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Culture of the Philippines

Philippines is a country that contains different cultures and influences. Most of these influences are results of previous colonization and derived mainly from the cultures of Spain and the United States. Despite the visual Hispanic and Western influences, the older Asian aspects of Filipino culture are seen through the way of life, beliefs and customs of the people.

The Philippines is one of the two predominantly Roman Catholic nations in Asia-Pacific, the other being East Timor. Over 90% of the Philippine population are Christians, about 5% are Muslims and the rest either practice other religions or practice no religion at all.

The early music of the Philippines featured a mixture of indigenous, Islamic and a variety of Asian sounds. Spanish settlers and natives played a variety of musical instruments including, guitar, ukulele, violin, trumpets and drums. They performed songs and dances to celebrate festive occasions. Modern day Philippine music features several styles. Most music genres are contemporary such as Filipino rock, hip hop and other musical styles. Philippine folk dances include the Tinikling and Cariñosa.

The Nipa Hut or Bahay Kubo is the typical form of housing of the early Filipinos and until now in remote areas. It is characterized by the use of simple materials such as bamboo and coconut as the main sources of wood. The Spaniards introduced stones as housing and building materials. Spanish architecture can be found in Intramuros, Vigan, Iloilo and other parts of the Philippines.

The Philippines is considered as the melting pot of Asia. Eating out is a favorite Filipino pastime. A typical Pinoy diet consists at most of six meals a day. Rice is a staple in Filipino diet and it is usually eaten together with other dishes. Filipinos regularly use spoons together with forks and knives; some also eat with their hands. Popular dishes in the Philippines are adobo which is a meat stew made from either pork or chicken; lumpia, a meat or vegetable roll; pancit or noodle; and lechon or roasted pig. Some interesting delicacies are balut which is a boiled egg with a fertilized duckling inside; and dinuguan which is a soup made from pork blood.

Traditional Filipino games include yo-yo, piko, patintero, bahay kubo, pusoy and sungka. Popular sports in the Philippines include basketball, boxing, billiards, chess, volleyball, bowling, horse racing and cockfighting.

The school year in the Philippine starts in June and ends in March, with two-month summer break from April to May, two-week semestral break in October and Christmas’ and New Year’s holidays. Philippine students enter school at about age four, starting from nursery and kindergarten, followed by a six-year elementary education; four years in high school; and three to five years in college or university.



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