Meme Me Up! The Filipino Way

Jessamine Kay Palomo & Anaiah Rhima D. Palomata

The Filipinos are abundant of diverse cultures seasoned with beliefs and cultural practices. These cultures run in the blood that makes up the lifeline of Filipinos, the ‘smiling faces’ amidst the hardships and troubles. It is evident during times of emergency and disasters that even in the middle of life and death situations, Filipinos still remember to give the most absurd way of laughing off a problem.

A meme, as defined by Oxford Dictionary, is a humorous image, text or video that is replicated and spread on the internet. Filipinos continue to dominate social media platforms. Exposure to the internet combined with their creative juices show how inventive and colorful Philippine culture can be.

The Philippines, although heavily influenced by the Spaniards and Americans, still has its own distinct cultural practices. One of these is the great significance Filipinos give to one’s birth dates and birthday celebrations. This practice often leads Filipinos to associate meal invitations and food especially spaghetti with occasions, such as birthdays and whatnot. Most of the time, spaghetti is served due to the belief that it represents long life along with other pasta meals like pancit.

Another thing is the Filipino’s hospitable character and their love to bond and socialize. Birthday celebrations offer the venue and time for people to be around with others. This reflects the character of Filipinos having close family ties and close relationship with neighbors, friends, relatives, colleagues, and many other people.

Filipinos are commonly family-oriented individuals and that there exists strong bonds between family ties that Filipinos hold. This is true because even if it’s a distant relative, everyone knows everyone. This is manifested usually during family reunions where all the women that you saw are your Aunts while all the men are your Uncles and the rest may be your cousin, nephew, niece, grandparents. etc. In short, everyone is related to you even if your familial relationship to them can be compared to the relationship of the north and south poles.

Filipinos tend to associate one another based on ancestral traces and find common grounds based on blood and in-law relationships.

They are fond of occasions and gatherings that can be linked to the culture of having tight family relations. Since there are gatherings, delicious food from the host of the occasion also had become an unwritten rule over the past years. During birthdays, reunions, fiestas and even social gatherings, guests usually look for different local favorites such as KBL (karne, baboy, langka), lauya, valenciana, buko pandan as dessert and most of all, the all time favorite of many, lumpia (spring rolls). Thus, these foods somehow were the norm in the table.

Side remarks from your tita and tito telling how fat you’ve become or maybe asking if you’re in a relationship or not will always be present in every family gathering. This may come off as one of the most annoying thing for every Filipino teenager out there but it has also become part of the tita and tito culture which Filipinos are aware of.

It is undeniable how inventive Filipinos can be. They have proven that internet memes have turned into a communication tool which are effective in conveying messages, ideas, and meaningful discourse. It has also shown how Filipinos presented their identity in the internet. Through memes, Filipinos are able to utilize their humorous and creative sides. Filipino meme culture has become a platform in showcasing and highlighting social issues, culture and tradition.

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