In America, most homes have no fence around the property and if they do they are an open picket fence type. If you go to visit someone, you walk up to the front door and ring the doorbell or just knock on the door.
Here, just as I had seen in some parts of Europe, homes are secured by a masonry or metal wall or fence with a large gate. Many times these are solid and very little visibility to the street. Some keep them locked all day or some just at night.
If someone is coming to visit, sell something, deliver something or just to beg, they will just stand in front and just call out “Ayo Ayo.”
If I go to a friend’s house, it is not like in America and you let yourself in the gate and go to their door. You just stand there and call out. You just have to hope the TV or Karaoke machine is not so loud where they cannot hear you.
The bad part is in many areas there is no sidewalks and some streets are narrow. Some there is even no room to park and you have to park down the road. Then as your waiting to be let in, you need to watch out for vehicles.
In the home, unless you live in a gated subdivision, many times you have the street vendors calling their wares as they walk down the street. There are also people with bicycle-powered carts buying corrugated boxes and metal or plastic junk for recycling. Many meal times the beggars come around calling for spare food.
With that, and from the beggars in the street, another term you need to learn is “Wala” and” Kwarta.” Wala mean no or none and Kwarta means money. So if a street beggar comes to the gate for food, you just call out to them “Wala” and hopefully they will go on their way. Out on the street a wave of the hand and a “Wala Kwarta” usually will get them to move on. If you are in front of a business or the Mall, and that does not work, catch the eye of a security guard and they will get them to move on.
One other word good to know and will make many Filipinos happy to hear is “Salamat” (Sa lam at) which means “Thank You.” By using a word in their language shows a Filipino you can and respect their language.