To Be Filipino/a A look into the Philippines

Welcome to the Philippines

A culture Rich in diversity,history, and Tradition.


Although many cultures came together to form what is the Filipino culture today, the main and lasting contributors were the Spanish. For three hundred years they would spread Catholicism and Spanish Culture across the mainland and surrounding Islands. The Filipino Culture is beautiful and has journeyed to the United States with its people.

Historical Influence of a Culture

Originating with the "Negritos" a term translated from Spanish meaning "Little black ones", who over 30,000 years ago inhabited the Philippines traveling from Sumatra and Borneo via boats. Followed by Malays and Chinese in the 19th Century and finally penetrated with Spanish rule and influence.

"Culture- Learned patterns of behavior and attitudes shared by a group of people." (pg. 84 ch.3)

The Spanish influence in the Filipino Culture is rich in symbolic significance, both having to do with Catholicism and Spanish Culture itself. For example when attending nursing school my Professor who was Filipino made it a point to ask me if I knew the meaning of my last names "Ibarra-Rojas". I responded "I don't know" with an informal shoulder shrug. He went on to explain that in the Philippines both my last names were associated with royalty due to their Spanish origins. A very good example of how "Symbolic Significance" is very pronounced in the culture, which is the importance of meaning that most members of a cultural group attach to a communication activity. (pg. 88 Ch.3)

Present Day Facts......

The Capital City is Manila Population 1.7 million, 11.6 per thousand per metro area. Consisting of slums and all aspects of cultural traditions, habits and customs can be viewed and experienced here. Slums are expanding and growing in population they are full of survivalist with ingenious ways to make it through another day.

Family Values......

Filipinos hold their families in high regard. Even after being exposed to liberal influences from western dominance. The family unit hailed above all else and remained the main factor of motivation for Filipinos. As with most Hispanic Cultures the family structure is the same.

  • Father is head of the household and provider.
  • Mother is in charge of domestic responsibilities including the children and their needs physical and emotional.
  • Children live at home as long as they like due to strong bonds
  • Grandparents commonly seen living with their children in the Philippines.
  • Elders are revered and respected, and children are taught to do so at a young age.

Philippine Culture - Common Family Traits 2006

The Interview .........

I had the pleasure if interviewing my friend Ana Bladdick. Her story begins on the island of Maniago. It was small in size and population, which at the time was 200. There was no running water or gas and electric. Cooking was done with firewood. Education was free up until high school and she did go until then. Only the middle class and wealthy could go on to College in the neighboring city of Surigao. When she finished High school with the permission of her parents she worked on a cruise ship to pay her way to Manila, there she reunited with a cousin who helped her get work. In Manila she also learned Tagalog, which is the national language. Her cousin who worked on the San Miguel Military Base introduced her to who would eventually become her husband. She married her husband who was an American Navy Man 15 yrs. her Senior and after a year of Dating they immediately moved to the United States.

The Filipino culture experience in the United States begins the paradigm shift of traditions and attitudes and Ana is no exception. I asked Ana what her first experiences in the United States were and she explained. " I was left alone pregnant, not knowing the language for 6 months. Upon arriving her husband was sent on a mission. In her situation an ombudsman was assigned to her to help her adjust to life in San Diego. Her first friend in the United States was her Mexican Neighbor "She was my Comadre, she explained". Comadre is a Mexican term meaning "Friend with a close bond" or "Best Friend". As far as raising her children, she raised them in the American Way. Ana attempted to speak to her children in Tagalog, but was discouraged due to lack of community support to reinforce it. Ana lost all communication with her family in the Philippines due to the logistics of the country, no phones. She experienced extreme homesickness that eventually got better. Sadly Ana has not seen her family since the day she left in 1979.

Textbook Tie In .... Observing Ana's situation I interpret her predicament with not being able to pass her native language to her children with the "Interpretive Approach", which explains that regarding the Relationship of Culture and Communication, Culture is created and maintained through communication.(CH. 2, pg. 51) Due to the lack of cultural support of fellow Filipino families she felt discouraged in being able to transfer and maintain her home language and important traditions and customs that were lost as well.

The Filipino Culture Today, In the Philippines, the United States, and abroad........

Today in the Philippines the poor uneducated are being pushed into slums . Resources are slim and and a large population is living in hunger and poverty. Clinging to Clan like family structures, Religion, and survivalist Filipinos continues to thrive in the Philippines.

In every Society a social heirarchy exists that privileges some groups over others. The groups that function at the top of the social hierarchy determine determine to a great extent the communication system of the entire society. (Communication Scholar Mare Orbe 1998, Ch. 3 pg. 110)

As Filipinos came to the United States a new subculture was formed alongside the old Filipino traditionalist that resented leaving their states of embodied ethno-centrisms (pg. 88 Ch. 3). Amer-asions were born and are becoming the largest growing sub group in the United States today.


  1. The Philippines/Fact and History-Thought Co.Com 2017
  2. 2Philippines Culture-Common family Traits 2016
  3. The Slum Episode "Deliverance" Youtube Documentary published September 2014
  4. Interview 2017 Personal Reflection/Perspective Ana Bladdick In-Person San Diego Ca April 3rd, 2017
  5. Inter-cultural Communication in Contexts Martin, Judith N. and Nakayama, Thomas K 2007, Boston, Mass: McGraw-Hill
Created By
Erica Ibarra-Rojas

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