Nationalities across the world can be distinguished by their peculiar characteristics and Filipinos are no exception. Try traveling in the Philippines and you will notice these five traits among the locals.
1. Smiling a Lot
Known as the ‘City of Smiles,’ Bacolod city in the island of Negros hosts the Masskara festival every October. Revelers, concealing their faces with plumed masks that come with a smile, parade and dance on the streets in an occasion reminiscent of Mardi Gras. Yet Filipinos tend to display this positive gesture not only during this event but also every day, and across the archipelago too. As a foreign tourist, you can see it among airport staff, hotel recipients, salespeople, and even peddlers on the street when they greet you. Try smiling at a Filipino and he or she will smile back. This trait can be traced to the country’s warm air temperatures. After all, climate influences the behavior and mood of people.
2. Conversations Filled with Jokes and Laughter
If you always take things too seriously, you will have a setback when chatting with Filipinos. They insert jokes in conversations to make them lively and interesting. As a result, this comes with a series of laughing. You will experience it during a get-together, dinner, or outdoor activity. Even solemn discussions can involve chuckling due to a random humorous remark. Filipinos are resilient despite the typhoons, floods, earthquakes, and the occasional volcanic eruptions because they can keep on laughing even in the face of disaster. Sometimes, a person utters a joke that may sound offensive but he or she actually does not mean it. Understand why it is funny, never mind the deeper meaning (because there might not be any), and have a laugh.
3. Not Being Straightforward
Usually, a Filipino will rather keep quiet and have you confused than speak frankly and cause a verbal argument. The people of the Philippines stick to their gentle nature by trying to avoid conflict as much as possible. When feeling upset with a person, they tend not to disclose it to him or her. Rather, Filipinos often reply with indirect answers and vague statements when asked if they have a problem with you. Sometimes, they may say “no” plainly but their facial expressions mean the opposite. A Filipino will also refrain from being straightforward to avoid hurting your feelings. Yet you might wish that person will tell you right away that he or she does not like your presence, a chat you are initiating, or perhaps a favor you are offering.
4. A Bit of Leftover Food after Dining at a Gathering or Party
When in the Philippines, attend a party or a simple dinner with acquaintances and you might see a bit of excess food on platters in the end. It does not mean Filipinos are wasteful. They are considerate of fellows when dining together, making sure everyone can taste each food item in a banquet, for instance. As being punctual is not common in the Philippines, those who come late can still have something to eat.
5. Use of the Words “Po” and “Opo”
Respect correlates with age, according to the Filipino mindset. It also involves a way to express it specifically. When traveling in the Philippines, you may notice that younger folks talk to you in English but say “po” and “opo” from time to time. They simply recognize your seniority. Amazingly, these two words cannot be translated directly into another language. “Po” and “opo” can be heard the most in Tagalog-speaking provinces such as Bulacan and Laguna. People do use them in places in the Philippines where another language is prominent but only sparingly.