Chapter I Introduction Background of the study This topic was chosen for investigation because of a need for an in-depth study of the culture of major ethnic groups in the country today. Philippine culture is very diverse and with this in mind, a thorough research and analysis of the culture of the major ethnic groups in the country should be made. A search for a deeper understanding of the way of life of various groups in the country led to the formulation of this topic. Significance of the study This study is specifically significant to the Filipino people.
This study would help them understand better the culture of the different groups around them. This would help the people appreciate and respect the distinctiveness of the customs, traditions and the way of life of the ethnic groups making up the diverse culture of the Philippines. Statement of the problem The study of the food, customs and traditions, mode of subsistence, beliefs and practices constitute the study of the culture of the major ethnic groups found in the islands of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.Order now
The study of ethnic identity in the Philippines is also a major component in this research Objectives of the study This study aims to: • Compare and contrast the culture of the major ethnic groups in the Philippines. • Help the readers gain additional knowledge on the customs, traditions and way of life of the major ethnic groups in the country. • Inform the readers about the unique structure and organization of existing ethnic groups in the country. • Inculcate among the readers a sense of pride and appreciation for their own culture. Review of related literature
The following books deal with various ethnic groups in the Philippines: 1. Problems & Methods in the Study of Philippine Indigenous Ethnic Culture by M. Caguimbal, F. L. Jocano and L. Marquez (1994) 2. Working with Indigenous People by L. N. Mercado (1994) 3. Social Categorization and Identity in the Philippines by M. C. Conaco (1996) The first book is more about ethnography. It talks about the brief history and the development of ethnology and ethnography in the Philippines. It also contains information on the geography of Filipino indigenous ethnic communities.
This material is significant to the research because the geographical information of an ethnic community is related to study of the culture of a group. The second book is all about indigenous ethnic groups in the country. It talks about the “minorization” of several ethno-linguistic groups in the Philippines, the views of the Church and the Philippine bishops regarding the present situation of indigenous people in our country and it contains lists of indigenous people organizations and advocates. It also deals with the missionary work of the Church for the indigenous ethnic groups.
This material is related to the research because it also contains information on the language, mode of subsistence and religion of various indigenous groups in the Philippines. The third book is about the concept of social categorization in the Philippines. It is about a study comparing people’s perception about one’s ethnic group and national group. It also talks about the value of categorization. This material is related to the research because it talks about the perception of the people regarding the traits of their own group and it also deals with the importance of one’s ethnic groups.
Methodology This study about the culture of major ethnic groups in Luzon, Vizayas and Mindanao was accomplished through the aid of books, journals and other reference materials found in the main library of the University of the Philippines, Diliman. This is because the main library of the University of the Philippines, Diliman has a wide range of books, journals and other published references that are relevant to the proposed research. The World Wide Web was also used for further research since ample and extensive information are posted or published in the internet regarding this topic. Outline
Thesis statement The study of the ethnic identity, food, customs and traditions, mode of subsistence, beliefs and practices constitute the study of the culture of the major ethnic groups found in the islands of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. I. Ethnic identity in the Philippines is very fluid and depends greatly on context. a. Language is the common identifier of ethnic identity in the Philippines. b. Regional identity is another basis in identifying one’s ethnic group. c. Ancestry is also an identifier of ethnic identity in the country. II. Five major ethnic groups inhabit the vast island of Luzon. . Ilocanos are the inhabitants of the lowlands and coastal areas of northern Luzon. 1. The Ilocanos are renowned for their industry and hardwork and are legendary for their thrift. 2. There are approximately more than eight million speakers of the Ilocano language, making it the third most widely spoken language in the Philippines. b. Pangasinenses originate from the northwestern seaboard of Luzon. 1. Rich and fine salt beds are the prime source of livelihood for the province’s coastal towns. 2. The Pangasinenses are noted for their industry and their enterprise. c.
