The Tabo and Filipino Culture

One of the first things I learned about Filipino culture is that every home must have a tabo. Okay, I’m sure there are some that don’t but it must be one in a billion. What is a tabo?  It is a bucket or a dipper. Usually a dipper that rest in a larger bucket or pail. When living in the Philippines, you will encounter the tabo. To me, it sounds like it is pronounced as “tawbo” with a very short “O” on the end. The “A” is drawn out. That’s as close as I know how to make it. When I first arrived in the Philippines, I noticed one in our bathroom.  I didn’t think anything of it. Then we went to SM Mall and there were hundreds of them for sale. I noticed them on Filipino TV shows too. So I asked about Jessie about it  She seemed evasive but that might be more related to a previous article about Filipino culture and the differences in communication style.The tabo is used for cleaning. For cleaning of the bathroom floor and your body. You might find my article on toilet training of interest. It was one of the first major changes I encountered in the Philippines. Something, I’m completely use to now.

A Fading Aspect of Filipino Culture?

From what I can gather, most Filipino have a hard time separating themselves from this aspect of their culture I read an article today in a local news paper about this which inspired me to write my own article. The author speaks of how Filipino will take one with them when they travel overseas. If they don’t, they often asked loved ones to send them one! One many nearly lost his job for turning a soda bottle into one while at work. Perhaps this is another dying part of Filipino culture as the author of this story suggested that it be added to classroom instruction geared at the middle and upper class Filipino. This aspect of Filipino culture is alive and well in the province though. I’ve seen them in every bathroom that I’ve been in except in public restrooms in malls. I see them in Filipino homes, in hotels, in pension houses and in resorts.

One can learn a lot from Filipino culture. The more casual life style would do most American’s a lot of good as we tend to think of ourselves the center of the universe. I find this true for most Western cultures. It is easy for American’s to do, especially if you have not traveled to other lands. I know my thinking of the world has changed drastically since I started living in the Philippines. Even in this day and age, America is still isolated from most of the world. If one lives in Europe, I think this is less true because other countries are similar to other states in the USA. That is not a criticism of the USA, by me. In fact, I don’t find American’s to be nearly as ignorant of the world as I often hear expressed by Europeans.  I find ignorance and closed minded to common to every land.

If you’d like to read more articles about Filipino culture follow that link.

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