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Attire to visit churches?

Logan, Utah
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Attire to visit churches?

We intend to visit a bunch of historic churches in the Philippines next month, and I was hoping someone could give us an idea of how male visitors would be expected to dress when entering churches? Normally I would never enter a church in shorts (and I never ever do that when in the cooler highland regions of Latin America), but the Philippines promises to be extremely hot and humid so we will probably be doing most of our touring in shorts rather than long pants. Will this create problems with entering churches or are they used to tourists in shorts in the Philippines?

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1. Re: Attire to visit churches?

some churches have already informed their flock to come to mass in decent clothes and that includes restrictions on shorts. However, because of the heat, churches tolerate cargo shorts or dress shorts, or capri, as long as these are considered conservative. No-nos are short shorts, or gym shorts, or sleeveless undershirt types (like those sleeveless basketball shirts) or considered skimpy attire like spaghetti straps (for girls), or exposed midriffs or plunging necklines. Also, refrain from wearing slippers or flipflops.

Logan, Utah
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2. Re: Attire to visit churches?

Thanks so much, that was very helpful!

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3. Re: Attire to visit churches?

@ Ut,

Altec is spot on.

Dress as Filipinos do...

Most Filipino men would wear a t-shirt (pref collared) or shirt / Barong, with full pants or jeans.

Shorts, while not unheard of, are not recommended.

Ladies - wear t-shirts / ideally dresses / blouse / skirt (sleeveless is ok) / jeans.

Shorts / short skirts, while not unheard of, are not recommended. Ditto for low necks.

Most Filipinos tend to be rather religious (ritualistically) and give a lot of respect to their places of worship which they take seriously.

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4. Re: Attire to visit churches?

shorts are commonly worn in churches here, especially in the provincial areas. As a foreigner, it seems more acceptable than if worn by a Filipino. For visiting a church during non mass hours, its more open and flexible. We have been in dozens of churches all over the country and we wear shorts and never get a second look, outside of the fact, that they do not see many foreigners in some of these places. My husband stands out, but not because he is wearing cargo shorts in a church. Dont wear short shorts or revealing clothes, which overall is not such a good idea as a traveler anyway, in my opinion.

Logan, Utah
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5. Re: Attire to visit churches?

Thanks for all the informative replies ... we will definitely do our best to not come across as walang-hiya foreigners :-)

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6. Re: Attire to visit churches?

It will very much depend on the church.

I was recently a sponsor at a multiple baptism on leyte. I was dressed in black pants, black shoes and a barong. All other males, except the priest and alter boys, were in shorts and thongs (slippers/flip flops)

Except for special occasions such as weddings and baptisms, I only wear cargo shorts and thongs. If I have to wear long pants and shoes, I don't want to go. I have never been denied access anywhere. Not even night clubs and discos. Even if there is a sign saying no slippers.

On a regular basis, I have been in and out of 3 "touristy" churches in my usual dress Being the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, The Sto Nino Basilica in Cebu City and before it was destroyed, the Baclayon church on Bohol. No one ever batted an eyelid. At the Baclayon church though, they made women cover up. I have also been several times to 2 ""touristy" churches in Manila, being the San Agustin Church and the Manila Metropolitan Cathedral. No problems there either in cargo shorts and thongs.

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7. Re: Attire to visit churches?

@ Big Jim

I was trying to imagine that scene ... and could not help smiling... " I was dressed in black pants, black shoes and a barong.. All other males, except the priest and alter boys, were in shorts and thongs (slippers/flip flops)" .

One good thing in the Phils is that one never feels embarrassed - even if one does something embarrassing.. .the smiles and laughs take away all embarrassment :) :)

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8. Re: Attire to visit churches?

yloo. that is true. filipinos are hardly confrontational. so if one wears ill advised attire, seldom will that person be stopped from entering. in the church where i heard the priest make such an announcement about proper attire, i still see people wearing those attire and footwear the priest specifically said so. yet they were not refused entry. in provincial churches where the common filipino prevails,, they may even be more tolerant, moreso with footwear.

Logan, Utah
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9. Re: Attire to visit churches?

Yes, I have heard about the famous Filipino cheerfulness and can't wait to check it out in person. I have no problems with people setting rules within places of worship and expecting everyone to abide by them. Once I was in Campeche, Mexico and a tourist from Mainland China entered the cathedral in flip-flops and shorts, and (gasp!) proceeded to eat a pizza out of a box while sitting in the pew! Within minutes he was shooed out of there. We actually met him again the next day while on a tour (there are very few foreign visitors in Campeche so that is inevitable) and he couldn't understand why the Mexicans kicked him out of the cathedral. He said in Mainland China one can eat, smoke and do whatever else one wants inside temples. I haven't been to Mainland China so I cannot verify if that is true. I did, however, see people smoking in Taoist temples in Taiwan occasionally, and of course they wear shoes into temples in Taiwan which would be shocking in places like Thailand and Japan. So everywhere is different I guess ... that's what makes travel interesting, right?

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10. Re: Attire to visit churches?

@ Ut

Phils is definitely different from the items you have mentioned. Giving importance to religion is appreciated here. Looking at girls / boys in a church is accepted. Smiling at them? Maybe... Eating in church? Definitely a big No No! Talking loudly in church? Again, a big no no!

laughing inside the church if the priest made a joke and others are laughing..... ... yes, it is allowed. :)

Laughing .. dancing and singing outside the church... always allowed and always done. (And yes - there WILL be some ammount of singing inside the church too...Haa.... le... lu... jah.....)