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Religion in the Philippines is marked by a majority of people being adherents of the Christian faith. At least 92% of the population is Christian; about 81% belong to the Roman Catholic Church while about 11% belong to Protestant, Orthodox, Restorationist and Independent Catholic denominations, such as Iglesia Filipina Independiente, Iglesia ni Cristo, Seventh-day Adventist Church, United Church of Christ in the Philippines and Evangelicals. Officially, the Philippines is a secular nation, with the Constitution guaranteeing separation of church and state, and requiring the government to respect all religious beliefs equally.
According to national religious surveys, about 5.6% of the population of the Philippines is Muslim, making Islam the second largest religion in the country. However, A 2012 estimate by the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) stated that there were 10.7 million Muslims, or approximately 11 percent of the total population. Most Muslims live in parts of Mindanao, Palawan, and the Sulu Archipelago - an area known as Bangsamoro or the Moro region. Some have migrated into urban and rural areas in different parts of the country. Most Muslim Filipinos practice Sunni Islam according to the Shafi'i school. There are some Ahmadiyya Muslims in the country.
Philippine traditional religions are still practiced by an estimated 2% of the population, made up of many indigenous peoples, tribal groups, and people who have reverted into traditional religions from Catholic/Christian or Islamic religions. These religions are often syncretized with Christianity and Islam. Animism, folk religion, and shamanism remain present as undercurrents of mainstream religion, through the albularyo, the babaylan, and the manghihilot. Buddhism is practiced by 2% of the populations by the Japanese-Filipino community, and together with Taoism and Chinese folk religion is also dominant in Chinese communities. There are smaller number of followers of Sikhs, Hinduism, and Judaism, and Baha'i. More than 10% of the population is non-religious, with the percentage of non-religious people overlapping with various faiths, as the vast majority of the non-religious select a religion in the Census for nominal purposes.
According to the 2010 census, Evangelicals comprised 2% of the population, however 2010 surveys and data such Joshua Project and Operation World estimated the evangelical population to be around 11-13% of the population. It is particularly strong among American and Korean communities, Northern Luzon especially in Cordillera Administrative Region, Southern Mindanao and many other tribal groups in the Philippines. Protestants both mainline and evangelical have gained significant annual growth rate up to 10% since 1910 to 2015.
|Igreja Católica Apostólica Brasileira nas Filipinas||0.01||5,000|
|Source: Philippine Statistics Authority|
During pre-colonial times, a form of animism was widely practiced in the Philippines. Each of the ethno-linguistic tribe in the archipelago practices a distinct indigenous religion. Today, the Philippines is mostly Catholic and other forms of Christianity, and only a handful of the indigenous tribes continue to practice the old traditions. These are a collection of beliefs and cultural mores anchored more or less in the idea that the world is inhabited by spirits and supernatural entities, both good and bad, and that respect be accorded to them through nature worship. These spirits all around nature are known as "diwatas", showing cultural relationship with Hinduism (Devatas). Currently, there are 135 ethno-linguistic tribes in the Philippines according to the Komisyon ng Wikang Filipino. Less than half of which still practice indigenous religions which have been used prior to Spanish colonialism.
Some worship specific deities, such as the Tagalog supreme deity, Bathala, and his children Adlaw, Mayari, and Tala, or the Visayan deity Kan-Laon. Others practice Ancestor worship (anitos). Variations of animistic practices occur in different ethnic groups. Magic, chants and prayers are often key features. Its practitioners were highly respected (and some feared) in the community, as they were healers, midwives (hilot), shamans, witches and warlocks (mangkukulam), priests/priestesses (babaylan/katalonan), tribal historians and wizened elders that provided the spiritual and traditional life of the community. In the Visayan regions, shamanistic and animistic beliefs in witchcraft (barang) and mythical creatures like aswang (vampires), duwende (dwarves), and bakonawa (a gigantic sea serpent), may exist in some indigenous peoples alongside more mainstream Christian and Islamic faiths.
Spanish missionaries during the 16th century arrived in the Philippines noted warrior priestesses leading tribal spiritual affairs. Many were condemned as pagan heretics. Although suppressed, these matriarchal tendencies run deep in Filipino society and can still be seen in the strong leadership roles modern Filipino women are assuming in business, politics, academia, the arts and in religious institutions.
