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We have identified some essential household items that if found, no matter where you are in the world, usually indicate that you are in a Filipino home. If you're living far away and feeling homesick you can always add these items to bring a bit of Pinoy back in your new space.

Plastic wrap around expensive items

The idea behind covering furniture in plastic is to keep items new for as long as possible. Filipinos know how hard it is to earn money and that means expensive items should be kept in their original protective coating. It might look ridiculous and somewhat funny for people in other cultures, but Filipinos just want to protect their TV and remote (and sometimes couch) from grime! It doesn’t matter if it’s uncomfortable, just as long as expensive items are well taken care of. It is also quite common to wrap stuffed animals in plastic as well.

A shoe rack by the door

Being Asian, having a shoe rack by the door is quite standard. More often than not, residents and guests are asked to remove their footwear upon entering and to wear indoor slippers. The reasoning behind this is to lessen dirt and debris being brought inside by one’s shoes.

Shoe rack

Tabo & balde 

This multipurpose water vessel is an essential part of cleansing and it is mind-boggling to many Pinoys how Aussies can get by with just toilet paper. Using a dipper, tabo or a bidet is necessary for hygiene, don’t you agree? If you’re a Pinoy in Australia and didn’t bring one with you, head over to an Asian groceries to get a hold on one. Shops like Daiso carry it.

Tabo & balde

The Last Supper portrait and other religious items

Since the Philippines has the third largest Catholic population in the world, it is only natural for Filipinos to have multiple religious items in the household. Signature items include: The Last Supper portrait in the dining room, an altar with a Sto. Nino statue or Holy Family figurines, and a rosary hung on the wall. 

In addition, it is customary for Catholic households to also have the image of Jesus and Mary at the front entrance of the home. And you might see a grotto (a statue) of Mary outside the home. 

Filipinos, while religious, have other unique customs and, as part of filipino culture, follow many interesting superstitious beliefs.

Filipino wooden spoon and fork decoration

This may be unique to Filipino households and is a usual choice for décor in the kitchen or dining area. When Filipinos are asked the premise behind this, most would shrug and simply say that it has always been tradition. While not a lot of research can be found regarding the giant wooden spoons and forks, it may be a way of manifesting abundance and prosperity into the household. Given the size of the decor, placing large utensils could also be  a way to invite more food and nourishment into the home.

knives on a board

Walis and bunot

A unique set of cleaning tools made originally from coconut trees, these are typically found in the Filipino home. While they might not be the fastest way of cleaning, some Filipinos still prefer to use the walis (a traditional broom stick) to sweep their homes. And no, vacuums are not the same since you don’t get the same sense of fulfilment when using them! Many Filipinos also prefer to use the bunot (a split dried coconut husk) for polishing wooden floors. 

Walis and bunot

Food covers

Also widely used in Asia, food covers are considered essential in a Filipino household to help protect food from contamination brought by flies and other insects. In Australia, food covers may only be necessary during the summer when pests are rampant.

Photos printed on plates

For some reason, souvenirs from trips overseas usually come in the form of a customized plate or magnet. This may not be distinctly Filipino, but one or two ceramic memorabilia can be found in almost every household. A possible explanation would be that trips abroad were considered a luxury decades ago and so photos from that trip need to be extra special.

Karaoke machines 

They say all Filipinos can sing and dance (well) for a reason. Pinoys love to perform and let the neighbors know when they are doing it.  A karaoke microphone is usually the counterpart of game consoles and board games in terms of entertaining guests during parties. If a family does not own one, it is quite common to rent a machine during special occasions. 

Common song choices include “My Way” by Frank Sinatra and “Dadalhin” by “Filipino Songbird” singer Regine Velasquez. 

lady singing Karaoke

Graduation certificates and medals are to be displayed 

Did you know that hanging diplomas and medals in the living room isn’t that common for other cultures? For Filipinos, doing so is a sign of pride for the parents  and is often a chosen topic for conversation when guests come over. This also goes the same for households that hang tarpaulin posters of their children’s graduation photos outside their homes to show their neighbors how proud they are! Education is highly regarded in the Philippines and is considered one of the best spent investments for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). 

Graduation

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Family photos of extended family members

Filipinos are big on family and definitely show it. Pictures of grandparents, uncles and aunts, and even second cousins are usually on display for everyone to see. Hence, seeing copies of graduation photos of the aforementioned in the living room  is not uncommon.

Saying that Filipinos are very caring towards their family members is an understatement. This is why at Sable Remit, we work hard to make sending money home easy and secure for you. We know that when you send money, you are also sending your love and care to those who are most important to you.

Like this article? Let us know what distinctly Filipino items can be found in your household! 

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