When you leave your home country, you are bound to miss a lot of stuff from the motherland.
From traditional delicacies, such as balut and holiday activities like New Year fireworks, here are a few things that Filipino immigrants probably miss from the Philippines after moving abroad to study, work or live a better life.
1. Street Foods
It’s no secret that Filipinos LOVE to eat. If you look at the list of things Filipinos abroad would want to eat once they land in the Philippines, chances are you’ll find a decent amount of street foods, including isaw (chicken intestine), Filipino-style barbecue, kwek-kwek (quail egg wrapped in orange batter), fish and squid balls.
2. Inumans (drinking parties with friends or families)
Whether you are an alcohol drinker or not, you’ve been to at least one inuman gathering. Inumans have always been a staple of many celebrations in the Philippines, whether it’s during a family gathering/event or hanging out with friends. So the next time you come back to the Philippines don’t forget to tagay (cheers)! But please remember to drink responsibly.
A gathering with family and friends wouldn’t be complete without someone bringing out a Magic Sing or a huge cabinet-looking karaoke machine. This is also an essential part of the drinking culture in the Philippines.
Jeepneys have a special place in the hearts of many Filipinos. They are a cultural symbol and the most commonly used mode of transportation around the country.
5. Jeepney beats, songs, remixes
Many Filipinos who grew up in the Philippines and moved to other countries will definitely miss the ‘80s and ‘90s music that jeepney drivers love to blast, especially those hard-to-find remixes. There’s also a playlist of songs by Filipino rock bands from the ‘90s or commonly referred to in the country as the Tunog Kalye era.
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Taho (ta-ho) is a staple morning treat for many Filipinos, especially children. It is made of warm soft tofu, brown syrup called arnibal, and sago or small tapioca pearls. Waking up to the sound of the taho vendor in the morning is definitely an experience many of our kababayans (countrymen) miss.
You absolutely cannot forget about balut, a developing bird embryo that is boiled and served with salt and the optional vinegar. Balut is not for everyone, but many Filipinos still love the local delicacy.
The Philippines’ mall culture is arguably second to none. Visiting the mall is one of the most popular hobbies many Filipinos enjoy. They usually become livelier during festive seasons such as Christmas.
9. Fiestas (local festivities)
Fiestas are one of the main cultural, and sometimes religious, celebrations in the country. A few examples of religious fiestas include Sinulog in Cebu City, Ati-Atihan in Kalibo, Aklan and Pahiyas in Lucban, Quezon.
Local fiestas in townships celebrate the founding of their area. This includes LOTS of food such as lechon, drinks, and music.
Pancit canton (preferably Lucky Me!) and pandesal or bread of salt is THE Filipino kids’ breakfast — adults may also enjoy this amazing combo.
11. Philippine Mango
Philippine mango, also known as “Carabao” mango, is hands down one of the best fruits in the world. Regarded as the National Fruit of the Philippines, Carabao mangoes are one of the top exports of the country.
The succulent fruit is also regarded as one of the best varieties in the world and was listed as the sweetest by the Guinness Book of World Records in 1995.
It’s impossible not to think about beaches when you hear the Philippines, and for Filipinos, going to the beach at least once a year to unwind is a must.
Christmas is definitely a unique experience in the Philippines. Filipinos celebrate the holiday season once the “BER”-months start from September to December. It means you’ll get to hear the Christmas songs by Jose Mari Chan playing on a loop in many Philippine malls.
Brightly colored “parols” or Christmas lanterns hang around every house, building, and other establishments. Once the clock lands on midnight on December 25, families gather around the dinner table to eat during what is called Nochebuena.
14. New Year celebration
While the New Year is celebrated around the world, no one does it better than the Filipinos. A perfect way to describe it is firecrackers and fireworks everywhere.
15. Local cuisine
There are plenty of places where Filipinos can eat local dishes in many countries, but nothing beats the original home-cooked meals found in the Philippines.
Dishes such as adobo, tinolang manok (chicken soup), caldereta (meat stew), kare-kare (stew with peanut sauce) and sinigang are probably on the top of the list. Just thinking about the sizzling hot sisig on a plate is already enough to make your mouth salivate. Perhaps the crunchy skin of a lechon kawali or crispy pata might also do the trick.
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