Filipino Customs & Culture
Faithfulness to the family is a tradition that is characteristic of Filipino society. This family loyalty is apparent in the fact that there are no booming businesses for retirement homes or orphanages in the Philippines.
Also important to Filipinos is treating elders (even someone a year older is an “elder”) with the respect and deference they deserve and require. There are many ways a person can show respect, whether it is by using hand gestures or speaking in a manner that denotes respect.
As with many Asian countries, removal of shoes is customary when entering someone’s home. By doing this the visitors shows his/her respect for the family and their home, as well as having basic courtesy.
To recognize an elder’s presence, a younger person may take the elder’s hand (usually someone at least 15 years older), bring it to forehead and then release it.
It is also customary for Filipinos to use a lot of hand and facial gestures to communicate. In their communication with each other, speaking politely is important as is speaking with a gentle tone of voice. Arguing is not acceptable, along with public criticism.
Unlike other Asian countries where women tend to be in more subservient positions, women in the Philippines have had high societal positions since precolonial times. Since there is sexual equality, businesses are more accepting of women performing business. This attitude is apparent with the current Philippine preside. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is the second woman to hold this esteemed position. Corazon Aquino was the first female president and held the position from 1986-1992).