Mano Po - Filipino's Counterpart to Japan’s bowing and Spain’s Beso-Beso

“Pagmamano” is performed as a sign of respect and a way of requesting a blessing from the elder.

Paying respect to older people is almost a universal human tradition where each culture has its own customs and tradition in doing so.

In the Philippines one way to pay respect to the elderly is to do the “mano” or “pagmamano”, an "honoring gesture" performed as a sign of respect for an elder and a way of requesting a blessing from the elder. “Mano” is similar to hand-kissing, the person giving the greeting bows towards the offered hand of the elder and presses his or her forehead on the elder's hand. 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. Typically someone may mano to his or her older relatives upon entry into their home or upon seeing them.

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The word "mano" is Spanish for "hand" while the word "po" is often used in Filipino culture and language at the end of each sentence as a sign of respect when addressing someone older. Put together, "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. An identical tradition is followed in neighboring Indonesia and Malaysia called "salim" and "salam" respectively, suggesting that the Mano po tradition dates to pre-colonial times.

In today's Philippine society, the mano or pagmamano is still used by many Filipinos as a sign of respect for their elders. Often, it is done when the elder is seen for the first time in the day or upon entering a house or gathering. There is no age limit for the usage of the mano, but it is usually practiced on those older by two generations or more.

By offering your hand to mano, you are allowing yourself to be subservient to the elder to accept their blessing and wisdom. It is considered impolite if one does not exercise the custom of pagmamano when entering the home of an elder or after seeing them at a gathering.

The respect for elders stems from the high value of family in Filipino culture. Filipinos are loyal to their family, such that the elderly live in the homes of their children and/or grandchildren to be taken care of, and the nursing home business is almost nonexistent in the Philippines. By having the elderly live at home, you are respecting their value in the family.

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