It’s the full Rosary hanging on the rearview for me
Filipinos, we love our cars. It’s as every much an extension of who we are as the clothes we wear and the food we eat.
It doesn’t matter if you own a 2021 Lexus LX 570 or a 1996 Toyota Corolla, you’re going to find these things in your car.
And, as a Filipino American myself, I know what we have in our cars. I can’t help but notice every car in the Pacific Island parking lot has these things.
1. The full Rosary, all five mysteries, hanging from your rearview mirror.
Close to 90 percent of the Philippines is Catholic, so God’s going to be number one in your car.
A Filipino’s car has a bunch of Catholic items like, multiple Bibles, church bulletins, Palm Sunday branches, holy water (because you need to bless potentially un-holy things,) prayer cards and, sometimes a Santo Nino on the dashboard. Third-class relic? Would not be surprised.
If you’re dating an Iglesia Ni Cristo convert, you’ll maybe find just a Bible.
2. Napkins and plastic cutlery in your glove box. Styrofoam plates in your trunk.
If you’re not frugal, are you even Filipino? A hallmark of the Filipino fast food experience is grabbing more napkins than necessary and saving all the plastic cutlery.
Before any major sporting event or concert, Filipinos are pre-gaming with an entire dinner in the parking lot. Why spend on stadium food when we can bring delicious food from home? That’s when we use all those napkins and plastic cutlery we’ve been saving.
3. My Shaldan Air Fresheners
Forget those Little Trees. If you look underneath a Filipino’s driver seat, nine times out of ten, you’re going to find one of these. These bad boys are right next to the skin whitening products on the way out of 99Ranch.
4. Plastic bag waste basket tied to the door handle.
It’s the combination of keeping our cars clean and never throwing out a good plastic bag that makes this a hallmark for Filipinos. Fill it with trash, and when you’re getting gas, toss it out.
This goes for a lot of Asian and South-East Asian cultures, too.
5. Golf clubs and basketball equipment in the trunk
Golf and basketball are two of the most popular sports for Filipinos, so you know you’re going to keep all your clubs and extra basketball equipment in the trunk.
6. Cal Berkeley/USC/UCLA/Stanford license plate frame OR Warriors/Lakers License plate frame.
A Fliipino’s most valuable investment is their own kids, so when one or several of them get into a top school, you know they have to low-key brag to everyone about their kids.
If their kid got into any other UC, non-Ivy league school, or a Cal State, you’re going to find a Warriors or Lakers frame. They love their kids, but they love the Warriors more than the college they’re paying for.
7. Wood Bead driver and passenger seat cover
Unbeknownst to everyone else, wood bead seat covers are actually comfortable for driving long distances. But you won’t find any younger Fil-Ams rocking these. This is for the OG Filipino driver.
Also, old school Filipinos are notorious for not using Air Conditioning because AC means using more gas and using gas costs money. Beaded seats allow air ventilation on cloth or leather interiors. Savings!
8. OEM Gold package emblem set
If you drive an older model Toyota, Honda, Lexus, or Acura, there usually was an optional Factory gold package emblem set. Filipinos like adding “a touch of class” to their cars in the most affordable ways possible and gold Hs tick all the boxes.
Today, finding an older, clean Honda or Toyota with all the gold emblems is a sought out rarity.
9. Tissue box
I, myself, do not understand this one but I presume a tissue box really classes up an interior. Tissues also come in handy in many sticky situations (get your mind out of the gutter!)
Thrown around and stuffed under seats, a tissue box isn’t going to last long with its thin cardboard exterior, so dedicated tissue box covers are sometimes purchased. You’ll often find tissue boxes on the rear shelf in between the speakers.
10. Weekly Fil-AM newspapers
Believe it or not, a lot of Filipino businesses in the United States rely on advertising from Filipino-run newspapers. The number of these newspapers is growing smaller, but they’re still a source of news, legal service tips and entertainment for an older Filipino demographic.
After grocery shopping, grabbing one of these newspapers is automatic. And, when you’re done reading it, you can use it to clean your mirrors and windows. For some, that’s the only reason they grab these. Again, savings!