Thursday 31 January 2019

Biggest Cities In The Philippines

Quezon City, the Philippines, and Cebu are among the largest cities in the Philippines.

The Philippines is an island nation located in South East Asia. It is the second largest archipelago on earth, comprised of over 7,000 islands. As of 2015, the population in the Philippines was an estimated at 102.2 million. The nation also ranks among the fastest growing countries in terms of population, with an annual growth rate of nearly 2%. Here are the largest cities in the Philippines according to the latest official census.

Quezon City - 2,936,116

Quezon City is the biggest city in the Philippines by population. Confusingly, Quezon City does not actually have anything to do with Quezon province. The city is located in the Guadalupe Plateau. Quezon City experiences a tropical climate and is prone to heavy rains and even monsoons. The city has experienced a high degree of population growth over years, to the point where it has surpasses Manila to become the country's most populated city. Population growth is expected to continue.

Manila - 1,780,148

Manila is one of the most densely populated cities in the world. The city is the capital city of the Philippines, and it is the economic, administrative, and social center of the nation. In contrast to other Asian countries, economic growth in the Philippines has been mainly concentrated on a single urban center. Manila generates nearly half the country’s total Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Approximately 94% of the population in Manila is Malay-Indonesian by ethnicity with some European, Spanish, Chinese or American ancestry. The rest of the population is Chinese. The Tagalog language is widely spoken in the city while English is the official business and educational language. The residents are employed in the city’s industries, such as textiles, food and tobacco processing, chemical manufacturing and coconut oil processing. Manila is also a vital seaport in the country. The Metropolitan is made up of 17 municipalities, which range from elegant business districts and affluent neighborhoods to slums and shanty towns. The economic growth in Manila has brought with it challenges such as overpopulation, drug use and crime, pollution, and traffic congestion. Overcrowding in the city has caused other problems such as inadequate health care, inadequate sanitation and a rise in poverty. The municipal agencies in Manila struggle to offer public services to the ever growing population.

Caloocan - 1,583,978

The name Caloocan comes from the Tagalog word meaning "innermost area". True to its name, the city of Caloocan is bordered by a number of large cities, including Manila and Quezon City. Today it is one of the largest cities in the Philippines with a population of 1,583,978.

Davao City - 1,632,991

Davao City had a population of 1,632,991 in 2015. The city is a trade, educational, and tourism center of the Davao region. The city is divided into 11 districts for effective and efficient administration. The city has been subject to an influx of rural immigrants. The ethnicity of Davao’s population is diverse. Cebuanos and indigenous Davaoenos are the majority groups, while Illongos, Aeta, and Lumad form the minority ethnicities. Most of the residents are employed in the agricultural sector, because the Davao region is a major producer of bananas, coffee, coconut, and pineapple in Asia. Cacao production has been a growing trend in the region as well. Davao City has been confronted with the issue of sprawling informal settlements in the neighborhood. Traffic congestion and pollution continue to affect the livability situation of the city.

Cebu - 922,611

The city of Cebu registered a population of 2,849,213 as of 2015 statistics. Cebu has been an attractive destination for rural to urban migration due to a boom in investments and tourism. Cebu’s economy has been rapidly increasing, driven mainly by the industry and service sector. A surge in tourism has fueled construction of mega projects such as hotels, resorts, and malls which create employment opportunities for residents.

The Cebuano language is the predominant language in the city, followed by Tagalog and Hiligaynon. There are numerous churches across the city, with the dominant one being Roman Catholic while most of the rest are Protestant congregations. The city has not been immune to problems associated with rapid urban growth. The city has been subject to flooding due to poor drainage. Traffic congestion has been blamed on poor enforcement of traffic laws and regulation. Pollution and proliferation of slums have also been witnessed in the city.

Biggest Cities In The Philippines

Rank City Population
1 Quezon City 2,936,116
2 Manila 1,780,148
3 Caloocan 1,583,978
4 Davao City 1,632,991
5 Cebu 922,611
6 Zamboanga City 861,799
7 Taguig 804,915
8 Pasig 755,300
9 Cagayan De Oro City 675,950
10 Paranaque 665,822

By Benjamin Elisha Sawe

•culled from

Tuesday 29 January 2019

The Culture Of The Philippines

The culture of the Philippines is influenced by both the east and the west.

The Philippines is commonly referred to as a melting pot of western and eastern cultures. The traditional culture of the Philippines is heavily influenced by the traditions of the indigenous Austronesian people. The cultural landscape also features Spanish, American, Japanese, Arabic, and Indonesian influence. The major religions in the country are Christianity and Islam which have played a significant role in shaping the culture of the Philippines.

Social Beliefs And Customs

The social beliefs and customs practiced in the Philippines are primarily influenced by religion and demographics of the region where they lare practiced. The traditional customs of the indigenous Filipinos are based on the beliefs of the Austronesian inhabitants of the Philippines.

Religion, Festivals And Holidays

The Constitution of the Philippines provides for the freedom of religion. The Philippines is one of the few Asian countries to have a Christian majority. About 90.07% of Philippines residents identify as Christians with 80.58% of the population being followers of the Roman Catholic Church and about 11% being other Christian denominations. Islam is the second largest religion in the country with about 5.6% of citizens identifying as Muslim. The majority of the Muslim Filipinos are Sunni Muslims, but there is also a small number of Ahmadiyya Muslims. The cultural diversity in the Philippines is showcased in numerous festivals, locally known as fiestas, which are celebrated in the country. All of the festivals have religious or cultural significance. Due to the predominance of the Roman Catholic faith, most cities and towns in the Philippines have patron saints who are honored through festivals. For instance, the Silmugi Festival (held in honor of Saint Sebastian), the Sinulog Festival (held in honor of Santo Nino de Cebu), and the Kuraldal Festival (held in honor of Saint Lucy). While most festivals are only observed in particular regions or towns, some are public holidays which are celebrated all over the country. Some public holidays observed in the Philippines include New Year’s Day (observed on January 1st), the Holy Week (observed between March and April), Independence Day (observed on June 12th), Christmas Day (observed on December 25th), and Rizal Day (observed on December 30th).

