To those of you who don’t know what the Philippines is, it’s a country located in Asia. I have to mention it after discovering that there might be people in Europe and in the USA who don’t know what or where the Philippines is. Maybe fallen asleep in World Geography class or just didn’t find it interesting enough to pay attention to what that word is. Aside from being a country in Asia, it’s also my country, my homeland. My motherland is composed of 7,641 islands (according to Wikipedia, well, I don’t know who had the courage to count them, maybe Wiki) and consisted of over 150 languages and dialects.

We won’t tackle further the geographic aspects of my beloved land, it’s your teacher’s job not mine, or maybe Wiki’s.

What I wanted to discuss is the culture and you, if you and my country fit together, if there would be some chemistry or would you feel those butterflies in your stomach once you got to know my country, which map is apparently shaped like a long typical Philippine skirt of a woman called Saya.

Below are the reasons that you might not survive my country, the people and the culture.

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1. Laughing

This is what I like the most about my fellowmen. Regardless of the situation, they always find the reason to laugh and smile (even though, some teeth are missing in front). If you are too bitter and the scene of laughter leads to crease on your forehead or a scowl, then the Philippines is not for you, buddy. Filipinos really love to laugh. Why?

I myself don’t really know the exact answer. But let’s rule out money here. They laugh not because their pockets are full, but because they have always hope in something. It’s already in the Filipino mind-setting, they even laugh at their own failures or own sake. They always see the good in something.

Well, if you’re not that sport, buddy, if I were in your shoes, I would think twice, or else, you would cry from annoyance or your jaw would hurt from laughing.

Take note, there are also a lot of comedy bars, in case, it’s your thing, don’t miss it. Only the downside is, it’s in the local language, Tagalog, you might not going to understand it, but in one way or another, you would still definitely laugh.

Photo representing smiling children in Asia
Photo by Ed Davad on Pixabay

 2. Eating habits

If you are a vegan or on a diet phase, you might not enjoy the Filipino eating system. Like other cultures, Filipinos also serve meat, in fact, they have different styles of cooking meats like Adobo, Kare-Kare, Sinigang, Sisig and many more. If you’re in the Philippines, you must not miss these foods.

Filipinos have also this eating tradition called ‘Boodle Fight” wherein they eat with hands (you find it gross, well, you’re missing something), and the different types of foods are laid out on a big banana leaf.

Since the Philippines was colonized by Spain, some Spanish traditions were also passed on and one of those is a fiesta. Whenever there’s a feast or fiesta in one place, it’s already a practice that they go from one house to the other, especially in town or barrio areas. What’s so funny sometimes is that, when have a relative called Juan and you have invited him and his whole family, his wife and kids, to go to your house, of course, to eat. Yet Juan also invited a comrade, named Pedro. This Pedro also invited another friend to come. Well, imagine, seeing a complete stranger eating at your home and your relative Juan mentioned in the midst of the thrill of serving foods and entertaining visitors. You didn’t get it what Juan had said but seeing a stranger would be the answer to that question in your head.

Are you ready for this eating adventure? You might want to be tagged along by a friend. And oh, don’t be bothered, but they sometimes eat with hands too.

Representation of the foods in the Philippines
Photo by Kristian Gadia on Unsplash

3. Attitude towards foreigner

I would really dare to say, you won’t feel racism or inequality because of your colour in the country. There’s no effing way. On the contrary, Filipinos love it when they have foreign visitors. They would really serve and deal with foreigners well, (just, don’t be some kind of jack***, no one would tolerate that though, even my fellow countrymen, mind you)

I have watched a lot of videos of some bloggers who have been in the Philippines or presently in the country, and it became more apparent to me that they are being treated well.

I had an English Filipino literature book when I was in high school, and I had read, according to a story, that all white men that come to the Philippines are ‘‘Joe” especially in American era. I have forgotten the whole concept of the story, but it appears to me that during those times when Filipinos saw a foreign white man who speaks differently, he would be then greeted with ‘‘hey Joe”.

Yet, don’t take advantage of the fact that you’re a foreigner, you’re white, you could do everything in the country and to the Filipinos. If you’re hitting on some Filipina girl, and your intentions are really serious, and the parents notice it, so be warned, you’ll be treated already like a family, or their son. But if you just do that for fun, the family and the whole clan is also there, but this time, they wouldn’t be good for you.

Filipinos are also known for being very hospitable. Even a common relative or a friend visiting a family would get the benefit of comfort and great service. He will be given the best and new pillows, so how much more if you are from another country?

So, if you’re convinced that you might make it in the Philippines, here’s a guide book called Lonely Planet Philippines which would help you in exploring the Philippines.

Featured photo for a blog post cover

4. Gestures and body languages

What I really find so funny is, how Filipinos point a thing or a direction. Normally, we point with our index finger, right? (Yes, index, so save your middle finger) But Filipinos have their own way of answering somebody who is asking for a direction or a street. If you’re new in the country, and not used with how people behave, you might really think, a tambay whom you have approached may want to kiss you. Eh, gross, yeah. But, in reality, he’s pointing with his snout.

Filipinos are also respectful and polite people especially towards the elderly. They have this traditional gesture called ‘‘Mano”. Literally, it means hand in Spanish, they often say, ‘‘Mano po” while taking the hand of an elderly and bringing it to their forehead. It is normally done when they arrive at home or if the elderly get home.

Instead of going gaga understanding the gestures of the Philippines, you might want to grab something to read as a preparation in visiting the country by buying this book from Amazon called Tagalog for Beginners.

Aside from a polite gesture called Mano, and the use of the upper lip in pointing a finger, Filipinos have other gestures that would really astound you. To see more about these gestures, you could check out a video of a Canadian vlogger who resides in the Philippines. In his video, he had enumerated and shown in a funny way how these gestures look like. You could also visit his blog www.becomingfilipino.com and his Youtube account BecomingFilipino.

A man representing a gesture
Photo by Monica Volpin on Pixabay

So there you have it, lovelies! I hope you got some perspective on how’s living in the Philippines like. Would you able to endure the country and the people there? Do you know some Filipinos personally, and you’ve been to the Philippines? How’s your experience? Let me know by commenting down below.

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