Philippines: A Country of Cultural Heritage

The cultural legacy we get from the past, live within the present, and pass on to the next generation is what we refer to as ‘Heritage’. With the 1972 Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, UNESCO declared that some locations on Earth, like the Serengeti Forest in East Africa, the Pyramids in Egypt, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, and the Baroque cathedrals of Latin America, have “exceptional universal value” and are part of the common heritage of humanity. Buildings, monuments, landscapes, works of art, and artefacts are examples of tangible cultural heritage. Intangible cultural heritage includes folklore, customs, language, and natural heritage, including culturally significant landscapes and biodiversity also. The phrase is frequently used about concerns about protecting Indigenous intellectual property. The Philippines’ culture is distinguished by its diversity of cultures. Although the various ethnic groups that make up the Philippine archipelago have only lately come to share a common national identity, their cultures have all been influenced by the geography, history, and long-standing interactions with other ethnic groups and colonial powers in the area. The country’s culture has more recently been influenced by its involvement in the international world.

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Image 1_Philippines Graphical Map and Flag_©www.vecteezy.com/free-vector/philippines-map

Introducing the Philippines and Its Location

Southeast Asian nation with an archipelago, the Philippines, is formally known as the Republic of the Philippines. It is located in the western Pacific Ocean and comprises roughly 7,641 islands. These islands are divided into Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao from north to south. The South China Sea, the Philippine Sea, and the Celebes Sea encircle the Philippines on its western, eastern, and southern borders. With Taiwan to the north, Japan to the northeast, Palau to the east and southeast, Indonesia to the south, Malaysia to the southwest, Vietnam to the west, and China to the northwest, it has marine borders with these nations. The Philippines is the thirteenth-most populous country in the world, with a land area of 300,000 km2 and a population of about 109 million as of 2021. The islands of the Philippines are home to a variety of ethnic and cultural groups. The largest city in the nation is Quezon City, and the capital of the nation is Manila; both are located in the Metro Manila metropolitan area.

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Image 2_Manila the Capital of Philippines_©expatliving.hk/manila-city-guide-doing-business-in-the-capital-of-the-philippines/

Intangible Cultural of the Philippines

The Philippines is a place where there is a lot of food, light, love, and laughter. The culture of the Philippines is mostly a synthesis of Filipino and Spanish Catholic traditions, with a small amount of influence from America and some regions of Asia. They have an excellent sense of style and aesthetics, and their incredible festivals. “Family-oriented life” is one of the most prominent cultures of the country. Filipinos value their families dearly. Their everyday routine is centred on their immediate and extended families. It includes the third and fourth generations as well as parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, and close acquaintances. “Filipino Value” is the second most cultural aspect of the country. In the Philippines, society’s standards and values are extremely important. Relationships and societal obligations serve as the primary foundation for Filipino values. When speaking to adults, children are taught to be respectful from an early age by using the words “po” and “opo.” In Filipino society, social and group acceptability is highly desired. Filipino morals strongly emphasise listening to others’ opinions and treating everyone with respect.

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Family and Country value gives smile on face_©www.holidify.com/images/cmsuploads/compressed/Fountain_of_Love_school_build_for_typhoon_survivors2C_Philippines_20210119131724.jpg

Religion, Customs and Tradition of the Philippines

All religions are accepted in the Philippines, and every festival or holiday is celebrated enthusiastically. Filipinos are proud of their faith. Islam and other indigenous faiths are also evident in the Philippines, even though the majority of the population practices Christianity. One can see their devotion to religion during celebrations like Ati-Atihan, Kaamulan, Panabenga, and the well-known three-month Christmas holiday. In the Philippines, there is a huge celebration of Jesus’ birthday. The festivities crescendo in December with carols, mass, and midnight eating after beginning in October with decorations and music. Filipinos attend church or mosque at least once a week and exhibit their religion’s sign outside their homes other than during festivals. Cockfighting is one of the long-standing Sunday customs. Although in some countries, it is forbidden or harsh, for Filipinos, it is fairly common. It involves gathering, gambling, and feasting on Filipino cuisine, and it is a common sight in the streets.

