Father's Day in the Philippines

Well, I am writing this article on Sunday, June 21, which is Father’s Day.  I think.

Why would I be unsure about that?  Well, let’s just say that my Father’s Day experiences in the Philippines have been a bit… well… different.

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It all started on my first June in the Philippines.  We moved here in May of 2000, so we had only been here for less then 2 months at the time.  One week, on the radio that week, whenever you would tune in they would keep announcing that Father’s Day was coming up that weekend.  Stores were announcing “Father’s Day Sales.”  All kinds of Father’s Day wishes going out to listeners.  It was a festive mood.

When is Father’s Day?

All the while, I couldn’t help but feel that something wasn’t right.  For some reason, it didn’t seem right to me.  Then I figured it out.  It wasn’t Father’s Day that weekend at all.  No, Father’s Day was slated for the following week!

Father and Son in Marawi CityWell, the first thing I thought was that maybe the Philippines celebrates Father’s Day on a different day than the US does.  That would be fairly normal, after all.  For example, almost all of the world celebrates Labor day on May 1, but the US celebrates it on the first Monday in September.  So, it wouldn’t be unusual that Father’s Day was celebrated a week earlier than expected in the Philippines.  I just went with the flow.  However, the following week, after Father’s Day had passed, some of the radio stations even started announcing how they had made a mistake, and actually Father’s Day was still coming up… the next weekend.

That was kind of strange that more than one radio station would make the same mistake like that!  And, after that year, 2000, I never experienced it again.  Until this year!  That’s right.  A week ago, on June 14, when I woke up in the morning, I started getting text messages on my cellphone.  “Happy Father’s Day, Sir Bob” – stuff like that.  I must have gotten 15 such messages.  Hmm… I thought, this is not Father’s Day.  So, I looked it up on the Internet.  According to what I found, on Wikipedia, Father’s Day 2009 was scheduled for June 21.  And, Wikipedia even listed what countries celebrated on that date.  Both the USA and the Philippines were listed as the same date, June 21.  Why were all of these people wishing me Happy Father’s Day?

Somehow, much of the Philippines had gotten the date wrong again!  How could it happen?

I posted a message on Facebook, reading:

I keep getting texts from people wishing me a Happy Father’s Day…. That’s great, and I’m happy for it. But… Father’s Day is next week!

Later in the evening I got a message on Facebook from another American expat, Jerry Olson, who lives in the Philippines.  He said:

Bob that’s what I was thinking but I’m being told they celebrate Fathers Day here in the Philippines today? Go figure!

Then, after I told him that the Philippines actually celebrates on the same day as the USA does, he said…

So I was right all along, Went to the mall and there were several couples that I know out celebrating Fathers Day. Asawas taking them to the movies and out to eat.

Yep, he experienced the same thing too, and he lives in the Visayas!

Now, here we are a week later, on June 21, and everybody is wishing me Happy Father’s Day again!  I’m getting text messages, e-mails and such from people all over the Philippines wishing me Happy Father’s Day (again).  Some of these messages are from the same people who wished me Happy Father’s Day last week too!  Ha ha…  I love it.

I wonder how the confusion comes into play.  Why do people keep thinking it is Father’s Day a week early?  But, like I say, in the ten Father’s Days that I’ve spent in the Philippines, this has happened only twice.  I wonder why?  Father’s Day is always celebrated on the third Sunday of June, it would seem pretty easy to keep track of that.

Anyway, I do love celebrating Father’s Day and every other holiday here in the Philippines.  I just wonder why the date always gets mixed up?

Any ideas?

Happy Father’s Day to all Dads who are reading this!

Post Author: MindanaoBob (1354 Posts)

Bob Martin is the Publisher & Editor in Chief of the Live in the Philippines Web Magazine. Bob is an Internet Entrepreneur who is based in Davao. Bob is an American who has lived permanently in Mindanao since May 2000. Here in Mindanao, Bob has resided in General Santos City, and now in Davao City. Bob is the owner of this website and many others.

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  1. Daryl Lister says

    Hi Bob .I just had my first fathers day and I got to have it twice!! Not sure why but some neighbours thought it was a week earlier. Isn,t it always the 3rd sunday in june? Anyway double the free noodles is always good and now i,m wondering how I can get two birthdays!

