• Japan!

    Japan: Traditional foods. Go Now!

    Japan
    Japan has a rich culture that is visible today in the country's dress, architecture, language, food (pictured), and lifestyle. Begin Your Journey!

  • Bahrain!

    Bahrain: Desert. Go Now!

    Bahrain
    This tiny country has overcome the desert and has found a way to thrive, like this tree on al Jazair Beach. Explore Bahrain!

  • Maldives!

    Maldives: Beach in the Maldives. Go Now!

    Maldives
    This low-lying archipelago is a tourist destination due to its many impressive beaches and crystal-clear waters (pictured). Explore the Maldives!

  • Laos!

    Laos: Karst peak. Go Now!

    Laos
    The simplicity and natural beauty of the countryside make Laos a hidden gem in Southeast Asia overlooked by most travelers. Begin Your Journey!

  • Tajikistan!

    Tajikistan: A yurt in the mountains. Go Now!

    Tajikistan
    The high mountains have mysteries around every turn, including yurts (pictured), a home for the nomadic people. Go Now!

Culture & Identity of the Philippines

WARNING: Terrorist threats continue in the Philippines, please read this travel warning before going!

Introduction

The Filipinos have vastly different ways of life depending on a huge number of things. The many islands divide the people geographically and many of these small islands are focused on local farming as nearly everything is accessible on foot. However, some of the larger islands are home to massive cities, such as Manila. Still other islands are tourist paradises and tourism drives the income and way of life. The people also differ due to occupation, income, and religion, as there is a significant Muslim minority in the southern islands.

Although visiting Manila may not lead you to believe there is any rural landscape in the Philippines, most of the country is quiet rural lands on the many smaller islands and just over half of the people live in rural areas. For these people life differs greatly from island to island and person to person, but most of these people work in agriculture. Life in agriculture means the daily way of life is quite reliant on the weather, the seasons, the rains, and what the earth gives. Long hours are often undertaken and there is a great deal of variety from season to season based on the rains and weather.

On the other side of the equation is the massive population in the cities. In these cities there are people from every economic class as some people are jobless and live in simple housing that does little more than protect them from the rain, while for others a nice car, clothes, and house are the norm. The cities also provide constant movement and energy, from work life to entertainment options. Of course what a person can afford to enjoy and what a person wants to enjoy among these many options is very personal.

For many of the urbanites with regular jobs, the work day begins at about 8:00 or 9:00 am and ends at about 5:00 or 6:00 pm. Schools also tend to have fairly regular hours and are seasonal with a break from classes from about March to June.

The work day, school day, work environment, and technology from island to island and from person to person is so different in the Philippines it is difficult to say there is any single way of life or culture. Not in daily routines, work hours, or even entertainment as what people can afford and what their interests are vastly differs. However, it seems shopping malls, air conditioned shopping malls, are very popular among young urbanites with a bit of discretionary income.

Identity

Today most Filipinos identify on two levels, as both a Filipino as well as on a more local scale with ties to an individual's home island or region. Historically, the islands were home to numerous ethnic groups and most people identified by their ethnicity, language, or religion, but this has changed to some degree and today most people primarily identify as being Filipino and only secondly by their local ethnicity, island, language, etc. The term Filipino essentially means that the individual is Catholic and is a citizen of the Philippines (although the term was originally used to refer to a Spanish person born on the islands). There are still some minorities that don't identify as being "Filipino" primarily the Muslim minority in the country, which is centered on Mindanao and other southern islands.

This page was last updated: November, 2013