How to Keep Filipino Culture Alive While Working Overseas

As an OFW, it can be challenging to maintain a connection with your roots while living abroad. However, there are several ways to keep your Filipino culture alive. Despite being far from home, you can still embrace and celebrate your heritage by engaging in activities that promote Filipino traditions, values, and customs.

Whether it’s through participating in cultural events, connecting with fellow Filipinos, or incorporating Filipino practices into your daily life, there are countless opportunities to stay connected to your Filipino identity. Let’s explore some of the ways you can keep your Filipino culture alive as an OFW.

how to keep filipino culture alive abroad

Culinary Traditions

By actively engaging in culinary traditions, you can preserve and promote Filipino cuisine, creating a sense of community and nostalgia even when you’re far away from home.

  • Cooking and sharing Filipino dishes: One of the best ways to keep your Filipino culture alive is through the culinary traditions of the Philippines. Embrace your love for cooking by preparing and sharing Filipino dishes with friends, colleagues, and neighbors. Whip up popular dishes like adobo, sinigang, or pancit, and invite others to experience the rich flavors and unique ingredients that make Filipino cuisine so special.
  • Organizing Filipino food festivals or potlucks in the OFW community: Another fantastic way to celebrate Filipino culture is by organizing Filipino food festivals or potlucks within the OFW community. Gather fellow Filipinos who share the same love for food and culture and create a vibrant event where everyone can showcase their culinary skills. Encourage participants to bring their favorite Filipino dishes, creating a diverse and mouthwatering spread that represents the flavors of the Philippines. These gatherings not only allow you to indulge in delicious food but also provide an opportunity to bond with others who share the same cultural background.

Celebrating Filipino Festivals and Holidays

One of the most exciting ways to keep your Filipino culture alive as an OFW is by actively participating in and organizing events for Filipino festivals and holidays. These celebrations are not only a great opportunity to reconnect with your roots but also a chance to share the vibrant Filipino culture with others in your community.

Some of the key festivals and holidays that you can celebrate include:

  1. Independence Day: Commemorated on June 12th, Independence Day is a significant event in the Philippines. It is a time to honor the country’s freedom and the sacrifices made by its heroes. As an OFW, you can organize or join Independence Day events in your local community, such as flag-raising ceremonies, cultural performances, or even organizing a Filipino food fair.
  2. Pasko: Christmas is a special time in the Philippines, and celebrating Pasko as an OFW can help you feel closer to home. You can organize or participate in Christmas parties, caroling, and parol-making contests. Don’t forget to prepare traditional Filipino dishes like lechon, bibingka, and puto bumbong to share with your friends and colleagues.
  3. Ati-Atihan: Ati-Atihan is a lively and colorful festival celebrated in Kalibo, Aklan. It involves street dancing, vibrant costumes, and rhythmic drumbeats. As an OFW, you can organize your own Ati-Atihan-inspired event, complete with traditional attire, music, and dance. It’s a fantastic way to showcase the rich cultural heritage of the Philippines.

By actively participating in these festivals and holidays, you not only keep your Filipino culture alive but also create opportunities for cultural exchange and understanding with people from different backgrounds. Embracing these celebrations allows you to share the beauty and uniqueness of Filipino traditions, fostering a sense of community and belonging wherever you are.

Building Community Networks

  • Joining or forming Filipino community groups and centers.
  • Role of churches and cultural organizations in preserving culture.

To keep your Filipino culture alive as an OFW, one effective way is to actively participate in Filipino community groups and centers. These organizations provide a sense of belonging and serve as a platform for connecting with fellow Filipinos who share similar experiences and values. By joining these groups, you can engage in cultural activities, attend events, and celebrate Filipino traditions together.

Additionally, churches and cultural organizations play a vital role in preserving and promoting Filipino culture. Many churches have Filipino communities within them, where you can find support, guidance, and a sense of community.

These communities often organize cultural events, religious celebrations, and social gatherings that allow you to stay connected to your Filipino roots.

