Being Chinoy is getting a package deal of two uniquely rich cultures. Today, we’re focusing on the Pinoy side! From delicious sisig to karaoke and Filipino humor, here are sixteen things Chinoys love about being Filipino and the Philippines.
1. Filipino Cuisine
Gerry’s Jeepney. Photo credit from Booky.
Of course this list had to start with the obvious: food, glorious food! Sisig, adobo, kare-kare, and lechon are only a few of the iconic Filipino dishes that make up the retinue of delicious cuisine to be eaten here in the Philippines. So delicious that even when abroad, there are times Chinoys crave Filipino food.
Filipino cuisine offers a variety of tastes and a whirlwind of flavors. In fact, Chinoy families even choose to eat at Filipino restaurants to celebrate special occasions such as graduation, birthdays, and Buwan ng Wika!
When asked about her favorite food, Chinoy Anne Chua says she loves “fried bangus with soy sauce, calamansi, onions, tomatoes, and chili! It’s basically a top tier combo for me!”
2. Karaoke (and the skills that come with it)
A typical Filipino karaoke session where everyone sings along, and some dance! Photo credit from Pinterest.
Whether one is half-Filipino or just grew up in the Philippines, Chinoys grow up with naturally talented people who love to sing.
Put succinctly by TikToker @notangel about famous Filipino-American TikTok personality Bella Poarch, “Just know that if you meet a Filipino, there’s an 80% chance that they can sing.”
#stitch with @Robert Tolppi source: dude just trust me
She goes on to explain how from a young age, Filipinos grow up performing for their families and getting paid to sing. An article from the New York Times even states “Filipinos, who pride themselves on their singing, may have a lower tolerance for bad singers.”
Many Filipino schools (and Chinese schools in the Philippines) even stage full musicals!
Grace Christian College’s 65th Anniversary Musicale “The Great Escape” rehearsals at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. Photo credit from GCC.
3. Filipino Happiness and Hospitality
In 2018, the Philippines was the 3rd happiest country in the world. Photo credit from Conozco Pablo.
Aside from their singing skills, Flipinos are known around the world for their hospitality. They serve food and treat their guests very well, and are renowned for being very jolly people!
“Whenever a visitor stays in a Filipino home, there will be a feast as it is somehow a tradition to prepare bountiful Filipino cuisine for guests to have a taste of our culture through food. In addition, a cheerful family would typically be ready to accommodate and spend time with visitors.” Says the World Youth Alliance website.
4. Multilingual Skills
Photo credit from Chinoy TV.
Growing up in the Philippines, Chinoys have to speak three languages and one dialect growing up: Tagalog and English for friends and people in general, Mandarin in Chinese school, and Hokkien for relatives.
This makes most Chinoys multilingual due to the circumstances of their upbringing, where they must code-switch depending on the situation at hand.
5. Unique Brand of Filipino Humour
Photo credit from CandyMag.com
On Filipino humor, Francis Tiu describes it as very “extra” and “out there.”
Darmon Chua, a college student from UP Manila says, “The humor is very ‘silly,’ you can’t help but laugh, and it’s related to pop culture as well.”
Filipino meme culture tends to poke fun at everything, including one’s own suffering, which is one of the country’s main coping mechanisms for dealing with problems.
“It’s something you can only understand as a Filipino who grew up in the Philippines.” The UP student concludes.
6. The Tagalog/Filipino Language Itself
Major dialects in the Philippines. Photo credit from Dear English Majors.
The Philippines’ rich pre-colonial past yields a number of beautiful languages that were passed down through generations and continue to evolve today.
“I think the languages and dialects in the Philippines sound very nice.” Says Darmon, a Chinoy student.
A friend adds: “It’s a very emotionally expressive language. There are many things you can say that have much more impact when said in Tagalog rather than English.”
7. Filipino Resilience
Filipino resilience is a result of all the hardships faced by our countrymen, and though it must not be romanticized, it is still admirable to see the speed at which Filipinos recover from negative circumstances and bounce back into action.
As Chinoys, this resilience has rubbed off on us and is vital to achieving any endeavor.
8. Love for Dancing
Photo credit from the Ateneo Company of Dancers
Aside from their amazing vocal skills, the Philippines is also home to world-class dancers and choreographers.
“Pinoy dancers have the most passion.” Kevin Siy says laughing. “When I was in school watching my org dancers practice, they were dancing like there was no tomorrow. You can tell how much they love to dance, and it’s really awesome.”
