7 Annoying Dining Habits of Filipinos
Filipinos are known for a lot of endearing traits. Our hospitality is renowned, as it is common for us to place our guests’ comfort over our own. Jessica Sanchez and Manny Pacquiao put the Philippines on the map through their innate prowess in the fields of singing and boxing, respectively. We’re praised for our crazy adaptability and resourcefulness. (Leave us in a kangkungan, and we’ll end up making Adobong Kangkong.) But seriously, this list could go on.
But let’s face it. We’re not always the most charming human beings either. Ever heard of crab mentality and the Mañana Habit? Did you see “sottocopy” trend across Twitterverse? And when it comes to the dining table, we could make any outsider cringe with these annoying habits we can’t seem to break.
1. Tardiness at Gatherings
A dinner party that starts at “6pm, American time” is different from one that starts at “6pm, Filipino time.” It’s not unusual for Filipinos to arrive at a party at least 30 minutes past the official call time. Come earlier than that, and you’re perceived as too eager.
2. Sniffing Food
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with inhaling the heavenly aroma of the feast served in front of us. By all means, savor the zesty scent of Mom’s turbo chicken—she’ll be flattered to see your eyes rolling back as you appreciate her masterpiece.
But to sniff food like a dog searching for narcotics, especially when you’re a guest? Not cool. How would you feel if you labored for hours in the kitchen, only to find your guests regarding your labor of love with a suspicious sniff before they tuck in? Yup, your mother thought so, too.
3. The Hodgepodge Fiesta Meal
Judging by our over-decorated jeepneys, sari-sari stores that sell everything from achuete,walis ting-tings (a broom made of sticks tied together), and our famous goblets of Halo-Halobrimming with a mix of incongruous ingredients, we Filipinos have a thing about mixing stuff together, even those that should be kept separate.
Unfortunately, this also translates into our eating habits. Attend any town fiesta,and you’ll see every guest’s plate stacked with Menudo, Chop Suey, Embutido, Pancit, and a heaping mound of rice, all spilling indiscriminately atop each other. If the plate still isn’t full, expect to find a little serving of Leche Flan or Fruit Salad somewhere in there, too.
4. Eyes on the Unli-Rice
Speaking of rice, there’s no doubt we Filipinos are a rice-eating people. We consider meals without rice to be mere snacks, and all a restaurant has to do to get our attention and money is to offer “unlimited rice.”
Despite knowing the horrible effects of excessive carb consumption on our health (see ‘diabetes,’ ‘obesity,’ and ‘just plain feeling sleepy most of the time’), we insist on having our favorite carbohydrate with practically everything.
Is our obsession with rice just another chapter from our nation’s multi-volume book,Making the Most of What’s in Front of You? Both my siblings could eat rice with nothing but ripe mangoes or bananas—I kid you not. But regardless of this addiction’s root cause—whether biological, social, or cultural—this is one “Unli-“ offer that wouldn’t hurt our country if it expired.
5. Gravy: Dip na, Sabaw pa
If unlimited rice isn’t your thing, I’m pretty sure that rice with gravy perks up your appetite. Fret not if you can’t afford anything on a KFC menu beyond a single, tiny chicken wing, and a ton of rice. Just pour gravy onto your rice, as though this thick brown goo were a soup like Sinigang or Tinola. Voila! Budget and hunger problems solved.
And who could blame us? It would be such a waste not to take advantage of the seductive, shiny gravy pitchers in most KFC branches (especially with that free refill).
6. Recycling Anything that Represents a Container
We Filipinos have taken the slogan “reduce, reuse, and recycle” to heart. We like to maximize the lifespan of an object in every possible way, lest it go to waste. This is a positive trait until we invite guests to our kitchen or dining area.
A typical Filipino fridge is usually stocked with recycled plastic bottles in all sizes containing drinking water. In the same manner, we love buying hefty glass jars of instant coffee or peanut butter because they can be reused as drinking glasses.
