CULTURE: GENERAL INFORMATION
According to Physicscat, the geographical fragmentation of the Philippine archipelago can be an excellent ideal representation of the artistic-cultural panorama present in the country. The mosaic of influences and customs that have amalgamated over time is the result of truly heterogeneous components: evangelization under the very long Spanish domination, the Islamic element, a minority but widespread throughout the territory, the Western costume introduced by the decades of US domination and, last but not least, the local linguistic, cultural and social substratum, of Indonesian and Chinese origin. Each artistic-cultural sphere witnesses this phenomenon in a different way. The linguistic framework, for example, well represents this fragmentation with over 80 languages,in the Austronesian family, including the Cebuano, the ilocano, the bicolano and the Tagalog. The latter, renamed Pilipino (Filipino) and always the language of the capital, is today the national language like English, while the use of Spanish is practically extinct. The architecture also shows signs of the cultural mixture: churches, mosques, traditional houses by the sea, modern skyscrapers and fast food restaurants they follow one another to form a “homogeneous collage”. In this sense, the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites also confirms the varied cultural presence of the country: the list includes the baroque churches of the Philippines (1993); the terraced rice fields of the Philippine mountain ranges (1995); the Historic Town of Vigan (1999). And again music and dance, artistic spheres in which traditional styles, compositions and instruments, preserved also thanks to the activity of numerous young artists and groups, over the course of the twentieth century were joined by a large number of music interpreters cultured, like Felipe P. de Leon (1919-1992) and pop singers: Kyla (b. 1981), Lani Misalucha (b. 1970) and the Rivermaya group. The value of such a background has been well understood by the Philippine institutions, which have set themselves the goal of enhancing and developing it. In Manila, the Cultural Center of the Philippines, inaugurated in 1970, has carried out and continues to carry out a fundamental work of catalyzing and developing artistic trends, and is a reference point for many of the national artists. The Main Theater inside the Center hosts the concerts of the Philharmonic Orchestra and the performances of the National Ballet Company. As well as, also in the capital, there is the Shaw Theater, where performances from the national and international repertoire are staged, the National Museum, rich in works of popular tradition, the headquarters of the University of the Philippines, the only national university, founded in 1908 and today made up of seven different academic institutes located throughout the territory. Although a source of disagreements and struggles, the different ethnic, religious, linguistic and cultural roots were, in conclusion, the real wealth of the Philippines. And it seems that by now the majority of the residents of the archipelago have understood this well.
In the vast framework of peoples and cultural traditions the influence of Spanish culture stands out, spread in depth with the forced evangelization work of the 18th century. XVI-XVIII. In terms of number, duration and showiness of events, the country equals, if not exceeds, the very Catholic Spain. The celebratory parades of civil and historical solemnities are also very popular, with contributions (such as the majorettes) of American folklore. The popular passion for cockfights, set up in special arenas, is also linked to the lively taste for the show. Weddings and other circumstances offer the occasion, less and less followed, to wear traditional Spanish-inspired clothes, such as the elegant terno. The Tagalog barong, thin and fresh shirt made of pineapple fibers, is the traditional male dress, not completely replaced by the European dress. In Filipino folklore, funeral (sambitan) and wedding (diona) songs are distinguished, and work songs, to which Spanish-derived songs and dances are added. Among the most used instruments, the bajo de uña and the bandola, both with plucked string. The cuisine of the Philippine islands is also tributary of the dominations and influences that arrived by sea. Chicken or pork, fish and rice are the main foods, often served with a variety of vegetables. Soy sauce, ginger and local fruits, such as coconut, are the main accompaniments.