Filipino Culture Often Causes Misunderstandings

Filipino culture is Asian based and of course Philippines based. It goes deeper than thought. A couple of months ago I discovered the thoughts on two different culture styles known as “high context culture” vs “low context culture.” The term and observations were introduced by Edward T. Hall, and developed by anthropologist in his book “Beyond Culture.”  You can buy it for less than $12 at Amazon with that link. I’d like to have it but it isn’t on Kindle so I won’t buy it. I’d really like to have it. Even though it came out in 1976 it seems very interesting. There is also a lot of free information on Wikipedia.

High Context Versus Low Context Culture

  • High Context Culture — Found in less diverse localities or countries.
  • Low Context Culture — Found in more diverse localities or countries.

The Filipino culture is one of high context while the USA and most European countries are considered low context.   The USA is the great melting pot of cultures. People from all over the world live there. There are huge difference in the culture of black people and white people though those differences have become much less dramatic in the last 10 years, they are still present.

When people have similar backgrounds, they don’t need to say as much to make their selves understood. A high context culture will allow the culture to do more of their speaking.

When a people have a huge diversity more needs to be said to ensure the same level of understanding.

Filipino Culture Vs Western Culture

Does your Filipina girlfriend seem secretive?  Do you have to pry information out of her?  Is it hard to get her to expand on what she means?

I have found this to be very true. I observed this, even before I was actually living in the Philippines. I was sometimes frustrated with trying to understand things.

Filipino often sees Americans as loud and obnoxious. Unfortunately, many times I see them the same way. We certainly are more outspoken and that includes myself too. I use to think it was the rebellious nature of Americans and it might be part of it. Also, Americans have a keen sense of not accepting and blindly following our political leaders. It seems to me that we are far less accepting of “Well, that’s just the way it is.”

I’ve heard that term many times since I began living in the Philippines. I think Filipino culture being a high context one gives rise to the perception to Westerners that that Filipino are “highly compliant.” That was a term I heard from a foreigner living in the Philippines soon after I arrived.

I somewhat accepted that but at times it just didn’t seem to apply at all. I think now it really just more of our own perceptions due to our lack of understanding what goes unsaid in Filipino culture.

I also think difference leads some to question the honesty of Filipino. Now, I know there are some lying Filipino, trust me I know. Especially Filipina you will meet on the web.  That’s not the Philippines, these are scamming Internet girls.  It isn’t the same thing.

Lovers Quarrel

Since the Filipina may leave much unsaid, it can and does lead the appearance of dishonesty. Now there are other reasons for their

Rusty and Ela (Not My girlfriend)

brevity which is often to avoid conflict. Sometimes it is they do not wish to bother their man with problems. And yes, sometimes it is just pure conniving lying. But don’t assume your loved one is lying to you when she leaves things out. It could be all of the reasons I’ve talked about above.

The differences between Filipino culture and Western culture are vast and often lead to those in both cultures drawing inaccurate conclusions.

If you want to be happy living in the Philippines it really behooves you to understand Filipino culture.

Tagged with:

Filed under: Filipino Culture

Like this post? Subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more!