Nominally animists constitute about one percent of the population. But animism's influence pervade daily life and practice of the colonial religions that took root in the Philippines. Elements of folk belief melded with Christian and Islamic practices to give a unique perspective on these religions.
Just like the way Hinduism and Shintoism started, where they began as a collection of different indigenous belief systems from different ethnic groups, the indigenous belief systems of the Philippines are sometimes referred to as Dayawism. The term itself came from the word, 'dayaw', which is an indigenous word found in all indigenous languages in the country. The term means to give praise, to be proud of oneself and the nation the self represents, enhancements or improvements, or festivity and pride, depending on the language. Other terms used for the collection of Philippine indigenous religions are Anitism and Bathalism, although the two terms are Tagalog-centrist in terminology.
Due to the influx of Christianity, Islam, and other world religions in traditional communities, the indigenous practices, rituals, and spiritual performances and knowledge of indigenous Filipinos are fast disappearing. Cultural workers in the country suggest the Paiwan Model, which was made by the Taiwanese government to preserve indigenous religions, to save the Philippines' own indigenous religions. The indigenous practices and shamanism of the Paiwan people of Taiwan was the fastest declining religion in the country. This prompted the Taiwanense government to preserve the religion and to push for the establishment of the Paiwan School of Shamanism where religious leaders teach their apprentices the native religion so that it will never be lost. It became an effective medium in preserving, and even uplifting the Paiwan people's indigenous religion.
In the Philippines, shamanism is referred as dayawism, meaning 'gallant religions that give thanks to all living and non-living things'. As of 2018, there is no established school of dayawism in the Philippines, making the hundreds of indigenous religions in the country in great peril from extinction due to the influx of colonial-era religions. Each indigenous religion in the Philippines is distinct from each other, possessing unique epics, pantheons, belief systems, and other intangible heritage pertaining to religious beliefs. Due to this immense diversity in indigenous religions, a singular school of dayawism is not feasible. Rather, hundreds of schools of dayawism pertaining to an ethno-linguistic tribe is a better supplement to the current religious landscape in the Philippines.
The Bahá'í Faith in the Philippines started in 1921 with the first Bahá'í first visiting the Philippines that year, and by 1944 a Bahá'í Local Spiritual Assembly was established. In the early 1960s, during a period of accelerated growth, the community grew from 200 in 1960 to 1000 by 1962 and 2000 by 1963. In 1964 the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the Philippines was elected and by 1980 there were 64,000 Bahá'ís and 45 local assemblies. The Bahá'ís have been active in multi/inter-faith developments. The 2005 World Christian Encyclopedia estimates the Bahá'í population of the Philippines at about 247,500.
No written record exists about the early Buddhism in the Philippines. However, archaeological discoveries and the few scant references in the other nations' historical records can tell about the existence of Buddhism from the 9th century onward in the islands. These records mention the independent states that comprise the Philippines and which show that they were not united as one country in the early days. Archaeological finds include Buddhist artifacts. The style are of Vajrayana influence.
Loanwords with Buddhist context appear in languages of the Philippines. Archaeological finds include Buddhist artifacts. The style are of Vajrayana influence. The Philippines's early states must have become the tributary states of the powerful Buddhist Srivijaya empire that controlled the trade and its sea routes from the 6th century to the 13th century in Southeast Asia. The states's trade contacts with the empire long before or in the 9th century must have served as the conduit for introducing Vajrayana Buddhism to the islands.
Both Srivijaya empire in Sumatra and Majapahit empire in Java were unknown in history until 1918 when the Ecole Francaise d'Extreme Orient's George Coedes postulated their existence because they had been mentioned in the records of the Chinese Tang and Sung imperial dynasties. Ji Ying, a Chinese monk and scholar, stayed in Sumatra from 687 to 689 on his way to India. He wrote on the Srivijaya's splendour, "Buddhism was flourishing throughout the islands of Southeast Asia. Many of the kings and the chieftains in the islands in the southern seas admire and believe in Buddhism, and their hearts are set on accumulating good action."
Both empires replaced their early Theravada Buddhist religion with Vajrayana Buddhism in the 7th century.
