The Philippines: People and Culture

By: Bennett Spahr

A Country Like No Other

The Philippines is a magical country full of magical places to see and filled with magical people who want to give you a good time in their country. It's basically like Disney World except you'll probably get shanked by someone after getting sunburn and malaria. This country is an enigma in of itself, and it will take extensive research on the history, people, and culture of this exotic and savage country to solve the complex puzzle that is the Philippines. ¡Vamos a Embárcate!

A Brief History of the Philippines

The Philippines was a scattered country that constantly suffered from natural disasters and conflicts from the leaders of the islands. Naturally, this made the country easy to colonize by the Spanish when they arrived in the 1500s (Spain was immensely powerful compared to most other countries at the time) and spread their culture to the islands. This is why the Philippines has a much more Western/Latin-esque culture compared to the many other countries of the Far East.

The Philippines remained a Spanish colony until the end of the Spanish-American war in 1898, in which Spain ceded the island chain to the United States. In 1935, the Philippines became a self-governing commonwealth. The Japanese Empire occupied the country during the latter-half of World War II, which resulted the Philippines and the United States working together to bring down the eastern juggernaut in 1945. The Philippines gained true independence in 1946.

In modern times, the government of the Philippines faces several threats. The vocal minority of indigenous Muslims, also known has Moro people, has caused trouble mainly in the southern islands. Although they only make up for 5% of the country, the Moro people practice Sharia law very strictly and have very low tolerance for tourists and journalists. The Philippines also argues with China a lot over territorial claims in the South China Sea.


The Philippines is the only Christian nation in all of Asia. Around 80% of the population are of the Roman Catholic denomination. Unsurprisingly enough, Spain seemed to have brought over their predominant religion to the Philippines when they colonized it.

The second largest religion is Muslim at 5%. As stated earlier, they are small in numbers but make up for it with zeal.

The other 15% consists mostly of indigenous religions, protestant Christian denominations, and no religion at all.
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A Catholic Service in The Philippines

Health Statistics and Literacy Rate

The literacy rate in the Philippines is 95%.

There is 1 doctor and 1 hospital bed per 1,000 people. Health expenditures make up about 4.6% of the GDP. The infant mortality rate is about 18 deaths per 1,000 live births. The average Filipino is expected to live for 72 years. The risk of getting a major infectious disease, such as malaria and hepatitis A is high. The obesity rate is at around 6%. Around 3 Filipino children are born per woman.

These statistics show that the Philippines could do much, much better. They're not as bad off as some countries in South Asia, Latin America, or Africa, but they are still a long way off from being developed. Looking at all these statistics, they can be safely classified as a developing country.
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Traditional clothing in the Philippines. Fashion in the Philippines was heavily inspired by the Spanish, the Americans, and even the Japanese.

These two clothing pieces are something you'd normally see in the Far-East with a little Spanish zest added to it.
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