There are only a few weeks left until the new and improved Boracay re-opens its doors to both local and international tourists, as well as the expats in the Philippines, again. Yes, we’ll all be able to enjoy the many summer activities in the crystal clear waters and white sands of Boracay again. Sounds exciting, right?
But before you book that flight, it may be important that you learn these travel etiquettes first. After all, we wouldn’t want to disrespect the locals and desecrate the environment that the government would be forced to close it down again.
Greeting a Filipino
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Whether you’re a local or a foreign tourist, the first thing you’ll probably do when you get to your destination is to greet a Filipino. It can be a flight stewardess, a security guard, the locals who are willing to help you carry your baggage, or your host family.
Aside from asking “Kamusta ka na?” or how are you, there are three ways to properly greet a Filipino when meeting them. We listed them to give you an idea on how and to whom each should be done.
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Beso – The beso can be directly translated to a non-romantic cheek-to-cheek kiss. It’s usually done by close friends or by a person who is about to greet a lady. Before you try doing this, it might be better to wait for the woman to make the first move to avoid any awkwardness.
Mano – This is a Filipino custom that is done by gently taking the hand of the other person and putting it on your forehead. Do not do this to someone who is younger than you as the “mano” or “pagmamano” is a deep sign of respect that is usually done to people who are older than you.
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A relationship between individuals must have a certain level of respect at all times. As such, Filipinos take notice of how you answer their questions or talk to them. One way of showing them respect is using the words “po” and “opo.”
Adding “po” at the end of a sentence may show that you yield to the other person and respect them. A simple example would be “Magandang umaga po,” which can be directly translated to Good morning, sir (or madam). “Opo,” on the other hand, is a polite way of saying yes and is usually used when talking to elders or superiors.
Return the Filipino hospitality
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Filipinos are known around the world for being hospitable. Whenever tourists or relatives visit, they prepare their houses for a warm reception. It’s not unusual to see a table overflowing with traditional food made especially for you along with a bedroom to rest in. It is also very common to see the whole family eat with their visitors.
Photo courtesy of Alta Vista de Boracay
A good way to experience this world-class hospitality is to book your stay at Alta Vista de Boracay. It’s a hotel that overlooks the beautiful beaches of Boracay. It’s also a stone’s throw away from the exclusive Puka Beach. This hotel has a huge pool, cozy rooms, and offers the best service in the area that would remind you why Filipinos are known around the world.
Walking barefoot in the house
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Unlike in Japan wherein they let you use Wabakis or indoor slippers, Filipinos remove their shoes and socks when they are at home and walk barefoot. And they expect their visitors to do the same too. Don’t worry about getting your feet dirty, the floor of a Filipino house is more often than not clean to the corners thanks to their daily cleaning habits.
Be ready to eat… a lot
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Whenever you pass by a Filipino who is eating, there is a good chance that they will invite you to eat. In the Philippines, you will hear them say “Kain tayo” or let’s eat. It is customary to accept this invitation no matter how little or how much the food is on the table. Filipino etiquette or manners like these are very important to the locals. It is usually their chance to show the world how hospitable and loving Filipinos are in their own little way.
Get ready to use your hands
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Speaking of eating, don’t be surprised when Filipinos use their hands instead of utensils to eat. They also use huge banana leaves instead of plates. It is a common tradition that goes along with their eating habits. Give it a try before you judge the act.
Be sensitive to “pakikisama”
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“Pakikisama” can be directly translated to camaraderie or getting along with each other. This also means that you think of other people’s needs first before your own. If someone in your group wants to go to a particular place, you can show “pakikisama” by gladly accompanying that person, even if it’s not in your best interest to visit that spot. If you fail to show “pakikisama,” chances are the other people in your group wouldn’t like to be with you.
Pakikisama at the beach – You can show your pakikisama in Boracay by simply improving the beach culture. Follow the new rules such as no smoking, drinking, and partying at the beach itself. You can also continue the efforts in cleaning Boracay by being a volunteer.
With the influx of tourists in the new Boracay, it wouldn’t be surprising to see some of them forget their manners and be arrogant. Remember these simple Boracay manners so that you can show respect to the locals, their culture, and the environment. Moreover, these will help you enjoy interacting with them, and in return, they will definitely show you how to have a good time.