Contributed by The Travelling Pinoys
Filipino travellers are not new to travel woes. But despite everything that we have to deal with, Filipinos are equipped with strong traits that help us when we travel. So here are the 7 Filipino traits that will help you while travelling the world.
Filipinos are excessively friendly. If there’s one thing that best describes us – it is that we are friendly and warm people. So when we travel, it’s easy for us to make friends and to socialize. And when we travel alone or even with friends, this makes things easier for us to build a relationship with the local people or with our fellow travellers. I always find myself exchanging Facebook or contact info to basically just anywhere. I met a winery owner from my flight from Cape Town to Addis Ababa whom I will be meeting in a few weeks for a brai with her family. I ended up partying on a plane with my seat mates on the way to Ethiopia. The women whom I took pictures in Mostar and Kotor, as they struggled to take a selfie, occasionally still send me messages and cards as a sign of thank you when I took the liberty of taking their pics using my awesome camera and emailed it to them later. Yes, congeniality is our thing.
2. Bargaining skills
Who can say “tawad po” (discount please) better than Filipinos? I don’t personally like asking for a discount but when I travel with my Filipino friends, it is so easy for them to get discounts. I guess when you grow up in a “tawad po” culture, asking for a discount becomes natural. And with Filipino’s friendliness and charm, it’s hard for people to say “no”. And with this trait, Filipino travellers save money for more adventures.
3. Street smart
I remember when I was in Bangkok and I was advised by the hostel staff to make sure I put my sling bag in front of me. And I just laughed. The thing about spending half of my life in Manila, is, it trains you to be street smart. We’re used to be cautious of our surroundings. We make sure our valuables are within our reach and that we watch it all the time. And when you travel alone, this is a skill that will help you keep safe and survive the “dangers” on the road.
4. Language skills
Growing up in a multi-cultural and multi-ethnic country, it is natural for most Filipinos to speak 2-3 languages. Which consist of; English – our main medium in business and education, Tagalog or Filipino – the national language of the country, and the local dialect if you happen to live outside of Tagalog regions. And thanks to our long history of colonization, we have to learn several languages in order to survive. We inherited English from the Americans and because of our long history of Spanish colonization, a lot of Filipino words are taken from Spanish. I survived Mexico last year by just trying to remember the obsolete Filipino terms. For example, I was trying to buy a toothbrush but my brain froze, I couldn’t recall the Spanish word for it. Then I remembered the Filipino term “sepilyo”, and so with a new gained confidence and Senyora Santaibanez’ accent, I was able to buy “cepillo”. Also, do you know that a lot of Bahasa words are similar to Tagalog and Visayan dialects? Needless to say, that we’re the only country in the world that has Gay lingo as part of our lingua franca.
Again, as a result of long colonization from several countries and due to our multi-ethnic roots, we have been exposed to a lot of cultures and traditions. Which is why it’s easy for us to adapt to local cultures or even any situation. A proof of this is millions of Filipinos working abroad who do not only survive but also thrive. I have lived in few countries and travelled to over 30 countries, and I can say that the ability to adapt to a new culture is one of my strongest suits that helped me survive those times when I was away from home and far away from family and friends.
6. Sense of humour
Our sense of humour is so sick we laugh at almost everything. Often times, I found myself in stupid situations while travelling. Which are usually results of my stupid decisions. And the best way to deal with it? Laugh.
When I found myself getting arrested by over 20 armed policemen in Macau and when they asked me to face the wall and put my hands on my back, I laughed at their faces to their surprise. Why? Because I felt like I was in a movie. I chuckled while I was raising my hands. For the times I almost missed my flights, I just laughed while I was running in the airports like crazy. Being in a stupid situation like that is scary but we know that stressing over things will not help also. And this is why our favourite motto is “bahala na si batman” while laughing our ass off.
Filipinos are naturally “madiskarte”. We don’t easily give up because we know we can find ways. I know a lot of fellow Filipino travellers that do not only get to travel but also earn while travelling. And I’m not only talking about Filipino travel bloggers making a name in the travel blogging scene but also those travellers who are just trying to make ends meet by selling something while on the road. I know someone who buys fresh pearls and selling them abroad as a way to earn extra money. Or buying some clothes abroad and sell them when they go home to fund their next trip. And those Filipinos who bring “baons” like Milo sachets, pancit canton or even sky flakes to save money on food? Those are Saving 101 means. And this is just a few examples of how Filipino travellers can be very resourceful and how it can be used to survive while travelling.
So what about you? What other Filipino traits do you think deserve a mention? Let me know in comments below!