The Philippines's archaeological finds include a few of Buddhist artifacts, most of them dated to the 9th century. The artifacts reflect the iconography of the Srivijaya empire's Vajrayana Buddhism and its influences on the Philippines's early states. The artifacts's distinct features point to their production in the islands and they hint at the artisans's or goldsmiths's knowledge of the Buddhist culture and the Buddhist literature because the artisans have made these unique works of Buddhist art. The artifacts imply also the presence of the Buddhist believers in the places where these artifacts turned up. These places extended from the Agusan-Surigao area in Mindanao island to Cebu, Palawan, and Luzon islands. Hence, Vajrayana Buddhism must have spread far and wide throughout the archipelago. And Vajrayana Buddhism must have become the religion of the majority of the inhabitants in the islands.
In 1225, China's Zhao Rugua, a superintendent of maritime trade in Fukien province wrote the book entitled Zhu Fan Zhi (Chinese: ; literally: ""Account of the Various Barbarians"") in which he described trade with a country called Ma-i in the island of Mindoro in Luzon,(pronounced "Ma-yi") which was a prehispanic Philippine state. In it he said:
The country of Mai is to the north of Borneo. The natives live in large villages on the opposite banks of a stream and cover themselves with a cloth like a sheet or hide their bodies with a loin cloth. There are metal images of Buddhas of unknown origin scattered about in the tangled wilds.
The gentleness of Tagalog customs that the first Spaniards found, very lfferent from those of other provinces of the same race and in Luzon itself, can very well be the effect of Buddhism "There are copper Buddha's" images.
The gold statue of the deity Tara is the most significant Buddhist artifact. In the Vajrayana Buddhist tradition, Tara symbolizes the Absolute in its emptiness as the wisdom heart's essence that finds its expression through love and through compassion. The Vajrayana tradition also tells about the outpouring of the human heart's compassion that manifests Tara and about the fascinating story of the Bodhisattva of Compassion shedding a tear out of pity for the suffering of all sentient beings when he hears their cries. The tear created a lake where a lotus flower emerges. It bears Tara who relieves their sorrow and their pain.
The Golden Tara was discovered in 1918 in Esperanza, Agusan and it has been kept in the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, Illinois since the 1920s. Henry Otley Beyer, the Philippines's pioneer anthropologist-archaeologist, and some experts have agreed on its identity and have dated it to belong within 900-950 CE, which covers the Sailendra period of the Srivijaya empire. They can not place, however, the Golden Tara's provenance because it has distinct features.
In the archipelago that was to become the Philippines, the statues of the Hindu gods were hidden to prevent their destruction by a religion which destroyed all cult images. One statue, a "Golden Tara", a 4-pound gold statue of a Hindu-Malayan goddess, was found in Mindanao in 1917. The statue, denoted the Agusan Image, is now in the Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago. The image is that of a Hindu-Malayan female deity, seated cross-legged. It is made of "twenty-one carat gold and weighs nearly four pounds." It has a richly ornamented headdress and many ornaments in the arms and other parts of the body. Scholars date it to the late 13th or early 14th century. It was made by local artists, perhaps copying from an imported Javanese model. The gold that was used was from this area, since Javanese miners were known to have been engaged in gold mining in Butuan at this time.
The existence of these gold mines, this artefact and the presence of "foreigners" proves the existence of some foreign trade, gold as element in the barter economy, and of cultural and social contact between the natives and "foreigners." As previously stated, this statue is not in The Philippines. Louise Adriana Wood (whose husband, Leonard Wood, was military-governor of the Moro Province in 1903-1906 and governor general in 1921-1927) raised funds for its purchase by the Chicago Museum of Natural History. It is now on display in that museum's Gold Room.
According to Prof. Beyer, considered the "Father of Philippine Anthropology and Archaeology", a woman in 1917 found it on the left bank of the Wawa River near Esperanza, Agusan, projecting from the silt in a ravine after a storm and flood. From her hands it passed into those of Bias Baklagon, a local government official. Shortly after, ownership passed to the Agusan Coconut Company, to whom Baklagon owed a considerable debt. Mrs. Wood bought it from the coconut company.
A golden statuette of the Hindu-Buddhist goddess Kinnara found in an archeological dig in Esperanza, Agusan del Sur. The Philippines's archaeological finds include many ancient gold artifacts. Most of them have been dated to belong to the 9th century iconography of the Srivijaya empire. The artifacts's distinct features point to their production in the islands. It is probable that they were made locally because archaeologist Peter Bellwood discovered the existence of an ancient goldsmith's shop that made the 20-centuries-old lingling-o, or omega-shaped gold ornaments in Batanes. Archaeological finds include Buddhist artifacts. The style are of Vajrayana influence.
