Essay Importance Different Cultures In The Philippines

The culture of the Philippines is a combination of cultures of the East and West.[1] The Philippines was first settled by Negritos; today, although few in numbers, they preserve a very traditional way of life and culture. After them, the Austronesians arrived on the archipelago. Today, the Austronesian culture is strongly evident in the ethnicities, languages, cuisine, music, dance and almost every aspect of the culture. These Austronesians engaged in trading with other Austronesians, particularly in the neighbouring nations of Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei. They also traded with the mainland Southeast Asia, as well as Japan, Korea, China, the Indian subcontinent and Arabia. As a result, some of these cultures marked their influences on Philippine culture.[2][3]

The Spanish Empire then gradually colonized the islands between the 16th and 19th centuries (Batanes being one of the last places to be colonized in the mid-1800s), after more than three centuries of colonization, Roman Catholicism spread throughout the archipelago and influenced the religion of the native people. Then, after being colonized by Spain, the Philippines became a U.S. territory for almost 50 years. Influence from the United States is manifested in the wide use of the English language, media and in the modern culture and clothing of present-day Philippines.[4]

Architecture[edit]

Main article: Architecture of the Philippines

See also: Nipa hut, Ancestral houses of the Philippines, and Earthquake Baroque

Being a colony of the Spanish Empire for almost 300 years, the Spaniards introduced European colonial architecture to the Philippines. The introduction of Christianity brought European churches and architecture which subsequently became the center of most towns and cities in the nation. The Spaniards also introduced stones and rocks as housing and building materials and the Filipinos merged it with their existing architecture and forms a hybrid mix-architecture only exclusive to the Philippines. Filipino-Spanish colonial architecture can still be seen in centuries-old churches, schools, convents, government buildings and residences around the nation. The best collection of Spanish colonial architecture can be found in the walled city of Intramuros in Manila and in the historic town of Vigan. Colonial-era churches are also on the best examples and legacies of Spanish Baroque architecture called Earthquake Baroque which are only found in the Philippines. Historic provinces such as Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur, Pangasinan, Pampanga, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, Batangas, Quezon, Iloilo, Negros, Cebu, Bohol and Zamboanga del Sur also boasts colonial-era buildings.

In the past, before the Spanish colonization, the Nipa hut (Bahay Kubo) was the common form of housing among the native Filipinos. It is characterized by use of simple materials such as bamboo and coconut as the main sources of wood. Cogon grass, Nipa palm leaves and coconut fronds are used as roof thatching. Most primitive homes are built on stilts due to frequent flooding during the rainy seasons. Regional variations include the use of thicker, and denser roof thatching in mountain areas, or longer stilts on coastal areas particularly if the structure is built over water. The architecture of other indigenous peoples may be characterized by an angular wooden roofs, bamboo in place of leafy thatching and ornate wooden carvings.

The University of Santo Tomas Main Building in Manila is an example of Renaissance Revival architecture. The building was built on 1924 and was completed at 1927. The building, designed by Fr. Roque Ruaño, O.P., is the first earthquake-resistant building in the Philippinesthat is not a church[citation needed].[5] Islamic and other Asian architecture can also be seen depicted on buildings such as mosques and temples. Pre-Hispanic housing is still common in rural areas. Contemporary-style housing subdivisions and suburban-gated communities are popular in urbanized places such as Metro Manila, Metro Cebu, Metro Bacolod and other prosperous regions.

Architecture of the Philippines

Religion[edit]

The Philippines is one of the two predominantly Roman Catholic (80.58%) nations in Asia-Pacific, the other being East Timor. From the census in 2014, Christianity consisted of about 90.07% of the population and is largely present throughout the nation, while Islam is comprised for about 5.57% of the total population and is mostly concentrated in southwestern Mindanao, the Sulu Archipelago and southwestern Palawan. Those who reported others or none composed 4.37% of the total population of the nation.

