July 07, 2019

6 Truly Unique Filipino Traditions

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  • Like any other culture, the Philippines prides itself of customs and traditions that can be classified as something that is truly Filipino. 

    Here are some unique traditions that embody the local beliefs and values inculcated through the centuries.  


    IMAGE DepEd Learning Resource Portal

    Practiced as a sign of respect to elders, pagmamano is one of the oldest and most notable Filipino tradition there is. Mano means hand in Spanish, fittingly so as pagmamano is done by gently tapping the hand of the elder to a younger person’s forehead. The elder in return says “God bless you” hence why the act is also often referred to as “bless”. 

    Also read: Understanding Filipinos Through Body Language


    FIlipinos love to eat and when the food is especially sumptuous, they eat kamayan-style. From the Filipino word kamay or hand, kamayan is the traditional way of dining using one’s bare hands. 

    Also read: Filipino Kamayan Culture: Savoring Filipino Feasts the Traditional Way

    Fiesta Celebrations

    IMAGE Culture 360

    If there’s a celebration you wouldn’t wanna miss out on while you’re in the Philippines, it would be the colorful fiestas happening all-year round. Celebrating fiesta is another influence of the Spanish colonizers and was mainly done to honor the patron saints. 

    Also read: A Guide to Fiesta Celebration in the Philippines


    HARANA (1957)Carlos "Botong" FranciscoNational Artist for Visual Arts (Painting)#ArtsMonthPH2015

    National Commission for Culture and the Artsさんの投稿 2015年2月9日月曜日

    The traditional Filipino courtship is an extremely long process and one way to “woo” a girl is through doing a harana or serenading. With his friends in tow, the guy goes to the girl’s house (usually at night) and sings classic kundiman or folk love songs to her until she opens her window and invites him inside her house. 

    Also read: Expats Guide to Original Pinoy Music 


    Once the panliligaw (courtship) stage has been surpassed, all the possible harana (serenade) has been sung, and the couple finally gets together, next comes the pamamanhikan. Well, if the couple decides to marry, that is. Pamamanhikan is the formal act of a guy asking the girl’s family for her hand in marriage. It usually involves the guy’s family bringing over gifts and discussing the couple’s plans for marriage.

    Also read: A Guide to Pamamanhikan


    IMAGE Bonvallite – CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons 

    Although not as evident as it was before, bayanihan truly captures the strong sense of community Filipinos have and is usually exemplified through helping a neighbor transfer houses. Traditionally, bayanihan meant your neighbors literally carrying your entire kubo (native nipa hut) to your new home location.  

    Also read: Expats’ Guide: Filipino Values

    Sources: Inquirer and Manila Standard

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