Is This A Filipino Thing? 8 Surprising Pinoy Facts!

Is This A Filipino Thing

Ever caught yourself asking, “Is this a Filipino thing?” If you think you know the Philippines, then you better think again! You see, there are just some Filipino things that can’t be explained – they have to be experienced. From fertilized duck eggs to karaoke singers that could shatter glass, there’s never a dull moment here.

But what is it about Filipino culture exactly that makes it so hilariously unique? Is it the way we recreationally eat duck embryos for merienda? Our undying love of ballads and videoke? Or how about our world record-worthy rice consumption? There are some distinctly Pinoy phenomena that might seem totally bizarre to outsiders but are as ordinary as breathing to us locals.

In this article, we’ll break down 8 super Filipino things that anyone who wasn’t born and raised in the islands just wouldn’t be able to grasp. From empty ice cream containers to spice racks filled with salty condiments, brace yourselves as we reveal the weird and wacky traits that only Pinoys can truly understand on a cellular level. Plus, we’ll go over some Tagalog phrases you can use when asking about quirks to a Filipino!

Is This A Filipino Thing? Foreigners Are Baffled By Our Quirks

If you’ve ever traveled to the Philippines or worked closely with Filipinos, you’ve probably found yourself asking, “Wait, is this a Filipino thing?” at some point. Why do Filipinos have such an, er, diverse palate when it comes to food? What’s with their obsession with rice-all-you-can restaurants? And why in the world are they always late?!

The confusion is understandable. See, the Philippines is a true melting pot of cultures that has absorbed flavors from all over – from Spain, America, Japan, China, and more. We’ve taken all these influences, put them in a blender, added a dash of tropical heat, and presto! Out comes one unique, eccentric, and unapologetically Filipino culture.

One example of this is the concept of merienda or snack time. Get this – Filipinos will typically eat about 5 times a day, 2 of which are hearty merienda “snacks.” And we’re not talking a bag of chips here. A proper merienda is more like a full, satisfying meal itself! We’re talking traditional kakanin sweets, hearty street food like kwek kwek, or even leftovers from the previous night’s dinner feast. And when you ask Pinoy’s bemusedly why they are eating once again, we just shrug and say, “Merienda lang!”

Pretty cool, eh? Let’s get to know more about 8 very Pinoy things in the section below!

8 Relatable Filipino Things

Being Filipino is an experience like no other. Our culture is a total rollercoaster full of high highs and low lows – often happening at the same time! From wacky food mashups to habitual tardiness, life in the Philippines keeps us constantly shaking our heads in recognition, thinking, “So true!”

We Pinoys might perplex outsiders with our unusual way of life, but hey, it’s completely normal and even relatable to us! Who else can understand the pain of coming home after months abroad craving a proper crispy pata and rice feast? Or why having a stash of Spam, corned beef, and instant noodles can actually make a decent meal? Classic, relatable Pinoy problems.

In this part, we break down 8 uniquely Filipino quirks and customs that any true Pinoy will find hilariously relatable.

Eating balut is a filipino thing
Eating balut is a Filipino thing

Eating Balut – Fertilized Duck Eggs

Balut is probably the Filipino food that confuses foreigners the most. Heck, even some Filipinos don’t have the stomach for it! But if you’re an adventurous foodie who grew up visiting the neighborhood balut vendor, you know it’s a classic Pinoy specialty.

What exactly is balut? Let us explain. It’s a developing duck embryo that is boiled in the shell and eaten straight out of it’s membrane soft-boiled style. The texture is soft and a bit gelatinous, with a rich, meaty flavor in the yolk. The embryo bones are also soft enough to chew or swallow – don’t try this if you have a weak stomach!

When done right, balut can actually be delicious and nutritious. It’s packed with protein and gives a pleasant savory flavor reminiscent of bone broth. The Filipino people like eating it with a dash of salt, vinegar, chili, and coconut sap sugar. Best enjoyed warm any time of day – morning merienda or late-night inuman snack.

Karaoke is a Filipino thing
Karaoke is a Filipino thing

Obsession With Karaoke

Looking to amp up the community spirit? Forget Friday night parties or Saturday football matches. The most epic way Filipinos bond and have fun? Busting out songs on the trusty videoke machine! Karaoke is huge in the Philippines, woven into the very fabric of how we socialize and entertain ourselves.

