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The locals of the Philippines are called Filipinos.

Their primary ancestors are the Malays who came from


the southeastern Asian country or what is now called Indonesia. Before the Europeans discovered the
country, Filipinos have had connections with China that resulted to a mixed Chinese-Filipino descent.
Spanish-Filipinos came out during the colonial period and Filipino-Americans added a few percentages as
well during the American occupation. They are easily distinguished by their fairer color, taller stature and
fairly formed nose structure. A few Arab and Indian blood added to the racial mixture of the Filinos during
their trading years. Aetas- the aboriginal group of the Philippines has a small percentage remained in the
composition of the countrys ethnic groups.

The Philippines is a combined society, both Singular and Plural in form. Singular as one nation, but it is
plural in that it is fragmented geographically and culturally. The nation is divided between Christians,
Muslims, and other religion-ethno-linguistic groups; between urban and rural people; between upland and
lowland people; and between the rich and the poor. Although different in a lot ways, the Filipinos are very
hospitable and give appropriate respect to anybody regardless of race, culture and belief.

Inside their mixed society, anyone who has not seen Filipinos will be surprised how everyone differs from
each other. Their looks, their cultural practices and beliefs show a truly diverse blend of people and
customs. Because of this inconsistent homogeneity of race, the Filipinos naturally adapt and get
influenced easily. They embraced the spirituality of the Spanish during the colonial period and surpass it
with the modernity of the Americans in the recent years. Inspite of these multifaceted customs and
incongruous mixture of people, visitors, however, find Filipinos enriched with uniqueness and variants.

The Filipino Cultural Awareness

Bayanihan: the creation of association with neighbors and the helping atittude whenever one is in
disastrous need. Oftentimes, the Bayanihan spirit in action can be seen when a bus gets a flat tire. The by
standing or surrounding Filipinos would help the bus driver in whatever actions to get the bus back on
going.

Close Family Ties: Filipinos are well-known for the close family ties. The primary social welfare system
for the Filipino is the family. Many filipinos live near their family for most of their lives, even as
independent adults.

Pakikisama: Pakikisama, or harmony, in English, involves getting along with others to preserve a
harmonious relationship.

Hiya: Hiya is shame and is a motivating factor behind behavior. It is a sense of social decency and
compliant to public norms of behavior. Filipinos believe they must live up to the accepted standards of
behavior and if they fail to do so they bring shame not only upon themselves, but also upon their family.
An example might be a willingness to spend more than they can afford on a party rather than be shamed
by their economic situation. If someone is publicly embarrassed, criticized, or does not live up to
expectations, they feel shame and lose self-esteem.

Utang na Loob: Utang na Loob, or Debt of Gratitude, is owed by one to a person who has helped him
through the trials he had undergone. There is a local saying: 'Ang hindi lumingon sa pinanggalingan ay
hindi makararating sa paroroonan', meaning, 'One who does not look back to where he started, will not
get to where he is going'.
o Amor Propio: Concern for self image.
o Delicadeza: Sense of honor
o Palabra de Honor: "word of honor"

Although these traits are generally positive, these practices also have the inclination to be applied in the
wrong context. A debt of gratitude is sometimes repaid by giving special favors to the other person
regardless of the moral outcome. Close familial ties can also lead to favoritism.

Folk Traditions and Beliefs

Before the coming of the Spaniards and the introducing of Roman Catholicism, the indigenous inhabitants
were believer of animism, or the worship of nature. As in Roman Catholicism, their pre-Hispanic beliefs
consisted of a hierarchy of gods, goddesses, and spirits which bear similarity to that of Roman
Catholicism, which is why the latter has been accepted easily by the inhabitants. Bathala was the
supreme God of the Tagalogs, symbolized by the araw, or sun. The supreme God of the Bikolanos was
Gugurang. Other Tagalog Gods and Goddesses include the buwan or moon, tala or stars, and even
objects, such as trees, shrubs, mountains, or rocks. The spirits consist of aswang (ghoul), tikbalang (a
man having the head of a horse), kapre (a giant that is smoking tobacco), tiyanak ( vampire feeding on
children's blood), santelmo (fireball), dwende (dwarves and elves), ik-ik (witches), and a lot of engkanto
(minor spirits) and diwata (fairies/nymphs). Aside from that, voodoo practices were practiced by the pre-
colonial inhabitants, such as pangkukulam, or witchcraft. Beliefs such as usog (a child greeted by a
stranger will get sick) and lihi (unusual craving for something during pregnancy) are also present. These
beliefs were carried on up to the present generation of Filipinos, which has directed some foreign authors
to describe them as 'Pagan-Christians'

Filipinos highly value the presence of their families more than anything. Regardless of the liberal influence
they have gotten from the west, the family remained the basic unit of their society. This trait clearly shows
among Filipinos abroad who suffer homesickness and tough work just to support their families back home
in the Philippines.

In a traditional Filipino family, the father is considered the head and the provider of the family while the
mother takes responsibility of the domestic needs and in charge of the emotional growth and values
formation of the children. They both perform different tasks and being remarked separately by the
children. Children see their mothers soft and calm, while they regard their fathers as strong and the
most eminent figure in the family.

Because of this remarkable closeness, parents sometimes have difficulties letting go of their children and
thus results to having them stay for as long as they want. For this somehow explains why grandparents
are commonly seen living with their children in the Philippines. Unlike the way people grow old in the west
where they are provided with outside homes and care giving, Filipino elderly enjoy their remaining lives
inside their houses with their children and grandchildren looking after them.

Another trait Filipinos made themselves exceptional from others is their strong respect for elders. Children
are taught from birth how to say po and opo to teach them as early as possible how to properly respect
their elders. These words are used to show respect to people of older level. Even adults will be criticized
for not using these words when speaking with their parents or people older than them. Inside the family,
the parents are expected to receive the highest respect from the children along with the eldersiblings; as
they are given more responsibilities to look after younger siblings when parents are not around.

Children fighting back or addressing parents or elder siblings with arrogant tone are not at all tolerated.
They are also not allowed to leave the house without their parents permission. Upon arriving home,
conservative families expect children to practice the kissing of hands or placing their parents or elder
family members hand to their foreheads with the words mano po as a sort of greeting.

Even after finishing school, Filipino children are not obliged to get out of their homes unless they want to.
In fact, most of them keep their close relationship to their parents by staying at least before they get
married. Leaving them happens only when they really have to, but usually, at least one child, depending
on his willingness and financial capabilities, stay even after marriage to support and look after their aging
parents.

More over, Filipinos keep close connection with other relatives. They recognize them from 2nd degree to
the last they can identify. As Filipinos say, not being able to know a relative is like turning their backs from
where they come from.