We are the same in something, we are very different in something.
In this post, I address three customs that are very different from ours, but you must take them into account when traveling to the Philippines.
There is a lot of emphasis in the Philippines on family and respect for the elderly.
Closely related to this is a special but beautiful custom for me called pagmamano. It is a gesture of respect and blessing.
Just as we shake hands in greeting, so do Filipinos shake hands. But they do it much more in style.
If you greet someone you want to show respect for and from whom you want a blessing:
- you take his hand
- you bow down a bit
- you put their hand to your forehead with the words "mano po"
"Mano" is translated by hand (as in Spanish)
"po" is an expression of respect in speech (something like our exclamation)
The person who accepts this greeting of yours does not have to do anything, or responds with the words "God bless you." If the person doesn't answer like that, don't do anything about it, it's really common. Just having you put your forehead on his hand means that he blesses you. Like me, when I met my partner's parents, I greeted them in this style. It just looks good.
So if someone invites you to their house, for example, this greeting is appropriate.
You will see that it will make them very happy.
In the first point, I already mentioned the word "after".
This really shows some respect in the speech, similar to our exclamation. But that's not the end of it.
The first time a couple of Filipinos called me a "sister", it seemed strange to me. Gradually, however, I got used to it, because otherwise it is not even possible.
When you come to the Philippines, you will find that similar types of addressing are quite common here. , just everywhere.
We use the address sir, madam, miss…
And in the Philippines, this is:
"ate" - older sister
"kuya" - older brother
"tita" - aunt
"tito" - uncle
"lola" - grandmother
"lolo" - grandfather
Then you just need to choose the appropriate address according to the age of the person you want to address.
For example, in a shop where a younger saleswoman will work, you can use the address "ate". "These" or "lolo". Of course, given that person's true age, so as not to offend anyone by mistake.
Although you will most likely look like a stranger, you will be immediately forgiven for your efforts.
Time is relative
I'm taught to endure punctuality.
I just take punctuality as a basic decency.
But I had to start working with this setting when I let the Filipino enter my life.
I'm very lucky that Jay (my partner) is quite punctual. In the Philippines, he is punctual and miraculous.
But for the first time when we had a small meeting with his friends at home…
Imagine someone planning a meeting with friends and inviting 5 people for 17 hours. In that case, I think it's decent to come between 17 and 17:30.
If I had to stay somewhere by mistake, I would definitely let the host know, for example, with a message that I was just late, and when I would arrive. I can never be sure if the host is not planning a toast or has not cooked with something that is good to serve hot…
But a lot of Filipinos don't think that way. They're not just used to it.
And so it can easily happen that 2 of the 5 guests come in. But they come at 18:15.
And one of them will take with him two friends he met along the way.
And one of those who didn't come at all will tell the other two about your plan, and they'll arrive.
Well, the next ones won't arrive until 19, they'll have a drink with you, they'll leave, and they'll be back in another hour.
I swear something like this can easily happen to you. So don't worry, don't just deal with it too much. You probably won't move anyway.
Just next time, prepare food that can be easily heated or does not need to be served hot at all.