Music And Dance

The music composed in the Philippines is influenced by all the cultures in the country. The traditional folk songs are primarily inspired by the indigenous customs and beliefs. Some notable composers of Filipino folk music include Lucio San Pedro from the National Artist for Music as well as Antonio Buenaventura, a renowned patriotic music composer. The music composed in the urban regions of the Philippines, particularly targeted to the youth is known as original pinoy music or Philippine pop music. Popular musicians from this genre include Christian Bautista, Sarah Geronimo, Yeng Constantino, and groups such as True Faith, Yano, The Teeth, and Neocolours among others. Other popular genres include jazz, hip hop, reggae, and Latino music. Dance in the Philippines ranges from traditional indigenous-inspired dances to modern “western-inspired” dances. Tinikling is an example of a traditional dance with nationwide appeal.

Literature And Arts

Ancient Filipino literature was primarily made up of legends and folklore which were the main forms of literature before the Spanish colonization of the country. These folktales were based on specific themes and aimed to pass down traditions and cultural beliefs through generations. While most of these folktales existed as oral literature, written publications did exist particularly during the Spanish colonial era. One such publication is the “ Ibong Adarna,” a story written by Jose de la Cruz. Other famed writers of this period include Francisco Balagtas, famed for his publication “Florante at Laura” as well as Jose Rizal. The earliest form of art is traced back to 5000 BC through pottery discovered in the Sanga-Sanga Cave. Ancient Filipinos were also gifted tattoo artists who decorated their bodies in multi-colored pigmentation with environment-inspired designs. The tattoo work on these ancient Filipinos was done so well that Portuguese explorers called them the “Painted People” or the “Pintados.” Modern artists in the Philippines include Damian Domingo, Juan Luna, Fernando Amorsolo, and Elito Circa who is known world-wide for painting using his blood. There are numerous museums in the Philippines which showcase the artistry in the country which include the National Art Gallery as well as the Metropolitan Museum of Art located in Manila.


An excellent way that the cultural diversity in the Philippines is portrayed is through the local cuisine. The cuisine in the Philippines is influenced by local and foreign cultures. Rice is the staple meal in the country and is usually prepared through steaming and is served together with other foods. Rice is also ground to rice flour which is used in the preparation of pastries and sweets. The abundance of fish in the country makes seafood another common food item in most households with tilapia, clams, mussels, cod, squid, and catfish being salted, fried, and served with rice and vegetables. Other popular food items in the Philippines include lechon (roasting of a whole pig common during festivals), mechado (larded beef with tomato sauce), and afritada (pork or chicken prepared with vegetables and tomato sauce) among others. The country is also home to many “western” fast food franchises including Pizza Hut, KFC, and McDonald’s.


The Maria Clara is a traditional dress worn by Filipino women. The traditional attire gets its name from a famous character known as Maria Clara in the epic 19th-century narrative, “Noli me tangere” written by Jose Rizal. The Maria Clara is made of four components namely; the saya (a long dress), the tapis (a knee-long skirt), the camisa (a collarless chemise), and the panuelo (a stiff scarf). In recent years, the Maria Clara has been modernized to produce a modern version known as the terno which was popularized by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who wore the terno during the 2008 State of the Nation Address. Another traditional garment of the Philippines is the Barong Tagalog normally worn by men during special occasions. Also known as the Baro, the Barong Tagalog features a formal long shirt decorated with embroidery. The attire was popularized by President Ramon Magsaysay who wore the Baro in most state functions.


The national sport in the country is Arnis, a type of martial arts. Boxing is one of the most popular sports in the Philippines with the country producing global superstar boxer and the only eight-division champion in the world, Manu Pacquiao. Another popular sport is basketball with the country producing international basketball players such as Robert Jaworski and Carlos Loyzaga.

By Benjamin Elisha Sawe

•Culled from

Sunday 27 January 2019

Who Are The Tagalog People?

The Tagalog people are a large minority ethnic group in the Philippines, many of whom speak their own Tagalog language.

5. Description and Geographic Distribution

The Tagalog people are a large minority ethnic group in the Philippines , many of which speak the Tagalog language. The term Tagalog is a combination of two words, taga and ilog , which literally means “people living along the river bank.” The Tagalogs are famous for their so-called “ Bayanihan” spirit, which is interpreted as striving in cooperation with fellow villagers in doing any heavy manual labor to make the task easier. However, this practice is not given as much importance in modern, urban areas as in traditional rural settings. The Tagalogs are fond of celebrations at the drop of a hat, which may consist of drinking alcoholic beverages, presenting plays, dancing, and enjoying card games. Tagalogs can mainly be found in Manila and the outlying cities of Quezon, Bataan, Aurora, Cavite, Bulacan, Laguna, Nueva Ecija, and Marinduque in the Philippines.

4. Historical Role

It is said that the Tagalogs migrated from Taiwan to Luzon Island in the Philippines around 4,000 BCE. There is evidence concerning this migration in a 9th Century copperplate called the Laguna Copperplate Inscription, which was found along the Luzon coastline. However, today the Tagalog people include a mix of either Spanish, Chinese, or Malay ethnicities, creating a mestizo,
or "half-blood", population. The Tagalogs played a central role in trade with the early Chinese that arrived in junks before the Spaniards arrived in the Philippines. They were also the first to revolt against the ill treatment of the Spanish conquistadors and their religious persecutions. They were also the first to antagonize the so called "American Imperialism" (colonization) of the late 19th Century after the Spaniards left the country.

3. Arts, Culture and Cuisine

The Tagalogs comprise the second biggest in population in the country after the Visayans, with the latter living centered around the middle parts of the Philippines where the world-famous Boracay Beach can be found. The early Tagalogs worshiped nature deities that had a hierarchical system of gods. They also had their own government and educational system. Later, the Spaniards converted most urban Tagalogs to Christianity. Tagalogs had a custom that dictated that the groom lives with the bride in her family home until such time that they can build their own. Workers in rice fields often work accompanied with singing, and men may relax in the evenings while singing to their prospective ladyloves. Essentially, Tagalogs like a relaxed lifestyle, specially those in rural areas. Festivals are the high points occupying their monthly calendars. Tagalog cuisine has many external cultural influences, ranging from Chinese, Spanish, Muslim, and American cuisine alike. Traditional Tagalog dishes can still be found here, such as sticky rice cakes, coconut sweets, crusty pitas filled with molasses, and wines created from sugar cane and coconut.

2. Notable Tagalog

Many notable Tagalogs are known worldwide, including many of the revolutionaries who fought against the Spaniards. These have included:

•  Jose Rizal, a national hero and a               doctor of medicine who wrote two           books about Spanish abuses adapting     them in his novels.

