Everything You Should Know About Philippines People

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Welcome to the Philippines! That’s what you will most likely hear from the Philippines people the moment you step into their beautiful country.

Indeed, the Philippines people, or the Filipinos, are some of the most welcoming people you’ll ever encounter. Everywhere you go, you’ll be greeted with a huge smile, from hotels, markets, busy streets, and parks, you’ll find locals smiling at you, eager to start a conversation.

Check out these Postcards from the Philippines!

The Philippines is not like any other countries in Southeast Asia. In fact, those who have been to the country would liken it to South America, and that’s all thanks to the country’s huge Spanish influence. The Spanish have a massive impact on the Filipino culture and values, with Roman Catholic being the country’s main religion. This is one thing that makes the Philippines an interesting place to visit, not to mention that it’s also home to the island of Palawan, dubbed as the most beautiful island in the world.

Are you planning to visit the Philippines soon? Here’s everything you need to know about the unique beauty of the country and the wonderful Philippines people.

Brief History of the Philippines

Spanish colonial influence in the Philippines can be seen in religion, architecture and other segments.
Spanish colonial influence in the Philippines can be seen in religion, architecture and other segments.

As mentioned, the Spanish have a significant influence on the Philippines. As a matter of fact, the country was named after Spain’s King Philip II, and the country was a Spanish colony for more than 300 years

The first settlers of the Philippines are hunter-gatherers, although, around the 3,000 BC, people have discovered farming and started growing rice. In the 10th century, the Filipinos began trading with China, and by the 12th century, they traded with the Arab merchants who introduced the religion of Islam to the country.

Read more: Philippines Beach Resorts You Have Never Heard of Before

In 1521, Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese explorer who organized a Spanish expedition, sailed across the Pacific and set foot in the Philippines, claiming it for Spain. Magellan tried to baptize the local chiefs, but one chief refused, which led to his killing. 

The Spanish only gained a foothold in the country in 1565 when another expedition, led by Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, built a fort in the city of Cebu. Later on, they went to Luzon, where they established the city of Intramuros, which is now called Manila, the Philippines’ capital city. During this time, the Spanish friars started converting the Philippines people to Catholicism and built schools, universities, and churches all over the country.

The Philippines People

Philippines people are known for their hospitality and positivity.
Philippines people are known for their hospitality and positivity.

The Philippines people are renowned all over the world for being remarkably hardworking with an impressive set of values. But an especially well-known characteristic of the Filipinos is their hospitality. They are more than happy to welcome guests into their home and treat them as part of the family. 

Read more: The Beauty of the Philippines and of Its People

Here are more interesting facts about the Philippines people.

  • Filipinos love their country and their culture and will proudly share this with any visitor that they get into a conversation with. They would not mind sharing some interesting stories about their history and culture even if you just met.
  • Filipinos are family-oriented, and every visitor is treated like a part of the family. You can also be invited to their festivals and gatherings that are usually filled with lots of foods and booze!
  • Filipinos love to eat, and if you happen to stay with a Filipino family, you can expect to be fed with quite a good amount of food. They can never go a day without eating three square meals not to mention light snacks in between.
  • Filipinos exude positivity as evident in their ability to laugh about anything even in the midst of disasters. Instead of wallowing in misery, you’ll still find the Philippines people cheerful and hopeful that their miseries will soon come to an end.
  • Despite most Filipinos coming off as shy, once you get along with them, you’ll soon be introduced to their family and other friends. They are keen on meeting and interacting with foreign visitors.
  • Most Filipinos have a great sense of humor, which is why you’ll find them laughing a lot of times. From sarcasm, simple mockery, to situational comedies, Filipinos just love to have some humor in their lives.

Philippines Culture Facts

Karaoke is a big hit in the Philippines, as Filipinos love to sing.
Karaoke is a big hit in the Philippines, as Filipinos love to sing.

It is the culture of the Philippines that makes them different from their neighbors. As mentioned, the Philippines culture and traditions are greatly influenced by the Spanish people who came to rule the country for more than 300 years. 

