Philippines Local Customs

  • 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

Philippines Local Customs

  • 5% COMMISSION or MORE

    When selling or buying a house, a lot, a car or anything of value it is normal to give 5% commission to a "so-called agent". Most of these agents are not official, but just know of something for sale so they make a n agreement with the owner before they introduce a customer. Same goes for the friendly tricycle driver that meets you at the airport...

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  • THERE IS MONEY IN TRASH

    It is now the custom for locals to save their trash and take it to the junkyard where the prices of different types of metal, plastic etc are posted. The scrap metal merchant will carefully separate everything in to separate piles, weigh each type of scrap and pay you accordingly. Once he has enough the shipping company will deliver a sea container...

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  • ONE CIGARETTE PLEASE

    In the west cigarettes are sold by the pack or even carton, but in the Philippines the locals can go to any sari sari store and buy one, two or three if they like. They are sold individually for a peso or more. In fact this is quite normal among the locals. Philippines is the 25th largest consumer of cigarettes in the world and has one of the...

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  • MASS WEDDINGS and PREGNANT BRIDES

    In the countryside it is quite normal to have mass weddings throughout the year on a given day when the priest is available. This will cut down on the expenses at the church which will be shared by all of those who are tying the knot. We attended one recently and it became quite obvious that many of the brides were pregnant (5 out of the twelve...

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  • BE PREPARED IF YOU ARE INVITED TO A...

    Perhaps you will be invited to a wedding but is the invitation is in the countryside where the people are poorer you may not enjoy the food. Usually a whole pig will be killed and all the dishes will be prepared from that single animal, but every part of the pig will be used, even the head, intestines, and blood. Unfortunately the people may be...

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  • LECHON

    Lechon is the national dish of the Philippines – also Puerto Rico. Entrails are removed and the pig is skewered and slowly turned over hot charcoals. The trick is to get a nice crispy skin. Lechon is eaten especially for special occasions. Cebu gets some acclaim for having the best lechon in the Philippines, but the proclaimed Lechon Capital of the...

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  • BUKO PIE

    A tastier version of coconut cream pie, buko pie doesn’t use cream but evaporated milk and young coconut meat – buko. Buko pie was said to be first made up by a food technologist from the University of the Philippines Los Banos branch in the Laguna Province on the south side of Laguna de Bay. Maybe the two best known shops are Leyte’s and Oriente...

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  • HALO HALO

    “Mix mix” is the rough translation for this ubiquitous Filipino dessert. Usually it is made of shaved ice, evaporated milk and a whole gamut of other additions – red mung beans, jello, tapioca, jackfruit, etc – topped with ice cream, flan or sugar. For me, simpler is better. In the case of halo halo that means the dessert served by the Razon’s of...

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  • RESPECT FOR THE ELDERS

    In the Philippines the locals have respect for their elders in their family and this is extended to outside the family also. Respect for elders is embedded in the society from a very young age and small children will address the elders by saying "po" or "opo". When a young person visits or meets one of the family elders he shows respect (mano) by...

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  • GAYS, LESBIANS, and TRANSVESTITES

    Although Philippines is a strict Catholic country gay culture is tolerated and accepted by the locals, except for the military and politicians where it is still considered incorrect. Gays are involved in art and fashion, transvestites often work in beauty parlours. If you are in a bar it is quite acceptable for members of the gay community to...

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  • GAMBLING IN THE PHILIPPINES

    Wherever you go in the Philippines you will come across people gambling, whether it is at the cockfight, the lottery, the casino or just playing cards or mahjong at their homes with friends and neighbours.Every town has a lottery office where you can buy tickets for the chance to win millions of pesos. Smaller villages have their small town lottery...

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  • RELIGIONS OF THE PHILIPPINES

    One of only two Catholic nations in Asia , the Philippines is predominantly Catholiic (80+%), 10% Protestant and around 5% Muslim who are based in Mindanao and Sulu. There are a few chinese temples, even Buddhist Temples in parts of Manila and other cities. In fact there is a Sikh Temple and Hindu Temple for the immigrant Indians in Manila. There...

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  • TIPPING IN THE PHILIPPINES

    For simple places locals may leave a few odd coins from the change but at better class restaurants Filipinos may leave 50 or 100 pesos. Taxi drivers will often say that they have no change so they would expect to keep it as a tip. If they don't use the meter you will ne paying over the oddsStaff at a good hotel may expect a few pesos for their...

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  • PHILIPPINE TOILETS--- 7 IMPORTANT FACTS

    First thing you should know is that they are known as comfort rooms, CR for short, so if you need one desperately it is better to ask "Where is the CR?"Secondly, when you reach the CR you must know which one to use as not all are clearly marked with images of a man or woman, but only with the written words, "lalaki" (male) or "babae"...

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  • BOUNTY HUNTING----10 MOST WANTED

    Philippines is the only country in the world except for USA where bounty hunting is legal, and although the palace does not recommend that individuals should try and capture the fugitives themselves there is still a list of criminals on the run with rewards of up to and over 10 million pesos.If you are interested in capturing any of these...

