If you have plans to travel in 2017, visiting the Philippines should be on that list. You might have been told ahead of time of what things to expect and avoid while you are there. However, there are also some lesser known “dos and don’ts” that you have to also remember during your stay.
Things To Do
In any country you visit, common courtesy is a must and respect certainly goes a long way. This is also true for the Philippines, with a few differences to the approach people are used to. Being aware also of uniquely Filipino traits will help you appreciate your time in the Philippines better as well.
The Friendliest Faces
By nature, Filipinos are very friendly people and love to entertain guests of all sorts. In fact, a 2015 survey ranked Filipinos as the fifth happiest group of people in the world. Filipinos are often described as “hospitable” and that lends to their friendly nature. If you’re greeted with smile while in the Philippines, remember to give one back. You might just quickly make friends in no time.
Ready to Celebrate. Always
Did a friend get a promotion? There’s a birthday coming up? Celebrating an anniversary? Be ready for some merrymaking. You might be invited to different parties and dinners to mark any special occasion. Go with the flow and before you know it, you’re sampling some of the best local food and maybe singing your heart out (Filipinos LOVE to sing karaoke when given the chance).
More than a chance to enjoy and relax, you experience first-hand one of the most upbeat aspects of the Filipino people.
Respect is Priority
Filipinos take courtesy and respect very seriously. After all, Philippine culture is deeply rooted in family and respect for elders and strangers highly valued. Sir and Madam are used to sometimes address people they meet for the first time. In a more relaxed environment, you might hear others being addressed as kuya or ate – meaning brother and sister respectively. This is also despite not having any direct familial relation to each other.
Because the Philippines is also a major English-speaking country, it’s fairly common to hear them mix words with their native tongue. Expressions like “Excuse me kuya” or “Thank you ate” are quickly understood and will help you get by easier.
What to Avoid in The Philippines
Visiting a new place isn’t all fun and games, however. There are safety precautions you must take and be aware of cultural quirks that some countries take seriously. When visiting the Philippines – a country that prides itself being an archipelago – just staying in one area will not give you a full appreciation of what the country is all about.
Say Goodbye to the Diet
We earlier established the hospitable nature that Filipinos are famous for. Often, this is shown when they serve food to guests at every chance they get.
From large spreads to a simple run from the bakery, you are likely to be offered food as you are a guest in the country. It might be difficult to refuse, especially if they went out of their way to prepare it for you, so it’s advisable to accept their hospitality.
If You Got ‘Em, Don’t Flaunt ‘Em
This can certainly apply to any other country you are visiting as well. While Manila is a relatively safe area, it is always recommended that tourists do not flaunt anything valuable during their stay. Foreigners are often targets of pickpockets and theft, especially if out in an open area. Stay in comfortable areas, walk with groups in the street and only access what you need to when you are in a safe environment.
Beyond The City Limits
Metro Manila has plenty of necessities and comfort for anyone visiting the Philippines. But if the opportunity presents itself to visit other parts of the country, don’t miss out! There’s plenty to see in the rural countryside of the Philippines. Provinces in the mountainous areas like Baguio provide a much cooler climate and spectacular views from above.
Of course, you can’t talk about visiting the Philippines without mentioning the beaches! You might get the chance to visit popular ones like Boracay and Palawan and these shouldn’t be missed out. Other resorts are not as developed as these areas, but that only means enjoying more of the beach without any established infrastructures.
A lot has been said about what the Philippines is like. Some see it as an emerging player in Asia while others remain apprehensive due its status as a developing country. Regardless, a visit to the Philippines might just give people a new perspective they need. By remembering subtle cultural differences and avoiding particular pitfalls, anyone can enjoy and appreciate their stay in the country.