoons and epidemics.
Unlike the Polynesians of Oceania and the Indians of North Central and South Americas, they did not vanish by contact with the white race. They can assimilate any civilization and thrive in any climate. Against the adversities of life or nature, they merely bend, but never break. They possess the formidable durability of the narra tree and the resiliency of the bamboo.
Excavations in archeological sites have proven that during prehistoric times, the native Negritos came in contact with Malays and Indonesians who left their ancestral home in Southeast Asia by crossing the seas in their sailboats (balangay), and settled the Philippine archipelago. Inter-racial marriages took place among them and out of these racial mixtures emerged the Filipino people. The early Filipino Malay ancestors brought with them their culture–food and drinks, community ife, government and laws, language and literature, religion, customs and traditions and arts and sciences.
They left their cultures to their descendants, as the Filipino Malayan inheritance. In the course of the centuries, long before the Spaniards colonized the Philippines in the 16th century; the native Filipinos came in contact (by commerce) with Hindus from India, the Chinese and the Arabs whose civilizations were much older and more advanced than those of Spain and other Western countries. As a result of these early contacts with these great Asian people, the Filipino native culture and way of life (Malayan Heritage) were enriched.
The cultural influences of both India and Arabia came indirectly to Philippine shores through Malaysia, while the Chinese cultural influence came direct from China. In subsequent years, the Filipinos intermarried, not only with the Indians, Chinese and Arabians, but also with the Spaniards, the Americans, the Japanese, the British, the French, the Germans, and other peoples of the world. Today, it may be said that the bloods of the East and the West meet and blend in Filipino veins. It must be noted that during the first two and a half centuries (1565-1828) Spain ruled the country through
Mexico. The viceroy of Mexico governed the country in the name of the Spanish king. During this period the famous Manila-Acapulco trade existed. And many Mexicans–colonial officials, missionaries, soldiers, and traders–came to the Philippines. They introduced plants and animals, industries, songs and dances, customs and traditions into the country. Moreover, many of them married Filipino women. So it came to pass that Filipino acquired a Mexican heritage. After 333 years of Spanish rule, the Americans conquered the country and like Spain, America imposed her culture upon the people.
During four decades of U. S. ule (1898-1935), the people acquired the American heritage, which included democracy, popular education, the English language and Protestant Christianity. Beneath the veneer of Hispanic, Mexican and American heritage, the people, in heart and in spirit, are Asians. They are Asian in race and in geography with an indestructible Asian heritage. The warmth and natural hospitality of the nation’s 66,000,000 Filipinos today, is known throughout the world. The 11 cultural, linguistic and racial groups endow the Filipino people with varying customs and traditions.
In spite of their diversity, Filipinos have basically wo dominant traits: a love of family and a strong religious faith. Filipinos came from a mixture of Asian, European, and American peoples–the Negritos, Indonesians, Malays, Chinese, Indians, Arabs and other Asians; The Spaniards, British and other Europeans; the Mexicans and Americans of South and North America. According to Dr. H. Otley Beyer, noted American anthropologist, the racial ancestry of Filipinos is as follows: Malay – 40%; Indonesian – 30%; Chinese – 10%, Indian (Hindu) – 5%, European & American – 3%, and Arab – 2%.
When the Spaniards arrived in the Philippines, the indios (natives) had reached different levels of political development, including simple communal groups, debt peonage (often erroneously described as slavery) and proto-feudal confederations. The Spaniards imposed a feudal system, concentrating populations under their control into towns and estates. During the first two centuries of their occupation, the Spaniards used the Philippines mainly as a connecting point for their China-Acapulco (Mexico) trade.
The country’s economic backwardness was reinforced by Roman Catholicism, which was practiced in a form hat retained many pre-colonial elements such as animism while incorporating feudal aspects of the colonizers’ religion such as dogmatism, authoritarianism and patriarchial oppression. The Spaniards were never able to consolidate political control over the entire archipelago, with Muslims and indigenous resisting the colonizers most effectively. Among the groups that were subjugated, there were numerous localized revolts throughout the Spanish occupation.
