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Hands on Assignment 1: Culture Mapping

Rebecca Skucas

Instructions of How to Greet Filipinos at an Event

In the following instructions you will read about the proper etiquette of how to
greet Filipinos when you arrive to an event you were offered an invite. These
recommendations are primarily based on my own experiences with Filipino
Western culture from both family and friends in North America.


Prior to the event:

When you are invited to an event hosted by a Filipino, there are a few items that you
should be aware.

1.) If you are being invited into their house even for a quick visit, there is a
good chance they will offer you some food. It is impolite to decline,
especially if you are coming to their house for the first time and/or are
new to Filipino culture.

2.) If you are invited over to a Filipinos house for dinner, it is courteous to
bring some sort of gift. Flowers, chocolates, and baked goods are all

3.) Time management and organization are not of high priority. Often
Filipino guests will arrive much later than the scheduled start time.

4.) Filipinos are very hospitable, warm and friendly and they enjoy cooking.
If you are invited over for an event that includes a meal, be prepared for a
buffet. It is best to start with small portions because if you are a new
guest, the host will often offer you many samplings, including any Filipino


When you first meet or are greeted by your Filipino host, it is best to gently shake
hands, especially if the relationship is between a man and woman. An overly firm
grip is not necessary. If you have a well-established relationship with the host, then
you may greet them with a small kiss on either side of the cheek and/or a short
embrace. If you are seen as part of the family (brother-in-law, engaged to be married
into the family etc.) then the ladder is often carried out. Also this is typical
behaviour if both you and the host are female. Men that know each other well will
often greet each other by patting each others backs. If you are unsure of which
greeting to use, wait for the host to instigate the greeting as it may vary and just do
your best to reciprocate.

After your first greetings with your host, they will bring you into the event room and
if you are a brand new guest they will introduce you to everyone else.


If a Filipino elder is present then the customary greeting is taking their right hand
and gently placing their fingers up to touch the middle of your forehead. This is
called a mano. If you see an elderly Filipino stretch out their right hand to you with
their palm facing down, they are most likely are expecting a mano greeting from
you. This greeting is seen as a sign of respect. Often when Filipino guests first arrive
to an event they will look to see if elders are present and offer them a mano
greeting, prior to greeting others. This mannerism from the perspective of the elder
allows them to bless you.

If a Filipino wants you to come to them for any reason they will motion with their
arm, palm facing down and fingers scraping back and forth towards the floor. It is
considered rude to use your index finger and to point or use a curling motion to
beckon someone to come forward. Instead Filipinos will often use their lips or chin
to differentiate a specific direction.


Filipinos enjoy laughing so it is important to keep the conversation light by talking

about family and food and trying to avoid serious topics such as politics and strong
personal opinions. Filipinos enjoy trying to find the humor in everything. They are
also positive and optimistic. So if you make the wrong action or say the wrong thing,
Filipinos are very forgiving and will be able to help you laugh it off.

Note: These cultural customs are typically of Filipinos living in Western society however exceptions
are needed if they are Muslim.

Cultural Values

Family is an important value to Filipinos and its considered on top of their list when
looking at priorities. Showing affection during a greeting is a way to show
appreciation and adoration to each other. Elders are also seen as an important
component to any Filipino family and often they will live with someone from their
family instead of living in a retirement home. As with the mano greeting, elders are
to be respected as there are seen with more experience and wisdom.

The metaphor I mostly identify from our reading is the Trompenaar & Hampden-
Turners three layer module of culture highlighting an onion layer. The outer most
layer is that of the behaviour describing when greeting a Filipino. I would also
include food in the outer layer as Filipinos show their adoration for being together
with friends and family by celebrating with lots of food. A specific behaviour
identified in the outer layer is the mano that shows respect to ones elders. The
middle layer is the Filipino belief that elders should be respected. The core value is
that family is of high importance. Not following through with the defined behaviour
would be showing disrespect to your elders and your entire family.


Are there any other underlying values that might be reflected

in your culture map? What would you add to your analysis of
the core layer?
I am wondering about variations within the Filipino people.
How would factors such as generation, gender, religion,
immigration status(1st, 2nd or 3rd generation), social class, etc.
influence the way people greet one another? For example,
would Muslim Filipino people greet the same way as you
describe? What about norms at different eventsfuneral,
religious events, and so on? Its clear that youve given a lot
of thought to this assignment and I hope you will dig deeper
as we move to the next modules. Thanks.
Reflection from my Cultural Map

The values that Filipinos regard highly includes: family, food,

singing/entertainment, connection/unity, and support including both physical and

Immigration status definitely does factor into variations within Filipino people. My
husband is 1st generation and many of these values continue to be upheld as they he
has been brought up into them. I have family who are immigrants into Canada and
USA and because they have a stronger connection to their homeland these values
are even more routinely exhibited and expressed.

With regards to gender, I think women demonstrate many of the values because
they are natural nurturers and often carry out stereotypical duties of a wife/mother
of the family. They are the ones providing the care and many times the food for their

Social class is the one element that I dont think it affected when greeting others.
Filipinos pride themselves to be inclusive to all people and Filipinos are very
hospitable to whomever they come across. I have never met any Filipinos of high
hierarchal or political status and thus greeting may become more formal and look

In respect to my cultural map I was thinking of informal meetings either at

someones house, birthday, BBQ, or simple gathering. At a funeral and wedding
many of these values are still exhibited such greeting all the guests you know and
blessing your elders. Inclusivity is very important to Filipinos by including everyone
and supporting each other. For weddings and funerals, many times there are
preparations and celebrations hosted prior to and after then event with all the
family and friends that have travelled and live nearby so it feels like you a part of
multi-day event with laughter and food. Filipinos enjoy entertainment and laughing
and enjoying each others company.

Religion does influence the values because many Filipinos carry out Christian belief.
Many religions see themselves as being part of a community, similar to our Filipinos
view their family.

Anything related to culture is now on my radar and any conversation I have that
involves this subject matter I seem to reflect upon its significance.