The family is said to be the basic unit of society, but in the Philippines, it is a vital loci of political and economic power. Some families dominate society as political dynasties; others control the economy, and much else besides. Quite several families do both.
The rich, powerful family plays so huge a role in the Philippines that it figures in attempts to imagine, critique, and transform Philippine society. The subject of many scholarly studies (Alfred McCoy’s Anarchy of Families is one), it provides the characters of several Filipino soap operas like Mara Clara and produces the contrabida in many a Filipino action movie.