A Westerner’s Guide To Filipino Culture

Filipinos are some of the most good-natured and friendly people in the festivalsworld. Whether they deserve it or not, tourists in the Phillipines are regarded by most as honored guests. Although few will expect you to return the favor, it would be nice if you did. Whatever the purpose of your trip, it’s a good idea to acquaint yourself with some of their customs before you go. Greetings first impressions are very important in Filipino culture, and this impression is usually made upon first meeting a person.

Thoughtfulness is next to godliness: A Filipino woman, whether she’s a friend, employee, co-worker, or lover, will greatly appreciate you remembering her birthday, anniversary, or an important promise. The fact that you do not appear to be taking her for granted will be rewarded a thousand times over in kind.

Patience is a virtue: The Filipinos are a very thoughtful and laid back people. These are admirable traits, but if you’re not the most patient person in the world, then this might be frustrating for you at first.

However, if you stick around, you’ll start to see the wisdom in this custom. If you were to hustle and bustle like a typical New Yorker, for example, you’d be in hospital within a week. So, especially when you’re first over there, be prepared to be very patient indeed. If you’re meeting a business associate, be sure to take something to occupy yourself in the likely event that you have to wait around for a while, and don’t be offended by a lack of punctuality, as this will demonstrate that you do not in any way understand their culture and customs.

How to greet a Filipino: All you need to do is say ”hello” or ”hi”, with a simple smile or a wave. Whatever you do, don’t take too long over it, or they may think you are hitting on them. Although some locals will greet you instantly, the majority will wait for you to do the first move.

A little thanks goes a long way: Filipinos find it particularly impressive and respectful when anyone, particularly a foreigner, says ”Thank You” or ”Salamat po” for anything, even if it is not necessary.

Don’t be afraid to say ”excuse me” : As a people, the Filipinos aren’t in that much of a rush. It’s a hot country, and you can’t expect people to rush around like they do in New York or London. It is common for Filipinos to stop in the middle of the street to look at something or talk to a friend, and none of them are likely to mind when someone asks to get by.