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DETERMINANTS OF HEALTH : CULTURE

Culture of The Philippines
Filipinos, the term by which people of the Philippines are generally known, descended from the
various Austronesian-speaking migrants who came in droves over a thousand years ago from
South East Asia. There are various ethno-linguistic groups these Filipinos are divided into. The
three major groups are the Visayans, the Tagalogs, and the Ilocanos. They are genetically close
to the Taiwanese aborigines, Malays of Indonesia and Malaysia, and the Polynesians.
Around 92 percent of the Filipinos are Christians making it the world's third-largest Christian
nation. Among the Christians, 83 percent belong to the Roman Catholic Church, 2 percent to the
Philippine Independent Church, and 10 percent to various Protestant denominations. Some 5
percent of the Filipinos are Muslim and live primarily in parts of Mindanao and the Sulu
archipelago.
Filipino culture blends the indigenous traditions of the Philippines with the Hispanic and
American cultures, and also have distinct cultural traits of the Chinese, the Indonesians and the
Indians.
The Hispanic influences come largely from the cultural influence of Spain and Mexico. The
Hispanic influence stands visible in the religious festivals of the Roman Catholic Church.
Filipinos hold major festivities known as barrio fiestas to commemorate their patron saints.
However, what strikes one right away is the prevalence of Spanish surnames among the
Filipinos. However, this was a result of a colonial decree for the systematic distribution of family
names and implementation of the Spanish naming system amongst the Filipinos. So, a Spanish
surname does not necessarily imply a Hispanic heritage.
Besides, some of the Chinese traits are also found in Filipino culture, particularly in the cuisine.
Noodles, for instance, are known locally as mami and are a standing testament of the Chinese
cuisine. Linguistic borrowings is the other way by which the Chinese culture has seeped into the
Philippines.
So far as the American legacy is concerned, English stands head and shoulder above everything
else that Americans might have given to the Filipino way of life. Basketball is very popular
another American trait. America seems to have influenced the Philippines in much the same way
as it has influenced the rest of the world– through its fast-food revolution. Fast-food joints are
ubiquitous in the Philippines. McDonald's, Burger King, Pizza Hut, KFC, you just name it!
Much of what is typically American can be found in the Philippines. Filipinos listen and dance to
American music, throng the theaters to watch American movies, and paste the posters of
American actors and actresses on their bedroom walls. Asian trends too are now making their
presence felt.
However, despite all the influences, the native moral codes are still intact. The respect for the
family, veneration of elders, and friendliness continue to mark a Filipino's social life. Among the
national heroes, José Rizal tops the list. He was a Spanish-speaking reformist visionary whose
writings influenced the sense of national identity and awareness and is a respected name still.
Health and Culture
Filipinos are famous for their different cultures and traditions. In fact, there is a fiesta celebrated
everyday in the Philippines. “Fiesta” defined as a gala of celebration is one of the most famous
culture and tradition celebrated by Filipinos that can be associated with health.
Filipinos cook a variety of national food influenced by both Castillian-Mexican and Asian
cultural cuisines such as:
• Adobo typically pork, slow-cooked in soy sauce, vinegar, crushed garlic, bay leaves, and
black pepper corns
• lechon (whole roast pig)
• lechon baka (roast cattle)
• chorizo sausages
• asado
• menudo
• chicharon
• torta
• empanadas
• adobong baboy
• adobong manok
• tsokolate (chocolate)
• polvoron
• pan de sal (breadrolls)
• mani (roasted peanuts)
• afritada
• avocado
• ensaymada
• mais (corn)
• paksiw (fish, cooked in vinegar and water, some spices like garlic and pepper)
• patatas {Potato)
• pescado (fried or grilled fish)
• balut ( boiled egg with duckling inside )
• rice
• pancit canton
• vegetables
During fiesta, people gather and enjoy a lot of food that are served in a very long table.
Léchon, a suckling pig that has been roasted until the skin forms a hard brown crust, is served at
important occasions. The inside is very fatty. Strips of the skin with attached fat are considered
the best pieces. In such case, Filipinos have high risk of having high cholesterol levels.
According to the World Health Organization, the most prevalent health problem in the
Philippines is “high blood” (hypertension). One in ten persons over the age of fifteen has high
blood pressure.
Also, sticky rice prepared with coconut milk and sugarcane syrup is wrapped in banana
leaves. Glutinous rice is grown especially for use in this traditional dessert. One of the most
favorite courses of Filipinos is dessert, which are often served sweet. Therefore, making us prone
to high sugar levels leading to Diabetes.
Also, Filipinos love liquors. Gin and beer are available for men and are accompanied by
balut, a duck egg with an embryo.
Many traditional Filipino dishes are high in fat and sodium. Foods from other cultures
that are high fat and high sodium, such as Vietnamese food and American fast food, put Filipino
consumers at risk for heart disease. Cultural practices such as gift giving (pasalubung)
contribute to unhealthy eating.

Cultural beliefs such as usog (a child greeted by a stranger will get sick) and lihi (unusual
craving for something during preganancy) are also present. These beliefs were carried on up to
the present generation and in which also affects the health of the Filipinos.