Foreign Influences on Filipino Culture

10 October 2016

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Spain also used religion to rule over the land and enslave a lot of Filipinos. These days, Spain’s influence other than Catholicism can be seen in the food, language and foul language. 2) United States- The US were only here for a long time and for a lot of historians, their conquest of the Philippines was a fluke. History shows that the Philippines was ready to take over Intramuros, the seat of Power at that time when Spain sold the Philippines to the US via the Treaty of Paris. Nevertheless, the influence is much greater after World War II when the Americans basically made the country look like a mini-US.

Today, the Philippines is very much “westernized” or Americanized. For the longest time, products would sell better if it were called “stateside” and “imported”. Filipinos love a lot of things about American culture such as fast food, sitcoms and music. Furthermore, most Filipinos can speak a little bit of English making it very easy to communicate even for foreigners. Almost anything American can be a hit in the country. 3) China- Unlike the other three countries in this list, China never conquered the country by way of military might. Instead, China got into Philippine culture by way of mercantilism.

Since time immemorial, the Philippines has been trading with the Philippines and Chinese immigrants who decided to live here brought along their culture. In terms of food, Filipinos love Chinese food such as siopao, siomai, taho and hopia. Filipinos also follow some aspects of Chinese culture such as feng shui, dragon dances and even Chinese New Year. Lately, Chinese movies by way of Hong Kong has also been vey popular as well as some TV soap operas 4) Japan- Japan conquered the Philippines for only a few years and was never truly embraced by the country.

Historians point to the fact that unlike Spain they were only here for a few years and unlike the Americans, they were very harsh on the Filipinos. As a result, people did not want to be like them and their influence has been minimal. For Filipinos, family remains the most important unit in the society. Filipinos have a most diverse culture. The complexity of the country’s history makes it hard to pinpoint which traditions are authentically Filipino. Western influences have been a part of Filipino families for centuries.

It is predominantly from the Spanish culture since the Philippines was occupied by the Spain for over 300 years, from 1565 to 1898. After the United States colonization from 1898 to 1946, the American influence became very evident and remains strong today. When you visit today’s Filipino homes, especially in the big cities like Manila, you will see almost everything that you see in a Western households, such as video games, flatscreen television, computer and many other things. Watching Hollywood movies, surfing the Internet and playing video games are now the family pastimes.

You do not see the traditional family game “sungka” (mancala game) anymore. Even in rural places, it is very seldom to see children play “patintero” with neighbors and cousins while the parents are interacting with one another. The convenience of electronic games and entertainments from the Western world changed the way the whole family interacts with each other and with other families.  Children in a traditional Filipino family are trained not to answer back when parents are reprimanding them.

Filipino children today are learning to reason with their parents just like what they see on Western movies and television programs. Most Filipino parents still consider it disrespectful for their children to answer back or reason with them. As a result, it creates tension and conflicts in their relationships. Many Filipino parents have learned to accept the fact that they cannot stop the Western cultural influence on their children, so they find a way to let their children speak up and yet do it in a respectful way. They make sure that their authority as parents is not diminished despite the new way of interaction with their hildren.  Traditionally, the religion of the Filipino parents becomes the religion of the children. No one is supposed to change faith as a respect to the parents. There are many cases of conflicts among family members because one of them changed his or her religion.

Most of the time, whoever walked away from the family’s faith would be considered bad luck and cause heartache to the rest of the family. The American freedom of religion influenced the younger generation to choose what to believe and help the parents to be more open-minded when it comes to their children’s choice of faith It is not surprising to see a Filipino teenager boy with either long or spiked hair. He dances and sings to the tune of rap music. Many Filipino teenage girls dress up like the popular Hollywood celebrities. It is also very common to those in the upper class to speak the English language inside their homes instead of their native tongue. Education is always a high priority, whether they are rich or poor. In almost every aspect of the family life, the influence of Western culture can be seen. One thing that did not change despite the modernization of the Filipino families is that they remain closely knit.

They still believe that it is their responsibility to take care of their old parents. Their homes are still open to extended families. Filipino families are much closer than Westernized civilizations. The parents are respected and in turn, they respect their elderly. The elderly are held in high regard. Whenever there is a problem or illness the whole family will get together and help out all they can. Westernized countries don’t seem to possess these extremely close traits in most cases. There always seems to be one good caregiver and thus, the rest of the family in many cases is quite willing to allow the caregiver to take on the burden.

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