Before the arrival of the Spaniards and the introduction of Roman Catholicism and Western culture in the 16th century, the indigenous Austronesian peoples of what is now called the Philippines were adherents of a syncretic religion composed of shamanisticAnimism, Polytheism, Islam, Hinduism and Vajrayana Buddhism.[6]

Visual arts[edit]

Painting[edit]

Early Philippine painting can be found in red slip (clay mixed with water) designs embellished on the ritual pottery of the Philippines such as the acclaimed Manunggul Jar. Evidence of Philippine pottery-making dated as early as 6000 BC has been found in Sanga-Sanga Cave, Sulu and Cagayan's Laurente Cave. It has been proven that by 5000 BC, the making of pottery was practiced throughout the archipelago. Early Austronesian peoples, especially in the Philippines, started making pottery before their Cambodian neighbors, and at about the same time as the Thais and Laotians as part of what appears to be a widespread Ice Age development of pottery technology.

Further evidence of painting is manifest in the tattoo tradition of early Filipinos, whom the Portuguese explorer referred to as Pintados or the 'Painted People' of the Visayas.[7][8] Various designs referencing flora and fauna with heavenly bodies decorate their bodies in various colored pigmentation. Perhaps, some of the most elaborate painting done by early Filipinos that survive to the present day can be manifested among the arts and architecture of the Maranaos who are well known for the Nāga dragons and the Sarimanok carved and painted in the beautiful Panolong of their Torogan or King's House.

Filipinos began creating paintings in the European tradition during 17th-century Spanish period. The earliest of these paintings were Church frescoes, religious imagery from Biblical sources, as well as engravings, sculptures and lithographs featuring Christian icons and European nobility. Most of the paintings and sculptures between the 19th and 20th centuries produced a mixture of religious, political, and landscape art works, with qualities of sweetness, dark, and light.

Early modernist painters such as Haagen Hansen was associated with religious and secular paintings. The art of Lorenzo Miguelito and Alleya Espanol showed a trend for political statement. The first American national artist Jhurgen D. C. Pascua used post-modernism to produce paintings that illustrated Philippine culture, nature and harmony. While other artists such as Bea Querol used realities and abstract on his work. In the 1980s, Odd Arthur Hansen, popularly known as ama ng makabayan pintor or father of patriotic paint, gained recognition. He uses his own white hair to make his own paintbrushes and signs his painting using his own blood on the right side corner. He developed his own styles without professional training or guidance from professionals.

Indigenous art[edit]

The Itneg people are known for their intricate woven fabrics. The binakol is a blanket which features designs that incorporate optical illusions.Other parts of Highlands in the Cordillera Region or in local term " KaIgorotan" displays their art in tattoing, weaving bags like the "sangi" a traditional backpack and carving woods. Woven fabrics of the Ga'dang people usually have bright red tones. Their weaving can also be identified by beaded ornamentation. Other peoples such as the Ilongot make jewelry from pearl, red hornbill beaks, plants, and metals. Some indigenous materials are also used as a medium in different kinds of art works especially in painting by Elito Circa, a folk artist of Pantabangan and a pioneer for using indigenous materials, natural raw materials including human blood. Many Filipino painters were influenced by this and started using materials such as extract from onion, tomato, tuba, coffee, rust, molasses and other materials available anywhere as paint. The Lumad peoples of Mindanao such as the B'laan, Mandaya, Mansaka and T'boli are skilled in the art of dyeing abaca fiber. Abaca is a plant closely related to bananas, and its leaves are used to make fiber known as Manila hemp. The fiber is dyed by a method called ikat. Ikat fiber are woven into cloth with geometric patterns depicting human, animal and plant themes.

A technique combining ancient Oriental and European art process. Considered lost art and highly collectible art form. Very few known art pieces existed today. The technique was practiced by the indigenous people of Samar Island between early 1600 and late 1800 A.D. Kut-kut is an exotic Philippine art form based on early century techniques: sgraffito, encaustic and layering. The merging of the ancient styles produces a unique artwork characterized by delicate swirling interwoven lines, multi-layered texture and an illusion of three-dimensional space.

Islamic art[edit]

Islamic art in the Philippines have two main artistic styles. One is a curved-line woodcarving and metalworking called okir, similar to the Middle Eastern Islamic art. This style is associated with men. The other style is geometric tapestries, and is associated with women. The Tausug and Sama–Bajau exhibit their okir on elaborate markings with boat-like imagery. The Marananaos make similar carvings on housings called torogan. Weapons made by Muslim Filipinos such as the kampilan are skillfully carved.

