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Through the vice royalty of Nueva Espana (Mexico), the Philippines was a

captaincygeneral governed bytheSpanishKing,from1565to1821. AllSpanishpossessions

were administered by the
Real y Supremo Consejo de las Indias
(Royal and Supreme Council
of the Indies). It was the paramount lawmaker and administrator overseeing thecoloniesofthe
Spanish empire, guided by a compendium of laws called
Recopilacion de leyes de los reynos
Bureaucracy in thecolonialPhilippineswasdividedintodifferentlevelsofadministration,
On the national level, the King, through the
sole spokesman and representative in the Philippines, the
gobernador y capitangeneral
He was the commander in chief of the army and the navy, vicereal
patron and president of the islands highest judicial body
, the Real Audiencia
On the provincial level,the
alcaldemayor(provincialgovernor)headed the
the pacified provinces and districts. Unpacified military zones or
were headed
by a
corregidor. Only a Spaniard could become an alcalde mayor or Corregidor. He was a

judge, inspector of alcaldias, chief of police, tribute collector, viceregal patron and
captaingeneral of the province. Alcade mayors had the special privilege of engaging in trade
through the
indulto de comerio.
The ayuntamiento
or city government
governed Cities
Two ancient Castillian institutions, namely
were sent to the
Philippines to check the abuse of power of royal officials. The Residencia isajudicialreviewof
(one judged) conducted at the end of histermofoffice,supervisedpublicly bya
juez de residencia
. Under residencia, those found guilty of public misconduct were imposed
either heavy fines, sequestration of properties, or imprisonment, or combination of all three
penalties. On the other hand, the Visita was conducted secretly by a
visitadorgeneral sent
from Spain and may occur any time within the officials term, without any previous notice.
Wrongdoers were fined, dismissed from office or expelled from the colony or a combination of
On the municipal level, the
headed the pueblo or municipio. He must
be Filipino or Chinese mestizo, 25 years old literate in oral or written Spanish and who had
been a
attain under the Spanish rule. His primary responsibilities were: preparation of the
(tribute list), recruitment and distribution of men for the draft labor, communal public work and
The Barrio government was led by the
cabeza de barangay whose main responsibility
was to collect tax and contributions for thegobernadorcillosbothofwhichwereexemptedfrom
tax. He is responsible forpeaceandorderinhisownbarrioandrecruited
public works. They were required literacy in Spanish, good moral character and

The divergence of the Church and the State can clearly be perceived in the exerciseof
political and economic powers of the Spanish clergy. Although there is supposed to be a
separation of the Church and the State, the Church persistently meddled in civil government
and press censorship. Marcelo H. del Pilar called it
la soberania monacal
supremacy) or
(friarocracy). Spanishfriarsormonasticordersruledsupreme,even
over governmental matters. The reason why friars had so much power and influence could be
traced way back to when the Spaniards were still beginning to conquer us. Instead of sending
large armies, the Spanish missionaries were the real conquerors. Because of their peaceful
means, they were able to gain over the goodwill of thenatives,reachouttothemandsoonwin
them over. Because it was them who was able to truly conquer the Philippines, Friars were
always considered as someone in power and of respect. But other than that, due to thelackof

Their power was most felt in the lowest Filipino bureaucratic level: the municipio or
pueblo. In the national level,theinfluencewasexercisedthroughvastnetworksof parishes.Del
Pilar explained how the Friarshadsuchgreatinfluenceandpowerbecauseoftheircontrolinall
the fundamental forces of society in the Philippines. They supervised the elections of the
cabeza de barangay and gobernadorcillo, had a list of residents in the town, and served as a
mediator to pacify rebellions. Before any financial paper can be approved, it must have their
signature. In the educational system, the University of Santo Tomas was in their possession,
and they served as local inspectors of every primary school. They are also able to control the
minds and actions of people, considering the country is predominantly Catholic, and through
their access to confessionals. They also execute all the orders of the central government.
According to the History of the Filipino People, the Friars didnotonlyserveasparishpriestsor

spiritual guides, but they also ruled municipalities in fact the whole government of the islands
was in their hands. One key tool that enabled them to have so muchcontrolwastheirabilityto
speak the native tongue. Because of this, they were not only able to properly communicate to
the Filipinos, but also understand whatever they were saying. They were also able to rule
supreme because of the vast number of Churches they've builtoverthecountry,thehaciendas


