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Ethnicity, Language, & Religion of the Philippines

WARNING: Terrorist threats continue in the Philippines, please read this travel warning before going!

Ethnicity

The Philippines is very diverse ethnically as each island seems to be home to a different ethnic group. Most of these people are first related to each other and second related to the people of both Polynesia/Micronesia as well as to the people of the Far East, such as the Han Chinese, but with scant traces of Indian and Malay. These groups, including the Tagalogs (who often refer to themselves as Filipinos), Cebuanos, Ilocanos, and more are similar ethnically and all have significant traces of Malay and Han Chinese or Indian.

Language

Filipino (essentially the formalized version of Tagalog) is the official language of the Philippines. Filipino and Tagalog are members of the Malay-Polynesian language family and are distantly related to both the Malaysian and Polynesian languages. There are dozens of other native languages in the Philippines, most of which belong to the same language family and are closely related to Tagalog.

English is also an official language in the Philippines and many university programs are taught in English, meaning nearly anyone with a college education is fluent in English, but this is a minority in the country.

Religion

Over 80% of the Philippines' population is Roman Catholic, a result of Spanish colonization in the archipelago. Of the remaining people, the largest group is the Muslims, who make up about 5% of the total population and are primarily based in the south, on the island of Mindanao and surrounding islands.

Catholicism is a Christian religion that is one of the first Christian religions (founded after the death of Jesus in about 30-33 AD). Catholicism believes that there is a single God who created everything, a savior, the son of God, Jesus Christ who is the forgiver of sins, and there is the Holy Spirit, which makes up the last part of the Holy Trinity. Catholics follow the teachings of the Bible, consisting of the Old and New Testaments. Much of the faith is based on the life and teachings of Jesus, which is found in the gospels (in the New Testament).

Continue reading on Safari the Globe to Learn the Catholic Church's doctrines, liturgy, symbolism, traditions, & hierarchy

This page was last updated: May, 2014