Etiquette in the Philippines

The Philippines is an island nation of Southeast Asia, located in the western Pacific Ocean.

Filipino and English are the official languages, but the country also recognizes 8 regional languages including: Bikol, Cebuano, Hiligaynon, Ilokano, Pampango, Pangasinense, Tagalog, and Waray.

The Philippines is a unitary presidential constitutional republic.

There is a constitutional separation of church and state, however, more than 90% of the population are Christians. About 80% belong to the Roman Catholic Church while 10% belong to other Christian denominations, likely due to the large influence of Spanish colonization. 5-10% of the population is Muslim, mostly concentrated in the Moro region.

The currency is the peso.

Entertaining Etiquette

Arrive 15-20 minutes after the scheduled meeting when you are invited to a Filipino home. In the Philippines, you may be perceived as over-eager and may be rushing the host if you arrive early or on time.

Never refer to your host’s wife as the hostess. This has a different meaning in the Philippines.

Dress well, compliment your hosts on their home, and be sure to send a thank you note within a week of the party.

Wait to be asked several times before moving into the dining room or helping yourself to food. Do not start eating until the host invites you to do so.

Meals are often served family-style or are self-serve buffets. Seating is often assigned, so be sure to check before choosing a seat.