One of our assignments is to interview 1 person each week from a different culture. I thought this interview might give you some insight into the Filipino culture.
Marilyn has been in the USA for 4 years. She is from Mindanao and while she was meeting her niece for dinner she was very welcoming and open to share with me about the culture in the Philippines. She told me that the biggest difference she notices is that the Filipino culture is much more religious and conservative. Marilyn also stated that the USA is much more materialistic than the Philippines. The Filipinos are more focused on planting and eating than things. Marilyn is a Catholic. Her sisters and brothers are still in the Philippines and she is here in the USA in order to help send her nieces and nephews to college. She goes home once a year. I asked Marilyn about her favorite tradition which she misses most and she told me Christmas with tears in her eyes. She indicated that Christmas in the Philippines is family oriented. It's all about getting together and that the gifts aren't important. The most important thing is to just be there and to be together. If you can bring a small gift it's fine but if not just come. The traditional food is roasted pig and everyone brings whatever food they can, they share their blessings, and if you don't have anything to bring, still come and eat. I was able to clarify some traditions, which I didn't understand in the Philippines. All Saints day is to celebrate and remember the good that those members in their church have done. The candle outside the window was placed there to give light to souls, and shine a path for them to Heaven. I had always heard that it was a light to show them back home. All Souls Day is the day where all the family meets at the cemetery and brings food and celebrates memories of their loved ones. It's like a picnic at the cemetery and some even build houses there in which to celebrate. Of course this is only those that have money. Filipino's believe that Good Friday is the day that Jesus Christ passed and so they stay home that day and pray. They don't go out except to go to church and to participate in the Stations of the Cross. Saturday they also stay in and go to the church to participate in the Stations of the Cross. Easter Sunday is a time of celebration of family. They prepare a feast and go to the beach to wash themselves. (I wish I would have asked more questions about this.) She indicated that Christmas, Good Friday, Easter Sunday and New Years are all days in which the Filipinos celebrate family. Marilyn has an 8-year-old girl. She helped to raise her sister's children and so her sisters are giving back to her and raising her daughter. Marilyn doesn't want her daughter to come to America because she wants her to learn Filipino values. She indicated that their values are more than money but also to respect elders and love family. It's all about family ties. Marilyn confirmed that Filipinos do spank their children but they also feed them to hush them as well. And the placing an Elder's hand on my forehead is a show of respect for the Elderly person. And as is always the Filipino culture, she asked me to join them for dinner; and insisted that I taste a dish, which I had never had before. My interview with Marilyn was delightful and I look forward to many more in the Philippines!