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Please note: This article was originally part of Tauranga City Library's 'Tauranga Memories' website (2011-2020). To your right the 'Archived Kete Link', if present, will take you to a snapshot of the original record. Tauranga Memories was made of several focus areas, called 'baskets'. This article was part of the Tauranga Regional Multicultural Council Inc basket. It was first licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 New Zealand License at Initially created 15/08/2011, it underwent 2 edit, the last edit being 15/08/2011. Editors included: in this case only the original author. The original article may have included links, images etc that are not present here.
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My name is Maria and I’m a migrant from the Philippines. I’ve been here in New Zealand for 12 years now and I consider myself as a “Kiwi”, although deep inside I’m still a Filipino. I know there’s a saying when you’re in another country do what the locals are doing too. Partly I’ll say yes, but there are some valuable things that I still wanted to keep to myself and perhaps show to the locals that’s how we are, like for example our culture and traditions, respect for the elders and some family values that were taught to us.

Like any other immigrants, I came here for better opportunities and to widen my horizons in life. I got married to a wonderful Kiwi man. Although, we came from different countries, I can still see more similarities than differences. These similarities make us unique and understand each other more.

Let me tell you about the country where I came from. The Philippines is situated on the eastern edge of Asia. It is bounded to the west by the South China Sea and to the East by the Pacific Ocean. Its nearest neighbors are the Malaysian province of Sabah and the Indonesian territory of Kalimantan, both on Borneo to the southwest. Across the South China Sea, about 1000 Km (620 miles), west, lies Vietnam, and a similar distance to the east are the Palau Islands. China lies about 500 km (310 miles) to the north. The Filipinos of today are a curious blend of the East and West, showing strong Malay, Chinese, Spanish, and American inputs.

The blending of cultures makes us unique and different from other people. Here are some cultural practices that most Filipinos do:

§ We love going to church on Sundays, attend novenas during the week and be a member of any religious organization. These practices were probably taught to us by the Spaniards that colonize our country for so many years.

§ Most Filipinos are hospitable people. We make sure we look after our visitors, feed them, let them stay in our place and entertain them without expecting anything from them. In other words we treat them like special people.

§ Most Filipinos can cook. We love cooking during special occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, baptism and most importantly during Fiesta. Each province celebrates the feast day of its patron saint every year. People love to cook a lot of Filipino dishes during this day and visitors from different places will come and celebrate with them.

§ Some Filipinos are highly emotional and sensitive people. We don’t really entertain rude jokes and jokes that are too personal and unacceptable.

§ Most Filipinos can dance and sing. Again it’s the Spanish influence that probably make us the way we are. Filipinos excel as musicians and there are a large number of bands - producing both their own music and cover versions of famous songs- working as hotel entertainer’s right across Asia.

§ Christmas means a lot to us. Family reunions, thanksgiving, forgiveness, gift giving or just getting in touch with somebody whom you haven’t seen for a long time. Christmas is also celebrated in a different way. Ask any Filipino and they’ll tell you everything.

These are just some of the Filipino traits that I can share with you; the rest is for you to find out. The Philippines is a melting pot of the world’s cultures. Yet, out of that pot, it has made a distinctive product that is only one of a kind – The Filipinos! All Filipinos should be very proud of their heritage.

Mabuhay ang Pilipino!
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