Similarities between the Philippines and Finland

I’ve been blogging so much about the many cultural differences between my two home countries, that is, the Philippines and Finland. These two countries couldn’t be more different when it comes to nature, climate, and cultures. You’d be forgiven for thinking that they have absolutely nothing in common. But as unlikely as this might sound, you might be surprised to know that they do share some similarities. Here is a list of similarities between the Philippines and Finland.

Taking off of shoes

In the Philippines and in Finland, you do not enter a home with your shoes on. I think it’s a great way of keeping street dust (Philippines) and snow (Finland) outside the house. Also you’re showing your respect to your hosts by leaving your shoes at the doorstep. So this is why you see many shoes at the front door of houses in Finland and the Philippines.

Being multilingual

In both countries it is the norm to speak at least 3 languages, most people speak even more than 3. Many people are raised up multilingual or learn these languages in school. Here, language examples for both countries, spoken by most of the people:

Philippines (Visayas): Bisaya, English, Tagalog
Finland: Finnish, Swedish, English

Eating fish

The main ingredient for the national cuisine of each country is fish. Philippines being an archipelago, and Finland being “the country of a thousand lakes”, both have best conditions for local fish. In both countries fish is eaten many times a week. And another similarity: The Philippines and Finland both love their fish soups.

Being child-friendly

I’m proud to live in two countries that both are incredibly child-friendly. Children enjoy and have an important and accepted position in both countries’ soceity. Although growing up under two very different circumstances, children will always be the same: They just want to play and be happy. And in both countries most parents seem to be trying their best to fulfil this need.

Singing karaoke


I admit this one might be a little confusing since I have blogged about how karaoke isn’t part of the culture where I’m from. Well, I’m fortunate to have been growing up in two different cultures: The German and the Finnish.

In Germany, karaoke is not common at all. But in Finland, and this might come as a surprise to many, karaoke is quite popular in many bars and clubs. Although it does not even come close to the popularity like it is here in the Philippines, there are quite a lot of people who love to sing karaoke in Finland. The only difference though: While in the Philippines, people can sing 24/7 without one drop of alcohol, Finnish people first drink lots and lots of alcohol, then sing (but only in bars and pubs).

Being a former colony

The Philippines was a Spanish colony and then a US American colony before gaining independence in 1898. Finland was under Swedish and then Russian rule until it declared independence in 1917.



Although fishermen fish for different reasons in both countries, fishing is immensely popular in both countries. The fish sold in Finnish supermarkets are fished by big companies and corporations. Private fishing in Finland is for fun, while in the Philippines it’s usually for survival.

Display of flag

There is a national pride in both countries that was a new experience for me coming originally from Germany. Both countries love to display their flag and sing their national anthem.


      1. Nokia is Finland-based mobile phone brand which I believe was or still is the phone brand highly patronized in Finland. In Philippines, Nokia was or perhaps still the highly patronized phone. 🙂

        1. That’s probably true like more than 5 years ago. But nowadays I see lots of Samsung Galaxies and iPhones.

          But yes, about Nokia, it is indeed a Finnish brand, but many people probably don’t know that it is also a town in Finland where it originated from.

          1. Hmmmmm…So Nokia is no longer the much crazed phone in Philippines? Am surprised.

            But now that Microsoft already owned Nokia. 🙂

  1. About national pride I agree but to be honest I was shocked to find out that they only sing the Finnish national anthem (whole school together) once a year at school (Independence day I think) I wish it was more 🙂 The Finnish anthem is a beautiful song! While in Philippines every child has to attend flag ceremony every morning to sing the national anthem and say the pledge.

    1. I 100% agree about how beautiful the Finnish national anthem is. New Year’s Eve celebrations at Senaatintori, I always sing along with it at the top of my voice. Good times.

    2. When I joined our grade school “cousin”, for a day, at her public school, I was privileged to join in at their school’s flag raising ceremony–which is held daily before classes start. All students and teachers were standing in front of the Philippine flag and sang the national anthem with their hand on their left chest (and may I add, the kids sang so loud with so much passion) and said the pledge afterwards. On which of course followed a prayer, as in most situations here in the Philippines. It was a truly interesting and nice new experience for me.

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