1 Moran

Filipino Family Values Essays

To a person who is not familiar or aware of the Philippine culture, understanding Filipinos is like playing a game one has never played before and of which the rules have not been explained very well. Understanding the values of Filipinos pose a challenge, to enjoy the game without missing the joys and fun of like living in the Philippines. A stranger or foreigner who has a knowledge of or exposure to the Filipino society’s customs, etiquette, and manners, is less likely to experience intense culture shock. The Philippine Islands and Filipino Profile:

The Philippines is composed of 7,107 islands with a total land area of 296,912 square kilometers (1. 6 kilometers equal 1 mile). This makes it a little larger than the British Isles and a little smaller than Japan. Its land area is eight times larger than Taiwan, 2/3 the size of either Thailand or Spain, but less than 1/30 of the size of the United States or Mainland China. The country is bounded on the west by the China Sea, on the east by the Pacific Ocean, and on the south by the Celebes Sea. It lies a little above the equator and is 965 kilometers (600 miles) off the southeast coast of the Asian mainland.

It is about 160 kilometers (100 miles) below Taiwan, and 24 kilometers above Borneo. Just being above the equator, puts the Philippines in the typhoon belt. The two pronounced seasons in the Philippines are the rainy months from June to October and the dry months from November to May. In between these seasons come a number of typhoons that hit the country yearly. The Philippines has a population of more than 50 million. The population of the country is rather unevenly distributed on the larger islands due to livelihood opportunities, social and economic organizations and historical factors.

Its biggest islands in addition to the three (3) main islands (Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao) are Mindoro, Samar, Panay, Cebu, Palawan, Leyte, Bohol and Masbate. Its largest cities are Manila, Quezon, Davao and Cebu. The Philippine population is characterized by an almost equal number of males and females. 40% of Filipinos are below 15 years of age. Literacy stands at 82. 9 percent. The Philippines has for its languages Pilipino, English and Spanish; it has 87 different major dialects. English is widely spoken; in fact, this country is the third largest English-speaking nation in the world.

Philippines is the first democratic country in Asia. Filipino Culture: Welcome to the Philippines! Welcome to this country of warm smiles and vivacious people. Getting to know the Filipinos is easy enough. If you speak English, you will find that most of the Filipinos speak the language; and what’s more, they are only too happy to make your acquaintance in English. Even if you don’t, the Filipino is so outgoing by nature that making friends out of total strangers or chance acquaintances is simply being in character. The Filipinos are a happy blend of several races, basically Malay with Chinese, Spanish, Indian and American admixtures.

Their values and ways of life were shaped by several, sometimes conflicting cultures and the resulting blend is what makes their own uniquely Filipino. In their veins run the rich Christian values of Europe, the pragmatic and democratic values of America, and the spiritual values of Asia. The seven distinct elements in Filipino culture are: values, basic personality, basic social unit, politics, economics, technology and ecology. Each of these aspects of the Filipino culture has a body of ideas called “content” which gives form and meaning to each aspect.

This form and meaning are expressed through “structures” or institutions which the Philippine society creates for the orderly regulation of behavior in established ways. Filipino cultural values are widely held beliefs which make some activities, relationships, goals and feelings important to the Filipino people’s identity. When these Filipino values coalesce and mesh in a mutually supportive system, it is called “Filipino value system. ” The content of the Filipino values are the Filipino myths and religion while the structures are the Filipino oral and written traditions, churches, sacred places, temples and mosques.

The Filipinos internalize these values of their culture and thus create for themselves a “world of meanings. ” The Filipino basic personality is determined by the Filipino culture because of the selection of those congruent types that are congruent with the culture. The content of the Filipino basic personality is made up of Filipino beliefs and knowledge while the structure is formed by the Filipino initiation and various rituals and formal and informal education. The Filipino basic social unit is the family which contributes to and maintains the Filipino values.

The content of the Filipino social unit is the family, groups and community life while the structure is the lineage, marriage descent, neighborhood, peer group and villages. The Filipino politics are the Filipino ideas and structures related to the distribution and channeling of power within the Philippine society for its well-being, order and regulation. The content of politics is the Filipino traditional power units and democracy while the structures are the law, parliament, councils, elders and chiefs.

The Filipino economics are the ideas which the Philippine society develops and the structures which it creates for provision of food, clothing and shelter for its members. The content of Philippine economics is the production by private enterprises while its structure is capitalism and socialism. Filipino technology includes all that the Filipinos have invented to make their life easier, less arduous, and shifted from the brink of mere survival thus changing their way of life and giving them more control of their physical environment.