Cultural organizations, both local and international, also play a significant role in preserving and promoting Filipino culture. They organize workshops, seminars, and exhibitions that showcase various aspects of Filipino traditions, arts, and crafts. By actively participating in these events, you can learn more about your culture and contribute to its preservation.

By joining Filipino community groups, engaging with churches, and participating in cultural organizations, you can build a strong network of individuals who are passionate about keeping the Filipino culture alive.

These connections will not only help you maintain your cultural identity but also provide a support system and a sense of home away from home.

Remember, it’s through these community networks that you can actively contribute to the preservation and promotion of Filipino culture as an OFW.

Language Preservation

Speaking Filipino languages in the diaspora is crucial for preserving our cultural identity as OFWs. It not only helps us maintain a strong connection to our roots but also allows us to pass on our language heritage to the younger generation. Here are some strategies for teaching languages to the younger generation:

  1. Create a Language Learning Environment: Surround your children with Filipino language materials such as books, music, and movies. Encourage them to watch Filipino shows or listen to Filipino music to familiarize themselves with the language.
  2. Speak Filipino at Home: Make a conscious effort to speak Filipino at home, even if you are fluent in the host country’s language. This will create a natural environment for your children to learn and practice the language.
  3. Enroll in Language Classes: Look for Filipino language classes or cultural schools in your area that offer language programs for children. These classes provide structured learning and opportunities for your children to interact with other Filipino children.
  4. Utilize Technology: Take advantage of language learning apps, online resources, and interactive language websites. These tools can make language learning fun and engaging for children.
  5. Cultural Immersion: Organize or participate in cultural events and activities that promote the use of Filipino languages. This can include celebrations, festivals, or community gatherings where your children can interact with other Filipino speakers.

By prioritizing the preservation and teaching of Filipino languages, we can ensure that future generations of OFWs maintain a strong connection to their cultural heritage. Let’s continue to embrace and celebrate the richness of our language as an integral part of our Filipino identity.

Engagement with Filipino Arts and Music

To keep your Filipino culture alive as an OFW, one of the most enjoyable and fulfilling ways is through engagement with Filipino arts and music.

  1. Practicing traditional dances and music:
  • Embrace the rich heritage of the Philippines by learning and practicing traditional dances and music.
  • Whether it’s the graceful movements of the Tinikling or the vibrant beats of the kulintang, immersing yourself in these cultural expressions can be a wonderful way to connect with your Filipino roots.
  • You can join local dance or music groups, take classes, or even organize informal gatherings with fellow Filipinos to share and learn these traditional art forms.
  1. Organizing cultural showcases and performances:
  • Another fantastic way to promote Filipino arts and music is by organizing cultural showcases and performances.
  • You can collaborate with other OFWs or local communities to put together events that highlight the beauty and diversity of Filipino culture.
  • These showcases can feature traditional dances, musical performances, and even theatrical presentations.
  • Not only will this provide a platform for talented individuals to showcase their skills, but it will also create opportunities for cultural exchange and appreciation among different communities.

By actively engaging in Filipino arts and music, you not only preserve your cultural heritage but also contribute to the promotion and appreciation of Filipino culture in your host country. So, put on your dancing shoes and let the melodies of Filipino music fill your heart as you keep the Filipino spirit alive wherever you go.

Supporting Filipino Businesses and Artistry

One of the most effective ways to keep your Filipino culture alive as an OFW is by supporting Filipino-owned businesses and artists. By patronizing these businesses, you not only contribute to the growth of the Filipino community abroad but also help preserve and promote Filipino artistry and craftsmanship.

Here are a couple of ways you can support Filipino businesses and artistry:

  1. Patronizing Filipino-owned businesses: Seek out Filipino-owned establishments in your host country, such as restaurants, grocery stores, clothing boutiques, or even online shops. By choosing to spend your money at these businesses, you not only support their growth but also help sustain the Filipino entrepreneurial spirit. Additionally, you get to enjoy authentic Filipino products and services, which can help you feel more connected to your culture.
  2. Promoting Filipino art and products: Take the opportunity to showcase Filipino art and products in your host country. You can do this by organizing cultural events or exhibitions that feature Filipino artists, artisans, and performers. Encourage local galleries, community centers, or even your workplace to display Filipino artworks or host Filipino-themed events. By promoting Filipino art and products, you raise awareness and appreciation for Filipino culture in your new environment.

