Hi mga higala (Hi Friends) Kumusta? Ako, okay ra (me, I'm fine)

 

I know a few of you who are coming over to our beloved country for various reasons. Some of you are first timer. I wanted to share these things you should know before coming to the Philippines to help you prepare for your adventure.

 

1. Some you are coming to meet the woman of your dreams. This means there's a huge possibility that you will also meet the parents or the guardian of your girlfriend. If you want to build an instant connection and be somehow accepted, you must master the art of "bless". In Tagalog, "mano po" this is the act of holding the hand of the elders/parents and put it on your forehead.

 

2. You can find many sari-sari stores all over the Philippines. Sari-sari store is like a mini grocery store. Along with it are the "tambays". Tambays are people who just lounge to pass time, some are drinking alcohol, mostly men and unemployed. It's a common scenery here in the Philippines. If you pass by them they may ask you to have a "tagay" with them. Decline politely and move on.

 

3. Wednesday and Saturday is a no Plastic day in Cebu City. In Mandaue City, they already ban using plastic bags. I am not sure with other Cities.

 

4. We call every Caucasians "Joe". I really do not know why.

 

5. When you feel adventurous and wanted to use the public transportation get ready and be used to being close to a stranger. Like very close, up to the elbow to elbow and sometimes skin to skin.

 

6. Always be mindful of your valuables. ALWAYS AND ANYWHERE. I am not saying that the people you will meet are thieves. Don't be too trusting. Do not leave your belongings unattended.

 

7. Get used to hot and humid weather. Wear something comfortable yet decent.

 

8. Minimize using your high-end phone in public places. Try not to use it openly in an area where snatching is very common. Mall, hotels are okay.

 

9. Carry a body bag or sling bag and put it in front of you.

 

10. When eating at a fast food chain or a restaurant, try not to put your bag beside or in front of you. Have you heard of "Salisi gang"? You might want to research on this too. My friend was a victim. If possible, put it in your lap or in between your legs where you have a hold of it.

 

break: I may sound a little apprehensive but it's better to be mindful than be sorry.

 

11. Since we are in the tropics, please put deodorant. Take a bath every day. We hate the smell of armpits.

 

12. If need to bring a backpack, it would be better if you buy those theft proof bags or put a raincoat over it when in crowded places.

 

13. Filipinos love food. We love rice. Do not treat us to a salad feast. We do eat fresh green salad. Eating salad is like eating grass as we Filipinos describe it. Generally speaking, if you decide to treat a friend or group of friends or family, it would be safe to bring them to a Filipino restaurant.

 

14. When in Visayas, practice calling the men "bai" in casual setting. For women, simple "Miss" would suffice. Do not use "bai" when addressing a woman, it's only for men. In business setting, use Sir/ Ma'am. This is a sign of respect. Avoid using names.

 

15. Bring mosquito repellent and anti-allergy medicine. Mosquitoes are everywhere.

 

16. When crossing in the pedestrian lane, always be alert and cross a little bit fast. I would say that Filipinos drive like crazy. You'll understand when you get here and experience it first hand.

 

17. Rain or shine, Filipinos love using umbrella. You might want to bring one along with you anywhere you go.

 

18. Traffic is everywhere. Tailgating is a very common scene.

 

19. Avoid dark places. Our streets do have light post but not all and sometimes not enough to lit the streets well. I was once a victim of bag snatching near our house where the light post wasn't working. If you see men in motorbikes in dark places, just to be safe avoid that area.

 

20. If you are a woman, avoid going out late at night. If you need to, please be with somebody preferably a guy.  Don't be an easy prey.

 

21. There are areas that are very known for snatching, hold up, pickpockets. Ask a friend or the hotel concierge to guide you about those areas.

 

22. If possible, wear only simple accessories. Reserve those genuine jewelry in private events or inside the mall. Don't wear it when riding in public transportation like jeepneys and the like. But if you decide to roam around the city in open public places, I strongly suggest wearing simple accessories and fake jewelry.

 

23. If you have a very sensitive stomach bring your own mineral water or buy one outside. If you really want to try exotic food, be mindful where you are eating. Check the area and gauge it for yourself.

 

24. We Filipinos are generally helpful. Don't hesitate to ask for help. We would be glad to assist you.

 

25. We are happy people, we love to talk loudly, Sing using a videoke, dance in the streets especially during fiestas.

 

26. Family is everything to us. We have a very close-knit family. That's why if you are courting a Filipina maiden do not forget her family.

 

27. We respect our elders. We bless the hands of our elders when we meet them. Some Families bless the hands of the elders (parents, grandparents, close relatives) when we get out for work and once we arrive from work.

 

28. When eating, it is our culture to invite anyone who is around to eat with us. In Bisaya, we say "mangaon ta", in Tagalog, we say "kain tayo". Although, it is mostly out of respect but there are times when guests or friends or neighbor would take your invitation seriously.

 

29.   Master the basic greetings which I put in the playlist at the end of this video.

 

30. I highly recommend using Grab or Uber if you decide not to use the public transportation. It's more safe and secure.

 

I just want you guys to have a good and happy vacation in my country. I want you guys to be safe because there are still people out there who are on the lookout for their next prey. As much as possible, keep a low profile and not attract these kinds of people.  I do sound really apprehensive but then again better be safe than sorry. I wouldn't say that the Philippines is a safe country but I wouldn't say that it's chaotic and dangerous.

 

Those are the 30 Things that you should know before coming to our Country. I know there's more but I reserve that in my succeeding lessons.

 

 

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