According to a census conducted last 2017, there are about 260,000 Filipinos living in Qatar. This makes Filipinos fourth on the list of most number of foreign workers in Qatar, the top three being Indians, Nepalese and Bangladeshis. It’s no surprise that Filipinos have made their mark in influencing Qatari culture.
The Qataris, divided in 3 groups, the Abd, Hadar and Bedouin, has descendants traced from the Arabian Peninsula, East Africa, and from present-day Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran. As a small peninsula on the Arabian Gulf’s Western shore, Qatar boasts a diverse culture that makes it one of the most colorful and wonderful nations the globe has to offer.
A Comparison of Qatar and Philippine Cultures
While it seems that Qatar is so different from the Philippines due to geography and historical background, both nations share similarities in culture, which is probably many Filipinos find it easy to work there.
1. Internationally Influenced Cuisine
Philippine Cuisine is actually a collection of cuisines from more than a hundred ethno-linguistic groups, and whose styles have evolved over the years through influences from international cuisines such as Indian, Chinese, Spanish and even American. Similarly, Qatari cuisine is influenced internationally by countries closely linked to it, such as India, Iran and the Arabs from North Africa. One difference though, is the fact that Qatar is a predominantly Muslim country, so pork dishes aren’t served.
2. Child Rearing
For many Qatari families, like those of Filipino families, having children is important. The role of caring for a child is often done by women, although kids are close to their fathers as well. As more and more Qataris hire nannies, particularly Filipino nannies, to take care of their children, Filipino values and child care practices are introduced. Through this, a bit of Filipino culture is imprinted in the future generation, and families are appreciative of the love, care and good values taught by the nannies.
Just like Filipinos, Qataris are quite hospitable. Qataris are inclined towards extending their hospitality towards strangers, which is similar to what we Filipinos do. However, Filipinos probably are a lot more hospitable than Qataris in general, often going out of their way to give even the best of what they have to the guests. Among Qataris, there is still a strong sense of preserving privacy at all costs, and often, when visitors not related by blood arrive at their homes, the guests are limited to using the guest areas of the house.
These are just three of the many cultural similarities, and key differences, between Qataris and Filipinos. It goes to show that despite being thousands of kilometers apart, both countries share many common tenets.