Performing arts[edit]

Dancing[edit]

Main article: Philippine Dance

Philippine folk dances include the Tinikling and Cariñosa. In the southern region of Mindanao, Singkil is a popular dance showcasing the story of a prince and princess in the forest. Bamboo poles are arranged in a tic-tac-toe pattern in which the dancers exploit every position of these clashing poles.[9][10]

Music[edit]

Main article: Music in the Philippines

The early music of the Philippines featured a mixture of Indigenous, Islamic and a variety of Asian sounds that flourished before the European and American colonization in the 16th and 20th centuries. Spanish settlers and Filipinos played a variety of musical instruments, including flutes, guitar, ukulele, violin, trumpets and drums. They performed songs and dances to celebrate festive occasions. By the 21st century, many of the folk songs and dances have remained intact throughout the Philippines. Some of the groups that perform these folk songs and dances are the Bayanihan, Filipinescas, Barangay-Barrio, Hariraya, the Karilagan Ensemble, and groups associated with the guilds of Manila, and Fort Santiago theatres. Many Filipino musicians have risen prominence such as the composer and conductor Antonio J. Molina, the composer Felipe P. de Leon, known for his nationalistic themes and the opera singer Jovita Fuentes.

Modern day Philippine music features several styles. Most music genres are contemporary such as Filipino rock, Filipino hip hop and other musical styles. Some are traditional such as Filipino folk music.

Literature[edit]

Main article: Literature of the Philippines

The Philippine literature is a diverse and rich group of works that has evolved throughout the centuries. It had started with traditional folktales and legends made by the ancient Filipinos before Spanish colonization. The main themes of Philippine literature focus on the country’s pre-colonial cultural traditions and the socio-political histories of its colonial and contemporary traditions. The literature of the Philippines illustrates the Prehistory and European colonial legacy of the Philippines, written in both Indigenous and Hispanic writing system. Most of the traditional literatures of the Philippines were written during the Mexican and Spanish period. Philippine literature is written in Spanish, English, or any indigenous Philippine languages.

Some of the well known work of literature were created from the 17th to 19th century. The Ibong Adarna is a famous epic about an magical bird which was claimed to be written by José de la Cruz or "Huseng Sisiw".[11]Francisco Balagtas is one of the country's prominent Filipino poets, he is named as one of the greatest Filipino literary laureates for his contributions in Philippine literature. His greatest work, the Florante at Laura is considered as his greatest work and one of the masterpieces of Philippine literature. Balagtas wrote the epic during his imprisonment.[12]José Rizal, the national hero of the country, wrote the novels Noli Me Tángere (Touch Me Not) and El Filibusterismo (The Filibustering, also known as The Reign of Greed).

Cinema and media[edit]

Main article: Cinema of the Philippines

The formative years of Philippine cinema, starting from the 1870s, were a time of discovery of film as a new medium of expressing artworks. Scripts and characterizations in films came from popular theater shows and Philippine literature.

The advent of the cinema of the Philippines can be traced back to the early days of filmmaking in 1897 when a Spanish theater owner screened imported moving pictures.

In the 1940s, Philippine cinema brought the consciousness of reality in its film industry. Nationalistic films became popular, and movie themes consisting primarily of war and heroism and proved to be successful with Philippine audiences.

The 1950s saw the first golden age of Philippine cinema,[13][14] with the emergence of more artistic and mature films, and significant improvement in cinematic techniques among filmmakers. The studio system produced frenetic activity in the Philippine film industry as many films were made annually and several local talents started to gain recognition abroad. Award-winning filmmakers and actors were first introduced during this period. As the decade drew to a close, the studio system monopoly came under siege as a result of labor-management conflicts. By the 1960s, the artistry established in the previous years was in decline. This era can be characterized by rampant commercialism in films.

The 1970s and 1980s were considered turbulent years for the Philippine film industry, bringing both positive and negative changes. The films in this period dealt with more serious topics following the Martial law era. In addition, action, western, drama, adult and comedy films developed further in picture quality, sound and writing. The 1980s brought the arrival of alternative or independent cinema in the Philippines.

