What’s prominent in a Filipino home?

Have you been to a Filipino home? What was the first thing you noticed?

Most Filipinos have religious statues of saints in their homes. That can range from a statue of Santo Niño or a statue of the Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Lourdes or Our Lady of Fatima. Also you might see a picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Sadly to say, my home is probably the exception to the rule. Don’t get me wrong. I was brought up in a very religious upbringing. My parents were very religious to the point of having a private chapel at our home but my husband is not religious.

It happened this way. In the late ‘80s, my father decided to buy a piece of property across from our home. Then he built a small church for the people in our small community. A priest came down on Monday night and said mass. Since there was only one priest in town and he said Mass on Sunday at the town church, he could only say Mass for our barangay on Monday night.

Here is Mom at the church that Dad built.

A group of people standing in a room

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However, since the small church that Dad built was open to the public, young teenagers hanged out there at all hours and left garbage around. Dad would go in the morning and cleaned up the place. After a while, Dad got fed up and decided to close the church and sold the property. So all the religious stuffs ended up in our house. Dad recycled the pews, made some benches, chairs and tables out of them. A couple of pews ended up in our spare bedroom plus the altar with the big crucifix and a couple of statues. The couple of times I went home, I only went in that room once. There was picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and He was staring at me and it was scary.

Anyway, I was saying a lot of Filipinos have statues at their homes. The only religious stuff I have for years at my house are three small crucifixes. I have them on all three bedrooms. I also have a picture of Our Lady of Perpetual Help on a bookshelf in our bedroom. She was my patron saint when I was growing up and I pray to her when something bothers me. She is a comfort to me.

My husband of almost 50 years is not a religious person. He is also an Episcopalian. We agreed that our children would be brought up as Catholic. I also sent them to Catholic School from Kindergarten through high school. However, Matt started going to church with me every Sunday and holy days since the kids was baptized. He never went to Episcopalian church after that but he never converted to Catholicism either and I did not force the issue. I suspected my pastor in NY knew he was not a Catholic. He never said anything to Matt and we were very friendly with him. Since people saw him at church with me all the time, a couple of our friends asked him to be a member of the Knights of Columbus and he told them he was not even a Catholic. Whether they told the priest or not, I don’t know.

A room that has a clock on the wall

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One more thing, there is always a picture of the Last Supper in the dining room of a Filipino home. I never had that also in my New York home. When we moved to Charleston, I saw a Filipino selling them at the Charleston Market downtown and so I bought one and now it hangs in my dining room.

At my parent’s home, we had a huge Last Supper in the dining room. Dad had commissioned a sculptor to do it right inside the house. It is a floor to ceiling masterpiece. You can’t possibly move it since it will never get through the door. I understand some people had it copied but on a smaller scale.

Mom & Dad on their 50th wedding anniversary in front of The Last Supper.

After Mom passed away, people are lining up to buy the house with the Last Supper in it. Sorry folks, the house will never be on the market. It is our home away from home and we are not selling it with the Last Supper.

So tell me, have you been to any Filipino homes without a religious objects on display?


9 thoughts on “What’s prominent in a Filipino home?

  1. Here you can spot a Filipino home from far because the very first thing you notice is a religious icon on the front door. Sometimes, if they have a garden (as apartments situated on the ground floor usually do here in Rome) the very first thing you notice is a plant of ampalaya and a basketball backboard with a basket attached to it (whenever they can Filipinos get an apartment that has a little garden). Once they let you in the very first thing you notice is a bottle (or more) of Fundador on display…

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  2. Thanks for adding to this post. I only mention the inside of the house but you are right. Filipinos plant ampalaya because it is hard to get it at the grocery stores. Some Filipinos also plant malunggay.

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  3. The Muslims, also called moros, are mostly in the south, in Mindanao and Sulu. There has always been a conflict between the government and the moros down there for years as I remember. Glad we live up north.

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  4. I’m in South Carolina and some people in my neighborhood plant banana tree but they die on wintertime. I guess in your part of Italy, it is warmer. Worth a try to plant buko. I only plant tomatoes. No other veggies. Most of my garden are roses and flowering plants.

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  5. Nice. I have a plot of land but it’s 300 km away and we don’t have the time to plant anything. Here we live in an apartment with a very little terrace so no chance to plant much unfortunately but we have Pinoy neighbors who do have gardens

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