Philippine Culture - Common Family Traits
culture | celebrations | family
traits | heritage | philippine
Filipinos highly value the
presence of their families more than anything. Regardless of the liberal influence
they have gotten from the west, the family remained the basic unit of their
society. This trait clearly shows among Filipinos abroad who suffer homesickness
and tough work just to support their families back home in the Philippines.
In a traditional Filipino family, the father is considered the head and the
provider of the family while the mother takes responsibility of the domestic
needs and in charge of the emotional growth and values formation of the children.
They both perform different tasks and being remarked separately by the children.
Children see their mothers soft and calm, while they regard their fathers as
strong and the most eminent figure in the family.
Because of this remarkable closeness, parents sometimes have difficulties letting
go of their children and thus results to having them stay for as long as they
want. For this somehow explains why grandparents are commonly seen living with
their children in the Philippines. Unlike the way people grow old in the west
where they are provided with outside homes and care giving, Filipino elderly
enjoy their remaining lives inside their houses with their children and grandchildren
looking after them.
Another trait Filipinos made themselves exceptional from others is their strong
respect for elders. Children are taught from birth how to say “po”
and “opo” to teach them as early as possible how to properly respect
their elders. These words are used to show respect to people of older level.
Even adults will be criticized for not using these words when speaking with
their parents or people older than them. Inside the family, the parents are
expected to receive the highest respect from the children along with the elder
siblings; as they are given more responsibilities to look after younger siblings
when parents are not around.
Children fighting back or addressing parents or elder siblings with arrogant
tone are not at all tolerated. They are also not allowed to leave the house
without their parents’ permission. Upon arriving home, conservative families
expect children to practice the kissing of hands or placing their parents or
elder family members’ hand to their foreheads with the words “mano
po” as a sort of greeting.
Even after finishing school, Filipino children are not obliged to get out of
their homes unless they want to. In fact, most of them keep their close relationship
to their parents by staying at least before they get married. Leaving them happens
only when they really have to, but usually, at least one child, depending on
his willingness and financial capabilities, stay even after marriage to support
and look after their aging parents.
More over, Filipinos keep close connection with other relatives. They recognize
them from 2nd degree to the last they can identify. As Filipinos say, “not
being able to know a relative is like turning their backs from where they come