Basic filipino history

  The Philippines is a country in southeast Asia and an archipelago, boasting more than 7,100 islands. The islands are grouped into three major islands: Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. The national languages of the country are Filipino and English. However, there are eight major dialects that spoken in the country. Tagalog, Ilocano, Kapampangan, Pangasinan, Waray, Cebuano, Ilonggo and Bikol. However, the major language being taught in the Philippines is Tagalog. There are three major cultures that impacted the Filipino culture heavily: Chinese, Spanish and American. History played a critical role in the evolution of Filipino cultural life affecting their character and how they think and act.


The Chinese Influence

Between the 10th and 16th centuries and before the Spanish colonization, Chinese traders sailed to the Philippines. They brought porcelain and silk, in exchange for beeswax, deer horn and trepang(sea slug). The trade with China was the beginning of a major influence and contribution within the FIlipino culture. One major influence that the Chinese contributed within the culture was culinary arts. Some culinary techniques that the Filipinos were taught include sauteed dishes, rice cakes and noodle dishes(like Pancit!). In addition, the Chinese way of family structure also heavily influenced the traditional Filipino family structure. The traditional Filipino structure is very rigid, authoritarian, and uses Chinese-based nomenclature. The eldest son is called Kuya, and the eldest daughter is referred to as Ate. Both kuya and ate have authority and responsibility over their siblings.


The Arabian Influence

About 200 years before the Spanish arrived in the Philippines, the Arabs traded and settled in the Philippines. The Arabs mostly colonized and influenced the island of Mindanao. In Mindanao, the Arabian Muslims influenced and converted the indigenous people into Muslims. Besides making Mindanao an Islamic and sacred island, the Arabians also introduced the sultanate form of government. In this type of government, a Sultan, is the main chief in charge. A Sultan gains his power, control and sovereignty through the number of followers he gains, rather than wealth. In addition, the Arabs have some influence in numerous Filipino dialects. Words such as apo(grandchild), alamat(legend), sulat(letter) and salamat(thank you), came from the Arabic language. Also, the Arabs introduced the use of calendars to the Filipinos. Last but not least, the Arabs improved the relationship between the Philippines and other Asian countries. Since Arabians colonized Mindanao, and were a powerful empire, the Arab empire was the center of commerce in Asia.


The Spanish Influence

      On March 16, 1521, Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese explorer sailing for Spain, arrived in the Philippines. He first landed on the island of Homonhon, and explored several islands before arriving at Cebu. At Cebu, he baptized and converted natives into Christianity. The chief of Cebu admired Magellan, and asked him to kill a rival chief in a nearby island of Mactan. The chief of Mactan was Lapu-Lapu. Magellan and his comrades went to Mactan, and wanted Lapu Lapu and his people to bow before the chief of Cebu, succumb to Spanish ruling, and be converted and baptized as Christians. Lapu-Lapu rejected the offer, and The Battle of Mactan began. Magellan and his comrades attacked Lapu-Lapu and his tribe, but was overpowered. The war ended within two hours, and the Spaniards were defeated by Lapu-Lapu and his tribe. Ferdinand Magellan was struck by a bamboo spear and died on the island of Mactan. Lapu-Lapu became the first hero of the Philippines. Lapu-Lapu became our first hero, because he was the first Filipino to resist Spanish colonization, and delayed the Spanish conquest and conquering of the Philippines for over 40 years.    

     After the halt of Spanish conquest in the Philippines for about 40 years, the Spain still managed to conquer and influence the country greatly for at least 300 years. One of the major Spanish influence in the Philippines is Regionalism. When a Filipino is discontented with a group he or she belongs to, he or she will walk away and form his or her group. Another major influence is Christianity. At least 80% of Filipinos are Christians, mostly Roman Catholics. Just like the Hispanic tradition, Filipinos usually set up altars in their homes. The altar usually consists of the crucifix, flowers, candles, pictures of saints, and a statue of the Virgin Mary

Filipino languages, Tagalog for instance, contain thousands of Spanish loanwords. Here are several of the loanwords:

  • Example: 4) English: Mug
                         Spanish: Taza
                         Tagalog: Tasa


  • Example: 5) English: Story
                         Spanish: Cuento
                         Tagalog: English

  • Example: 1) English:Garage

  • Example: 2) English:Cooking oil
                         Tagalog: Mantika


  • Example: 3) English: Ice
                         Spanish: Hielo

                         Tagalog: Yelo