There are lots of etiquette issues and differences between Filipinos and Canadians. Here is a compilation of the most common differences between the two cultures.
- When eating in fast food restaurants and food courts, Filipinos typically leave their mess behind for the crew to clean up but in Canada it is taboo to do that. Always clean up after yourself; throw your used Styrofoam boxes and cups in the nearest trash can.
- Tissues at home for Filipinos are a luxury but in Canada, tissues and other related products are necessity. You will be greatly frowned upon if you do not have Toilet Paper, Paper Towel, Table Napkin (Serviette) and Kleenex (facial tissue) in your homes.
- The Canadian version of ‘Kamusta?’ is ‘How do you do?’ or ‘How are you?’ This does not need a very detail answer, a simple ‘I’m good, thank you, how about you?’ will do.
- Personal space is considered personal. Filipinos are mostly very touchy-feely people always up for hugs for their friends but Canadians may find the friendship gestures uncomfortable. Standard distance between two people should be about two feet, this distance allows you to comfortably shake the other person’s hand with your arm extended but not stretched nor bent back too close to your body.
- Speaking in vernacular is deemed as rude even when almost the whole team is made up of Filipinos. It is expected for all to speak pure English and rude to speak in foreign language in the presence of others who do not understand what is said.
- Using your phone in theaters or cinemas is considered rude whether you are texting, making a call or Internet browsing. Take your phone, excuse yourself and go outside to do this. You will also be asked to turn off your phone before the movie or performance, there are no security guards to reprimand you but this is common courtesy. It will be humiliating if you are told off by a Canadian patron.
- It is also common courtesy to hold the door open for the next person who enters after you; people would also do the same for you when you come next to them. Don’t forget to say thank you after.
- First come first serve is the unspoken rule in paying for items in stores, buying tickets in movie theatres, and boarding public transportation. Canadians deeply resent people who push ahead in line. So be careful to check for a line forming little ways back from the cash registers and service area. This can give the mistaken impression that there is nobody in line behind the people who are currently being served. If you see two cash register side by side and three lines in front of them, this is normal. The middle line has the choice of whichever till becomes available first.
- Smoking is restricted in most places and most restaurants and fast foods don’t have smoking sections. The non-smoking rule applies to almost everywhere; however the rule is a municipal jurisdiction and thus varies with the city or town you are in. You are also not allowed to smoke inside houses, apartments or even the toilets, public or private. There are always smoke detectors that will flare up a warning when cigarette smoke is detected. It is common courtesy to not smoke near children and pregnant women.