The other finds are the garuda, the mythical bird that has been common to Buddhism and Hinduism, and several Padmapani images. Padmapani has been also known as Avalokitesvara, the enlightened being or Bodhisattva of Compassion.
Surviving Buddhist images and sculptures are primarily found in and at Tabon Cave. Recent research conducted by Philip Maise has included the discovery of giant sculptures, has also discovered what he believes to be cave paintings within the burial chambers in the caves depicting the Journey to the West.
Many Filipino customs have strong Buddhist influences. Estimates of the Buddhist population of the Philippines is around 2%. There are temples in Manila, Davao, and Cebu, and other places. Several schools of Buddhism are present in the Philippines - Mahayana, Vajrayana, Theravada, as well as groups such as Soka Gakkai International.
Christianity arrived in the Philippines with the landing of Ferdinand Magellan in 1521. In the late 16th century, the archipelago was claimed for Spain and named it after its king. Missionary activity during the country's colonial rule by Spain and the United States led the transformation of the Philippines into the first and then, along with East Timor, one of two predominantly Catholic nations in East Asia, with approximately 92.5% of the population belonging to the Christian faith.
Roman Catholicism is the predominant religion and the largest Christian denomination, with estimates of approximately 80.6% of the population belonging to this faith in the Philippines. The country has a significant Spanish Catholic tradition, and Spanish style Catholicism is embedded in the culture, which was acquired from priests or friars.
The Catholic Church has great influence on Philippine society and politics. One typical event is the role of the Catholic hierarchy during the bloodless People Power Revolution of 1986. Then-Archbishop of Manila and de facto Primate of the Philippines, Jaime Cardinal Sin appealed to the public via radio to congregate along Epifanio de los Santos Avenue in support of rebel forces. Some seven million people responded to the call between 22-25 February, and the non-violent protests successfully forced President Ferdinand E. Marcos out of power and into exile in Hawaii.
Several Catholic holidays are culturally important as family occasions, and are observed in the civil calendar. Chief among these are Christmas, which includes celebrations of the civil New Year, and the more solemn Holy Week, which may occur in March or April. Every November, Filipino families celebrate All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day as a single holiday in honour of the saints and the dead, visiting and cleaning ancestral graves, offering prayers, and feasting. As of 2018, Feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8 was added as a special non-working holiday.
Iglesia ni Cristo (English: Church of Christ; Spanish: Iglesia de Cristo) is the largest entirely indigenous-initiated religious organisation in the Philippines comprising roughly 2% of religious affiliation in the Philippines.Felix Y. Manalo officially registered the church with the Philippine Government on July 27, 1914 and because of this, most publications refer to him as the founder of the church. Felix Manalo claimed that he was restoring the church of Christ that was lost for 2,000 years. He died on April 12, 1963, aged 76.
The Iglesia ni Cristo is known for its large evangelical missions. The largest of which was the Grand Evangelical Mission (GEM) which also occurred simultaneously on 19 sites across the country. In Manila site alone, more than 600,000 people attended the event. Other programs includes the Lingap sa Mamamayan (Aid to Humanity), The Kabayan Ko Kapatid Ko (My Countrymen, My Brethren) and various resettlement projects for affected individuals.
The Jesus Miracle Crusade International Ministry (JMCIM) is an apostolic Pentecostal religious group from the Philippines which believes in the gospel of Jesus Christ with signs, wonders, miracles and faith in God for healing. JMCIM was founded by evangelist Wilde E. Almeda on February 14, 1975.
Members Church of God International (Filipino: Mga Kasapi Iglesia ng Dios Internasyonal) is a religious organization popularly known through its television program, Ang Dating Daan (Tagalog for "The Old Path").
The church is known for their "Bible Expositions", where guests and members are given a chance to ask any biblical question to the Overall Servant of the church, Eliseo Soriano directly from the Bible. He and his co-servants expose teachings of asked religions which are not biblical and expands more knowledge about some misunderstood verses by using old manuscripts and reliable bible translations. Besides general preaching, they also established charity works. Among these humanitarian services are the charity homes for the senior citizens and orphaned children and teenagers; transient homes; medical missions; full college scholarship; start-up capital for livelihood projects; vocational trainings for the differently-abled; free legal assistance; free bus, jeepney, and train rides for commuters and senior citizens, and; free Bible for everyone. In its effort to save lives, MCGI is now one of the major blood donor in the Philippines, as acknowledged by the Philippine National Red Cross.