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  • MARKET PRICES ARE CONTROLLED

    At most major markets, especially in Manila, the price of the local produce is controlled and posted on a board for all to see and traders are not allowed to sell for more than the price displayed. The prices are also announced each day on TV and the radio.

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  • THE DIRTY KITCHEN

    Most middle class and rich Filipinos will have a dirty kitchen, which is not exactly dirty, but it means a kitchen outside the house where the maid can barbecue fish, or cook over wood or charcoal, and of course they will have their normal kitchen inside their house. The kitchen will also have a sink, usually made from cement and some type of...

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  • YOU MAY BE INVITED FOR BREAKFAST

    The other day we arrived at our friends house at 7 am as we were invited for breakfast before having to attend an official function that morning. So be prepared as you may be offered a plate of fish heads and rice. Naturally my local wife loved it but i very rarely eat rice for breakfast and certainly don't eat fish heads, so i made do with a cup...

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  • VALENTINE'S DAY, MASS WEDDINGS

    Many local people tie the knot on Valentine's Day because the church performs the ceremony free or at a reduced cost. It is also considered an unofficial holiday and most schools will be closed. We attended a wedding in Narra, Palawan where 10 couples took there marriage vows for better or for worse. We had to sit through 10 auditions of "Here...

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  • OFFICIAL HOLIDAYS

    Not quite sure where to post this tip but here is a good place as any. On all these holidays government offices will be closed but most restaurants and some businesses will be open except for Xmas Day and Good Friday when most places will be closed. Quite often the day of the holiday may be changed to Friday or Monday to allow people in the city to...

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  • THE KALABAW (CARABAO)

    Not sure if i am posting in the correct section but the kalibaw (Water buffalo) is an important animal in the villages and remote areas of the Philippines as it is used for transport, farming, eating and rented out to the neighbours. Water buffaloes were introduced to the country from Malaysia more than 2000 years ago. They are light grey to dark...

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  • KNOW YOUR NUMBERS

    In the Philippines the locals use Tagalog, English and Spanish numbers so it can be a little confusing, but of course most people will know the English numbers, but here a re a few numbers to memorise. TAGALOG SPANISHisa 1 unadalawa 2 dostatlo 3 tresapat 4 kwatrolima 5 singkoanim 6 siespito 7 sietewala 8 otsosiyam 9 nuevesampo 10 diye dalawampu 20...

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  • WHERE THERE IS A TICKET, THERE IS HOPE

    Many towns have several lottery offices where local people can buy scratch cards or pick their numbers for the big draws which are held each week, often reaching 10s of millions of pesos. I have never bought a lottery ticket myself but i believe that one has to pick 6 numbers to win the jackpot. There are several different lotteries where you...

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  • WHAT DID YOU EAT TODAY? RICE? ULAM?

    If you ask a local what he ate for lunch today the answer will more often or not be 'rice', where as we might say chicken and rice or sweet and sour veg and rice. Rice is the staple food here and ULAM is considered to be the topping that goes with the rice. There is not really an exact translation for this word. The Filipino meal consists of KANIN...

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  • KAKAWATE TREE---

    The Kakawate tree (Gliricidia) grows in tropical countries and the wood is extremely hard, and can even break the machete while trying to cut through it. In the Philippines it can be used for a living fence, just stick a branch in the soil and it will start growing. The flowers are pink and the pods can be up to 15 cms long. A very common use is...

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  • THE MALUNGGAY TREE--EVER SO BENEFICIAL

    The Malunggay tree ( moringa oliefera ) is grown throughout the country and is known for its nutritional value as well as herbal medicine. The tree trunk is white and can grow up to 9m tall, has small leaflets, perhaps the size of an American cent, pods and white flowers. Malunggay pods contain vitamins, amino acids and other nutrients and are...

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  • COINS of the PHILIPPINES

    Currently there are 7 coins that are circulating in the country--1, 5, 10, 25, sentimo coins and 1, 5, and 10 peso coins. It is very unlikely that you will get hold of 1,5,and 10 sentimo coins as very few places use them except for our local electric company and a supermarket. 25 sentimo coins are more common as there are still items in the sari...

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  • AMIHAN and HABAGAT

    Amihan is the time of year that is dominated by the trade winds which is a cool north-easterly wind. Normally there is little or no rainfall and a prevailing wind from the east. The Amihan generally begins in September/October and lasts until May/June but can vary from year to year.Habagat dominates the rest of the year when there is the...

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  • KALAMANSI---FRUIT THAT TASTES SOUR and...

    Kalamansi is grown all over the Philippines and is a small green citrus fruit about 3 cms in diameter. The Kalamansi tree grows from 3-5 m with spines on the branches The flowers are small and white and can produce fruit all year round. The fruit is sour and can be added to ice teas or coke, but it is very refreshing drinking it by itself. Just...

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  • GROTTO of our LADY of LOURDES

    The Filipino people , being mainly Catholic will often have a small grotto in their garden, or even in Government offices where the Virgin Mary is displayed and honored. It is a shrine which commemorates the visions of Virgin Mary that a young French girl (14 year old Bernadette Soubirous) saw between February 11th and July 16th , 1528 in the town...

