Local traditions and culture in Philippines

  • Elaborate headdresses
    Elaborate headdresses
    by berenices
  • Me wearing a barong tagalog for a wedding.
    Me wearing a barong tagalog for a...
    by cachaseiro
  • A barong Tagalog.
    A barong Tagalog.
    by cachaseiro

Most Viewed Local Customs in Philippines

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    DRILLING A WELL THE LOCAL WAY --- HARD WORK

    by davidjo Written Mar 6, 2015

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    In most of the country wells are drilled by manual labor by 2 or 3 guys. First a pipe is secured upright and a pulley is attached to the top of it a 1 1/2 inch pipe 20 meters long is attached to a rope which goes over the pulley. A chisel is attached to the end of the pipe , then one guy pulls the rope and releases the pipe while another guy turns the pipe when it hits the ground so it scrapes some dirt or rock in the hole that is being drilled. This is back breaking work and can take as long as a week to drill down 60 feet, and if the well is near the sea there can be hard coral to drill through, often only at a rate of one foot a day. The chisel will be continually sharpened, and once water has been reached the process is repeated withe a 2 inch pipe to make the hole wider. When the drilling is complete the pipes (usually PVC ) are placed in the hole and an electric pump is used to bring the water to a tank higher that the house so the people can rely on their own water supply.

    hard work turning the pipe when dropped in hole The 2 inch pipe and pulley pulling the rope before releasing the drill pipe

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    REMEMBER WHO DONATED

    by davidjo Written Dec 14, 2014

    It is normal for better off locals to donate money for various projects, particularly when building walls around schools, parks and churches. Then the names of the people who donated are inscribed on the particular section of wall or post that they helped to build. As you can see on these posts that are surrounding a church that i came across recently.

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    PANDISAL FOR BREAKFAST

    by davidjo Written Dec 8, 2014

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    Many bakery shops are open from just after 5 am and the baker has been busy since early morning making the dough for the pandesal. Pandesal is a small bread roll which is made from flour, eggs, yeast, sugar and salt and is normally sold for 2 pesos each. The locals will be lining up outside the bakery to purchase 10, 20 or even 50 pieces for their family. Normally the bread is on sale from any time after 5 am to about 8 am at the latest. The locals will eat this for breakfast, often dunking in to their cup of Nescafe, sometimes spreading margerine on them.

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    PABITIN----CHILDREN JUMPING FOR GIFTS

    by davidjo Written Dec 6, 2014

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    Pabitin is a fun game played at children's birthday parties or town fiestas and involves children jumping to try and grab a prize which is hanging from a bamboo frame. There is a lattice of bamboo sticks (balag) which is suspended in the air with string that can be lowered and raised while the children jump. Small bags are attached to the lattice which are filled with sweets, toys or coins and the children jump to receive their reward. The game was brought to the Philippines by the Spanish Catholics, originally a game played during Santa Cruz De Mayo, a commemoration of the search for Christ's cross by Saint Helen and her son, Constantine the Great.

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    CONGRATULATIONS----BILLBOARDS, POSTERS & BANNERS

    by davidjo Written Dec 3, 2014

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    Throughout the country you will come across posters or banners which congratulate students graduating from their universities or schools as well as beauty queen pageants, talent competitions etc, or even announcing a group of visitors to the city. This is very uncommon in the western world., but i came across this one today which was just outside the parents place of business. What was more surprising was that the father is a foreigner, and the lucky daughter, Jade seemed to have won some type of singing/opera award for having a good voice. Normally students who qualify from their course are included in a huge banner outside their place of study, but also the parents may erect a billboard outside their home too, with a photo of their son or daughter.
    Of course the parents are proud of their children, and there is probably a little showing off too. The schools are also pleased to have an opportunity to show the public that many of there students graduate and will attract more students in the following year. It would also encourage other students to strive to do even better.

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    UTANG NA LOOB-----NOT TO BE FORGOTTEN

    by davidjo Written Nov 1, 2014

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    Utang means a 'debt' and loob means 'inner self', thus utang na loob means 'debt of inside' or better still 'debt of prime obligation'. Many locals may buy goods on credit from stores or borrow money from friends and this debt is known as 'utang', but there is no word in English for 'utang na loob'. The concept of 'urang na loob' is the obligation to appropriately repay a favor, but these favors are difficult to quantify, impossible to estimate a value and involves a deeply personal internal dimension which is completely different from an ordinary debt (utang).
    Filipinos will be aware of their duty concerning 'utang na loob' and will endeavour to return the favor and more during his lifetime. He will always try to repay more as he does not want to remain in debt to the original person for the rest of his life. No gift or money can be repaid to nullify the debt.
    Here are a few examples.
    1. A doctor saves the life of a very sick family member, so the patient is always indebted to the doctor.
    2. The family have a child and brings the child up, sending him/her to university, so he would be considered ungrateful if he did not look after his parents in their old age, so he would have 'walang utang na loob', (no gratitude).
    3. I actually helped a family member to come to London, fed him, lived in my house, found a job and helped with gaining residency. Eduardo would have utang na loob to me, could not possibly return this favor and no value could be put on it.
    4. If there was someone in a government position who managed to secure a job for a friend, the same would apply in this case.

