When defining or looking into a country’s culture, one must take into account many different aspects to get a more full glimpse of their culture. Some of the things to consider are the country’s language, religion, food/clothing, celebrations, art and literature, education system, values and customs, and business ethics. Utilizing these different areas, we can also assess their cultural distance from our own culture.
The Philippines has 8 major native languages: Bikol, Cebuano, Hiligaynon, Ilocano, Kapampangan, Pangasinan, Tagalog, and Waray. The two languages taught universally across the Philippines are Tagalog and English. English has remained prominent in the Philippines due to Tagalog’s lack of scientific words and its simplicity. The Philippines are the only Christian nation in Asia and have an overwhelming 86% of their population being Roman Catholic. The Filipino men dress in the national dress called the Barong Tagalog and the women wear the formal Baro’t Saya, which is a shirt and long skirt.
Celebrations are large in volume and festivities. The Filipinos enjoy many fiestas, including the Black Nazarene-Grand Fiesta. This fiesta is on January 9th and includes a grand procession of a life-size Jesus statue where thousands of Filipinos come to worship it. They also celebrate the Virgin Mary at the Feast of Our Lady of Candles. Their main art forms contain painting, sculptures, weaving and pottery, and even grand dance performances. Their education system mirrors that of the K-12 system popular in the United States. They are also extremely family and community oriented. They practice the Bayanihan System, which is to develop a sense of community and help those around them. The Damayan System encourages sympathy for individuals who have lost loved ones, as well as an intense hospitality towards guests.
Utilizing Hofstede’s Model, we can see how the Philippines scores in different categories. Their Individualism score was a 32, showing that they are a very collectivist society, as it measures the degree of interdependence of a society maintains among its members. The United States scores a 91, showing that we are a very individualistic society. The Philippines is ranked at a score of 94 in Power Distance within the country. People within the culture accept the hierarchical order, in which they believe everybody has a place and needs no further justification.
Humanity has had a struggle with the degree to which children are socialized. Without socialization we do not become “Human.” This dimension is extent to which people try to control their desires and impulses, based on the way they were raised. Strong control is described as “restraint,” while weak control is called “indulgence.” The Philippine’s has a low score of 42, which classifies it as a restraint. Societies with a low score in this tend to have a presence of cynicism and pessimism.Restrained societies do not put much effort into leisure time. In this dimension people feel like their actions are restricted by social norms, whereas the United States lean otherwise with a score of 68.
One can even create a tangible, comparable measure of cultural distance using Hofstede’s Model. This is done by taking two countries that would be considered by most to be culturally similar, such as the United States and Canada, and taking their collective difference in scores, to create a “benchmark” or standard of comparison. The collective difference between the United States and Canada, or the benchmark, is 34 on the Hofstede Model. The collective difference between the United States and the Philippines is 134. This can be used to make the assumption, that on a business-centric scale, the Philippines are approximately 3 times more culturally distant from the United States than Canada is. This provides a level of tangibility to the numbers.