•  Emilio Aguinaldo, a revolutionary           leader during the American                       occupation who later became the first     president of the Philippines.

•  Manuel L. Quezon, also a President of     the Filipino republic.

•  Francisco Balagtas, a revolutionary         poet.

•  Juan Luna, a Filipino artist and.               revolutionary who exhibited his               works in Spain.

•  Other revolutionary leaders of the           1890s, including the likes of                       Apolinario Mabini, Andres Bonifacio,     and Emilio Jacinto.

• Post-war leaders famous for their            individual contribution to the country    are Presidents Manuel Quezon and          Jose Laurel. Controversial Filipinos          have included President Ferdinand        Marcos and the Senator Benigno              Aquino, who were some of the most        important government officials in            Filipino history.

1. External Threats and Disputes

Today, the Scarborough Shoal in the Philippine Sea has been the subject of a matter that has been brought before the United Nations Court. Several countries have made territorial claims to the islands, and among the countries contesting the islands are the Philippines, China, and Taiwan. Historical records show that the Scarborough Shoal was named by Philip D'Auvergne, captain of an East Indian Company ship with the same name, in 1784. Other islands in the South China Sea that are being disputed are the Paracel Islands and the Spratly Islands. The Paracel are being contested by Vietnam , China, and Taiwan, while the Spratlys are being disputed by China, Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan, and the Philippines. The Spratlys are also occupied by several military units from several of these countries. The United Nations has also entered the picture in many of these matters, but no internationally binding ruling has yet been given.

By Rolando Y Wee

•culled from

Friday 25 January 2019

Ethnic Groups In The Philippines

The Tagalog people represent the largest ethnic group in the Philippines.


Much is remain unknown regarding the history of the Tagalogs prior to the Spanish Colonization of the Philippine Islands in the 16th Century. However, since the Filipinos are mostly people of Malay origin, it can be inferred that the original Tagalogs were also of Malay descent. Due their concentration mostly in riverine locations, Tagologs historically have been involved in fishing, agriculture and sometimes craft. They are also known to engage in trade with surrounding nations such as China, Japan, India and others. In terms of culture, the Taglog peoples lay much emphasis on respect and good behaviors which is evident in their soft-spoken language. Family bonds are also at the center of Tagolog life. However, Tagolog culture today has been influenced by Western ideologies. For instance, the predominant religion is now Roman Catholicism.


Cebuanos are Austronasian-speaking peoples that settled in the Filipino province of Cebu, between the 10th and 16th Centuries. They can also be found in Leyte, Negros Oriental and Negros Occidental provinces. Prior to Spanish colonization, Cebuanos were mostly involved in fishing, but today they are also involved in manufacturing, crafts, as well as other forms of food production. Cebuanos also held various Indigenous beliefs but most are now Christians due to Colonization. Regarding culture, Cebuanos are very artistic. They are involved in dancing, singing, painting and other forms of crafts. They also hold several beliefs regarding birth, death, and marriage, and place emphases on respect, humility and honesty.


The Ilocanos historically are also of Malay/Austronesian descent that settled in the Northern region of Luzon before the arrival of Spanish Colonial Masters. Around the 17th Century there was an uprising of the Illocanos, as well as among other ethnic groups, against Spanish oppression. Their major activities include rice farming, salt production, and a significant amount of fishing. Some cultural rites observed center around marriage, funerals, and rites of passage. Emphasis among the Illocanos is on independence through hard work, respect and tolerance for the feelings of others. They are also primarily Roman Catholics, but some also practice religious syncretism.

Visayan (Bisaya)

These are people of Austronesian and Negrito ancestry that settled in the Visayan Islands around 30,000 years ago. Today, they are concentrated in the provinces of Negros Oriental, Negros Occidental, and Cebu. They are mainly involooved in the activities of farming and lumbering. Visayans are rarely involved in foreign trade, but they trade crops such as tobacco and coconut with other islands. Visayans place more importance on the present life than after-life. This is reflected in their adventurous and comfort-seeking lifestyle. The main religion among Visayans is also Roman Catholicism.


These are Austronesian language speakers who are a subdivision of the Visaya ethnic group. They are mainly found in the Western Visaya region. Some of their economic activities include rice and sugarcane farming, fishing, and textile production. The Hiligaynons believe that every deed comes with reward or punishment as the case may be. They have a very rich culture which includes very significant festivals,. One of these is Dinagyang, which is a celebration of the baby Jesus in the form of a statue. They are also involved in trade activities with countries such as China. Hiligaynons are known as very friendly people.


Bikolanos are descendants of Southern Chinese immigrants. They mainly occupy the Southern peninsula of Luzon. Agriculture is the mainstay of the Bikolano economy, especially in such crops as banana, coconut, rice and corn. Co-operation among family members is highly emphasized in various aspects, including providing financial support to one's family. They are generally conservative in nature, while laying emphasis on education. Bikolanos have a host of cultural festivals, the most grand being the "Our Lady of Penafrancia" festival. This festival involves the celebration of the statue of the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus.


Warays are also a subdivision of the Visayans that migrated to the Philippines during the Iron age. They mostly inhabit the Islands of Leyte and Samar, which are largely underdeveloped. The main economic activities of the Waray people is farming and fishing, and the major cash crop is coconut. They are also involved in wine production. Warays are deeply involved in faith-healing rituals, which is the use of folk medicine, prayers or symbols to effect healing of various ailments.

Chinese Filipino

These are Filipinos of Chinese ancestry who have arrived in the Philippines, especially those coming by way of migration from China. The Chinese Filipinos have not been very open to cultural assimilation. Hence, a variety of customs and traditions which have disappeared in China are still being practiced by Chinese Filipinos, some with variations. They observe several customs pertaining to child-naming, marriage and death/funerals. The financial strength of the Chinese Filipinos is evident in their dominance of majority of the trade and manufacturing industries.

Other Groups

Other ethnic groups in the Philippines include the Kapampangan, Pangasinan, Kalinga, Ifugao, and Kankaney. Some of these ethnicities are subcultures or subdivisions of other groups. Hence, they share similar cultures with the above groups. These groups mostly occupy various locations on the Luzon Island. Some other populations come from overseas, bringing with them their own cultures. These include Koreans, Japanese, Indonesians, and several others.

