Respect toward elders
Elders are highly respected in Filipino culture. Anyone older than you must be referred to with a title to demonstrate respect:
– Ate/Kuya = Older sister/Older brother (These terms are also used when referring to anyone a few to several years older, in the age range of an older sibling. Example: Ate Baby/Kuya)
– Tito/Tita = Uncle/Aunt (These are also used toward adults around the same age as your parents, such as a friend’s dad or mom. Example: Tito Boy/Tita Baby)
– Ninong/Ninang = Godfather/Godmother (Example: Ninong Boy/Ninang Baby)
– Lolo/Lola = Grandpa/Grandma (When referring to paternal and maternal grandparents, it’s not always necessary to follow Lolo or Lola with their name. These names are also used when referring to great aunts/uncles.)
“Po” and “ho”
The words “po” and “ho” are used in sentences when speaking to elders (similarly to how the words “like” and “um” are frequently used as fillers in American English) to show respect. Normally, though, this isn’t necessary when speaking to an Ate or Kuya.
It is custom to “mano” or “bless” to elders, usually parents, aunts/uncles, godmothers/godfathers, and grandparents. The motion involves taking either hand of the elder, and bringing the back of their fingers to touch your forehead.
This is done typically when upon coming home from school or work, bumping into them unexpectedly, after church, etc.