In the Philippines , politics and entertainment are almost synonymous. Political events and politicians’ antics unfold like a soap opera with many twists and drama, captivating the people. Democracy is enjoyed and taken very seriously and thus Filipinos would easily dispute any sign of political suppression. The media in the Philippines is one of the freest in Asia and are the biggest allies of the people in voicing their concerns and sentiments. The Philippines is a republic constituting three branches of government: executive, legislative and judicial. It is headed by a president and vice-president, who are elected to a six-year term respectively. The Congress is bicameral with a 24 member Senate and a 200 member House of Representatives. The government is modeled after that of the United States of America .
There are about 76 to 78 major language groups, with more than 500 dialects in the Philippines , showing how diverse its culture. The national language, that is Filipino, was established in 1947 based on the Tagalog dialect. English is widely used and is the medium of instruction for higher education.
FILIPINOS LOVE TO EAT! In addition to breakfast, lunch, and dinner, people will have a snack at midmorning, as well as a merienda in the late afternoon. Street food is very popular among Filipinos and there you will find the most exotic of snacks. For the adventurous eaters, you won’t be disappointed with the surprising delights and variety you will encounter.
The Philippines is a tropical country and the climate is usually warm and humid. The average temperature is 70° - 80° F all year. The average rainfall in Luzon ranges from 35 to 216 inches. The country experiences wet season from June to November. In the cooler months, monsoon winds come from the northeast which shifts to the southwest in April through October. Overall, about 40 typhoons hit the Philippines each year, with most originating in the South China Sea , which is on the eastern side of the country.
The Philippines is unique among its neighbors in Southeast Asia . Its people have shown to the world remarkable ability to accept and assimilate foreign cultural influences and yet they think and behave in a manner that is uniquely Filipino. So it is that the visiting Chinese would see traces of his own culture and traditions. After all, history records the 12 th century traders from China , along with Indian and Islamic merchants who came to engage in bustling trade with the original Malay residents of the Philippines . The American visitor would immediately feel a kinship with the people and the land. After almost 50 years of American occupation, western influences are very much evident. But then, the Filipinos “filipinized” what the Americans brought in. And as to the visiting Hispanic, traces of Spanish influence remain in the cities of the Philippines and has become manifest in the language of the people.Filipinos are a friendly people. Wherever you travel in the Philippines you will be sure to be greeted with smiles. They have welcomed so many visitors to their shores that generosity has become a national trait. Mabuhay means "hello" and "welcome" in Filipino, and it is a phrase you'll see and hear often when you visit the Philippines.Filipinos are mainly of Malay origin with some Chinese, American, Spanish, and Arab ancestry. Characteristic Filipino traits are Bayanihan (the spirit of cooperation), piety, and close family ties. Filipinos's flair for English and love of popular culture may be derived from the American Occupation. Filipinos are emotional and passionate about life.This is a country marked by a real blend of cultures, East truly meets West. Cave-dwelling mountain tribes and semi-nomadic hunter-gatherers are among the more than 40 ethnic groups that constitute the country's cultural minorities. Perhaps the best-known of the groups are the Tasaday, discovered in 1971 after 50,000 years of cave-dwelling life in South Cotabato , Mindanao. Despite claims of a scientific hoax, their authenticity as a surviving Stone Age culture has since been confirmed Even more elusive to outsiders are the Badjao of the Sulu archipelago. These sea gypsies live on boats or in off-shore stilt houses and come ashore only to die. In the mountains of the Central Cordillera dwell 200,000 mountain people, all different in their lifestyles and origins. They include the Apayao, Bontoc, Benguet, Ifugao, and Kalinga. And then there are the Negrito people of the Luzon area. They are nomads, living in twig-and-branch huts, hunting with bows and poison-tipped arrows.There are several still lesser-known groups, and it's advisable to inquire about local sensibilities before poking your nose or camera into their territory. Filipinos are generally happy to share information, provided that you are willing to chat freely about yourself. Wherever you go in the Philippines , it's a good idea to have plenty of photos, inexpensive gifts, and conversational props on hand. A song, no matter how badly sung, is sure to bring out the welcome mat.