The Pampanguenos originate from the central plains of Luzon. 1. The province of Pampanga has three main regions, each supporting different types of human activity. 2. The Kapampangan language is spoken by approximately more than two million people and has been shown to be related to some Indonesian dialects. 3. Pampanguenos possess several traits which make them truly distinct. d. Bicolanos originate from the southeastern tip of Luzon. 1. Bicol is blessed with an abundant source of natural resources. 2. The Bicolanos are noted for several distinctive traits such as sociability and warm friendship. . Tagalog territory stretches from the central plains of Luzon to the islands of Mindoro and Marinduque. III. The Visayan ethnic group constitutes the largest Filipino ethnic group. a. The Waray-speaking people inhabit the provinces of Leyte and Samar. b. The Cebuanos live in the central part of Visayas and are the largest ethnic group in the Philippines. 1. Cebu was once named by Asiaweek as the eighth best city in Asia. 2. Cebuanos are said to have an active appetite for the pleasure of sociality and the occasions that afford it. 3.
Cebuanos possess traits such as flexibility, resilience, industry and fortitude. c. Masbatenos inhabit the land of Masbate, which lies exactly in the center of the Philippine archipelago, north of the Visayas. d. Capiznons originate from the western part of Visayas region. 1. Capiz is dubbed as the “Seafood Capital of the Philippines” because of its 80-kilometer coastline and wide expanse of swampy lands easily converted into fishponds. . Capiz is known for the brilliant capiz shell which is abundant in the province. e. Aklanon are the main inhabitants of the province of Aklan, which is located at western Visayas. 1. Aklan is famous for the annual Ati-Atihan Festival held in Kalibo. 2. Despite the prevalence of Christianity, native beliefs about the aswang and the babaylan are still prevalent among the people of Aklan. IV. Two major ethnic groups occupy the islands of Mindanao. a. The Maranaos primarily live in the provinces of Lanao del Sur and Lanao del Norte. 1.
The Maranaws are of mixed Indonesian and Malayan ancestry and their way of life is also much influenced by their neighboring provinces. 2. The culture of the Maranaws consists of various rituals and traditions. b. The Tausugs presently populate the province of Sulu as a majority. Chapter II Findings of the Study Ethnic Identity According to M. L. Doronila, author of the book “National Identity and Social Change”, centuries ago, there were no “Filipinos” then in which we understand the word today. There were Visayans, Tagalogs, Pampangos, Ilocanos, Bicolanos, Ibanags, etc. ut there was no such thing as the “Tagalog kingdom” or the Visayan empire”. What we know today as Philippine islands was indeed an archipelago but it was not one country, and its people, though racially one, were not one nation. Each village was independent, Philippine society was fragmented. We became a nation in the course of three hundred years of Spanish colonization. The Spaniards, by putting the entire archipelago under one government, provided the external structure which made unity possible (Doronila, 1992).
Today, hundreds of years ago after the Spanish colonization, we have developed a stronger grasp of the idea of national identity without overlooking the distinctiveness of each ethnic group constituting the Philippine archipelago. Philippine culture is very diverse, with each ethnic group having different customs and traditions, mode of subsistence, beliefs and practices, etc. Most Filipinos identify themselves with two or more ethnic groups. Most of them identify their ethnic identity based on language, regional identity, or ancestry. According to Michael Shead, language is the most common identifier of ethnic identity in the Philippines.
For instance, a Pampangueno may identify herself/himself as such by the fact that his mother tongue is the Kapampangan language. Though having Filipino as its national language, approximately 78 languages are still in use in the Philippines today. But language is not the sole identifier of ethnic identity. Given that ethnolinguistic boundaries are gradually blurring due to migration and intermarriage, regional identity or the place where one was brought up and whose language one speaks, serves as another common identifier of ethnic identity in the Philippines.
Migration and intermarriages between people of different ethnicities have been common throughout the past centuries. This has made ethnic identities of Filipinos depend greatly on context. Many Filipinos also identify themselves based on ancestry. For example, a woman who has Bicolano ancestry but has spent most of her life in Manila may identify herself as Bicolano, even if she doesn’t speak any of the Bikol languages (Shead, 2001). Major ethnic groups in Luzon The Ilocano or Ilokano people are the third largest Filipino ethnic group.
