14 “Nakaka-miss” Things in Canada that Transport Me Back to the Philippines

14 “Nakaka-miss” Things in Canada that Transport Me Back to the Philippines


As a Pusong-Pinay and Manilenya-at-heart in Canada, I have noticed many ordinary, everyday occurrences here that bring me Filipino nostalgia and make me feel — even briefly — like I am back in the Philippines.

I wasn’t surprised when some of my Filipino friends living here in Canada agreed that they also experience these homey, heartwarming feelings from little things throughout the day. Here are 14 examples we found that remind Filipinos (and Filipinos-at-heart) of the Philippines here in Canada. 
(Bonus: watch my Canadian friends flaunt the Tagalog I’ve taught them here!)


14 “Nakaka-miss” Things in Canada that Transport Me Back to the Philippines

14. Big Crowds

Rush hour in big malls and transit areas remind us of home. Weaving through people, commuting to and from work, etc. can make it feel like we are back in the hustle and bustle of Manila.


13. Traffic

Ah, the infamous Manila traffic. While Canadian traffic rarely compares to that of the Philippines, there’s something so relaxing and nostalgic about sitting still on a major highway on a sunny afternoon. (I’m probably the only person who “loves” Manila traffic for this reason. I’m weird.)


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12. Hand Sanitizer/Rubbing Alcohol

Filipinos may practice the best hygiene in the world. They rarely go a day without bathing, and always look fresh and proper. When somebody whips hand sanitizer out of their purse, enter memories of the always-prepared Filipino way of keeping super clean and mabango.


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11. People Commuting with Wet Hair

This may sound odd, but it goes hand-in-hand with the Filipino love of hygiene. Filipinos often head to work and school fresh from taking a bath, which I don’t see much of in Canada.

Instant Coffee

Why take the time to brew a pot when it can be sweeter and simpler? Nescafé 3-in-1 came to Canada not long ago, and it is reminiscent of the staple item that has fostered Filipino coffee drinkers for years. 


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9. Tim Hortons

Speaking of coffee, my favourite topic, many Fil-Cans work at Tim Hortons, Canada’s proudest chain of coffee stores. Sometimes, the entire staff serving you is Filipino. In those instances, I pretend we aren’t all wearing winter coats and I’m back in Manila.


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8. Security Guards

Though security guards in Canada are most common in big cities and expensive stores, they are the bros of the thousands upon thousands protecting Philippine cities. Hi Ma’am-Sir welcome to SM Makati…


14 "Nakaka-miss" Things in Canada that Transport Me Back to the Philippines
(Myself and Kuya Joevany, one of my best gwardya buddies. I miss bonding with funny Pinoy security guards!)

7. The Countryside

The terrain and nature may be different, but the countryside in Canada between towns and cities, especially in the summer, can resemble what I remember of the drives between Manila and Batanggas. If I concentrate hard enough, I can pretend and feel like I am on that beautiful commute.


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(Can you tell if this picture is of Canada or the Philippines?)

6. Summertime Rain

Canadian summers can be very humid. When summer thunderstorms break out, it reminds me very fondly of Tag-ulan in the Philippines. 


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5. Linking Arms with a Friend

I’ll never forget how on my second day ever in Manila back in 2009, my cousins’ yaya/my now-very good friend Ghay linked arms with me in the mall. I thought it was the strangest thing since I had only just met her. Now, however, I often do it to my best friend or sister here in Canada. Filipinos rock at showing they care. 

4. Smooth Love Songs

Experience in the Philippines teaches that the funnest songs to sing on videoke are love songs. Also, whenever Bryan Adams (a Canadian!) comes on the radio, I get chills, as it seems that everyday in Manila, someone is belting out his tunes. 


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3. Rubber Flip-Flops

This is one of the most popular and affordable styles of summer footwear in Canada. What many Canadians probably don’t know is that, in the Philippines, people can adequately play basketball wearing their tsinelas.


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Filipino/Asian Food Stores

Whether it’s to get an intensely-craved fix of sinigang or just to socialize, Filipino food stores are great places to get a taste (literally and figuratively) of the Philippines.


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And last, but not least…

1. The Warm Smiles of Filipino Kababayans

Living away from the Philippines can be tough for Filipinos. Seeing one another and issuing the familiar Filipino smile reinforces Pinoy pride and unity all over the world. Nothing makes my heart beat harder and faster than talking to kababayans here in Canada.


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(Photo courtesy of GK Limcangco Frieiro, pictured left with her friend Joyce Santos in Vancouver, Canada. Read her article about visiting Vancouver here!)

abroad, what reminds you of the Philippines where you live?

Kababayans in the Philippines, what would you miss most about the Philippines if you moved to another country?



14 “Nakaka-miss” Things in Canada that Transport Me Back to the Philippines