Every country has their own specific set of traditions and stereotypes that set them apart from all the rest—and the Philippines is no exception. Ask any foreigner what they first think of when they hear The Philippines and it most likely has something to do with balut, picturesque beaches, families (salute to our unsung to heroes: The OFWs), that glowing natural tan, and greeting everyone "Mabuhay!" even though no true Filipino actually says that in daily conversation.
Whether you agree with these famous traits or not, one thing is for certain: These stereotypes do not define the entire country nor its people—but that doesn't mean you have to leave your filipino traditions behind whenever you travel or move abroad! Here are 7 Proudly Pinoy traditions that you should carry with you wherever you go.
- The love for family
Family comes above anything—that's the filipino way. Distinct from its western counterparts, filipinos pride themselves in the desire to be with the family through thick and thin. As compared to countries like the States, the youth in the Philippines are not expected to move out as soon as they reach the age of eighteen. Here, mom and dad would happily let you stay with them for as long as possible—at least until you get married, that is. The love for family here is so strong that we call other people Tito or Tita and Ate or Kuya even though we are not remotely related to them in any way. Your friend's mother? Yup, she's your tita now. The local security guard? Yup, he's your kuya now. Who wouldn't want to spend special occasions, reunions, or even simple gatherings over karaoke with the family? Yep, that's the filipino way (and seriously, no one in the world can beat your mom and lola’s cooking for a family feast. No one at all.).
- The fact that anything calls for a full-blown celebration
How many fiestas are in the Philippines? Too many to mention. Of course, taking away from the colorful plethora of fiestas going on all throughout the country year-round, one distinct tradition in the Philippines is that absolutely anything calls for a celebration. Anything. "Oh, Jun-jun passed the UPCAT?" Party! "Tita Rachel bought a new house?" Party and house blessing! "Oh no your brother broke a leg playing patintero?" Par—no. Just kidding. But you know that your ninongs and ninangs might still show up anyway turning it into a mini-reunion like a side-holiday of some sort. Which brings us to...
- Who says we should only celebrate Christmas Day (or any holiday for that matter) on Christmas Day?
I really don't think there's another country in the world that celebrates holidays like Christmas and New Year's as soon as September rolls around the corner much like the Philippines does. Shopping malls be up longer hours and playing holiday music like nobody's business. Hey, it's the holidays! Time to celebrate, yeah? Let me tell you. If you're a foreigner and you want to celebrate the holidays in a different country, come to the Philippines. The Philippines is a country where the holiday season lasts from September to February (hey, that's half the year already! And don't forget all the mini-holidays throughout the year like Father's Day, Mother's Day, Rizal Day, Back-To-School Season etcetera etcetera etcetera) what can I say? We're a country that appreciates the joy of the holidays. Something that is not complete without...
- Philippine cuisine...need I say more?
Adobong Karne, Sinigang na Baboy, Lechon, Chicharon, Kare-Kare, Papaitan, Inihaw na Pusit, Palabok, Pancit, Bulalo, Binagoongan, Nilagang Karne, Kamayan, Dinuguan, Sisig...
All paired with heaps and heaps of steamed rice with a side of puto, a plethora of dipping sauces, and of course, ending with the Pinoy favourite halo-halo! Unli-rice anyone? Cutlery optional.
- Respecting the elderly
Not exactly focusing on age, but rather the wisdom and experience that comes with it. We show respect to our elders by practicing the use of po or opo in daily conversation as well as pagmamano, in greeting. Sadly, pagmamano is a tradition dying out due to the influx of western influence as well as societal modernization along with traditional street games like patintero as well as traditional filipino courtship—speaking of which...
- Uso Pa Ba Ang Harana?
Ah, traditional filipino courtship. The song made famous by the Pinoy band Parokya ni Edgar speaks about a time not too long ago (probably during the time of our parents or grandparents) where a man would serenade the woman he likes as well as woo her family as well. What girl doesn't want to feel like a princess and observe the extent of effort a man would go through to win her affections? How I wish we could go back to the olden days wherein Tinder or Kik or even "swiping left/right" wasn't a thing. I know for sure that a guitar and roses on a chilly night would sweep any girl off of her feet (looking at you, Nicholas Sparks!).
When we think of bayanihan, we conjure up images of neighbors helping another neighbor to move house. Literally to move house because they carry the house together and move it elsewhere. Bayanihan is a pinoy custom derived from the filipino word bayan (which means "community"). The term itself refers to the spirit of being a part of a community, mutual cooperation, camaraderie, and unity to achieve a particular goal. It's something deeply ingrained in Filipino values and something that the whole world would benefit from witnessing and practicing, don't you think?