Aside from being referred to as Ilocanos, from the word “looc” meaning sheltered coves, they also refer to themselves as “samtoy”, from “sao mi toy”, which literally meant “our language”. Throughout the centuries of the Spanish colonial era up to the present, the Ilocanos were noted for their tendency to migrate. The Ilocano culture represents very simple living, focusing mostly on work and productivity, spending only on necessities and not on so much on grand material possessions (Ilocos Norte, 2007). This is perhaps the reason why they are usually described as frugal.
The Ilocano language is spoken as a first language by some 8 million people in Northern Luzon and in various parts of the Philippines, and as a second language by another 1-2 million speakers in the northern areas of Luzon. Many ethnic groups from the northern regions of the country are more proficient in Ilocano than in Tagalog or Filipino, the national language. At present, the use of Ilocano language in education is limited to the early elementary grades (Ilocano, 2007). Another major ethnic group in Northern Luzon is the Pangasinense.
According to Ben Davies, author of the book “Pangasinan: A Journey into the Philippines”, although a lot has been said about the Pangasinense, no definite image comes to mind. There is a perception that the province is basically similar to that of Ilocanos’. But aside from Ilocano language being more widely spoken than Pangasinense language, the defining traits end there, the Pangasinense are not that “penny-wise” nor are they extravagant. Special occasions which require extravagance to “save face” are exceptions but then, other Filipinos are also like that (Davies, 1997).
Davies, in his book, added that a striking mix of people could be found in the rich and fertile land of Pangasinan. Some of them are farmers and fishermen, living off of the land as they have done for centuries, harvesting rice, fish or the salt. Others are traders, basket-weavers, faith healers or increasing businessmen and factory hands working to bring prosperity to this region (Davies, 1997). Etymologically, the term Pangasinan means the “place where salt is made”, owing to the rich and fine salt beds which were the prime source of livelihood for the province’s coastal towns (Palabay, 2001).
In the central part of Luzon, another major ethnic group, the Pampanguenos, could be found. They are mainly from the province of Pampanga. According to Tomas Andres in his book “Understanding Pampango Values”, the province contains three separate regions. The first one is the mountainous region which includes Zambales range in the west and Mt. Arayat in the northeastern section. Over the years, these mountains have not been of much use to the inhabitants of Pampanga in relation to agriculture. The only people who inhabit these mountains are mostly Negritos. The second region is one heavily watered by the Rio Grande de la Pampanga.
Fishing industry was developed by the people whose towns are situated near the river or near the deltas of the river. And lastly, the third region includes the plains and all the land suitable for growing rice and sugarcane, two of the crops widely grown in the province (Andres, 2003). In his book, Andres added that the province of Pampanga once encompassed a huge portion of the plains of central Luzon. But over the years, certain parts have been removed from the province’s territory and incorporated into the nearby provinces of Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Bataan and Tarlac.
But even so, these new boundaries did not exactly suggest where the Kapampangan languge was spoken. In the 1903 census, about one-third of the people of Tarlac still spoke the language. He also said that though the Kapampangan language belongs to the Malayo-Polynesian family of languages and shares similarities to Tagalog and Sambal, the Kapampangans cannot easily and readily communicate in Kapampangan with the people of the nearby province Zambales. So in spite various similarities with other cultures, Pampangans could be well identified through their language (Andres, 2003).
Pampanguenos have a culture which makes them very distinct from others. Tomas Andres said: The Pampango of today is truly a Filipino with a character uniquely his own, standing out in the nation’s colorful history. He is proud of his tongue that speaks of a distinguished culture handed down by his forbears as tradition, art and literature. He is opulent in his talent: he cooks well, he carves life into a piece of wood, he makes Christmas exotic with his giant San Fernando lantern. He delights in his music, striving to excel in th use of his famous Lumanog guitar (Andres, 2003).