Ethnic Groups In The Philippines

Rank Ethnic Group Share of Filipino Population

1 Tagalog 28.1%
2 Cebuano 13.1%
3 Ilocano/Ilokano 9.0%
4 Visayan/Bisaya 7.6%
5 Hiligaynon 7.5%
6 Bikol 6.0%
7 Waray 3.4%
8 Chinese Filipino 2.5%
Others 22.8%

•By Diana Anthony

•Culled from

Wednesday 23 January 2019

Major Cities of Pakistan

Pakistan's biggest cities and towns are among the world's most densely populated areas.

Pakistan is situated in South Asia and ranks among the world's most populated countries. The country boasts of over 200 million inhabitants occupying 881,913 km 2 of land mass. The largest city in Pakistan is Karachi.
Pakistan has experienced rapid economic growth to become a semi-industrialized economy, a situation which has caused the emergence of the major cities such as Karachi and Lahore. The population of Pakistan is predominantly indo-Iranian speakers and the country is culturally and historically associated with its neighbors of India, Afghanistan and Iran. The country was created when it was partitioned from British India and together with India got their independence in 1947.

The Three Biggest Cities In Pakistan

Karachi - 14,916,456

Karachi is Pakistan's largest city by population. In fact, the Karachi Metro area is one of the largest on Earth by population. The city is the capital of Sindh Province. Karachi lies along the Arabian Sea and is the biggest and most vital port in Pakistan. The city started as a small fishing village established by the Sindhi and Baloch tribes. A small number of descendants of these tribes still live in the area to date.
Karachi is the financial hub of Pakistan. It has the largest Stock Exchange in Pakistan and hosts headquarters of major corporations in the country. An increasing trend in Karachi is the rise of investors in the IT sector. Karachi is slowly becoming an information and communications hub. Industries in Karachi include textiles, automobiles, steel, and pharmaceuticals. Karachi pollution ranks higher than the recommended standards by the WHO. Economic disparities among the people of Karachi have led to the proliferation of shanty towns and slums. The living conditions in these areas are often poor and there is no access to sanitation and clean water. Waterborne diseases kill thousands of people annually in Karachi. Karachi also faces the problem of traffic congestion, because vehicles are increasing at a higher rate than the expansion rate of existing transportation infrastructure.

Lahore - 11,126,285

Lahore has a population of 11,126,285. It is the capital of Punjab Province. Lahore has a rich history and has served as the capital of various empires such as Shahi, Mughal, and Sikh. Lahore’s architecture is a blend of modern and ancient. Lahore is considered a cultural, educational, arts, and sports center in Pakistan. Lahore contributes almost 13% to Pakistan’s economy and has a lucrative service sector with industries such as real estate, banking, finance services, tourism and information and technology services. These industries employ a substantial population in the city. The dominant religion in Lahore is Islam, and there are numerous mosques scattered in the city.
The city’s rapid economic growth has been accompanied by a surge in development projects such as housing and shopping centers. The infrastructure in Lahore is relatively modern although it has been at the cost of environmental sustainability. Lahore has seen an increase in traffic congestion due to many vehicles using existing inadequate infrastructure.

Faisalabad - 3,204,726

Faisalabad has a population of 3,204,726 and is in a district in the province of Punjab. Faisalabad has long been a community of villages and became an urban center under British rule. It flourished as a commercial, industrial, and agricultural center into the metropolitan it is today. Industries in the city include textiles, pharmaceuticals, paper, beverages, jewelry and food processing. Agricultural produce from the city includes cotton, vegetables, wheat and sugarcane. The city’s infrastructure was well planned and includes extensive networks of roads, highways, and rail. A growing trend in the city has been the attraction of numerous investors, who initiate mega projects such as malls because of the rising middle class. The city has not been immune to problems associated with rapid growth such as slums, shanty towns, and traffic congestion.

Biggest Cities In Pakistan

Rank Name Population
1 Karachi 14,916,456
2 Lahore 11,126,285
3 Faisalabad 3,204,726
4 Rawalpindi 2,098,231
5 Gujranwala 2,027,001
6 Peshawar 1,970,042
7 Multan 1,871,843
8 Hyderabad 1,734,309
9 Islamabad 1,009,832
10 Quetta 1,001,205

By Benjamin Elisha Sawe 

•culled from

Monday 21 January 2019

Who Are The Punjabi People?

Mostly found in Northern India and Pakistan, Punjabis are one of the largest ethnic groups on the face of the earth.

Punjabi Diaspora

Mostly found in Northern India and Pakistan, Punjabis are one of the largest ethnic groups on the face of the earth. They belong to the Indo-Aryan race. They overwhelm other ethnic Indians and Pakistanis by their sheer population of 88 million. About 20 million of that total live in Punjab, India, while 68 million are in Pakistani Punjab. Historically, these two regions were the ancestral homelands of the Punjabi people. As a people, they are industrious, loud, and full of humor. The so-called Punjabi identity is the coming together of many groups of people who lived in the Punjab states of India and Pakistan.

Historical Role

The Punjab regions gave the Punjab nation their identity and homogeneous culture. The name Punjab itself means, “Land of the Five Rivers” It has its origin from the Persian words panj (five) and
ab (river). The two regions developed from ancient agricultural settlements that were the Harappan civilization from the Third Millenium BC onwards. The Ravi River was the prime location where their ancestors settled, and the Afghans, Turks, Huns, Greeks, and Persians are all counted as part of the Punjabi lineage. Over time, they were to come under the rules of the Mogul Empire, the Sikh nation, and Imperial Britain. In 1947, the Punjab region was divided into two, and officially became Indian Punjab and Pakistani Punjab, as predominately Muslim Pakistan sought to free itself from predominately Hindu India.

Punjabi Art, Culture, and Cuisine

Punjabi culture encompasses its art and crafts, music, cuisine, architecture, and festivals. Art in Punjab society includes mud used to plaster their homes and walls creating a variety of designs similar to wallpaper. Metalwork includes cutlery and household table items. Wooden toys and boxes are also popular handicraft items as well as basketry of glass. Needlework, rug making, footwear, paintings, weaving, and embroidery all add to the variety. Literature and poetry are practiced as art. Dances include the
Bhangra and Jumar, which are popular during celebrations. Punjabi cuisine is composed of chicken, bread, rice, yogurt, sweets, and spices. Popular Punjabi dishes are tandoori chicken, pakoras, samosas, naan, mutter paneer, barfi, and gulab jamun.

