Parents, here’s your guide for common table manners in the Philippines.
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Common table manners in the Philippines
Basic table manners that you should teach your kids
Every country has its own culture and tradition that needs to be observed and respected. What’s normal and acceptable behavior in one place might come off as rude and offensive for another.
Here in the Philippines, we also have our own practices. For instance, food and entertaining go hand in hand. Filipinos love food; some of us consider it a love language.
Hence, we have our own set of etiquette when it comes to dining and welcoming guests in our homes. As parents, it’s our duty to educate our children on these.
Table manners in the Philippines
Image taken from Freepik
Whether you’re living in the Philippines or abroad, if you’re raising a Pinoy kid, it would be good to teach him the following table manners and dining etiquette that we practice:
Always say grace.
“Bless us, O Lord, and these thy gifts …” is one of the earliest prayers taught in school. Pinoy kids are always expected to bring their faith to the table, literally. So whether it’s a big event or a simple meal, practice saying this short prayer with the whole family before eating.
Don’t put your elbows on the table.
While we’re a fan of laidback dining (we eat with our bare hands), leaning in and putting your elbows on the table is considered rude when eating in the Philippines.
As mentioned earlier, we treat food with utmost respect, and we’re always expected to show gratefulness to the ones who prepared the food. That is why the position “salumbaba” colloquial term for “salong baba” o catching your chin with your hand, is frowned upon.
“Don’t bring your problems to the dining table,” some elders would say. Nevertheless, this gesture especially when paired with a frown or furrowed eyebrows is considered bad table manners in the Philippines.
Image from Freepik
Seating arrangements when eating also reflects Filipino culture. The head of the table or “kabisera” is usually reserved for the patriarch or the head of the household. In Pinoy parties and gatherings, it’s usually the host or the honored guest who sits there.
Don’t get what you cannot finish.
Leftovers on your plate are considered rude, so it’s always better to get small servings than filling your plate. You’re always welcome to help yourself to a second serving.
“Kain po tayo.”
Regardless if you were expecting someone or not, if a guest arrives in your home and you are eating, it’s good table manners in the Philippines to invite their guest to eat.
At the same time, it’s customary for the hosts or members of the household to always offer the first serving to their guests.
Always offer to help with the cleanup.
Not only are Pinoys gracious hosts, we are also gracious guests. So when attending a party or having dinner at a friend’s home, always offer to help clean up – or at least put your plates in the sink.
At the same time, it’s considered rude to start clearing up the table when someone is still eating.
Don’t refuse a packed leftover food.
When you come to a Filipino party or get-together in someone’s home, it’s customary for the host to give a “pabaon” or packed leftover food for you to take home. Refusing it might offend her, so it’s better to say thank you and bring it home. If you don’t like it, just give it away discreetly.
Other basic table manners to teach your child
Aside from the ones that are usually practiced here in the Philippines, here are other dining etiquettes you should train your child to have:
Remember to thank the host for the food.
While you’re at it, why don’t you compliment her cooking as well?
If it’s not to your liking though, just keep it to yourself. Making bad comments about the food as a guest is considered rude anywhere in the world.
Always ask to be excused before leaving the table.
Don’t “eat and run.”
Chew your food with your mouth closed.
This reminder goes with the basic “Don’t talk when your mouth is full.” Also, if you need to spit the food, do it on a napkin.
Say “Please pass the …” instead of reaching over across the table.
Come to the table with clean hands and face.
Don’t make rude noises like burping and slurping. At the same time, don’t play with your food.
Image from Unsplash
It’s better to teach these table manners to your child at an early age so that it will be instilled in him and he gets used to doing it. The key in helping him develop these habits is to model it to him. Practice what you preach!
As an additional tip, and this goes for the grown-ups as well, no gadgets on the table. Use family mealtime to find out about what’s happening in your child’s life. Besides, good food should be enjoyed with good company.
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