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Festival celebration_©www.tripzilla.ph/festivals-and-fiestas-in-the-philippines/21784/

Food and Cuisine of the Philippines

Street parades are another custom in the Philippines that is related to food. Every fiesta has elaborate street parades with floats, music, dance, and mouthwatering regional cuisine. Filipinos also follow traditions during weddings, reunions, and visits from relatives. The Philippines’ cuisine is influenced by various cultures, including Spanish, Indian, Chinese, and original indigenous flavours. A snack usually follows breakfast, lunch, and dinner for six meals. Filipinos enjoy eating, whether it’s at a holiday or just a regular day. Their main cuisine, rice, is typically eaten with various foods. Adobo (a meat stew made with chicken or pork), lechon baboy (roasted pig), paksiw (fish or pork cooked in vinegar and water with additional spices like garlic and pepper), and sinigang are some of the foods that are famous here (tamarind soup with a variety of pork, fish, or prawns).

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Filipino Foods_©www.nytimes.com/2018/03/12/dining/filipino-cooking.html

Art and Craft of Philippines

The arts in the Philippines offer a good window into the nation’s rich cultural diversity. All fields of study, including music, dance, theatre, visual arts, and literature, significantly impact Filipino culture. Filipinos are exceptionally talented musicians and dancers. In the 21st century, folk music and dancing are still widely used. The Filipinos are recognised for using materials readily available in their environment to weave and paint, such as molasses, rust, onion, tomato, and tuba extracts.

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 Wall Art of Philippines’_©ocula.com/magazine/insights/editorial-highlights-art-fair-philippines/

Conclusion: Rich Culture of Philippines

Travelers of all ages from all over the world are drawn to the Philippines by its rich cultural legacy. Some of the world’s most fascinating and promising talent is found in the Philippines. It is a beautiful, culturally rich country. In organisations all across the world, Filipinos have already demonstrated their ability, but this is only the beginning of what is possible and what is yet to come. The Philippines has a lot to offer for multinational corporations wishing to expand in the area.

Reference list:

UNESCO (2020). Cultural heritage. [online] UNESCO. Available at: https://en.unesco.org/fieldoffice/santiago/cultura/patrimonio.

‌Britannica (2019). Philippines – Cultural life. In: Encyclopædia Britannica. [online] Available at: https://www.britannica.com/place/Philippines/Cultural-life.

‌Wikipedia Contributors (2019). Cultural heritage. [online] Wikipedia. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_heritage.

‌Wikipedia Contributors (2019). Philippines. [online] Wikipedia. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philippines.

‌Jain, P. (n.d.). Culture of the Philippines | Traditions, Art Forms, Music, Cuisine & More. [online] www.holidify.com. Available at: https://www.holidify.com/pages/culture-of-philippines-5557.html.

‌Vorhauser-Smith, S. (n.d.). The Philippines: Rich In Culture And In Opportunity. [online] Forbes. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/sylviavorhausersmith/2015/04/08/the-philippines-rich-in-culture-and-in-opportunity/?sh=509f4df81a5a [Accessed 26 Dec. 2022].

Image list

  1. Philippines Graphical Map and Flag, https://www.vecteezy.com/free-vector/philippines-map
  2. Manila the Capital of Philippines, https://expatliving.hk/manila-city-guide-doing-business-in-the-capital-of-the-philippines/
  3. Family and Country value gives smile on face, https://www.holidify.com/images/cmsuploads/compressed/Fountain_of_Love_school_build_for_typhoon_survivors2C_Philippines_20210119131724.jpg
  4. Festival celebration,  https://www.tripzilla.ph/festivals-and-fiestas-in-the-philippines/21784/
  5. Filipino Foods,  https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/12/dining/filipino-cooking.html
  6. Wall Art of Philippines’, https://ocula.com/magazine/insights/editorial-highlights-art-fair-philippines/

Author

Architect Mohd. Afzal Khan graduated in Architecture with Honors from Jamia Millia Islamia – New Delhi. He has been enthusiast to uncover in architecture research work with a boundless passion to know more about the same. He has been fascinated by the historic nature and interest to discover the same.

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