Recently, it seems like everyone and their grandma is visiting the Philippines. Sometimes, it even feels like some people are so fascinated by the Philippines that they take their 54 cousins, 32 aunts, and 29 uncles along with them to travel the country.
Are you one of those people?
Well, regardless of whether you are or not, here’s:
9 Facts About Modern Filipino Culture
1. The Philippines attracts a lot of tourists
According to the Philippine Department of Tourism, over 5.9 million tourists visited the Philippines in 2015. In 2016, the number of tourists increased to 6.6 million. Given the dramatic rise in visitors, it’s pretty safe to say that the Philippines excels in attracting visitors.
2 years later, those numbers have probably changed quite dramatically as the Philippines has released numerous tourism videos that have hooked millions of potential visitors.
Here’s a couple examples:
Save those videos for later, trust me, you’ll love them.
2. Filipinos are obsessed with vanity
Irrefutably, the pursuit of vanity has become one of the most defining features of modern day Filipino culture. From using skin whitening soaps to intravenous injections (for skin lightening vitamins) to directly bleaching skin, the pursuit of vanity has become something disastrous in the Philippines.
Much of the Filipino population has, essentially, become brainwashed into believing that having whiter skin will enable them to have a better life. That being said, walk along the aisles of any grocery store and you’ll easily find rows and rows of skin whitening products. Clearly, it’s quite lucrative business.
Additionally, in the Philippines, practically every single one of its more than 42,000 registered “barangays” (districts/wards) has at least 1 beauty pageant every year (Rappler). Some districts even have them multiple times in a year!
3. Most Filipinos speak at least 2 languages
Travellers love to visit the Philippines because most of its population speaks English quite well. The almost non-existent language barrier allows millions of tourists to comfortably travel the country without having to feel like a lost chicken.
By the time they get to Junior High, most Filipinos will have learned to speak, read, and write at least 2 languages (but usually more).
In the southern Philippines, most people learn Bisaya (another secondary Filipino language), Tagalog, and English.
In the central Philippines, people usually only learn Tagalog and English.
4. Filipinos love pork
Walk across almost any busy city street in the Philippines and you’ll probably find a place or two that’s selling pork. Whether it’s deep fried, boiled, or grilled, Filipinos love to eat pork.
One of the Philippines’ most famous dishes is known as “Lechon” (arguably considered as the national dish). Essentially, it’s an entire pig that’s roasted over fiery hot charcoal.
While this style of cooking pork can be found throughout many places around the world, many people say the best they’ve ever tasted are the ones in the Philippines.
5. Filipinos love to sing
If you know what a karaoke machine is, you’ll probably be welcomed into almost any household in the Philippines. Seriously, they love their karaoke and singing. If you ever come across Filipinos singing with a karaoke machine, all you have to do is walk within 30 steps away and you’ll probably be invited over. Trust me, this has happened to me so many times it’s hilarous.
6. Filipinos love salt
Filipino cooks were the Salt Baes before Salt Bae.
Filipinos put a lot of salt into pretty much every one of their dishes. Regardless of whether it’s fruits like Mangoes or even sea urchins, it could probably still use some more salt.
I’ve even literally seen Filipinos add salt and vinegar to sea urchin meat. Have you tried sea urchin before? It literally tastes like salty water!
Now, this isn’t to say that Filipino food is always salty. Mainly, I’m just saying that many Filipinos have a tendency to rely heavily on salt for flavour and nothing else.
7. Filipinos celebrate everything
Remember back when I mentioned that Filipinos love pork? Yea, well, they even literally have entire parades dedicated to Lechon (the charcoal roasted pig).
Perhaps the most famous Lechon parade is the one that happens in Balayan, Batangas. It’s also quite fittingly named “Parada ng Lechon” (Parade of Lechon/Lechon Parade).
As part of the parade, roasted pigs are dressed up and then paraded around the streets (obviously). The Lechon parade is technically part of a larger celebration for the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist but it’s amassed a huge following all of its own.
Did you know that the Philippines has what is considered as the longest Christmas celebration in the world? Some places start celebrating Christmas some time in September and end them in January!
8. Filipinos love soap operas
When I was in the Philippines, I would sometimes see 4 out of 10 commercials ad slots on T.V. dedicated entirely to soap operas. (Yes, I counted because of how often they kept coming up.)
Filipinos love their soaps and they can’t get enough of them. Regardless of how often they’ve seen the same plot devices, if it’s a soap opera, they’ll probably watch it anyway.
9. Many Filipinos love to gossip
There isn’t much to be said about this as it’s not something specific to the Filipino people. But, from personal experience, I can tell you that many of the Filipinos I’ve met love to gossip.
From the lives of celebrities to the kind of belly button a neighbour’s mistress has, there’s a lot of gossip going around in the Philippines.
Filipino culture definitely stands out from the crowd for its uniqueness and its lovable quirks like having a Lechon parade.
Let me know of any facts about modern Filipino culture that you think should be added onto the list (or replaced) in the comment section below. Take care.
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