Remember, every purchase and promotion of Filipino businesses and artistry helps in preserving and sharing the rich cultural heritage of the Philippines. So, let’s show our support and keep the Filipino spirit alive wherever we may be.

Staying Connected to the Philippines

To stay connected to your Filipino culture as an OFW, it’s important to keep up with the latest news and current events from the Philippines. This can be done through various means, such as subscribing to Filipino news websites, following Filipino journalists and news outlets on social media, or even joining online forums and discussion groups focused on Filipino news.

  • Engaging in social and political discussions is another way to stay connected to your roots.
  • Participating in conversations about social issues and political developments in the Philippines can help you stay informed about the challenges and progress happening in your home country.
  • It also provides an opportunity to share your perspectives and engage with fellow Filipinos who are passionate about relevant topics such as the elections, overseas voting, and so forth.

By staying informed and actively participating in discussions, you not only keep yourself connected to the Philippines but also contribute to the ongoing dialogue and development of your Filipino culture.

Educational Outreach

One impactful way to keep Filipino culture alive as an OFW is through educational outreach. By sharing your knowledge and experiences, you can help teach others about the rich Filipino culture and history. Here are a couple of ways to engage in educational outreach:

  1. Teaching others about Filipino culture and history: Offer to give presentations or workshops about Filipino traditions, cuisine, music, dance, and history. You can reach out to local schools, community centers, or cultural organizations to collaborate on educational programs. By sharing your insights, you not only educate others but also create a deeper understanding and appreciation for Filipino culture.
  2. Cultural exchange programs and multicultural events: Participate in cultural exchange programs or multicultural events in your host country. These events, as spearheaded by the Philippine foreign mission in the region, provide opportunities for people from different backgrounds to come together, learn from one another, and celebrate diversity. You can showcase Filipino traditions, performances, and cuisine, allowing others to experience the vibrant and unique aspects of Filipino culture firsthand.

By actively engaging in educational outreach, you contribute to the preservation and promotion of Filipino culture while fostering cross-cultural understanding and appreciation.

Giving Back and Volunteering

One meaningful way to keep your Filipino culture alive as an OFW is by giving back to your homeland and actively participating in volunteer work. Not only does this allow you to make a positive impact, but it also enables you to stay connected with your roots and contribute to the betterment of Filipino communities. Here are a couple of ways you can get involved:

  1. Organizing Charity Events for the Philippines:
    Consider organizing charity events or fundraisers that aim to support various causes in the Philippines. You can collaborate with local Filipino organizations or connect with fellow OFWs who share the same passion for helping those in need. These events can range from benefit concerts, art exhibitions, or even sports tournaments. By organizing such events, you not only raise awareness about important issues but also create a platform for individuals to come together and contribute to the betterment of the Philippines.
  2. Participation in Development Projects for Filipino Communities:
    Another way to give back as an OFW is by actively participating in development projects that focus on improving the lives of Filipino communities. This could involve volunteering your time and skills in areas such as education, healthcare, infrastructure, or environmental conservation. Many organizations and initiatives are dedicated to uplifting Filipino communities, and your involvement can make a significant difference. By contributing to these projects, you not only help create positive change but also strengthen your ties to your Filipino heritage.

Remember, giving back and volunteering not only benefits others but also provides a sense of fulfillment and pride in preserving your Filipino culture. It allows you to make a meaningful impact while staying connected to the values and traditions that define your identity as an OFW.

Cultural Events and Exhibitions

  • Attending and organizing exhibitions on Filipino heritage: One of the best ways to keep your Filipino culture alive as an OFW is by actively participating in cultural events and exhibitions that showcase the rich heritage of the Philippines. Look out for local events or exhibitions that highlight Filipino traditions, art, music, dance, and cuisine. By attending these events, you can immerse yourself in the vibrant Filipino culture and gain a deeper understanding of your roots.
  • Collaborations with local cultural institutions: Another way to promote and preserve Filipino culture is by collaborating with local cultural institutions in your host country. Reach out to museums, galleries, community centers, or universities that have an interest in promoting cultural diversity. You can propose collaborations such as organizing Filipino-themed exhibitions, workshops, or performances. These partnerships not only provide a platform to showcase Filipino culture but also foster cultural exchange and understanding between different communities.

