Interesting customs and traditions in the Philippines

Hello everyone,

Living outside of our home country requires us to adapt to a new culture and different traditions. What are some of the cultural specifics in the Philippines?

What are some of the traditional beliefs and cultural practices that you have encountered in the Philippines that are different to your home country?

Tell us a bit more about some of the customs that you’ve found interesting, such as communication style, food, greetings, laws, or festivities.

What were your initial reactions and how did you adapt to them?

Thank you for sharing your experience.


Though a practicing Catholic, I wasn't able to practice attending the dawn Masses 9 days before Christmas.

Finally, 5 years in my mother country, I was able to complete the 9 dawn Masses because of my sister-in-law.

After Mass, one buys the steaming bibingka to eat at home while drinking thick Spanish chocolate.

Nice tradition.

Astounding is the word I use when I discovered the amount of time and energy Filipinos will spend on various parties and celebrations throughout the year! 
Examples include: a child's first birthday, a weekend party,  public holidays and especially Christmas.  It seems when a birthday (in some cases, even this is spread over 3 days) has passed, Filipinos look forward to the next celebration or party.   Even I like to party, but really... Christmas music played in malls just after Sept. 15th?  (Example: A Venue Mall Market)
I can only conclude that (in the minds of many) normal day to day activities might be filled with anxiety and worry  over money or perhaps family health issues and focusing on parties or celebrations is a diversion to help them along in their daily lives. 
How about a little more time spent to reducing government paperwork or solving traffic issues?

Dear Priscilla,

Thanks for your email.  I found most of the Philippines are very friendly, upbeat and hospitality.   I like most of the friendly culture of Philippines except they are little bit too relax.  Most of the stuff I can get done in a week in my home town (Hong Kong), but here will take up more than 3 weeks to get it done.  Other than be patient, I can't find any other way to make it faster.

Love the Christmas holiday spirit here, I never experience to do the countdown over 60 days even I was in the America.  Ice cream, cheese bread, ginger tea, cheese soft candies are must try items in Philippines from my personal point of views.

Still need to pay attention about some taxi drivers, they are very canning about the fare.  Use Uber or Grab are more reliable.

If you are seafood lovers, you will. find Philippines is a paradise for you.  Many fresh and delicious seafood available in the markets at reasonable price.

Wish can explore more about the country and learn more about it while I am staying here.

Good point Bob. I noticed the same thing. My wife's family have nine siblings and many friends. There is always a celebration in the works. One thing I would add, which may be relevant to your point: Filipinos have a strong sense of Pageantry.  So, when there's an event, they try to inject some ceremonial / symbolic activities into it.

Coming from America the strangest change to get used to is how Philipinos drive, move into lines and shop in markets with carts. They only have one rules...get in front of whoever is next to you.....nuts!

Not drinking (water, or anything else) until they have finished their meal.

Just remember most sea food here are grown at farms, if you look for sea food as we know it that comes from sea, think again,

I read Post here about Christmas and all that staff, I am in Tarlac Province,
live in Concepcion, what decorations are we talking about, I have spend 4 Christmases here, new year is more important then Christmas is what I can see, Party's, hmm they are juts bunch of drunk Man, Woman not allowed to celebrate. if you have any Celebration they are separated Man from Woman they kind of doing their own things. not sure if this is just where I am or every way, maybe some one needs to tell what it is here not what they like to think or say, and for them to do some work well that is some thing else, I think snail will be quicker then them, and most things is all about short cuts to finish the job, and they think is beautiful haha it is one big joke, but then they are all the same, like they really do not want to learn new things or been tolled what they do is wrong, so the point i make this is more to do with Culture then any thing else, ones lazy always lazy, like give me food drink and leave me alone.

So that is what Filipinos are like in Tarlac Province and they have no Christmas?

bob18 :

So that is what Filipinos are like in Tarlac Province and they have no Christmas?

That is why a bypass was built ,to avoid Tarlac?  I remember miles of Christmas lanterns for sale.  The big thing here is how everything shuts down for Holy Week.

At least I can handle the shopping menace...ha..ha..

Referring back to this topic from Priscilla,  here is something on a lighter note.
I still find the hand signals and arm waving of traffic enforcers  very confusing for the most part.  In some instances, I would not want to be driving the lead car out of the intersection  under control of a traffic director....
Secondly, ask for directions in a department store and then watch the arm and hand motions ....  , sometimes a bit humorous !   
         Merry Christmas everyone !

Traffic enforcers only get paid 6,000 pesos per month and get killed by unhappy don't expect much from them. Almost all Filipinos give vague and ambiguous directions anyway because they don't want to take responsibility for bad ones.

Driving !!!!!!!!!!
total disregard for any and all traffic regulations, which side of the street to drive on, disregard for vehicle condition or safety,  No traffic enforcement except occasional checkpoints to verify current registration and drivers license.  Each time there is large line of parked vehicles waiting for the check point to close.

I have driven in most every conus state, many middle east countries and this is the worst  .  I am told some African countries can be worst than here.



The ability to break a project or service into component parts and charge for each one.  There is no such thing as included in the price.  Have a house build?  The quote will only be for foundation, exterior walls, and roof.  No windows, utilities interior walls, paint....



Gringo = dako
Pinoy = gami

It is not stealing, you can afford to share, especially if you hire employees for a business.
Even as simple as food, I ask it is 60 peso/kilo, pinay wife asks 5 minutes later price now 28 pesos/kilo.

In the UAE we call it "skin tax"

Karaoke is very popular here, to the point of drunken men crying the words to heartbreaking love songs at high volume.  As mentioned previously, there is always an excuse for another party, and especially on weekends the drinking and karaoke are inevitable.

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