When you compare the filipino culture vs american culture, you’ll notice differences that may seem odd or confusing to you.
I know I did when I first met my wife in person.
Having traveled to the Philippines and living with my wife for a few years now, it took me some time to get adjusted to the way she did things.
I hope through my experiences, I can shed some light into how the Philippine and American culture differ — and help you better understand what it’s like over there.
So let me jump into things here and give you 5 things that really stood out at me, with the first one being about food.
Why Are Philippine Women So Skinny?
One of the first major things you will notice that is different between Americans and Filipinas is how they look.
I remember the first day I was in the Philippines, I noticed how skinny the women were compared to women over in the U.S. After spending a few more days there, I started to understand why this was.
If you’re from America like me, then probably 3 or 4 times a week you will drive through and get some fast food. I personally like chick fil a the most, and if I had the money would eat it every day.
However, over in the Philippines they go out to eat very seldom and usually eat all home cooked meals. Not only this, but they tend to eat more healthy foods overall like seafood, chicken, and rice.
Did I mentioned rice?
Well to give you a hint at how much Philippines love rice, expect to eat it with just about every single meal you have with them — that’s how much they love it!
What I also found different was instead of sitting down at a dining table with silverware and napkins — in the Philippines they usually sit on the ground in a big circle with a big bowl of rice, vegetables and some kind of meat in the middle.
We would then serve ourselves and then begin eating it with our hands. It was so different and fun eating this kind of way — and the cool part was we didn’t just do it with finger foods like pizza and chicken wings, but with just about everything we ate except for soup of course.
On top of all of this, I also noticed people from the Philippines generally eat far less than Americans do. My wife to this day is usually done eating within 5 minutes after sitting down, while I feel like I have only just begun.
So when you combine eating home cooked meals, healthier types of foods, and smaller portions — you can see why both men and women over there seem to look healthier than American people do.
Driving.. Is It That Important?
When I first saw Manila, it quickly reminded me of New York — just without the skyscrapers.
The traffic is bumper to bumper, every other car that passes you is some kind of taxi or transportation service, and the people that do drive, well drive like crazy people.
Philippines traffic laws are very laid back and not as enforced as they are here in America — letting drivers get away with lots of crazy things all the time.
Another thing you have to realize between both the U.S and Philippines, is that America is a much bigger country compared to them.
In essence it’s only natural and more necessary to learn how to drive and buy a car in America, so you can go places.
In Philippines though many people never learn to drive, because all they have to do is grab a taxi and go wherever they need too for a very low cost.
So if you ever decide to stay in the Philippines for a while or move there — just remember you won’t really have to drive anywhere unless you really want to.
What Are You Saying?
Many people ask me if I can understand my wife and if I’m able to talk with her parents.
I smile and tell them if my wife was not able to speak English, then I would not understand a word she was saying.
In the Philippines everyone grows up learning English and their native language ( Tagalog ) at a very early age. This way, when they’re all grown up they can speak both fluently.
Tagalog to me sounds a lot like Spanish, and for good reason. They use lots of Spanish words within their language when their speaking.
What I did not know though is they have many different dialects of Tagalog — so much to where even if two people come from the Philippines, but from different parts, they might not be able to understand each other.
So if you’re wondering if you can get around their country speaking ONLY English yes! Just expect to hear most of them talking in the native language while your there.
One of the things I had to get accustomed to with my wife was they way she said and did things.
Like I said while yes she does speak English, she also have a lot of unique gestures that filipinas do.
For one, if you ever ask a Filipina a question many times she will respond with “mmm.”
While it does sound like someone who just ate something very delicious saying mmmmm — what they really mean when they say “mmm” is the word yes.
I know I still find it weird when my wife does it — but that’s just how they do it — similar to us saying “ya” or “uh huh.”
What I found quite unique, is the Philippines do not have pronouns for genders like “he” and “she.”
So when they try to talk about someone in English, it is not uncommon for them to call a girl… he and a guy.. she. Hope that’s not too confusing. 🙂
I know I’ve heard my wife do this countless times and always thought she just did it on accident. It wasn’t until I started doing research on this post I found out otherwise.
Last but not least if you ever around a filipina expect them to sing.
I don’t know what it is but filipinas love to do this — and will burst out into a random song at a moment’s notice. So if you know the lyrics or enjoy singing yourself — chime in with them.
Who Needs A TV?
I know your first response to this is probably going to be a big YES!
Well in the Philippines, many can’t afford one due to economic reasons — so they find other things to do for entertainment.
While here in america kids will be playing video games or watching shows — in the Philippines many will be outside playing in parks or if there with their family drink alcohol.
It is very common to see adults and kids playing pool, cards, or other similar games with a beer in their hand.
If they do happen to be lucky enough to afford a TV you can expect a few times a week everyone singing karaoke and drinking late into the wee mornings.
My wife has actually has become friends with a few Filipinas that live near us — and they will come over quite often drinking and singing karaoke in our basement.
Besides singing drinking and playing games — many Filipinas also enjoy just hanging out with their friends families and neighbors.
Everyone seems real close with one another there, unlike in America where you’re lucky enough to get a wave once a week from your neighbor across the street.
Also, If you happen to be meeting up with a girl — expect to go to the malls often.
Unlike here where you have different stores like Publix, Best Buy, and Walmart — in the Philippines 99% of their shopping is all done in a mall.
So if she says she is just going out to get a few things — more than likely you will be buying groceries, going out to eat, and also shopping for new clothes.
You’re Their Long Lost Relative
As I mentioned in my previous post about what it was like when I traveled to the Philippines — the people there really are super friendly! Everyone you meet is usually smiling and cheerful.
Also many people will offer you food, and I don’t mean just once, but on a daily basis. I thought at first I looked too skinny so they were trying to fatten me up — but learned later that is just something they do to show generosity.
My wife still goes to work with large portions of food to give to her other filipina co workers — and in return will come home with a full meal for us to eat that her filipina co worker gave her.
One thing you should be aware of though is while Philippine people love to smile and make people laugh — many of them have lots of problems in their life, and usually will keep on smiling like everything is perfect.
So always keep that in mind and try to be polite and respectful — because while they may be laughing and joking around with you — they could be going through a real hard time in their life at that moment.
If you ever get a chance to visit the Philippines I strongly suggest you do.
While yes their culture is somewhat different compared to America’s — I’m sure you will have a great time and enjoy experiencing it for yourself.
Just remember to make an effort to better understand and accept their culture differences, and you will find it very rewarding — especially if you ever decide to date a girl or guy from there.
Do you have any other questions about what it’s like in the Philippines? If so leave me a comment below and I’ll be happy to help you out.