Living in the Philippines

Aside from the many beautiful attractions that will surely turn you on while living in the Philippines, the residents of this tropical country will make your stay worthwhile.

Life here is not always about the beautiful beaches, mountains, incredible rice terraces, skin diving, kite/wind surfing, five star hotels, non stop night life, massages, great food and low prices. Living in the Philippines is a thrilling social experience, something you will not find in any other country in the world.


Initial greetings are friendly and informal, and are usually accompanied by a handshake. If people shake hands and wish to show additional respect or enthusiasm, they place the free hand on top of the handshake or use it to pat the other person’s shoulder. Common Filipino greetings include “how are you?” “What’s new?” and Is everything all right?” Just as common are the English greetings “Hi” and “Good morning.”

Young people are taught to show respect to adults and to address them by a proper title. If a professional title (Doctor, Manager, etc.) is not appropriate, then “Sir,” “Ma’am,” or a familial title is used. It is common for young adults to address older adult strangers as Tita (Auntie) or Tito (Uncle). The elderly might be called Lola (Grandmother) or Lolo (Grandfather). Numerous other such titles exist in most languages. Among equals in age and status, first names or nicknames are used in addressing each other.

Filipinos enjoy visiting as often as possible, especially in the barrios, which are small villages or suburbs. Visits in rural areas are often unannounced due to the lack of phones. Among urban residents, visits are less frequent and more planned. When living in the Philippines guests do not typically take gifts, since the visit itself is considered a gift. However, a guest who has been away for a long time is expected to bring a small, inexpensive gift to the family.

Although socializing in the home is most popular, people also enjoy gathering in public areas. Urban neighborhoods often have a central area where people socialize. Villages nearly always have a plaza where political events, dances, meetings, and socializing occur and basketball can be played nearby.

Living in the Philippines : Recreation

People spend their leisure time socializing with relatives and neighbors or watching films; the Philippines is the world’s fourth largest producer of films, a number of which have a strong religious theme. Films from the United States, including many low-budget films, are also shown. In the cities, DVDs are quite common and has grown considerably among the middle class, and video rental stores are common.

Living in the Philippines, Sundays are big days for sports; basketball, baseball, and soccer are all played. Filipinos are keen gamblers, which accounts for the popularity of horse races and cockfights, and playing mah-jongg, a Chinese table game played with tiles.

Living in the Philippines : Holidays and Celebrations

There are several national holidays and dozens of local festivals, which are among the recreational high points of the year. National holidays include New Year’s Day (1 January), Easter (Thursday through Sunday), Bataan Day (9 April), Labor Day (1 May), Araw ng Kagitingan (6 May), Independence Day (12 June), National Heroes Day (27 August), All Saints’ Day (1 November), Bonifacio Day (30 November), Christmas Day (25 December), and Rizal Day (30 December).

What has been called the longest Christmas celebration in the world begins with retailers in October and officially starts in the Philippines on 16 December, with a nine-day period of prayer called Misa de Gallo (“Cock’s Mass”). From 16 December through 24 December, people attend mass at dawn every day. At dawn on the first day of this ceremony, church bells ring, brass bands play, and fireworks are set off. The Christmas season ends on 6 January.

Rizal Day commemorates the 1896 martyrdom of Dr. José Rizal, the man who is considered the inspiration for the Philippine nationalist movement. Flags are lowered to half-staff and special rites are held at the Rizal monument in Manila.

People Power Day (25 February), or Fiesta sa EDSA, commemorates the peaceful revolution in February 1986, when 2 million unarmed civilians supported a military revolt, standing up to President Marcos’ loyal armed forces and forcing Marcos to step down. A special ceremony is held at the site of the revolution.

Living in the Philippines certainly has many interesting aspects to it!

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