9. Debut Culture
The 18th birthday of Glynmae Vilal, a Chinoy debutante. Photography by Jeff Galang.
Turning eighteen is a huge occasion and milestone! When Crystal Chua had her debut as a young Chinoy woman, she had Filipino culture to thank for the party of her dreams. In Mainland China, debut is just not a tradition. “I really loved having my eighteenth birthday party with all my friends and family there. If I was not born and raised in the Philippines, perhaps it would never have happened!”
10. Family values
Mano po. Photo credit from Medium.
Respect for the elderly, tight family bonds, use of honorifics, and love of eating together are just some of the values that Filipinos and Chinoys share.
“What I love most about being Filipino (as a Chinoy) are those big family lunches where you feel at home.” says Sasch, a Lasallian student. .” says Sasch, a Chinoy student from DLSU Saint Benilde.
11. Beautiful Beaches and marine life
Photo credit from TripAdvisor.
“What I love most about the Philippines are the beautiful beaches on its islands and the amazing marine life and biodiversity in its waters.” Says this writer, a university student from Ateneo. “When you go to the country’s beaches, the Philippines is truly an island paradise. It’s easy to see why our beaches are a top tourist destination internationally and locally.”
Photo credit from KLOOK
As a swimmer and former member of the Ateneo organization ISDA (Institute of Skin Divers of Ateneo), this writer can’t wait for the pandemic to end so that people can go swimming again! One of his main advocacies in life is to support ocean conservation. “Marine life keeps our environment healthy, provides livelihood, and is a source of food. We have to save our seas so our descendants can enjoy it for many more generations to come!”
12. Melting Pot of Culture
Photo credit from YouTube channel Gideon Co.
“I love how Filipino culture is so colorful and multifaceted! Not only has it been influenced by interactions with foreign cultures, but within the Philippines itself, there are so many distinct peoples, languages and dialects, belief systems, and customs. As a language student and as a Chinoy, I wish more people would see, treasure, and celebrate this part of our culture. We may speak or live life differently from one another; but at the heart of it, we’re all brothers and sisters from the same family of Filipinos.” Says Caitlin Tan, a student from the University of the Philippines.
13. The Dating Perks
Photo credit from Tulay PH.
Blame it on all of the C-dramas and K-dramas. But it seems that Chinito and Chinita are sought after in the dating world, especially at universities in the Philippines, leading some Filipino students to bemoan the existence of the “Great Wall.”
A Chinita (who asked to remain anonymous) says, “Yes, I feel like it is a little [curious] because our looks stand out. However, people also tend to stereotype us as a group, like ‘Chinese girls are like this or like that.’ At the end of the day, it’s important to embrace that we’re all unique in our own way and that you should love someone for who they are. Not because you want to score a Chinita or Chinito girl/boyfriend.”
14. The Oldest Chinatown is here in the Philippines
Photo credit from Tripadvisor.
The Philippines is home to the oldest Chinatown in the world! The Chinoy community here is robust, and they own the majority of the traditional Chinese groceries, restaurants, and establishments in the area. In Binondo, it’s a wonderful way to see the intersection between Filipino and Chinese culture, where even the elderly Chinese haggle in fluent Tagalog.
In Chinatown’s lantern-lined streets, Filipino and Chinese cuisine is sold side-by-side, and people of all backgrounds line up to eat good food.
“It is a must-experience here in the Philippines!” says Anna Chua, who lives near Binondo.
15. Embracing Each Other
Photo credit from Reddit “Can Most Filipinos Distinguish Who is Pinoy and Chinoy Based on Looks?”
Over the centuries, Chinoys have assimilated among Filipinos to the point where some people can’t even tell the difference! For example, in the photo above, the woman on the far left is a pure Filipina while the man beside her is of half-Chinese and half-Filipino descent.
Tiffany Uy, an Atenean student says, “We’ve learned to integrate our multicultural identities. As a Chinoy, the Philippines being a melting pot is evident in how we’ve reconciled both Chinese and Filipino culture to the point where we can distinguish a Fil-Chi or Chinoy from a Chinese citizen, or to the point where we mix Filipino words when we speak in Hokkien.”
16. It’s more fun in the Philippines!
While being Filipino isn’t perfect, there’s never a dull moment in the Philippines! From the good moments like laughing until your lungs give out and eating delicious food to the not-so-good ones such as wading through flood water or suffering the tenth internet outage of the month, as Chinoys, we can proudly say “It’s more fun in the Philippines.”