The Most Holy Church of God in Christ Jesus (Filipino: Kabanalbanalang Iglesia ng Dios kay Kristo Hesus), is an independent Christian denomination officially registered in the Philippines by Teofilo D. Ora in May 1922. The Church claims to restore the visible Church founded in Jerusalem by Christ Jesus. It has spread to areas including California, USA; Calgary, Canada, Dubai, UAE and other Asian countries. The Church will be celebrating its centennial anniversary in May 2022.
The church was founded by Bishop Teofilo D. Ora in 1922. He, along with Avelino Santiago and Nicolas Perez, split off from the Iglesia ni Cristo (Church of Christ) in 1922. They initially called their church Iglesia Verdadera de Cristo Hesus (True Church of Christ Jesus). However, following a religious doctrine controversy, Nicolas Perez split off from the group and registered an offshoot called Iglesia ng Dios kay Kristo Hesus, Haligi at Suhay ng Katotohanan (Church of God in Christ Jesus, the Pillar and Support of the Truth). Teofilo D. Ora was bishop until his death in 1969. He was officially succeeded by Bishop Salvador C. Payawal who led the church until 1989. Subsequent bishops were Bishop Gamaliel T. Payawal (1989 to 2003) and Bishop Isagani N. Capistrano (2003-present). It was during Gamaliel Payawal's tenure when the church was renamed as Most Holy Church of God in Christ Jesus.
The Philippine Independent Church (officially Spanish: Iglesia Filipina Independiente, IFI; colloquially known as the Aglipayan Church) is an independent Christian denomination in the form of a national church in the Philippines. Its schism from the Catholic Church was proclaimed in 1902 by the members of the Unión Obrera Democrática Filipina due to the alleged mistreatment of Filipinos by Spanish priests and the execution of nationalist José Rizal under Spanish colonial rule.
Isabelo de los Reyes was one of the initiators of the separation, and suggested that former Catholic priest Gregorio Aglipay be the head of the church. It is also known as the Aglipayan Church after its first Obispo Maximo, Gregorio Aglipay.
Commonly shared beliefs in the Aglipayan Church are the rejection of the Apostolic Succession solely to the Petrine Papacy, the acceptance of priestly ordination of women, the free option of clerical celibacy, the tolerance to join Freemasonry groups, non-committal in belief regarding transubstantiation and Real Presence of the Eucharist, and the advocacy of contraception and same-sex civil rights among its members. Many saints canonised by Rome after the schism are also not officially recognised by the Aglipayan church and its members.
The Apostolic Catholic Church (ACC) is a catholic denomination founded in the 1980s in Hermosa, Bataan. It formally separated in the Roman Catholic Church in 1992 when Patriarch Dr. John Florentine Teruel registered it as a Protestant and Independent Catholic denomination. Today, it has more than 5 million members worldwide. The largest international congregations are in Japan, United States and Canada.
Orthodoxy has been continuously present in the Philippines for more than 200 years. It is represented by two groups, by the Exarchate of the Philippines (a jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople governed by the Orthodox Metropolitanate of Hong Kong and Southeast Asia), and by the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Mission in the Philippines (a jurisdiction of the Antiochian Orthodox Church governed by the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia, New Zealand, and All Oceania). In 1999, it was asserted that there were about 560 Orthodox church members in the Philippines.
Protestantism arrived in the Philippines with the take-over of the islands by Americans at the turn of the 20th century. Nowadays, they comprise about 10%-15% of the population with an annual growth rate of 10% since 1910 and constitute the largest Christian grouping after Roman Catholicism. In 1898, Spain lost the Philippines to the United States. After a bitter fight for independence against its new occupiers, Filipinos surrendered and were again colonized. The arrival of Protestant American missionaries soon followed. Protestant church organizations established in the Philippines during the 20th century include the following:
Members Church of God in Jesus Christ Worldwide (also known as Miembro de la Iglesia de Dios en Todo el Mundo Inc.) is an independent Christian organization with headquarters in the Philippines led by Wilfredo "Bro. Willy" Santiago, a former Bible reader for Members Church of God International (MCGI). Willy Santiago was excommunicated from MCGI due to various violations. Santiago is currently building a new church headquarters in Malolos, Bulacan.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) in the Philippines was founded during the Spanish-American War in 1898. Two men from Utah who were members of the United States artillery battery, and who were also set apart as missionaries by the Church before they left the United States, preached while stationed in the Philippines. Missionary work picked up after World War II, and in 1961 the Church was officially registered in the Philippines. In 1969, the Church had spread to eight major islands and had the highest number of baptisms of any area in the Church. A temple was built in 1984 which located in Quezon City and another in Cebu City, completed in 2010. Membership was 710,764 in 2015.