In the 19th century, the Philippines was opened to world trade, allowing the limited entry of liberal ideas. By the late 19th century, there was distinct Filipino nationalist movement that erupted into a revolution in 1896, culminating with the establishment of Asia’s first republican government in 1898. Spain laid the foundation for a feudal health care system. The religious orders built charity hospitals, often next to churches, dispensing services to the indio. Medical education was not extended to the indio until late in the 19th century, through the University of Santo Tomas.
This feudal system of the rich extending charity to the poor persists to this day among many church-run as well as non-sectarian institutions. (1898-1946) The first Philippine Republic was short-lived. Spain had lost a war with the United States. The Philippines was illegally ceded to the United States at the Treaty of Paris for US$20 million, together with Cuba and Puerto Rico. A Filipino-American War broke out as the United States attempted to establish control over the islands. The war lasted for more than 10 years, resulting in the death of more than 600,000 Filipinos.
The little-known war has been described by historians as the “first Vietnam”, where US troops first used tactics such as strategic hamleting and scorched -earth policy to “pacify” the natives. The United States established an economic system giving the colonizers full rights to the country’s resources. The Spanish feudal system was not dismantled; in fact, through the system of land registration that favored the upper Filipino classes, tenancy became more widespread during the US occupation. A native elite, including physicians trained in the United States, was groomed to manage the economic and political system of the country.
The U. S. also introduced western models of educational and health-care systems that reinforced elitism and a colonial mentality that persists to this day, mixed ith the Spanish feudal patron-client relationship. Militant peasant and workers’ groups were formed during the U. S. occupation despite the repressive situation. A movement for Philippine independence, involving diverse groups, continued throughout the occupation. A Commonwealth government was established in 1935 to allow limited self-rule but this was interrupted by the Second World War and the Japanese occupation.
The guerilla movement against Japanese fascism was led mainly by Socialists and communists, known by their acronym, HUKS. Shortly after the end of the Second World War, flag independence was regained although the U. S. imposed certain conditions, including the disenfranchisement of progressive political parties, the retention of U. S. military bases and the signing of economic agreements allowing the U. S. continued control over the Philippine economy. The Spanish and American colonization had instituted in our minds the values and characteristics that we possess at the present time.
Individuals regard their success or failure as to luck, fate, God, or the spirits, expressed by the phrase Bahala na (“What will be, will be”). HIYA Filipinos will go to great lengths to avoid causing others shame (hiya). To be criticized as walang hiya (shameless, insensitive) is a potent censure. UTANG NA LOOB A debt of gratitude, honor, or blood, this term literally means “inner debt” or “heart debt”. Filipinos live within a network of two-way obligations: requesting and accepting a favor implies a willingness to repay it.
Closely linked with the desire for social acceptance and approval, pakikisama (conformity, camaraderie) manifests itself in-groups of all kinds and ages regardless of class. To maintain pakikisama, Filipinos will yield to group opinion, subjugate ill-feeling beneath a pleasant demeanor, avoid speaking arshly or saying “No” directly, and will only criticize or reprimand very tactfully. AMOR PROPIO Filipinos are very sensitive to criticism, insults, and hurt feelings, whether real or imagined, and they can become implacable enemies for reasons that Westerners would deem trivial.
Hiya, utang na loob, and pakikisama all affect an individual’s amor propio (self-esteem). It demands conformity to approved behavior patterns. It can also lead to showing off, especially in the presence of peers and subordinates. And because of the colonization of many countries in the Philippines, the Filipino’s developed values that made them closer to their fellow-Filipinos and made them a Nation-loving people. THE FAMILY Filipino families are much closer than those of the West. The environment is highly personalized.
Children are brought up to be polite, cooperative, modest, and religious. Communal feeling is encouraged. Upon marrying, newlyweds usually set up their own home, but family ties remain strong. The husband is nominally head of the household, but the wife runs the home and manages the finances. They make important decisions together. FAMILY OBLIGATIONS Sharing both good fortune and crisis, the clan operates as isciplinary mechanism, placement agency, and social assistance program. It provides its members with tremendous security, so that to be poor in the Philippines is somewhat different from poor in the West.
