Population, Way of Life
arnis, tenant farmers, Cockfighting, sipa, wooden sticks
One of the most notable characteristics of Filipino society is its strong family and community relationships. These are strengthened by the traditional Filipino concept of utang na loob, in which an act of voluntary assistance creates an obligation that the receiver must attempt to repay through reciprocal assistance. This often creates a long-term relationship of giving and receiving between individuals or families, and some obligations can last for generations. The social values of loyalty, support, and trust are deeply embedded in the Philippine identity. Respect for others, especially elder members of society and people in positions of authority, is taught from an early age.
In Philippine villages, houses are traditionally constructed of bamboo and nipa palm thatching and raised above the ground on poles. Simple wooden houses with galvanized iron roofs are also common. Except in the remotest areas, rural houses are equipped with electricity and indoor plumbing. More services and modern facilities are available in towns and cities. The influence of Western culture is more evident in urban areas, where lifestyles tend to be more modern.
Farming, fishing, and forestry are the primary occupations in rural areas. Many of the rural poor are employed as tenant farmers and landless agricultural workers. Most urban residents are employed in the service sector or in manufacturing. There is a growing middle class of government employees, teachers, and small-business owners.
The Philippine diet usually consists of boiled rice or ground corn, vegetables, fresh or salted fish, and fruits. A locally made beverage is tuba, a fermented coconut wine.
Traditional sports include arnis, a kind of fencing with wooden sticks, and sipa, a game much like volleyball except that the players use only their feet to move the ball. Cockfighting and boxing are popular spectator sports, and American influence is seen in the wide popularity of baseball and basketball. Christian holidays such as the annual patron-saint fiestas and the crucifixion reenactments at Easter are important and well-attended community events.
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