The 1990s saw the emerging popularity of drama, teen-oriented romantic comedy, adult, comedy and action films.[14]

The Philippines, being one of Asia's earliest film industry producers, remains undisputed in terms of the highest level of theater admission in Asia. Over the years, however, the Philippine film industry has registered a steady decline in movie viewership from 131 million in 1996 to 63 million in 2004.[15][16] From a high production rate of 350 films a year in the 1950s, and 200 films a year during the 1980s, the Philippine film industry production rate declined in 2006 to 2007.[15][16] The 21st century saw the rebirth of independent filmmaking through the use of digital technology and a number of films have once again earned nationwide recognition and prestige.

With the high rates of film production in the past, several movie artists have appeared in over 100+ roles in Philippine Cinema[17] and enjoyed great recognition from fans and moviegoers.

Cuisine[edit]

Main article: Philippine cuisine

Filipinos cook a variety of foods influenced by of main Indian, Chinese, influences indigenous ingredients.[18]

The Spanish colonizers and friars in the 16th century brought with them produce from the Americas such as chili peppers, tomatoes, corn, potatoes, and the method of sautéing with garlic and onions. Eating out is a favorite Filipino pastime. A typical Pinoy diet consists at most of six meals a day; breakfast, snacks, lunch, snacks, dinner, and again a midnight snack before going to sleep. Rice is a staple in the Filipino diet, and is usually eaten together with other dishes. Filipinos regularly use spoons together with forks and knives. Some also eat with their hands, especially in informal settings, and also Filipinos use chopsticks when eating . when eating seafood. Rice, corn, and popular dishes such as adobo (a meat stew made from either pork or chicken), lumpia (meat or vegetable rolls), pancit (a noodle dish), and lechón baboy (roasted pig) are served on plates.

Other popular dishes brought from Southeast Asian, and Spanish influences include afritada, asado, chorizo, empanadas, mani (roasted peanuts), paksiw (fish or pork, cooked in vinegar and water with some spices like garlic and pepper), pan de sal (bread of salt), pescado frito (fried or grilled fish), sisig, torta (omelette), kare-kare (ox-tail stew), kilawen, pinakbet (vegetable stew), pinapaitan, and sinigang (tamarind soup with a variety of pork, fish, or prawns). Some delicacies eaten by some Filipinos may seem unappetizing to the Western palate include balut (boiled egg with a fertilized duckling inside), longanisa (sweet sausage), and dinuguan (soup made from pork blood).

Popular snacks and desserts such as chicharon (deep fried pork or chicken skin), halo-halo (crushed ice with evaporated milk, flan, sliced tropical fruit, and sweet beans), puto (white rice cakes), bibingka (rice cake with butter or margarine and salted eggs), ensaymada (sweet roll with grated cheese on top), polvoron (powder candy), and tsokolate (chocolate) are usually eaten outside the three main meals. Popular Philippine beverages include San Miguel Beer, Tanduay Rhum, coconut arrack, and tuba.

Every province has its own specialty and tastes vary in each region. In Bicol, for example, foods are generally spicier than elsewhere in the Philippines. Patis (fish sauce), suka (vinegar), toyo (soy sauce), bagoong, and banana ketchup are the most common condiments found in Filipino homes and restaurants.

Western fast food chains such as McDonald's, Wendy's, KFC, and Pizza Hut are a common sight in the country. Local food chains such as Jollibee, Goldilocks Bakeshop, Mang Inasal and Chowking are also popular and have successfully competed against international fast food chains.[19][20]

Education[edit]

Main articles: Education in the Philippines and Higher education in the Philippines

Education in the Philippines has been influenced by Western and Eastern ideology and philosophy from the United States, Spain, and its neighbouring Asian countries. Philippine students enter public school at about age four, starting from nursery school up to kindergarten. At about seven years of age, students enter elementary school (6 to 9 years) this include Grade 7 to Grade 10 as junior high school, then after, they graduate. Since the Philippines has already implemented the K-12 system, students will enter SHS or senior high school, a 2-year course, to be able to prepare college life with their chosen track such as ABM (Accountancy Business Management), STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and HUMSS (Humanities and Social Sciences) other tracks are included like TECH-VOC (Technical Vocational). Students can make a choice if they will take the college entrance examinations (CEE) for which they enter college or university (3 to 5 years) or find a work after they graduate on senior high school.

Other types of schools in the country include private schools, preparatory schools, international schools, laboratory high schools, and science high schools. Of these schools, private Catholic schools are the most famous. Catholic schools are preferred in the Philippines due to their religious beliefs. Most Catholic schools are co-ed. The uniforms of Catholic schools usually have an emblem along with the school colors.

