Culture and Values
The complexity of the history of the Philippines had made the Filipino culture diverse as it has been under many influences.
The Spanish colonizers greatly shaped our culture and values since its regime lasted for more than three and a half centuries. This is most evident in our folk music, dance, language, art, and religion.
Family. The family is the basic unit of society. Family ties are valued highly because Filipinos tend to be very close with family members. The nuclear family setup is the standard with Filipinos, which is why divorce is illegal in the Philippines.
Common Values. Being respectful is one of the most common Filipino values that is being especially instilled in the minds of young Filipinos. The use of “Po” and “opo”, for instance, is an expression of respect to elders in the Tagalog culture (especially true among those living in Luzon). Grandparents and the elderly are also shown a special gesture of respect by the placing of the back of the elder’s hand (at the fingers) against one’s forehead, called “mano”.
Most of the time, you will hear children calling their neighbors and distant relatives “auntie” and “uncle” or “tiyo” and “tiya” in the Visayan area.
Shame or hiya is the Filipino way of living up to accepted standards of behavior.
Utang na loob or “debt of gratitude”s, is owed by one to a person who has helped him through some difficulties he had undergone.
Death. Death in the Philippines is one of the most important occasions in family life. It is a tradition to hold a wake where families, relatives, neighbors, and friends gather to pay respect to the deceased’s remains. This is one of the biggest gatherings of family members and friends, aside from weddings and baptism. Similar to Latin America, women also wear white veils and black pins to show that they are mourning.