Language and Religion

There are about 130 million Indians and Pakistanis who use the Punjabi language as their mother tongue. Although some ethnic Punjab groups may use other variants of the language in another dialect depending on their origin like the Lahnda languages. Pakistan has about 76,335,300 native speakers, while India has 29,102,477 users of the Punjabi language. Some 102 million migrants around the world also use Punjabi as first language. Religion plays a major part in Punjabi life. In earlier times, Hindu and Buddhism ruled their way of life. Then, Islam, Sikhism, Christianity, and other minor religions were introduced and accepted by the Punjab people. Christians are either Catholic or Protestant, with more members in Pakistan than in India.

Modern Threats and Influences

Many Punjabi subgroups also belong to the Sikh religious faith, and these are an important subset of the larger Punjabi culture. The Sikhs originally ruled the Punjab regions from 1767 to 1799, after which they became subject to British rule. The problem of the Sikh extremists has arisen from their desire to be independent and form their own country of Khalistan, which would be located in the Punjab regions of India. This has resulted in the killings of people in the area. Since then, the declaration and sovereignty of the country of Khalistan has been on and off. Having started at the time of Prime Minister of Indira Gandhi, the Sikh extremists have continued to create civil strife and unrest in the Punjab region of India still today.

By Rolando Y. Wee

•culled from

Tuesday 15 January 2019

The Pakistani People - Cultures around the World

Among the oldest known civilizations in human history, the long history of the Pakistani people has been rife with challenges.


Pakistanis are for the most part citizens of the modern day nation of Pakistan . Located in South Asia, Pakistan borders India to the east, Afghanistan to the west, the Gulf of Oman and Arabian Sea (or Persian Sea) to the south, Iran to the southwest, and China in the far northeast. Pakistan is composed of multiple ethnic groups, and is also linguistically diverse as well. With a population of over 199 million, Pakistan has one of the fastest growing populations in the world. The population of Pakistan is comprised in large by those tracing their ancestries to Indo-Aryan groups of people. Indo-Aryans are a set of ethnolinguistically diverse groups of Indo-European peoples, who in turn speak Indo-Aryan languages. Most of the Indo-Aryan languages are native to South Asia, among which Urdu, Punjabi, Pashto, and Saraiki are spoken most widely in the country. Punjabis (45%), Pashtuns (15%) and Sindhi (14%) make up the major ethnic groups in the country. Minority ethnic groups include the Hazara People (who trace their ancestry to neighbouring Afghanistan), Pamiri people (originally from Tajikistan , and the Baltis (an ethnic group of Tibetan descent). Alongside Urdu, English enjoys the de facto status of being an official language of Pakistan. Islam is the official religion of the country, with 96 per cent of Pakistan’s population being adherents to its teachings.


Pakistan’s architecture traces its roots back to the earliest Indus Valley Civilizations, which date back to 7,500 BCE. The Indus Valley Civilizations extended to include neighbouring India and parts of Afghanistan. Considered to be among the world’s oldest, Indus Valley Civilizations are known today for being the forerunners that innovated what would become modern drainage and sanitary systems. The 1st Century AD saw a rise in the Greco-Buddhist style of architecture, with archeological ruins of the Takht-i-Bahi complex remaining the most notable example of that period. The arrival of the Mughal Empire in the 8th Century AD saw a surge in Islamic influences on Pakistani architecture. Some examples of the period include the tomb of Shah Rukn-i-Alam (built in 1320) and the Badhshahi Mosque (built in 1673). British rule in the country saw constructions of notable buildings such as Frere Palace (located in Karachi, built in the 1860s) and Mohatta Palace (located in Karachi, completed in 1927). After Pakistan gained independence from the British in 1947, it strove to showcase its new home rule identity through architectural expression. Notable examples of this period are the Faisal Mosque (located in Islamabad, established in 1987), the Minar-e-Pakistan (literally the “Tower of Pakistan”, located in Lahore, built in 1968), and the Mazar-e-Quaid (located in Karachi, established in 1970). The latter of these, also known as the Jinnah Mausoleum, became the final resting place of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, an important independence advocate for, and founder of, the modern Pakistani state.


Pakistani cuisine integrates various cooking traditions from across South Asia. Most notably, both Pakistani cuisine and North Indian cuisine share the most basic foundations of cooking style. This similarity is visible in cuisines of the provinces of Punjab and Sindh, where the food is characterized as well-seasoned and spicy. However, Pakistani cuisine has also incorporated Central Asian and Middle Eastern influences, and is therefore known for a more widespread use of meat than is India. Other provinces and administrative regions of Pakistan, such as Balochistan, Azad Kashmir, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, showcase distinct culinary practices and regional influences. International cuisine and fast foods have become popular in Pakistan’s metropolises. It is not uncommon to see "fusion cuisine", like Pakistani-Chinese cuisine, being served in the major cities. Throughout the country, flatbreads, especially naan or roti, or rice serve as the staples, complemented by a variety of legumes, vegetables, herbs, spices, oils, fruits, and dairy derivatives. Due to most of the Pakistani people being Islamic, food must be halal. Therefore, alcohol is eschewed, and beef, chicken, mutton, and fish are the favored meats, while pork is abstained from.

Cultural Significance

The long history of Pakistan has saw it being ruled by a number of imperial powers and dynasties that arrived in the country from several external pockets of the world. The Indus Valley Civilization, also known as Harappa Civilization, marked the beginning of Pakistan’s history. Counted amongst the oldest civilizations along with those of Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt, the Indus Valley Civilization was the most far-reaching of them all, covering an area of around 777 thousand square miles (1.25 million square kilometers) and, at its peak, govern some 5 million people inhabiting it. The town planning and drainage systems of the Indus Valley Civilization have been regarded as precursors to modern-day infrastructure and urban planning systems. Afterwards, the country was also ruled by a number of Greek rulers, including Alexander the Great. The later medieval period saw the country being ruled by the Islamic Caliphate, and then the Mughal Empire, before the British conquered the whole of Pakistan in the Eighteenth century.