The dominant economic theory in Europe during the 16th until 18th century was

mercantilism. Mercantilist theory states thatthebestwayforanationtoaccumulateitswealthis

by maintaining a balance of trade surplus (i.e. exports are greater imports). European
superpowers like Spain and Portugal realized that they couldachievethissurplus bycolonizing
uncivilizedstateswhoserawmaterialswereexploitable fortheproductionoffinal goods. These
final goods could then be sold at a high profit margin in exchange for precious metalslikegold
and silver, which would lead to increased wealth for these colonizers. This became a driving
force for European imperialists who set sail towards the East in search for spices, gold, and
other valuable goods and resources that could be exploited and traded. The Philippines,which
became a Spanish colony in 1565 under the banner of God, Glory, Gold, saw numerous
As early as 1565, the ManilaAcapulco Galleon Trade was already in existence. The
Philippines served as a point of exchange of goods between Asia and the Americas up until
1815. Silk, opium, and spices from India and China were exchanged for gold and silver from
Mexico and Peru. In the first fewdecadesof existence, thetradewasboomingbuttherewerea
few problems that came with it: too much silver was leaving the hands of the Europeans, and

industries back in the colonizing countries were being negatively affected by the competition
coming from Asia. The Spanish King was forced to impose new restrictions on the trade. First,
only two ships could be used annually oneincoming,oneoutgoingandsecond,therewasan
export quota on the Asian goods bound for Acapulco. However, the businessmen who
immigrated from China and undoubtedly made big profits from the trade worked their way
around these restrictions,andtheactualvalueofgoods tradedexceededthelimits.Moreefforts
were directed by both the Spaniards and Chinese towards the galleon trade instead of
agriculture and other native industries, while the Filipinos were unjustly forced to perform work
mainly in the construction of galleons. Strangely enough,whilemercantilisttheoryisassociated
with the exploitationofagricultureandrawmaterialsbythecolonizersinthecolonizedstate,the
opposite happened with Spain and the Philippines. Profits from international trade were far
exceeding those from the agricultural sector until the Royal Economic Society of Friendsofthe
The Royal Economic Society of Friends of the Country, ledbyJosede BascoyVargas,
was formed in 1780 with the goal to improve the economic productivity of the nation. Basco
created the
Plan General Economico
to guide the Philippines towards selfsufficiency from the
yearly Mexican subsidy. In it, Basco encouraged leaders to exploit the abundant natural
resources of the country, and employed monopolies on tobacco, betel nut, explosives, and
spirited liquors movesthatweremoremercantilistinnature.Whiletheaforementionedonlyled
to more hardship for the Filipinos, the RoyalEconomicSocietyofFriendsoftheCountrycanbe
credited for the countrys first paper mill, the creation ofguildsfor silversmithsand goldbeaters,
conservation efforts for carabaos, the establishment of an academy for design, and the
introduction of mynah birds to keep a locus infestationatbay.Traininggrants,localandforeign

