Cultural Understanding

Understanding the differences in our cultures can help you and your loved one have a better understanding of each other.

Different nationalities mean different cultures and stories, but when love enters, all the gaps will be filled with joy, comfort and calmness. When people find love with one another, family love, brother-sister relationship love and boyfriend-girlfriend kind of love, it's for sure those bonds are hard to break. To help understand, this article will give some factors that show the differences in the cultures of the Philippines and the U.S.

A Big Family in the Home

Most Filipinos work, not because they want to, but because they have to just to sustain the needs of the whole family. The older brother or sister has a greater possibility of being bound to their large family after they graduate, and they won't have the opportunity to live independently, while the American teenager , when they reach 18 years old, will be able to leave their home and find their own house and work or go to college. In my own experience, my older brother, who already has his own family, still lives together with my mom and me. This shows that the bond and emotional connection of the family is not easy to let go.

Taking Things Slowly

Filipinos are the kind of people who savor every moment of their lives. They walk slowly and they have a lot of patience, particularly when it involves time. They can wait for an hour or more, if need be. The American's mindset is that time is running, so they want everything to be fast. They are very busy and they have a fast moving agenda. They are not good at waiting too long. Personally, I have an abundance of patience, but of course there are limitations (I can't just wait forever) because time is important. When something happens today, you can never get that time back, so do your best and remember that time is running. Also, some of the Filipinos are called a happy-go-lucky kind of person because they'll just go with the flow--it will happen when it happens. This is contradictory to Americans who really are very strict when in comes to managing time and having a logical plan.

Be Careful With Your Words

In the Philippines, Filipinos, especially women, are an emotional type of individual. They are light-hearted and up-beat, but they get hurt easily and will keep it to themselves so no one will notice. The people in America speak directly and are more open about their displeasure, which is often misunderstood by other countries and they tend to think the American people are rude. In my own perspective, I am the type of person who chooses to let go of things rather than confront the person, but it also depends on the situation. If it gets to be too much to handle, then that will be the time I need to personally talk to that person.

Bless is an "honoring-gesture" used in Filipino culture performed as a sign of respect to elders and as a way of requesting a blessing from the elder which is similar to hand-kissing.

Respecting Your Elders

Adult Filipinos will get angry if the younger people don't know how to show respect by doing the "amin" in bisaya or "mano"in tagalog (bless) when they get home. Bless is an "honoring-gesture" used in Filipino culture, performed as a sign of respect to elders and as a way of requesting a blessing from the elder, which is similar to hand-kissing. In the states, I noticed that they will give their elders a kiss on the cheeks or what you call in Philippines a "beso-beso". I truly believe in this, because if I forget to do this, then when I get home or when I wake up, my mother will be mad and will tell me that I am not respecting them, referring to the elders.


We love to honor the saints by having festivals, expressing ourselves with karaoke, and drinking of liquors that is called "tagay" by the filipinos. We love to celebrate these festivals, where other people might find it costly and noisy. It is somewhat costly, but for me, the memories you create and the moments you share together with the people, especially your family, is the most priceless time you'll ever have in your life. If you have the confidence to sing karaoke, even if you're not in tune and can't sing well, the Filipinos won't mind. They'll have no complaints. Instead, you will receive claps and cheers from them. It is really part of the Filipino culture that no matter what problems you have in your life, you should keep on smiling and still find the happiness between those struggles. These festivals can somehow show us the way to be joyful, and a way to at least set aside our problems for a while. Americans are busy individuals and don't have the commitment to participate on as grand a scale where the whole community is an active part of the festival. Many Americans don't like to sing karaoke because of being too shy or too serious to be crazy. Only those outgoing Americans will love to do what Filipinos do. In addition, the "tagay" (drinking liquor) is mostly done by the Filipino men, together with their colleagues. This is the last thing to happen before the men either go to sleep or get into drunken fights.

There are a lot of differences and similarities in every individual, it depends on where, what and how they are being raised. We just have to find the common denominator and meet halfway.

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