culture shock banner 001 Bonjour Culture Shock! 9 Surprising Filipino Customs that Amazed My French Partner Culture Shock, Filipino Customs

Alright, buckle up for the tale of my French guy’s Philippine adventure! His first visit? Total culture shock! From trying to figure out this ‘pagmamano’ thing to realizing we never let anyone leave our house hungry – it was a whirlwind, to say the least. And oh, the army of cousins, titas, and titos who embraced him like a long-lost family member? That left him utterly amazed! It was like a warm Filipino welcome on turbo mode.

Imagine the moment when, upon meeting elders, their hands were gently taken and brought to his forehead—a gesture known as ‘pagmamano.’ In France, kisses on the cheeks or a handshake are customary, but this unique display of respect left him pleasantly surprised. The depth of reverence and warmth conveyed through this simple gesture amazed him, sparking a newfound appreciation for Filipino respect and familial ties.

In France, first names are casually tossed around, a sign of familiarity. However, in the Philippines, titles like ‘Ate’ and ‘Kuya’ are used out of respect for older siblings or acquaintances. This shift in addressing individuals left him initially puzzled. But as he embraced this custom, he found it endearing, a sign of closeness and respect deeply ingrained in Filipino culture.

The French take pride in their culinary traditions, but using only spoons and forks during meals? That was a revelation! In France, a knife is almost always at hand, but in Filipino dining, it’s a different tale. The absence of knives during meals raised his eyebrows at first, but as he indulged in Filipino cuisine, he discovered the finesse of using these utensils as culinary companions. It was an unexpected, delightful adjustment.

It’s a common misconception that we Filipinos frequently eat with our bare hands, but truth be told, it’s not as widespread as many think.

The French often greet each other with “Bonjour” or “Ça va?” So, hearing “Have you eaten?” as a greeting in the Philippines was, without doubt, a culture shock. Initially perplexed, he soon realized it wasn’t just about meals—it was a genuine expression of care and hospitality. This phrase transcended a simple query; it embodied the Filipino spirit of concern for one another’s well-being.

Sharing food is second nature in France, but the Filipino way took it to another level. From impromptu gatherings to festive celebrations, food became a catalyst for bonding and camaraderie. The sheer generosity and joy in offering and sharing meals left him utterly amazed. Every shared dish became a story, a connection forged over delectable bites of ‘adobo’ and ‘sinigang.’

PS: His favorite Filipino food is Kare-Kare. It took me a hot minute to nail the perfect kare-kare recipe. Totally, worth it!

Imagine stepping into a Filipino home and feeling like a VIP, especially when it comes to chowing down. My French partner? Utterly surprised! In the Philippines, it’s a cardinal rule: guests never leave with grumbling tummies. This blew his mind! He couldn’t fathom the endless parade of dishes that kept magically appearing, ensuring no one ever left even slightly peckish. It was a whole new level of hospitality he’d never experienced before.

Now, imagine a feast for the entire neighborhood. That’s what it seemed like to my French partner when Filipino households started prepping food. He was astounded! The sheer amount of food prepared could have easily fed a small army. He couldn’t believe the lengths Filipinos went to ensure everyone felt not just full, but abundantly satisfied. It was like a culinary carnival that left him in awe.

Ah, the warm embrace of Filipino families! That’s what greeted my French partner. He was floored! From the moment he stepped through the door, he was enveloped in hugs, laughter, and warmth. The way every member of the family welcomed him as if he’d been part of the clan forever left him pleasantly surprised. It was a beautiful shock, experiencing such genuine hospitality and inclusion.

Oh, the leftovers! This was a revelation for my French partner. In France, leftovers might be a small doggie bag, but in the Philippines? He ended up with enough food to stock a mini-fridge! He was amused and amazed by the generosity—bags filled with goodies to take home. It was like a bonus treat, showcasing the Filipino tradition of ensuring guests are cared for even after they’ve left.

For my French partner, these customs initially felt like stepping into a vibrant, unfamiliar universe. However, the journey of cultural exploration was thrilling, filled with moments of surprise and wonder.

  • Curiosity Sparks Understanding: Each custom, though initially shocking, offered a glimpse into the rich tapestry of Filipino culture. It was curiosity that bridged the gap between shock and understanding.
  • Embracing the Unexpected: Instead of shying away, embracing these customs became an adventure—a way to connect with the heart of Filipino traditions.
  • Building Bridges Through Food: The universal language of sharing meals transcended cultural differences. Through shared meals, he found common ground and deeper connections.

In conclusion, culture shock for my French partner turned into a beautiful journey of discovery. Each custom, initially surprising, unfolded layers of warmth, respect, and community. From ‘pagmamano’ to shared meals and unique greetings, the Filipino culture left an indelible mark, teaching him that embracing the unexpected is the gateway to understanding and appreciating diverse traditions.

So, with a newfound appreciation for ‘pagmamano,‘ heartfelt greetings, and the joy of shared meals, my French partner embraced the colorful mosaic of Filipino customs—a journey filled with culture shock turned into moments of pure delight and connection.

NOTE: A big shoutout to my incredible partner, Grayson! Seriously, he’s been a total trooper. Despite being one super private and reserved guy, not once did he throw impatience, disrespect, disagreement, or any bad vibes into the mix. Plus, I’ve got this article brewing, and guess who’s lending a hand? Yep, Grayson’s the unsung hero making this happen! Je t’aime toujours, mon amour. ❤️

Polly Amora

Polly Amora is the señorita behind GoldenIslandSenorita.Net. A corporate warrior by day, and a perpetual explorer by heart. She is a lifelong learner who is very outgoing, speaks four languages, loud & outspoken, and loves to have adventures in the mountains, on the beach, and in the city. You can throw her anywhere, and she'll handle it like a pro. Ice cream and bourbon are two of her weaknesses.

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