A Closer Look at Philippine Culture


Indisputable Reasons why It’s More Fun in the Philippines

Philippine Culture
Figure 1 Photo credit: tourism.gov.ph

According to Wikipedia, “The Philippines is an archipelagic country in Southeast Asia. Situated in the western Pacific Ocean, it consists of about 7,641 islands that are categorized broadly under three main geographical divisions from north to south: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.” (source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, Article on the Philippines). It is endearingly called “The Pearl of the Orient Seas” relating to both its geographical location on the globe, and the fact that this country is indeed a precious gem.
Philippine map

Figure 2 Photo credit: WIKIPEDIA

The beauty of this developing tropical country boasts of pristine white sand beaches and friendly locals that makes it a wonderful hub both for foreign and local tourism. Apart from that, the Philippines is recognized across the world to have a unique and fun culture. The country being a group of islands, you will get to experience a wide variety of cultural nuances from one province to another, which adds to its charm. Historical records of how the socio-economic traditions and practices of the country has adapted and evolved will give you a better understanding and appreciation for what the Philippines is right now. From the time the first settlers set foot in the country to the last foreign occupants, the Philippines was bound to have a rich and colorful tapestry of people and culture.
Philippine people

Figure 3 Photo credit: EFILIPINOWOMEN

If you have been to (or residing in) the Philippines, you will witness these traits and cultural practices that make the Philippines and its people one of the world’s best:

1. Their Love for Food

Food is not just food it’s a way of bonding

Their Love for Food
Figure 4 Photo credit: BALAY.PH

The love for food is one of the hallmarks of Philippine culture. They just love to cook and eat. On average, Filipinos eat 5-7 times per day. Yes, that’s right. They have the “painit” upon waking up to warm up the belly, then breakfast around 8 in the morning, a little snack right before lunch, then there’s lunch, a couple of hours later they have “meryenda” or another snack in the afternoon, then dinner, and lastly another quick bite right before going to bed. See, Filipinos see food and eating as more than just physical nourishment. Be it a big party or a simple gathering around the table, to eat is one of the creative means where Filipino families and friends strengthen their bond. They call their meal times with the ones they love as “salo-salo”. And you will find after having spent some good deal of time in the country how deep seated Filipino cuisine is in their culture.

2. Filipino Hospitality

Warm and big heart for everyone

Filipino Hospitality
Figure 5 Photo credit: TOURISTA.COM

The core of what makes the Filipino people special is their genuine warmth and hospitality. It is innate in their nature to be friendly and helpful even to the most random of strangers. If you come visit a Filipino household (even uninvited and unannounced), you will be gladly welcomed and entertain you like you were an expected guest all along. In a heartbeat, they will give up their own bedrooms, if they have no guest room at home, if you come stay with them overnight and they will sleep in the living room couch just to make you feel comfortable and at home. If it’s your first time visiting the country, they will make a big celebration out of it – one that is remarkable and truly special that will make you want to come back many times!

3. Filipino Time

Give time allowance so you won’t get disappointed

Filipino Time
Figure 6 Photo credit: GETREALPOST

The Filipino time refers to a fascinating, albeit bewildering characteristic of not paying very particular attention to the importance of time and are often late to schedules or gatherings. This is the reason why Filipinos give time allowances and adjust around the expectation of the “Filipino Time”. So when they set appointments or setting the time to an event or occasion, they announce the actual time to be an hour in advance because they know that when they say the party starts at 9:00, guests will show up at 10:00 (with uninvited entourage- more about that later). This quality of the Filipinos can be quite annoying to foreigners most especially when it comes to the business world. To be fair though, not all Filipinos practice this, and there are those who are punctual and are actually very time conscious. However, if you look at the psychology behind that, you’ll see that it is a byproduct of the Filipino’s laid back and relaxed nature.

4. Festivals and Fiestas

Filipinos are a bunch of happy people

Festivals and Fiestas
Figure 7 Photo credit: MANILLENIALS

If there’s one thing that Filipinos have in common, it’s the fact that they love to celebrate and have parties. They are just fun loving and would find any reason to make a song and dance number out of anything under the sun! Every region and province in the country has their own list(s) and calendar of colorful and vibrant festivals (see: Wikipedia’s List of Festivals in the Philippines and Manillenial’s 10 Philippine Festivals You Must Witness at Least Once). Now while most of these festivals have a cultural or religious implication and purpose, these usually involve a grand scheme of partying and merriment with street dancing, massive eating, and unlimited drinking. On a smaller scale, each barrio or town would have fiestas that are usually in honor of their Catholic patron saint. In these fiestas, the Catholic religious leaders will run a series of prayers and mass (novena) while the local government officials will have activities lined up for their residents like local beauty pageants, mini concerts, sports fests, small carnivals, etc. Once you get to attend and truly have an authentic experience of these festivals and fiestas, you’ll come to the conclusion that the Filipinos are one happy bunch of people!

5. Religion

80% Filipinos are Catholic

The Philippines is mainly a country where Catholicism, brought about by the Spaniards who set foot in the once Islam territory, has been embraced as the nation’s main religion. This is a country where parish priests have more influence over the people compared to elected government officials. Although there are other religious denominations and sects that have gained groups of believers and followers, their Catholic roots of the people is still extremely palpable in the cultural atmosphere. The Filipinos are arguably the most zealous people in terms of religious practice and traditions. In a regular household, grace before and after meals is practiced, and families go to church every Sunday. During religious holidays such as Holy Week, All Saints Day and All Souls Day offices and establishments close up shop to give their employees the chance to carry out their beliefs and practices. In December, right around Christmas, Filipinos observe the “Simbang Gabi” practice, which are 9 mornings of Catholic masses at the break of dawn. Religion has taken a stronghold in the lives of Filipinos and they live according to their religious traditions and practices.

6. Their Love for Family

Family is love

Their Love for Family
There’s no bigger family in the world than the Filipino family. You’ll be amazed to see that there are families in the country who occupy an entire town! When Filipinos talk about family, they mean business. It’s always going to be from cradle to grave. And when they say family, they refer to anyone and everyone related by blood or through marriage up to the nth degree! They even call their dad’s best friend, “tito” (uncle) or their mom’s friend from the beauty salon, “tita” (auntie). And in a Filipino household, there’s always going to be more than just one family residing. You’ll see great grandparents to great grandchildren living under the same roof. The love for family is one of the Philippine’s most admirable traits and the close family ties of a super extended family is nothing short of amazing! If you haven’t already, get yourself invited to a family reunion Filipino style and you’ll be in for a big treat. Sure, there will be the typical family drama or the annoying aunt who will keep on bugging you about your civil status, or the conglomerate of moms who engage in brag-fests about the accomplishments of their offspring. All those are given. But you’ll also get to see unconditional love and respect being passed around from one generation to another. The Filipino family is just awe-inspiring.
Family is love
So you see, the Philippines is more than just its beautiful tropical climate, and tourism landscape. It is a cornucopia of rich and magnificent cultural traits that has put the country on the world map and in the hearts of every tourist that has visited. There is a lot more to the Philippines and its people than meets the eye and once you have experienced and immersed fully in their culture, you can safely say that IT’S MORE FUN IN THE PHILIPPINES!