I’m In Love With Home

In times of trouble (and I think that everyday has been trouble because our country is misdeveloping), in order to survive, you’ll have to stay positive. Hence, I am writing a list of

Why I Love the Philippines:

Delicious Food – Of course, this is the first thing I’ll mention. Because for me, Filipino food is just the best food in the world. I don’t like food in other Asian countries much because they’re too spicy. And I don’t like food from all the other countries, because they’re too bland. I’m totally biased of course because this is the kind of food I grew up eating, but for my taste, the food in the Philippines is just perfect.

Food Sharing – Still about food haha! Anyway, something I noticed that’s different about Western-style restaurants and Filipino restaurants is the serving size. Western-style restaurants usually have “per plate” menus, meaning that you order a dish that’s ideally for just one person. But in Filipino restaurants, more often than not, the food serving is always for sharing. A plate of rice is good for 4 people. A bowl of sinigang serves 3. Probably because it’s more common for Filipinos to eat in groups of 4 or 5, instead of just 2 or alone. And even when you and your friends order a plate that’s meant to be for just one person, I love how it’s totally ok to ask the other person if you can have some of his/her food. I know it’s impolite in some cultures to take food from another person’s plate, but if you have his/her permission, I really like the fact that it’s totally normal to share.

Mi Casa es Su Casa – I know, this is a Spanish phrase. But it sounds cooler so I’m using it. Anyway, as I’m sure you know, this means “My House is Your House”, and what I mean by this, for the purposes of this blog entry, is that I absolutely love how when you’re in another place (be it another country or another province), it’s almost absolutely ok to stay in the house of a friend or a relative. In fact, they sort of expect it.

I’m immensely thankful to this Filipino custom (if I can call it that) because it saves us a lot of money when we’re traveling. Instead of checking into an expensive hotel, we can just stay at a friend/relative’s house, and for free! Never mind that we all have to share a room or sleep on a mattress or whatever, if it saves us a couple hundred bucks, then I’m all for it. Plus, we get to spend more time with our friends/relatives, because we’ll all be in the same house.

I know this all has to do with different cultures and stuff, but it strikes me as absurd when you’re in the same city as one of your relatives but you still have to check into a hotel. Except if their house is really small/busy, and there’s really no room for guests, then that’s fine. But if not, then it should be ok for relatives to stay. You get to help some people save money. That’s a good thing, right?

Tagalog – As much as I love English and its filthy rich vocabulary, I really love my native tongue the most. It’s just so easy/convenient to be polite with this language. It includes staple words for courtesy like “po” and “opo”, and cheat titles like “Manong” or “Ate” for people on the street who you don’t know the names of. I also love how you can just add “Tito” or “Tita” in front of a name of your friend’s parents and that makes you sound respectful. There’s nothing more awkward for me, than having to call someone as old as my parents by their first name. But then, calling them “Mrs. Last Name” or Mr. Last Name” is just as awkward, so really, Tagalog is very helpful.

Oh, and a special mention to the word “Yiheee“, too. Seriously, how can you not love a language that has a one-word equivalent for the whole “Thomas and Dana sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G” chant?!

Jokes – Especially the ultra corny ones that you hear on the radio. I love that it takes so little to make people laugh here.

Q: Anong difference ng joke sa pagtatanim?
A: Ang joke, biro. Ang magtanim, ‘di biro!

Tagay! – I’m not really a drinker, but I do enjoy those drinking sessions that involve cheap liquor and one glass that you pass around. It’s just not the same as when you’re in a bar where there are a lot of people around you and there’s loud music and whatever.

Philippine Art – visual art, film, music, comic books, literature… everything. I do love art from other countries as well, but I love the art here that’s fused with the culture. But I’m only talking about the original art. Let’s not elaborate on all the Star Cinema/GMA movies that are Hollywood movie rip offs, or all the songs by Hale. Hehehe.

Videoke!! – This is more of an Asian thing, and will probably be included if I made a list of all the things I love about Asia. But anyway… Yeah. Just like in drinking sessions, I love how this is about microphone passing in videoke rooms, and not having to embarrass yourself on stage in front of people you don’t know, like how “karaoke” is in the U.S.

Islands! Beaches! – This country is a tropical paradise. Who’d prefer anything else over a paradise?!

Not Wasting Food – I have seen countless American shows wherein they have a food fight. It’s like an American tradition of some sort. When I was a kid, it seemed pretty funny. But eventually, when I thought about it, I found it to be really sad. Because, they’re basically wasting food. Perfectly good food, that would’ve helped some families in Africa.

In a sort of sick way, I’m kind of glad that we’re still a poor country, because we know that we shouldn’t take things forgranted.

Text Messaging – There’s something different about having time to think of what you’re going to say before saying it, which is why I think text messaging is such a hit here. Because when you’re on the phone talking to someone, your responses are instant and direct. In text messaging, messages can be subtle, and thoughtful. It’s almost like an art.

Pasalubong – I know it’s a pain sometimes, especially when you’re the one giving it. But when you’re the one receiving it, it’s such a joy to know that the person who’s giving you a souvenir, had actually thought of you while he/she was on a trip. It’s like they want to share part of their experience with you, so you can also enjoy what they did, even if you weren’t there. I mean, isn’t that just sweet?

*BTW, I excluded “family and friends” from this list because their location isn’t a factor as to why I love them.

—-

So there. 12 reasons why I love the Philippines.

I was thinking of writing this list in Filipino, but I thought that maybe even non-Filipino speakers would want to know. This list, was brought about by my observations of people in other countries. I don’t claim to be an expert of course, I’m not a travel writer who’s been everywhere and most of my experience in foreign lands consist of meeting with fellow Filipinos, but I have met a lot of other people who aren’t from here, and I do watch a lot of TV, and this is just my personal opinion anyway.

If I’d written all the reasons why I hate the Philippines, then the list would probably be 10 times longer, but you know, it’s like when you fall in love with someone to a degree that your love becomes unconditional. You accept them for their imperfections, forgive them for their faults, you never lose faith in them, and you always hope the best for them.

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