August 10, 2023

Unique Things When You Visit the Philippines

There are a lot of good and interesting things about the Philippines and I’m proud to say that about my country as a Filipino myself. We have been colonized by other countries (Spain, USA and Japan) and they have heavily influenced our culture. These 3 countries are so different from each other that it makes the Philippines very unique in ways of life and like a melting of cultures compared to other Southeast Asian countries.

If you have been to the Philippines, especially in the province or countryside areas, you will notice things that are unusual for you if you would compare it to other countries you have visited in the past. Here are things just on top of my head, that I think is quite unique to my country, the Philippines. 

We are extremely hospitable
Many cultures exemplify hospitality when you visit their countries, but for me and many can attest to this, that the Filipinos do it another step further or one level up from others. Where in some places, randomly chatting with people or making small talk I not acceptable, in the Philippines you can talk to just about anyone. If you’re needing some help, just ask and Filipinos will be happy to help. Also not to mention that almost everyone knows or understand English as this is our second major language. 

When you get the chance to know someone form the Philippines, especially in the provinces, Filipino families will welcome you to their home as if you are theirs. If you’re staying just for a couple of days, they would not hesitate to offer you a roof over your head; sometimes even giving you their best room so you can stay comfortably. And believe me when I tell you that you will be fed, and very well at that. Filipinos are very generous, even the families who don’t have that much will share their food with you. They will make you feel like you’re part of the family. 

Filipinos loves to drink alcohol beverages too, so don’t be surprised when you’re walking on the streets and someone offers you a shot, you can politely decline or just take it. Who knows, you might have one of the best nights of your life while having new drinking buddies.

People like to do unusual way of gambling
Well, gambling has been a part of just about any culture, but I’ll guess you’ll find some form of gambling that is sort of innate to the Philippines. I believe this even pre-dates before conquerors landed to our shores – influenced by the Chinese traders? Perhaps, I really am not sure. 

Filipinos love “jueteng” – a form of neighborhood numbers game played in the Philippines. It’s illegal but very very prevalent. Another type of gambling that Filipinos do is “Pusoy” – a card game just like Poker. This can be played just for fun or with money involved. “Sakla” – this I find kind of unique and weird at the same time because this only being done when there’s a funeral. And the money being won in this game will be shared with the family of the deceased. 

Another form of gambling in the Philippines but you may only see in the countryside is “Sabong” or cockfighting. There are even arenas for this form of gambling. My late father was into this kind of gambling when I was young. He would even buy, grow and take care of his male chickens just to have them join competition and stuff. I once went with him in one of those Sabong arenas and although it’s a culture shock especially because of the noise of people betting in the arena, it looks fun and interesting. But nowadays since most of these cockfighting arenas are in rural areas, those from the city don’t go and bet in person anymore. Because of the advancement in technology even forms of gambling like this can now be done online like by using online sabong sites from Mightytips. Check it out and you might find it interesting.

We love street games
I bet you’ve heard that almost every street corner in the Philippines, there’s a basketball hoop/ring. It’ one of the most famous street games that Filipinos love to play, both young and old, both males and females are into basketball. Especially during the summer months, and when school kids don’t have classes, villages and communities will set up small leagues of basketball, complete with all the funfare of parades and opening ceremonies. 

When I was very young, me and my childhood friends would do all sorts of street games even if the sun is on its peak and even under scorching heat. We usually play Filipino-versions of tag; hide-and-seek; heaven or hell (langit-lupa), our local version of football – which was a combination of baseball and soccer; rope games, hopscotch and a lot more. My best memories during my childhood was born out of playing games on the street.

We love fiestas and gatherings
You’ve never seen a fiesta done right not until you’ve been to the Philippines! Being a heavily-influenced Catholic country, we always celebrate fiestas in honor of Catholic saints and martyrs. And the preparations leading up to the day of the feast is in itself a string of celebrations where people gather, eat, drink, laugh and be merry. Go to the major ones like Ati-Atihan in Aklan, Sinulog in Cebu, Kadayawan in Davao, Higantes in Rizal etc to have the full experience of how feasts or fiestas are celebrated in the Philippines.

We Filipinos are very tight-knit, and even if there wasn’t any major happenings or gatherings, we like to be together and we would make sure it will like something big is being celebrated. We love to invite people in our homes, cook for them and all. And if you’re the one being invited, you should also try to bring something as a gift to the hosting home. All of it, I’m sure will bring nothing but fun times and great memories to keep. 

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