The Culture Of The Philippines
Recently, I described some of what I had learned about the traditions of the Philippines. Then I asked readers to tell me about their experiences here in the Philippines. I was surprised to see some where offended by what I had said. Instead of telling me what they had done, they attempted to invalidate what I had learned.
Since I’m the outsider here, the new kid on the street so to speak, I listen and then go validate what I’ve learned. Talking to Filipino that grew up in one area, they are just as shocked that another Filipino had a different experience.
What I’ve come to learn is that traditions in the Philippines vary vastly from location to location. That shouldn’t come as a surprise. The Philippines have been here and has been civilized for a long time. There are many Islands here and for thousands of years, it has been hard to get from Island to Island. Probably quite dangerous. There still is some danger in inter-island travel. Usually accomplished mostly by boat and a price that is significant for many Filipino.
Most people I’ve talked to have not traveled a lot from Island to Island on a regular basis so most of the people are still some what separated by the limitations imposed by water. There are at least 12 major languages that make up the archipelago of the Philippines. That too will limit communication and lead to different understandings. Mostly what we know about each other is based on thought, which I can’t think without using a word.
So the ground work is there for these major differences in tradition and culture. My suggestion here is that when someone tells you the Philippines is a certain way, one should not apply that to the entire country. It may or it may apply to a certain area. The same behavior on another Island could be completely unacceptable to another Filipino.
I’m in a new country. I’m not a citizen. It is not my culture. I feel it is my obligation to adapt to this new lands way of doing things. Watch National Geographic and you’ll see things that are taboo to you and me but to that culture are a normal way of life. A way they find impossible to contemplate giving up. Perhaps we should keep that in mind when we judge any culture, especially Philippine culture.
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