Greeting someone in the Philippines

If you want to greet someone in the Philippines you can do this by putting your hands together and taking a small bow. This is quite similar to a greeting in China.

If you want to say something to the person you greet here are some tips:

  • Good morning – Ma-gan-dang u-ma-ga po / Magandang Umaga po
  • Good afternoon – Magandang Tanghali po
  • Good evening – Magandang Gabi po
  • You are beautiful – Maganda Ka
  • You are from where? – Taga saan ka?
  • My name is WhizKid. – Ako po ay si Whizkid
  • I live in America – Nakatira po ako sa America
  • Take Care – Ingat po

At last, read this article of you’re greeting and showing respect to an elder (60+) you know.

Mano Po Gesture: Filipinos’ Way of Respecting The Elders

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Using the word “Po”

Po’ is a word used to show respect and humility in the Philippines. It can be used when talking to someone in higher position, someone older, or even when a person in a higher societal status wants to show respect and humble himself before an old beggar.

For foreign people, it’s also appreciated if they include ‘po’ in their statements. For example: ‘Yes’ is ‘oo’ (pronounced as oh-oh), but to sound respectful,  people made it ‘opo’. ‘No’ is ‘hindi’, but ‘hindi po’ would be better.

Where to put ‘po’ in the statement depends on the phrase or sentence but if a foreign toungue would use it, it will be better if they will have it at the end of the sentence, like, “I don’t know po”, “I will check your sms later po”, “hello po”, “how are you po” and “happy birthday po”.

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How to use Chopsticks?

Do you want to learn to use chopsticks? When having a meal in China, it’s important to use the chopsticks correctly. Checkout the great video below to learn the basics. Of course, you won’t be able to use chopsticks right away. This requires practice. If you want to show off some skills in Asia, you’ll have to practice first at home. Below we also have some important Chinese etiquettes to share, which may have some overlap with other asian cultures.

Chopstick Etiquettes

playing with chop sticks

Do not use them as a fork, and don’t stick both chopsticks in your meal! Chinese believe in the after life and by sticking the chopsticks in the meal you are inviting the spirits to eat it. Especially do try not to place your chopsticks straight up in your bowl. By placing your chopsticks like this you will remind your host of joint chopsticks sticks which is connected with dead and funerals.

stick chopsticks in bowl

A very common scene on the round table where Chinese people get together to have meal is people will pick up food and put it to your plate with their own chopsticks. Western people might find it hard to accept concerning the public health, but such behavior expresses the hospitality and kindness that you should not deny it.

Don’t strike the edge of your bowl with your chopsticks and think it sounds funny. It is considered rude and disrespectful. The tradition can trace back to ancient times and it is considered as a beggar’s behavior.

If You’re Not Able To Use Chopsticks, Don’t

If you have difficulties using chopsticks, feel free to ask for knives and forks. There’s really no shame if you simply can’t. Your host will understand, and it won’t be considered rude at all. They’ll be happy to just see you try.

Avoid Saying No in China

Try to avoid saying “no” , this is a sign that you are unwilling and it is considered rude in the Chinese culture. This may sound strange, especially if you’re raised in the West, with a very direct way of communication.

If you’re doing business in China, it’s important to understand the nuances of one’s reply. Obviously, it’s hard to answer every single question or demand with a direct ‘yes’. But the Chinese unconsciously avoid a direct no by giving the reply a twist. For example:

  • Sounds like a reasonable idea, let me look further into it.
  • I’m a bit busy currently, but I’ll make sure to get back to you in the future.
  • It’s a good suggestion, but you may also take (time/budget/resources) into consideration.
  • Interesting, let me think about it.
  • etc

Looking at the above examples, you may realize that, that some responses look like constructive feedback, which is a good think. Others are just to avoid saying no. It’s important to listen carefully to the nuances if you’re doing business with a person. This allows you to better know what to expect from the business relationship in the future.

When you’re a Westerner, saying ‘no’ may be less rude, relative to when it comes from a local. After all, there’s much more international interaction nowadays, so some Chinese are aware of the cultural differences in communication.

The Face a Holy Temple, Malaysia

It’s common for Westerners to give each other a hug or kiss each other in the face when you meet.

However, when in Malaysia, try to avoid touching a Malay or to kissing them in their face. The head and face are considered to be the home of the human soul. You can only shake hands if they will reach out for you to shake their hands.

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Not Write in Red in China

The color red is considered to bring luck. But there is one way the color red may not be used. Please do not write somebody’s name in the color red. This means you wish them bad luck.

In general, it’s not good to write with a red color at all. In some more conservative company cultures, it’s not done, when your boss or colleagues see you writing with a red pen.

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Give/Receive Business Card & Gifts in China with Both Hands

When given and accepting any objects (such as gifts or business cards) with both hands, it shows you are fully interested and dedicated to receive the object. This custom is relevant in China, but also in many other Asian countries.

For example, business cards are also given with both hands and thumbs up. When you’re the receiver, also accept it with both hands.

An often made mistake is to directly hide the card away. This is considered rude. The best thing is to study the card closely for a while and then put it in front of you on the table. Do not play with the card or write any details on the card. Instead, just take a careful look to remember the name and the background of the receiver.

accepting objects with both hands

Do not throw cards across table. This is considered to be very rude and disrespectful. Always handle the business card with great care and respect. After you finish the conversation pick it up and take it with you. Do not put it in your pocket directly!

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Don’t drink baijiu on an empty stomach

Although wine will be supplied at most business banquets, the Chinese would also like to offer you a very strong Chinese liquor – Baijiu, Known as the white devil. Don’t let its water-like appearance and slightly sweet taste fool you. It may appear similar to other liquors like Japanese Shochu or Korean Soju, but in fact, Baijiu has a significantly higher ABV, normally about 40%-60%. It is a strongly advised to eat something before the toasts. Never drink on an empty stomach.

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Giving face to the Chinese

The Chinese are a collective society in general. They will act with decorum at most times in order to maintain harmony. They don’t care for protesting, disagreeing or making complaints. Giving and saving one’s face is the most important thing in Chinese society. If you don’t agree with someone, try not to speak up in public, which will make the person lose face. Avoid doing anything that would cause a Chinese person embarrassment.

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Raising your voice

If you want to say something to each other try not to raise your voice too much. When someone is too far away go to the person first or try to get closer so there is not need to scream. This is considered rude.

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Speaking with your mouth full

When eating try not to make too much noise. Speaking with your mouth full is considered rude in the Malaysian Culture.

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Scooping up food

The girl is always expected to scoop the rice on the plate for the elder people in the house as well as for the males. Do not scoop up too much rice or too little, they to give an average amount.

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