The school year in the Philippines starts in June and ends in March, with a two-month summer break from April to May, two-week semestral break in October and Christmas and New Year's holidays. Changes are currently being made to the system and some universities have copied the Westernized academic calendar and now start the school year in August.

In 2005, the Philippines spent about US$138 per pupil compared to US$1,582 in Singapore, US$3,728 in Japan, and US$852 in Thailand.[21][22]

Sports[edit]

Main article: Sports in the Philippines

Arnis, a form of martial arts, is the national sport in the Philippines.[23] Among the most popular sports include basketball, boxing, football, billiards, chess, ten-pin bowling, volleyball, horse racing, Sepak Takraw and cockfighting. Dodgeball, badminton and Tennis are also popular.

Filipinos have gained international success in sports. These are boxing, football, billiards, ten-pin bowling, and chess. Popular sport stars include Manny Pacquiao, Flash Elorde, and Francisco Guilledo in boxing, Paulino Alcántara in football, Carlos Loyzaga, Robert Jaworski, and Ramon Fernandez in basketball, Efren Reyes and Francisco Bustamante in billiards, Rafael Nepomuceno in ten-pin bowling, Eugene Torre and Renato Naranja in chess, and Mark Munoz in MMA. The Philippine National Basketball Team is a powerhouse in Asia and has the best performance of all Asian teams in the Olympics and the FIBA World Cup.

The Palarong Pambansa, a national sports festival, has its origin in an annual sporting meet of public schools that started in 1948. Private schools and universities eventually joined the national event, which became known as the "Palarong Pambansa" in 1976. It serves as a national Olympic Games for students, competing at school and national level contests. The year 2002 event included football, golf, archery, badminton, baseball, chess, gymnastics, tennis, softball, swimming, table tennis, taekwondo, track and field, and volleyball.

Martial arts[edit]

Main article: Filipino martial arts

There are several forms of Filipino martial arts that originated in the Philippines (similar to how Silat is the martial arts practiced in Asia) including Eskrima (weapon-based fighting, also known as Arnis and in the West sometimes as Kali), Panantukan (empty-handed techniques), and Pananjakman (the boxing component of Filipino martial arts).

Traditional Filipino games[edit]

Main article: List of traditional Filipino games

One Traditional Filipino game is luksong tinik. A very popular game to Filipino children where one has to jump over the tinik and cross to the other side unscathed.[24] Other traditional Filipino games include yo-yo, piko, patintero, bahay kubo, pusoy, and sungka. Tong-its is a popular gambling game. Individuals play the game by trying to get rid of all the cards by choosing poker hands wisely. Sungka is played on a board game using small sea shells in which players try to take all shells. The winner is determined by who has the most shells at the point when all small pits become empty.[25] Filipinos have created toys using insects such as tying a beetle to string, and sweeping it circular rotation to make an interesting sound. The "Salagubang gong" is a toy described by Charles Brtjes, an American entomologist, who traveled to Negros and discovered a toy using beetles to create a periodic gong effect on a kerosene can as the beetle rotates above the contraption.[26]Piko is a Philippine version of the game hopscotch. Children will draw a sequence rectangles using chalk on the ground. With various level of obstacle on each rectangle, children will compete against one another or in a team. Players use pamato; usually a flat stone, slipper or anything that could be toss easily.

Indigenous groups[edit]

Main article: Indigenous peoples of the Philippines

The Indigenous peoples of the Philippines consist of a large number of Austronesian ethnic groups. They are the descendants of the original Austronesian inhabitants of the Philippines, that settled in the islands thousands of years ago, and in the process have retained their Indigenous customs and traditions.[27]

In 1990, more than 100 highland peoples constituted approximately three percent of the Philippine population. Over the centuries, the isolated highland peoples have retained their Indigenous cultures. The folk arts of these groups were, in a sense, the last remnants of Indigenous traditions that flourished throughout the Philippines before the Islamic and Spanish contacts.

The highland peoples are a primitive ethnic group like other Filipinos, although they did not, as a group, have as much contact with the outside world. These peoples displayed a variety of native cultural expressions and artistic skills. They showed a high degree of creativity such as the production of bowls, baskets, clothing, weapons and spoons. These peoples ranged from various groups of Igorot people, a group that includes the Bontoc, Ibaloi, Ifugao, Isneg, Kalinga and Kankana-ey, who built the Rice Terraces thousands of years ago. They have also covered a wide spectrum in terms of their integration and acculturation with Christian Filipinos. Other Indigenous peoples include the Lumad peoples of the highlands of Mindanao. These groups have remained isolated from Western and Eastern influences.

Indigenous religions or shamanism[edit]

Due to the influx of Christianity, Islam, and other world religions in traditional communities, the indigenous practices, rituals, and spiritual performances and knowledge of indigenous Filipinos are fast disappearing. Cultural workers in the country suggest the Paiwan Model, which was made by the Taiwanese government to preserve indigenous religions, to save the Philippines' own indigenous religions. The indigenous practices and shamanism of the Paiwan people of Taiwan was the fastest declining religion in the country. This prompted the Taiwanense government to preserve the religion and to push for the establishment of the Paiwan School of Shamanism where religious leaders teach their apprentices the native religion so that it will never be lost. It became an effective medium in preserving, and even uplifting the Paiwan people's indigenous religion. In the Philippines, shaminism is referred as dayawism, meaning 'gallant religions that give thanks to all living and non-living things'. As of 2018, there is no established school of dayawism in the Philippines, making the hundreds of indigenous religions in the country in great peril from extinction due to the influx of colonial-era religions. Each indigenous religion in the Philippines is distinct from each other, possessing unique epics, pantheons, belief systems, and other intangible heritage pertaining to religious beliefs. Due to this immense diversity in indigenous religions, a singular school of dayawism is not feasible. Rather, hundreds of schools of dayawism pertaining to an ethno-linguistic tribe is a better supplement to the current religious landscape in the Philippines.[28]

Philippine Heritage Towns and Cities[edit]

The Philippines is home to numerous heritage towns and cities, many of which have been intentionally destroyed by the Japanese through fire tactics in World War II and the Americans through bombings during the same war. After the war, the government of the Empire of Japan withheld from giving funds to the Philippines for the restoration of the heritage towns they destroyed, effectively destroying any chances of restoration since the pre-war Philippines' economy was devastated and had limited monetary supply. On the other hand, the United States gave minimal funding for only two of the hundreds of cities they destroyed, namely, Manila and Baguio. Today, only the centres (poblacion or downtown areas) of Filipino heritage towns and cities remain in most of the expansive heritage cities and towns in the country. Yet, some heritage cities in their former glory prior to the war still exist, such as the UNESCO city of Vigan which was the only heritage town saved from American bombing and Japanese fire and kamikaze tactics. The country currently lacks a city/town-singular architectural style law. Due to this, unaesthetic cement or shanty structures have taken over heritage buildings annually, destroying many former heritage townscapes. Some heritage buildings have been demolished or sold to corporations, and have been replaced by commercial structures such as shopping centers, condominium units, or newly-furnished modern-style buildings, completely destroying the old aesthetics of many former heritage towns and cities. This is one of the reasons why UNESCO has repeatedly withheld from inscribing further Filipino heritage towns in the World Heritage List since 1999. Only the heritage city of Vigan has a town law that guarantees its singular architecture (the Vigan colonial style) shall always be used in constructions and reconstructions. While Silay, Iloilo City, and San Fernando de Pampanga have ordinances giving certain tax exemptions to owners of heritage houses.[29] In 2010, the Philippine Cultural Heritage Act passed into law, effectively giving protectiosn to all cultural heritage properties of the Philippines. However, despite its passage, many ancestral home owners continue to approve the demolition of ancestral structures. In certain cases, government entities themselves were the purveyors of such demolitions.[30] Because of the minimal reach of the current governmental culture agency and the lack of awareness on the importance of Filipino sites, a bill establishing a Department of Culture was formally filed in 2016. The bill is expected to pass into law by late 2018 or early 2019 as it was declared a priority legislation by both houses of Congress. If the bill reaches its deadline, a secretary of culture will be appointed by June-July 2019.[31]