In the absence of a public welfare system, the clan eases the impact of illness or unemployment. When a Filipino needs help, he can depend on his family; likewise, he can be called upon to help others in need. There’s a great deal of sharing. Unlike Westerners, who draw strength from independence, Filipinos like the security of this interdependence existence, with its close bonds bred of mutual esponsibility. KINSHIP The family is enlarged through marriage. Filipinos count blood relatives down to fourth cousins, and the relatives of in-laws are considered family.
Filipinos place great emphasis on personal loyalty, and the network of allegiance and reciprocal obligation extends to society as a whole. Powerful patrons provide material help, employment, influence, and protection, and are repaid with personal services ranging from specific tasks to political support. THE FILIPINA It has been suggested that Filipino women are “more equal” within their society han Western women are in theirs, a status which predates colonial times. Women in the Philippines maintain a very high profile in public life, from the president down to barangay level.
Filipinos by nature dislike doing things alone, whether at work or leisure. Bayanihan is the communal spirit that enables Filipinos to come together and help each other at a moment’s notice in times of need. HIERARCHY Polite forms of address are used toward those of higher social rank, elders, and strangers. In conversation, a Filipino continually shifts from high to low status, depending on whom he’s talking to. In Pilipino, it’s common for “my poor and insignificant self” to address “your honored and exalted self”. Awareness of rank and status is reflected in the universal use of titles, e. g.
Attorney Anolin, Mayor Quilala, Doctor Albino. The Filipino way of doing things is heavily centered on relationships. Trust (tiwala) is a key element of camaraderie. Filipinos don’t feel comfortable in impersonal situations. In business and politics, this personalized approach too often leads to nepotism, cronyism, and favoritism; ability and merit are often secondary. Behavior depends on what thers will think, say, or do, whenever they’ll be pleased or displeased. It’s aimed at maintaining “face,” smooth interpersonal relationships, group affiliations, and a strong personal alliance network.
Typical Western frankness is considered tactless. In distasteful situations, they avoid confrontation by using respectful language, soft voice, gentle manner, and indirect approaches such as employing intermediaries, euphemisms, allusions, ambiguous expressions, and oblique comments. In common with other peoples, acculturation has marked the history of the Philippines. Our ancient cultural heritage is esult of the interplay and interpenetrating of diverse natural influences. To the credit of our ancestors, they borrowed the cultures of other peoples but improved on it as they adapted to their everyday life.
They used the foreign culture to enrich the existing one. Each generation made its own imprint, and the resulting culture is uniquely our own. Jocano(1965), our leading anthropologists, stated this idea that-“Each passing generation leaves part of wisdom and experience for the succeeding generation to learn to use in adjusting itself to the changing modes of time. ” This is the reason why we Filipinos embraced the cultures of the western colonizers such as the Spaniards and the Americans, because it is like an instinct that we need to embrace their culture in order to adapt and to survive along with their dominance over our race.
The three centuries of the Spanish occupation that contributed Christianity, have affected all aspects of life. Spanish culture developed the intellectual capacity of the Filipino and brought about the flowering of the arts and sciences. Spanish influences were felt in literature and music, and the sciences like pharmacy, medicine, and engineering. Spain established the first niversity, the University of Sto. Tomas in 1911. She introduced the art of printing in the country, brought to the Filipino the Castillan language, which enabled young Filipinos to seek education in Europe, and make progress in the technology available to them.
Mass education and the Democratic way of life may be considered America’s greatest contributions to the Philippines. Some critics, political and social, view the American influence as resulting in the development of American Imperialism, in the Filipino’s being trained to depend on imported products and to view anything foreign as their own. In short, the Filipino developed a colonial mentality. The Americanization of Pepe and Pilar (peddled as modernization) transformed consumption habits towards a preference for US products, or for that matter, anything imported.