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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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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Korean Greetings: To Bow or Not to Bow?

Korea has a long history of Confucian and Neo-Confucian thought that permeates society and day-to-day culture even into the modern era. Concepts such as humility, respect for elders and deferring to seniors within a hierarchy are everyday concepts and can be found even in ways to say hello and goodbye. So, for those who speak no Korean, there are proper social rituals that can be observed and mastered as well!

The very formal bow

Many countries in Asia practice bowing. And each country has a different set of rules and customs for their bowing practices. Bowing is meant to demonstrate humility as a sign of greeting. Bowing is also perfect for germaphobes, as there is no touching required like when shaking hands or hugging.

The levels of bowing say a lot. For example, people may perform a full prostrating bow. This type of bowing, which includes prostrating all the way to the ground to touch the forehead on the floor, is used in very serious and grave situations. CEO’s or other famous people who have broken the law or disgraced themselves may do this as an act of contrition to the public.

In a Buddhist temple, shamanic shrine or jesa ritual table during Chuseok (추석/ Korean Harvest Thanksgiving) and Seollal (설날/ Korean Lunar New Year), people will perform this full body prostration a number of times in an act of devotion.

This full body prostration is also reserved for greeting very highly respected or elderly people, like grandparents. Men may also do this to the parents of their potential bride to ask for her hand in marriage. Whenever my wife and I visit her grandparents we almost always greet them both with this full body prostration bow.

Medium formality or standard bow

This is the more standard bow that most people are familiar with. Where one or both people tilt slightly from the waist, with their hands at their sides. The depth of the bow, the length of time one holds the bow and which person bows first are all determined by rank, title, age and status. For example, if I were to meet president Moon Jae-In, I should bow first to him, very deeply and hold the bow for a few seconds. Meanwhile, he does not have to bow at all to me if he chooses not to. The younger or lower ranked person should bow first. Students may bow to their teacher by placing both hands on the their stomachs, right over left or left over right depending on their gender, and bow from the waist. If the teacher is particularly scary they may bow deeper and longer! But this depends. Customarily one should not look up or tilt their face when bowing. Today many men, especially in professional settings may shake hands. This too includes grabbing the other person’s forearm or shoulder or other hand with their free hand.

Informal bows and quick greetings

This does not mean if you come to Korea you must give a formal, deep bow from the waist to everyone you meet. Once again, age, status and rank all matter and so does the social situation. Entering Lotteria to grab a Bulgogi Burger probably won’t require you to bow deeply from the waist and hold for a few seconds to the employees. They may even become very uncomfortable if you do! But to give a nice but less formal greeting, one can simply tilt or nod their head forward slightly. This is very common, especially among friends. In less formal settings the head nod is a polite way to greet or acknowledge someone. These bows can also be used to say “goodbye” too.

Hugs, kisses and handshakes

In Korea there are many taboos about touching and being too physical in public. Especially with members of the opposite sex or people you do not know very well! Try not to initiate hugs, kisses or handshakes with people who you do not know well, and especially if they are the opposite gender. This may make them very uncomfortable and feel too forward for them. Of course there are exceptions, but when in doubt, follow the common customs, and if someone tries to greet you by hugging, let them! Unless you don’t want them to hug you, then, perhaps run! Some observers may notice among young Koreans, two young men or two young women may walk down the street holding hands. Though Korean society is becoming more tolerant of same-sex couples, it is common for heterosexual people of the same gender to hold hands. This is probably because they are very close and trusted friends, and for many Koreans they may feel more comfortable doing things like holding hands or spending time together with people of their own gender. Of course couples who are dating or married may hold hands in public, too!

Bonus greetings, Anneyangahseyo, Anyang, Yeoboseyo!

I would like to include these ones because as some readers may know, anneyanghaseyo (안녕하세요) is Korean for “Hello”. But what about these other ones?

When my parents visited here from the United States they were so excited to finally use the new Korean phrase they learned, “yeoboseyo/여보세요”. They had looked up on Google translate how to say “Hello” in Korean so they could greet my wife’s parents. A very noble and sweet intention, and they were heart broken when we told them “yeoboseyo” is only for saying “hello” on the phone!

Luckily, they eventually got the hang of “anneyanghaseyo”. But what about “anyang/안녕”? This is the shortened form of anneyanghaseyo, and is also informal. While anyang might be much easier and quicker to say, it is not polite to say it to older or higher ranked people or strangers necessarily. A teacher can say “anyang” to their students, but the students should not say this to their teachers. When in doubt with a new language, use the formal form, in which case anneyanghaseyo is perfect!

In sum, the most standard, but polite way to greet people in Korea, is a slight bow or tilt of the head and “anneyanghaseyo”. So give these a try, and if it is not perfect everytime that is more than okay! Many Korean people appreciate the effort to try and may even give you some tips as well.

