The Last Piece Syndrome

No category about Filipino culture would be complete without mention of what is called “the last piece syndrome”.

Filipino culture insists that one leave the last piece of anything (food) for someone else.

What do I mean? Well, this is how it works:

Let’s say you’re eating out with some friends and have a whole pizza in front of you, sliced up and ready to be eaten.

Everyone takes a piece, and then a second piece until there is only one remaining piece of pizza left.

Now in any other place than the Philippines, I bet people would either race for that last piece or leave it for whoever gets its first -not big deal right?

This is where Filipino culture kicks in because here nobody wants to be the one to get that last piece!

(There maybe one or two who do want it but for some reason, getting that piece is so difficult to do)

Normally, a conversation about that last piece of pizza will go something like this:

Friend 1: Go on, Friend 2, get the last piece, I know you’re hungry.
Friend 2: No, I’m ok, Friend 3 should have it, and she’s the skinniest.
Friend 3: No, I don’t want any more, Friend 1, you can have it.
Friend 1: Ok, Let’s just share Friend 3.

As to how long the conversation will last, well it depends on how many of you there are and probably how close you are.

How is this ‘dilemma’ solved? Well, after the above lines get said all around the table, someone will, finally, say “ok, fine-if you guys insist, I’ll have it” or else, the piece will just be left on the table.

I have noticed that pushing back and forth usually is shorter when among close friends. I think in these cases, it really is just a matter of abiding to tradition.

I really have no idea where this ‘last piece syndrome’ comes from but I guess that’s the beauty with Filipino culture-it needs no origin or explanation-it is just what it is.

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