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

  • REMEMBER WHO DONATED

    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...

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  • PANDISAL FOR BREAKFAST

    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...

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  • PABITIN----CHILDREN JUMPING FOR GIFTS

    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...

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  • CONGRATULATIONS----BILLBOARDS, POSTERS &...

    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...

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

    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...

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

    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...

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  • "BRING-HOUSE" --- VERY GENEROUS

    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,...

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  • EATING AT PARTIES

    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

    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,...

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  • CONFUSING FEES WITH EPPS

    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...

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  • EAT WITH A SPOON AND FORK

    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...

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  • ONLY A FILIPINO CAN POINT WITH THEIR...

    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...

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  • SAMBONG------I AM HOPING IT WORKS

    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...

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  • Onboard meals of Cebu Pacific Air

    -Expensive, not presentable, poor choices and tasteless (as of Aug 2014)-Php350 each, only comes with a small drink

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  • Ati- Atihan in Kalibo

    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....

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  • Kings and Queens of Hearts - Boracay

    The celebration is a local custom in Boracay. In mid February school children dressed up in royal costumes parade in the streets of the town ending up in the large yard of the central school complex. Some of them have been in the competition to be elected as kings and queens for one year. Those parents who want their children to participate put a...

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  • Bantayan-Sinulog a great fiesta..

    During my stay on this magnificent peaceful island they were celebrating Sinulog as the whole Cebu was. So I had the chance to participate in this colourful feast sharing a lot of their gaiety. Mouth wetting smell of barbecued meat was floating over the whole place. It was impossible not to taste the tempting meat ribs and fish juicing on the fire....

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  • Sinulog in Cebu -Part 1

    Sinulog means "the movement of the current water" so the dancing consists of two steps in front and one back step symbolizing the movement of the river. The dancing and singing parade is snaking around the main streets in an endless movement of celebrating joy dedicated to the Holy Child (Santo Niño). Little figures of Jesus are held by the first...

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  • Sinulog - part 2

    The story goes back to old times even before the Spaniards came, when this dance was a part of a traditional ritual in honour of the wooden idols that natives adored as gods. When Magallanes came to Cebu island he gave a figure of the Holy Child to the local ruler as a gift. It is said that in the ruling years of Rajah Humabon his adviser got sick...

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  • 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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Philippines Local Customs

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