Research Report: The Philippines

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Philippines Outreach Team

Image by serenecloud via Flickr

As you may know I am going to the Philippines for outreach. Part of this my prep is to do a research report on the country I'm going to, which has been time well spent. I don't want to turn up without an appreciation for how these people live and how their country developed.

Demographics

  • The Philippines is a democracy, divided into 17 regions and 80 provinces.
  • There are 92 million people in The Philippines.
  • The Philippines is 80% Roman Catholic and 10% Muslim, the remaining 10% is made up of other minor religions.
 
History

Carbon dating puts the first known inhabitants of the Philippines at 23,800BC. They were displaced by the Negritos at some stage and the Negritos were eventually displaced between 4000BC and 1000BC. The inhabitants were split into four main groups: hunting tribes, warrior societies, petty plutocracies and principalities with ports.

In 1521 the Spanish find the Islands that make up the Philippines. There are 7,107 of these islands. This begins the story of abuse against the natives. In 1565 Islam reaches the main centres through traders. Despite the abuse, the Spanish rule does help unite the islands politically and brings more trade to the Philippines. This trade brings with it Chinese cultural influences.

In 1762, as part of the war between Britain and Spain, Britain captures the Philippines and holds it for 2 years until the Spanish retreive it. Spain however keeps committing atrocities.

During this time Christianity is brought to the Philippines.

1898 was a very busy year. The American battleship Maine is suspiciously sunk. This leads to the Spanish-American war. In the same year Spain surrender Manila, the capital city, to America. The Philippines declares itself to be a Republic but America do not recognise this. The Philippine-America War ensues from 1899 to 1902, ending with an American victory and up to 1 million casualties.

In 1916 some hope emerges when America grants autonomy to the Philippines, however this took until 1946 to come into effect, partly due to the Japanaese occupation of the islands during WWII.

Needless to say, the Philippines have had a pretty hectic time. I am quite glad I'm going in with my New Zealand passport, I'm hoping the Americans in our team won't get a negative reception.

The people

I have had the chance to chat with some people who have lived in the Philippines. The majority of people speak English, however they can be quick to give answers, even if they haven't fully understood the question. This means that when we are discussing important things we should spend the time to repeat it once or twice in different ways so we know we are on the same page.

The hospitality of the country is so great that a family will empty it's cupboards to feed us if they invite us round to eat. We need to make sure that we pay for the food we eat and if we pay in advance then there will be less tension at the dining table.

The people do not have as much regard for time as in Western cultures. If they say "we will arrive after lunch" then they will arrive between lunch and dinner. This may prove to be a test of patience for me, who is very time-orientated. The benefit of this is that they will be willing to spend time with us for photos, we have been told the children will love our cameras.

Precautions to take

The two men in our group (yes, I'm not the only one anymore) will need to travel with women from our group for two reasons. We do not want guys on their own to avoid giving the wrong impression over there. There is sex tourism in the Philippines and we just don't want to make anyone nervous when we talk to them. The other reason is we don't want the girls to be a target by being on their own.

The same applies if we want to move someone for a photo (to remove a busy background, etc.) - we need to do it with a group of people, even if we only want a shot of a single person. This will make the group feel included and put the subject at ease.

We will also need to protect ourselves against misquitoes. They carry all kinds of nasty bugs, some of which I'll be immunised against. The biggest risk is malaria, there are lots of strains and even though I'll be taking anti-malaria drugs I may still get it if I'm exposed to a resistant strain.

We won't be drinking any of the water there unless it has been boiled. We need to be on the lookout for undercooked green vegetables too.

And we're less than 4 weeks from leaving - isn't it exciting?

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by crimson published on June 5, 2010 10:55 AM.

Stories was the previous entry in this blog.

Preparing for Outreach is the next entry in this blog.

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