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Philippines General Information
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Culture & People

The people of the Philippines, otherwise known as Filipino’s, are basically a mix of Malay, Chinese, American, Spanish and Arab blood. This can be traced back from a long history of Western colonial rule, interspersed with the visits of merchants and traders, evolved a people of a unique blend of east and west, both in appearance and culture. Although Pilipino is the official national language, English is considered the country’s unofficial one.

Character-wise, the Filipino is a little bit of all the above said cultures put together. The spirit of kinship and camaraderie that Filipinos are famous for is said to be taken from Malay forefathers. The close family relations are said to have been inherited from the Chinese. The piousness comes from the Spaniards who introduced Christianity in the 16th century. Hospitality is also a common denominator in the Filipino character and this is what distinguishes the Filipino. It makes them legendary in Southeast Asia alongside their emotion and passion for life.

The Spaniards introduced Christianity (the Roman Catholic faith) and succeeded in converting the overwhelming majority of Filipinos. At least 83% of the total population belongs to the Roman Catholic faith

The American occupation was responsible for teaching the Filipino people the English language. The Philippines is currently the third-largest English speaking country in the world.

DO’S and DON’T’S

  • When attending a special occasion, avoid wearing sandals. Wearing proper shoes is a sign that the event is important to you.
  • Do invite people at least three times. Local residents are taught that it is proper to refuse the first time or two. To them, insistence is a clear sign that the offer or invitations is genuine.
  • Do give the local residents a way out of a situation so he or she can save face, thus avoiding embarrassment.
  • Don't use the common sign of O.K. In the local community, it means money. However, a thumbs- up sign is more polite.
  • Don't use your forefinger upward to call a local resident-it is considered somewhat degrading. One way of calling is to beckon with the hand in gentle downward motion. Pssst is another popular way to get someone's attention. As a rule however, it is preferred to call the person by name. It is even better to use nicknames, because these are reserved for close friends.
  • Smiling is a form of friendship and a form of greeting.
  • Do show respect for age - use the proper title to address elders and relations