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More Canadian Words and Etiquettes that Filipino Immigrants should Learn



Last month, we issued compilations of Canadian Words and Etiquettes that every Filipino should understand.  Since we migrated here, there are differences that we must learn to be able to fit in and to understand deeply their customs and culture.

We thank our readers for stating their experiences and knowledge of Canadian culture in the comment section of Part 1. Now, here are more Canadian words and etiquettes that they share with us:

From Joseph Avegail Tadiarca

Eat all you can = All you can eat

Fill up (a form) = Fill out (a form)

1/4, 25cents, 15mins of the time = quarter

4 Basic polite phrases most of them practice but not all of Filipinos practice:

  1. Thank you
  2. You’re welcome or No Problem
  3. Please
  4. Sorry (pardon/apologize)

Canadian Etiquettes:

1) Canadians (or most of them) do not offer food/snacks they are eating to whoever they are with (friends/family).

2) Most of them do not OR barely “treat” others when they invite you to lunch. (Do not be offended, the ‘Libre’ system barely applies to their culture LOL).

3) I don’t know if this is common but when they are describing a person to you and you recognize that person, never say “Oh! THAT guy/girl”. Apparently, it does not sound polite. Better use the phrase, “Oh! HIM/HER”.

4) When they compliment something you are wearing or just complimented the way you look, say ‘Thank you/thanks’. I know some Filipinos do this already but most of our kababayans reactions would be like, “Oh, this is cheap, I only got it for $X.XX” or “Nah, not that much (Hindi naman gaano)” or better yet, “You’re just flattering me (Binobola mo lang ako e)”.

5) ASK when you didn’t understand a thing they say. Do not worry it is ok to them as they know English is not your first language. It is better to ask and get it right than to nod or say “yes” even if you didn’t understand what they said.

6) NEVER or at least, ask them if it is ok to ask how much they earn. Growing in the Philippines, this was not a big, deal but to them, it is rude to ask.

7)  Do not comment/joke/ask about their age even if it is a guy. Although some of them don’t really mind but it is better to be safe. I think this could apply to our culture as well.


From Nonita Mole

1) Hockey and weather are their favorite topics to discuss.

2) They patronize local stores like Tim Hortons and family foods.

3) They like pets and these stay inside the house like a family member, so don’t be surprised if u are greeted by a dog or cat when u go to a Canadian home.

4) When asking for directions or location from a Canadian, be sure you know north, east, south, and west.

5) Hash brown, bacon, egg and toast are their common breakfast.

6) They love bonfires and parks.

7) They’re punctual so if u said party starts at 7 pm, expect them to be there at 7 pm.

8) The word,’WTF’ is just an expression for them so don’t get offended.

9) When the temperature drops to negative, they call it minus and plus for positive.

10) They call sweaters for what u put inside and jacket for the outside.

11) Don’t expect for too much food when they invite you in a house party: pizza, cookies, burger, chips are what they usually prepare. And if you invite them, avoid preparing kakanin, bibingka, puto, ginataan, dinuguan, because most of them don’t eat what they don’t know much about. But SPRING ROLLS, they love it.

12) Have a recycling trash can inside the house because they will ask for it when they’re throwing something recyclable.

13) They speak fast so it is ok to say “I’m sorry, I don’t understand, please repeat it slowly”, rather than just smiling and nodding even if you don’t understand. They appreciate honesty.

From Judy Ann

January 1 = 1st of January

Soft drinks = pop

22 Avenue = twenty-second avenue

Time: 2:15 = fifteen minutes after two

  • Canadians call it knife for what we used as a cutter.
  • Calling by their first name even if it is your boss. They don’t like to be called ma’am or sir.
  • Some occasions if you give them a gift, soon after you will receive a thank you card.
  • Canadian are using fork and knife, Filipinos usually spoon & fork.
  • Canadians usually brings their own beer to drink in occasions and if something’s left, they will bring it back home to them.

From Rose Sabas-Castillo

2:15 = a quarter after two

2:30 = half past two

30 minutes = half an hour

From Teresita Hilario

  • In Canada, “Excuse me?” mostly means you want to repeat the question/ you didn’t hear what the other person is saying.
  • In a grocery store, it is also a polite way to let somebody to pay first if he/she had only two items to pay.
  • In telling/saying time, 1:15 pm, here in Canada ( quarter past one) or 1:30 pm ( half mins. past one).

From Emelyn Dabu

Burping is a big deal here in Canada especially in public (they consider it nasty ) but If you burp just say sorry or excuse me,  unlike in Philippines if you burp most Filipinos say “ay salamat po sa Diyos.” (lol)

From Gerlie Ramos

Wearing of strong perfume is prohibited in most public places. There is a “scent-free facility” sign in almost all workplaces or schools, this is  because some are very sensitive to or allergic to scents, which can cause to people around them hospitalization or worse, death.

From Millicent Parrenas

  • Before you visit the house of your Canadian friend you should let them know, don’t come without their approval.
  • When they have party the guest is sometimes expected to help to clean up the place.

From Mary Escarez Francisco

Canadians say the word “sorry” most of the time. How you say it depends on its implied meaning. It can mean excuse me I want to pass, or sorry I don’t understand, or pardon, etc for hundreds of reasons.

Click Canadian Words and Etiquettes that Filipino Immigrants should Learn to read Part 1.


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