Pinoy karaoke comes with over-the-top renditions of pop songs and dramatic ballads, plus copious amounts of food and drinks to go along. Doesn’t matter if you can’t carry a tune – in fact, the worse you sound, the more fun everyone has! Videoke is all about letting loose, working those vocal cords, and amping up that shared camaraderie.

This obsession traces back to the 1970s when rising incomes enabled regular folks to access expensive Japanese videoke tech for the first time. Since then, Filipinos have personalized karaoke into the rowdy, informal pastime it is today. Plus, it’s almost impossible not to find a single home with its very own setup for this!

Complete with scoring, hazing of the worst singer, and non-stop “recognition” for the MVP performer, the idea of singing is definitely more fun in the Philippines!

Jeepney is a Filipino Thing
Jeepney is a Filipino thing

Riding Jeepneys Every Single Day

Jeepneys are to the Philippines as tuk-tuks are to Thailand – an iconic mode of public transportation reflecting our culture. These vibrant and creatively embellished vehicles evolved from US military Jeeps left behind in WWII, which enterprising Filipinos modified into passenger vehicles.

Today, over 50,000 jeepneys ply Metro Manila roads alone, painted in dazzling color schemes with kitschy decor. Poems, basketball team logos, political slogans – anything goes for pimping one’s ride. Inside, saints statues, dangling ornaments, and blaring radios amp up the visual overload!

For less than a quarter, you can hop aboard these metal works of art on wheels for your daily commute alongside fellow Filipino passengers. Hot, cramped, and meandering – but always entertaining! Foreigners are often baffled riding jeepneys, but Pinoys think nothing of the sweaty grind while appreciating the budget-friendly convenience.

Obsession with rice is a Filipino thing

Bottomless Rice Plus A Feast Of Viands

Speaking of rice, Filipinos take it to a whole new level with our rice-all-you-can restaurant concept. Essentially all-you-can-eat buffets…but focused almost solely on unlimited rice paired with a smorgasbord of viands. Could anything be more Pinoy?

Groups of Filipino families, colleagues, and friends will spend hours at these rice buffets, bonding over bottomless bowls of fluffy white goodness matched with an endless parade of meat, seafood, and vegetable dishes circling to their table. Rice-all-you-can dining is a cherished Pinoy ritual celebrating community, satiation, and getting your money’s worth!

The origins can be traced to 1990s restaurant chains offering novel eat-till-you-drop buffet dining at reasonable prices – perfectly matched to Pinoy appetites. 30 years later, rice-all-you-can establishments thrive, offering special promos and budget-buster deals. Almost nothing is more masarap to Pinoys than unlimited bountiful buffets paired with, you guessed it, unlimited rice!

Reusing ice cream containers is a Filipino thing
Reusing ice cream containers is a Filipino thing

Ice Cream Containers That Do Not Contain Ice Cream

Don’t be fooled if you ever open a Pinoy friend’s freezer and spot cartons of ice cream brands like Selecta, Nestle, or Magnolia. Chances are high those containers hold anything but cold, creamy scoops!

You see, Pinoys have a penchant for reusing empty ice cream gallons and pint containers to store…well, anything, really! Leftover stews, chicken adobo, chopped produce, bait for fishing, toy clutter – even offcuts of fabric or yarn! Those sturdy plastic cartons are handy for holding all sorts of household items far beyond dessert.

This quirky reuse behavior reflects the Filipino spirit of making do, not being wasteful, and finding new functions for used items rather than throwing them away. Very eco-friendly! Though yes, it can be confusing to reach into the freezer expecting ube or chocolate ice cream only to pull out some random frozen mystery concoction instead.

Pinoy spice rack

Spice Rack Staples – Soy Sauce, Vinegar, And Fish Sauce

Cumin, oregano, garlic powder…boring! Step aside lame spice racks. The Filipino version houses way more flavorful seasonings that form tastes any true Pinoy knows and loves. Behold the mighty trifecta of soy sauce, vinegar, and fish sauce.

No Filipino kitchen is complete without a stash of these 3 umami-rich condiments ready to splash into any dish. Hungry for an afternoon snack? Dunk fried or boiled street food into spiked vinegar or patis. Need to elevate leftover nilaga into tasty paksiw? Plenty of toyomansi, patis, and white vinegar to transform it. Even fruit or snacks get doused with salty-sour magic. Halo-halo with patis, anyone?

