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Indian Filipinos refers to Filipinos of Indian descent who have historical connections with and have established themselves in what is now the Philippines. The term refers to Filipino citizens of either pure or mixed Indian descent currently residing in the country, the latter a result of intermarriages between the Indians and local populations.
India had greatly influenced the many different cultures of the Philippines through the Indianized kingdom of the Hindu Majapahit, Khmer Empire and the Buddhist Srivijaya. For at least two millennia before the arrival of Spanish, Philippines was ruled by Hindu kings called Rajahs and Pramukhas. Numerous kings with written genealogies and Sanskrit names were found by Spanish warlords and friars. Indian presence in the Philippines has been ongoing since ancient times along with the Japanese people, and the Han Chinese, and Arab and Persian traders, predating even the coming of the Europeans by at least two millennium. Indian people together with the natives of the Indonesian Archipelago and the Malay Peninsula, who came as traders introduced Hinduism to the natives of the Philippines. Indian migrants have been crucial in the establishment of several Indianized Kingdoms or "Rajahnates" in the Philippines, Rajahates such as that of Butuan and Cebu. Indian Bania converts to Islam brought Sunni Islam to the Philippine islands in the course of trade, which was later enhanced and strengthened by Arab Muslim Sea traders to Mindanao and Sulu Sultanate.
By the 17th century, Gujarati merchants with the aid of Khoja and Bohri ship-owners had developed an international transoceanic empire which had a network of agents stationed at the great port cities across the Indian Ocean. These networks extended to the Philippines in the east, East Africa in the west, and via maritime and the inland caravan route to Russia in the north.
Sepoy troops from Madras (now Chennai, Tamil Nadu), British India also arrived with the British expedition and occupation between 1762 and 1764 during the Seven Years' War. When the British withdrew, many of the Sepoys (Army privates) mutinied and refused to leave. Virtually all had taken Filipina brides (or soon did so). They settled in what is now Cainta, Rizal, just east of Metro Manila. As of 2006, between 70 and 75 percent of Indians in the Philippines lived in Metro Manila, with the largest community outside of Manila being in Isabela province. The region in and around Cainta still has many Sepoy descendants.
However, Indian business people started to arrive in larger numbers in The Philippines during the American colonial period (1898–1930s) - especially during the 1930s and 1940s, when many Indians and Indian Filipinos lived in Filipino provinces, including Davao. The longest serving Mayor of Manila, Ramon Bagatsing, was of Indian-Punjabi descent, having moved to Manila from Fabrica, Negros Occidental before the second world war.
Most of the Indians and Indian Filipinos in the Philippines are Sindhi and Punjabi as well as a large Tamil population. Many are fluent in Tagalog and English as well as local languages of the provinces and islands. Many are prosperous middle class with their main occupations in clothing sales and marketing. Sikhs are involved largely in finance, money lending (locally called Five - six ), sales and marketing.
Over the last three decades, a large number of civil servants and highly educated Indians working in large banks, Asian Development Bank and the BPO sector have migrated to Philippines, especially Manila. Most of the Indian Filipinos and Indian expatriates are Hindu, Sikh or Muslims, but have assimilated into Filipino culture and some are Catholic. The community regularly conducts philanthropic activities through bodies such as the Mahaveer foundation, The SEVA foundation and the Sathya Sai organization.
Most Indians congregate for socio-cultural and religious activities at the Hindu Temple (Mahatma Gandhi Street, Paco, Manila), the Indian Sikh Temple (United Nations Avenue, Paco, Manila), and the Radha Soami Satsang Beas center (Alabang, Muntinlupa City, Metro Manila). The late "priest" (scripture reader in Sindhi and Gurumukhi) of the Hindu Temple, Giani Joginder Singh Sethi, was active in interfaith affairs, accepted visits by school students, and organised the first major translation of Guru Nanak's Jap Ji into Filipino (Tagalog), translated by Usha Ramchandani and edited by Samuel Salter (published 2001).
Many Indians have intermarried with Filipinos, more so than in neighboring countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore, mainly because their populations are largely Muslim, and the Indians there (with the exception of Indian-Muslims) are averse to marrying Muslims in those host countries.
Indian Filipino companies with the largest work force include Indo Phil Textile (1,800 employees), Global Steel (950 employees and 8,000 in Iligan), Hinduja Global (3,500 workers) and Aegis People Support (over 12,000).
Lots of Indian students mainly from southern part of India are studying in various parts of Philippines notably in Davao, where more than 5000 Indian students are currently doing their MD program from Davao Medical School Foundation.Other cities like Manila, Cebu, Legazpi also have considerable number of Indian students.
Filipino people of Indian descent
Beauty Pageant Winners
Movies & TV
- Cassandra Ponti, Filipina-Indian actress, model and dancer
- Sharmaine Arnaiz, Filipina-Indian actress
- Sam Y.G., Filipino-Indian radio disc jockey
- Roshani Chokshi, Filipino-Indian descent, American author
- Ramon Bagatsing, Filipino-Indian of Punjabi Jat blood, longest serving Mayor of Manila, father of Raymond Bagatsing
- Ranjit Shahani, Filipino-Indian politician congressman and former youngest vice governor in the country of Pangasinan province at the age of 28, from Indian father Dr. Ranjee Gurdassing Shahani, PhD and former senator Dr. Leticia Ramos-Shahani, PhD who is the sister of former President of Philippines Fidel Ramos
- Carlo Sharma, Filipino professional basketball player
- Khasim Mirza, Filipino professional basketball player
- Hyram Bagatsing, Filipino professional basketball player
- Sanjay Beach, American football player
Academics and Law
Army and Revolution
- The number of Filipinos of full or partial Indian descent is unknown as a great portion of the community has merged with the rest of the population therefore making it impossible to gather accurate statistical figures within the Philippines.
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