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Immersing Yourself into Filipino Culture | Dating Filipinas

A photo of a Phillipine jeepney To be able to succeed in dating Filipinas, you must understand the Filipino culture. | Photo by Hitoshi Namura on Unsplash

Dating a Filipina requires a bit of give and take. To start, your culture and her traditions will vary. Often your contrasting cultures will disagree on a number of things. The best way to overcome hurdles and misunderstandings is to immerse yourself in the Filipino culture.

From the traditional to the modern Filipino culture, embrace the vibrancy of the Filipino community. After all, they say it’s more fun in the Philippines, right?

Learn the Local Language

Tagalog or officially known as Filipino, is the national language of the Philippines, but the country has over 100 local dialects spread across the different regions of the archipelago. One of the best ways to immerse yourself in the culture is to learn their local language. Language and culture go side by side, and learning to speak their language will help you understand their mental process and will help you converse with the locals easier.

Learning the local language will help you engage in the community easier. In the rural areas of the country, days usually start very early. Filipinos get more done by sunrise than others by noon. Engage in the community by living their lives. Learning the local language will make all the difference as the community will be more willing to help you and get to know you.

Food, Food, and More Food

One of the things Filipino people are known for is their love of food. From roasted chicken, also known as lechon manok, all the way to more exotic dishes you may have never even heard of. One thing’s for sure: Filipinos love to eat, and they eat a whole lot. You have your standard three meals a day, but Filipinos tend to make the time to sneak a few meals in between those.

Street food is fairly common in the Philippines, and Filipinos usually eat them for snacks. They have everything from the sweet and sugary to the salty and savory. A definite must-try is the famous kwek kwek, which is essentially quail eggs covered in batter and deep fried. Simple enough, but Filipinos love to experiment with different kinds of sauces.

Other street food you should try are fish balls, kikiam (originally a Chinese dish made of meat and vegetables, the Filipino kikiam is usually made of fish and vegetables), and turon (bananas or plantains wrapped in spring roll wrappers and deep fried, later glazed with caramelized sugar).

Aside from street food, Filipinos love buffets. A staple in Filipino buffets is the world famous pork lechon, which is a whole pig roasted over coals, usually seasoned with local herbs and spices. Different regions have a different take on the Lechon, however all have the same distinct taste and flavor.

Other famous buffet dishes are lumpia or spring rolls which are usually the first ones consumed at buffets, pancit (a Filipino take on noodles), and more.

Party in Festivals

Partying is one of the ways Filipinos blow off steam or just take a short break from the daily routine. The parties you may have gone to in your home countries are house parties, or formal parties with a coat and tie. The Philippines take partying to a whole new level. Instead of house parties, entire barangays, entire towns, or even a whole city hosts a party.

These parties are called fiestas, a local term for festivals. Usually these fiestas are celebrated in honor of a patron saint. Other festivals celebrate local delicacies or local products that have made the region famous.

Sinulog of Cebu, the Ati-atihan of Aklan, the Masskara Festival of Bacolod are some of the biggest and most colorful festivals celebrated in the country. Foreign nationals flock to the country to see the sights and watch the dance routines often depicting a historical event or portray the daily life and culture of Filipinos.

Going to these festivals will definitely give you a clear picture of not just the modern Filipino culture and traditions but will give you an insight to Filipino art and history as well. And, you guessed it, food is always present. At every corner, you’ll find food, so you might as well fill up and enjoy.

Live Like a Local

Living like a local will immerse you even more in the day-to-day culture of the Filipinos. Most tourists, when they come and visit the country, would want to live like a tourist. They live in hotels, dine in restaurants, or ride rented cars. These are great ways to explore the country; however, those leave behind the experience of being a Filipino.

  • Ride the jeepneys.
  • The popular vehicle Filipinos use to get around the towns or city is called the jeepney. Jeepneys were originally US Army jeeps left over from World War 2 but have been refurbished to carry more passengers instead. These jeepneys usually have a specific route and depending on your destination, you might need to ride more than one of these to get to where you need to be.

    Jeepneys aren’t just used for transportation; the drivers and owners usually showcase their art in the way they paint or design their jeepneys. In fact, events are held across the country to showcase jeepney art.

    Currently there is a move to modernize the jeepneys with some proposing electric jeepneys or E-Jeepney, and some are moving more on to the traditional-looking buses while still retaining the art and traditional Filipino touch.

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  • Eat in carinderias.
  • Carinderias are something Filipinos love. Carinderias, similar to diners in western culture, sell delicious homemade food at affordable prices. This is why they are frequented by Filipinos, most especially the working class.

    Dining in carinderias will give you a glimpse of the Filipino food culture. You have the opportunity to try a whole lot of Filipino food without having to drain your pockets. Rice is a staple in Filipino dining, and some carinderias will offer unlimited rice deals, which are usually a big hit.

  • Join bayanihan, if you can.
  • The bayanihan or communal spirit is something Filipinos pride themselves in. Essentially bayanihan is the communal effort to achieve a particular objective. It could be as small as helping each other lift heavy objects to helping the community build a small bridge. This is evident in the Filipino work ethic culture. To fully experience the bayanihan culture, you will want to pitch in and help as well. This is a fun way of engaging with the locals. After all the work is finished, especially for big tasks, food is often shared amongst the members of the team with some laughter spiced in.

Live Like a Filipino When Dating Filipinas

The Filipinos are very communal and they love to engage with each other. They are also very receptive of guests and would be more than willing to introduce you to their culture. They not only want to share, but they also love to learn from you as well.

When you visit the Philippines, do not miss the chance to live like a Filipino. Immersing yourself in the Filipino culture will be a fulfilling experience. Also, if dating Filipinas is in your mind, understanding the Filipino culture and values will help you win the heart of the Filipina woman.

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