Cultural Synopsis: Philippines
The Republic of the Philippines is the only predominantly Christian nation in Asia and has a unique heritage of Malay, Spanish, and American cultures. Ruled by Spain for nearly 330 years until 1898, its cultural characteristics are today in some ways more like those of the nations of Latin America than those of Southeast Asia, the ten-nation geographic region to which it belongs. The Spanish language, however, is spoken by less than 1 percent of the population, in spite of Spain’s long colonial rule. On the other hand, the Spanish heritage is visible in other features of national life. For example, about 85 percent of the population is Roman Catholic; there is a predominance of Spanish place-names and family names, and the patterns of land tenancy and ownership can be traced to the Spanish period.
American colonial influence prevailed from about 1901 until the late 1940s. Major legacies of that period are an American-style educational system and, with it, the teaching of English, which today is spoken as a second language by about two fifths of the population. Along with Pilipino, a language derived from Tagalog, English is one of the two official languages.
The Philippines achieved full political independence in 1946, following four years of occupation by Japanese armed forces during World War II. The period since independence has been marked by repeated crises. The Philippines consists of 7,000 islands of only which 2,000 are inhabited. The two largest islands are Luzon and Mindanao and seventy-nine percent of the population are located on these isles. In 1996 the population was estimated at 70 million people. 10 million live in metro Manila, the capital of the country.
Economy during the Spanish Colonial Period Ferdinand Magellan set out from Spain in 1519 on the first voyage to circumnavigate the globe with five ships and a complement of 264 crew. Three years later in 1522, only the one ship, the Victoria, returned to Spain with 18 men. The Philippines were the death of Magellan. The expedition sighted the island of Samar on March 16, 1521. Magellan was ...
The Philippine education system is based on the North American model: primary, secondary and finally a higher education. The illiteracy rate is only 12% of the population over fifteen, the standard education is high compared with other South-East Asian countries.
Filipinos have a passion for dance. Traditional dance derived from Malay, Spanaish, and Muslim influences. Some of the most beutiful dances are tinikling, bamboo dance, and pandanggo sa ilaw, meaning the dance of lights. Traditional Philippine music was considered to be restricted to only ethnic minorities. However, despite U.S. and British influences in music, more musicians have rediscovered their heritage and brought back to life traditional melodies using instuments such as bambnoo flutes and wooden drums. Phillipine folk songs have had a revival since Bayan Ko, meaning My Country, was sung by the popular social critic Freddie Aguilar. Filipino films are produced in high numbers, which deal mainly with typical movie story lines such as violence and the traditional love story. In January of 1981, the first film festival in the Philippines took place at the Philippine International Convention Center. Two more took place in 1983 and 1983. However, because of economical and political reasons, none have taken place since. Two of the most famous Filipino painters are Juan Luna and Felix Hildalgo. Luna s painting, Spolarium, won a gold medel at the 1884 Madrid Exposition. In the mid-20th century Fernando Amorsolo. Vicente Dizon and Vicente Manansala were internationally recognized. All were also graduates of the University of the Philippines School of Fine Arts. The Philippines has developed a unique mixed culture of foreign influences. Filipinos love to gamble. They exchange money frequently on basketball games and other sports. Improvisation is seen by the way the Filipinos converted the left over jeeps from World War 2 into taxis and other public transportation. Filipinos are strongly oriented to the outside world. Nevertheless, national pride is not to be underestimated.
Stephen Page: Background and training: Stephen Page, born in Brisbane in 1965, descended from the Nunukul people and the Munaldjali clan of the Yugambeh tribe from southeast Queensland. Stephen Page is the first choreographer of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent to have achieved major national and international recognition. He completed his dance training at National Aboriginal ...