I guess you could say that this list is years in the making. Some habits, traits, peculiarities that I noticed in Arthur while living together with him in Finland; and then finding out and confirming from the few times I’ve visited Philippines on vacations with him—that they’re actually a typical Pinoy thing!
As usual, this is meant to be light-hearted. No judgement calls in any of these whatsoever because it is exactly these things (diversity) that makes our world fun and exciting. It’s what makes it all worth the effort of flying from the other side of the globe. To experience and immerse in a culture that is very different from what we’re used to—the very part that expands our horizon.
So below is that list I’ve compiled, so far, that I found to be endearingly Filipino:
- Using the “kiss” sound to tell the bus or jeepney driver that you want to disembark.
- Eating with spoon and fork, no knives at all.
- Ice cubes in everything—even in beer and wine!
- The hand pointing downward when gesturing to “come over here”.
- Exotic salads instead of green salads (e.g., seaweed salad, banana heart salad, etc.).
- People singing loudly along to any song, even in stores and in public.
- Women preferring waxing than shaving.
- Bringing goats, roosters, or pigs on public transport–totally normal.
- Swimming with normal clothes, not in swimsuits.
- Singing the “Happy Birthday” song in a fast tempo and with clapping too.
- Addressing everybody as “Sir” or “Ma’am”.
- The ability to sleep anywhere, even standing up!
- Burping loudly after a meal as a compliment to the host/hostess.
- Opening of gifts only AFTER the guests have left.
- Pump attentends to fill the gas in your vehicle at gas stations.
- Playing or listening to cheesy love songs without any hint of embarassment.
- Water bottles filled all the way up. (I still haven’t succeeded to open one without spilling)
- Talking with expressive facial gestures: raised eyebrows, lifting the chin, etc.
- Moving in groups.
- Rice for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
- Family members and their titles, e.g., ate (big sister), manong (elder), kuya (big brother), tiyo (uncle), tiya (auntie)
- Nicknames sounding like door bells: Dingdong, Bingbing, Longlong, Kringkring, Chingching,
- The love of Spam or Luncheon Meat.
- White people (including me) are called Americans.
I know this is just the tip of the iceberg (or icecream?), so I invite my Pinoy readers and those who’ve had the chance to experience the Filipino culture to chime in. What other Filipino things have you noticed that contrast markedly to the country that you live in now? Please leave it in the comments below!