The people of the Philippines are the most wonderful people in the world and it is because of Filipino Culture. The best people I know, at least in the world I’ve been too. Respect is central in Filipino culture and I think that plays a huge role in how Filipino treat each other. Greetings with smiles and open arms and open hearts. Respect is assume but can be lost. Even when lost Filipino will usually still act respectful to the fallen countryman. I have deep respect myself for Filipino as a whole.
Someone might wonder why an American would be writing about the Filipino Culture. Since it is new to me, and since I’m the kind of person that analyzes everything down to a molecule, I make observations that most wouldn’t make. Things Filipino have grown up doing and don’t realize how unique or foreign it is to me.
If you’re Filipino and grew up in another country, then this culture will be almost as different to you as it is to me. Oh, not completely. I doubt you’d have the same degree of misunderstanding that I did when I first moved here. You would know more bout Filipino culture than I did. I’m sure you have family members that have shared much with you. You’ve probably had a pigs head on your table at times. And you might have a heck of time saying fork.
I saw a sign the other day where someone spelled “Spoons and Porks” on sale here. And there was a picture of fork and spoon next to it with a price. Now, I wouldn’t dream of making fun of it. I have a smile on my face. I find it amusing but not in a negative way. My Filipino girl friend does too.
Foreigners come to the Philippines with a lot of wrong ideas and it is my goal to try to educate them. Some don’t want to be educated.
Understanding The Importance of Respect In Filipino Culture is Crucial
The truth is that often spoils their time here. If they could learn to be a little bit more open minded. Stop with the “Respect has to be earned mentality” and instead try to act in a respectful way they might learn a bit more and perhaps even be treated better.
I tell you though, I admire Filipino for putting up Americans that are acting rudely and most of you continue to show respect. For me, that is what Filipino culture revolves around. Yes, I give elders Mano Po, sometimes even those I don’t know. I realize that Family is the most import element in the lives of many Filipino but respect is deeply embedded with that too.
I found this video about Filipino culture on YouTube and thought I would share it. I have personally witnessed most everything mentioned here. It is an accurate lesson in Filipino culture. If I had become married here, I would have seen all of the Filipino culture mentioned in this video.
Filipino Culture and Traditions
When you come to the Philippines, I don’t think anyone expects you to like everything about it. No one should expect you to like all parts of the Filipino culture. But please, don’t try to change it. Don’t tell everyone how fouled up it is. Don’t jump to conclusions. Spend a little time here. Do a little research. Understanding why differences occur might make the differences in Filipino culture from your own make a lot more sense.
As always, some Filipino culture is highly localized. What some Filipino do in their region would be unacceptable in another. Even a Filipino that travels to another region of the Philippines is sometimes surprised at how some aspects of the Filipino culture are vastly different from what they are use to.
Sharing in Filipino Culture
Are you being taken advantage of because you’re a foreigner. The answer is no.
However, I think some clarification may be in order. While sharing is a big part of Filipino culture, I don’t think asking for people to share is a part of the Filipino culture for most. Offering to share is part of the Filipino culture.
The temptation to ask for help can be strong though. Suppose you are rich in the USA. Do you think people will not be asking for favors? Suppose you win the lotto in the USA? You hear of people that do, suddenly hearing from relatives they haven’t been in contact for decades. These lucky winners usually mention that everyone wants to be their friend and most have their hand out hoping to participate in your good fortune. This behavior isn’t limited to Filipino culture. It is common throughout the world.
Having a Westerner join the family is often like winning the lottery in the Filipino Culture. I don’t think the response in the Philippines is any different than most of the rest of the world.
Sharing is huge in the Filipino culture and seems to be universal. When a friend bought Juliet and gave her to me, the farmer that she bought it from had a mini-party. Inviting his friends over for a night of bonding. I don’t know because I wasn’t there, but this bonding usually includes significant amounts of Red Horse, San Miguel Beer and Tanduay. Friendship is also a major influence in Filipino culture.
Filipino often offer me food and drink when I walk around Bogo. They do this because it is part of Filipino culture. Sharing is a part of being Filipino.
Filipino are usually all about family and they often hang out at each others homes and come without invitation. Its not you. It isn’t because you’re a foreigner. It is because it is what many are use to doing. Now I’m not going to tell you how to react to that. Just don’t feel picked on. You may not be as important as you think you are! It is kultura Filipino or Filipino culture.
Probably the best way to avoid this if it concerns you is do not live near your wife or girlfriends relatives.
Filipino Culture — Bad Manners
I have seen foreigners complain about poor table manners. They may be bad to you but these are not
bad traits to many Filipino! Filipino are not being rude in their culture and you are no longer living in your own culture. What makes you think your way is better? Because you were born into that. If you were born into a Muslim family, you’d probably be Muslim. It is what you know as proper. That doesn’t make it proper for everyone else.
Many Filipino eat completely up to Western standards. In fact a lot of them do. I’ve never seen my girl use her fingers to eat rice. Now her boys do and I’ve seen her friends do it. Honestly, it is different to me and not overly pleasant but that’s just my culture. I don’t harp on it, I just look away. I don’t understand why others can’t do the same. I think they just like to complain myself. It is a wonder Filipino put up with us at all.