Thus, the iconic Pinoy flavor profile emerges – a perfect trinity of salty, sour, and sweet that punches up any dish.

Pinoy time is a Filipino thing
Pinoy time is a Filipino thing

Filipino Time – Our Cultural Tardiness And Relaxed Sense Of Time

Date night at 8 pm. Party starts at 7. Meeting scheduled for 10 am sharp. Yeah…don’t expect any Pinoy to show up punctually based on the time you agreed upon. We run on what’s infamously known as “Filipino time,” meaning arriving 30 minutes to 1 hour late!

This relaxed attitude towards time is notorious and stereotypical of Filipino culture. It confounds foreigners who expect events to run promptly based on schedules. Yet Pinoys think nothing of trickling into occasions at their leisure despite agreed meet-up times. We have an innate tardiness embedded into our DNA!

The reasons behind “Filipino time” are complicated – some posit colonial influences, and others believe it’s an aspect of a smooth interpersonal culture where we don’t want to offend by arriving early. But at the end of the day, it’s just an accepted fact of life that timeliness is not a Pinoy strength!

Balikbayan box is a Filipino thing
Balikbayan box is a Filipino thing

Sending Balikbayan Boxes – Care Packages From Abroad

Being separated from family while working overseas is tough for any Filipino. What helps ease the homesickness? Sending giant balikbayan box care packages filled with gifts and treats!

These corrugated boxes shipped from abroad are stuffed to the 25kg weight limit by overseas Pinoys with presents to send back home to the Philippines. Clothing, shoes, imported chocolates, toys for kids, gadgets – even non-perishable food items get crammed inside along with letters and photos to remind loved ones back home they are not forgotten.

Receiving these amongst eager relatives is a major event! What goodies from America, Italy, or Saudi did their sister, son, or auntie send them? Tearing open the balikbayan box is like a mini Christmas celebration. All those foreign treats and brand names to unwrap and share among delighted family members!

Common Phrases To Ask If Something Is Uniquely Filipino

When experiencing an amusing cultural difference in the Philippines, you’ll probably turn to any nearby local and ask, “Wait, is this normal for you guys?” Get ready for them to chuckle and confirm yes, that’s just everyday Pinoy life!

Here are handy Filipino phrases to inquire if you’re witnessing a uniquely eccentric local quirk or tradition:

“Filipino thing ba to?”

Translation: Is this a Filipino thing?

Use this cheeky question when reacting to any bizarre Pinoy phenomenon, custom, or food you find odd. Expect either laughter, vigorous head nods, or the classic “Oo nga eh!” confirming why yes, that is a textbook Filipino thing.

“Pilipino lang ang gumagawa nun?”

Translation: Only Filipinos do that?

Raise this curiosity when you spot locals exhibiting behaviors that seem outlandishly unique to Pinoys. Wielding umbrellas on a hot sunny day, eating rice paired with ice cream, stashing loads of extra pantry items – we’ll admit if that quirk applies to us and us alone!

“Sanay na kayo sa ganon?”

Translation: Are you guys used to that?

No judgement, just genuine wonder! Pose this polite inquiry as to whether Pinoys themselves find something so eccentric to be fully normal day-to-day behavior they are desensitized to. The answer is usually a nonchalant “oo” or “syempre naman!” Of course, we’re used to it!

Want To Dive Deeper Into Pinoy Culture And Language?

So now you’re armed with handy phrases to get confirmation if you are indeed witnessing a certified Pinoy oddity. From karaoke obsessives to professional bystanders, we embrace what makes Filipino culture uniquely amusing. Just smile, shake your head, and think, “So Pinoy!”

If you enjoyed getting a taste of amusing local phenomena, why not dive deeper into the richness of Pinoy living? Download the Ling App to get fun mini-lessons explaining aspects of Filipino food, family values, expressions, history, and so much more through an authentic local lens.

With Ling, you can gain solid conversational fluency in Tagalog at your own pace by learning vocabulary and phrases that unveil insights into this vibrant country. So go beyond just gawking at our unusual balut snack habits or tardy time management! Immerse yourself into the heart and soul of Pinoy culture with the help of Ling. Download it for FREE now!

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