Do’s and Don’ts in The Philippines
The information below is a mere guideline and only a
suggestion laced with experience:
1. Always have some change with you. For public
transportation, you’ll be amazed at how far your money can
2. Don’t bring too much cash, if you run out, you can always
find an ATM.
3. Always ask for your hotel’s address/business card. In
Manila, and most major cities the cab and trike drivers are
familiar with the major hotels.
4. Bring an extra shirt - it is a tropical country, after all.
5. Drink water, drink water, drink water... only bottled though.
6. Smile, Wave Your Hand or Say “Hello”
Most Filipinos believe in “First impressions last”. A simple
smile is enough to make them like you. Don’t grin or smile
like you’re hitting on the person. That person may think
you’re odd or pervert.
A gentle wave of hand or friendly “Hello” and “Hi” are
considered as greetings in the Philippines. Some locals will
greet you instantly but others will wait for you to do the first
7. Always say “Thank You” or “Salamat po”
Filipinos find it impressive and respectful if someone
particularly a foreigner says “Thank You” or “Salamat po” for
anything even if it is not necessary.
8. Don’t Forget to Say “Sorry” and “Excuse Me”
Always say “Sorry” whether you accidentally hit a person or
utter words that are considered vulgar and incriminating or
act inappropriately that may cause aggravation and in most
cases, even if the fault is not yours. This simple word will
spare your life.
There are Filipinos who stop in the middle of the pavement or
aisle particularly in shopping centers, to talk to their friends,
call someone or even day-dream at the items hanging on the
display windows. Say “Excuse Me” or simply clear your throat
with “Ahem” to get their attention. Some will look at you
shyly while others will giggle at their embarrassing behavior...
and they will get out of your way.
9. Be Thoughtful
A Filipino woman whether a friend or a partner greatly
appreciates if you remember her birthday, anniversary and a
very important promise. Anything from flowers, chocolates,
stuff toys or jewelry or anything will do the trick, as long as you remember these important things – a priceless reward is
If, however, you are meeting a Filipino male friend or an inlaw
the first time, it is suggested that a bottle of wine or
whiskey, a pack of cigar/cigarette or a bottle of perfume from
your country will make any grumpy man happy. It is like a
priceless trophy. And your “pasalubong” or present will be
your pass to gain more trust and friendship among his friends
and the people he knows.
10. Be the Most Patient Person in the World
Most Filipinos like to spend a lot of time on something that
can be done in seconds. Filipino women may take awhile to
answer a simple “yes or no” question. It is not because they
want you to wait longer, but because their brain cells are
weighing the pros and cons of their final answer especially if it
is about their relationships.
This “delaying tactics” behavior exists prevalently in the
country, whether you are transacting business, filing
documents, extending your visa or meeting friends.
Most companies particularly those who have experience with
foreigner clients may show competence and exception to this
rule but those who are new may find it difficult to adjust in
dealing with punctuality.
Do not expect to receive a response in two or three days if
you send an email. It may take at least few weeks for the
correspondence, unless you call the secretary or your contact
after you sent the email.
If you are meeting a business partner outside his office, take
some newspapers, magazines, your favorite book or your
laptop to keep you busy while waiting. Some may show up on
time, others 15-30 minutes late but very few will arrive 15
If you are filing documents with a government agency or
extending your visa, take someone to talk with or something
to read if the procedure will take only several minutes, else
set a next day appointment for pick up, if you’re busy.
Lastly, if you are meeting a friend in a restaurant or in a shop,
try to wander in the neighboring shops, talk to the owner of
the restaurant or other foreign customers in the place so you
won’t get bored or stared at by other people.
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Enjoy the Hilarious Adventures of my Move to the Philippines
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DISCLOSURE: SOME OF THE LINKS ARE AFFILIATE LINKS AND PROVIDE COMPENSATION & HELP FUND THIS WEBSITE AT NO ADDITIONAL COST TO YOU.PLEASE HELP SUPPORT THIS WEBSITE THROUGH OUR ADVERTISERS & AFFILIATES.