Every country will have their own rules about cultural etiquette, and it is always a good idea to acquaint yourself with these before travelling to said country. When it comes to the Philippines, this is quite a Westernized country with a number of Spanish influences, but there are still some rules that you should be aware of.
Non-verbal language is extremely common in the Philippines, such as the way in which a local will refer to an object by gesturing towards it with their lips. Non-verbal greetings are also popular, with one of the most common being lifting the eyebrows as a way to greet friends, while a longer eyebrow lift can signify a question being asked.
In Western cultures, a strong handshake is a sign of confidence and assertiveness, but, in the Philippines, this can often be viewed as a sign of aggression. While handshakes are a common form of greeting in the Philippines, the handshakes here tend to be much softer and more relaxed. When it comes to handshake greetings between men and women, it would be best for a man to wait for the woman to initiate the handshake, rather than the other way around.
Filipinos are quite relaxed when it comes to time-keeping. This means that not only is it commonplace to turn up somewhere late, but showing up on time to an event can often be viewed as rude.
When you are in the Philippines meeting a new local for the first time, it is best to remain relatively low-key, meaning that you should not flaunt any wealth that you have. You should also try to show a genuine interest in the person you are meeting, as well as their culture, as Filipinos do not tend to take well to artificiality.
In the major cities around the Philippines, as well as the popular beach resorts, there are not generally any rules on what you can and cannot wear. However, keep in mind that many parts of the Philippines have a large Muslim population, meaning that you may be better off keeping your outfits quite modest when visiting these areas.
While dining etiquette is quite relaxed in the Philippines, especially if you are a tourist, there are still a few rules you should know about. If you are eating in public, try to keep your hands above the table at all times, as this is considered to be polite. Many locals will also always leave a small amount of food on their plate when they are finished, to show that the meal has filled them up, and will place their cutlery onto the plate as a sign that they are done eating. If you have been invited by a local to a restaurant or bar, it is usually polite to decline the invitation the first time round. If the offer comes again, which it usually will, you can then accept and enjoy the renowned Filipino hospitality.
The Philippines is quite a relaxed and friendly country, and there are not too many rules that you need to be aware of. Even if you do make a few mistakes, it will be understood that you are a tourist, and simply making an effort and trying is often all that is needed for you to be able to fit in.