Here are some of the things you might find fascinating in the Philippine culture.

  • Religion is important for the Filipino people. When you visit a typical Filipino home, you’ll find images of saints, crosses, and other religious images displayed all over the place. 
  • Filipinos are taught to show respect to their elders since they were young. Even in the way they talk, they would show respect by including “opo” in their sentence, a simple catchphrase used to address the elders. They also show respect by greeting the elders through “pagmamano”, a kind gesture that requires touching the backs of their hands to the foreheads of their elders.
  • The Philippines people love to help their community. Thus, the term “bayanihan” was coined. This a good example of Filipino culture, which means undertaking tasks and responsibilities together with the entire community, such as lifting houses, cleaning the streets, etc.
  • Filipinos are big on festivals and celebrations. All over the Philippines, major cities usually host big festivals each year that includes street parades, dancing, and other fun activities.
  • Filipinos have a penchant for architecture and art. They love to design, build, and create things, with a passion for anything unique and different.
  • Christmas is a very important part of the Philippine culture. In fact, as early as August, you’ll see Filipino families setting up Christmas trees and decors in anticipation of the celebration. It is also during Christmas that families from other parts of the world are expected to come home for a family reunion.
  • Karaoke is a big hit in the Philippines because Filipinos love to sing. Singing is a huge part of their culture, and no gathering would be complete without a karaoke or a singing session.

Philippines Best Food

FIlipino cuisine is tasty and not as bad as many people think!
FIlipino cuisine is tasty and not as bad as many people think!

The Filipino cuisine may not be as famous as that of the food of its neighboring countries like Thailand, but once you taste some of the Philippines best food, you’ll realize that it’s not actually as bad as what many people thought. 

So here are some of the best foods to try in the Philippines.

Chicken adobo

Chicken Adobo is a dish influenced by the Spanish.

This is just one of the Filipino dishes that are influenced by the Spanish. In fact, adobo is the Spanish term for a marinade, and as such, this dish consists of chicken or pork marinated in vinegar and soy sauce.

Isaw Food

Isaw is grilled food made of chicken intestines.

This is a barbecue made of chicken intestines. The intestines are coiled in skewers and grilled until they are charred and smoky. You’ll find this food being sold at various streets in the Philippines, along with other meat skewers.

Tokneneng

Tokneneng is one of the most popular street foods in the Philippines.

Another popular street food in the Philippines is the Tokneneng, which are basically boiled eggs that are coated in orange batter and fried deep in oil. There’s also a quail egg version of this dish known as kwek kwek. 

Balut Filipino

Balut is the strangest Filipino food for sure!

This is perhaps one of the most exotic street foods of the Philippines. It’s a boiled duck embryo eaten as a snack along with vinegar. This dish might sound strange, but it actually tastes good!

Dinuguan Filipino

Dinuguan is a strange Filipino dish made of pork blood.

This is another strange Filipino dish that’s made out of pork blood. This chocolate-colored stew is so flavorful and also contains several meat pieces and pork innards.

Kinilaw

Kinilaw is a marinated salad mixed with a bunch of ingredients.

This dish is somewhat similar to Peru’s ceviche. It’s a salad of raw fish marinated in vinegar, lime, and other ingredients like ginger, garlic, onion, chili, and pepper.

Sinigang

Sinigang is a sour soup made of tamarind with meat and vegetables.

This sour soup is made of tamarind with meat and other vegetables. The most commonly used meat for sinigang is beef, pork, and fish. Aside from the tamarind, other souring agents of this soup are guava leaves, kalamansi (lime), and tomatoes.

Suman Food

Suman is Filipino food that is usually eaten as a snack.

Filipinos love rice a lot that they even made several dishes out of it, and one of these is the suman, which is usually eaten as snacks. This sticky rice is cooked in coconut milk then wrapped in banana leaves. It’s somewhat similar to Thailand’s sticky rice.

Halo Halo Filipino

Halo Halo is the most popular Filipino dessert, and is delicious!