Among the most decisive moments in Pakistan’s history was arguably its partition from India in 1947, the year also marking the country’s severance from the rule of the British, and it thereby becoming an independent, sovereign nation. Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, is a revered figure in Pakistan and is widely regarded as the “Father of the Nation”. Muhammad Iqbal is credited as having had inspired the Pakistani movement during the 1930s, and is known for being a prominent figure in Urdu language literature. Apart from being a popular figure throughout much of South Asia, Iqbal’s worldview was praised in the West for having a “universal appeal”. Malala Yousafzai is a young Pakistani advocate of female education, and the youngest Nobel Prize laureate. Yousafzai’s advocacy for female education in the country has grown into an international movement. In the 2013, 2014, and 2015 issues of Time magazine, Yousafzai was featured among “The 100 Most Influential People in the World”.


A civil war in the country led to East Pakistan breaking off from Pakistan in the early 1970s, in order to form what is now the nation of Bangladesh , with its predominately Bengali population. Pakistan remains an underdeveloped country today, with its political system marred by internal disputes, and its economy characterized by low levels of foreign investment. Terrorism in Pakistan remains another serious issue as well. Many of its terrorist outfits are said to be homegrown, and have claimed the lives of over 35,000 innocent people since 2001. Among these victims are included those school children who have been specifically targeted by the militants. The ongoing war in North-West Pakistan is being fought between the Pakistani Army and major militant organizations, with ISIS being one of them. This decade-long war, which began in 2004, is seen as a major obstacle in achieving political stability within the country.

By Ambar Sulekh

•culled from

Ethnic Groups In Pakistan

Pakistan is home to a number of ethnic groups and minority groups.

Pakistan is world’s sixth most populous country with a population of over 201 million inhabitants. With a land area of 881,913km 2 , the country is the 36 th largest in the world. The territory forming Pakistan is considered the cradle of civilization having been home to several ancient cultures. Pakistan has been ruled by several dynasties and empires including Mauryan, Achaemenid, Mongol, Mughal and Delhi Sultanate. There are over 60 languages spoken in Pakistan. Urdu is the official national language, and a symbol of national unity understood by 80% of the Pakistani. Pakistan has six major ethnic groups and other ethnic minorities.


Punjabi people are the ethnic majority in the Punjab region of Pakistan and Northern India accounting for 44.7% of the population in Pakistan. The group belongs to the Indo-Aryan ethnic group. Punjabi identity is traditionally cultural, linguistic and geographical and is independent of historical religion and origin. Punjabi activities in the Indus Valley led to the early civilization in the 5th and 4th millennium BC. During that same period, the group was led by small kingdoms and tribes but was later ruled by local kings. Punjabi people are tolerant of several religions. However, Muslims and Hindus form the religious majority among the Punjabi. Sikhism and Christianity are also practiced in the area. Punjabi culture is that of the Punjab region, one of the oldest cultures in the world. The culture comprises of poetry, spirituality, weaponry, music, cuisine, language, history, and values.


Pashtun is an ethnic group predominant in Afghanistan and Pakistan characterized as warriors. This ethnic group forms 15.4% of the Pakistani population. There has been a debate as to who qualifies to be Pashtun but the widely agreed view is that Pashtuns are Eastern Iranian people who speak Pashto as their first language. Traditionally, a Pashtun must be a Muslim and adhere to Pashtunwali code thus only those with Pashtun fathers qualify also to be a Pashtun. Pashtunwali code defines the culture of the Pashtun and involves a self-governing tribal system that controls all aspects of the group. Guests seeking help from Pashtuns are highly regarded and treated with dignity and respect.


Sindhi are natives to the Sindh Province of Pakistan. This ethnic group forms 14.1% of Pakistan’s population. Sindh Province was one of the places to be influenced by Islam because of its location. The Muslims had a great influence on the Hindu who initially resided in the region. After Pakistan independence in 1947, most of the Sindhis migrated to India living a few of the group behind. The Sindhis in Pakistan are mainly Muslims, Hindus, and Sikhs. Sindhis’ culture is heavily influenced by Islam especially the traditional first names.


Saraiki is a subgroup of Punjabi people in Pakistan and speaks Saraiki dialect spoken by the Punjabi. This ethnic group forms 8.4% of the Pakistani population although the majority of Saraiki are counted among the Punjabi groups. Saraiki people practice several religions but the majority is Muslims with Christian minority. The culture of the Saraikis has been greatly influenced by the Punjabis because of their close association.

Minor Ethnic Groups

Pakistan’s minor ethnic groups include Muhajir who are mainly of the Arabic origin forming 7.6% of the population and Balochistan found in the southwestern part of Pakistan forming 3.6% of Pakistani.

Ethnic Groups In Pakistan

Rank Ethnic Group Share of Pakistani Population
1 Punjabi 44.7%
2 Pashtun 15.4%
3 Sindhi 14.1%
4 Sariaki 8.4%
5 Muhajir 7.6%
6 Balochi 3.6%
* Other Groups 6.2%

By John Misachi

•culled from

Monday 14 January 2019

Largest Ethnic Groups In Nepal

The Chhetri are the largest ethnic group in Nepal, representing just over 16% of the country's population.

The Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal is one of the countries forming the South Asian region. The landlocked country is bordered by China, India, Bangladesh and Bhutan. Nepal has a total land area of 147,181 square kilometers, the 93rd largest country in the world. Nepal is a multi-ethnic country with Nepali being the official language. The country has a population of over 27 million people with an average family size of 4.9. Nepalese are divided into different ethnic groups or according to the national origins. Nepalese equate their nationality to citizenship rather than ethnicity. Some of the largest ethnic groups in Nepal are looked at below.


The Chhetri are considered the largest ethnic community in Nepal, comprising 16.6% of the population according to the 2011 census. Chhetri belongs to the Indo-Arya which is part of the Kshatriya varna, and speak mainly Nepali. The majority of the Chhetri (99%) belong to the Hindu religious group while the remaining minority is Buddhists. However, Masto is considered the ancient religion and involves the worship of nature. Chhetri, formerly known as Khas, are connected to Khasas who are famous in the in the Indian literature and Medieval Khasa Kingdom. Chhetri is further divided into several subgroups including Thakuri and Khasa. Early marriage characterizes this ethnic group. However, they do not allow cross-cousin marriage which is common among other Hindu communities.