scholarships, andanendowmentfundforachairinagriculturewerealsooffered.Thisinstitution
Shortly after the establishment of theRoyalEconomicSocietyofFriendsof theCountry,
the Royal Philippine Company was chartered in 1785 with the goal of improving trade and
commerce between Asia and the Americas. The company declared a monopoly on bringingall
goods to and from SpainandthePhilippines.Unsurprisingly,thiswasmetwithmuchopposition
from Dutch, English, and SpanishManila traders. Although a small portion of the shares were
given to merchants in the
Consulado y Comercio de Manila, as well as some religious
corporations, the ManilaAcapulco trade was severely affectedandsufferedgreatlosses.While
the Royal Philippine Company devoted 40% of its earnings towards research, technology, and
community development in the Philippines, it doesnt seem as though the Filipinos fared any
better. Although the company played an important role in the early growth of agriculture in the
country the Spaniards focused on the cultivation of spices, coffee, indigo, sugar, and cotton
When Spain stopped the galleon trade and finally let the Philippines open itself up to
international commerce in 1834, there was a suddenspikeinthedemandforexportcropssuch
as rice, sugar, abaca, tobacco, and indigo. Ports in Pangasinan, Iloilo, Zamboanga, Cebu,
Legaspi, and Leyte were eventually opened as well, following that of the Manila port. Imports
and exports, most notably to Britain and the United States, both increased, and the balance of
trade improved significantly. Because of free trade, there was also a freer flow of ideas and
techniques from America and Britain that helped improve the technology of agriculture in the
Philippines. Only when the Philippines opened its ports did the agriculture industry reallythrive
and develop. For example, Negros became the center of the local sugar industry and saw an
exponential population boom. Thecountrybecamethebiggestproducerof tobaccoinEastAsia

aswell.Moreforeignconsulatesalsoset upofficeinthecountryoncerestrictionswerereduced.
However, the Mexican peso devalued continuously beginning in the mid1850s, which
Perhaps one of the most significant changes brought about during the Spanish period
was the implementation and collection of taxes. Filipinos were required to pay several kinds of
taxes a
sactorum tax for the Church, contributions to the community chest, property tax, and
income tax, and a tribute. The tribute could be paid for in cash or in goods such as rice,
tobacco, coconuts, and textiles. On top of these, special taxes were also collected from the
people. The
donativo de Zamboanga was collected solely to fund retaliation
efforts against the Moros of Mindanao. Also collected were the
taxes thatwere
directed towards the protection of coastal regions like Bulacan, Cebu, and CamarinesSur.The
was another tax which entailed the forced sale or seizure of goods by the Spaniards.
Most of the goods were rice and coconut oil, which were paid for in promissory notes onlyand
sold back to the natives at exorbitant prices. Although tax exemptions existed, these onlywent
to the noble few who lent a hand to the Spaniards during their pacification efforts, the doctors
) and vaccinators,thoseworkersinthearsenalandartillery,andgraduatesofselect
universities. Towards the end of Spanish rule, the tribute was replaced by thepersonalidentity
paper or
cedula personal
. Compliance was required of all Philippine residents over the age of
Another significant introduction bytheSpaniardswasthe
polo forshort,whichwasinspiredbytheforcedlabor systemofMexico(

the term for the Chinese or Filipino mestizo men who were drafted for labor, were forced todo
jobs that the Spaniards didnotdaredo,suchasinfrastructureconstructionandrepairs,logging,
and shipbuilding. A penalty, called the
could be paid to avoid participation in the

however this was quite costly considering there were minimal to no wages and other taxes to
pay. Thus, the men either served their time(originally40daysbutcutdownto15days in1884)
and faced forced separation and relocation from their families, or they seeked refuge in the
encomienda system was another change care of the Spaniards which further
cemented the notion of private property in the Philippines (although very few Filipinos actually
had land to call their own). In this system, the King grants land to deserving Spaniards and
sometimes even Filipinos. The encomenderos have control of the area and its inhabitants and
usually collected tributes from their constituents. Two types of
encomienda existed then: the
royal, which belonged to the King and constituted the main towns and ports and the private,
which belonged to those who were close to the King.
Encomiendas consisted of huge plots of
land, so agriculture was the main industry here. Rice and sugar are just someofthecropsthat
were grown on these lands. However, as the Spaniards did not begin properly developing the
agricultural industry until the 1800s, the profits from these
encomiendas were small compared
to those from the galleon trade. Many abuses took place within these encomiendas
confiscation of harvested crops and goods, unfair and arbitrary tribute collections, and inflated
commodity prices which sparked several uprisings from Luzon and Visayas. Those who fled
for the mountains to escape the work and payment of tributes in the
were called
Before banks were established inthePhilippines,the
such aninstitution.The
outlet for the great wealththeyamassedfromChurchdonations.Mostofthemoneywasloaned
out with interest inordertohelpfundexpeditions,thegalleontrade,andcommerce.Aportionof
obras pias also went to charitable causes. ThefirstPhilippinebank,