Halo Halo is perhaps the most popular dessert in the Philippines. It’s basically a mixture of several ingredients that includes shaved ice, milk, tapioca, kidney beans, sweet potatoes, jackfruit, coconut gel, purple yam, and topped with a scoop of ice cream!

Places to Visit in the Philippines

The Philippines are filled with many seaside cliffs and other awe-inspiring destinations.

With more than 7,000 islands to choose from, the Philippines are filled with so many awe-inspiring destinations that are definitely worthy to be included in your travel bucket list. 

Read more: What to Do in Manila for First Time Visitors?

So just in case you are wondering where to go on your vacation to the Philippines, here are some of the best places to check out in the country.

Palawan Island

Palawan Island is full of seaside cliffs and gorgeous turquoise water.

Recently dubbed by Condé Nast as the most beautiful island in the world, the island of Palawan definitely deserves to be on top of this list. In fact, if you only need to visit one place in the Philippines, make it Palawan.

Read more: Check Out the Things to Do on Palawan Island!

The island is known for its gorgeous turquoise waters and seaside cliffs, not to mention the longest navigable underground river in the world.

Boracay

Boracay has beautiful white sand beaches.

Next to Palawan, Boracay is another popular beach destination in the Philippines and was also voted as the best islands in 2015 by Conde Nast. This island attracts beachgoers from around the world, thanks to its magnificent white sands, crystal clear waters, and marvelous sunsets. Boracay has also become the go-to place for party people, with a nightlife scene similar to Ibiza.

Camiguin

You can relax at Camiguin, as it doesn't attract a lot of tourists.

If you prefer a less crowded beach destination, away from the hordes of tourists, then Camiguin is the perfect destination. Aside from its beautiful beaches, Camiguin is also home to refreshing waterfalls and the infamous sunken cemetery.

Bohol 

Bohol is home to one of the most known attractions of this country, the Chocolate Hills.

Bohol is home to the Chocolate Hills, one of the most famous attractions in the country. These tiny hills are called as such because they turn super brown during the dry season and look like chocolates from afar. Aside from the Chocolate Hills, Bohol is also home to the Philippine tarsier, said to be the smallest monkey in the world.

Cebu

The Santo Nino Basilica where the famous Christian shrine is located.

Cebu is a historical city, and this is where Ferdinand Magellan, the Portuguese explorer who discovered the Philippines, first landed. Thus, the city is filled with several historical landmarks, like the Magellan’s Cross, Fort San Pedro, Santo Nino Shrine, Casa Gorordo, and some museums.

Vigan

The historical architecture of Vigan is recognized by UNESCO.

Another city in the Philippines that’s brimming in history is the city of Vigan. In fact, it’s the country’s only UNESCO World Heritage city. Its cobbled stone streets are lined with several Spanish style colonial houses dating back to the 17th century.

Manila

Rizal Park is the largest park in Manila.

The country’s capital city is worth exploring for a day or two. It’s also home to some attractions, such as the Rizal Park, Intramuros, and the Fort Santiago. The thriving capital city’s nightlife scene is also worth experiencing. 

Banaue

The rice terraces in Banaue are one of the most famous Philippines attractions.

Banaue is home to one of the Philippines’ most popular attractions, the rice terraces. These irrigated rice fields were manually carved into the mountains by the local tribe known as Ifugao. This place is about a 10-hour bus ride from Manila, but the breathtaking views of the rice fields make it really worth a visit. 

The Philippines People are simply amazing!

Philippines people are extremely warm and friendly to new visitors to their country.
Philippines people are extremely warm and friendly to new visitors to their country.

There are so many reasons to visit the Philippines, and it’s a shame that a lot of travelers tend to overlook it in favor of the more popular destinations in Southeast Asia, like Thailand and Vietnam.

But as you can see, the country is filled with lots of interesting places, from beautiful beaches to historically rich cities. And of course, the friendly and welcoming nature of the Philippines people should be enough reason to lure you to visit this wonderful Southeast Asian nation.

Carolyn Boston freelance content writer for aSabbatical.com
Travelling the world on a budget for several years without having a hefty savings account.

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