Culture of the Philippines
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Culture of the Philippines

Early Filipinos

The Filipino culture in the past was valued and developed even before the colonizers. The rich culture of Philippine forefathers is evident in their social classes, home, manner of dressing, body accessories, education, music and dance, science, arts and literature, even their way to courtship and marriage, burial and mourning. Filipino forefathers valued education. The early Filipinos in the past had their own beliefs and ways of burying the dead, mourning and getting married.

Early Filipinos were hospitable. This was shown in situations like receiving guests and strangers. They offered the visitors food an entertainment. They were also conscious of cleanliness. They took a bath daily in the river. They cleaned their teeth with fruits. They used perfumes for their bodies. They put "gugo" in their hair. Even their houses were kept clean and orderly.

Early Filipinos were trustworthy and honest. They paid their debts on time. Likewise, they kept their promises.

Spanish Period

During the Spanish period, development was focused more on religion. The Spanish culture was more enjoyed and welcomed by the Filipino-Spanish families and the wealthy Filipino families. The Filipino society was divided into three classes: Principalia, Ilustrado and the Masses. Many Filipino made big names in the fields of Music, Art, Literature and Science. Padre Anacleto Cerra's bamboo organ in the church of Las Piņas became popular worldwide. Women had minor roles in the society but were respected by men.

Despite the oppressive control of the Spaniards, native Filipino Culture progressed and developed especially in the outskirts of Manila. The literary world became rich in legends, epics, folktales, riddles, country songs, wise cracks and etc. The famous epics are "Darangan" of the Maranaos, Hudhud at Alim" of the Ifugaos, "Biag-ni-Lam-ang" of the Ilocanos, and "Ibalon" of the Bicolanos.

In the music world, some old country songs can still be heard today. Some of these are "Manang Biday" and "Pamulinawen" from the Ilocanos, "Sitsiritsit" and "Doon Po Sa Amin" of the Tagalogs, "Atin Ku Pung Singsing" from the Pampangos, and "Ako Kini si Anggi" from the Visayas.

American Period

American Influences can still be seen in the country's system of education, literature, art, architecture, science, industry, home, food, clothes, religion, pastimes, music and dances. Filipinos took education seriously which resulted to the high social status of some Filipinos. The Filipinos learned how to read, speak and write English in a short matter of time. The free exchange of goods between the United Stated and the Philippines ended when the U.S. Congress approved the Tydings-Mcduffie Law. Through the Homestead Act, the right to own any civil land up to 24 hectares was given to any Filipino. The Protestant religion was accepted by the Filipinos. The social status of Filipino Women during the American period. They were allowed to participate in politics, to work in the government, and to pursue their studies in college. Matters like health and cleanliness were improved. Transportation and communication in the Philippines were developed.

The influence of the American culture brought about good and bad aspects to the Philippines. Many roads and bridges were constructed. New technologies were introduced to the country. These technologies helped the Philippines' industries and agriculture. All these developments were made for the convenience of the Americans in the Philippines most especially the businessmen. Philippine people might have enjoyed some benefits but they were not the real reasons why such developments were made. The rules that had been imposed by the Americans to the Filipinos in relation to health and education also had negative effects. The Americans imposed these rules to achieve their main objective, which is to colonize and use the country and its people. Education was the most useful means or ways in pursuing a peaceful relationship with the Filipinos. Through education, the Americans influenced the Filipinos in terms of the way they eat, to love the American culture and most of all, to prioritize American products.

If the Spaniards used religion as an excuse to capture Filipino's hearts and minds, the Americans poisoned our way of thinking through education. Because of these, the Filipino have neglected and set aside their own culture and their own identity.

Japanese Period

The arrival of the Japanese caused tremendous fear, hardships and suffering among the Filipinos. The Filipino way of life was greatly affected during the Japanese period. The Filipinos lost their freedom of speech and expression. The development of art was also stopped. Filipinos greatly feared the "zoning". There were Filipinos spies hired by the Japanese to point those who were suspected of being part of the guerilla movement. The Japanese made some changes in the system of education.


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