The Filipino Roots of Spirituality.

The Filipino Roots of Spirituality.


Print page

Walk into the home of a Filipino and the first thing you will be offered is a home cooked meal. When it comes to hospitality, Filipinos do not hold back on the love.  They will offer you anything in their home, even after you say your not hungry, they will still start the stove up in case you change your mind. Their culture consists of cooking meals with love, sewing clothing with pleasure, and overall caring for the people around you.

Poverty in the Philippines has shaped its people very much, they can be happy with so little, and more generous than most middle class people here in the USA. I believe their origins of diversity, religion, and spirituality has led the people of the Philippines to being kind and generous, because they believe in their hearts that God will return the kindness. My grandmother was a kind hearted woman. Even with little to spare she always cooked for anyone who would join her for dinner, she knew that by filling someone’s stomach, God will recognize her generosity and bless her with food for the next day. My grandmother knew that if she refused people food and kindness, the next day someone will refuse her food and kindness. Religion helped the people of the Philippines live by the rules of the law of attraction, what you put in is what you get out. Being people who know suffering on the daily basis, they do their best to help their community and family knowing that with the grace of “God” they will be rewarded with the same in return from their communities and family.

English: Coat of arms of the Philippines
English: Coat of arms of the Philippines (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Philippines was a “melting pot”, a mixture of all people across Asia including the middle east. There was an ancient dynasty in the Philippines, named Luzong. 1279-1471

Islam started spreading across the Philippines early through trade and then Spain took control of the islands as a rest stop for their ships sailing across the Pacific to trade with China. So much diversity in the Philippines, so many beliefs, and religions. Eventually religion was dominated by Christianity when Spain came into control. As Spain dominated the Philippines, Catholic Christianity was spreading too.  Spain’s goal was to convert all natives.  Spain would not tolerate other practices. But some natives were still able to preserve their culture.  The first Spanish settlement was in manila, 1571. This led to Spanish domination of coastal ports and many parts of the Philippines, for trade. In Manila they held Spanish silver to trade for Chinese silk. A new imperialism came to the Philippines in 1898 after the United States took control when they won the Spanish American war.  This new imperialism saw competition with Japan in World War II and a struggle for independence but through it all the Filipino people maintained their loyal and open hearts of hospitality.

1899 political cartoon by Winsor McCay. Uncle ...
1899 political cartoon by Winsor McCay. Uncle Sam (representing the United States), gets entangled with rope around a tree labeled “Imperialism” while trying to subdue a bucking colt or mule labeled “Philippines” while a figure representing Spain walks off over the horizon. Reference to the United States taking control of the Philippines from Spain at end of the Spanish American War and the subsequent Philippine-American War. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Image result for Philippines Spanish explorers
The spanish explorer Magellan died in the Philippines but his sailors made the first voyage around the world for Spain. The treaty of Tordesillas in 1493 allowed Spain to go west to the Philippines (white) while Portugal went from Brazil eastward (blue). source: wiki

Yet, after the mixing of other religions, over ruled by Christianity, many Filipinos have the same values, and the same morals, similar to how they lived before Spain’s Christianity. This shows how all religions, follow similar paths of love and spirituality.  We share this spiritual common ground. My family in the Philippines are Christians, as you can read in my first paragraph my grandmother is a true example of devotion to love, and the grace of God, as a Filipino.

Christianity has become a big influence in modern day morals in the Philippines, so much so that the population is over flowing, due to the country’s pro life beliefs. The church and government do not believe in birth control and abortion, which has led in some cases to more poverty for larger families.

Despite the strict history of Christianity, I can see how Christianity has benefited the hearts of many who are fully devoted to God’s will of unconditional love. Christianity became a widespread religion after the rule of Spain and control of the US. despite the dark side of all religions in human history, the Philippines shows the rest of the world, the true intention of religion, the common ground of love and good intention.  

“Don’t worry kid, I’m going to save you from them and take all that you have in the process”. USA imperialism after the Spanish American War.

The video below shows the diversity of religion in the Philippines, but also how Christianity may be dear to the hearts of Filipinos, yet also used as a source of power over the people.  My grandmother had 9 children, my mother was the youngest. The mix of good and bad influence from the west is debatable in the Philippines but it is definitely a mix.  The Philippines is a product of both old and new imperialism from Spain to the United States but it has kept itself open to new culture just as it maintains its own traditions.