de Isabel II
, opened under Spanish reign in 1851. It was also the first bank that issued paper
money a year after itsfounding.
The arrival of the Spaniards brought about developments in transportation and
infrastructure. The
Ferrocaril de Manila,
for example, was the first and only ironrailwaysystem
at that timewhichstretchedfromManilatoDagupan.Bridges,suchasthe
the Bridge of Spain, both located in Manila, were also built in order to ease the accumulating
traffic. This traffic was due to an increase in horsedrawnvehiclesforhire,suchasthetramsof
Compania de los Tranvias de Filipinas,
and the
aranas, victorias, calesas,
Additionally, steamships were also used for travelling to and from countries like Hong Kong,
There werealsonewdevelopmentstotechnologyandcommunications.Postagestamps
were first issued in 1854. The first telegraph was used in 1872, followed by the telegram in
1882, and then the telephone in 1890. Aninterislandsubmarine cablewasalso jointlyinstalled
There were also some improvementsinpublic utilities,specificallypublic lighting.Lamps
lit by coconut oil were initially used in 1814.Themoreaffluentneighborhoodsthenusedoiland
kerosene lamps in the 1880s. When 1893 rolled around, the first electric company, La
For the tourists who visited Manila, there were two famous hotels to stay in:
Hotel de
, and
Fonde de Lala.
Newspapers were first circulated in 1846, and smuggled
pornographic literature were also secretly peddled on the streets. A few of the more affluent
locals and mestizos got to enjoy hobbies, some of which the Spaniards brought along with
them. One of these is horseracing, which was held in the famous Manila Jockey Club.

Bullfighting also entered the scene thanks to the Spaniards.An oldlocalsport,cockfighting,did

not diminish in popularity during this period either. Theatres were also put up around Manilato
zarzuelas, moromoro,
and other performances, unlike the precolonial days of
The Spaniards introduced many new Western practices and concepts to the Filipinos,
such as banking, private property, paper money, carriages, and a mailing system. However, a


During the Spanish era, there was also a transformation in the educational sector.

Education was more or less controlled by the Catholic Church, particularly by The Society of
Jesus which was the teaching order at that time. There was also the saying La Letra Con
Sagre Entra (spare the rod, spoil the child) which tells us that theSpanish missionariesatthat
time believed that the children would be able to learn their language, alphabet, Christian
doctrine and customs, and policies, and they in turn will be able to transmit/pass this on to
In association with this, secondary schools and universities were built for the sons of
native ruling families not only for Christianizing but also to be able to teach them how to be
gobernadorcillos and cabezasdebarangaysinthefuture.Examplesoftheseare:theCollegeof
San Ildefonso which was built for the sons ofSpaniards,ColegioMaximodeSanIgnaciowhich
offered two kinds of training for priesthood and for general secondary education, Escuela
Normal de Maestros de Manila which was built to train male teachers for primary schools, and
Seminario de Ninos Huerfanos de San Pedro y San Pablo which was for orphaned Spanish

