25 things that are typically Pinoy

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:

  1. Using the “kiss” sound to tell the bus or jeepney driver that you want to disembark.
  2. Eating with spoon and fork, no knives at all.
  3. Ice cubes in everything—even in beer and wine!
  4. The hand pointing downward when gesturing to “come over here”.
  5. Exotic salads instead of green salads (e.g., seaweed salad, banana heart salad, etc.).
  6. People singing loudly along to any song, even in stores and in public.
  7. Women preferring waxing than shaving.
  8. Bringing goats, roosters, or pigs on public transport–totally normal.
  9. Swimming with normal clothes, not in swimsuits.
  10. Singing the “Happy Birthday” song in a fast tempo and with clapping too.
  11. Addressing everybody as “Sir” or “Ma’am”.
  12. The ability to sleep anywhere, even standing up!
  13. Burping loudly after a meal as a compliment to the host/hostess.
  14. Opening of gifts only AFTER the guests have left.
  15. Pump attentends to fill the gas in your vehicle at gas stations.
  16. Playing or listening to cheesy love songs without any hint of embarassment.
  17. Water bottles filled all the way up. (I still haven’t succeeded to open one without spilling)
  18. Talking with expressive facial gestures: raised eyebrows, lifting the chin, etc.
  19. Moving in groups.
  20. Rice for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
  21. Family members and their titles, e.g., ate (big sister), manong (elder), kuya (big brother), tiyo (uncle), tiya (auntie)
  22. Nicknames sounding like door bells: Dingdong, Bingbing, Longlong, Kringkring, Chingching,
  23. The love of Spam or Luncheon Meat.
  24. White people (including me) are called Americans.
  25. Optimism.

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!


    1. #19 = I’ve noticed that people prefer to be in the company of their friends and family rather than do stuff alone. For example I’ve noticed that I hardly see anybody going to the supermarket, mall, or doctor alone. Most people bring someone with them and therefore “move in groups”.

      In my home country, people (including me) really enjoy having some time for themselves. For me as an example, when we go to SM or Ayala in Cebu, I totally love to stroll around (by myself) and have some time for myself. 🙂 It’s different here. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Different countries, different cultures. 🙂

      And about the bayanihan, check out this video we made in January:

        1. Sherville7, do you think this (not going alone to the restroom) is because of watching too many horror movies?
          Because I noticed that age limit recommendations in movies are not being taken seriously. For example, Arthur’s 10 year old cousin likes to watch horror movies which are rated for 16 or above. Children in that age cannot distinguish between reality and make believe.

          1. That’s a possibility. It might’ve started out like that then eventually just became a habit as they grew older. I remember asking friends or family to go to the restroom when I was younger because I get scared easily.

            But even now as an adult, I see people (mostly women) go to the restroom together… so they can chat… We had someone from New Zealand visit us here in Manila a few months ago and she remarked that the restroom at the office felt like there was a party inside because there were a lot of women talking and laughing…

  1. Totally agree with the clothing while swimming part. Also, each family has at least one Tito Boy and one Tita Baby as their relative!

    1. i guess not only for us pinoys. i saw once in arab country where i use to work. arab women are also wearing their Abaya in swimming pools, and some in India as well swimming with their clothes on 🙂

      1. Seeing that there’s so much fuzz about skin whitening I guess wearing clothes for swimming might have something to do with this.
        Also, maybe a part of this is religion influenced (i.e., modesty, not showing too much skin).

        1. That’s right. For a lot of people, wearing swimsuits can be embarrassing specially back in the old days because you show too much skin. So better to just wear a shirt and a pair of shorts so you’ll be more comfy.

          When I was in India, I saw girls wearing school uniforms to swim and some women wearing their traditional clothes including the scarves…

  2. I heard that Filipinos adopted western traits a lot nowadays. When I was still living in the Philippines, no kissing or showing of affections in public, especially between males and females, that could tantamount to a scandal and unwanted marriage.

    1. Actually I haven’t seen anybody here kissing in public at all. Public displays of affection (PDA) is still extremely uncommon I noticed, especially between lovers.
      But you can definitely see the western influence in the way the younger generations for example adopt technology. Especially in the cities the lifestyle is “westernised”.

  3. really funny how i observed that in America, people would rather fart in public than burp. in the Philippines, burping is a sign that you have eaten a good meal and we always say “gracias” after you burp. i’d rather burp than have other people hear my “tambutso” (rear end) and smell my gas 😀

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