Philippines Report

Culture in the Philippines

philippinesreport October 3, 2016 Featured No Comments on Culture in the Philippines

Culture in the Philippines

The Culture in the Philippines is a blend of Eastern and Western culture. Before the Spanish colonization of the country, the Philippines' culture was mostly influenced by the indigenous Malay heritage of Southeast Asia. The Spanish Empire then take possession of the islands and, after more than three centuries of colonization, Roman Catholicism spread throughout the archipelago and Hispanic inspiration heavily impacted the country's culture.

The Philippines, then being governed from both Mexico and Spain, acknowledged a fair bit of Hispanic influence from the regions. For instance, Mexican and Spanish influence can be gotten in the country's dance and religion as well as many other aspects of its culture. Then, after being occupied by Spain, the Philippines became a U.S. territory for almost 50 years. Influence from the United States is marked in the wide use of the English language and in the modern pop culture of present-day Philippines.
The Philippines was first stable by Melanesians; today, although few in numbers, they preserve a very traditional way of life and culture. Afterward those, the Austronesians or more specifically, Malayo-Polynesians, arrived on the islands. Today the Austronesian culture is very marked in the ethnicity, language, food, dance and almost every aspect of the culture. These Austronesians tied up in trading with China, India, Middle East, Palau, Malay, America, Malaysia, Indonesian Islands, Papua, west Pacific Islander the Borneo, and other places. As a result, those cultures have also left a mark on Filipino culture.

Visual Arts


Early Filipino painting can be there found in red slip (clay mixed with water) designs embellished on the ritual pottery of the Philippines such as the admired Manunggul Jar. Evidence of Philippine pottery-making dated as early as 6,000 BC has been originate in Sanga-sanga Cave, Sulu and Laurente Cave, Cagayan. It has been proven that by 5,000 BC, the making of pottery was practiced all over the country. Early Filipinos started making pottery before their Cambodian neighbors, and at nearby the same time as the Thais as part of what appears to be a widespread Ice Age development of pottery technology.


Supplementary evidence of painting is manifest in the tattoo tradition of early Filipinos, whom the Portuguese explorer talk about to as Pintados or the ‘Painted People' of the Visayas Various designs referencing flora and fauna with heavenly bodies decorate their bodies in different colored pigmentation. Perhaps, some of the most elaborate painting done by early Filipinos that live on to the present day can be exhibited among the arts and architecture of the Maranao who are well recognized for the Naga Dragons and the Sarimanok carved and painted in the beautiful Panolong of their Torogan or King's House.

Culture in the Philippines

Filipinos started creating paintings in the European tradition during 17th-century Spanish period. The earliest of these paintings were Church frescoes, religious images from Biblical sources, as well as engravings, sculptures and lithographs including Christian icons and European nobility. Most of the paintings and sculptures between the 19th and 20th centuries produced a combination of religious, political, and landscape art works, with qualities of sweetness, dark, and light.

Culture in the Philippines

Primary modernist painters such as Damián Domingo was associated with religious and secular paintings. The art of Juan Luna and Félix Hidalgo showed a movement for political statement. The first Philippine national artist Fernando Amorsolo used post-modernism to produce paintings that showed Philippine culture, nature and harmony. While other artist such as Fernando Zóbel cast-off realities and abstract on his work. In the 1980s, Elito Circa, popularly known as Amangpintor, gained appreciation. He uses his own hair to make his own paintbrushes and signs his painting using his own blood on the right side corner. He developed his own graces without professional training or guidance from masters.

Indigenous arts

The Kutkut Art

The Itneg people are well-known for their intricate woven fabrics. The binakol is a blanket which features designs that incorporate visual illusions. Woven fabrics of the Ga'dang people usually have bright red tones. Their weaving can also be identified by beaded adornment. Other people such as the Ilongot make jewelry from pearl, red hornbill beaks, plants, and metals. Some ethnic materials are also used as a medium in different kinds of art works especially in painting by Elito Circa, a traditional artist of Pantabangan and a pioneer for using indigenous materials, natural raw materials including human blood. Numerous Filipino painters were influenced by this and started using these materials such as extract from onion, tomato, coffee, rust, molasses, tuba, and other materials available anywhere as paint. The Lumad peoples of Mindanao for instance the B'laan, Mandaya, Mansaka and T'boli are skilled in the art of dyeing abaca fiber. Abaca is a plant thoroughly related to bananas, and its leaves are used to make fiber known as Manila hemp. The fiber is decorated by a method called ikat. Ikat fiber are woven into cloth with geometric patterns depicting human, animal and plant themes.