taught Spanish culture, and also normal schools for women teachers in girls schools. Mainly,
the secondary schools benefitted the Spaniards and the wealthy locals, because theywerethe
The Education Decree of 1863 was also a product of the Spanish colonialization.Ithad
two parts: the first one is that there should be at least two schools in each town one forboys
and one for girls. The second one is thatanormalschoolshouldbeestablishedtotrainmenas
teachers, headed by the Jesuits. Teaching of Spanish language was compulsory, andFilipinos
were forbidden to speak their own dialects. Some of the subjects discussed in these schools
were Christian doctrine, morality, sacred history, general geography and Spanish history,
agriculture, rules of courtesy, vocal music and Spanish language. If the children did not go to
school, theywouldhavetopay1andahalftotworeales.Inthecaseofpoorchildren,heorshe
could have free education, but this needs to be certified first by the gobernadorcillo and
There were several criticisms made by Rizal and his fellow Propagandists regarding
education under the Spaniards. One is that there was a lack in the means of education the
Spaniards cannot provide simple books on morality, geography, and history of the Philippines
that were written in Tagalog. There was also a lack of school buildings, to the point that
sometimes classes were held in parish houses,jails,barracks,oreveninthetownhall.Another
one was that only ilustrados or wealthy locals were able to afford schoolingatthat time.Lastly,
there was a lack of motivation to study, since some students were being humiliated through
beatings, there was no prize or reward in any form, and the students felt no pleasure while
studying because he did not really understand what he was studying,anditwasnotthatuseful


One of the changes the Filipinos had to go through during theSpanishcolonialerawas

legalizing Filipinos to have surnames. Governor Narciso Claveria made this possible back in
1849. Names came from saints, geographic names, Chinese and indigenous ancestors, arts,
and flora and fauna. The use of such surnames is for tax collection, and for polos y sercisios,
which is forced labor.Polosysercisiosiswheremen16to60yearsoldwhererequiredtoserve
in community projects of the Spaniards. Spaniards also tookthisasanopportunitytoavoidany
form of abuse by the Filipinos, mainly tax evasion and illegal migration. They were required to
use family names such as Rizal, Del Pilar or Luna. However, names such as Mabini,Malantic,
There was also an evolution of houses for the rich Filipinos. Poor Filipinos retained
Bahay Kubo,
Bahay na Bato
emerged for noble Filipinos. The ground floor ismade upof
stones and bricks, which was usually used for storage. The families stayed in the upper floor,
which is made up of wood.
Bahay na Bato were more durable and had better ventilation

Filipino Cuisine was greatly influenced the Spaniards and Chinese during the Spanish

colonial period. Spaniards introduced the vinegar and spices for preservation. Sauting with
garlic and onions were also introduced. Some viands of Spaniards were also adapted by
Filipinos which evolved into adobo, menudo, sarciado, puchero and mechado. Chinese cuisine
also had an influence in the Filipino Cuisine. Filipinos have adapted noodles commonly known


barong tagalog or
camisa chino and pants.
Barong tagalog is an embroidered thin upper

garment which is worn tucked out.

Camisa chino is the undershirt used for barong tagalog.
Hats, shoes and slippers were also introduced. Women, on the other hand, wore
barot saya
Baro is a shortsleeved and collarless blouse, which is partnered with saya, a long plaid or
stripped skirt. It was influenced by the costumes of the Blessed Virgin statues brought by the
Spaniards. Filipino women wore such clothing, as theywererequiredtocovertheiruppertorso.
Barot saya later on developed into mestiza dress, which is known for its butterfly sleeves.
Accessories were continued to be worn and Spaniards introduced different types of necklaces
Language was also influenced by the Spaniards. Filipinos borrowed words from them
such as
dasal from
bintana from
biyahe from
. However, it was a
mutual influence. Spanish language was likewise influenced by Filipinos. Anexamplewouldbe

Festivities suchasfiestawasbroughtherebytheSpaniards.Fiestashonoredsaintsand
births of Spanish royaltymembers.Itservedasasocializingevent,aswellastoattractFilipinos
who havent been converted into Catholics. Fiestas attracted
indios to go to the town proper.
There werealsoreligious dramassuchas
Moromoro or komedya also were popularized, which is a play showing battles between

Spaniards introduced certain rituals. One of which is known as


coparenting. Godparents are present as sponsors during baptism and marriage. It aims to
strengthen relationship among family ties and connection. Magellan even became Humabons
godfather, while Legazpi was Rajah Tupas godfather. Rajah Humabon is one of the first
converts to become Christians, and Rajah Tupas, his successor, was his nephew. Spaniards

brought the practice of burying the dead in public cemeteries. La Funeraria, the first funeral

During the Spanish colonial period,thereisnodoubtthatthereweremarriagesbetween

people of different races.

