During my Peace Corps training I read a book entitled, You Know You’re a Filipino If by Neni Sta. Romana-Cruz. For example “You know you’re a Filipino if you give directions with your lips.” Or “You know you’re a Filipino if you eat rice with every meal.” Or “You know you’re a Filipino if you have 30+ godchildren.” I shared this book with my host family and they were laughing hysterically with each turn of the page.
Now one year later I still cannot help noticing several ‘You know you’re a Filipino if’s’ in my own daily life. For instance, I have been collaborating with another Peace Corps Volunteer to share ecological principles and marine science lessons with his community in conjunction with an ocean mural painting. Check out our progress and take note of the Philippine cultural idiosyncrasies…
First, I taught the kids a lesson on fish anatomy. How are the fish in Finding Nemo able to give Marlin directions and swim in tightly packed schools? Fish have a lateral line of sensory hair cells that runs down their backs allowing them to sense micro-changes in water movement patterns and thereby swim together in unison.
You must be in the Philippines if the town museum, the site of our fish lesson, features an “Under the Sea” photo booth.
You know you are in the Philippines if each mural painter has a designated umbrella holder to provide shade from the hot sun.
You know you’re a Filipino if your mid-painting snack is fresh coconut juice and jack fruit (a sweet, yellow fruit that reminds me of cotton candy flavor).
You must be in the Philippines if you can see the ocean down the road from where you are painting!
The mural is nearly finished now! Notice the Ocean Creed in the center: