Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Filipino People

The Philippines' most outstanding feature is its people, a  mixture of Malay, Chinese, Spanish and American. Filipinos have been described as having emerged from 350 years in a convent and 50 years in Hollywood! They are a fascinating blend of east and west, with ancient and modern ways, and spontaneous love of pleasure. They compromise 111 cultural and linguistic groups; the dominant religion is Catholicism, with a significant number of protestants and Muslims.

The Philippines is the world's third-largest English-speaking country, after the USA and the UK. Pilipino, a form of Tagalog, is the national language, but English is used for commercial and legal transactions. The literacy rate is high, at 88 %.

Some 6 million Filipinos make up cultural minority groups, though this number includes 4 million Muslims. About 25,000 are Negritos, dark skinned people, known as the original Filipinos, and the rest are individual tribal groupings of Malay/Polynesian origin. They tend to live in their own culture, in remote areas, rather than in mixing in with modern Filipino society.

The tribes most likely to be encountered by divers are the Bajau, Ifugao, Mangyan and Yakan. The bajau sea gypsies live in the Sulu Archipelago, in the South of the Philippines, and also across in Borneo and Indonesia. Most of them have given up the gypsy life, living either on their small boats (lipas) or in stilt houses over the water, though often on very remote islands and sandbanks. They survive mainly from fishing, but some of them gather sea cucumbers for Chinese restaurants and other cultivate seaweed, which is exported to Japan. The Ifugao tribe lives in the mountain of Northern Luzon, where they are responsible for the beautiful Banaue rice terraces. Some of the older ones still dress in their traditional red costume while others merely wear it to pose for tourist cameras. More than 50,000 members of the Mangyan tribe still live in Mindoro. Most of them have retreated into the mountainous interior, but there are some villages near Puerto Galera that everyone can arrange to visit. The Yakan are muslims who mainly inhabit Basilan island, south of Zamboanga (on Mindanao), though some of them have settled near Zamboanga itself. Mostly living by agriculture and cattle breeding, they are famous for their weaving.

And the modern Filipina of the current time(modern in some ways but conservative at heart most of the time) and that is yours truly Miss Jean.

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