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Philippines to US: Adjustments, suprises and culture shock

Updated on December 8, 2012
  1. Serving and packing. Unless it's a sample, I can't find anything that is served small here. I eat like a bird but I do not like eating the same thing for 3 consecutive days. It hurts me to see the food go because I can't finish it. Back home, we have little packets (sachet) of everything. From shampoo to cooking oil to a laundry detergent.
  2. Weather. Philippines is a tropical country. Our weather is just simply sun or rain. I never dreamed of seeing a snow though I think autumn is cool. Before coming in the US, my fear has always been the winter. I am sensitive to cold weather even with the air conditioning. But having a heater would make it normal. I'm surprised.
  3. Mobility. I do not know how to drive because I do not have to learn it. All of a sudden transportation is by schedule. I miss hoping from jeepneys, fx , train and bus to bus. I immensely enjoy walking. Walking is like my meditation. Now I have to learn how to drive. But I am so impressed of how strict the traffic rules here.
  4. Directions. "Take quarter a mile, head east." I do not even know what's quarter a mile. lol. I am used to hear landmark, right-left, when asking for directions. Never knew who Tomtom was but now I have to be his best friend because a lot of areas here seems deserted. Back home, there will always be someone on the street to ask if I am lost. Now I have to learn north-east-west-south thing and specific distance.
  5. Peso to dollars. Can't help but to still think in pesos.
  6. Neighbors. Can't believe people here doesn't know each others last names and livelihood even if they have been neighbors for 30 plus years. Back home I know my neighbors favorite pet and even what's on their dinner. I can just show up on their door unannounced and share what they eat. People here are too busy and keep things to themselves. I love privacy but this feels weird a bit.
  7. Frequent Police calls. We only call a police if there's a murder or serious threat. We don't call them because of annoying neighbors dog. I must say this is fine in this place because, for the most part, I am stranger to my neighbors. God knows what they'll do if they're pissed. Same thing with the lawyers.
  8. Pets. I find it cute that pet owners pay someone to walk or keep their pets entertained if they're not around. I admire peoples concern about their pets here; being up to date with shots, have them tagged, neutered or spayed. I'll just keep my shut how it works back in PI. Just one word...sad.
  9. Language. I speak English just fine. I just have an accent of course. I learned it when I was still a kid but I don't speak it at home. I am still confused with some slang like and yes I think in my native language. I can't say it all because I can't fully express it.
  10. Jobs. People here are paid by the hour and whatever they do, they're proud of it. In P.I, people there looks up to someone that has a degree and dresses in a corporate attire, even if they're paid lesser than the regular "dirty looking" Joe. It's also a relief to not see age, height and looks requirement in a job posting. Back home, if you're 30, you feel like you're already useless.
  11. TV Shows. There are only 2 giant TV networks back home and a lot of people there doesn't have a cable. They're happy. To my biggest surprise, there are shows here that have been running for 60+ years. There are many many TV shows here. You can't even remember TV actors or anchors unless they're extremely famous. Back home, I think a noon time show named "Eat Bulaga is the longest running show in the Philippine TV. It's 30 some years. I guess Filipinos are bored easily. Soap Opera for a year is already long.
  12. VHS. Nobody uses VHS tapes and players in the Philippines anymore.
  13. Mails. There's a mail everyday no matter what. Most of them are junk.
  14. Frequent use of psychological terms. Narcissistic, borderline personality, psychotic, postpartum depression, post traumatic stress disorder...looks like these words seems ordinary here. Back home, I've never called or seen anybody with that condition. When we see someone that is peculiar, we just use the words "weird", "different", "unusual". Crazy will be the most offensive word to use. I watch Bio, ID channel and I am appalled with the stories I hear: "wife poisons husband, husband kills his family then kills himself, mother drowns her kids..sigh.
  15. Nail care. I was so pissed to use a paste like cuticle remover and a stick pusher. I am not used to it till now.
  16. Shampoo. Why salon shampoos here are ridiculously expensive?
  17. Eight to Clock and Palmolive. When you say eight o clock back home, we think right away it's a punch. Palmolive is a shampoo, not a dish washing liquid.
  18. Greeting. I see people kissing cheek to cheek or hugging when they see each other.I am not used to that. Feels uncomfortable.
  19. Corporal punishment. Back home, hurting the kid as a form of discipline is acceptable. I was punished with the hanger and hit with the stick before and I have seen so many apparent stubborn kid being dragged and "disciplined" in a public place before so you won't hear any kid there raising voice at their parents. Young people respects elderly.
  20. Garbage collection. There are 2 different garbage trucks that comes here to pick up the trash: one is for bio degradable and non-biodegradable. I was so amused that they actually vacuum fallen leaves here! But my favorite is the bulk trash day every month. A night before, we circle around the block and see what nice stuff that the neighbors are dispatching. We got sink, picnic and office chairs chairs and carpets etc.
  21. Food. What? Pizza hut is the only one that delivers at home? In PI, Wendys, McDonalds, KFC has home delivery service. Also our McDonalds and KFC has rice and spaghetti in the menu. I also live in the area where Filipinos are not that many so in as much as I want a Filipino food, I can't have it just whenever I want to.
  22. Appointments. Thank goodness i do not have to set up one when I go to Walmart. Back home I do not schedule appointments when I need to see a doctor, dentist or a hair dresser. Now I have to even for simply paying a visit.
  23. Consumer Rights. I love this! I can't believe you can return the item you have used for many many months even without a receipt! Back home we do not have refund. Just exchange but you can't have your money back. Complaining is just a headache. People there hates confrontation so we just knock it off.
  24. Business Terms. I feel stupid when I hear business terms being used in mortgage, insurance, or any documents about ownership. It makes my head spin. Figures has always been my waterloo and how I wish someone could explain to me what these terms mean in my own language.


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    • TheSuperk25 profile image

      .. 5 years ago from ohio

      As a matter of fact I do not know anybody in the Philippines that doesn't believe in God. It's a great place to live, depending where it is and what's the persons personality.

    • profile image

      JThomp42 5 years ago

      It sounds as though the Philippines is a great place to live. I have also read that 95% of the public there believe in God. Awesome!