Bahuns are the local Nepalese who practice Vedic or Brahmin traditions. The Bahun is the second largest ethnic group in Nepal accounting for 12.2% of Nepalese. Vedas and Brahmin give this ethnic group their major identity. Vedas comprise of literature composed of old layers of Sanskrit texts and Hindu scriptures. Brahmins are priests and teachers who are charged with the responsibility of protecting the sacred learning. Bahuns are considered a religious ethnic group with traditional religious rituals performed in the temple including rites of passage, prayers, and temple duties. The majority of Bahun are Hindu, with a significant number of others being Buddhists.


The Magar are one of the oldest ethnic groups in Nepal. Magars occupy the southern and western parts of the Dhaulagiri area. The ethnic group forms 7.1% of Nepali population according to the 2011 census, the third largest ethnic group in the country. Magar and his brother Chintoo are said to have disagreed with Magar settling in Seem. Magar became powerful with time. Magar is therefore considered the oldest and the largest indigenous ethnic group in Nepal. The ethnic group is subdivided into septs ( clans), sub-septs, and gotras. The majority of this ethnic group speaks Magar Language. The major original religion practiced by Magar included Shamanism and Tengriism, but currently Hindu is the prominent religion among the community. Magar have been well known for their exceptional services in the military, especially in the British Army.


The Tharu people are indigenous to the Terai region, and are recognized as official citizens by the government of Nepal. Tharu account for 6.5% of all Nepalese, making them the fourth largest ethnic group in the country. They are associated with the forest and have lived in forest areas for many years with the cultivation of rice, lentils, corn, and mustard being the major economic activity. Tharu believes in several gods with prayers being a common ritual before entering the forest. However, Hindu is a dominant religion among the modern Tharu.
Other Ethnic Groups in Nepal
The Tamang, Newar, Kami, Madheshi Muslims, Yadav, and Rai peoples collectively constitute around 25% of the Nepalese population. Hindu is the dominant religion in Nepal with Buddhism also dominating portions of the ethnic groups. These ethnic groups are distinct in their cultural practices, both in their religions and traditional ways of daily life.

Largest Ethnic Groups In Nepal

Rank Ethnic Groups and Castes of Nepal Share of Nepalese Population
1 Chhetri 16.6%
2 Bahun 12.2%
3 Magar 7.1%
4 Tharu 6.5%
5 Tamang 5.8%
6 Newar 5.0%
7 Kami 4.7%
8 Madhesi Muslims 4.4%
9 Yadav 4.0%
10 Rai
Other Groups 2.3%
Less than 2% each

By John Misachi 

•culled from

Saturday 12 January 2019

Religious Beliefs In Myanmar (Burma)

While Theravada Buddhism remains the dominant religion in Myanmar, Islam and Christianity have grown significantly in recent years.

Myanmar is a country in Southeastern Asia bordering the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal. It lies between Bangladesh and Thailand in Asia. The country is often referred to in the Western World as Burma. Myanmar was under the rule of the military and repressive regime following 1962. However, in 1988 the socialist constitution of 1974 was suspended. Myanmar now enjoys freedom of religion. However, there is a limit at which the government tolerates extreme activities by the different faiths, and there have been reports on persecution of the minority religions by the government. Buddhism is the most dominant religion with 89.20%. Christianity and Islam have been growing significantly in the recent years.


The majority of Myanmar practices Theravada Buddhism, which they consider as a path to follow rather than a faith in the Western sense of religion. The religion began in India around 2,500 years ago when an Indian prince by the name Siddhartha Gautama left the prestigious life to wander as a poor man. His meditation made him reach a state free from world desires. The religion contains four noble truths which include suffering. Buddhism teaches love and kindness for one another and advocates for avoiding the extremes while stressing on good deeds. Buddhism believes in reincarnation and considers that the present actions will affect future life after death. Buddhism influences the society to conserve the environment as it deems nature sacred. A good reason for this belief is that Buddha died under a tree. However, the majority of Buddhists still hold their animistic beliefs, that non-living things have spirits as well.


Christianity has held a place in Myanmar since the 18th Century. The first Christians in the country were Portuguese soldiers and a few traders. Missionaries played a prominent role in establishing religion in the country. There was a significant consolidation of the church in Lower Burma among the minorities between the 1850s and 1880s. The main denominations in the Myanmar include Roman Catholicism, Protestantism, and Orthodox. Christians are alleged to have suffered persecution and discrimination making them miss leadership positions in the country. However, there have been acceptance of foreign organizations doing humanitarian work in the country. Christianity has influenced education by sponsoring educational institutions and offering theological education. Christianity in the country constitute 6.2% of the total population.


Burma has had Muslim influences since the 11th Century, and the first known Muslim there was an Indian sailor named Byat Wi, arriving in the area around 1050 A.D. Restrictions on many Muslim practices started in 1559. In the 17th Century, there was a massacre of Indian Muslims in Arakan. There are two groups of Muslims in the country the Burmese and Indian Muslims. There has been evidence of discrimination against the Muslims, and there have been cases of riots as a result of this. Ethnic groups such as the Rohingya have had to flee due to disputes from Buddhist communities. Despite this, it has led to more followers joining it in the recent time. Islam constitutes 4.3% of the total population in the country.


Hinduism is another ancient religion of Myanmar. The religion believes in Trinity where there are three deities. There are also other gods and goddesses that people worship for their needs. There are forms of meditation that its follower's practice. There are Hinduism aspects that are unique to Myanmar culture practices such as the worship of Thagyamin that originate from the Indra, a Hindu god. The Hinduism constitutes 0.5% of the total population in the country. Besides these religions there are other minor different folk religions and atheist all making up 1.1% of the country’s population.

Religious Beliefs In Myanmar (Burma)

Rank Belief System Share of Population in Myanmar (Burma) in 2014 Census
1 Buddhism 87.9%
2 Christianity 6.2%
3 Islam 4.3%
4 Hinduism 0.5%
Various Folk Religions, Atheism, and Other Beliefs 1.1%

By Benjamin Elisha Sawe 

•culled from

Tuesday 8 January 2019

Largest Ethnic Groups In Myanmar (Burma)

Myanmar's culture is dominated by the Bamar people, who comprise more than two-thirds of the country's population.

Myanmar, often referred to as Burma, is a nation in South East Asia. The country has an estimated population of 51.5 million people. Myanmar is a multi-ethnic country with at least 135 distinct ethnic groups recognized by the government. Bamar people are the predominant ethnic group at 68% of the Myanmar population. They dominate Myanmar's government and the military. The other ethnic minorities make up the remaining 32% of the population. Some of the ethnic minorities include Shan, Kayin, Rakhine, and Karen.


