Competitive Kareoke, Bayanihan, and More: Five Traditions That Are Distinctively Filipino
With more than seven thousand islands, the archipelagic nature of the Philippines lends itself to a diversity of cultures and customs. Still, there are many traditions that bring these islands together. With a tumultuous history — having been under Spain, the US, Britain, and Japan— it’s safe to say that all these interactions have created a unique character for the Filipino people. Still, pinoys are often known for their hospitality and joyful spirit; so much so that the Department of Tourism slogan was once, "It's more fun in the Philippines". Here are some common practices that shine a light into the fun-loving nature of Philippine society:
1/5 Competitive Karaoke
Having originated from Japan, this fun pastime found itself on Philippine shores very quickly. With karaoke studios peppered across every municipality, there’s always room for everyone’s favourite sport — competitive singing! Karaoke set-ups find themselves in Filipino homes across the country, always there to liven up every dinner party or random occasion. You may even encounter Karaoke kiosks around malls, condos, or arcades — watch out for the Magic Sing vendor who is always eager to showcase their product by serving their best rendition of pop hits!
Read More: Why Do Filipinos Love Music So Much?
As a country that is prone to typhoons and volcano eruptions, Filipinos have seen their share of calamities. Always resilient and light-hearted, Philippine culture entails a bayanihan character, best expressed during times of crises. Simply translated, it is the inclination to help as a community, functioning under the recognition of each other as Kapwa. Father of Filipino Psychology (Pilipinolohiya) Virgilio Enriquez translates Kapwa as ‘shared identity’ akin to equal respect of fellow beings.
See Also: The Philippine Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2020 Champions the "Bayanihan" Spirit
Having been colonised by Spain for more than 300 years, a large amount of Filipino citizens identify as Christians. Most provinces have a patron saint and celebrate fiestas or festivals in their honour. Fiestas often involve entire municipalities or cities and may last days or for some, weeks. These events also function as community-building occasions, strengthening not only faith but also familial bonds amongst the people. Some of the most famous festivals across the country are the Sinulog of Cebu, Dinagyang in Iloilo, and the MassKara festival in Bacolod (non-denominational).
4/5 Four-month Christmas
As most of the country are of the Christian denomination, it doesn’t come as a shock that Filipinos love the holiday season! Christmas lights and decorations may go up as early as 1 September. Countdowns can start as soon as the ber months roll-in and for many, so does gift shopping! The ultimate culmination of familial celebration in the Philippines may be witnessed during December.
5/5 Filipinos love to eat… and drink!
Although this rings true for all cultures and countries, the jovial Filipino character is best expressed through food. Most Philippine households enjoy family-style meals and bonding often takes place over a shared meal or the occasional inuman (trans. 'drinking session'). Filipinos love crowd gatherings whether in the workplace or at home — you’ll often even see people sitting outside their homes sharing a bottle or two during the evenings!
See Also: The Top 20 Best Restaurants in the Philippines This 2020