The au pair program recently grew to include the Philippines, and we are pleased to see many new au pairs hailing from this Southeast Asian country. The Philippines is one of the most diverse countries in the world, exhibiting a unique blend of languages, ethnicities, and influences from both Eastern and Western cultures. Many au pairs from the Philippines highly value the family structure, and often have experience caring for siblings, working in daycares, and living in multicultural environments. Let’s explore skills and attributes that are common with many au pairs from the Philippines.
Country Facts: The Philippines has a population of 103,000,000 people spread across over 7,000 islands. It has the eighth highest population in all of Asia. The official languages are Filipino (based on Tagalog) and English. The country's capital is the city of Manila.
Driving: City driving in the Philippines is often hectic and congested - something that lends itself well for au pairs adapting to driving in the United States. Filipino au pairs will typically start to drive around 16 years old, and can apply for a driver's license at 18 after passing a written and practical driving exam.
English: Most au pairs from the Philippines are very comfortable with the English language, as English is one of the two official languages. English is taught widely in schools, and it is common to continue studying the language through to the university level.
Cooking: In the Philippines, rice is considered a staple of every meal, including breakfast! Ask your au pair about their favorite meal and you may find yourself learning about a brand new dish. Adobo is typically thought of as the national dish of the Philippines, and everyone has their own unique way of making this dish. Adobo varies by the type of meat, and the special ingredients of the adobo sauce are made with soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, and bay leaves. Kare-kare is another popular dish. Fun fact: Filipino spaghetti is sweet!
Communication Style: Filipino au pairs tend to communicate while being polite, patient, and positive. These are big aspects of Filipino culture - you may find your au pair arriving to your home with a big smile and open arms. Your au pair may err on the side of politeness rather than speak her mind, so it can be helpful to remind your au pair she can speak openly about her opinions or concerns.
Highlight: In the Philippines, Christmas is beloved and is celebrated over the course of many months. The holiday season begins in early September and can extend all the way to January. Since the Philippines is predominantly a Catholic country, special emphasis is placed on Holy Week and Noche Buena (the "Good Night" or "Holy Night") where families attend midnight mass on December 24th and afterwards celebrate with a big meal. Ask your au pair what their favorite holiday tradition is!