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  • PARADES

    The Filipinos love nothing better than a parade often disrupting traffic and delays to wherever you want to go as streets can be closed for 30 minutes. If a store opens there will be pick up trucks with banners, playing loud music with several passengers on the back waving banners and balloons, sometimes throwing candies to the pedestrians, then...

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  • THE BALIKBAYAN BOX, FILIPINO FAVORITE

    Balikbayan box means 'repatriation box' and a Filipino working overseas is known as a "BALIKBAYAN". Filipinos working overseas usually send the balikbayan box back to their families several times a year, and will contain such items as toothpaste, chocolate, corned beef, designer wear, toiletries, household goods. President Marcos was responsible...

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  • CAROL SINGING at XMAS

    Carol singing is quite different from Western Countries where it is normal for the young children to go door to door singing a few Xmas Carols and you may wish to give a small donation. At lest it was that way when i was young. Here in the Philippines it is quite common for older people (and poorer people) will come to the gate of your house and...

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  • THE NEW TWO HUNDRED PESO NOTE

    President Diosdado Macapagal (father of the recent president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo) is on the front of the note, as well as Aguinaldo Shrine and EDSA People Power 2 that got rid of President Estrada, and Barasoain Church in Bulacan.The reverse side shows the Chocolate Hills in Bohol as well as the smallest primate in the world, the Tarsius which...

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  • THE NEW 500 PESO NOTE

    The front side of the note is all about the Aquino Family featuring Corazon Aquino , Benigno Aquino Jr, the Benigno Aquino Jr Monument and the EDSA People Power that removed Marcos from office.The reverse side features the Subterranean River National Park that was voted one of the New Natural wonders of the World (in Palawan), the Blue Naped Parrot...

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  • THE NEW ONE THOUSAND PESO NOTE

    The front of the note has Jose Abad Santos who was acting President during the 2nd World War, Vincente Lim who was a here and Brigadier General at the Battle of Bataan during WWII, Josefa Llanes Escoda who was a suffragette and the founder of the Girl Scouts, and the Centennial Celebration of the Philippine Independence, Order of Lakandula (the...

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  • THE 50 PESO NOTE

    On the front of the note you will see Sergio Osmena, one of the presidents of the country, and the landing at Leyte by the Americans during the second world war, and the first Filipino Assembly from 1907.The reverse side is much more interesting with Taal Lake, which is supposed to be the smallest volcano in the world. To reach Taal Lake you must...

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  • THE NEW 20 PESO NOTE

    On the reverse side of the note is the famous Banaue Rice Terraces which can be found 300 kms north of Manila. The rice terraces have been there for around 3,000 years and have been maintained to the present day. Unfortunately the younger people don't want to work in the rice terraces and are leaving to seek better jobs in Manila and other parts....

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  • THE NEW 100 PESO NOTE

    The new 100 peso note has a picture of Mayon Volcano on the back and this is supposed to be the perfect cone. Mount Mayon is located at the south of Luzon Island near Legaspi and still is active now and again as residents flee from the surrounding villages.On the backside there is also a white shark which can be seen in the seas that surround the...

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  • TURO TURO

    Turo turo is a name given to small eateries where pots are lined up, offering different local dishes. Usually family run, the cook prepares several dishes in the morning and the customer will open each pot to select the meal of his choice. Normally the price will be 40 or 50 pesos served with rice, and of course the customer does not have to wait...

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  • THE NATIONAL TREE---good for SYPHILIS

    This distinction belongs to the narra tree which grows as tall as 33 meters, and 2 meters in diameter. It is very interesting as the flower buds don't open normally, but wait until they are all ready and open for just one day only, then 4 months later the fruits are mature and are dispersed by the wind.More strange facts about the tree--- the root...

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  • INTERVIEW BY STUDENTS

    Don't be surprised if you are approached by students who will interview you for there university course. I am interviewed at least once a year in different parts of the country. The students will ask where you are from, which part of the country you are visiting and other details. It only takes 5 minutes and the students will be exceptionally...

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  • DWARFS, and DEMONS in the BALETE TREE

    The balete tree can be as old as 1000 years and is famous for the folklore by the locals. They believe that the tree can be a home to Duendis (dwarfs), kapre (demon), or tikbalang (a mythical creature with long arms). Rotts hang down from the tree that eventually reach the ground, and the tree will gradually become bigger and bigger as it gets...

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  • GET RID OF THE PLASTIC BAGS

    Well, i am glad to see that more and more supermarkets are no longer using plastic bags and have signs reminding you that plastic bags are no longer available, or even to bring your own bag while shopping. So many sewer drains are blocked up with plastic and other garbage this has to be a move in the correct direction. Great for the environment.

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  • PHOTOGRAPHIC SHOOT BEFORE THE WEDDING

    It is quite common for a young couple who are about to embark on life together after their marriage to visit some park, waterfall , museum or beautiful place in order to have a photo shoot.

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Philippines Local Customs

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