The Philippines is a secular country, with a guaranteed separation of church and state by the Constitution and respect for all religious beliefs and rituals. That being said, the Philippines is not a very spiritually rich country. Albeit no religion is imposed, a significant majority of the population follows Christianity, followed by Islam. Other than these, there are no major religions in the nation. Let’s see how they are practised in the country.
The Philippines is a Christian country. At least 92% of the population follows Christianity, out of which 81% practices Catholicism and the remaining 11% are Protestants, Orthodoxy, Restorationist, and other independent believers. The Spanish rulers introduced Catholic ideas during the 16th century. During the long rule of Spain over the Philippines, the Christian religion was well established in the country's veins.
The United States colonization introduced Protestant beliefs through public schools and teachings. Other denominations like the Independent Philippine Church have developed over time and are still taking shape.
Filipinos celebrate the Catholic event of ‘fiesta’ very vibrantly. Local communities come together to celebrate the special day, and houses are generally open for guests and dining. It also includes a Mass, but the main aim is to get communities together for a splash of bonding with spirituality. There are plenty of churches and cathedrals in the Philippines- Betis Church, Caleruega Church, and the Callao Cave Chapel are worth visiting.
Islam is the religion of about 6% of the Filipino population, making it the second major religion in the nation. It was introduced in the 14th century by traders from the Persian Gulf, Southern India, and other followers from Maritime Southeast Asia. However, it declined tremendously during the Spanish inquisition in the 16th century. The southern Filipino tribes stood against the Spanish and kept their religion alive after the rule.
In the present, most Muslims reside in the Southern islands of Mindanao, Sulu, and Palawan. The majority of these communities practice Sunni Islam and are known as the Moros. Some minority communities are practising Shiite and Ahmaddiya as well.
The Al-Dahab mosque, Dimaukom mosque, and Taluksangay mosque are prominent mosques to visit in the Philippines.
Minor Religions in the Philippines
Bathalism is a modern name for the Indigenous Philippine folk religions practised by various ethnic groups. The main form of this religion is derived from animism principles, with some minor beliefs and ideas changed. The indigenous tribes profess in a high god, followed by some lesser gods- in various elements of nature, guardian spirits, and tribal heroes. Bathalism is concentrated in the Cordillera Administrative Region, Palawan, Mindoro, Western Visayas, and Mindanao.
2. Baháʼí Faith
Baháʼí Faith was introduced to the Philippines in 1921 and is developing since then. This faith teaches that God is beyond the human physical experience and can only be known through lives and teachings. It also says that the sole purpose of a human is to know and love God in its entirety.
Other than all these religions, the Philippines has a tiny population of people who follow Buddhism, Hinduism, or Taoism as their religion. Although this nation might not be very diverse in its beliefs, it has a beautiful and inexplicable acceptance than can be felt if you visit this country.