Meal breaks are the most anticipated time of the day at Xillium—or any company for that matter. A brief respite from all our responsibilities, allowing us to come back to our tasks with renewed vigor. For Filipinos however, it goes beyond that. Meals facilitate bonding, the exchange of ideas, and it creates unity. Food can be understood as a tangible expression of love and friendship. Meal breaks are the time when the office pantry is filled with excited voices and the walls are alive with the chatter of stories. But what’s on the table is the heart of it all.
Filipinos are passionate about food for two reasons: the food itself and the experience of eating it with others. It has always played a significant role in Philippine culture as it brings family and friends together. In fact, there is no Filipino gathering where food does not take center stage. May it be in a restaurant or at home, the host ensures that the visitors are warmly welcomed, well-entertained, and graciously served with carefully selected dishes. Generosity and friendliness are two characteristics that are deeply ingrained in Filipino culture. Even strangers are welcomed in dining rooms if the occasion calls for it.
Another Filipino tradition is to never make the food wait. Mealtime is a sacred ritual in this culture, so everyone must eat together and share everything on the table. It is unusual to see members of a Filipino family eating at different times of the day or watching TV while eating. Mealtime in Filipino households is the time to talk, share their experiences from the day, and simply interact with one another. This is also why a feast is always at the heart of any Filipino celebration.
Food in the Philippines is characterized by its richness and diversity. The country has a diverse geography and its colonial past has a significant impact on the local food culture. A blend of Asian and Western influences reformed through local cooking techniques and of local flavors still adds a touch of authenticity. Food not only enhances a specific culture and heritage from a specific point in the country, but it also connects people and bridges their differences.
Liezel is a senior writer at Xillium, holding a degree in literature. Prior to joining the company, she spent six years mentoring foreign Asian students to improve their English communication skills in a web-based education. Her academic involvement included developing and revising instructional materials and content. Liezel's career in distance learning has honed her skills in communication, management, research, and technology.