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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Korean Business & Company Culture: Greetings, Cheabols & Dinners

Are planning to go on a business trip to Korea? Or have you been hired to work for a South Korean company? Then this article offers a valuable introduction to Korean company culture.

In South Korea, work is no joke. Work is a very serious part of life and sometimes a near 24-7 experience. This emphasis on work, and especially intense fealty to a boss or company often leads to toxic work environments, overwork for less productive output, and unhealthy work-life balances. Though these realities are concerning and highly prescient, this article will focus more on an objective overview of unique Korean work culture and company etiquette.

Chaebol: Now Rise for The Company’s Anthem

To begin, Korea is home to many large, family owned, global companies, or Chaebol (제벌) like Hyundai, Samsung and LG. At many of the chaebol there are morning opening stretches and a recitation of the company anthem. That’s right! The companies have their own songs to instill pride and loyalty in the hearts of their workers. These anthems, as well as physical warm up stretches to help keep employees limber and fit (so they can keep working harder) are usually performed in the morning as well as the afternoon and sometimes in the evening when many (not all) the employees go home for the night.

This may sound strange to outside observers but when Korea was just rebuilding from the Korean War, these large companies were seen as very much a refuge of sorts. Many companies like POSCO, a steel company, helped drive Korea’s economic boom that helped lift the country from one of the lowest GDP’s in the world after the Korean War, and one of the highest recipients of foreign aid, to now being among other OECD countries of the world, and a leader in providing aid to other, developing nations. Employees would work and receive benefits from the company even up until they died, with some providing benefits to their families and widows after their deaths, too.

korean women discussing korean business culture
If you’re wondering who wrote this article. Hi, this is me!

Hierarchy & Military Service

The devotion workers may exhibit to their respective company does not exclusively extend to the company name alone, but further extends to their bosses, managers and superiors. A mix of Confucian values and the experience of strict hierarchies and chains of command from the mandatory military service Korean men participate in during their 20’s, leads to a corporate culture very much centered on company roles and deferring to elder or higher ranked workers. Questioning or challenging older or higher ranked workers is seen as very taboo, with corporate meetings sometimes functioning more as a boss, manager or team leader giving directives or even lecturing their colleagues, rather than asking for input or collaborative ideas from subordinates or younger employees. But this is not always the case and work culture is still developing and changing.

Company Dinners: Hwaesik

Another more colorful aspect of Korean company culture are the group dinner outings, known as hwaesik (회식). The Hwaesik originally was a company dining engagement, where employees would eat and drink together, often times followed by other activities (also usually involving drinking) at other venues.

But in recent years hwaesik has developed and changed, and so not all hwaesik necessarily involve drinking. Hwaesik were also originally mandatory, but today they are not. The hwaesik is intended as a way for employees and management to build relationships and bond outside of work. Usually the elder or higher ranking employees set the pace and tone for eating and drinking, they also often lead the conversation and topics of discussion.

At Korean companies, group harmony and cohesion is very important. Outward or aggressive disagreement, challenging or questioning elders or superiors, criticizing colleagues, and other actions that may threaten workplace harmony are usually frowned upon.


Courtesy is extended to greetings as well, bowing and possible handshakes among men is common when meeting another person in a professional capacity. Business cards are also often exchanged. When exchanging business cards, one person will hand their card over, holding it with both hands, and the recipient will accept it with both hands too. Handing or accepting things with one hand is seen as disrespectful, especially to elders or higher ranked employees. A business card will of course include the person’s name, their company and their title or company position. This determines which person when meeting for the first time is higher ranked, an important distinction within the context of Korean social customs.

So for those who are lucky enough to have just been hired by a Korean company. Whether it is a small startup or a large chaebol, I hope some of the information and tips mentioned in this article gives you a hand at your new place of work. And for those just curious of Korean work customs and corporate culture, I hope you learned a little bit about Korea as well. So remember, if you are working at a job that has a company anthem, make sure to sing your heart out, even if your voice cracks!


Indian Greeting Customs

Greetings are exchanged as delightful pleasantries worldwide. While it seems simple enough, this “first impression” greeting conveys your respect for others. How you may wonder? When you are aware of the traditional greetings of a country, it sends a powerful message about how you view and value other cultures.

In India, although a western-style handshake is gaining huge momentum, there are instances when it is not accepted resulting in a completely unseemly experience. So what do you do? Shake hands? Go in for a hug? Or give an air-kiss? A greeting can get awkward at times, isn’t it?

In this guide we’ll describe different methods of greeting while also including the actual greetings in Indian language.

Different ways of greeting in india

In order to save you from embarrassment, we’ve master-crafted a list of appropriate greetings when in India.