  2. Hudson says

    Hi Bob,
    I was talking to my fiancee there in Bukidnon, and she also thought that fathers day had already passed.
    Maybe since June 1st falls on a monday it forces the 3rd sunday later in the month.
    Personally I think it should be the 2nd sunday in June because of the school schedule here in the US. By the time fathers day rolls around the kids are already out of school and the poor dads dont get those (cheesy)special school projects from their children. :)

  3. says

    Same thing happened in my household . Was being wished Happy Father's day last week and i thought i had just forgot the date . Yesterday we attended a social gathering and their were more Happy Fathers Day comments so i have no idea which is correct . :-)

  4. Danny says

    Kamusta ka Bob,

    Actually today was just a normal day here, except I got to do laundry..lol.
    We spent yesterday with the kids at a cool theme park in here in South Florida, I had never heard of it before, Wannado City, but was a place where the kids can role play, like be a doctor, fireman, policeman, broadway star, model, chef, etc..etc..you get the idea, is very cool idea I think, and the kids here had a blast at it.
    Happy Fathers Day to all you dads out there!!

    Danny :)

  5. says

    A Happy Fathers Day to you.
    About wrong day, a week ago Sunday we were at the mall and went into McDonald's for lunch. It was more crowed than usual. I mentioned it to the worker there and he replied "It is because it is Father's Day.
    Since I am not really a father I was not sure when the Holiday was. Later I was informed it was this weekend. Oh Well.

    As you know, I have 3 nieces living with us and their oldest brother lives here in Davao. The nice thing, yesterday morning my nephew text me with a loving "Happy Father's Day message reminding me his sisters, brother and him look at me as their father. HE then told me to pick a restaurant and he would take all of us out to dinner, his treat.
    It feels nice, only knowing them for a few years and living here for 1 1/2 to be loved by them as a father.

  6. John in Austria says

    Hi Bob,

    Don't worry Bob, it is just as confusing for me here in Austria. They celebrated Father's Day on the 14th June (not too sure about the rest of Europe), but Canada, where my kids are, like the USA, celebrates on the 21st. I don't know why the difference.

  7. Bob New York says

    Happy Fathers Day Bob, you mentioned about hearing about Fathers Day a week early on the radio. I brought a radio with me to Iligan, borrowed one on my first visit and I could not find any stations that spoke in English. There was only one FM station in English but that was for not much more than announcing the music being played. I did not have much time to listen to the radio when I was in CDO although I think I heard at least 2 stations in English. Do most of the AM – FM stations in Davao use non-English language in their broadcasts ?

  8. Jake says

    Hi Bob- I understand you completely. Here in Bangkok, Thailand last Sunday my wife sent her dad a Happy Father's Day message, and I in turn just took it for granted that last Sunday was Father's Day because of her, and sent my dad a greeting also in the U.S. Well, this morning, I was calling my dad to correct my mistake. Oh, by the way, did I mention she is Filipina.

  9. Boss says

    I hope you had a good day all the same, even if you celebrated a couple of times lol. At least you were not forgotten. Father's Day and Mother's Day in our household seems like an unknown event until I joined the family. I recall last year I wished two members of our family a happy mother's day and they both started to cry! I asked if I said something wrong and they said, no one ever said that to them before! Still both days are celebrated with conviction now and it is a good day for all.
    Another thing I noticed, FD and MD is not as commercialized as back in Oz. I feel it is so quietly promoted I could not know its going to come up. But that will change as the stores will see a commercial opportunity there.

  10. Denis says

    In P.I. a radio person, movie actor are reguarded as above the common people. They think the celerbrity knows more than the average person. If they did have a calander and knew the date was wrong they would second guess themselves and would follow the radio . In the culture rather than to correct a person, they go along to get along.

  11. Paul says

    Belated Happy Fathers' Day, Bob!

    We were out of town over the weekend – visiting one of Emy's high school classmates whom she hasn't seen for over 35 years. Now that we are heading to the islands, we're finding plenty of old friends, batch mates, etc., living within driving distance. When a flyer advertising a weekend special for a rental car appeared on our windshield last Friday morning, we took it as an omen. :)

    It's good to take a Fathers' Day break from the boxes, too!

  12. says

    I notied on the 14th …the 'mistaken' day, a write-up in one of the Manila papers about the issue. Sunday, the 14th was St Josephs Day/feat of St Joseph on the Roman Catholic ecclesiastical calendar … probly was back in 2000, the church calendar repeats every 7 years ot os. Since St. Joseph is the patron saint of fathers, and since alarge part of the country(certainly most all the media) is Catholic, perhaps easy to see where the mix-up comes from.

    I don't know if the Philippines has an actual 'legal' day … the 3rd Sunday in June is legally the day, in the US, only since LBJ's time …before that it used to float around also. According to Wikipedia, as Bob said, the US and Philippines are supposed to celebrate it on the 3rd Sunday in June, but I was really surprised that only 50 other countries follow that rule … it seems to be a very movable feast. Happy fathers day to all you dads out there anyway!

