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Unique Social Norms in the Philippines

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Hospitality is a cornerstone of life in the Philippines. People are very welcoming to visitors and will often offer food, drinks or even lodging if the opportunity arises!

Warm Hospitality 

The locals of the Philippines are known for their warmth and hospitality towards visitors. Whether you’re exploring a city or just looking for a place to stay, you will always find someone willing to help you out. They will go out of their way to make sure your stay is comfortable, enjoyable, and memorable. Even if you don’t speak the same language as them, they will do their best to communicate with you using body language or whatever means necessary!

The Kindness of Strangers 

You can expect kindness from strangers too during your time in the Philippines. This can range from someone giving up their seat on public transport so that you can sit down, or helping you find the location of a shop or restaurant without expecting anything in return. You might even come across random acts of kindness like someone buying something for you or paying for your meal at a restaurant! These gestures are often rooted in Filipino culture, which values goodwill and generosity above all else—something which makes it easy to feel right at home in the Philippines.

FILIPINO HOSPITALITY | Siargao, Philippines

Respect for Elders 

Showing respect for elders is an important part of Filipino culture and is especially expected while visiting the country. When speaking to or about older people, the proper way of addressing them is Mano Po (which literally translates to “hand respect”).

The Significance of Respect for Elderly People in the Philippines 

Respect for the elderly is a longstanding tradition in the Philippines. For generations, elders have been seen as wise and insightful people who can offer valuable advice and guidance to younger generations. As such, they are treated with great respect and held in high esteem. This tradition has been passed down through generations, ensuring that it continues to be an important part of life in the Philippines.

Courage and Resiliency of the Elderly

In addition to being respected because of their age and wisdom, older people are also respected because they are seen as having lived long enough to understand life’s hardships and challenges better than anyone else. They have faced life’s difficulties with courage and resilience, which is something that young people should learn from them as well. By showing respect towards elders, young people can learn how to cope with life’s struggles more effectively while still staying true to themselves.

Senior Discounts

In terms of practical matters, older citizens are also given preferential treatment by local businesses in the form of lower prices or special discounts. These discounts are not just limited to restaurants and entertainment venues; they also extend to essential items like groceries and medication.  This shows that not only do locals value their wisdom but they also appreciate their economic contribution to society as well. Furthermore, this preferential treatment encourages seniors to remain active within their communities instead of retreating into isolation due to financial constraints or other factors.  


Social Gatherings

Social gatherings are a regular occurrence in the Philippines and can be found on almost any given day. People often gather for karaoke, dancing or simply to enjoy each other's company.

Singing Karaoke

The great thing about karaoke in the Philippines is that it provides an opportunity to socialize with other people while singing your favorite songs. It's not just a way to pass the time; it's also a way to make new friends, meet potential business partners, or just hang out with old friends in a fun atmosphere. Singing karaoke allows you to express yourself creatively, as well as build relationships with other people who share your passion for music.

Singing Karaoke in the Philippines Until We Lose Our Voices 🇵🇭
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Respecting the Religion

Catholicism is the predominant religion in the Philippines, so visitors should show respect when attending church services or visiting religious sites.

Catholicism in the Philippines

The predominant religion in the Philippines is Catholicism, with over 90% of the population identifying as Catholic Christians. As such, you’ll find that many sites throughout the cities have religious significance or are dedicated to venerating saints or Jesus Christ himself. While exploring the country, be sure to keep a respectful distance from these sites and remember that there may be strict dress codes or prohibitions against certain activities when entering some religious buildings. It’s also important not to engage in any disrespectful behavior such as taking pictures without permission or speaking loudly inside places of worship.

Christian Filipinos mark 500 years since arrival of Catholicism

Other Religions in the Philippines

In addition to Catholicism, there are other religions practiced by citizens of the Philippines, such as Islam and Buddhism. These religions may be present in places of worship like mosques or temples where visitors should again observe proper etiquette when entering these sacred spaces. Being mindful of your behavior can go a long way toward ensuring a respectful experience for everyone while you explore this wonderful country!

Religions in Philippines from 1 AD to 2100|Philippines diversity|

Eating with Your Hands

In the Philippines, it is perfectly acceptable to eat with your hands! This is especially true when eating local dishes, such as lechon (roast pig) or Pancit (noodles).

How To Eat With Your Hands (The Filipino Way)

The History Behind It 

In Filipino culture, there is a long tradition of eating with your hands. This practice dates back to pre-Hispanic times when food was served directly on banana leaves. Today, meals are still often served on banana leaves, but plates are also used in most restaurants and homes. Eating with one’s hands is considered polite and respectful, as well as being part of a cultural tradition that has been passed down through generations.

The Benefits of Eating With Your Hands 

Eating with your hands can be beneficial for several reasons. For starters, it allows you to touch and feel your food before you eat it – something that can be difficult or even impossible when using utensils. Additionally, using your hands can help to bring out the flavor and texture of certain dishes such as rice cakes or lumpia (Filipino spring rolls). Not only that but eating with your hands encourages people to slow down when they eat since they don’t have utensils to quickly shovel food into their mouths!