Mestizos were the fruit of intermarriages. These were people with
mixed blood of Spanish and other nationalities. Some
mestizosledin revolutionarymovements

Indeed, Spaniards made a vast influence on Filipinos. The lifestyle of early Filipinos

gradually shifted and developed. And clearly, the colonization of the Spaniards made a huge


Baybayin (Alibata) was the precolonial writing system. The word baybayin
comes from the word baybay,whichmeansspell.Itisa syllabicformofwriting, meaning
each symbol represents a letter. The Baybayin has 17 characters, three vowels and
fourteen consonants. However, there were vowelmodifying marks called kudlits
(diacritics in the English language) which, once combined with the 17 primary
By mideighteenth century, Baybayin was almost completely eradicated, having
been replaced by the Latin alphabet when the Spanish came. However, a Spanish friar
(Fr. Pedro Andres de Castro)notedthattherewerestillAugustinianarchivesinLipaand
other cities in Batangas written in baybayin. Another reason why baybayin disappeared
quickly was because Spanish missionaries set out to destroy all forms of literature or

Despite the orders of the King of Spain to teach Spanish to the Filipinos, most
friars refused to do so with the belief that having a lingua franca (at the time, Filipinos
from different provinces spoke different dialects) would unitetheFilipinosandresultinto
a revolt. However, select Filipinos (mostly from the upper class or those who worked
The Spanish language became a status symbol. The elite (Spanish born) were
the only ones who could learn the language. Some of the mestizos were able to study
Spanish depending on the status of the Spanish parent. At around the late 1800s and
early 1900s, education became more accessible to more people. The rise of the
ilustrados saw an entire generation of Spanishspeaking Filipinos with Westernideasof
independence and statehood. Oddly enough, it was the Spanish language that allowed
for literature calling for Philippine independence to become a public concern. Dr. Jose
Rizal published his greatest works in Spanish and even wrote articles and journals
addressed to the people of Spain calling for statehood and better treatment of the
With the emergence of the Latin alphabet and developments in education,
innovations in printingalso cameabout.Spanishfriarsfirstintroducedprintinginorderto
better facilitate theirworkofconverting Filipinosto Catholicism.Methods ofprintingused
ranged from xylographic printing (inSan Gabriel,1593)to usingaduplicatorbymovable
typography (in Binondoc, 1604). The process of Xylographic printing involves carving
characters or images on a block of woodafterwards,theraisedpartofthewoodisthen
inked and pressed onto the selected medium (usually paper). Movable typography is
very similar to Xylography but instead of having a single block of wood for a particular
text, you now had movable characters, meaning a single block of wood could be

rearranged to print another book. With Xylography, a single text or image was carved
onto a piece of wood meaning in order to print another page or image, youd need to
Some of the earliest works published during the SpanishperiodincludeDoctrina
christiana, Fr. Juan Cobos Wuchi Tienchu chengchia. As for Filipino authors, the
earliest recorded Filipino writer was an anonymous poet who wrote, May baggy mat
may rilim in 1605. Also included in old records were Fernano Bagongbatas Salamat
The most widespread type of literature during the Spanish era was theocentric
literature. The Spanish introduced several forms including awit, corridor, and metrical
romances. Some of the early writers of these forms were Ananias Zorilla, Jose de la
Other than theocratic literature, dramas and comedies were also present during
the Spanish era. The most famous one that is still being practiced until today would be
the pasyon or reenactment of the Passion of Christ. Other examples include sinakulo,

