Growing Up Filipino

Growing Up Filipino

There is simply nothing else like it.

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

Luksong Baka

Luksong Tinik



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.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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What Your Hogwarts House Says About You

Get yourself sorted and find out where you belong in the world of witchcraft and wizardry.

Sorting at Hogwarts is a big deal. Being sorted into a house is essentially being placed into a family while you are away from home learning about witchcraft and wizardry. Your house is made up of the people you will live with, go to classes with, play Quidditch with and everything in between. You basically spend 24/7 with them. Your Hogwarts house is your home away from home.

When you get sorted into a house, it is based on your personality traits. The people in your house are typically like-minded people who display the same characteristics as you.

When you’re a first year at Hogwarts, the minute you set foot in the castle you are swept into the Great Hall to have the ancient Sorting Hat placed on your head. This Sorting Hat decides which “family” you’ll be spending your seven years with.

For some, it is very obvious which house they will be in, due to certain personality traits they possess. For others, they may exemplify traits that fit a multitude of houses and are uncertain where they may end up.

To find out where you belong, you can take the official "Harry Potter" Sorting Hat quiz at For all you muggles out there, these are the characteristics that the houses possess and what your house says about you:

Gryffindor: The house of the brave, loyal, courageous, adventurous, daring and chivalrous. Those who stand up for others are typically Gryffindors. Brave-hearted is the most well-known Gryffindor characteristic, and Gryffindors are also known for having a lot of nerve.

Gryffindors are people who hold a multitude of qualities alongside the ones listed, making them a very well-rounded house. People who are Gryffindors are often people who could fit nicely into another house but choose to tell the sorting hat they want Gryffindor (there's that bravery). "Do what is right" is the motto Gryffindors go by.

Being a Gryffindor means that you're probably the adventurous and courageous friend, and you are usually known for doing what is right.

Ravenclaw: The house is known for their wisdom, intelligence, creativity, cleverness and knowledge. Those who value brains over brawn can be found here. Ravenclaws often tend to be quite quirky as well. "Do what is wise" is the motto they strive to follow.

Though Ravenclaws can be know-it-alls sometimes, they most likely do know what the wisest decision is.

If you are known for being the quirky friend, the smartest in the group or just great at making wise decisions, you're definitely a Ravenclaw.

Hufflepuff: This house values hard work, dedication, fair play, patience, and loyalty. Hufflepuff’s are known for being just and true. "Do what is nice" is their motto.

Hufflepuff is known as the “nice house” and believes strongly in sparing peoples feelings and being kind. This is not to say that Hufflepuffs aren't smart or courageous. Hufflepuffs just enjoy making others happy and tend to be more patient towards people.

If you ever find that you are too nice for your own good and cannot bear to hurt someone’s feelings, congratulations, you are a Hufflepuff.

Slytherin: This is the house of the cunning, prideful, resourceful, ambitious, intelligent, and determined. Slytherin's love to be in charge and crave leadership. "Do what is necessary" is the motto of this house.

Slytherin is a fairly well-rounded house, similar to the other houses. They are loyal to those that are loyal to them just as Gryffindors are and are intelligent as Ravenclaws.

Slytherin house as a whole is not evil, despite how many dark wizards come out of this house. That is merely based on the choices of those wizards (so if your friend is a Slytherin, don’t judge, it doesn’t mean they are mean people). Slytherins do, however, have a tendency to be arrogant or prideful. This is most likely due to the fact that everyone in Slytherin is exceedingly proud to be there.

What Hogwarts house you’re in says a lot about the person you are, the traits you possess and how you may act in some situations. But in the end, your house is really just your home that is always there for you. Always.

Cover Image Credit: Warner Bros Pictures

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Picking Passion Over Pressure Is The Answer To A Fulfillng Life

Don't crack under pressure, flourish with passion.


What motivates your actions? The answer to this critical question can determine whether or not you are living a fulfilling life. Many of us follow a social script as if we are reading lines from a play. We succumb to the influence of those around us and roam aimlessly in the direction of the masses.

The concept of living within the confinement of certain "norms" is an expectation society calls us to uphold, and it is not an entirely negative idea. But when life becomes "a series of motions to go through", this expectation can become problematic. When you find yourself stressed out about doing whatever it is you think that you have to do, stop and ask yourself if it makes you truly happy. Are you pursuing your passion or are you just performing under pressure? To find true contentment in your life, pick passion over pressure.

Be an individual before an identity.

When people first introduce themselves to a new friend or group of people, they are quick to jump to aspects of their life that compose their identity. Many of us define ourselves by what it is we do, and not necessarily who we actually are. For example, this can include identifying as a member of a club or sports team or even defining yourself based on accolades and accomplishments you have achieved. While these are definitely adequate ways to distinguish yourself from others, have you ever stopped to look beneath the surface? It is important to know what unique qualities make you an individual and not just a part of a larger entity.

By viewing yourself as an individual, you will find your passions in life more easily and find genuine enjoyment in all that you do. Taking on an identity will only hold you under unnecessary pressure to fulfill a role that could leave you feeling unsatisfied later on.

Become self-aware.

To find out what makes you truly happy, you need to establish a clear sense of who you are. Fostering self-awareness is a journey, and it can be discovered through life experiences. In order to figure out what you love doing, push yourself out of your comfort zone to figure out what you don't love doing. This can mean joining a new club, taking a challenging class, or working in an environment that you are unfamiliar with. Once you begin to discover how you react in certain situations, use these personality traits to your advantage.

Don't make the same mistake twice, and avoid taking on a position that you know would not be compatible with your lifestyle. By becoming self-aware, you will discover your passion more easily and will be able to take on realistic opportunities that will prove to be fulfilling. When you try to become someone you are not, it will seem like there is always a lingering pressure to "keep up the act", and it will be harder to accomplish tasks because you don't truly enjoy doing them.

View outside opinions with a filtered lens.

Don't let others dictate your future. When you make life decisions based on what other people think is best for you, you will be pleasing everyone except yourself. Consciously decide whose opinions are valid, meaningful, and constructive to your life. This can include the wisdom of close friends and relatives, professors, or a boss that has known you for years. By finding out who knows you best and who truly desires the best for your life, you can tune out the background noise and hone in on the few voices that actually do matter.

Place value in what these people have to say, and take the words of others with a grain of salt. Avoid letting irrelevant or negative opinions linger in your mind. If you allow the influence of others to infiltrate your decision making, you will find yourself in many regrettable situations and unsatisfied with the outcome of your choices. By subscribing to the helpful advice shared by those closest to you, you can foster your true passion.

Practice positive thinking. 

You can't find out what makes you happy in life without actually experiencing what happiness is. To discover your passion, adopt a positive mindset. Get out of the habit of mentally putting yourself down, and take the word "can't" out of your thought process. The more mental blocks you put on yourself, the less likely you are to have good experiences. Release your inhibitions and train your brain seek positivity in any situation.

Don't allow minor inconveniences to disturb you, and remind yourself of the saying that "it is only a bad day, not a bad life." In doing so, the positive choices you make will lead you in the direction of your passion so that you can live a fulfilling life.

Be open to new ideas. 

Keeping an open mind will allow you to experience life from a new perspective. Even when something seems foreboding, treat it as a lesson. If you cannot think of a positive quality for the situation you find yourself in, then don't assign your circumstances any qualities at all. If you keep a neutral mindset, you will eliminate the possibility for disappointment. This will encourage learning and growth, which are essential in your journey to finding your true passion.

Being open to new ideas will help you avoid sticking to the status quo. By taking part in something you have never done before, you are less likely to find yourself confined by what others expect you to do.

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