PEOPLE AND RELIGION
The Filipinos are divided geographically and culturally into regions, and each regional
group is recognizable by distinct traits and dialects - the sturdy and frugal llocanos
of the north, the industrious Tagalogs of the central plains, the carefree Visayans
from the central islands, and the colorful tribesmen and religious Moslems of Mindanao.
Tribal communities can be found scattered across the archipelago. The Philippines
has more than 111 dialects spoken, owing to the subdivisions of these basic regional
and cultural groups.
The country is marked by a true blend of cultures; truly in the Philippines, East
meets West. The background of the people is Indonesian and Malay. There are Chinese
and Spanish elements as well. The history of American rule and contact with merchants
and traders culminated in a unique blend of East and West, both in the appearance
and culture of the Filipinos, or people of the Philippines.
Hospitality, a trait displayed by every Filipino, makes these people legendary in
Southeast Asia. Seldom can you find such hospitable people who enjoy the company
of their Western visitors. Perhaps due to their long association with Spain, Filipinos
are emotional and passionate about life in a way that seems more Latin than Asian.
The Spaniards introduced Christianity or the Roman Catholic faith and succeeded
in converting the overwhelming majority of Filipinos. At least 83% of the total
population belongs to the Roman Catholic faith.