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Sunday, June 23, 2013

Culture Matters: Pointing by Lips

One of the things, or probably quirkiness, of Filipinos that foreigners will notice when they  set foot in the Philippines is the Filipinos' non-verbal ways of communicating, in other words, their body language.  One of the most common action that foreigners will observe is Filipinos would use their mouth to point at something.    This looks strange to foreigners because it seems that the person pointing with his lips is begging to be kissed.    Don't even think that.  This is just one of the facial expressions that foreigners need to learn before they come to the Philippines.  

When a Filipino asks you, "Asa ka moadto?" (Where are you going?) , this is an informal greeting and does not need an exact answer.  This is roughly equivalent to "hello" or "how are you."  You can simply point with your lips to indicate you are going "just there".  And that is perfectly acceptable to the person inquiring.   When you stay longer in the Philippines, you will learn other facial expressions or body actions that are part of the non-verbal way that Filipinos communicate.  

You can start practicing that so that you will be comfortable in doing that before you arrive in the Philippines,  but you have to do it in a natural way.  When the situation arises, you can use this action and it will amuse the locals.

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