Remitbee Culture : “Mano” - A Gesture of Honour for Elderly Filipinos

By Remitbee - Sep 10, 2020

Every culture has a unique tradition that is passed on through generations. In the Philippines, there is a high regard for social hierarchy based on age. A form of respect whether through words or action is quite expected. One honoring gesture performed usually to elders two to three generations older is called “mano” or “pagmamano.” The person giving the greeting bows toward the hand of the elder and presses their forehead on the elder’s hand. It is typically done upon entry to the elder’s home or upon seeing them. Usually performed with the right hand, the person showing respect may ask “mano po” to the elder in order to ask permission to initiate the gesture. By doing so, you are allowing yourself to be submissive to the elder and agree to accept and respect their blessing and wisdom.


Artwork by jmtacda


The word “mano” is the Spanish term for a hand while the word “PO” is part of the Filipino language used at the end of each sentence as a sign of respect when addressing someone older. So “mano po” literally translates to “your hand please” as the greeting initiates the gesture of touching the back of the hand of an elder lightly on one’s forehead. The main reason for this tradition is because Filipino culture gives a high value to the family. Young ones are trained to treat the elderly with respect because of the idea that they have acquired so much wisdom and experience through their years of existence so they deserve to be recognized. While “mano” is usually practiced on one’s family or relatives - parents, grandparents, uncles, and aunts, it is not restricted to one’s relatives. It can also be done to elderly friends/acquaintances or even to an elderly person you’ve just met or talked to if you feel really thankful for your conversation or interaction. Usually, the “mano po” gesture is followed by a response of “God bless you” or “May the Lord have mercy on you” by the elder but is not quite expected.

Grandparent's Day

Wherever we are in the world, Grandparents are acknowledged for their great contribution to the structure of the family in the nurturing, upbringing, and education of children. The Philippines and Canada both set specific dates in the month of September as “Grandparents’ Day” which aims to celebrate and strengthen the bond between grandparents and grandchildren. Truly, we owe them a lot for being the foundation of families and they deserve to be loved and cared for. Remitbee is here to help you. With just a few clicks, you can send some love to your dear grandparents back in your hometown or wherever they may be!

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