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Social Customs & Etiquettes in Philippines
 
 
 

General

Filipinos are a very friendly and hospitable people, sometimes even to a fault. Take the time to smile and say "thank you", and you'll receive much better responses. You will receive an even better response if you throw in a little Tagalog, such as "salamat", which means "thank you".

In the Philippines, the family is the centre of the social structure and includes the nuclear family, aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins and honorary relations such as godparents, sponsors, and close family friends. People get strength and stability from their family. As such, many children have several godparents. Concern for the extended family is seen in the patronage provided to family members when they seek employment.
It is common for members of the same family to work for the same company. In fact, many collective bargaining agreements state that preferential hiring will be given to family members.

'Hiya' is shame and is a motivating factor behind behaviour. It is a sense of social propriety and conforming to societal norms of behaviour. Filipinos believe they must live up to the accepted standards of behaviour and if they fail to do so they bring shame not only upon themselves, but also upon their family.

One indication of this might be a willingness to spend more than they can afford on a party rather than be shamed by their economic circumstances. If someone is publicly embarrassed, criticised, or does not live up to expectations, they feel shame and lose self-esteem.

The Philippines are, in many respects, more westernised than any other Asian country, but there is a rich underlay of Malay culture.

Keep in mind that the Marcos years (1965-1986) can be a polarizing topic within the Philippines. Visitors will find that the northern Ilokano Population view the regime as an era of stability, while the metropolitan areas in the south of Luzon take strong pride in the people's power or "EDSA" revolution that deposed the regime. Either way it is best to assess the speaker's opinion prior to approaching the topic.

In the countryside and in some urban homes, footwear is removed when entering a home, though they may make an exception for foreigners. The key is to look around before entering any home. If you see footwear just outside the door, more than likely the family's practice is to remove footwear before entering. If you wear socks, you don't have to remove them.


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