Its contents are communication and health while its structure is composed of the various media, professional organizations, medicine, hospitals and laboratories. Filipino ecology is the relation of the Filipino to the ecosystem such as temperature, type of soil, amount of moisture, types of crops that can be grown or types of animals present in the Philippines and other environmental features. The content of Filipino ecology is the identification of the Filipino with nature and its structure including hunting, fishing, nature worship and irrigation. Cultural Contrast:

The Filipino, compared with Westerners, prefers a “structured” way of life rather than one in which he can be assertive of his own individuality. Thus, a Westerner will find the Filipino less autonomous and more dependent. This is because of the social concept of the Filipino self-esteem. His concept of self is identified with his family. Right from childhood he is made to believe that he belongs to the family. Since childhood a Filipino is encouraged to tell all of his thoughts to his parents and submit to his parents’ direction, counsel and advice.

He is admonished to be good because any disgrace that he commits is a disgrace to the family. In times of misfortune he is assured of his family’s support, sympathy and love. By western standards, the Filipino parents can be considered overprotective and sometimes intrusive. However, if one understands this seemingly unreasonable control in the context of the Philippine culture wherein exists the belief in the primacy of the extended family over that of the individual and that the only source of emotional, economic, and moral support is the family, one will be more tolerant and respectful of such actuation.

The Filipino Family and Kinship: The basic units of the Philippine social organization are the elementary family which includes the mother, father and children, and the bilateral extended family which embraces all relatives of the father and the mother. Of special importance is the sibling group, the unit formed by brothers and sisters. There are no clans or similar unilateral kinship groups in the Philippines. The elementary family and the sibling group form the primary bases of corporate action.

The Philippine society may be characterized as familial. This means that the influence of kinship, which centers on the family, is far-reaching. The persuasive influence of the family upon all segments of Philippine social organization can be illustrated in many ways. Religious responsibility, for example, is familial rather than church-centered. Each home has a family shrine. The influence of the family upon economic and entrepreneurial business activities is also great. The so-called “corporations” found in urban areas are generally family holdings.

The prevailing family structure emphasizes loyalty and support of the family, not of any higher level of social organization. The Filipino family is the nuclear unit around which social activities are organized – it is the basic unit of corporate action. The interests of the individual in Philippine society are secondary to those of the family. Ethical and Normative Behavior of Filipinos: Ethics bases itself on what is human. Not everything is universal in human nature. As Clyde Kluckholm and Henry A, Murray say “Every man is in certain respects (a) like all other men; (b) like some other men; (c) like no other man.

” It is within the context of (b) that ethical and normative behavior of people in the Philippines has its distinctive characteristics. The Filipino cultural orientation is supported by shared values which function as the basis of shared behavior common to most Filipinos. Values have reference to standards people use for evaluating what is right or wrong, good or evil. Values are related to norms which are rules of conduct specific to given social situations. The Filipinos have two sets of paradoxical traits and patterns of relationship that are imbued by his culture.

The first set is the highly structured and authoritarian familial set-up where roles are prescribed especially for younger members of the family. This is characterized by autocratic leadership of the elder-members, submitting one’s self to the decision of the family elders, and almost one-way communication in the pecking order. The second set of social relationship that the Filipino has, which ironically exists side by side with the highly structured set-up, is the strong communitarian practice called “Bayanihan” which literally means “being a hero.

” This practice ignores social ranking, structures, leadership roles and authority relationships. The roles in the structured set-up mentioned earlier cease to exist. Surprisingly, the Filipino is at home with both cultural practices in his social life. He shifts from one setting to another with unbelievable ease and grace. In the first set up, there is no way that a child can lead the elders in any form of decision-making. In the Bayanihan set-up, however, if a child proves that he has the right qualification needed for the task, he may lead the elders, not excluding his father and elder brother.

There are three main imperatives that underlie Filipino value orientation: relational imperatives (actual person to person encounters), emotional imperatives (emotionally laden norms), and moral imperatives (Filipinos are more moralistic than ordinarily perceived and that the most powerful moral imperative in Filipino culture is “utang na loob” or debt of gratitude/loyalty or commitment). Unlike in other Asian countries, women in the Philippines occupy a high status. Equality with men is a birthright of the Filipino women.

Unlike her Western sisters, they didn’t have to march the streets to be heard. Women are highly respected in the Philippines. They may walk alone on the streets. They can also drive alone. Filipinos are fond of giving and attending parties. Any event can be an excuse for having a small or big party – the baptism of an infant, a birthday, a daughter’s debut, a wedding, or an engagement. Even a promotion in a job, passing a government exam, getting one’s first paycheck or recovery from illness is enough reason to give a party.

February 20, 2015

Filipino people are known as settlers in many parts of the world. They are like the chameleon who easily adapts to different environments. They thrive to survive. Survival of the fittest is their banner.


The Republic of the Philippines was named to honor King Philip II of Spain in 1543. Filipinos are originally from the southern part of Asia. People from countries like China, India, the United States and Spain married Filipinos resulting in a great deal of stock blending. 79 indigenous ethnic groups compose the Filipino people. According to Wikipedia, the last five hundred years of eventful history of the country added an impact to the cultural blend of the Asian and Western population. The colonial reign of the Spaniards in 1570-1898 as well as the Americans in 1903-1946, resulted in the expansion of Christian values, which gave an identity to every Filipino. And the interaction with other countries' cultures, like the ones from China, India, Indonesia and Malaysia, gave a specific Asian touch to the cultural heritage of the Philippines.


