It is important to smile in Filipino culture otherwise one will be considered to be serious. Try smiling as you go about your day, and you’ll find that more people will talk to you. However avoid smiling too much in other places if there are a lot of drunk people….
Body odor is offensive, and as Filipinos wash at least twice a day, there is no socially accepted excuse!
Cleanliness is a premium. If you dress for work in tsinelas and shorts, you will not earn the respect of your colleagues or the community. Most government offices will not serve you unless you are wearing shoes, long pants/skirt and a collared shirt.
Pointing with your finger is impolite and can cause offense. ( There are so many non-verbal cues using our fingers)
General derogatory comments on the Philippine Nation by foreigners are not acceptable. Comments like ‘ Filipinos are….’ or ‘What I hate about the Philippines is……..’ will not make you any friends.
Bobo,tanga, tarantado and other useful words that you may have heard taxi driver say, do not translate directly, and are very insulting to Filipinos. For example bobo is Spanish for ‘stupid clown’, but in Filipino it is extremely insulting word.
Beachwear of women can often be offensive especially in the provinces, if not covered by a t-shirt at all times, even when swimming. ( not in Manila area)
Kissing in Public, ‘making out’ or ‘Public Displays of Affection (PDA) are considered inecusable.
Respect is key, especially to elders! in Tagalog the use of the honorific ‘Po ‘is extremely prevalent, and the use of ‘Po ‘especially to the elderly, officials and community leaders, is one of the keys to respect from one’s peers. However in Visayas and Mindanao can be different. Listen to the difference in the tone of voice when people show respect.
Losing your temper will seldom not achieve anything positive, and often gives officials/people a rationale to refuse your request.
Blowing your nose, especially during formal occasions or where food is being served is offensive.
If you happen to be eating and visitors arrive, it is a social requirement to invite your visitors to the table to eat. If you are not eating when you have visitors, you will often be expected to offer snacks, coca cola or at the very least water.
Eating crackers or any junk food infront of a Filipino without inviting them to eat is not acceptable.