Philippine Culture and Mano Po

In the Philippines, children are taught to respect their elders. One way of expressing respect is by "kissing" the right hand of an older person when you greet them.

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Actually, you don't really kiss that hand. You just bow a bit, and gently take the older person's right hand with your right hand, and move it towards your own forehead. Sometimes, it's the back of their hand that touches your forehead. More often, it's the knuckles.

Mano means "right" (opposite of "left") and po is a word (?) you say to show respect.

Usually, it's the kids who execute the "Mano Po" although adults will also do this especially when visiting their parents, or the parents of their girlfriend.

If the household predominantly speaks Tagalog or Filipino, chances are the "Mano Po" is practiced. If the family speaks mostly in English, chances are they don't practice the "Mano Po" often (if at all).

Anyway, just observe how the others behave as these "rules" can change from one home to another.

Some adults show this kind of respect to the Cardinal, Monsignor or the parish priest.

Words are sometimes not enough to describe some aspects of Philippine culture, so here's a video of the Mano Po.

(Thank you to Lolo and Adi for agreeing to be filmed!)
[ First posted on 11/22/2004 by Manuel Viloria ]

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