Are you guilty of using these Filipino gestures when speaking with someone? Have you experienced being misunderstood even though these are completely normal and we used them on a daily basis? Here’s a compilation of the meanings of these gestures so you don’t have to explain yourself always and just send this to your AFAM friends.
We strongly recommend as well that all visitors of the Philippines familiarize themselves with these unique gestures to lessen the communication barrier.
Raising Eyebrows with a Smile
This gesture is used when recognizing someone who’s passing by and is sometimes followed by a friendly tap (or fist bump) if within reach.
If you haven’t talked or met for a long time, well, you can expect the usual hellos and how are you’s.
Filipinos occasionally use their lips to give direction or point out an object. Foreigners find this typical and distinctive gesture amusing and somehow hard to understand. Free advice: don’t misinterpret this for an invitation to kiss if you see a Filipino do it.
A good example is when you’re sitting in a park with your friend and you saw a very cute baby playing with her mother. You told your friend about how cute the baby is and then point her in the direction of the baby using your lips.
A silent look is a powerful form of nonverbal communication that simply means to stop whatever you’re doing or saying. Applicable for kids and friends as well.
We Filipinos have many gestures, but this is definitely a unique one (and funny as well). The mouth wide open expression is a nonverbal way of asking “What did you say?”
It means he/she didn’t hear or understand what you said and wants you to say it again.
Mano Po is an “honoring-gesture” that Filipinos do as a sign of respect to elders and as a way of requesting their blessings. Mano is a Spanish word meaning hand and Po is a Filipino word used to show respect when speaking with someone older or higher than you.
Similar to hand-kissing, the person giving the greeting bows towards the hand of the elder and presses their forehead on the elder’s hand. Usually performed with the right hand, the person showing respect may ask “Mano Po” or ” Pa-bless po” to the elder in order to ask permission to initiate the gesture.
The peace gesture is used differently in Filipino culture. The peace sign is commonly used when you did something wrong, and want to say sorry. Thus, this is a non-verbal sign to make an apology, however, only applicable for minor misunderstandings.
It is always good to gain knowledge about every country that you visit. Here in the Philippines, it sure is fun to know about these funny, quirky, and unique Filipino gestures.
There’s a lot of other things that are fun to know, check our homepage to know more!