The population of Bamar in the country is estimated to stand at 35,010,600 people. Their culture is a dominant culture in Myanmar. The term Burmanisation is used to refer to the influence of Burmese culture on the minority cultures. Bamar people have Tibetan and Chinese ancestry. They are mainly found in areas near the Irrawaddy and Sittang rivers. Rice and fish are their favorite diet. Puppetry is a common way of entertainment used in shows and festivals. Most Bamar community practice Theravada Buddhism. A popular ceremony whereby young boys turn into novice monks is celebrated annually by the Buddhist followers. Bamars speak Burmese, the official language of Myanmar.


The Shan people are estimated to comprise 4,663,700 members of the population in Myanmar today. They are said to have come from Yunnan province in China in the 10th Century. They occupy Shan State and are traditionally rice farmers. Shan people have been engaged in an armed struggle with the Myanmar government for decades. They fight for better treatment from the Burmese government. Members of Shan state have suffered inhuman treatment including forced labor, torture, rape, and confiscation of property perpetrated by the Myanmar government.


The Karen, or Kayin, people have a population in the country of close to 3,604,000. They are concentrated in the Southeastern region of Myanmar. Karen people mainly practice Buddhism and a minority group practice Christianity and Animism. Karen people have been involved in armed conflict with Myanmar government for over 60 years. They are victims of forced labor, government oppression, torture, and massacres. A ceasefire agreement between the Karen National Union and Myanmar government was signed in 2012, but it did not last.


The Rakhine, or Arakan, people are estimated to comprise 1,802,000 members of the nation's population. They occupy Rakhine state, a coastal region in Western Myanmar. Their culture has similarities with Burmese culture. The Arakanese language is closely linked to the Burmese language. The Rakhine people are predominantly Theravada Buddhists. Their culture has significant influence from the Indian culture especially the music and literature. Spiced rice and fish are their favorite meal in Rakhine homes. In recent years, Buddhist Rakhines have been in conflict with the Muslim Rohingyas who reside in Rakhine state.

Inter-Ethnic Relations

Despite that fact that Myanmar has for ages been housing a diverse collection of ethnic groups, the country has made little effort in encouraging and protecting its cultural diversity. Instead, Bamar Burmese culture is often imposed upon the smaller ethnic minorities. The constitution does not protect minority groups who have suffered oppression for many years. In 1947, an agreement to safeguard the rights of ethnic minorities was signed between the government and leaders of minority groups. However, the agreement was never implemented. As a result, ethnic armies emerged to fight for the minority groups. Clashes between the government and ethnic minorities led to a civil war that has plagued Myanmar for decades.

Largest Ethnic Groups In Myanmar (Burma)

Rank Ethnic Group
Estimated Population in Contemporary Myanmar (Burma)
1 Bamar 35,010,652
2 Shan 4,663,763
3 Karen 3,604,038
4 Rakhine 1,802,019
5 Chinese 1,287,156
6 Mon 1,029,725
Other Groups

By Benjamin Elisha Sawe

•culled from

Tuesday 1 January 2019

What Religions Are Practiced In Mongolia?

Buddhism is the largest religion in Mongolia.
The sovereign state of Mongolia is located in East Asia. It has an area of 1,566,000 square km. The estimated population of Mongolia was 3,081,677 in 2016.

Buddhism dominates the religious scene in Mongolia. Buddhists account for 53% of the population of the country. 38.6% of the population is not affiliated with any religion. Muslims and Christians represent 3% and 2.1% of the total population, respectively. 2.9% of the people of Mongolia adhere to the Mongol shamanic tradition. Followers of other religions make up 0.4% of the population of the country. The above figures are provided by the 2010 national census of Mongolia.

A Brief History Of Religion In Mongolia

Historically, Mongolian Buddhism and Shamanism have been the two dominant religions in Mongolia with most indigenous Mongols adhering to these religions. During the peak of the Mongol Empire's rule in the region, foreign invasions by the empire exposed the Mongols to Islam and Christianity. However, none of these religions managed to have a significant impact on the religious scene in the region. Religious practices in Mongolia were greatly suppressed during the socialist period in the country between 1924 and 1992. Later, however, with the emergence of a parliamentary republic in the 1990's, religious practices were revived in Mongolia.

The Largest Religion In Mongolia

The Buddhism practiced in Mongolia is heavily influenced by Tibetan Buddhism. The religion became popular in the country when the Mongolian emperors of the Yuan dynasty converted to this religion in the 12th and 13th centuries. After the fall of this dynasty, Buddhism lost its importance in the region till it was revived once more in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Mongolian Shamanism

The Mongolian Shamanism refers to the indigenous folk religion of the people of Mongolia. It is the oldest religion practiced in the country. The polytheistic religion is associated with the worship of a number of gods or tngri with one of them, the supreme deity, reigning above all others. Genghis Khan is highly revered by the followers of this religion who worship him as one of the embodiments of the supreme God. The Mausoleum of Genghis Khan serves as an important center of worship for believers of Mongolian Shamanism. Over the years, the religion has mingled with Buddhism to result in Yellow shamanism. The type of shamanism not influenced by Buddhism is known as black shamanism.

Other Religions In Mongolia

Christianity became popular in the country quite late in its long history. It was only after the end of the Communist rule in Mongolia in 1990 that the number of Christians in the country started growing. While the Christian population of Mongolia was just 4 in 1989, it became 40,000 in 2008. A large section of the country's Christian community lives in and around the capital city of Ulaanbaatar. Muslims in Mongolia are mainly ethnic Kazakhs distributed in different parts of the country. Other religions have a small presence in Mongolia.

Freedom Of Religion In Mongolia

The Constitution of the country provides for freedom of religion. The government generally respects this right of the people. However, religious organizations must register with the government to operate and the registration process is often cumbersome and associated with bureaucratic obstacles. Although a few reports of discrimination on the basis of religion exist, the Mongolian society is usually tolerant towards religious differences.

Religious Beliefs of Mongolia

Rank Religion Percentage of Population
1 Buddhism 53
2 Non-religious 38.6
3 Islam 3
4 Mongolian Shamanism 2.9
5 Christianity 2.1

By Oshimaya Sen Nag

•culled from
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