From the southeastern tip of Luzon comes another major ethnic group, the Bicolanos. Tomas Andres, in his book “Understanding Bicolano Values”, said that the soil in Bicol, where Bicolanos originate, is among the most fertile in the country due to the presence of many volcanoes. Abundant mineral deposits could also be found there. Its forests also have a wide variety of trees. Bicol’s waters are also teeming with resources (Andres, 2005). Andres noted that Bikolanos are generally not business-minded people. Since earlier times and up to the present, very few Bikolanos have ventured into large-scale industries.
Chinese businessmen, in particular, dominate businesses found in the Bicol Region. In Bicol, preference is usually given to relatives or close friends in hiring, delivery, etc. a Bicolano employer is said to be solicitous but authoritative (Andres, 2005). Andres cited another significant trait of the Bicolanos which is sociability and warm friendship. Dr. Rodolfo Bulatao’s study in 1983 showed that Bicolanos are rated best when it comes to friendliness. This trait could be observed in the Bicolanos’ fondness for celebrations, especially local feasts.
Drinking is a typical Bicolano way of socializing. One could hardly witness a feasting without liquor being served. This is perhaps because discussions and camaraderie can be established with less formality in drinking. This disposition makes the Bicolanos earn the reputation of being hospitable (Andres, 2005). The Tagalogs are one of the largest Filipino ethnic groups in the country. The name Tagalog comes from the native term taga ilog, meaning “people living in river”. The Tagalog culture of the Pre-Hispanic times was totally different from its forms today.
From a former tattooing tribe, the Tagalog culture grew steadily to accept foreign, especially Hispanic, Chinese, and American cultural influences, and their culture today remains the backbone and the representative of all other Filipino cultures. Traditionally, the Tagalogs are for the most part farmers, although there are some who engage in fishing. Tagalogs have a very strict adherence to conduct and respect, and this is exemplified by their practices and their language structure (Shead, 2001). Major ethnic groups in Visayas The Waray-speaking people of Leyte and Samar have been stereotyped as a fierce people when provoked.
In the province of Leyte, this reputation is especially accorded to natives of Jaro, an interior town located 39 kilometers northwest of Tacloban City (Rodriguez, 2000). Farming and fishing are the major industries of the Warays. Native wines are produced in the area. The most common of these wines are tuba, extracted from the coconut palm, and pangasi, made from fermented rice. Colorful handicrafts, such as woven mats and hats made of buri or plant strips, are some of the more distinctive Waray products. Waray cooking is simple, consisting mainly of ish and other seafood, such as oysters and crabs. Coconut, banana, and tuber are popular in the Waray kitchen. Just like in other parts of the country, vegetables are a major part of the Waray diet (Warays, 2003). In the central part of Visayas lives the largest ethnic group in the Philippines, the Cebuanos. R. Mojares and S. Quimpo, in their book “Cebu: More than an Island”, said: In a survey of the cities of Asia, Asiaweek (October 25, 1996) named Cebu city the “eighth most livable city in Asia”. It was the only Philippine city in the survey’s top ten.
The survey took into account twenty-two statistical indicators that included adequacy of health services, number of cars per kilometer of city road, the disposable income of the residents, unemployment rate and GDP growth (Mojares & Quimpo, 1997). Mojares and Quimpo added that early travel accounts refer to the Visayans’ love for feasting, gambling and drinking. These observations, however, are not confined to Visayans’ alone, but to other Filipinos as well. But Visayans, Cebuanos in particular, have indeed a fondness for feasting and socializing.
Music is an important part of these feasts. This is probably why Cebu is considered the home of singers and musicians, most of whom are recognized today here and abroad (Mojares & Quimpo, 1997). With poor soils and limited plains and being heavily populated, Cebu has never been noted for agriculture, according to Mojares and Quimpo. The typical Cebuano is less a farmer or a fisherman as a merchant. Artisans and tradesmen, who, given the pressures to make a fortune from his surroundings, may also be a farmer or a fisherman.
