DU9 Philippines

DIALOGUE UNIT 9: The American Dream, the Chinese Dream, Religious Paradises or Traditional values? Tracing the              Public in the Private in Philippine Communities


The Filipino Islands have been under influence of several foreign empires over the centres. The Buddhist, Hindu and Chinese Empires had an ongoing relationship with the Filipino Archipelago beginning in the 7th century. It was later Muslims and Spanish colonizers who included the islands under their regency. After gaining independence from the Spanish in 1898,the islands fell under the protectorate of the USA, who released them into self-government with the proclamation of independence in 1946. Different waves of immigration left a complex mosaic of cultural influences in the cultural patterns of the islanders. They currently find themselves in between the Chinese and the American influence.

At present the slogans of the American way of life “it is not a shame to be born poor, but a shame to die poor” dominate the public areas. They compete with a more silent Chinese way of praying for wellbeing as well as Christian and Muslim religious suggestions as to the right path to happiness. Chinese Taoist temples offer devotional objects, attracting people to the temples for a better life. The Catholic church owns holy shrines that may have an influence on one´s life. The Muslims have a more pragmatic way through daily exercises. The traditions of indigenous populations, being performed with various tattoos for beauty and luck complete the picture. All together the Filipino inhabitants from all layers of society have several options for constructing their identity, future perspective and self-consciousness.

Hence, this Dialogue Unit aims to solve the two central theoretical aims of this project, i.e.:
the character of interactions with the Sinophone and other Philippine cultures interpreted by local actors;
the role of the neighboring civilisations in the material culture and social imaginaries of Philippine people.

Mag. Dr. Alfred Gerstl, MIR
prof. PhDr. Dušan Lužný, Dr.
PhDr. RNDr. Jan Daniel Bláha, Ph.D.


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