Clues That You Are At A Filipino Party

Last weekend, my brother and I were standing around at a birthday party for a one year old kid (a son of a family friend). My brother (let’s call him Mil Mascara) looked around and said, “Wow. This is just like any Filipino party.”

I said, “You know, if I ever make a list of ‘Clues That You Are At A Filipino Party,’ I totally expect that list to be copy-and-pasted on an email, and some day I will find it forwarded to my mailbox … given the Filipino love of forwarding corny jokes.”

And so that’s how this blog post came about. It’s going to be my most ethno-centric blog post, perhaps making sense to the few Filipinos who will read this. But then again, I bet that this is really no different from family get togethers in other cultures. Perhaps someone with Norwegian relatives will nod and agree with everything here. Who knows! Culture clashes are weird that way.


  • No one ever comes on time. In fact, if you actually come on time, you’re too early. No one really shows up until one or two hours later.
  • If you wrap a paper towel around any of the food, it becomes transluscent. This is because Filipino food is made of pure oil.
  • If food is served (e.g., every Filipino party), there needs to be at least one rice cooker. If there is no rice cooker, expect someone to go out and get a rice cooker themselves.
  • If some stranger shows up at the party that you don’t recognize yet looks Filipino, everyone assumes that he or she is a relative.
  • The party is always held in a church back room. Or a church basement. Or an extra room in the house. It really doesn’t matter. What does matter is the room never has any actual windows … or at least doesn’t seem to let in natural light.
  • If you are thirty or over, conversation will always be about what high-paying jobs your kids have. And if your kid does not have a high paying job, it’s about what high paying job their spouse has. That’s because, among Filipinos, “conversation” is really a thinly-disguised game of clannish oneupmanship.
  • If you are under thirty, expect a long five to six hours of absolute lethargy.
  • There will always be tiny children running around the room, or crying. That is because Filipinos do not believe in baby-sitters.
  • Everything smells like baby powder. See above clue.
  • If it is a kid’s party, expect to see at least one of these things: hot dog on a stick, pancit (noodle dish), or a pinata.
  • Women will retreat into a gossip circle, while men will talk about basketball. In rare cases, men will talk about boxer Manny Pacquiao.
  • Any jokes involving silly misunderstandings due to Filipino accents is welcome. Saying “beep” when all you wanted was “beef”? Or “snowflower” when what you wanted was a “snow plower”? Hilarious! Extra points if you can turn it into something about Ilocanos.
  • Everyone will be pretty much sitting down on chairs, the floor, or standing with a plate of food in front of them … unless karaoke is involved.
  • There is always a piano. If you know how to play the piano, expect to be endlessly goaded by older relatives into showing off your skills throughout the entire party. If you capitulate, don’t worry — everyone who egged you on loses interest after the first 30 seconds (probably to prattle on about their rich kids or something).
  • Due to the sheer amount of food served, no one leaves unless they take three or four plates of left-overs.
  • The paper plates containing the left-overs will turn transluscent.

28 thoughts on “Clues That You Are At A Filipino Party

  1. I believe that this commentary is very biased & discriminatory. Although, these things do happen in some Filipino parties, it doesn’t mean it is applicable to all. There is an abundance of formal parties & high-end gatherings & socializations going around the Philippines, too.
    I pray that people who might encounter the above commentary doesn’t generalize all Filipino behavior. God bless.

    1. I agree spitzjoey..but in general the “bakya” crowd is still so much around. Everything that is mentioned here is true ,but not generally..majority that is.
      What turns me off is no regard or respect for host. too comfortable attitude..invite one…expect the neighbor , grandchildren ,cats , dogs tagging along without invite.

  2. I’ve been to one last night, and yes karaoke was involved, a little dancing, tons of food and that’s including pancit noodles, pinagbet, gata, barbecue and I heard that steaks was served too I wasn’t able to taste it because we were late but I heard it was delicious. Maybe you guys should try to attend one, you might like it.:)

  3. You haven’t seen anything yet… In my opinion they are the most hospitable race when it comes to parties…

    Everything is FREE you just need to turn up…

    And you won’t expect FREE FOOD to be that delicious and overflowing…

    They will always tell you to bring some food home because there will be so many left overs…

    They have great, fun and unique party games for kids and for the parents…

    They always have LECHON and KAREOKE…

    You don’t need to bring a gift but out of greatfulness of another filipino to be attending such a gathering with free foo and fun activities, you will… But it is not necessary…

    Filipino parties are the best compared to western people especially here in the UK where sandwiches are the main course and in grown up parties you usually have to pay for your own food…

  4. when a filipino invites you to a “konting kainan”, which means “a small meal”, be sure to come with an empty stomach and expect to be filled. now, when a filipino invites you to a party, you better be ready to see yourself drowned in food. that’s bec culturally, we consider it a deep embarrassment to have little or just enough food. we feel much better when we have to send guests home with leftovers. that is why people (and i don’t just mean fils) are always excited to go to filipino parties.