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    NICKNAMES ------- OFTEN REPETITIVE !!!

    by davidjo Updated Oct 25, 2014

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    When you are in the Philippines you will hear many people referred to by their nicknames, and there is no end to the the repetitions such as Bongbong, Vanvan, Jun jun, Dandan, Dondon, Tonton, Tintin, Dindin, Lotlot, Lala, Toto, Tingting, Macmac, Katkat, Ningning , Maimai, Chichi, Baba........and the lists goes on and on and on......

    Then there are the Western sounding nicknames such as AA, BB, DD, GG, JJ, MM, RR !

    And to top it all there are the imperfectly repetitive such as Kokoy, Totoy, Dodoy, Dodot, Dodong, Boboy, Momoy, Popoy..... I think you get the idea by now, but why all these nicknames?

    EVEN THE PRESIDENT HAS A NICKNAME---NONOY

    Many of them are terms of endearment that stick to them since they were babies. It is not uncommon for a parent to address their young baby boy by 'Nonoy" or "Nene" if a girl.

    NOTE
    It is a similar situation for private parts as to say the real names appears to be too lewd or rude, so the scrotum becomes "bola-bola" instead of 'bayag', the thing protruding from a man is referred to as "Pitoytoy" and the female equivalent "pekpek", and the breasts become "dede".

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    "BRING-HOUSE" --- VERY GENEROUS

    by davidjo Written Oct 25, 2014

    When attending a local party the hosts will usually provide far too much food for the guests. This is done for two reasons---- It would be shameful if there was not enough food for all the guests and secondly they are very pleased for the guests to bring some food home, so it is quite common to leave the party with plastic bags full of noodles, lechon, birthday cake etc. This shows the generosity of the host who are only too pleased to encourage their guests to take a "bring-house". Many of the party goers are used to this tradition and will even bring their own plastic bag and start filling it up without asking.

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    EATING AT PARTIES

    by davidjo Written Oct 25, 2014

    When invited to a party there is often a buffet and do not be surprised when you see the locals pile everything on to the same plate, such as rice , noodles, vegetables, fish, spring roll, birthday cake, leche flan, fruit salad etc, even when the food items are not normally mixed. This is how the locals do it, so get used to it!

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    A LITTLE KNOWN FILIPINO SEX ENHANCEMENT

    by davidjo Updated Oct 25, 2014

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    IT IS MORE FUN IN THE PHILIPPINES ! WHY ?

    They are known as BOLITAS , normally small spherical objects that are implanted into the subcutaneous tissue of the shaft of their P***S very near the glans. A survey of participants discovered that the bolitas were made from plastic (made from melted spoons), metal pellets, steel ball bearings, ivory, jade, porcelain, fiber glass, deodorant rollers, ball pens, chop sticks, tooth brushes, necklace beads and even ROSARY BEADS ! In fact the mind boggles. Nearly all of the respondents got them free, quite often from cell mates in the prison! Filipino seamen are also fond of this habit.

    WHY DID THEY DO IT?
    Possibly to make their partners happy or content. Adventurousness. Some may have been inadequate so they thought that this would increase their performance.

    SIDE EFFECTS
    40% of the respondents had complications which included throbbing pain, inflammation and pus, as well as some veins being punctured which caused a little more than a gentle itch.

    AND DID THE BOLITOS WORK?
    Nearly 60% of females noticed a difference during the performance, 25% said no difference and 15% were uncommitted., BUT 50 % had wounds, rashes or pus or inflammation !!!

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    CONFUSING FEES WITH EPPS

    by davidjo Written Oct 25, 2014

    In the Philippines, especially in the more remote areas you may have difficulty understanding the locals when they speak to you as they tend to pronounce their 'P's and "F"s , BUT WHY ?
    The reason is quite simple. Filipino tongues are generally Malayo-Polynesian even though the Spanish and Americans were here for 400 years. So if you are from the provinces you learn the local language as well as Tagalog (definitely Malayo/Polynesian) their entire vocal tract is not naturally hard wired for the letter F or V for that matter. If you were not from a well to do family or lacked education in English it is not so easy to pick up the phonetic ability to pronounce "F" properly.

