Are you watching internationally acclaimed Tagalog films featuring the Philippines and the Filipino people? Perhaps this is why you feel a strong sense of interest in learning more about Filipino culture and what makes it absolutely different from other countries in Southeast Asia. Aside from the fact that most of the population follows Christianity, there are a few more bits of information that might surprise you regarding the Pearl Of The Orient Seas. If you are up for that, then let’s dive right into it.
Whether you are an athlete or a casual swimmer, or a surfer, the Philippines is known in the world as one of the best countries when it comes to nature adventure. With tons of pristine beaches and natural wonders tucked into its 7,600 islands, many are looking to travel, retire, and move to the country for good. But before you pack your bags and purchase your ticket to the Philippines, it would be wise to get to know the existing culture and values of the Filipinos.
As much as we only want to focus on the good things about a particular country and its people, we cannot deny that certain aspects of their culture might not sit well with you. So, before you move, we always recommend that you check all there is to know about their laws and beliefs since it might not be aligned with what you are used to. If there is one thing you do not want to experience, then that would be to feel stuck in a place far from your home.
Filipino Culture And Values
No matter where you go, it is impossible not to find a Filipino. They are all scatted across the globe, and you might be surprised to know that there are tons of people with Filipino ancestry. Have you ever heard of Apl De Ap of Black Eyed Peas or Reggie Lee? They are Filipinos who are making it big in other countries! If this is the first time you hear of the “Filipino” as a national identity, then read below to learn more.
Strategically located in the outskirts of Asia, the Philippines has always been part of the trade routes back in the days. Since an early age, foreigners have always been warmly welcomed by the locals, and one reason behind that is because the country has been under different rulers. Before the Philippines’ independence, countries like Spain, the United States, China, and Japan have continuously stated their interest to own the land and its people.
One of the main reasons they all want this seemingly small country is that it is filled with precious natural resources. The Philippines has it all for you, from exotic animals, herbs, fruit-bearing trees, and minerals! For this reason, many entrepreneurs today are also looking to incorporate businesses and reach out to the Filipino people since there really is so much money to make here.
Since Filipinos are no stranger to foreigners, their national language (Filipino) has also evolved to include certain words from foreign languages. Such a move shows how willing the Filipinos are to change for the sake of pakikisama or to get along with others. They do not want you to ever feel that you are nag-iisa or alone, which is why many have learned English (an official language in the Philippines) and other foreign languages too. Some of the locals can speak Spanish, Chinese and can even imitate various English accents.
Filipinos are also mapagbigay or generous that even if they have nothing left, they will still give you the best. For this reason, a personal or business relationship with a Filipino almost always guarantees that they will do their best not ever to let you down. For them, it is better to sacrifice than to feel the kahihiyan or shame of not being able to help. And when we say helping or pagtulong, we literally mean not just the immediate family members but everyone around them. So whether you are of different nationality, they will go out of their way to help you out.
The total population of Filipinos is mostly very religious, which is why many are always in their best manner all the time. They are always nakangiti or smiling even with the difficulties they are facing. Despite being a sensitive matter, the Filipino culture is also very open-minded or bukas ang pag-iisip in terms of religions. In fact, there are other religions aside from Christianity like Muslim, Buddhism, and Hinduism. There are also holidays in celebration of these religions.
5 Best Traits You Can See In The Filipino Culture
There are lots of positive traits that Filipinos have but we will only focus on those that are very much embedded in their culture even to this day.
We all have our unique ways of showing respect or pag-galang, especially with older people and strangers. In the Philippines, the locals rarely call each other by their first names. Usually, the first name basis is only used when you are pretty close with the other person or have been working with them for a very long time. What the locals use are the words like ate (sister), kuya (brother), miss, or mister when speaking with strangers.
If you are speaking with someone who is older than you or has higher authority (like policemen), you can use “po” and “opo” after your sentence to show respect. Now, if you get invited to someone’s home and their grandparents and parents are there, it will also be wise to take their hand and say “mano po” which means “bless me please.”
Whenever you visit a Filipino home during festivals or national holidays, it is normal to see the people dressing up and preparing food just in case someone visits their home. And when we say food, we do not mean plain snacks like biscuits and tea but actual meals! When you visit around lunch or dinner, you can expect the homeowner to ask you to stay and eat with them. More often than not, the food will always be overflowing (and will, of course, include plain steamed rice and classic fruit salad!) as they believe that it is rude to leave home with an empty stomach.
If you visit after work, the locals may ask you to drink alcohol with them and have some small bites of pulutan. In small provinces, the young people (usually males) will always have a table outside and sometimes ask strangers to drink with them too! For them, getting to know each other while having some food is the best thing in the world.
Even in modern Filipino culture, the locals always have the feeling of shame. Even if the favor was small, Filipinos have a very strong sense of “utang na loob” or indebtedness. Let’s say you did a favor to someone. It is only natural for a Filipino to feel the hiya (shame for asking for help) and will do his/her best to ensure that you will be repaid for your kindness. For them, it is an obligation to make sure that they will also do a favor for you too when the time comes.
Filipinos are makabayan or nationalistic in the sense that they are always saying that they are proud to be Pinoy. Even if the Filipino is not staying in the country, you can expect them to promote the Philippines’ culture and brag about all the special food, music, language, etc. Some will even go out of their way to wear national emblems and traditional clothing. Give them an hour, and they can talk to you about tons of concepts related to the country and discuss the nationalistic themes of certain things in full detail.
Many are like this because the history of the Philippines has always been a major subject throughout the schooling period of many students (even up to the higher education stage). You can ask around, and they can easily sing you the national anthem and recite the Panunumpa Sa Watawat Ng Pilipinas.
Additionally, Filipinos show their love for the country by ensuring that they only want the best leaders for them. During the popular Martial law, the Filipinos conducted a silent protest with the goal of ousting the current president back then, and it was successful! Due to that, many countries have imitated the protest, and this event reflects how mahinahon or calms the Filipinos are.
Since the country has been under Spanish rule for over 300 years, the Spanish culture is deeply embedded in the Philippines’ culture. Aside from the names and the types of food, the Spanish regime changed the religion of the country to Christianity. Even today, most of the people are Roman Catholic, and there are still a huge number of Christian churches and private Catholic schools which put emphasis on the life of Jesus Christ.
There are also special occasions for a specific patron saint, and many towns (even in urban areas) in the country are also named after Biblical characters.
As we reach this part of the post, we hope that you were able to learn more about the Filipino culture and traits that you should watch out for. If you enjoyed this post and figured you would like to learn more, then feel free to check out our previous posts here. Also, be sure to try out the Ling App, where you can have unlimited access to language learning content. Through the app, you can communicate with the locals better!
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