1. You have a cutout of someone’s foot in your wallet.
Someone back home wants you to buy him a pair of shoes as pasalubong. To avoid getting the wrong size, you had him trace his foot on a piece of paper and cut it out. The store employee gives you a weird look when you whip out that paper foot and press it against the back of the shoe you want to buy.
2. You know how to pack a balikbayan box.
It may not be the most glamorous way to go on transit, but your international travel isn’t complete without a balikbayan box. Through trial and error, you’ve learned to pack and seal the box without going over the allotted check-in weight. When you spot other Filipinos in airports, you can guess what items they’ve packed into their boxes, such as Nike shoes from outlet stores and hoards of imported chocolate.
3. You go crazy in US outlet stores.
Where else can you find your favorite brands such as Nike, Old Navy, Michael Kors, and Coach for ridiculously marked-down prices? Shopping is the number one priority on you itinerary and you can’t resist a good sale.
4. You spend on pasalubong.
You haven’t even left the Philippines yet and you already purchased packs of dried mangoes, “Pinoy Pride” shirts, and other pasalubong (gifts) for every single relative and friend you’re going to see abroad. While on vacation, you spend a few hours to a whole day just for pasalubong shopping for loved ones back home.
5. You convert everything to pesos…
Just to make absoutely sure you’re getting a good deal. And when it’s not, you complain that we can get it for a steal back in the Philippines.
6. You hoard souvenirs and freebies.
The hotel toiletries and complimentary coffee sachets go straight to your bag. As if outlet shopping wasn’t enough, you browse through every souvenir stall at tourist spots to see what you can buy for yourself and your friends. “Seven ‘I Love Las Vegas’ key chains for $10? I’ll take it!”
7. You cross the street too cautiously.
Because you’re so used to the Armageddon-like streets of Manila, you forget that crossing the street in first world countries like the US is not as life-threating as crossing EDSA.
8. You take pictures of everything. Everything.
Every statue, every garden, every dish you ate, every dish you wanted to eat, every character in Disneyland, and even the front signage of a place you didn’t actually enter, but just happened to pass by.
9. You start to miss rice.
After days of eating just pasta, croissants, noodles, or whatever dishes are native to the country you’re visiting, you begin to miss your favorite Filipino ulam with heaps of white rice. Is there a Filipino restaurant nearby?
10. You find the food portions ridiculously big.
When visiting non-Asian countries, you can’t really finish your food because you’re used to the Asian-sized portions back home. Then after a while, you stomach adjusts and you begin to pile on vacation weight.
11. You pepper your sentences with na lang, diba, ha, and nga.
You can’t help it. No matter how hard you try to speak in straight English, you unintentionally find yourself uttering untranslatable Filipino expressions. Diba?