    And in fairness many nationalities have similar problems
    The French have difficulty pronouncing "H" properly.
    The German and Dutch often mistake "V: for "W:.
    The Brits cannot pronounce the rolling "R" like the Spanish.
    The Japanese also cannot pronounce the "L"

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    EAT WITH A SPOON AND FORK

    by davidjo Written Oct 25, 2014

    Usually when dining at a restaurant you will be given a spoon and fork, but no knife, unless it is in a top hotel. BUT WHY ? Actually the spoon is the primary utensil which is used for eating and the edge of the spoon is used for cutting the fish or meat and the fork is used for pushing the food on to the spoon.
    Usually Philippine cuisine consists of small pieces of meat which are chopped up with a large knife before cooking and a knife on the dinner table is not necessary, where as Westerners have huge slabs of meat on their plate making a knife necessary.

    Believe it or not you will see many souvenir shops selling wooden spoons and forks that are 3 feet long which people quite often hang on their wall for decoration. I have seen these items in many homes of my local friends.

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    ONLY A FILIPINO CAN POINT WITH THEIR LIPS !!!

    by davidjo Written Oct 25, 2014

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    The Filipinos are masters of pointing with their lips and can be used in several ways.
    If one of their buddies spots a gorgeous chick, he will purse his lips towards the direction of the girl approaching, and let the blacks of their eyes follow the direction without any neck movement.
    You may ask a local where is the tourist office and he will purse his lips towards the left or right depending where it is located.
    Having been married to a Filipina for years i find it particularly annoying when asking her questions such as "where is the remote control" and hearing no answer ask again. she will say that she already told me , but i was not looking at her when she POINTED WITH HER LIPS !!!

    NOTE
    The Redbird Native American Indians do the same thing but when the Spanish colonised the Philippines two groups of people were brought here----Most of them Nahauti (Aztec) or Yaqui descent, or indeed Mexican mestizos themselves who later intermarried with the people of North Luzon. Could they have brought the lip pointing to this country?

    OVER THERE

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    SAMBONG------I AM HOPING IT WORKS

    by davidjo Written Oct 22, 2014

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    Sambong ( Blumea balsamifera L. DC ) is a shrub that grows in the Philippines as well as a few other tropical countries and is used as a herbal medicine. The leaves are known for its ngai or blumea camphor and can treat kidney stones, wounds, rheumatism, anti-diarrhea, anti-spasm, colds, coughs and hypertension. The shrub can grow up to 4 meters high and is considered a weed in some countries.

    PREPARE SAMBONG TEA
    Gather 50 grams of leaves and cut them up, after cleaning with water. Boil the leaves in 1 liter of water and let it simmer for 10 minutes. Drink 4 glasses of the warm tea each day.

    I have lived in the Philippines for over 20 years and although i rely on medicine from the pharmacy i have tried using herbal medicine occasionally, but this is the first time since i am a VT member. Unfortunately i have been suffering with chills, sweats, phlegm, fatigue and diarrhea for a month now and tried many different pills from the pharmacy, had several tests at the hospital but no matter what i do i just cannot shake this illness off. So i have decided to try this herbal remedy, and i hope that i can update this tip with good news in the coming days.

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    Ati- Atihan in Kalibo

    by elsadran Updated Oct 15, 2014

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    The history of this grandiose annual celebration is quite interesting..It initiates in the 13th century when the local people in Panay were the Ati who were blackish and short. They lived up on the highlands. One day immigrants from Indonesia arrived on this land and agreed with the Ati people to buy some land from them and settle in the lowlands. But Atis were out of food one year so they came down to their new neighbors and asked for some food. The Maraynon, the immigrants, gave them food very generously so Ati danced a traditional dance to express their gratitude. The immigrants painted their faces black to look like their new neighbours. Since then a great parade symbolizing the journey down to the lowlands and a great celebration has been taking place in honour of their ancestors' friendship...
    When Catholicism was the predominating religion the Ati-Atihan celebration was dedicated to the Holy Child (Santo NiƱo). Thus becoming a mixture of traditional and religious elements satisfying completely the public need for celebrating , dancing and singing while expressing their religious feelings of gratitude and piety.
    The celebration lasts for a week with a climax on the three last days when many social festivities are going on. There are local product markets, masses in churches for the devotees and the famous Ati-Atihan parade that has become the most important event of the year as thousands of people are dancing singing and shouting with their faces painted and their imaginative bright-colored costumes. The sound of drums accompanying their steps is monotonous but peculiarly addictive after you have been carried away by the festivity spirit ...It's a vibrant and happy rhythm that in combination with the smiling faces and the lively colours all around make you want to start dancing yourself!!!
    Unfortunately it coincides with Sinulog celebrated in Cebu and the nearby islands so there is no possibility to see both in the same year. But it is a good motive to come back to this country....

    internet photo internet photo photo from internet
    Related to:
    • Festivals
    • Music
    • Theater Travel

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