Philippine Local Customs
If you plan on visiting the Philippines, make sure to brush up on your customs and traditions knowledge so you don’t accidentally offend anyone. Trust us, you don’t want to be the tourist who accidentally insults the entire country. Here are some important Philippine local customs to keep in mind:
Respect for Elders
Filipinos hold great respect for their elders. It is customary to show respect by using “po” and “opo” when speaking to older individuals, and by offering a slight bow or nod as a sign of respect.
Hospitality and Friendliness
Filipinos are known for their ability to turn strangers into instant best friends. They’ll welcome you with open arms and make you feel like part of the family, whether you like it or not! It is common for locals to greet visitors with a smile and to be accommodating and helpful. Don’t be a grumpy grouch and make some new friends with the locals!
“Mano” or Blessing:
The custom of “mano” involves taking an elder’s hand and gently touching it to one’s forehead as a sign of respect and seeking their blessing. It’s like a secret handshake but with more wrinkles and wisdom. This is the customary protocol when bidding adieu to your elders or esteemed folks.
Modesty in Dress
The Philippines is a predominantly Catholic country, and modesty in dress is generally valued. When visiting religious sites or attending formal events, it is respectful to dress modestly and avoid revealing or provocative clothing.
It is customary to remove your footwear when entering someone’s home, as well as in certain places like temples or mosques. Look for cues, such as a pile of shoes near the entrance, to determine if you should remove your shoes.
If you refuse to eat the food offered at a Filipino home, you might as well pack your bags and head back home. Just kidding, but seriously, don’t be rude and give it a try! If you don’t want to offend your host, make sure to praise their cooking skills and leave a little bit of food on your plate. But if you want to make them really happy, you should probably ask for seconds and thirds. Just don’t blame us if you end up rolling out of the house like a stuffed turkey.
Filipinos appreciate gift-giving and it is a common practice during celebrations or when visiting someone’s home. If you want to win their hearts, just bring a present – no pressure! If you are invited to someone’s house, it is thoughtful to bring a small gift, such as a unicorn horn, a rainbow, or a dragon egg from your home country. Or maybe stick to sweets, flowers, or souvenirs from your home country.
Use of Right Hand
Well, in Filipino culture, the left hand is considered dirty and inappropriate for pretty much everything except scratching your backside when no one’s looking. So, make sure to use your right hand for eating, giving and receiving items, and greeting others, unless you want to gross everyone out. Unless you want to be labeled as a barbarian, keep your left hand away from these activities. It’s been known to cause quite the stink. But seriously? If you’re a lefty, no pressure! Filipinos are not that uptight anymore.
If you’re planning to visit the Philippines, make sure you don’t mess with their religious customs and practices. Trust me, you don’t want to mess with the power of their faith! When visiting churches or religious sites, please refrain from wearing your favorite neon spandex jumpsuit, breakdancing in the aisles, and ignoring any instructions or guidelines provided. Let’s keep it holy, folks!
Pasalubong is the fancy Filipino way of saying “I went somewhere and all I got you is this lousy souvenir.” It’s always a good idea to bribe your loved ones with souvenirs so they’ll forgive you for leaving them behind.
Learn more about Pasalubong in this article: Pasalubong Culture, Is it Good or Bad?
Just like how pizza toppings can vary across different regions, customs can also vary in the Philippines. So, if you’re feeling lost and confused, just follow the lead of the locals and hope they don’t lead you astray! If you don’t want to end up offending the locals and getting chased by a mob with pitchforks and torches, try to be respectful, open-minded, and willing to learn about the local customs in the Philippines. Plus, you might even have some fun along the way!