Islam reached the Philippines in the 14th century with the arrival of Muslim traders from the Persian Gulf, Southern India, and their followers from several sultanate governments in Maritime Southeast Asia. Islam's predominance reached all the way to the shores of Manila Bay, home to several Muslim kingdoms. During the Spanish conquest, Islam had a rapid decline as the predominant monotheistic faith in the Philippines as a result of the introduction of Roman Catholicism by Spanish missionaries and via the Spanish Inquisition. The southern Filipino tribes were among the few indigenous Filipino communities that resisted Spanish rule and conversions to Roman Catholicism. The vast majority of Muslims in Philippines follow Sunni Islam of Shafi school of jurisprudence, with small Shiite and Ahmadiyya minorities. Islam is the oldest recorded monotheistic religion in the Philippines.
As of 2015Philippine Statistics Authority, the Muslim population of Philippines in 2015 was 5.57%. However, a 2012 estimate by the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) stated that there were 10.7 million Muslims, or approximately 11 percent of the total population.. According to the
In 1380 Karim ul' Makhdum the first Arabian trader reached the Sulu Archipelago and Jolo in the Philippines and through trade throughout the island established Islam in the country. In 1390 the Minangkabau's Prince Rajah Baguinda and his followers preached Islam on the islands. The Sheik Karimal Makdum Mosque was the first mosque established in the Philippines on Simunul in Mindanao in the 14th century. Subsequent settlements by Arab missionaries traveling to Malaysia and Indonesia helped strengthen Islam in the Philippines and each settlement was governed by a Datu, Rajah and a Sultan.
By the next century conquests had reached the Sulu islands in the southern tip of the Philippines where the population was animistic and they took up the task of converting the animistic population to Islam with renewed zeal. By the 15th century, half of Luzon (Northern Philippines) and the islands of Mindanao in the south had become subject to the various Muslim sultanates of Borneo and much of the population in the South were converted to Islam. However, the Visayas was largely dominated by Hindu-Buddhist societies led by rajahs and datus who strongly resisted Islam. One reason could be due to the economic and political disasters prehispanic Muslim pirates from the Mindanao region bring during raids. These frequent attacks gave way to naming present-day Cebu as then-Sugbo or scorched earth which was a defensive technique implemented by the Visayans so the pirates have nothing much to loot.
Moro (derived from the Spanish word meaning Moors) is the appellation inherited from the Spaniards, for Filipino Muslims and tribal groups of Mindanao. The Moros seek to establish an independent Islamic province in Mindanao to be named Bangsamoro. The term Bangsamoro is a combination of an Old Malay word meaning nation or state with the Spanish word Moro. A significant Moro rebellion occurred during the Philippine-American War. Conflicts and rebellion have continued in the Philippines from the pre-colonial period up to the present.
The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) comprises the Philippines' predominantly Muslim provinces, namely: Basilan (except Isabela City), Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, and the Islamic City of Marawi. It is the only region with its own government. The regional capital is at Cotabato City, although this city is outside of its jurisdiction.
Even since the 1590s some Jews fleeing from The Inquisition were recorded to have come to the Philippines. As of 2005, Filipino Jews number at the very most 18,500 people. As of 2011 , Metro Manila boasted the largest Jewish community in the Philippines which, as of 2008, consisted of roughly 100 families.
The country's only synagogue, Beth Yaacov, is located in Makati. There are other Jews elsewhere in the country, but these are much fewer and almost all transients, either diplomats or business envoys, and their existence is almost totally unknown in mainstream society. There are a few Israelis in Manila recruiting caregivers for Israel, some work in call centers, businessmen and a few other executives. A number are converts to Judaism.
