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Do's and Don'ts for Immersing Yourself Into the Filipino Culture

A photo of the traditional Kalesa of the Philippines Immerse yourself in the traditional and the modern Filipino culture and values | Photo by Vernon Raineil Cenzon on Unsplash

Dating a Filipina requires a bit of give and take. To start, your cultural heritage and her traditions will vary. Often your contrasting cultures will disagree on a number of things. The best way to overcome hurdles and misunderstandings is to immerse yourself in Filipino culture.

In this article, we list a few of the Do’s and Don'ts of immersing yourself into the Filipino culture. These are just a few tips you’ll need in order to not just get along with the locals, but rather be a part of Filipino cultures.

From traditional Filipino customs to the modern Filipino culture and values; embrace the vibrancy of the Filipino community. After all, they say it’s more fun in the Philippines, right?

Do Learn the Local Language

Learning the local language will help you engage with the community easier. In the rural areas of the country, days usually start very early. Filipinos get more done by sunrise than others by noon. Engage in the community by living their lives. Learning the local language will make all the difference as the community will be more willing to help you and get to know you.

Filipino or colloquially called Tagalog is the national language of the Philippines. Learning Filipino is a sure fire way for you to be able to communicate across the seven thousand islands.

Don’t Forget to Use the Correct Honorifics

In the Philippines and within the Filipino language, there are certain words that you have to use when speaking to people as terms of respect. When speaking to strangers, say a waiter or a security guard, there are courteous ways of addressing them without having to use their first names. This is a very distinct part of Filipino etiquette.

Kuya (older brother), ate (older sister) are some of the common terms we use for addressing strangers with respect. It is also considered rude to address older people by their first names, even when you’re fully acquainted with them. Oftentimes we use Lolo and Lola (grandfather and grandmother respectively).

Although you may not be related to the people you address, it is polite to use these terms. This is evident of the close family ties of Filipino families and the Filipino people.

If you are still unfamiliar with the terms or are afraid of mistakenly calling them the wrong one, it is absolutely okay to use the more common Miss and Mister, or Madame and Sir. Additionally, locals often use terms like boss as an informal but friendly way of addressing friends or strangers they’re acquainted with.

Do try the food

One of the things Filipino people are known for is their love of food. From roasted chicken, also known as lechon manok, all the way to more exotic dishes you may have never even heard of. One thing’s for sure: Filipinos love to eat, and they eat a whole lot. You have your standard three meals a day, but Filipinos tend to make the time to sneak a few meals in between those.

Street food is fairly common in the Philippines, and Filipinos usually eat them for snacks. They have everything from the sweet and sugary to the salty and savory. A definite must-try is the famous kwek kwek, which is essentially quail eggs covered in batter and deep fried. Simple enough, but Filipinos love to experiment with different kinds of sauces.

Aside from street food, Filipinos love buffets. A staple in Filipino buffets is the world famous pork lechon, which is a whole pig roasted over coals, usually seasoned with local herbs and spices. Different regions have a different take on the Lechon, however all have the same distinct taste and flavor.

Other famous buffet dishes are lumpia or spring rolls which are usually the first ones consumed at buffets, pancit (a Filipino take on noodles), and more.

Don’t get offended easily

Filipinos are known to be quite humorous. They find the fun out of everything. Literally everything, even when they’re struck by calamities.

If you do find yourself caught in between all the fun and teasing, don’t take offense with those. These moments are usually when Filipinos socialize the best. All you need to know is that Filipinos tend to avoid having fun with people they’re not comfortable with, so if you get caught in the teasing, you’re part of the tribe.

Do Party in Festivals

Partying is one of the ways Filipinos blow off steam or just take a short break from the daily routine. The parties you may have gone to in your home countries are house parties, or formal parties with a coat and tie. The Philippines take partying to a whole new level. Instead of house parties, entire barangays, entire towns, or even a whole city hosts a party.

These parties are called fiestas, a local term for festivals. Usually these fiestas are celebrated in honor of a patron saint. Other festivals celebrate local delicacies or local products that have made the region famous.

Going to these festivals will definitely give you a clear picture of not just the modern Filipino culture and traditions but will give you an insight to Filipino art and history as well. And, you guessed it, food is always present. At every corner, you’ll find food, so you might as well fill up and enjoy.

Don’t insult the country or its people

Filipinos are extremely patriotic. And yes, there are imperfections with Philippine society, but that’s true of any country right? If you really want to get along with the locals, embrace the culture and avoid pointing out the things you don’t necessarily agree with.

Do Live Like a Local

Living like a local will immerse you even more in the day-to-day Filipino culture. Most tourists, when they come and visit the country, would want to live like a tourist. They live in hotels, dine in restaurants, or ride rented cars. These are great ways to explore the country; however, those leave behind the experience of being a Filipino


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