Australia is approximately 4,435 kilometres from the Philippines. With such a great distance between the two countries, you can hardly expect similarities between our cultures. It’s no wonder why there are so many articles on the internet highlighting the differences between Aussies and Pinoys. But here’s the thing: According to a recent survey by the Philippines’ National Statistics Office, roughly 1,000 marriages between Australians and Filipinos happen every year—and the numbers are increasing. If the differences between our countries’ cultures are great (as most say), why do so many Filipino-Australian relationships work? We must have something in common! So I set off, searching the Internet on articles, commentaries and other related literature that could prove such point. I tell you, it wasn’t an easy task because, as I mentioned earlier, most tend to focus on our differences. I did eventually found a few, and I’m so glad I met a couple beautiful Filipinas who gladly answered my numerous questions. So what do we have in common?
1) We have a common love for food.
Aussies and Pinoys share a common fondness for food. Whether you’re in the Philippines or in Oz, it’s not unusual for friends and families to gather over food. Celebrations and gatherings aren’t complete without huge servings of sumptuous food. And you have to admit it, a lot of great bonding moments have happened over great food. From going out on your first date to celebrating your first anniversary to welcoming your new born, all of these would most likely have happened over food. Plus, the process of preparing your meals also makes for a wonderful bonding session. My partner and I usually bond in the kitchen—he prepares the meat, peels and cuts the veggies (onions, in particular), and flavours the dishes… I stir the pot. But kidding aside—with both Filipino and Australian cuisines heavily influenced by various cultures, can you imagine the culinary possibilities of an Australian-Filipino household? I have heard of vegemite adobo and kangaroo sisig. A piece of caution to Pinoys: Despite our common love for food, do not attempt—emphasis on the DO NOT— to cook tuyo or bagoong while your partner’s in the house. This is a story that usually does not have a happy ending.
2) We share an affinity to nature.
Despite the vast differences in both countries’ landscape, Filipinos and Australians have strong relationships with nature. Rarely would you see a Pinoy or an Aussie who would pass up the chance of spending a weekend at the beach. Talking to several Filipinas who are happily married to Australians, fishing and camping are on the top list of the things they love to do with their hubbies.
3) We are particularly friendly.
Pinoys and Aussies are very friendly. Being exposed to various cultures, we have no trouble adapting to a new culture and learning new things. Filipinos find Australians friendly and approachable, and vice versa. For us Filipinos, friendliness and hospitality are embedded in our culture. We have the habit of making visitors feel at home. Meanwhile, it’s uncommon for Australians to be standoffish. I’ve worked with a group of Australians in the Philippines, and you’d immediately know one of them has clocked in because the office would immediately be filled with laughter and “G’day, mate!” or “How you going?” Yep, we Pinoys and Aussies are a friendly lot
4) We love having fun.
We both love having fun! Filipinos and Australians are naturally happy people. In a recent survey, Australia was listed as one of the ten happiest countries in the world. Meanwhile, Filipinos are recognized as some of the happiest people—always smiling and laughing. Despite the various problems many people face, we still manage to celebrate every little achievement and rarely mind minor setbacks.