There are 175 estimated languages spoken in the Philippines.  Almost all are classified as Malayo-Polynesian languages. Among those languages, there are 13 indigenous languages with nearly 1 million speakers.


For more than three centuries Spanish was the official language under Spain's colonial rule.  It was spoken by 60% of the population as either a first, second or third language in the early 20th century.  However, the use of Spanish began to decline after the United States occupation in the early 1900's.  In 1935 the Constitution of the Philippines named English and Spanish the official languages.  In 1939 the Tagalog language was named the national language.  The language was renamed "Pilipino" in 1959 and finally "Filipino" in 1973.  The present Constitution names Filipino and English as joint official languages.


The Philippines is a country that has varied cultural influences. Most of these influences are results of previous colonization, deriving mainly from the culture of Spain and the United States. Despite all of these influences, the old Asian culture of Filipinos has been retained and are clearly seen in their way of life, beliefs and customs. Wherever you go, Filipino culture is very evident and has largely been appreciated and even applauded in many parts of the world.











Music, Arts and Literature

Filipinos are very fond of music. They use various materials to create sound. They love performing dances (Tiniking and Carinosa) and group singing during festive celebrations. Settlers from Spain introduced to them a variety of musical instruments like the ukulele, trumpet, drums and violin. Most of their music is contemporary and they have also learned to write their own songs based on real life events. People are also fond of folklore, which was influenced by the early church and Spanish literature.  Jose Rizal, the country's national hero, is famous for his literature and novels inspired from the independence story of the country


The majority of Filipino people practice the Christian religion. Spain highly influenced the people to the extent that the Philippines became one of the two predominantly Christian nations in the Asia Pacific, the other being East Timor. According to Wikipedia, Christianity is the religion of about 80% of the Philippine population (mostly Catholics) while Islam is the religion of 11%, and other religions and beliefs comprise the 9% of the rest of the population.


Christmas is one of the most loved celebration by Filipinos. Families and relatives gather on the 24th of December, to celebrate food prepared for "Noche Buena," a Spanish term which means "midnight meal" to greet Christmas Day. New Year is another celebration that gathers the Filipino families. Wearing dotted clothes and preparing round fruits on the table, which symbolize prosperity, is one of the many customs of the Filipinos.


Filipinos are not only skilled when it comes to industry but also in sports. The national sport of the Philippines is called arnis, a form of martial arts. Filipinos love watching American games like basketball, football and recently boxing which made the Philippines more famous all over the world.  Filipino sport star, Manny Pacquiao, has been put on a pedestal due to his skill in boxing and more Filipinos have risen to stardom in the sports arena.











Family Structure

The basic social unit of the country is the family, which also includes the intermediate family members (aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins) and other outside relations (godparents and close friends). As such, many children have several godparents and when parents are out of the country to work, children are mostly left to the grandparents to watch over them. It is common for members of the same family to work for the same company, a practice which was influenced by the first Chinese settlers in the Philippines. Filipino families live in different kinds of house structures depending on their status or area. For families in rural areas, they live in a nipa hut which is made of bamboo and roofed with leaves from palm trees or corrugated metal. Filipinos that are ranked as "middle class" live in houses made of bricks and stones.


Filipinos are big eaters, even though it is not obviously seen in their petite bodies. The Philippines is known as Asia's melting pot because of the uniqueness and variety of their food. Filipinos can't go a day without including rice in their meals. They love plain rice matched with salted fish, chicken and meat.  They serve rice first followed by the various viands they have grown to eat and cook.  Filipinos have a very regular eating schedule: morning, mid-morning, lunch, afternoon (merienda) and dinner.


They enjoy a variety of sweet foods adopted from other countries which encouraged them to make their own desserts like "mahablanca" a dessert made of coconut milk, corn, sugar, or "puto" and "palitaw" which are also made of coconut milk. They also enjoy eating "halo-halo" for their afternoon snack which means "mixture," a popular dessert that consists of layers of cornflakes, ice cream, small pieces of gelatin, milk and shaved ice.


During special occasions like a town's big event in celebration of their saint's feast, a favorite food called "lechon," a suckling pig that has been roasted until the skin turns crusty is served. Some street foods are also common in the country like the famous "balut," a boiled duck egg with an embryo, and fish and squid balls on a stick that are dipped on spicy and sweet sauces.


The Philippines has a very unique culture due to the influences of colonization and the surrounding countries. Filipino people are very hardworking and strive to make life better for the next generation of their family.  The melting pot theory that is evident in this culture makes this country a vibrant, exciting and diverse place to live and visit.

Further Cultural and Localization Resources

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