  5. And it is an honest to goodness partying….feel free to taste all the food served; the more you eat, the more your host loves you…..meaning, you did not disappoint their pre-party hardship in preparing the food, decorating, arranging the program, etc.,

  6. I’ll add a couple more

    1. They don’t give you a beer

    2. They get mad if you some how obtain a beer

    3. They have weird dances in the middle of the party

    4. They do nothing but freak dance and drink shots

    5. They don’t greet you and they say parties are where you’re suppose to be fun and friendly.

    1. Apparently, you’ve never been to a party hosted by Filipinos to say such things.

      Dude, beers are the choice alcoholic beverage among Filipinos, especially the men. Besides, what is it with you and beers? Do you really need to drink some for you to go on and have fun? That’s just sad.

      And, please, before you say Filipinos do weird dances, have you ever seen white men dance?

      Lastly, Filipinos are generally hospitable so for you to say that they don’t greet you… well, you’re prolly unwanted there.

      1. pio is correct…you dont really know how filipinos are very hospitable and friendly…and how their parties are really fun and memorable…

        dont say things your not sure of…coz it just says your just lying coz we will be the one says the wrong words you let out…

        be sure your sure before you say anything…

        if you go to a filipino party…you will feel very welcome and they are very grateful that you came…

        they will let you taste such very delicious foods they prepare and all people are really friendly…

        karaoke, beer, laughters of both kids, teens and old ones are shared in such a very unforgetable event…

    2. dude i think you’ve never been to any filipino party yet,..every party has so much if not enough booze to make you crawl your way back home,..and you said we get mad if you manage to get a beer?..that’s just ridiculous,..

  7. In Hawaii, filipino parties are always in garages. they line chairs up all over the driveway and in the garage, and you are only allowed inside the house to use the bathroom. There is always one of those chocolate fountain things, to dip marshmallows and strawberries into. And yes, Karaoke. They all take their turns singing for the whole street to hear, and if you’re lucky, there will be a mobile disco afterwards for the younger guests to demo their moves infront of their family. I coudln’t tell you what they’re all talking about, but I know that the older ladies usually size up the young girls saying which one is pretty and which one needs to lose weight. Oh and let’s not forget the long list of “sponsors” that have to be recognized. The pride that shows on their face when they their names are called is priceless! And of course, there will be at least one or two old guys wearing a white shirt with some kinda lacey bottom to it, making sucking noices with their teeth, and pointing at stuff to one another using their bottom lip. You KNOW this. The last party I went to this girl was calling her daughter, “Jezabel! Jezabel! I said come here!” Wow…. somebody should’ve told her who Jezabel was in the bible. 😐

  8. I think romantic/dramatic was invited to a filipino gathering but not a party…it must have been a “Bible Study for a Born Again Christian” because I was invited a couple of times and they never brought or letting you bring any alcoholic beverages which is understandable. I’m a Catholic and we like to party, we drinks, we go to casino and dance clubs but they don’t all they do after the “Bible Study” they eat, chat and sing with the karaoke machine…:D

  9. I have to agree. I’m a white guy married to a Filipina. The parties last for 8-10 hours in most cases. They are some of the most boring parties ever. No one speaks English and talk so loud that it drowns out the TV or music. I’ve been to parties of 100 people and I’m the only white guy there. Awkward situation at best. OMG the worst is going California for the weekend. There are places there that resmble the Philippines. They do same things over and over. Show up eat a ton of food sit around for 12 hours talking about nothing for 8 hours straight. Line dancing, horrible karaoke. and mindless hours of nothing. Then go to chruch show at the same house again and it the let overs. Sit around for another 4-5 hours and then it takes another 2 hours to say goodbye. They have to say goodbye every 10 feet.

    1. Well, robert.brinkerhoff, im sorry if that is the kind of filipino party YOU attend 😛
      There are more parties to come! And hopefully you get to go on a fun one! 😀

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