1. Stand up to greet ‘Namaste’

In much of India Namaste with a simple bow is the go-to greeting followed by the question about one’s well-being. “Namaste” translates to “I bow to thee” or “I honor the Godhead within.” In India, this traditional greeting is done by pressing both the palms together and touching the forehead to express your sincere regard. A warm smile is the icing on the cake! As Indian culture is based on a hierarchical system so elders are greeted first to show your reverence towards them. Make sure you stand up and greet the people unless you are completely bed-ridden.

2. Get blessed as you touch elder’s feet

In addition to saying ‘Namaste’, touching the elders’ feet has been an ancient Indian tradition to express utmost respect regarding age, experience and achievements of the person. It has been believed for ages that if a young individual touches the feet of the elders then the former receives blessings for his long and prosperous life. The elders bless the person touching their feet for long and prosperous life. This gracious gesture demonstrates your respect for the Indian customs which will gain you some brownie points.

3. Hearty Handshakes

Handshakes are becoming a more popular and convenient way of greeting in India especially in metropolitan cities. While firm handshakes are common among westernized Indian men, they avoid greeting women the same way unless she offers her hand. This is mainly due to the reason; even a brief touch is taken as an intimate action in orthodox Indian environment. Therefore, many Indian women avoid contact with men in public situations. And yes, offer your right hand for a handshake as the left hand is prejudiced to be unclean.

Addressing someone

While it is customary to address elders by the relationship you share with them and not by their first name, in case of strangers you can go try ‘Sir/ Ma’am’ and ‘Uncle/Aunty’ for more familiar people. The Hindi words “bhai/bhayya” (brother) and “behen” (sister) are often used to summon people around your age. In order to your respect towards an individual you can also add gender-neutral suffix ‘-ji’ onto a person’s first name.

Avoid cultural faux pas

Most of the Indian are big on personal space so while having a conversation allow an arm’s length space with people. Also, try not to touch anyone’s head as it is considered rude in many parts of India. Additionally pointing footwear at people is considered an insult because it is believed that foot and footwear are unclean. So if you accidentally happen to hit someone with your foot, do apologize.

These Indian Greeting Customs will show your new Indian acquaintances that you’re committed to being respectful and courteous.

Happy Greeting 🙂

Do’s and Don’ts in Japan: Things to know before you go to Japan

Japan is a land full of wonder and mystery that may have no equal in the world. As such, it’s no surprise the way people go about their lives entails some pretty specific and unique customs to match. Some of which may seem so unique that they may be too hard to follow for anyone else around the world. To those weary though, we say, fear not. Instead, just remember the age old saying: when in Rome, do as the Romans do, and while in Japan, never blow your nose in public! You’ve been warned. 


You can slurp your soup!

Slurping noodles in Japan is considered a sign of good gesture towards the house and the chef signaling a delicious meal. But this custom also has a practical purpose, slurping usually aids in cooling noodles by allowing air to pass through them while eating. This is often necessary because noodles (especially ramen) are served piping hot, and are best consumed at the hottest temperature. Slurping is particularly encouraged while eating ramen and soba, and slightly less common when eating other noodles like udon. While difficult for foreigners to get used to, after a while, this custom will quickly become second nature!

Drinking on the street is O.K.!

Japan has no open container laws; as a result, you are able to buy a beer, sit in a park and sip back a drink or two. Since there are plenty of cheap places to wet the whistle, most Japanese use this as a way to top off while traveling from party to party or bar to bar. In the spring and summer, people take the chance to drink outdoors in parks or next to rivers under cherry blossom trees, as well as during picnics with friends.

Smoking in a restaurant or bar

Influenced by the salary man culture, Japan surprisingly still allows indoor smoking within designated areas. This is particularly the case in izakayas, arcades, pachinko (or pinball) parlors and small bars. Don’t be surprised when visiting a restaurant and being asked, “smoking or non-smoking?”

“This is not a library!” Standing and reading is A O.K.

If you walk into a convenience store in Japan, don’t be surprised to find people reading magazines and books on display; something that in other countries may grant you a sharply addressed reaction from the store owner. The practice is so common that there is even a name for it; “tachiyomi” (which literally means ‘stand and read’). This is true unless the magazine or book is taped shut or wrapped in a yellow elastic. This means there are promotional items inside that could otherwise fall out. Other than that, all reading material is fair game.

Sleeping on the train and street

If you’re headed to school during the wee hours of the morning or exhausted after a long day at work, be sure to take a nap on the train or, if you’re tired after a few beers, just take a nap wherever. Throughout the country you will often find businessmen, complete with briefcase and wallet, leisurely (and drunkenly) napping just about anywhere. Join in the fun, and find a comfy space en-plain-air. More recently, the Tokyo government is discouraging the practice for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to no avail.


