No one does like it as we do, or so most Filipinos like to say. When Filipinos say that we are not talking about work, money, or some worldly success – we are talking about living a good life. We are talking about chilling with friends after a long day at work, finding quality time for ourselves, and keeping ourselves focused by spending time with our families.
Other people might say that some of the best Filipino pastimes like basketball and karaoke serve as distractions, a way of escaping reality. While there might be a grain of truth in that, the bigger truth is that these activities showcase the Filipino heart that loves laughter, community, and spending time with our loved ones.
Here are the eight best Filipino pastimes of all time to give you a better idea of what I mean.
- Cellphone and Social Media
It might be surprising for people to know that the world’s social media capital is the Philippines and not some super tech-savvy country like Japan or South Korea, but Filipinos continue to hold that title even today.
In the Philippines, everyone has a smartphone, and I mean everyone, and that is because everyone needs to have access to Facebook. Why Facebook? Because you won’t find a single Filipino who doesn’t have a family group on Facebook where their titas, titos, lolos, lolas, and cousins post photos of their baked goods, recipes, and pictures of plants in their gardens.
For Filipinos, social media is all about having a sense of community. And if your aging uncle sometimes sends awkward selfies when he is trying to take a picture of the kids, it just makes for more light-hearted laughs.
Whose adobo recipe is the best one? The answer to this question is always my Lola or grandmother, which makes everyone’s grandma’s adobo the best adobo ever.
Kidding aside, it is no secret that cooking is one of the best Filipino pastimes, a skill that is handed down from generation to generation. It all starts with learning how to cook rice, the first dish that every Filipino kid masters. From there, it is learning how to cook kare kare with grandma or helping your mom fire up the barbecue for some Filipino-style chicken skewers.
Like most favorite Filipino pastimes, the act of cooking is really all about spending time with your family and friends or doing something nice for them. And the best thing about Filipinos? They appreciate good cooking with gusto!
- The Good Ol’ Night Life
What is something that Filipinos working abroad or even foreigners who lived in the Philippines miss the most about living in the Philippines? It’s the readiness of everyone in the country to grab a couple of beers after work.
Nothing beats relaxing and unwinding after a long day over a couple of ice-cold Redhorse. It also does not hurt that Redhorse beer costs about a dollar a bottle in the Philippines (it costs about $5-$11 in the US).
- Lamyerda aka strolling along with parks and plazas
La mierda in Spanish means ‘the shit,’ but in the Philippines, lamyerda implies something closer to shooting the shit. It means spending leisurely time outdoors, whether it is strolling aimlessly at the city plaza or going with your family to Intramuros to chill and enjoy the local ice cream called sorbetes.
Lamyerda or Laag-laag in Bisaya brings up memories of all my cousins piling into a car while my uncle drove us to the plaza so we could all check out the small stalls selling street food or trinkets together. We were doing nothing except enjoying each other’s company, and that makes lamyerda one of the best Filipino pastimes ever for me.
- Basketball and Volleyball
All it takes to create some happiness is a metal ring or a wide net.
There is nothing more fun for kids in the Philippines than to rush home from school for a pickup game of basketball or volleyball. Everyone in the country knows the rules of these two sports and have tried playing at least one time or another. Most have turned it into quite the religion, and it is no surprise that even watching the professional games on TV has turned into a favorite Filipino pastime.
What is “malling?”
Malling is when you turn the word mall, as in a shopping mall, into a verb, which means going to the mall or hanging out at the mall. Unsurprisingly, one of the best Filipino pastimes is malling, even if it’s to go window shopping or take a nice walk after a heavy lunch.
What is the difference between strolling at parks and malling? The airconditioning at the malls gives us Filipinos a chance to beat all that heat and humidity. So, it’s malling for those hot summer days, and strolling at Luneta park for those chilly December evenings.
- Heading to the Beach!
What do you do in a country with thousands of beaches that boast crystal clear waters? Go to the beach every chance you get, of course.
It is practically family tradition to go to the beach after attending early Sunday mass. A trip to the beach will not be complete without the rice cooker, some banana leaves, some raw mango salad we call Ensalada, and some barbecued pork and chicken.
Come back from the trip with a little sunburn but with a whole lot of happiness. For the best Filipino pastimes out there, going to the beach has got to be number one.
A ukelele-wielding Filipino who can suddenly belt it out to Celine Dion (and no, we’re not just talking about the women) has become a common trope in social media, and it’s all thanks to one of the best Filipino pastimes, karaoke. Everyone and I mean everyone, in the Philippines has a Magic Mic, a portable karaoke gadget that you can plug into your TV because we love to sing that much.
Filipinos absolutely love to sing, and while not all Filipinos can sing, we certainly make up for it with effort and a lot of passion.
So, there you have it, the Filipino secret recipe to a happy life. If you look closely enough, you will realize that the ingredients are not that secret at all. It is all about spending time with good company, laughing with friends, and keeping up with family even when they’re far away.
If you take a closer look at most Filipinos’ favorite pastimes, you will find that it’s all about giving value to community and relationships. And yes, no matter how busy you are, there’s always room for a cold beer with friends.
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