A technique combining antique Oriental and European art process. Considered lost art and highly collectible art form. Very few well-known art pieces existed today. The technique was practiced by the indigenous people of Samar Island in the middle of early 1600 and late 1800 A.D. Kut-kut is an glamorous Philippine art form based on early century techniques—sgraffito,  layering and encaustic . The merger of these ancient styles produces a unique artwork characterized by subtle swirling interwoven lines, multi-layered texture and an impression of three-dimensional space.

Islamic art

Islamic art in the Philippines have two key artistic styles. One is a curved-line woodcarving and metalworking called okir, similar to the Middle Eastern Islamic art. This grace is associated with men. The other style is geometric tapestries, and is related with women. The Tausug and Sama–Bajau exhibit their okir on elaborate markings with boat-like imagery. The Marananaos make like carvings on housings called torogan. Weapons made by Muslim Filipinos such as the kampilan are skillfully carved.

Performing arts

Music in the Philippines

The timely music of the Philippines featured a mixture of Indigenous, Islamic and a variety of Asian sounds that succeeded before the European and American colonization in the 16th and 20th centuries. Spanish colonizers and Filipinos played a range of musical instruments, including flutes, guitar, ukulele, violin, trumpets and drums. They made songs and dances to rejoice festive occasions. By the 21st century, many of the folk songs and dances have continued intact all over the Philippines. Some of the groups that perform these folk songs and dances are the Bayanihan, Filipinescas, Barangay-Barrio, the Karilagan Ensemble, Hariraya, and groups associated with the guilds of Manila, and Fort Santiago theatres. Numerous Filipino musicians have risen prominence such as the composer and performer Antonio J. Molina, the composer Felipe P. de Leon, well-known for his nationalistic themes and the opera singer Jovita Fuentes.

Modern day Philippine music features some styles. Most music genres are contemporary such as Filipino rock, Filipino hip hop and other musical styles. About are traditional such as Filipino folk music.

Dancing in Philippine Dance

Philippine folk dances contain the Tinikling and Cariñosa. In the southern region of Mindanao, Singkil is a popular dance showcasing the story of a princess and a prince in the forest. Bamboo poles are arranged in a tic-tac-toe pattern in which the dancers exploit every location of these clashing poles.


Literature of the Philippines

The Philippine literature is a various and rich group of works that has evolved throughout the centuries. It had started with old-style folktales and legends made by the ancient Filipinos before Spanish colonization. The main themes of Philippine literature attention on the country’s pre-colonial cultural traditions and the socio-political histories of its colonial and contemporary societies. The literature of the Philippines illustrates the Prehistory and European colonial heritage of the Philippines, written in both Indigenous and Hispanic writing system. Most of the old-style literatures of the Philippines were written all through the Mexican and Spanish period. Philippine literature is written in Spanish, English, or any ethnic Philippine languages.

Some of the well-known work of literature were made from the 17th to 19th century. The Ibong Adarna is a well-known epic about a magical bird which was claimed to be written by José de la Cruz otherwise known “Huseng Sisiw”. Then Francisco Balagtas be situated one of the nation's prominent Filipino poet, he is named as one of the utmost Filipino literary laureates for his influences in Philippine literature. His utmost work, the Florante at Laura is well thought-out as his greatest work and one of the masterpieces of Philippine literature. Balagtas wrote the epic for the period of his detention. José Rizal, the national hero the country, wrote the tales Noli Me Tángere and El Filibusterismo.



The Philippines is one of the two mostly Roman Catholic (80.58%) nations in Asia-Pacific, the other being East Timor. From the census in 2014, Christianity contain about 90.07% of the population while Islam is the religion for about 5.57% of the population. Those who stated others or none composed 4.37% of the total population of the country.
Before the arrival of the Spaniards and the rough guide of Roman Catholicism and Western culture in the 16th century, the native Austronesian people of what is now called the Philippines were adherents of a mixture of shamanistic Animism, Islam, Hinduism and Vajrayana Buddhism.


