Respect for the Elders

Respect for the elders is one Filipino trait that has remained in the book of unwritten laws. The Filipino parent exercises almost absolute powers over the children. It is unthinkable for a Filipino to do an important thing without consulting parents. The latter do not condone children talking back not only to them, but to those older than they are.

The particle "po" may look innocent to you, but that little word shows respect for another carried to higher point than in the Philippine languages. Are you speaking to an older man or woman? Then use the second plural - kayo, inyo or ninyo. You are branded disrespectful and impolite if you use the second person singular: ka, mo, or ikaw. Is the person you are talking with of your age but a stranger to you? The use the second person plural! And don't forget the particle po!It is a sign of good breeding. Next in the degree of respect is the use of the first person plural: atin, natin, tayo. Here the speaker and the person spoken to are lumped together and made to appear as one. The peak of respect is achieved by the use of the third person plural: sila, nila, kanila. Unlike the first two degrees of respect, this last shows detachment, making it appear that the person spoken to is a faraway person, someone to be handled and referred to gingerly.