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Elements of folk belief melded with Christian and Islamic practices to give a unique perspective on these religions.In the early 1960s, during a period of accelerated growth, the community grew from 200 in 1960 to 1000 by 19 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.
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).
Variations of animistic practices occur in different ethnic groups. 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.
Governmentally, the Philippines is a secular nation, with its constitution guaranteeing separation of church and state, and requiring 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, the National Commission of Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) disputes this and claims the adherence of about 11% of the total population. 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 people community, Japanese Filipino community, During pre-colonial times, a form of animism was widely practiced in the Philippines.
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 noting about warrior priestesses leading tribal spiritual affairs. 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.