Things You Should Know About Filipino Culture

Geraldine Sy /
Geraldine Sy / | © Culture Trip
Gelyka Dumaraos

What is it about the Philippines that makes it different from the rest of the world? Well, for one thing, it is all about their culture and their local traditions. Here are 11 things you should know about Filipino culture that sets them apart from any other nation on the planet. These should not be taken as stereotypes, but rather as individual characteristics that are common amongst the Filipino people.

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Filipinos are very resilient

In times of calamities and catastrophes, Filipinos always manage to rise above the challenge. Instead of wallowing, they manage to pick themselves up and smile. You can often find them saying beautiful Filipino words to each other and motivating each other.

Cousins take part in clearing operations as part of cash-for-work scheme, Tacloban, Philippines

Filipinos take pride in their families

In the Philippines, it is family first. So whether you are part of the immediate family or you belong to the third or fourth generation, you are treated as a family member. Sometimes, even the closest of friends are considered family, too.

Large extended family in Luzon, Philippines

Filipinos are very religious

In all corners of a Filipino house, you can find brazen images of crosses and other religious paraphernalia. It is a common Filipino custom to go church every Sunday, or sometimes even twice or three times a week.

Santo Nino devotees attend mass by the thousands

Filipinos are very respectful

From the moment they are born into this world, they are already taught how to be respectful by using these simple catchphrases—po and opo, words that end sentences when addressing elders. They have a culture of pagmamano, which is where they raise the backs of the hands of their elders to their foreheads as a sign of respect. When it comes to what not to say in the Phillippines you should definitely consider wether your words are respectful to the Filipino people, especially since they have a deep language history.

Young boy plays in school grounds, Banaue, Philippines

Filipinos help one another

More popularly known as bayanihan, Filipinos help one another—without expecting anything in return—so that undertaking their tasks and responsibilities become much easier. Sometimes this is called “community spirit.”. So if you learn some travel phrases to get around the Phillippines, they will extend their effort and do their best to help you.

Bayanihan hopping spirit house sculpture by Alwin Reamillo, Philippines

Filipinos value traditions and culture

For Filipinos, traditions in their home and in their family are important. They usually set aside a specific day for a certain celebration like festivals, birthday parties, reunions, etc. And of course, every gathering is dedicated to keeping up with each other over sumptuous food. If, like us, good food is what makes you get up in the morning, then you might be interested in our gourmet destinations such as Bologna and Puglia, bookable now through Culture Trip.

A self service buffet of Filipino dishes at a party

Filipinos love to party

Yes, Filipinos love to hold celebrations and fiestas. Bacolod has its MassKara Festival, Davao has its Kadayawan Festival, and Marinduque has its Moriones Festival.

Dinagyang Festival in Iloilo, Philippines

Filipinos have the longest Christmas celebrations—ever

Local and major traditional events are a must experience in the Phillipines. Even as early as August, you can hear Christmas songs and jingles being played in the malls or in the restaurants in the Philippines. The mood becomes festive, with many people shopping and in good spirits. Christmas celebrations last until around the first or second week of January. We love the yuletide time of year, and the Christmas festival is one of the many Filipino festivals that are worth experiencing once in your lifetime.

Christmas display, Mactan International Airport, Cebu, Philippines

Filipinos love to eat

Aside from breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Filipinos manage to squeeze in a little meal in between, too. Whether they eat every hour or every three hours, they savour every bite. Oh, and they do love going to buffets!

Buffet in Villa Escudero, Laguna, Philippines

Filipinos love to sing

This is the reason why karaoke has become so prevalent. As part of their recreation, Filipinos spend some quality time with their families or friends singing or belting out new and old songs.

Children singing, Philippines

Filipinos love art and architecture

Just look at the massive and tall buildings everywhere. Filipinos have a penchant for bringing art and architecture to a whole new level. They love to design creatively, to think intuitively, and have a passion for anything different and unique. Talking of which, so do we. So much so in fact, that we’ve created a collection of small-group getaways that celebrate the unexpected – from street food, to local customs and traditions.

Port of Manila at Manila Bay, Philippines

Overall there are few places to avoid in the Phillipines, as the Filipino people are very respectful and welcoming to tourists.

Learn more about the local culture with our guide to Filipino superstitions and indigenous tribes, or brush up on the most famous Filipino artists.

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