Blowing your nose

While in Japan, never, and we mean never, blow your nose in public. In fact, try to avoid touching your nose altogether. Ever wonder why people wear surgical masks in Japan in the first place? The pervasive surgical masks seem like a mystery to most foreigners that visit or know about Japan. But the reason behind them is simple: since it is nearly impossible to blow your nose in public and not be seen as a germ machine, surgical masks are necessary to hide the nose plugs and runny noses that may be behind them.

Talking on the phone on the train

Considered a public space in a country that values privacy, peace and quiet, the train in Japan is a place of nearly complete silence. Speaking on the phone on the train is seen as a uniquely foreigner faux-pas, as there are signs everywhere in English asking people not to talk on their phone or make loud noises. Consider the train like a library; read, listen to music with headphones, maybe take a nap, but no loud noises. In addition, be conscious of large obtrusive backpacks (we’re looking at you backpackers). Throughout Japan you will also find signs in English (along with cartoon mascots) that discourage unconscious backpacking and noisy gabbing plastered throughout most trains.

Wearing shoes indoors

Take off your shoes when visiting a Japanese home. This is a common custom for many northern Europeans and Canadians. Like these northern nations, Japan is a country of four distinct seasons. In the fall or winter, walking indoors with your shoes on can make for a dirty mess. In addition, Japanese people focus on cleanliness and shoes are generally considered unclean. Even Japanese architecture accommodates this cultural practice; every Japanese home has a ‘genkan’ which is meant for individuals to take off their shoes and jackets. The genkan will be the space you encounter immediately after entering a Japanese home and will clearly be lower than the rest of the house. In addition, make sure to point your shoes neatly towards the door. Japanese tradition states that facing your shoes inwards will invite wandering spirits into the household.

Finger pointing

While in Japan, use your palm and never your pointer finger while pointing at signs or directions. It is considered offensive, forceful and has negative connotations. Avoid finger pointing even when talking with people you know. Pointing should only be done with the palm faced upward and with the entire hand. Try it out; you may find it to be more pleasant and it may help you understand the Japanese mindset better.

NEVER cross chopsticks or pass food with chopsticks

Considered unsanitary, passing food with chopsticks is essentially a way to pass germs. Think about it and this one is easy to understand. This gesture is also considered taboo due to the connotations associated with using chopstick-like utensils during funerals to prepare the body for burial or cremation.

BONUS: NO walking and smoking. Get to that designated area, or better yet, get to a bar!

A land of unique customs and traditions, Japan can be a bit discombobulating at times in regards to everyday practices; but as you become more accustomed to Japanese customs, they can quickly become second nature with ease. Just remember, NEVER blow your nose in public!


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Use the right gestures/greetings

The Chinese are a reserved nation in general. Normally people don’t like being touched by strangers. It can be abrupt if you make a sudden body contact with the person, such as hugging and kissing, though it is common in the western world. Sometimes nodding and shaking hands can do for all. Bowing is a very old gesture to show respect to someone of great significance. Don’t bow with your palms pressed together in front of your chest- it’s a Thai gesture that gets confused a lot by westerners

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Chum Reap Suor

Cambodian people greet each other by saying “Chum Reap Suor”, accompanied by a gesture of pressing their palms together in front of their face and slightly bowing forward, which is called ‘sampeah’. Your Cambodian hosts will be happily surprised to see you using the ‘sampeah’ to greet them. Shaking hands is now more and more acceptable, usually with men, and after a ‘sampeah’.

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Greetings in Indonesia

Guarantee you will not see many Indonesian greets each other with a kiss on a cheek or a giant hug. Indonesians respect their elderly (or people they respect, generally) by salim, which is a revering handshake by touching the back of the hand to the forehead. For example, when shaking the hand with older persons, such as parents, grandparents and teachers, the younger people or students are expected to touch the back of the elder’s palm with the tip of their nose or forehead, this reflects a special respect from the young to the old. This salim gesture is similar to hand-kissing, with exception it is only tip of nose or forehead that touch the hand, not the lips. As for the meeting new people, a hand-shake is a very common thing to do.

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How Filipino People Call Older People

While people from other countries can call the older people they know by name, most Filipino people consider it as disrespect if done in the Philippines. Most Ilonggo (still Filipino) people don’t usually mind if the younger siblings call older siblings by name if they are used and raised with that, but  Filipinos from other ethnicities may not want it. It will be considered more respect if men and women will be called, aside from miss, mister, ma’am, sir or anything adopted from the English language to show professionalism and respect, ate (pronounced as a-teh), manang, ale (pronounced as a-leh for strangers), tita, tyang, or auntie (for aunts), lola (for grandmothers), mang (for older males who are not part of the family, and is used before the name of the person), manong and kuya, tsong or uncle (for uncles), lolo (for grandfathers), and mamâ for strangers. Children call their parents with words depending on their orientation but almost 99% of Filipinos use words adopted from the Spanish and Americans to address their parents.

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