About to move to the Philippines? Wondering how you are going to adapt to your new environment and lifestyle? Here are some guidelines to help you around.
The Philippines consists of a total of 7,107 islands, some of which do not even have a name. Thanks to its 100,003,378 inhabitants, it is known to be the world's 12th most densely populated country. The Philippines has a huge historical heritage, having been colonized by the Spanish, and then by Americans. Independence came later on, allowing the population to build up its own culture and lifestyle.
If you intend to move there, you will simply be delighted to discover and learn more about the Filipino everyday life in a vibrant environment. You should not have much trouble in adapting there, like many expatriates have before you.
To date, a total of 144 dialects are spoken in the Philippines, among which the Tagalog, the Visaya, the Ilocano, the Hiligaynon and the Bilocano. However, the Filipino is the country's official language since 1973. On the other hand, most of the population speaks English. Hence, you should be able to communicate with them rather easily.
The Spanish colonization period has, with no doubt, marked the archipelago's population. To date, 80% of Filipinos are Catholics. Unlike in other South-Asian countries, Animism and Buddhism have not managed to break through. Therefore, Christianity occupies an important place in the lives of people.
Living like a Filipino
During your stay in the Philippines, you are advised to dress up casually, bearing in mind that it is a Catholic country. Hence, avoid walking around in a swimsuit, for example. Filipinos are very friendly people and are always smiling. Feel free to respond to their smile. Moreover, Filipinos can approach you anywhere to engage in a conversation, whether at the restaurant or in a public place, as they are very open people.
When invited by a Filipino, remember to remove your shoes at the doorstep, and if you are invited to come over for a family dinner, do not eat everything that is on your plate. Generally, Filipinos will leave a small amount of food on the side as a sign that they have had their fill.
Rice is very present in the Filipino cuisine and can be considered as equal to bread in the West. However, Spanish, Chinese and Malay cultures have deeply influenced the local gastronomy, giving rise to a blend of delicious smells and tastes that can be a real delight for foreigners. The adobo, which is a meat dish cooked with vinegar, salt, garlic, pepper, soy sauce and other spices, is probably one of the most popular local specialties. As regards desserts, you will love the Pastillas de leche which is prepared with milk and sugar.
The Spanish and US cultures have undeniably influenced the population in all spheres of everyday life. Once you have got acquainted with the country and its different regions, you will also sense Chinese and Japanese influences in various ways. Therefore, regardless of your nationality and the country where you have been living previously, you will discover a real blend of cultures and flavors during your stay in the Philippines.