Presence a colony of the Spanish Empire for almost 300 years, the Spaniards introduced European colonial architecture to the Philippines. The rough guide of Christianity brought European churches, and architecture which subsequently became the center of utmost towns and cities in the country. The Spaniards also introduced stones as housing and building materials. Spanish colonial architecture can still be understood in centuries-old churches, schools, convents, government buildings and residences around the country. The greatest collection of Spanish imposing architecture can be found in the walled city of Intramuros in Manila and in the remarkable town of Vigan. Colonial-era churches are also on the best examples and heritages of Spanish Baroque architecture in the Philippines. Historic provinces such as Ilocos Norte, Pampanga, Bulacan, Laguna, Quezon, Cavite, Batangas, and Iloilo also claims colonial-era churches and houses.

In the historical, before the Spanish colonization, the Nipa hut (Bahay Kubo) remained the common form of housing among the native Filipinos. It is considered by use of simple materials such as bamboo and coconut as the main sources of wood. Cogon grass, Nipa palm leaves and coconut leaves are used as roof top thatching. Most primitive homes are constructed on stilts due to frequent flooding during the rainy period. Regional differences include the use of thicker, and denser roof thatching in mountain areas, or longer stands on coastal areas mainly if the structure is built over water. The architecture of other indigenous peoples may be considered by an angular wooden roofs, bamboo in place of leafy thatching and ornate wooden figures.
The University of Santo Tomas Main Building in Manila is an example of Renaissance Revival architecture. The building was constructed on 1924 and was completed at 1927. The building, designed by Fr. Roque Ruaño, O.P., is the first earthquake-resistant structure in the Philippines. Islamic and other Asian architecture can also be understood depicted on buildings such as mosques and temples. Current architecture has a distinctively Western style although pre-Hispanic housing is still common in country side areas. American style suburban-gated communities are popular in the cities, including Manila, and the nearby provinces.


Architecture of the Philippines


Cinema of the Philippines

The foundational years of Philippine cinema, starting from the 1930s, were a time of discovery of film as a new medium of expressing artworks. Scripts and classifications in films came from popular theater shows and Philippine literature.

The beginning of the cinema of the Philippines can be traced back to the early days of filmmaking in 1897 when a Spanish theater owner screened introduced moving pictures.

In the 1940s, Philippine cinema brought the consciousness of reality in its film industry. Nationalistic films turn into popular, and movie themes consisting primarily of war and heroism and shown to be successful with Philippine audiences.


The 1950s saw the first golden age of Philippine cinema, with the appearance of more artistic and mature films, and significant improvement in cinematic techniques among filmmakers. The studio system created frenetic activity in the Philippine film industry as many films were made annually and several local talents started to advantage recognition abroad. Award-winning filmmakers and actors were first introduced during this period. As the period drew to a close, the studio system monopoly came under siege as a result of labor-management conflicts. By the 1960s, the artistry well-known in the previous years was in decline. This era can be characterized by wild commercialism in films.

The 1970s and 1980s were considered turbulent years for the Philippine film industry, taking both positive and negative changes. The films in this period dealt with more serious topics following the Martial law era. In count, action, western, drama, adult and comedy films developed further in picture quality, sound and writing. The 1980s took the arrival of alternative or independent cinema in the Philippines.

The 1990s saw the developing popularity of drama, teen-oriented romantic comedy, adult, and comedy and action films.

The Philippines, being one of Asia's primary film industry producers, remains undisputed in terms of the highest level of theater admission in Asia. Over the years, though, the Philippine film industry has registered a steady decline in movie viewership from 131 million in 1996 to 63 million in 2004. As of a high production rate of 350 films a year in the 1950s, and 200 films a year for the duration of the 1980s, the Philippine film industry production rate declined in 2006 to 2007. The 21st century saying the rebirth of independent filmmaking through the use of digital technology and a number of films have once more earned nationwide recognition and prestige.

With the high rates of film production in the past, several movie artists have looked like in over 100+ roles in Philippine Cinema and enjoyed great recognition from fans and moviegoers.



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