These conditions have developed in the Cebuano values of flexibility, resilience, industry and fortitude (Mojares and Quimpo, 1997). At the northern part of Visayas, another major ethnic group, the Masbatenos, could be found. The province of Masbate lies exactly in the center of the Philippine archipelago. Like other provinces, agriculture is Masbate’s main source of living. Their major crop is copra, next are corn, rice, coconuts and root crops. Aside from farming, Masbate is also famous for cattles. It ranks second to Bukidnon as the largest supplier of cattle.
About 70% of these are sold to Metro Manila and other provinces in Luzon. The province has also mineral reserves from which gold, copper, silver, iron, manganese, limestone, marble, clay, quarts and feldspar could be found. Masbate is considered the Rodeo Capital of the Philippines (Castillo, 2004) In the western part of Visayas come another major ethnic group, the Capiznons. Dubbed as the “Seafood Capital of the Philippines”, Capiz boasts of its 80-kilometer coastline and wide expanse of swampy lands easily converted into fishponds. It holds one of the richest fishing grounds and a major contributor in the aquamarine industry.
Apart from a surplus of agricultural products it generates every year, Capiz is also the country’s major suppliers of prawn and bangus. Several legends and beliefs claim stories to which the name “Capiz” originated. More popular of these is that it comes from the word “Kapid” which means twin. When Spaniards settled in the place, they found difficulty in pronouncing the name Kapid, thus giving birth to the word “Capiz”. Still, some old folks claimed that Capiz got its name from “Kapis” a shell of the mollusk family that is very much abundant in the place (Capiz, 2000).
The Aklanon, another major ethnic group in Visayas, inhabit the land of Aklan, located at the western part of Visayas. Originally known as “Minuro it Akean”, it is considered as the oldest province in the country and is believed to have been established as early as 1213 by settlers from Borneo ruled by Datu Dinagandan. A known icon of the province is the annual Ati-Atihan Festival in Kalibo. Originally, this feast was held to celebrate the coexistence between the Ati, the local name for the Aetas, and the Malays who were newcomers to the island.
Despite the prevalence of Christianity, native beliefs about the aswang and the babaylan are still prevalent among the people of Aklan. The Ati or the negritos who are native inhabitants of Aklan still practice animism. Despite Aklan’s vibrant tourism industry and substantial agriculture, the province is still considered as one of the poorer provinces in the country with more than 30% of the population living below the national poverty line (Fonatanilla, 2002). Major ethnic groups in Mindanao The Maranaos or Maranaws are one of the two major ethnic groups found in the island of Mindanao.
They live primarily in the provinces of Lanao del Sur and Lanao del Norte. According to Abdullah Madale, author of the book “The Maranaws: Dwellers of the Lake”, Maranaws are a mixture of Indonesian and Malayan ancestry. Those who live along the lakeshores of Lanao show more Indonesian than Malayan features. The culture of the Maranaws have also been influenced by their neighbors, the people of Maguindanao. Their dialect, traditional government and even ways of dressing are very much similar to that of the Maguindanaons (Madale, 1997). Madale added that the Maranaws have several rituals which are intended for different events in their lives.
They have a ritual of releasing a chicken with yaellow beak and yellow legs intended to cure an ill person. They also have rituals done to gain favor of friendly spirits and they also perform rituals when the ricefield is attacked by pests (Madale, 1997). They also have very distinct views and traditions regarding relationships and marriages. According to Madale, a Marnaw boy and girl may seriously consider marriage at the age of puberty. Traditional Maranaw marriages are used to be done when both the boy and the girl are fifteen years old.
At this age, they are thought of to be ready to bangon sa walai, build a house and a future for themselves (Madale, 1997). Still regarding the Maranaws’ views on relationships and marriages, Madale said that to a Muslim woman, allowing her husband to marry another woman is an assurance of going to heaven. The Maranaw man who would like to marry another woman must prepare for it the way Islam dictates and not just because of lust. If and when polygamy occurs, it is not permanent and it is only because of the needs of time or because of some special problems in the family (Madale, 1997).
