I am 100% Fiipino. Born and bred the Filipino way, 100% all the way.
Of all the races God put me in, He chose me to be a dark brown-eyed, fairly brown-complexioned Filipina. God could have made my skin flawlessly yellow with chinky eyes like my pal Chinky, the Mandarin. He could have created me impeccably white with an enviable blue pair of eyes like Ann, the American. Or the beaming, blonde and beautiful Gabriele, the German.
I trust that God knows best why I am made perfectly Pinoy. I love who I am. And I love my Philippines. Even America’s posh business e-mag Forbes pinned Manila as among the Top 10 Best Budget Travel Destinations in 2016 in an article by Alexandra Tally.
True, the Philippines has boundless breathtaking getaways to brag about especially the beaches. The better truth, what tourists keep coming back for is not the what but the who. It’s the people…
British backpacker Will Hatton, one of the most famed travel blogger worldwide, blogged this in his broke backpacker site and I quote this verbatim: “The Filipinos are one of the friendliest, most genuine, people in all of Asia; The Philippines truly captured my heart. I made some truly incredible friends in The Philippines and I have to say; in general, it is one of the easiest countries in the world to travel around as the locals are so friendly.”
The Filipinos are a lovable lot.
Here are 5 reasons why:
1. Hospitable to the fore
Foreigners who’ve trodden part of our 7,101 islands have one thing to say about us. We are one of the most hospitable people worldwide. It shows with our sweet smiles. Visit a home. Food and sips of soda will be insistently offered to you. Insistently because we won’t take no for an answer. The feast or simple foodie in front of you should fill you in before you take on another mile.
2. Respectful regardless
We grew up with a culture that gives high regards to those more senior than us. Over time, this has become evident not just in children and younger people but among people of all ages. We use the word “po” and “opo” in deference to those who are older, in authority, and even to our visitors. Another way is the custom of “Mano po” wherein the elders’ hands are put upon our foreheads to show reverence and to openly declare blessings.
3. Joyful in and out
On the outside, laughter is the Filipino’s best medicine. The Filipinos are among the happiest culture in the world. We could share a hearty laugh in the best and worst times. The strongest typhoon cannot dare topple our spirits. Even if some are housed above the rooftop awaiting the flood to subside inside their homes, expect a series of bantering to break in the air. Want to know why? Check out number 4.
4. Familial ties that bind
The Filipinos boast of clannish family ties. We find fun and value in sticking and staying together as a family. Strength is doubled with togetherness. Family bonding over meals and weekend getaways make families inseparable. Some even live in one compound where 6 families are housed separately under different roofs. We believe, too, that the family that prays together stays together. That brings us to number 5.
5. Faith in God
The Spaniards colonized the Philippines for three centuries. The Americans, too, for a good 40 years. These honed our religious background making faith in God another one of our strong foundations. Sunday is spent going to church with the family. Praying for things to be subject to God’s sovereign will is one trait Filipinos candidly cling to. Indeed, when Filipinos say, “Oh, my God,” it is uttered prayerfully.