Foreigners Guide to How to Fiesta in the Philippines

There is a fiesta in the Philippines everyday. We celebrate fiestas for saints, Jesus,  baby Jesus, the black baby Jesus, re-enactment fiestas, and even fiestas for carabaos. So if  you are visiting our country, you will most likely participate in a fiesta festivity. So here is your quick guide on proper etiquette at a fiesta:

You have to eat.

Fiestas revolve around 2 main things: the parade and the food. Did I mention the food? You can skip the parade but you can’t skip the food, unless you want to insult the whole town. Believe me, you can insult a whole town. A comedian was actually banned in a city because he made some stupid joke about seeing a lot of “shrimp”, the slang for someone who has a sexy body but ugly face. Some of the finer points of eating in a fiesta are:

  • Don’t judge Filipino food by its smell. Hey, you guys eat cheese.
  • Don’t be the first in line at the buffet. When the host tells everyone to eat, try to have at least have one person in front of you. You don’t want to look like a “patay gutom” (google the meaning)
  • Do not eat the last piece of food on the serving plate. This is called the Filipino piece, which is offered to the gods.
  • Accept the take away food wrapped up for you. You never know when you will get hungry again.

Take your shoes off.

Even if the host tells you it’s okay to keep your shoes on, it’s not okay. He or she is just lying and being polite. Take a look at the feet of the host, he or she doesn’t have shoes on right? Neither should you.

Wear sunscreen and keep your shirt on.

Even with the heat, you do not have the right to go shirtless, especially if you’re so pale that you reflect light. Let the other people enjoy the parade by keeping yourself decent. The only exception to this is if you’re part of the “ati-atihan” parade, then you can take that shirt off and spread black paint all over your bright body.

Drink and be merry.

If you don’t drink alcohol, don’t attend a fiesta then. When a Filipino offers you a drink, you drink it, even if the shot glass has been used by other dudes with the thickest mustaches. You are being judged by your ability to absorb alcohol, so if a little Filipina girl can drink more than you, you will be the laughing stock of the town, unless that girl turns out to be another Jake Zyrus (google it).