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Philippine Culture

The culture of the Philippines is very diverse. This is due to the colorful combination of different nations with our country. Its culture is reflected by the complexity of the history of the Philippines through the blending of Pre-Hispanic indigenous Austronesian civilizations. There are a number of countries that have influenced Philippine culture such as Spain, United States, China, India, and the Arabs. The influences of these countries are visible in the various practices of the Filipinos up to the present. The Spaniards brought the Spanish language, Catholicism and other religious celebrations such as fiestas. The American influence is evident in the use of the English language and the presence of contemporary pop culture such as fast-food, music, movies, basketball and media. The Arabs and Indians brought Islam to the southernmost island of the Philippines along with their own customs and traditions. The Chinese brought trade and commerce to the country as well as their affirmation of the importance of respect and family.

Society

The locals of the Philippines are called Filipinos. Their primary ancestors are the Malays who came from the southeastern Asian country which is now called Indonesia. The Philippines is a combined society, both singular and plural in form. It is singular as one nation, but plural in that it is fragmented geographically and culturally. The nation is divided between Christians, Muslims, and other religious-ethno-linguistic groups; between urban and rural people; between upland and lowland people; and between the rich and the poor. Although different in numerous ways, the Filipinos are very hospitable and give appropriate respect to everybody regardless of race, culture and belief.

Family
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. Children see their mothers as soft and calm, while they regard their fathers as strong and the most eminent figure in the family.

Another particular trait of Filipinos 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. Upon arriving home, conservative families expect children to practice the kissing of hands or touching their parents' or elder family members’ hand to their foreheads with the words “mano po” as a sort of greeting.

Within the family, the parents are expected to receive the highest respect from the children along with the elder siblings, as they are given the responsibility to look after younger siblings when parents are not around. Answering back or addressing parents or elder siblings with an arrogant tone are not at all tolerated in children. The children are also not allowed to leave the house without their parents’ permission.

Upon reaching adulthood, Filipino children are not obliged to leave their homes after finishing school. In fact, most of them maintain their close relationship with their parents by staying at home at least before they get married. Moreover, Filipinos keep close connection with other relatives. They recognize them from the second degree to the last they can identify.

Weddings

The majority of Filipino weddings are now Catholic weddings, but some native traditions remain. Most have special “sponsors” who act as witnesses to the marriage. The principal sponsors could be godparents, counselors, a favorite uncle and aunt, even a parent. Secondary sponsors handle special parts of the ceremony, such as the candle, cord and veil ceremonies. Candle sponsors light two candles, which the bride and groom use to light a single candle to symbolize the joining of the two families and to invoke the light of Christ in their married...
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