Father’s Day in the Philippines

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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.

Tagalog Buddy

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!

Well, 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!

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Bob Martin

Bob Martin is the Publisher & Editor in Chief of the Live in the Philippines Web Magazine. Bob is an Internet Entrepreneur. Bob is an American who lived in Mindanao from 2000 until 2019. Bob has now relocated back to the USA.

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Daryl Lister
Daryl Lister
13 years ago

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!

13 years ago

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. 🙂

13 years ago

Hi Daryl – Ha ha… I hope you enjoyed your Father's Day(s) – both of them!

13 years ago

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!

13 years ago

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 . 🙂

13 years ago

kamusta bob
happy fathers day my friend.
salamat bob

13 years ago

Hi Alan – The correct one was June 21. It's funny how that happens in the Philippines! I wonder how?

13 years ago

Hi RonW – Happy Father's Day to you! Also, congrats on the wedding, that was today, right?

13 years ago

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 🙂

13 years ago

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!


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