The Srivijaya Empire and Majapahit Empire on what is now Malaysia and Indonesia, introduced Hinduism and Buddhism to the islands. Ancient statues of Hindu-Buddhist gods have been found in the Philippines dating as far back as 600 to 1600 years from present.
The archipelagoes of Southeast Asia were under the influence of Hindu Tamil people, Gujarati people and Indonesian traders through the ports of Malay-Indonesian islands. Indian religions, possibly an amalgamated version of Hindu-Buddhist arrived in Philippines archipelago in the 1st millennium, through the Indonesian kingdom of Srivijaya followed by Majapahit. Archeological evidence suggesting exchange of ancient spiritual ideas from India to the Philippines includes the 1.79 kilogram, 21 carat gold Hindu goddess Agusan (sometimes referred to as Golden Tara), found in Mindanao in 1917 after a storm and flood exposed its location.
Another gold artifact, from the Tabon caves in the island of Palawan, is an image of Garuda, the bird who is the mount of Vishnu. The discovery of sophisticated Hindu imagery and gold artifacts in Tabon caves has been linked to those found from Oc Eo, in the Mekong Delta in Southern Vietnam. These archaeological evidence suggests an active trade of many specialized goods and gold between India and Philippines and coastal regions of Vietnam and China. Golden jewelry found so far include rings, some surmounted by images of Nandi - the sacred bull, linked chains, inscribed gold sheets, gold plaques decorated with repoussé images of Hindu deities.
Today Hinduism is largely confined to the Indian Filipinos and the expatriate Indian community. Theravada and Vajrayana Buddhism, are practiced by Tibetans, Sri Lankan, Burmese and Thai nationals. There are Hindu temples in Manila, as well as in the provinces. There are temples also for Sikhism, sometimes located near Hindu temples. The two Paco temples are well known, comprising a Hindu temple and a Sikh temple.
In February 2009, Filipino Freethinkers was formed. Since 2011, the Philippine Atheists and Agnostics Society has held its OUT Campaigns in Rizal Park and Quezon Memorial Circle. Also it held two feeding programs "Good without Religion" in Bacoor, Cavite. The society also is a member affiliate and associate of various international atheist organizations such as the Atheist Alliance International, Institute for Science and Human Values, and the International Humanist and Ethical Union, as one among secular organizations that promotes free thought and scientific development in the Philippines.
The 1987 Constitution of the Philippines declares: The separation of Church and State shall be inviolable. (Article II, Section 6), and, No law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever be allowed. No religious test shall be required for the exercise of civil or political rights. (Article III, Section 5). Joaquin Bernas, a Filipino Jesuit specializing in constitutional law, acknowledges that there were complex issues that were brought to court and numerous attempts to use the separation of Church and State against the Roman Catholic Church, but he defends the statement, saying that "the fact that he [Marcos] tried to do it does not deny the validity of the separation of church and state".
On April 28, 2004, the Philippines Supreme Court reversed the ruling of a lower court ordering five religious leaders to refrain from endorsing a candidate for elective office. Manila Judge Conception Alarcon-Vergara had ruled that the "head of a religious organization who influences or threatens to punish members could be held liable for coercion and violation of citizen's right to vote freely". The lawsuit filed by Social Justice Society party stated that "the Church's active participation in partisan politics, using the awesome voting strength of its faithful flock, will enable it to elect men to public office who will in turn be forever beholden to its leaders, enabling them to control the government".
They claimed that this violates the Philippine constitution's separation of Church and State clause. The named respondents were Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, El Shaddai Movement Leader Mike Velarde, Iglesia ni Cristo Executive Minister Eduardo V. Manalo and Jesus Is Lord Church leader Eddie Villanueva. Manalo's Iglesia ni Cristo practices bloc voting. Former Catholic Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin had been instrumental in rallying support for the assumption to power of Corazon Aquino and Gloria Arroyo. Velarde supported Fidel V. Ramos, Joseph Estrada, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Benigno Aquino III while Villanueva endorsed Fidel Ramos and Jose De Venecia. The papal nuncio agreed with the decision of the lower court while the other respondents challenged the decision.
The 2000 survey states that Islam is the largest minority religion, constituting approximately 5 percent of the population. A 2012 estimate by the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF), however, states that there are 10.7 million Muslims, which is approximately 11 percent of the total population.