Well, it’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt (or dies!) of either cancer from the chemicals leaching off the overused plastic bottles, or food poisoning from the ancient containers getting contaminated with a sundry of condiments and other substances that haven’t been washed off thoroughly.
7. Food Hoarding at Parties
Our unconditional love for freebies takes on a horrifying form at the buffet.
On a trip to Bangkok with the family, we noticed the strange attitude of the hotel staff toward us as we sat down to enjoy a breakfast buffet. As soon as we were settled at our table, two servers stationed themselves nearby, and discreetly watched as we ate. We eventually figured they were making sure we weren’t nicking stuff from the buffet, and stashing them in our bags (in the Filipino vernacular, nagbabalot)—from bread rolls and fruits that could be saved for merienda, to toothpicks and table napkins that could be kept for personal use.
But who could blame the foreigners for their wariness? To them, Filipinos always seem to be preparing for the Hunger Games, just like ants during rainy days. We got so used to hoarding food that special occasions in the Philippines are much more appreciated when hosts allow (or even encourage) their guests to take home some food. That, or guests themselves bring plastic bags, ready to pack food away as soon as the coast is clear.
Culture shock is a problem we face up to every day, especially when we travel abroad. Culture shock is precipitated by the anxiety results from losing all the familiar signs and symbols of the social intercourse. To deal with this, we should find out the reason and understand how it is influence our lives.
Misunderstanding native languages including body languages or being unfamiliar with new food are responsible for the culture shock. When you visit a foreign country, you will find it difficult to understand the language, even when you know the language that makes you buzzed. Some people use slangs so you can’t look them up in the dictionary to get the real meaning, For instance, when you are in Vietnam, you will hear a man say something like” ong noi may day” when they want to threat or play a joke. “ong noi may day” does not mean “grandfather” but just means “I”. Besides, food is also an important element attributed to the culture shock. My friend, who is studying in German told me that the first time she came there, she couldn’t eat cheese or pizza that made her lose 5 kilos in 1 month.
And what is effects of these problems? Misunderstanding the languages makes you confused so much. For example, when Westerners visit Vietnam, they may feel disturbed when hear “what are you doing?” or “Where are you going?” Indeed, these sentences are just “Hi” or “good morning”…And the strange food sometimes makes you suffer from intestinal disturbance, especially when you taste tropical food. These may lead you to stress if you don’t know how to deal.
Nevertheless, it’s not so difficult to solve these problems. Please try to understand and get acquainted with host customs and food. Instead of complaint, you should adjust yourself to the new environment. Become friendly with native people, get used to with new food will make you feel more comfortable and cozy.
It can never be denied that Religion and Culture are sometimes the root and cause of conflicts among individuals with different cultural world. As time passes by people usually cultivate what we call the bridging gap that comes in different several ways. However the mere and vivid fact is that even how much effort is exerted by others, some things especially in the field of culture especially in issues among religious group of the world affects the bridge and eventually wrecked it up.
Technology nowadays is truly very influential. You can post your comments, feelings, ideas and whatever you wanted to beat out. In such manner, the faction is developed. We cannot deny that we are having different groups and mainly by our cultural and religious beliefs or practices.
But wait up for more because the world is now so modern. Yes, culture and the religion are still a factor for creating some conflicts in politics, showbiz, and the whole society mainly.
Today, no more. Peace.
After the long period of time we wasted in quarreling and blaming each other. As time passes by we grew up and became more matured (others only, not all) We became more refined and learned our boundaries. Differences and similarities are killed. We are making history from the history we all called our past. The agony of the sorrowful memories as brothers and sisters kill each other. Blood splashed through the brown rich land where our own God have threw up to us as a blessing (although we call Him in different ways).
Today is the Papal Visit of Pope Francis, and he is planning to strengthen the camaraderie of different religious leaders. Let us remember that we people are the son and daughters of God and we must unite not just for the better but for the best as well.
Now tell me who is afraid of conflicts if everyone of us is determined to achieve peace?