Would you try a boiled duck embryo? // © 2015 iStock
Feature image (above): Learn these tips to avoid culture shock in the Philippines. // © 2015 iStock
Despite a childhood introduction to Filipino culture thanks to my Philippines-native mom, I wasn’t prepared for the jeepney rides or foreign cuisine when I finally visited. For those completely new to the Philippines, these insights from Sharon Chen, a senior sales manager for Pacific Holidays, are invaluable.
It’s more diverse than you think.
The country has a long history of Spanish colonization, hence the strong and ever-present Spanish influence on Filipino food, the architecture and its language, Tagalog.
Expect a different kind of cuisine.
Balut, or boiled duck embryo, is always vividly remembered by Chen’s clients. Hesitant to try balut? Order sorbetes, nicknamed “dirty ice cream” by locals. Flavors such as cheese and ube (purple yam) are popular and delicious.
Be respectful when meeting someone new.
Greet the eldest or most highly regarded person first. Then, shake hands with the rest of the group’s members.
Don’t point with your fingers.
You’ll often find Filipinos puckering their lips to gesture toward things. This is in lieu of pointing with their fingers, which locals consider to be rude.