Monday, September 9, 2013


Before leaving for the Philippines, I had the opportunity to get together with the Rev. June Hardy Dorsey, who was a missionary in the Philippines before her days as a priest. One piece of advice she shared which was given to her before she started as a missionary was, "in the beginning write down all the different, weird, or strange things you see because soon enough they will become normal to you."

And so I began my list the minute I touched down in the Philippines. It's surprising, however, how many similarities there are; people still want the best for their children, hope to accomplish their dreams, work hard to put food on the table. While the Filipino culture is different, I hate to use that word because it divides us as people or makes one inferior to the other. I should call it unique, one of kind, or distinct.

Because we are all Christ's body, brothers and sisters in this one world. We may have diverse ways of praying or worshiping or living our daily lives, but we all seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving our neighbors as ourselves. We persevere in resisting evil. We strive for justice and peace among all people.

As the quote says, “Share our similarities, celebrate our differences.” So here is to celebrating the differences of Filipino culture:

  • They don’t eat with knives, just a big spoon and fork. I’m still figuring out how to cut meat when necessary.
  • Never any napkins to be found. If there are, they are the thinnest, tiniest square of a napkin. 
  • They all carry around little dishcloths or handkerchiefs to wipe the sweat off their faces because it’s so hot here! Note to self: get one of these.
  • Whitening soap. It is believed here that whiter skin means rich and beautiful. 
  • On Sunday at church for the peace, nobody shakes hands or hugs. They either nod their heads at you or show you the peace sign.
  • There are no traffic lights in all of Santiago City or really anywhere except Manila. 
  • They don’t turn their cars off when getting gas. 
  • Today at lunch some of the staff got a good chuckle when I told them one of my favorite foods are raw carrots. They couldn’t understand why I didn’t boil them. 
  • It’s not a meal unless there is rice.
  • No taxis, just tricycles. 
  • They love Karaoke! My kind of people. 

I think that’s a good start to the list of unique, distinct, maybe one of kind qualities about Filipino culture.

Note: These are only my opinions and observances of the Filipino culture after two weeks. I know I still have much to learn!

Thanks for reading!

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