I’ve had a couple of Americans tell me Filipino are rude. What? Where the heck did he go in the Philippines? Maybe Angeles City? I’ve met quite a few Filipino that worked there. No, I didn’t go there. I made friends with them online. They were always very nice and respectful to me. One of those guys is a very rude person. He use to visit the site a lot and I put up with him for a long time. He finally pushed me to far. I can see why Filipino would be rude to him. The way he talks about them, someone should have him blacklisted. I think he sent me a message today and cursed me. I don’t know, I found it humorous and childish. I have never been treated rudely by a Filipino. I have lived here for more than four years.
So many come to this land and expect 90 million people to change their ways to please them. Then they are the first to accuse others of what it is they do. We all do have our faults I suppose.
Humility and Pride In Filipino Culture
Now I understand when I’ve told a Filipino something they have is nice they will downplay it. I have seen this but didn’t understand it until just now. I’ve heard “Its not good” when I made a remark about something. I didn’t understand the reaction. Not good to me means bad. Now I understand they didn’t mean it was bad but they probably just didn’t want to feel proud.
Many Filipino do not return home every year though. The cost to do so is probably the main reason. I think most would like too.
Now I have a cute little story that just occurred between Jessie and myself. In one of the videos I published here, Jessie admits she is wrong. That is the only time Jessie has ever admitted that she is wrong. I made the comment someplace the only time she ever did was when the camera was running.
Last night Jessie told me that the Bogo would have a brownout at 8pm. She wasn’t sure if it was 8pm or 8am though. Since they didn’t turn the lights out at 8pm, it looked like we’d have an all day brownout in Bogo City today. It is now 9am and the lights are still on. I had told her I thought it was a textmate rumor. But I turned my PC off and the aircon down as far as I could get it. All to prepare for this dreaded brownout.
Jessie kept insisting the lights would be turned off. That it had been announced and even “The Professor” had confirmed it. The professor is a Filipino that lives in our compound. He is a dean at one of the local colleges and people call him “The Professor.”
After the lights failed to be turned off, Jessie discovered it was a “miscommunication” and I discovered a chance for my brand of fun.
I asked her if she was wrong. She said no, “It was a miscommunication. I then asked if she had told me that the lights would be turned off at 8am. She said “I did.” I followed up with asking if the information was wrong and she confirmed that it was wrong. So I asked again. “Were you wrong when you told me the lights would be turned off at 8am.” Her reply was “Hush, I wasn’t wrong. It was a miscommunication.”
Now I don’t know if all Filipina refuse to admit they are wrong but this one does, unless she is on camera. Filipino culture? I don’t know. Filipino culture is made up of individual Filipino of course.
There is a lot of pride packed into most Filipino but I agree that it is usually aimed toward their country and the Filipino culture. As there should be pride toward the culture of the Philippines.
Many Filipino will talk of helping their family. They tell me they want to earn more money so they can send it home to their family. I know a Filipina that works in a factory seven days a week. Her salary is about P4000 if she doesn’t earn overtime. She usually does though. She sends P4000 a month to her parents! That really does take a great deal of humility. Putting others before self. Sending money home is common in Filipino culture.
Filipina And Family
Yeah, you marry the family not just the girl. Unless you want to make it hard on your Filipina, this is part of living in the Philippines.
Families often have “Elders” that decide important family issues. I know Jessie was at one point very concerned about disapproval from the elders in her family. I have yet to figure out just exactly who these elders are. But we don’t live near her family. What I know is that this group is extremely important to her.
This devotion to family is a very strong part of the Filipino culture and I think we should envy it. I’ve noticed a huge decline in this value among many families in the USA.
Embrace and Learn From Filipino Culture
Frankly, if you’re the one that is voicing your opinions about the way of the Filipino and thus trashing the Filipino culture, you are the one that is rude. You cannot possibly visit another land and speak of rude Filipino and not be rude in doing so.
I think a lot of these perceptions of rudeness and other things Westerners don’t like about the Philippines is because they fail to understand Filipino culture. Or maybe they are just so full of themselves that they think their way is the right way.
I have written an eBook that covers every concern I can think of about the Philippines. It is the information I wish I had when I was planning my move to the Philippines. I knew almost nothing about the Philippines and I didn’t know what to expect. I think I would have cut two years off my move to the Philippines.
It is packed with information about Filipino culture. I had only dealt with a few Filipino online. Mostly Filipina and that is a horrible place to learn about the Philippines. It is indeed hard to wrap your head around Filipino culture if you’re from the West. After four years of living in the Philippines I think I have a good grasp of the culture and traditions of the Philippines now.
It helps that I’ve always been keenly interested in psychology. What makes people react the way they do. If you come to the Philippines thinking like a westerner, you might have trouble understanding what is happening in the Philippines. Filipinos don’t have the same motivations Westerners do. This often causes misunderstandings for both Filipinos and Westerners.
The eBook also covers things such as immigration, a business in the Philippines, places in the Philippines, how to get your money while living in the Philippines, shipping your things to the Philippines, buying a home in the Philippines, the corruption and crime issues and everything else I can think of about living in the Philippines. The manual will help prepare you to live in the Philippines and make it happen faster. For more information click here.
If you’re living in the Philippines or even if you’re visiting here, embrace the Filipino culture.
Filed under: Filipino Culture
Like this post? Subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more!