Why Should We Eat with Hands - Benefits of Eating With Hands

Where To Eat With Your Hands in the Philippines

If you want to experience this unique tradition for yourself while visiting the Philippines, there are several restaurants where you can do so - including La Paloma Restaurant & Bar which serves traditional Filipino fare like pancit bihon (rice noodles), kare-kare (oxtail stew), and lechon manok (roast chicken). There are also several roadside stalls where you can find snacks such as banana cue (fried bananas) or turon (banana spring roll) - perfect for those who want a quick bite on the go!

A Filipino Food Experience: No Utensils Required

Small Talk In the Philippines

Small talk is a way of building relationships and getting to know one another better. It is considered polite to start conversations with light topics, such as the weather or current events.

Popular Conversation Topics 

When engaging in small talk with those living in the Philippines, popular topics may include local history, gastronomy, sports teams (especially volleyball!), festivals, music/arts events, agriculture, and more. Asking questions about what makes the place unique can be a great way to start conversations that lead to learning more about its culture. For example, asking about kadios—a type of bean—can open up conversations about traditional foods that are popular among locals. Similarly speaking on topics like La Consolacion College or Silay City Museum can bring up interesting stories about local history and architecture that greatly enrich your experience in the Philippines.

5 Killer Conversation Starters to Spark Filipino Conversations

Meeting People's Eyes

In the Philippines, it’s important to make eye contact when addressing someone or during conversations. It conveys respect and shows that you’re listening.

Eye Contact Rules in the Philippines 

In general, making direct eye contact is considered polite in the Philippines. However, there are certain occasions where direct eye contact may be seen as rude or offensive. For instance, if someone is speaking on the phone or engrossed in conversation, looking them in the eyes can be seen as intrusive and disrespectful. Similarly, if someone is reading or writing something privately, direct eye contact may not be appreciated.

Avoid Making Prolonged Eye Contact

Additionally, avoid making prolonged eye contact with strangers in public places. This type of behavior can make people feel uncomfortable and even unsafe. It's also important to note that some people may interpret excessive eye contact as flirting - so it's best to keep your gaze brief and unobtrusive when interacting with strangers in the Philippines

Maintain Good Eye Contact

In general, though, maintaining good eye contact during conversations is seen as a sign of respect and attentiveness in the Philippines. Making quick glances at people while walking around is perfectly fine; just remember to keep an appropriate distance while doing so. If someone looks away while talking to you or seems disinterested in your conversation - don't take it personally; they may just have different cultural norms when it comes to making sustained eye contact.  

Taking Off Shoes

It is polite to take off your shoes when entering someone else’s home in the Philippines, as it is seen as a sign of respect for the homeowner.

Why You Should Take Off Your Shoes 

Taking off your shoes before entering someone’s home or a place of worship is an important custom in the Philippines because it shows respect for the people and their space. It also serves practical purposes, such as keeping the floors clean and preventing any kind of dirt or dust from being tracked indoors. This tradition is based on Filipino values, which emphasize politeness and consideration for others at all times.

Why people take off their shoes before entering homes

Where You Should Take Off Your Shoes 

In general, it is polite to remove your shoes when entering any home in the Philippines. This includes homes belonging to family members, friends, and acquaintances as well as those owned by strangers such as Airbnb hosts. In addition, many businesses such as restaurants and spa centers may also request that customers take off their shoes upon entry. When in doubt about whether or not you should take off your shoes, simply ask the host or owner of the space if it would be alright for you to do so.

What To Wear Instead Of Shoes 

When visiting a home or business where you must take off your shoes, it is best to wear slippers or sandals that can easily slip on and off without much fuss. Make sure they are comfortable enough that you can walk around easily while wearing them! It is also helpful to bring along an extra pair just in case one gets lost or damaged during your stay.  

Ep. 110: Why Filipinos Love Flipflops

Public Display of Affection

Public displays of affection, such as kissing and holding hands, are generally frowned upon in the Philippines. This is especially true for couples who are not married, as it goes against the local customs.

What is Considered PDA? 

Public displays of affection are any actions between two people that involve physical contact or proximity. These can include kissing, embracing, holding hands, caressing hair/clothing/etc., cuddling/nuzzling up close together in public places—anything that might be considered intimate or inappropriate for public viewing. While some cultures are more open about these types of activities than others (for example, some places allow hand-holding but not kissing), it’s important to remember that when in the Philippines it’s best practice to avoid any kind of PDA.

Why Should You Avoid PDA? 

Public displays of affection are generally discouraged in the Philippines, as they are seen as disrespectful. The culture here is conservative, so it's important to be mindful of your behavior and actions when out in public. Even something as simple as holding hands or exchanging a kiss can draw unwanted attention and offend.