Philippines Culture

Philippines Culture

Art and culture

The Kulay Diwa Gallery has compiled a list of contemporary Filipino artists. Important links on art and culture in the country include:

  • Cultural Center of the Philippines
  • Ballet Philippines
  • Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA)
  • Goethe Institute Manila
  • Filipino visual artist Emmanuel Garibay

Manners & values

A child hears the word “Mano” – and what does it do? It takes an adult’s hand and brings it to the forehead. Every child learns this respectful greeting from older people from an early age, especially in close family and relatives. Respecting the elderly is considered the first virtue that a child soaks in with its mother’s milk. Then it learns to address the older siblings and older people in the neighborhood appropriately. Honoring father and mother is paramount in Filipino society. Committing an outrage inevitably affects the entire (extended) family.

Utang na loob (debt of gratitude) pervades all pores of social relationships. Someone who has been done a favor understands that they have incurred a moral debt that must eventually be paid.

According to thesciencetutor, Filipinos / Filipinas are group oriented. Their relationships in groups (of friends) shape life. They seek advice and consolation in the group, in which individual successes are also shared. Those who are successful but poor in friends are considered a pitiful, unhappy creature.

Filipino hospitality was particularly emphasized and appreciated. Often, and this has not changed to this day, this hospitality borders on masochism. Fiipinos make their only bed available to guests as a matter of course and pull out all the stops to give them the best possible stay.

Pasalubong (souvenirs) for family members, friends and neighbors form a piece of social propriety – regardless of whether you do it with pleasure and out of pure joy or a sense of duty.

Interpersonal relationships are shaped by “hiya” – a mixture of decency, embarrassment and shame. A “decent” Filipino tries to deal with others in a non-confrontational, conflict-free and as consensual way as possible. Criticism is taken personally. Sensitivity is therefore just as necessary on a personal level as it is in business matters. Above all, practice makes perfect!

Film and literature

The NCCA, the Film Academy of the Philippines and the Inquirer article “Filipino cinema” provide information on the development of the film scene and the film industry in the country. One of the outstanding filmmakers in the Philippines was director Lino Brocka, who died in an accident in 1991 and whose films were also shown on German television (ARD) towards the end of the Marcos dictatorship in the mid-1980’s. It is mostly the problems of the poor in society and the social milieus of the marginalized that Brocka approached sensitively.

In recent years, Filipino films – including at the annual Berlinale – have always been good for a surprise. That was also the case in 2014, when Lav Diaz received an excellent review in the February issue of the Berlin Film Journal for his four-hour film epic “Norte – Hangganan ng Kasaysayan” (“Norte – The End of History”). This is one of the director’s “shorter” films; he has also produced works that last up to eight hours. In August, the same filmmaker won the Golden Leopard at last year’s Locarno International Film Festival – this time with a five and a half hour opus about the leaden years during the Marcos dictatorship.

Famas Awards are something like the Filipino version of the Academy Awards in Hollywood, America. Most Filipino films are soap operas or trigger-happy macho flicks in which the hyperactive heroes shoot their way through the alleys and gutters of the metropolis of Manila or other major cities in the country. Former President Joseph E. Estrada (1998-2001), who became the country’s first president to end his term prematurely due to abuse of office and corruption, was a downright celluloid darling of the masses. Obviously his problem (probably also that of some of his ardent followers and admirers) was not being able to distinguish between political reality and grueling fiction after so many years of success. But in the summer of 2013 this political standing figure made a comeback par excellence; since then the man has served as mayor of Manila.

The most important contemporary writer and author is F. Sionil José, who turned 90 at the beginning of December 2014 – lives in Manila’s Ermita district and also runs a well-stocked bookstore called “La Solidaridad” on Padre Faura Street, which is located under enjoyed great popularity among many artists and intellectuals in the country. José’s works have been translated into almost thirty languages – including his books “Scenes from Manila” and “Gagamba – The Spider Man”, which are now published by Horlemann Verlag, now based in Angermünde, into German. A review of his latest opus “The Feet of Juan Bacnang” penned by Amadis Ma.

The most prestigious literary prize in the country is the Carlos Palanca Awards. The Panitikan website provides information about and portrays young contemporary Filipino authors.

Philippines Culture