Religious Briefs: introducing the faiths

Religious diversity was not noted in the country until the latter half of the 20th century.  Before the explosion of numerous churches and establishment of denominations within churches, the country was mainly divided among Catholics, Muslims, Protestants and a small scattering of oriental and indigenous believers. Below is a sampling of spiritual affiliations of Filipinos.

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Selected PE02086A.gif (1977 bytes) Readings**

Animism and Indigenous Beliefs

Indigenous Religious Beliefs and Cosmology of the Filipino
bulletpre-Hispanic Filipinos believed in a Supreme God and also believed that spirits - anitos- inhabited inanimate objects that must be worshipped;  remnants of animism linger among ethnic minorities in the north and south

Roman Catholic

The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines

Festival Country

Lent and Moriones

bulletIntroduced at the onset of Spanish colonization in 1521, first in the province of Cebu where voyager Ferdinand Magellan landed; the "sword" and the "cross" ruled the country for more than 300 years, helping to make the Philippines the only pre-dominantly Christian country in Southeast Asia

Iglesia ni Cristo (translation: Church of Christ)

The Father Alone is the True God

INC: Who Are They?

bulletFounded in 1914 by Felix Manalo, the INC has members in 67 other countries, particularly among Filipino communities in the United States; they reject the doctrine of Trinity and argues the duality of Christ's nature

Aglipayan/Iglesia Filipina Independiente
(Philippine Independence Church)

Aglipayanism and the Philippine Independence Church

An Introduction to the Iglesia Filipina Independiente

bulletIts first Supreme Bishop was Gregorio Aglipay, a revolutionary leader during the war for Philippine independence at the turn of the 19th century; it was launched  in August 1902 by Isabelo de los Reyes, a newspaperman imprisoned for conspiracy against Spain; the church was a breakaway from the Roman Catholic Church

Ang Dating Daan (Church of God in Christ Jesus)

Various Issues of Faith
(in Tagalog)


bulletIts founders coming mainly from the Bulacan and Pampanga, this group has attracted many followers using the popular technique of question-and-answer forums in different villages; its preachers, like those from INC, are among the most ferocious debaters in contemporary religious scene


The Oldest Existing Religion in the Philippines
bulletArab traders during the pre-Hispanic period brought the faith to the country's inhabitants especially in southern region, in Mindanao; today Islam, mostly of the Sunni branch, remains strong in the island as autonomy from the Manila government has become a regional battlecry

Seventh-Day Adventists

Official Statement of SDA on Important Issues
bulletSDA, as its name signifies, bears the Christian Old Testament doctrine of worshipping on the Sabbath (Saturday); Manalo, before founding the Iglesia Ni Cristo was said to have belonged to the SDA

Jehovah's Witnesses

Introduction to Jehovah's Witnesses
bulletAlong with the SDA, the Jehovah's Witnesses is another fundamentalist group that has membership all over the world; like the INC, it rejects the concept of the Trinity


Writer, Hero, Myth, and Spirit: The Changing Image of Jose Rizal

bulletRegarded as the Filipino Christ/Messiah by inhabitants mainly of the Laguna province (in Southern Tagalog) where he was born, Jose Rizal, the Philippines' foremost hero, left a legacy of spiritual dimensions;  Rizalistas recognize prophecies in his writings  

Other Indigenous Beliefs

Mount Banahaw: Holy Site?

PBMA and the Ecleo Family

bulletdifferent indigenous religious groups thrive in isolated and mountainous localities and islands of the country; some are linked to pre-colonial legends and myths; some are induced by the power of natural forces; others a mixture of Catholicism, superstition, and particular preferences of charismatic individuals

Other Christian Groups/ Protestants

United Methodist Church
Worldwide Church of God
bulletSome 8% of the population are said to belong to different protestant groups and denominations; these groups have their main ties to North American churches; Fidel Ramos was the first Protestant leader of the Philippines

El Shaddai DWXI Prayer Partners Foundation International

Profile of the El Shaddai
bulletIts members composed mainly of Catholics, the El Shaddai was founded by Mariano "Mike" Velarde, a real estate developer, in the early 80s; propagating the belief in the miracle-seed-of-faith offering in huge prayer rallies, it  has gained staunch following in Metro Manila and other provinces, sometimes in conflict with the wishes of the Catholic Hierarchy

** The selected readings are for reference only and the views they contain are not held by the NIU Seasite

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"Ang pangalang "Iglesia ni Cristo" ang pangalang opisyal, sapagka't ito ang ipinag-utos na ipangbati sa lahat. Hindi ito katawagan panglahi o pangpook o pang-isang katangian lamang..."

Source:   "Ang Dating Daan"

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