Paintings were largely secularized during the Spanish era. One of the earliest
known artists during this period was a Chinesemestizo named Faustino Quiotang who
emerged in the 1820s, producing Sedes Sapientiae and San Jose with Child Jesus.
However, the first known painter from the era was Damian Domingo, the director ofthe
Academia de Dibujo, the first formal arts school in the country. He was also the first
known Filipino painter to create a selfportrait. Other famous painters from the period

include: the family of Mariano Asuncion and his sons: Justiniano and Leoncio, famous
landscape artist Jose Honorato Lozano, Regino GarciayBazawasknowntohaveused
plates as his canvas. As for women, Maria Paz Paterno was the only female painter to
Both folk/native and colonial art persisted during the Spanish period. Most arts
and crafts at the time were centered in Christianity and Christian images. Folk art
observed during fiestas back then, which are still present until today includes Kalakos
(bamboo arch decorations), moriones, rosaries, palaspas, parols, and pastillas
wrappers. Of all the new art forms introduced, the Filipinos took to sculptures
instantaneously. The anitos from precolonial Philippines were mostly made fromwood,
when the Spanish came, Filipinos started sculpting saints. Santos (sculptures of saints)
were made from wood, clay, and some were even made from rocks and otherprecious
stones. These sculptures were placed in altars inside Churches and inside peoples
where the tabernacle is kept. The most elaborate retablo can be found at the San
Agustin Church in Intramuros. The first known sculptor was a 17
century sacristan,

artisan, and silversmith named Juan de los Santos. Other than him, most sculptors at
that time remained anonymous. However, in the 19
century, the rise of the ilustrados

also paved way to the rise of more Filipino sculptors who sold their works here and
abroad including: Crispulo Hocson, Romualdo de Jesus, Leoncio Asuncion and Isabelo
Aside from visual arts, the Spaniards also introduced new forms of music and
dances to the Filipinos. TheSpanishnotedthatthenativeshadtheirownformsof music
and dances during celebrations. They used these art forms in order to connect better

with the natives and easily convert them. The Spanish introduced Western instruments
such as the organ, piano, and guitar. These instruments played a pivotal role as the
friars taught Filipinoshowtoplayreligioussongsandchants.Therewasalsoaschoolof
music established in Laguna that also taught dances such as the fandango, seguidilla,
and jota. By the turn of the 19
century, Filipinos were composing and writing both

religious and contemporary music. Some famous musicians include: Marcelo Adonay,

Apart from decorations, folk art could also be found in the food presentation as
seen in Filipino delicacies such as pan de San Nicolas, atsara (pickled onions), and
To this day, Spanish influence in Filipino cuisine is still very evident. Food
historians claim that around 80% of all Filipino dishes are of Spanish descent. Many of
our dishes served during fiestas and other special occasions were inspired by Spanish
influences. These include dishes such as relleno, paella, embutido, kaldereta, menudo,
etc. Apart from savory dishes, Spanish influence can also be found in our dessertsand
other delicacies. The ever so famous pan de sal is of Spanish origin. The tradition of
having a merienda (afternoon snack) is also of Spanishorigin.Itwaspractice backthen
to have a snack before or after having a siesta or afternoon nap (another Spanish
influenced tradition). Some famous meriendas include puto, bibingka, ginataan also
have Spanish influences such as the use root crops, but were incorporated with native

With a wide array of dishes to serve, the Filipinos also inherited the habit of
celebrating fiestas from the Spanish. Fiestas started out as religious celebrations in
honor a particular saint that a particular town patronized. However, as time passed, the
Filipinos found a fiesta for almost everything under the sun. The common saying isthat
the Filipinos have at least one fiesta for every single day of the year.Ourfiestasarean
example of the physical manifestation of Spanish influence on us, as seen through the
decorations, food being served, down to the clothing (example: Flores de Mayo or