Aside from the Maranaws, the Tausugs are another major ethnic group found in Mindanao. They presently populate the province of Sulu as a majority. The word Tausug refers to the geographic character of the Sulu Archipelago which lies in the path of vigorous tidal currents flowing from the Sulu and China Seas to the Celebes Sea. Practically all the groups in the Sultanate are sea-oriented: sailors, traders, fishermen, pearl divers, sea seed collectors, etc. Thus, Tausugs are considered “People of the Current”. Tausugs are experienced sailors and are known for their colorful boats or vintas. They are also superb warriors and craftsmen.
The Tausugs are also famous for their Daling-daling dance in Sabah, that is a mixture of Arabian Belly Dancing and Indian Classical Dancing that is best performed as a musical complete with Story-telling in Suluk (Velasco, 2002). Chapter III Conclusion and Recommendations After doing extensive research and gathering data from books and other published materials, several information regarding the culture of major ethnic groups in the Philippines have been obtained. Before the colonization of the Philippines by the Spaniards several centuries ago, the country was fragmented, separated into several villages, each independent of one another.
But in the course of three hundred years of Spanish rule, the Philippines became one nation. Being under one government somehow made the Filipinos aware of their national identity. And so with this, the Filipinos could probably attribute a part of their sense of unity and awareness of their social identity to the Spaniards. There could have been other situations in which they could have realize their national identity but this particular event in the history of the Philippines made the Filipinos feel a need to unite as one nation and defeat their oppressors.
Centuries after this, Filipinos seemed to have developed a greater grasp of the idea of national identity. But still, the distinctiveness of each ethnic group making up the Philippine culture has been preserved. The culture of these ethnic groups was studied and examined in this research. The history of the Philippines played an important role in the development of the culture of these ethnic groups. Most of the names of the places from which these ethnic groups come from were given by Spanish colonizers.
Their names were based on bodies of water found in their territories, characteristics of the inhabitants of the place, etc. It is also from the colonizers that the different ethnic groups got their religion. Before the Spanish colonization, animism and worship of natural resources was prevalent among Filipinos. When the Spaniards came, they taught the Filipino natives about Christianity and eventually, they adapted this religion and soon after, it became widespread in the Philippines. However, the inhabitants of the southern part of the Philippines, the island of Mindanao, have Islam as their religion.
Their environment and natural resources are also very important factors in the development of the culture of the different ethnic groups. If the region was surrounded with bodies of water, people there are inclined to be fishermen in order to provide for their families. If the region was mountainous, people there would depend on forests for their daily survival. And if the region has fertile soil, planting crops and other vegetation would be their primary source of living. Language also distinguishes one ethnic group from the other. There are approximately 78 languages in the Philippines and each has different phonology and morphology.
But communication between ethnic groups is not impossible for most Filipinos today have a very good grasp of Filipino, the national language, and English. Ethnic groups also differ when it comes to the traits and characteristics prevalent among them. Some groups are considered frugal perhaps because of their way of life, which is simple and focuses only on daily necessities and knows only little luxury. Some groups are noted for their love of spending on clothes and other luxuries but this could just be brought about by the growing industrialization in their region. The customs and traditions also differ from one group to the other.
Most of these traditions are handed down from one generation to the other, since the time of their ancestors. Some groups’ traditions may seem odd, extreme or eccentric to other groups. The history, languages, traits and traditions may be different, but the nationality is one. We must aim for unity and not uniformity. Therefore, we must learn to accept each one’s uniqueness. But the regional and cultural differences of each ethnic group must not only be accepted; they must be respected. Everyone is entitled to feel that his/her own ethnic culture will be respected by his fellow Filipinos.
To other researchers wishing to also do a study on the culture of major ethnic groups in Luzon Visayas and Mindanao, conducting interviews with people from various places with different ethnicities is highly recommended. The researcher was not able to this due to lack of resources. But to those planning to do a research on this topic with enough time and financial resources, interviews would be of great help in order to gather fisrt-hand information regarding certain distinct traits, customs, beliefs and traditions of the different culture of major ethnic groups in the Philippines.
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