When In The Philippines, Know What Filipinos Do

If you are planning to visit the Philippines soon, it's good to know about some common Filipino traits, customs, ways or habits. Enjoy this funny video produced by a group of Americans who had lived in the Philippines. They had keen observations of what Filipinos commonly do. These 5 Americans call themselves Hey Joe from Hey Joe Show.




  • Rice is Filipino staple food. To cook rice, they boil it with water. To measure the right amount of water, Filipinos use their middle finger. The process of cooking is called sinaing. Cooked rice is also called sinaing. Cooked rice served on the table is called kanin. Uncooked rice is called bigas. Unmilled rice (rice with brown husk) is called palay
  • It is hot and humid in the Philippines but Filipinos are used to it that they don't really mind the heat. So, they look just cool while tourists look already stressed.
  • Filipinos kiss the hand of the elderly with their forehead, not with their lips, as a sign of courtesy and respect. They say mano po. Mano is hand in Spanish. In return, the elderly respond with Kaawaan ka ng Diyos, which means God bless you. Literally, it means may God have mercy on you.
  • When sharing food, you would notice that the last piece of food is left on the serving plate. No one would dare pick it for his own consumption unless someone voluntarily serves it for another.
  • Filipinos love to sing. This is a new custom that Filipinos acquired since videoke was invented. Most of the time is annoying because of the loud volume.
  • When Filipinos pass between or before another person, they say excuse me po with their bodies bent forward.
  • Some Filipinos may call you Pssst! if they do not know your name. It sounds rude but you'll get used to it. :-) 
  • Picture, picture. When you hear these words, get ready to pose for a groufie shot.




  • The formal wear for men is barong Tagalog - a polo or long-sleeves shirt made of jusi (pineapple thread).
  • Circumcision is big deal in the Philippines. When boys reach 12, they have to be circumcised in the summer. In the provinces, you would see boys walking awkwardly in summer. That's a sign they were just circumcised.
  • Lip language. When you ask for a direction, shy or Filipinos who feel intimidated would point the direction with their lips.
  • Whether there's sun or rain, Filipinos use umbrellas. Though they are used to heat, they do not want to be under the sun for a long time. You would often see them under a shed.
  • Flip flops or sandals, but Filipinos call them sinelas or tsinelas or rubber slippers.
  • Filipinos do not need a chair to sit down. They would just squat or sit on their heels.
  • Filipinos do not knock on your door; instead, they call: Tao po! It means, "Is there anyone in?" Literally, it means I'm a person. It's like saying there's a person here politely knocking on your door.
  • Filipino time is time after the exact time. In other words, Filipinos usually come late to an appointment or meeting. Filipinos inherited this trait from the Spaniards.
  • Ingat! You usually hear this farewell greeting from Filipinos. It means: Take care, 'till next time. Literally, it means stay safe or be careful. It does not suggest any danger out there that you have to be careful of or stay safe from. It is not a warning remark; rather, it is a courteous farewell.
Thanks, Hey Joe Show.