  13. says


    My wife (from Libungan) and I plan to move to Davao City in 2013 from Missouri. We will have approximetly 125,000 USD and all of our household items. I will still be 10 years from SS. My wife owns a small 2.2 hectacre rice field. My question is, if we purchase a house for 65k USD, can we survive the next 10 years on 60K USD? How should we invest and is it possible to survive that long if you own your own home? (No payments)
    We are intent on doing this, but we want to do it right! Please feel free to give all of the much appreciated advice you can!!
    Thanks Jim and Letlet

  14. says

    Hi Hudson – Ha ha…. you don't like the school projects? It always does seem like the Moms do better than the Dads when it comes to gifts! But, at least in the Philippines, we get two Father's Days! The Moms always just get one!

  15. says

    Kumusta ka Danny? Maayong Adlaw sa mga Papa! That theme park sounds cool! There are so many places with the roller coasters and scary rides, but I never heard of a role playing place like that! It sounds like you all had a good time!

  16. says

    kamusta bob
    actually we had to cancel because of high winds and heavy rain.so whensday will be awsome weather and that will be the day.thanks bob

  17. says

    Hi Ron – I am sorry that you had to postpone (not cancel, just postpone!) the wedding! But, Wednesday will be good too! Wow, wedding on the beach, it sound nice. Let me just offer you a small advice, though, Ron. After the ceremony, don't run out to the water and jump into your lobster boat. Hang around for a few days before you go fishing again! 😆

  18. says

    Hi Bruce – Happy Father's Day! It really is a good feeling to get that special message from people who aren't even really your kids. I know the feeling because I also have nieces and nephews who consider me as a father to them, and it is a good feeling for me too. I enjoy them a lot, and they bring rewarding moments to my life. I'm glad that you can also share that feeling as well.

  19. says

    Hi John – Interesting. I was surprised that Austria celebrates on the Second Sunday in June, so I went and looked it up! It's true (not that I didn't believe you). I found that only Austria and Belgium celebrate on that day. Fascinating!

  20. says

    Hi Bob – And, happy father's day to you! I'm not sure if you have kids or not, but either way…

    Most AM radio stations in Davao are Bisaya. Some FM stations are Tagalog, some are Bisaya and some are English. It's a mix!

  21. says

    Hi Jake – Ha ha… well, like me, your Dad got a double greeting! He had two good weekends in a row! I wonder, what kind of reaction did you get from your Father?

  22. says

    Hi Boss – You folks in Iligan certainly have an interesting life! I never heard of anybody who didn't ever get a "happy Mother's day" before! That's amazing.

  23. Danny says

    Kamusta mo Bob/Boss,

    Rose has told me that Mothers Day and Fathers Day are not big where she is from either in Maasin. I asked her why this is, and she really couldn't tell me why, her explanation was "As children we never knew about it, and when we got older, and found out about it, my parents really didn't think too much for it". She also said because of the love and respect that she and her brother Eric have for their parents, maybe its Mother and Fathers day every day. They really are a close knit family, that really works together as a team does, in business and at home. So who knows, maybe it is Mother and Fathers Day everyday there in the Resos household. I am sure it is not like an old episode of "Leave it to Beaver", but they seem to be a very loving family.

    Take care,
    Danny :)

  24. Paul says

    Hi Dave – If I remember my Roman Catholic Liturgical Calendar, June 14th was the feast of Corpus Christi (which is the Second Sunday following Pentacost). Sunday "counting" changed after the Second Vatican Council, wherein Sundays used to be counted "after" something (i.e., after Epiphany or after Pentacost) are now "counted" as a Sunday in Ordinary Time (e.g., 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time, which fell on June 21 – Fathers' Day).

    St. Joseph's Day (the patron saint of fathers and carpenters) is March 19 – two days after St. Patrick's Day.

    And then there was the little child who asked his parents, "Gee, we have a Mothers' Day in May and a Fathers' Day in June. When is "Children's Day?" In unison, the parents answered, "Everyday!"

  25. says

    Hi Jim – Well, it sounds like you are well on your way toward fulfilling your dream! When I moved here I was 25 years from any kind of SS, so don't get too scared. With $125k you can get a start on living here. No, I don't believe you can live on $60k for 10 years, I don't even think you can come close. You need to start now building up some ways to earn some side money, something that you can still do when you are living here. Of course, you said that your wife has some property, you should be able to generate some earnings from that, but I just don't know how much. But, you have enough money to get a good start on living here, you can do it!

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