Top Navigation

Gesture: Philippines and Taiwan


  1. Handshaking is the common custom, with both men and women shaking hands in a friendly and informal fashion.
  2. Filipinos may greet one another with the “eyebrow flash” which is merely a quick lifting of the eyebrows.
Philippines Children Gestures

Philippines Children Gestures

  1. Generally speaking, the Filipinos are a touch-oriented society.
  2. People of the same sex may be seen holding hands in public places, which is simply a gesture of friendship.
  3. Don’t worry about a bit of pushing and shoving when using public transportation, Filipinos seldom queue or observe orderly lines.
  1. Instead of pointing to an object, Filipinos will shift their eyes toward it, or purse the lips and point with the mouth.
  2. To beckon someone, the palm faces downward and the fingers are moved in a scratching motion. Never curl your index finger back and forth because that is considered insulting.
  1. It is considered rude to stare. Prolonged direct eye contact is considered impolite and even intimidating.
  2. Respect is always shown to elderly people.
  3. Among the Filipinos, laugher is used to convey both enjoyment and pleasure but also to mask embarrassment over another person’s misfortune.
  4. Speaking in a loud voice is considered ill-mannered and rude.



  1. The western custom of shaking hands is spreading rapidly and is now probably the customary form of greeting, but often a nod of the head is sufficient. Hugging and kissing when greeting are uncommon.
  2. Repeatedly blinking the eyes at someone is considered impolite.
  3. Business cards are often exchanged, but it is considered impolite to “scrutinize” card in their presence; place it near you for reference rather than quickly putting it aside or in your pocket. Also it is more respectful to present your card (or a gift or any other article) using both hands.
  4. One gesture of special respect for the elderly is to cover your left fist with your right hand or place palms together, and raise both hands to your heart.
Taiwan Children Gestures

Taiwan Children Gestures

  1. Generally speaking, the Taiwanese are not a touch-oriented society.
  2. Public displays of affection are very rare. On the other hand, you may note people of the same sex walking hand-in hand, which is simply a gesture of friendship.
  1. The open hand is used for pointing (not just one or two fingers).
  2. To beckon someone, the palm faces downward and the fingers are moved in a scratching motion. Never use the index finger, palm up and toward you, in a back and forth curling motion toward your body. That gesture is used only for animals.
  3. Also, avoid using your feet to gesture or move or touch other objects because the feet are considered lowly and dirty.
  1. Great respect is afforded the elderly, so it is important to let your actions reflect this. Speak to them first, hold doors open for them, rise when they enter a room, give up your seat if no others are available, remove glasses (especially sunglasses) when addressing them, etc.
  2. Posture is important, so don’t slouch or put your feet on desks or chairs.
  3. The gesture to indicate “no” is to lift your hand to face level, palm facing outward, and moving it back and forth like a windshield wiper, sometimes with a smile.
  4. Loud, boisterous, or rude behavior is a strong taboo in Taiwan, however loudness may be accepted in restaurants.
No comments yet.

Leave a Reply