Video: Preservation of Filipino Culture Through Language

In this video, Professor Nenita Domingo of UCLA is joined by her friend and FilAm ARTS Executive Director, Jilly Canizares. Together, they engage in a thought-provoking discussion on the importance of preserving Filipino culture through language.

Professor Domingo emphasizes the significance of not only teaching but also learning Tagalog and other Filipino languages as a means to safeguard the rich heritage of the Filipino people. She highlights how language serves as a powerful tool in preserving cultural traditions, values, and identity.

Joined by Jilly Canizares, the Executive Director of FilAm ARTS, they delve into the various ways in which language plays a vital role in maintaining and passing down Filipino customs and practices. They explore the value of language in fostering a sense of belonging, community, and pride among Filipinos, especially those living outside of the Philippines.

Throughout the discussion, Professor Domingo and Jilly Canizares share personal anecdotes and insights, shedding light on the challenges and rewards of language preservation efforts. They provide valuable perspectives on how individuals, communities, and institutions can contribute to the preservation and promotion of Filipino culture through language.

This video offers a compelling exploration of the importance of language in preserving the vibrant Filipino culture. It serves as a reminder of the collective responsibility we have to ensure the continued celebration and appreciation of our cultural heritage.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why is language preservation important for Filipino culture?

Language is an integral part of any culture, including Filipino culture. Preserving Filipino languages, such as Tagalog, helps to maintain the unique identity, traditions, and values of the Filipino people. It allows future generations to connect with their heritage and fosters a sense of pride and belonging.

2. How can individuals contribute to language preservation efforts?

Individuals can contribute to language preservation by actively learning and using Filipino languages in their daily lives. This includes speaking the language at home, participating in language classes or workshops, and supporting initiatives that promote the use and appreciation of Filipino languages.

3. Are there organizations dedicated to language preservation?

Yes, there are organizations dedicated to language preservation, such as the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (Commission on the Filipino Language) in the Philippines. These organizations work towards the documentation, promotion, and development of Filipino languages, ensuring their preservation for future generations.

4. What are the challenges in preserving Filipino languages?

One of the main challenges in preserving Filipino languages is the influence of globalization and the dominance of English in many aspects of life. Additionally, the migration of Filipinos to different countries can lead to the gradual loss of native language proficiency among subsequent generations.

5. How can technology support language preservation efforts?

Technology plays a crucial role in language preservation. Mobile apps, online resources, and digital platforms provide accessible tools for learning and practicing Filipino languages. Social media platforms also serve as spaces for language enthusiasts to share resources and connect with others interested in language preservation.

6. Are there initiatives to teach Filipino languages to non-Filipinos?

Yes, there are initiatives to teach Filipino languages to non-Filipinos. Language schools, community centers, and cultural organizations often offer language classes for individuals interested in learning Tagalog or other Filipino languages. This promotes cross-cultural understanding and appreciation of Filipino culture.

7. Can language preservation contribute to cultural diversity?

Language preservation contributes to cultural diversity by ensuring the survival and continuation of unique linguistic practices, expressions, and narratives. It enriches the global tapestry of languages and promotes a more inclusive and diverse society.

8. How can language preservation benefit future generations of Filipinos?

Language preservation benefits future generations of Filipinos by providing them with a strong connection to their cultural roots. It allows them to communicate with older family members, engage in cultural activities, and fully embrace their Filipino identity. Language preservation also enables them to appreciate and understand their history, literature, and artistic heritage.


In conclusion, as an OFW, it is essential to find ways to keep your Filipino culture alive while living abroad. Despite the distance from home, there are numerous avenues available to embrace and celebrate your heritage. By actively participating in cultural events, connecting with fellow Filipinos, and incorporating Filipino practices into your daily life, you can maintain a strong connection to your Filipino identity.

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