Every country in this world have interesting culture. I believe that a country’s culture is their edge from another country. A culture also, i believe, is the heart of a country. Whether on food, traditions, festivals or beliefs, culture makes every citizen united and stand out in this world. Yes, culture is necessary for the growth and open-mindedness of a person. It will mold lives of every people and show the world how unique their country is.
The Philippines, i must say, has a very rich culture, more than colorful actually. Colors are limited to numbers, but the best example of being limitless is the Philippines’ culture, and I’m proud of it. Over time, our culture here has maintained and grew. We made sure that we never forget where we came from and we follow the footsteps of our ancestors. From the settlers of Malays and Negritos, colonization of Spaniards, arrival of Americans and Japanese to the current republic of the Philippines, we made sure that everyday, we nurture what our ancestors passed to us and generously pass them on to the future Filipinos. So now, I present to you some of the notable trademarks of the Philippine Culture.
Rice is the ultimate source of income here in the Philippines. It is also the main part of every Filipino food. Yes it’s true, even I myself can’t complete my meal without rice. When you are a Filipino, you would always have that craving to have rice in your plate. It’s like you haven’t eaten at all if you haven’t eaten rice. And for this, rice plays a vital role on the country’s agriculture and even in it’s cuisine. Though a big part of Asia produces rice, I am proud to say that the Philippines provide high quality rice as well. Filipino rice will not be as good as others, but our rice will surely satisfy your hunger, that I am certain.
Street party ain’t a party if it’s not in the Philippines. Our country offers a lot of festivals that I know you will enjoy. Name it, Ati-Atihan of Aklan that celebrates the presence of Sto. Nino, Sinulog Festival in Cebu that celebrates Roman Catholicism of the province, Dinagyang Festival in Iloilo to celebrate the settling of the Malays, Moriones Festival in Marinduque held during Holy Week that resembles Roman Soldiers, Pahiyas Festival in Quezon which is celebrated in Honor of St. Isidore which showcases houses decorated with agricultural products and rice, and Kadayawan Festival in Davao to celebrate life and thanksgiving for harvest. Our festivals contain colorful costumes and decorations made more beautiful with amazing mass demonstration of cultural dances and presentation of foods.
If the United States have McDonald’s, the Philippines have Jollibee. Jollibee is a fast food chain originated in the Philippines which was originally an ice cream parlor but then evolved after it’s success when it started. Jollibee is mainly considered a competitor of McDonald’s, Burger King and KFC here in the Philippines. What made Jollibee more successful than these international fast food chains? It’s unique burger called Burger Yum, it’s saucy Jollibee Spaghetti and it’s undefeated crispy ChickenJoy.
Some historians stated that Jeepneys were created by Americans, okay they can claim that. But no one can erase the fact that Filipinos made the style and use of Jeepneys evolve and popularized it. I’m not really sure how the first Jeepney was used but what I’m certain is, now it is one of the trademarks of the Philippines. Currently, in the modern times, Jeepneys are used as a mode of public transportation, in line with Buses, Taxis and Trains. Jeepneys are usually decorated with colorful designs, and usually depicts pictures of the Holy Family, or pictures of the Family of the Jeepney driver. It usualy contains long antenna and dangling decorations inside and out.
Other people use plastics or paper bags, but we Filipinos use Bayong. Bayong is a big slim basket brought on markets and is used to shop. It is usually made of plastic but it is durable and can be used a lot of times. Bayong has been a symbol of conservation, for me. It promotes reusing, especially durability. This simple object clearly shows that it is important to conserve and it delights me seeing moms still using Bayong until the present day.
Japan has Kimono, America has American Suit, Korea has Hanbok and China has Mandarin Gown, but the Philippines would also showcase our national costume which is Barong Tagalog for men and Baro’t Saya for women. Barong Tagalog is an embroidered formal attire for men, it usually is partnered with an undershirt and is made of Pinya or Banana fabric. While a Baro’t Saya is literally known as a blouse and a long skirt, in other instances it is also worn with a large kerchief around the neck.
- R.E.S.P.E.C.T. and H.O.S.P.I.T.A.L.I.T.Y.
Two of the most known qualities of Filipino People are Respect and Hospitality. First is for respect, Filipinos usually add Po and Opo to their statements after responding to the statement of an elderly. We also call names to elder people to show respect, for example we call our aunt and uncle Tita and Tito respectively and Lolo and Lola for the grandmother and grandfather respectively as well. For hospitality, Filipinos always show warm welcome to visitors, may it be for foreigners or relatives. For warm welcomes, usually visitors are asked to feel at home and are offered a lot of food and entertainment. I’d say all people are hospitable but Filipinos are hospitable, up to the next level.
Another characteristic of a Filipino is having the sense of sentimental value. This is to have that strong bond to something, may it be an object or event, and it is left unforgotten. When something is important to us, we don’t easily throw them away, for example if a stuffed toy was given by a friend, or a cabinet has been with the family for almost 20 years or even receipts from a restaurant when you were with someone special will stay with us for a long time. Having this characteristic shows that Filipinos give importance and show appreciation to a person or even to that specific object. And when something is special to you, we believe that we shouldn’t let it go.
Ukay-Ukay is the Filipino version of a surplus shop. It usually contains second hand dresses, shirts, jeans, shoes, bags, caps and jackets, name it, an Ukay-Ukaw can have them all. Yes, usually they are used items, but others offer imported goods at a lower cost. I don’t know how they do it, but yes they are cheaper and sometimes look better than expensive signature clothing at malls. I am not a fan of Ukay-Ukay but it amazes me to see how a used item can still be sold with good quality for an acceptable price.
I’d say that childhood is more fun in the Philippines. Filipinos never restrict children to play outdoors, with limitless time. And with these, children learn street games that are fun to play such as Tagu-taguan (Hide and Seek), Mataya-taya, Base to Base, Langit-Lupa (Heaven and Land), Sili-Sili, Nanay-Tatay (Mother-Father), what else did I miss? Most of these childhood games include running or being chased by the “it” person. Some are just a combination of hand claps and chants with consequences if you get it wrong at one point. Oh how I miss childhood, truly childhood is more fun in the Philippines.
Well, these are not the greatest that the Philippines can offer about it’s culture, but these are the things I know that makes the Philippines different and that I am proud of. These are the things that I have seen and experienced as I grow up and will remain in my heart, so that there are more things that I can share about my country for the future generation. And these are the things I believe that should be kept and never be forgotten for these make the Philippines truly unique.
With this, I am excited to learn more fascinating stuffs about the Philippines, there are still secrets left that will be uncovered and there will still be more amazing stories waiting to be discovered. I am also excited to see trademarks and unique characteristics other countries can offer. Not to compare but to witness how rich the culture of the world can be. The world is full of interesting stories and amazing culture that waits to be appreciated, but how can we see how beautiful the world is in totality if we keep on focusing our eyes just on one thing? Then that is the point where I see that if I love my country, I should also start loving the world, as a whole. The world is a home itself of different religions, culture and beliefs, and combining them all, looking from above, it’s like you are seeing a painting with different colors and image but still make a big beautiful picture, and that’s what I call harmony. 🙂