There are customs we Filipinos follow which for some other culture find weird but for us they are part of who we are. There are things that only we Filipinos know how to use, things we would find a day hard to live by without.
These are the things which we have learned to use since we could remember. Despite the modern life we have now, there are still things we use today which our forefathers have used.
Here are some of the common things you would usually find in Filipino homes:
1. Tabo (dipper)
I don’t think there is one house in the Philippines without a tabo/kabu (a small bucket with a long handle). It is used for taking a bath, washing hands, feet and one’s behind after defecating so there is usually more than one tabo in a house. There are even some Filipinos working overseas who would bring tabo with them. Aside from using it for personal hygiene, some Filipino’s also use a tabo in watering the plants or washing their vehicles such as cars and/or motor bikes. The main reason for using the tabo is to save on water consumption.
2. Baníg (mat)
A Baníg is a hand-woven mat usually used for sleeping. There are two popular types of mats in the Philippines; the ones from Sulo are usually made out of buri leaves while the banig from Samar are made out of tikog leaves. Some Filipino Families in the rural areas sleep together in their leaving room. For bigger families; they would use more than one mat. Filipinos also keep an extra banig in case a visitor needs to sleep over.
3. Kulambo (mosquito net)
Also called muskitero is one of the things you would usually find in a Filipino’s house. Since most of the houses in the Philippines are either near the mountains or swamps which are usually infested by various insects and/or mosquitoes, most people use muskitero to keep mosquito from disturbing their sleep and most specially protect themselves from various diseases such as malaria, dengue fever and yellow fever.
4. Tsinelas (slippers)
The tsinelas is one of the most common footwear of Filipinos, young and old. Filipinos show their respect for the owner of the house by leaving their slippers at the doorstep. As for the kids they have many uses for their slippers, they can use it as footwear, a throwaway object when playing “Tumbang Preso” and some as footbrake when riding a bicycle.
5. A collection of plastic bags
Most Filipino housewives always want to make the ends meet so whenever there are things they think they could use again they would keep it, and the number one on that list are the plastic bags. Most mothers who get home from the grocery store would never let plastic bags be thrown away. Why, there is a lot of ways in using plastic bags in a Filipino’s house. We use it as trash bags, to wrap things we want to keep, but the most popular use of plastic bag is for “bring home” from fiestas and other occasions.
6. Wooden spoon and fork wall decor
Almost every Filipino dining room has this huge pair of spoon and fork hanging especially old ancestral houses. I used to ask my mother why we have a big spoon and when we can use it. I guess that’s just one of Filipino traditions passed on through time.
7. Suyod/surod (harrow)
Surod is fine-toothed comb used to remove lice. Most mothers keep one at home because most kids who always want to play under the sun usually get infested with lice. And since most Filipino families sleep in one bed the lice can crawl from one to the other and everyone has them. So a good suyod is a must have if you have highly energetic kids.
8. Arinola (chamber pot)
Arinola is used as urinals and is commonly called arinola in most Philippine languages. According to folklore, giving newlyweds one assures them of prosperity. Arinola is most popularly used in rural areas where mostly, comfort rooms are built separately or outside the main house. It is also a favorite stuff found under the bed of our lolas who don’t want to make more efforts in going to the rest rooms. 🙂
9. Painting of the last supper
It is common to see a bas-relief or tapestry of The Last Supper behind the dining table of a typical (Catholic) Filipino home. Since the Philippines have been under the Spanish colony for more than 300 years, more than 80% of us are Roman Catholics. And comes with that are their belief and traditions which we have acquired from them. Aside from the Last Supper, it is also common to see an altar in the leaving room of a Filipino house with a statue of Sto. Niño (infant Jesus) or Sagrada Familia (Holy Family – the child Jesus, Mary, Joseph).
10. Dried Palm leaves from Palm Sunday
Most Filipino Catholics believe that Palm leaves from Palm Sunday are sacred and have the power to prevent evil spirits from entering their home. For that reason, they usually put the palm leaves on the upper part of their front door. Some also put them at the altar along with other holy images.
11. Stocks of used candles
Aside from religious use such as for praying the rosary or during processions done in the evening, Filipinos stock used candles at home in preparation for the usual unannounced brownouts in the Philippines.
Is a cutting tool which originated here in the Philippines which is why we can find it in almost every homes especially in the rural areas. If you studied in a public school back in elementary like I did, I am sure you have used one to cut the grass around your classroom or the oval.
Most if not all family in the Philippines own a Nigo used to separate the hull from the rice grain. It has been a part of every Filipino household because rice is our staple food.
14. Bunot / Lampaso (coconut husk)
Since most Filipino houses have wooden floors, bunot (or lampaso in Binisaya) is a must to keep it clean and shiny. When we were young, my siblings and I used to take turns in mopping the floor of our house or we’d divide the job into four.
15. Aspin (Asong Pinoy)
Aspin is another common thing (living thing) you will see in a Filipino’s house. Aside from being a pet and a guard of the house, Filipinos also keep a dog so that no food would be wasted. Dogs and cats usually get the leftover after every mealtime. But nowadays, many Filipinos are already feeding their dogs with dog foods bought at the grocery stores rather than the leftover. They are getting more “sosyal”. 🙂
Those are just some things you usually find in a Filipino home. If you may have observed, most of the things mentioned here are used to economize or to save. I guess Filipinos are just good in making do of what they have.