This Is How You Can Confirm Everything You’ve Heard About Filipinos


You’ve often read about Filipinos in some listicle online and met or know some Filipinos in the US. But have you actually been to a Filipino event to confirm all the things they say about Filipinos? We hope it’s all positive, of course.

On August 15 and 16, you’ll get your chance to try all the Filipino stuff you’ve only wondered about. Fiesta in America is holding the largest indoor gathering of Filipinos in the northeast at Meadowlands Expo Center in Secaucus, NJ, just 15 minutes away from Port Authority, NY. Here’s your chance to find out if there’s also some Filipino in you.

  1. There will be someone selling pandesal at the expo and even perhaps attempt to dip it in coffee. If not, we dare you to do it.
  2. Would a tapsilog (steaks with egg) breakfast make an appearance at the expo? It’s possible on the second day of the event, which starts earlier at 10 a.m. On opening day on August 15, the event starts at 12 noon.
  3. The official sawsawan or sauce for many Filipinos are vinegar mixed with soy sauce and small chilis—great for those crunching on chicken chicharron (better for you that it’s not translated here) or lechon kawali (crunchy pork belly)
  4. You may find arts and crafts as well as some figurines wrapped in plastic for sale and find out months later–if you ask your Filipino friend–that they’re still wrapped in plastic.
  5. Filipinos like to keep unused plastic utensils they didn’t actually buy for a rainy day. When a big Filipino event like the Fiesta happens, it justifies the “plastic hoarding.”
  6. If there are flies or mosquitoes flying in to the event, you will notice a “takip” (see-through cover) to protect the food on display.
  7. There will be lots of singing by invited TV stars at the expo as well as Magic Sing and similar sing-along products for sale for the amateur singers.
  8. You’ll see families, big and small, coming to the event, because they like to bond here. Don’t be surprised also if you hear someone old enough to be your father or mother being called Boy or Baby; they are names or nicknames.
  9. There will be lots of picture-taking and selfies. Makati is the Selfie Capital of the World, according to Time Magazine.
  10. You’ll hear lots of merriment and laughter. Filipinos are fun-loving people. If you’re coming with Filipinos, you’ll be family or ka-pamilya.
  11. Yes, there will be adobo, chicken and pork. Lots of it. But eat it with steaming-hot white rice. Forget your diet in this event.
  12. …And you’ll have to eat halo-halo for dessert (fruits, beans and ice cream served with shaved ice and milk)
  13. Fiesta in America’s event will be a blast, because, well, Filipinos know how to party.

And what you won’t see at Fiesta in America.

  1. Tabo is a bucket with handle that you use when taking a shower in some places in the Philippines, because of lack of water. There is no need to use that in America.
  2. Smelly but lovely tuyo (dried fish) with slices of tomatoes and rice. It’s highly unlikely you’ll see this because the event will have more Filipino food than you can imagine.
  3. Those giant wooden spoons and forks come mostly from the northern part of the Philippines, Baguio, and are unlikely to be at the event, unless you read this ahead and wanted to make a point.
  4. You must have heard how kids in the Philippines are ordered to take a nap after lunch, so they will grow tall. I have yet to see that practiced here. And they will be at the event the whole day anyway.
  5. If you’ve been to a Filipino home in the States, you won’t see a kulambo or mosquito net, because there’s no need for it, but it’d be interesting to see one here.