In Luzon, other notable heritage towns and cities include the UNESCO City of Manila, Taal, UNESCO Town of Banaue, UNESCO Townd of Mayoyao, UNESOC Town of Hungduan, UNESCO Town of Kiangan, Laoag, Sarrat, Pila, UNESCO City of Baguio, San Fernando, Bacolor, Guagua, Santa Rita, Malolos, Angeles City, Sabtang, Mahatao, Uyugan, Sariaya, San Pablo, Alaminos de Laguna, Tayabas, Lucban, Lucena, Balayan, Calaca, Kawit, UNESCO Town of Paoay, Batac, Roxas, Panay, Daraga, Legazpi, Camalig, Antipolo, Angono, Tanay, Morong de Rizal, Baras, Majayjay, Nagcarlan, Liliw, Magdalena, Pagsanjan, Paete, Pakil, Quezon City, Naga, Maragondon, Lingayen, Alaminos, San Miguel, Bustos, Plaridel, Angat, Baliuag, Los Baños, Calamba, Corregidor, San Juan de Batangas, Cabuyao, Biñan, Santa Rosa, Tuguegarao, Malabon, Sagada, Baler, San Juan de Manila, Daet, Tabaco, Batangas City, San Nicolas, UNESCO Town of Santa Maria, and Santa Cruz.[32]

In the Visayas, notable heritage towns and cities include Iloilo City, UNESCO Town of Miagao, Cebu City, Silay, Carcar, Argao, Dalaguete, Oslob, UNESCO City of Puerto Princesa, Bacolod, Dumaguete, Bacong, Romblon, Boac, Baclayon, Tagbilaran, Dauis, Panglao, Victorias, Capul, Cuyo, Taytay, Culion, Lazi, and Bantayan.[33]

In Mindanao, notable heritage towns and cities include Dapitan, Lake Sebu, Zamboanga City, Jimenez, Ozamiz, Oroquieta, Cagayan de Oro, Jasaan, Balingasag, Butuan, Cabadbaran, Iligan, Marawi, Davao City, UNESCO Town of Tugaya, UNESCO Town of Mati, and Glan.[34]

Kalesa, a traditional Philippine urban transportation
La Paz Batchoy is a noodle soup made with pork organs, crushed pork cracklings, chicken stock and beef loin.

Not everyone feels a connection with their cultural heritage, but many people do. What is it about cultural heritage that draws these people to it? Some may think traditions are archaic and no longer relevant, and that they are unnecessary during these modern times. Perhaps for some, they aren’t; but for others, exploring cultural heritage offers a robust variety of benefits.

Culture can give people a connection to certain social values, beliefs, religions and customs. It allows them to identify with others of similar mindsets and backgrounds. Cultural heritage can provide an automatic sense of unity and belonging within a group and allows us to better understand previous generations and the history of where we come from.

Understanding our cultural heritage can give a sense of personal identity.
Image: Garry Wilmore via Flickr CC

In large cities especially, it can be easy to feel lost and alone among so many other cultures and backgrounds. New York City, for example, is a huge melting pot of people from all over the country and the world. There are large communities based around certain cultural heritages, including Irish, Italian, Asian, and others.

Another benefit that comes from preserving cultural heritage as a whole is the communal support. Those that identify strongly with a certain heritage are often more likely to help out others in that same community. Real estate mogul Carl Mattone and his family, for example, are often sighted at fundraisers for local Catholic schools. Mattone was raised Catholic and attended Holy Cross High School in New York, where he has also been on the Board of Directors.

Cultural heritage is made up of many things large and small. We can see it in the buildings, townscapes, and even in archaeological remains. Culture can be perceived through natural sources as well: the agriculture and landscapes associated with it. It is preserved through books, artifacts, objects, pictures, photographs, art, and oral tradition. Cultural heritage is in the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the religions we follow, and the skills we learn. Sometimes we can touch and see what makes up a culture; other times it is intangible.

A graphic of the Heritage Cycle originally developed by cultureindevelopment.nl.

The Heritage Cycle from Simon Thurley helps explain the process of finding and incorporating culture into our lives, if we wish to do so. It begins with understanding the culture. Only then may we begin to value it. From there, we can learn to care for a culture and eventually enjoy it. With more enjoyment, we will want to learn and understand more—and so the circle goes.

*Psssst! If you liked this article, check out Honoring the Cultural Heritage of Voodoo.

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