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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Say goodbye to clients

Do not wave your client goodbye at the door. Always walk them to the elevator and walk back after the elevator door closes. For business partners you have been known for a long time, walk them to their car in the parking lot and leave only after their car makes the first turn.

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Balete trees

Filipinos believe in so many things and are very superstitious. They also believe in bad creatures that are not usually seen. They believe that balete, a huge tree with adventitious roots from its trunk and branches, is the home of bad creatures and ghosts. They should not cut those if they do not want those bad elements to be disturbed and disturb other people back or transfer to other places such as in people’s homes. Of course, no one wants to stay in a home with ghosts and bad creatures or elements, that is why people ‘respect’ the life of balete trees and those who are staying there.

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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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Respect all nations and their customs

Being a large multi-national country, China is composed of 56 ethnic groups, among which Han people account for over 90% of the population. The rest 55 minority groups are distributed extensively throughout China. They all have different culture, costumes, food and lifestyles. In Yunnan Province alone, 25 nations can be found, living in individual communities. You need to understand the particular culture and rules of behavior of each nation before conducting business with them.

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Use formal titles

When you are having a meeting with your Chinese associates, always address them by titles. i.e. Director Wu, Chairman Chen. If you don’t know somebody yet, just start with “xian sheng” or “xiao jie,” which means Mister or Miss/Mrs in Chinese. It is very important to keep in mind someone’s family name, which comes before the first name of a Chinese person. ( As in “Yao Ming”,“Yao” is the family name.)


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Bear claw for great respect

Though it is not legal to do in China giving a bear claw to your host is considered as a great honor. The bear claw represents respect, strength and honor. There a rumors that some respected hotels in Hong Kong still keep a bear claw in the freezer for when a special person visits their hotel.

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Eye contact with your host

When talking to your Chinese host try not to stare in his eyes the whole time. Eye contact is good but staring in someone’s eyes is considered to be disrespectful. When a Chinese host is not giving you any eye contact this means he would like to keep some more privacy while talking with you.

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Answering back to an angry person

Respect is very important to Filipino people. Foreigners who know how to respect them, especially the adults, are very much appreciated. A younger person is not allowed to answer back in high tone, angry manner, or with sarcasm when an older one is angry even if he yells. It is okay if the younger person defends in a good and tactful manner but keeping oneself quiet while the older one is angry is better. The proper time to defend is when the anger cools down. The same thing should happen in between bosses and employees but it can be tolerable if the employees answer back once the bosses hit them below the belt.

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