10 Things I Love About Filipino Culture
Yesterday was day 2 of the Manila Majors. If you’re new to my blog, welcome!! You jumped in on an exciting week. As a nerd/gamer/geek, I have been following, (and cooking) recipes in honor of each of the 16 E-sports teams that are competing in the DoTA 2 Manila Majors. What an exciting tournament it has been! In fact, all of the hosts and players have been tweeting about how amazing the Filipino fans are. 🙂 Well, yeah! Filipinos love to party!!
Last night was my night to cook a dish in honor of Mineski. Mineski is one of the 16 teams to qualify for the Majors. Led by their captain, Raging Potato, they did their best in the group stages and Day 1 of the majors. Sadly they were bested by Alliance, but they are still deeply loved by many. This team is paving the way for Filipino e-sports teams, and even hosts an internet cafe called Mineski Infinity located in Manila. While we bid adieu to Mineski in the Majors, I know we will see them return for the open qualifiers for TI6!
There I was lying in bed munching on a plate of lumpia, watching the majors, when I thought, “There is so much about Filipino culture that I love. I should shake things up and write about it!”. So here I am doing just that. Enjoy this list everyone. I hope it brings a smile to your face.
10 Things I Love About Filipino Culture
- Filipinos are kind. Truly, you won’t find a nicer group of people. I’ve walked into a room full of strangers and the next thing I know I’m greeted with hugs and asked to call them “Tita” or “Tito”. They really make you feel like one of the family.
- Filipinos know how to eat. I never have to worry about over-indulging at a Filipino gathering because chances are everyone around me is going for seconds, or taking a plate of food home! But! You’ll never see a Filipino grab the last piece of food. That’s a no-no.
- Filipinos love to sing and dance. Oh my goodness this one brings a huge smile to my face. I definitely inherited the “white gene” in that… I cannot dance well. I want to dance. But my body just moves in awkward jerks and sways. Thankfully, I can hide in the middle of a Filipino crowd since they are busting a move all around me. It’s totally awesome! They dance with their whole body. It’s like… joy emanates from them when they sing and dance. I love it!
- Filipinos are thrifty. Unlike many other Asian nations, the Philippines has struggled for hundreds of years. As such they have suffered considerably, and you’d think that would impact the mentality of the people as a whole. But no! Bangon is a Tagalog word meaning, “rise up”. Instead of complaining about what they don’t have, Filipinos make use of what they do have! That includes adding water to a nearly empty ketchup bottle, re-purposing items to use for other things, the list could go on and on.
- Filipinos have amazing food. Lomi, afritada, caldereta, siopao, pancit palabok, (I could keep going…), turon, biko, I think you get the idea. These foods are flavorful, rich, and deceptively complex. What might be perceived as “just a stew” is actually a dish rich in ingredients that make for a complicated broth. Try as many as you can. You won’t be sorry, I promise!
- Filipinos are highly educated. This is a fascinating fact to me. Much of the population in the Philippines is poor and struggles to get the proper education, but they also have an educational system where if you can test high enough to get accepted into one of their Universities, you can attend on a scholarship and go to school essentially for free! You can then sign an agreement to the government to work in the Philippines for so many years, (as “years of service”) which will then pay off that debt. If only America had such a thing! But from an early age Filipinos are taught English in the schools. So don’t fear traveling to the Philippines, they can understand you! 🙂
- Filipinos love to shop. I sometimes wonder if Filipinos love to shop partly because it’s so hot there, and the malls are cooler, and partly because shopping is just fun. But nonetheless, they love to shop! No complaints here! 😉
- Filipinos value friendships like family. The word barkada, is often used to describe a close circle of friends. In Filipino culture, if you are part of a barkada, chances are you have some friends for life. Growing up, their lifestyle revolves around being social. From the neighborhood kids you play with, to the kids you meet in school, the chance to form a barkada is everywhere. Although many Filipinos often grow up and move to another country for work, you’ll find that their friends will still reach out to message and let them know that they’re missed. It’s really endearing, and I wish there was something like that here in the States.
- Filipinos are very religious (and superstitious). This one makes me smile. Growing up my family was never big into New Year’s. But once I met my husband all of that changed. New Year’s in the Philippines is a big deal. Firecrackers and fireworks light the sky. Families host huge gatherings complete with a buffet of food. Coins are placed on the window sill to bring “good luck” and fortune into the new year. Pancit is made by the platefuls to represent long life. Long noodles = long life, get it? 🙂 It’s really a lot of fun.
- Filipinos are passionate and expressive. It’s rare that you need to figure out what a Filipino is thinking. Often times their facial expressions and mannerisms will indicate what they are feeling. While I am not fluent in Tagalog, I can understand enough to get the jist of what someone is saying. I could go on and on about how watching movies in Tagalog makes me happy, or how I listen to OPM music regularly, but that would make this blog post quite lengthy!
I’ll end this list with this: before I met my husband I never even knew where the Philippines were located! I had never met a Filipino or heard Tagalog spoken. Fast forward 5 years later and I can’t imagine my life without it. They are a beautiful, colorful, rich group of people who are so warm and welcoming to those of us who grew up outside of their culture. Take a moment and learn a bit about Filipinos…. it’s so worth it. Have an awesome and blessed day everyone! 🙂 Until next time!