Westerners have been present in the Philippines for over four hundred years, and many Filipinos are aware that a Westerner’s ways are different. You see it more prominent when a Filipino married a Westerner. The outgoing hospitality of Filipinos, along with their willingness to adapt to foreign guests, make it too easy for them to “be themselves”, but then the cultural gap will only be emphasized, and their stay in the Philippines will remain that of spectators and outsiders.
A foreigner who makes the effort to “get into” the culture, on the other hand, is much appreciated because Filipinos always make a distinction between an outsider, who could even be a fellow Filipino, and one of their particular kin group. When you are offered boiled duck’s egg with a half-incubated chick inside, you will not offend if you decline gently and politely, but you will have missed the opportunity of instant acceptance. My husband missed that opportunity when he went to the Philippines.
One badge of being Filipino is to partake of a salty paste made of microscopic shrimps; because its overpowering aroma may put foreigners off, Filipinos are delighted no end when they actually eat and relish bagoong. I remember the first time I had bagoong after we got married. We lived in New York city at that time and when my husband entered our apartment, he wiggled his nose and asked me who died. The place stunk in high heaven! I burst out laughing. That was the first and only time we had bagoong in my entire 49 years of marriage.
Another dish that most foreigners will not eat is dinuguan which is mostly made of pork innards and blood. The word comes from the Filipino word “dugo” meaning “blood”. The dish is in the form of a stew with the pork blood as the primary ingredient for the thickened sauce.
A popular gauge of a stranger’s indoctrination into the Filipino culture is usually the incubated duck’s egg called balut, the bagoong shrimp paste and dinuguan, the pork blood stew. It is not necessary to pretend to like those exotic foods. It is enough to be familiar with them and, in true Filipino fashion, smile while gently declining.
Source: Culture Shock Philippines by Alfredo & Grace Roces