The Filipino is basically
of Malay stock with a sprinkling of Chinese, American, Spanish and
Arab blood. The Philippines has a population of 76.5 million, and it
is hard to distinguish accurately the lines between stocks. From a
long history of Western colonial rule, interspersed with the visits of
merchants and traders, evolved a people of a unique blend of east and
west, both in appearance and culture.
The Filipino character is actually a little bit of all the cultures
put together. The bayanihan or spirit of kinship and camaraderie that
Filipinos are famous for is said to be taken from Malay forefathers.
The close family relations are said to have been inherited from the
Chinese. The piousness comes, from the Spaniards who introduced
Christianity in the 16th century. Hospitality is a common denominator
in the Filipino character and this is what distinguishes the Filipino.
Filipinos are probably one of the few, if not the only,
English-proficient Oriental people today. Pilipino is the official
national language, with English considered as the country's unofficial
The Filipinos are divided geo-graphically and culturally into regions,
and each regional group is recognizable by distinct traits and
dialects-the sturdy and frugal Ilocanos of the north, the industrious
Tagalog's of the central plains, the carefree Visayans from the
central islands and the colorful tribes-men and religious Moslems of
Mindanao. Tribal communities can be found scattered across the
archipelago. All in all the Philippines has 111 dialects spoken, owing
to the subdivisions of these basic regional and regional groups.
Some 80 percent of the population is Catholic, Spain's lasting legacy.
About 15 percent is Moslem and these people can be found basically in
Mindanao. The rest of the population is made up mostly of smaller
Christian denominations and Buddhists.