Everyone is a part of a certain group of race, ethnicity or culture. It becomes such a huge part of identifying who you are as an individual. While some may be ashamed of it, many people take tremendous pride. I am Filipino. I was born and raised in the Philippines. The Philippines is located in South East Asia. It was colonized by the Spaniards for more than three centuries which is why the Filipino culture is heavily influenced by Spanish culture. In addition, there are various cultures which have impacted us as well such as American and Malay culture, making our culture, norms and traditions undoubtedly unique.
With that being said, here are some signs that you grew up Filipino:
1. Someone might ask you: "If you're Asian, why do you have a Spanish name?"
Maybe it might have something to do with the fact that the Philippines was under Spanish rule for approximately 300 years? Why? Is there something wrong with an Asian having a Spanish name?
2. Having a nickname far from your legal name
Filipinos normally have lengthy names. So, our parents/family members give us nicknames either from our given name, our physical appearance or our personality.
3. Being asked: "So, are you Chinese? Korean? or Japanese?"
People often ask me whether I am Chinese or Korean. Sorry to disappoint everybody, but there other Asian countries too, you know?
4. You: Where's the ____?
Mom: *points with lips*
We point with our lips to give immediate direction. Pointing with our fingers and verbally giving directions take too much time and energy. Besides, how would you point to something when your hands are full from carrying something?
5. Unconsciously responding to "pssst" or "hoy"
For Filipinos, saying psst or hoy is a way to grab someone's attention.
6. "Bless or Mano po"
Filipinos will take the elder's hand and place it on their forehead as a form of showing respect to our elders.
7. Shoes should always be placed on the shoe closet or near the door
You don't want to drag the dirt and germs from your shoes around your house now, do you?
8. Using tsinelas (flip flops) inside the house
You might have at least two pairs of tsinelas. One is for inside the house. One is for outside the house. Don't get them mixed up or else your parents will scold you!
9. Greeting your visitors with: "Have you eaten yet?"
For Filipinos, offering guests something to eat or drink as soon as they walk in the door is a way of being hospitable.
10. Your childhood drink:
No other chocolate drink could ever compare to them.
11. Jollibee will always be #1 in our hearts
Have you ever tried a Chicken Joy from Jollibee? If not, I suggest you do so ASAP because you're seriously missing out.
12. You're used to being on Filipino Time
Majority of Filipinos love to take their time when getting ready for an event. Better late than never, right?
13. Instead of using tomato ketchup, you used banana ketchup
It is much tastier than tomato ketchup anyway.
14. The best way to beat the heat is by eating Halo-Halo
Halo-Halo is one of the most famous desserts in the Philippines. It is composed of shaved ice, evaporated milk, ube (purple yam) ice cream, leche flan, sago (tapioca), boiled sweet beans, gelatin and various fruits. Don't knock it til' you try it.
15. What's a Filipino party without Karaoke?
Filipinos love singing. It doesn't matter if you're out of tune. What's important us is that you're having fun!
16. When you're supposed to leave a party, but your parents end up talking to other people for another hour or two
Then you end up saying goodbye to everyone for the second or third time.
17. Most Filipinos have a painting/picture of "The Last Supper" in their dining room
Majority of Filipinos are Catholics and Christians. "The Last Supper" is one of the most important events in the Bible.
18. You know you're in trouble when your mom yells out your full name
Your full name is composed of: first name, middle name, mother's maiden name and father's last name. And for your mom to make an effort to say all of that only means one thing: you're screwed.
19. Pinching your nose so that you'll have a "long and sharp nose"
As a child, I was told to pinch my nose everyday. EVERYDAY. If not, my mom would do it for me from time to time.
20. Being told: "Study first, boyfriend/girlfriend later"
Education is important and tuition fees are not cheap. Relationships can wait until you graduate. Well, that's what they all say at least.
21. Jumping at midnight on New Year's Eve
It's no secret that Filipinos (or Asians in general) tend to be shorter when it comes to height compared to other ethnicities. And there's nothing wrong with that. Although, the majority prefers to be taller than their actual height. So, during New Year's Eve, we have a belief that kids (and some adults) should jump as the clock strikes midnight in order to grow taller.
22. Public toilet = CR (Comfort Room)
In America, public toilets are commonly known as restrooms. In the Philippines, we refer it as comfort room or CR for short.
23. Playing traditional Filipino games
I think this is way better than being in front of a screen all the time. These games prove that you don't need much materials in order to have fun.
To some foreigners, our traditions, norms and beliefs may seem a little odd, but I am proud of them and I would not trade my experiences of growing up as a Filipino for anything else.