Perhaps the most evident and strongest legacy of Spain on the Philippines is
Catholicism. It is said that Spain conquered the Philippines in two ways: first, through
battle and traditional conquestsecond,throughtheuseofreligion.ItwaspartofSpains
policy of God, Gold, and Glory. The first wave of Spanish missionaries arrived in
Visayas and began converting natives. They always started with converting the datu or
chief, believing that once the native Filipinos see their leader has converted, will follow
and convert toCatholicismaswell.The Spanishreceivedverylittleresistancefrommost
of thetribestheyencounteredinVisayasandLuzon.However,theSpanishmissionaries
had a lot of trouble converting the locals in Mindanao who had been practicing Islam
long before the Spanish arrived. Numerous armed conflicts occurred between the
Spanish the Filipino Muslims. However, due to their unfamiliarity with the territory, the
Spanish were never able to actually conquer Mindanao. This is why to this day,
Mindanao remains as a predominantly Muslim island. The locals have also managedto

preserve most of its precolonial traditions and cultures because they were mostly
Religion became a driving forceinthelivesoftheFilipinos. Itwassomethingthat
encompassed almost every other aspect of their lives. Other aspects of the Filipino
culture reflected the lasting impact of Catholicism on the Filipinos. Sculptures and
paintings of saints and other religious figures became prominent during the Spanish
period. Songs and dances were created in honor of religious celebrations and figures.
Fiestas were also rooted in religious belief. Part of the reason why Catholicismbecame
such a driving force in Filipino lives back then was the active presence of friars and
Spanish missionaries. Each town had its own church and priests were given authority
and power. Friars and sacristans would wake up Filipinos early in the morning and
Spanish or Latin. However, majority of the Filipinos didnt even speak either of these
languages. The belief is that although Filipinos memorized Catholic doctrine by heart,
A. RoleoftheFriars
There were several religious orders that came to the Philippines during the
Spanish period. The first onestoarriveweretheAugustinianswhoarrivedinthecountry
four years after Legaspi settled, followed by the Franciscans, the Dominicans, the
Jesuits, and lastly by the secular clergies. In total, there was an estimate of about 810
million religious clergy that arrived in the country during the Spanish era. The numbers
are relatively low considering the 300 year stay of the Spaniards. However, this can be
attributed to the low turnover rate of the Spanish priests and clergy. Each order had a

specific task that they were expected to do apart from converting the natives and
The Dominicans were in charge of the University of Manila. Several courses of
studyweretaught bytheDominicansincludingTheology,Pharmacy,Law,andMedicine.
The Augustinians also handled colleges and universities, including several secondary
and primary schools. Augustinian nuns also ran an orphan asylum for young girls who
were taught the basics of house making and other crafts suchasmusicandarts.Ofthe
several orders in the Philippines, the Jesuits were the closest to the natives.Apartfrom
running schools, the Jesuits were the most accepting and tolerant of the local culture
and practice. They were also the ones who established an observatory in the country,
which later on became theMeteorologicalObservatoryofManila.Thiswasestablished
by Fr. Frederick Faura, who used the observatory in order to help prepare fortyphoons
Apart from education, the separation between Church and State was not very
clear during the Spanish period. Because of this, the friars had some sort of
administrative power, to a certain extent. Friars could collect donations or tribute from
the people who lived within its churches jurisdiction. Because of the lackofchecksand
balances, the system was easily abused the friars who wanted more money for their
order, or simplyfortheirownpersonaluse.The friarswerealsotheoneswhoconducted
the Catholic sacraments and because Catholicism was the only religion acceptedinthe
country, natives had to partake in the sacraments. However, instead of giving their
services forfreeoracceptingonlymodesttokens,thefriarsaskedthatthenativespayat

Later on during the reign of the Spaniards, the friars were abletotakechargeof
the government whenGov.Gen. FernandoManueldeBustilloBustamanteyRuedewas
assassinated. Gov. Gen.BustamantewasopposedtoManilaArchbishopFranciscodela
Cuestas claims that the Catholic Church was immune civil law after the later was
accused for abusing his powers, claiming that the Church was to be held as sanctuary.
due to the sudden death of Bustamante, the friars took this as an opportunity to gain
power. However, this was quickly resolved when a new Governor General was sent by


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