Annoying behavior

Annoying behavior Filipinos should get rid off

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After living in the Philippines for more than 7 years, I think I am entitled to criticize some of the annoying behavior of the Filipino people. It annoys me every day to deal with one or more of the following bad habits of Filipinos. Don’t understand me wrong here, I love to live in this country, but sometimes it gets frustrating to have to deal with these habits, of which I am sure, many Filipinos do not like them either.


I wouldn’t go as far as to say that ALL Filipinos have these bad habits, but many do, unfortunately. I dare to say that almost every Filipino has at least one of those. In general Filipinos are good people, but if they did not have these BAD habits, I would say they were awesome.

annoying behavior -Filipino time

Read also the post about ethics in the Philippines, it is more or less related to this post.

  • Filipino Time
    Punctuality in appointments, or in other words: being in time, is something very annoying and frustrating. Having an appointment with a Filipino, be it for personal matters of business, can really be very frustrating. Filipinos most of the time only show up an hour or more late, or do not show up at all. This behavior usually drives us, time-observant foreigners, crazy.
    When you talk to them about it, they always have the same excuses: “Sorry, Maraming Trapik”, and they say it with a smile…. as big as the Chinese wall. But they do not realize that, us foreigners, are also in the traffic; we only know that one has to leave the house in time for not being late!
    Funny thing is, that when a Filipino lives abroad, they are always in time on appointments, except in gatherings among other Filipinos.
  • annoying behavior-corruptionCorruption
    One of the biggest sicknesses of the Filipino people is their immoral behavior of corruption. From the richest to the poorest, corruption is well integrated in their minds, and maybe this bad behavior should be on the number 1 spot. This ‘culture of corruption’ is deeply embedded in the whole system and can be found all over. Well known are the recently discovered ‘pork-barrel scam’ where politicians have put lots of government money in their own pockets. But also in the streets it can be found. Police officers and MMDA officers are often called crocodiles because of their willingness to be bribed, for not issuing a ticket in case of a traffic violation.
    It is my sincere opinion that this corrupt system is keeping the poor, the poor; while the rich get richer.
  • annoying behavior-crab mentalityCrab Mentality
    In general, Filipinos are very jealous. They envy everybody who has a little bit more than the other has. They even are willing to do anything so the other cannot have what they, themselves cannot have. In other words, they like to prevent someone in achieving something because of envy or jealousy.
  • annoying behavior-manana-tomorrowTomorrow habit
    Probably inherited from the Spanish, is the so called ‘mañana habit’ the reason so little projects are finished in time or at all. It sometimes looks to me that they have made it an ‘art-form’. It can be seen everywhere. Government offices are the number 1 in this. Just simple things like validating a piece of paper, cannot be done at once, but you have to come back the next day or next week.
    Another example is road construction / improvement. Even when a contractual finishing date is set for a project, it often takes weeks or months after the set date before it is finished. That’s probably the reason many roads and streets are unfinished and nobody works on it anymore.
    The same with their houses, they live in unfinished houses for years, until such time that it is dilapidated and they have to start all over again because repairs cost more than building a new one. An often heard excuse for that is the lack of funds, but read on to the excessive partying and spending habit part, and you know the real reason.
  • annoying behavior-colonial mentalityColonial mentality
    Maybe one of the biggest flaws Filipinos have is the colonial mentality. It can be defined as a preference for all things foreign over their own. Something produced in the Philippines is never good enough, they prefer imported similar items. If they see their own culture and fruits of their work as inferior, I do not know. One specific thing I wonder why they do it, is the whitening of their skin. For some reason they like to look like a foreigner with a white skin, and they have a nose job done to have a longer nose.
    Some woman even like to have sex with Caucasian foreigners to get pregnant and have a ‘mestizo’ child. Like many ‘stars’ on TV, which are often from mixed couples, look good, are handsome and get jobs easier because of their looks?
  • annoying behavior-not following rulesDisregarding rules
    Why is it so hard for Filipinos to obey the rules? Is it related to the corruption problem? Or does it have to do with the centuries long suppression by the Spanish and Americans?
    It is best seen in daily traffic. Using 2 lane streets with 3 or more lines, crossing streets everywhere, counter flowing, disrespecting traffic lights and many more. It looks if traffic signs are merely street decoration than signs to be respected, in order to guarantee a better flow.
    Discipline, already though at a very young age, might be the cause of this behavior. Parents should realize that children more often should get a NO for an answer when they want something. By always saying yes to their children, they probably are creating this bad behavior for a later age.
  • annoying behavior-sensitive to insultsBeing Onion-Skinned (Balat Sibuyas)
    Filipinos are famous for being onion-skinned or easily slighted at perceived insults. For westerners it is perfectly normal to criticize others, be it on their behavior or what they are doing. And we, westerners, accept it most of the time. But not Filipinos, they feel attacked or hurt and even get angry from time to time. Towards us, they keep on smiling, by the way. But in the back of their heads they are thinking of possibilities to get us back.
    One of our live-in servants did something she was not supposed to do, even after warning her. She did it again and we talked to her about it, she was outside the house in the garden at that moment, and we warned her the very last time. Her answer was: You shamed me (because somebody in the street could have heard it). An hour later she decided to leave us!
  • annoying behavior-balikbayan box behaviorBalikbayan Box Mentality
    Of course, there is nothing wrong in receiving gifts from family members who are working abroad. These OFW’s are sending balikbayan boxes and money all the time to their relatives in the Philippines.
    The problem is, when the Filipino family starts demanding them, or letting the OFW know that it is EXPECTED from them. They use a lot of reasons, for example: we raised you, paid for your education and so on. What the Filipino family does not know is that these OFW hardly spend any hard earned money for themselves, and are not able to save any for the time they finally go back ‘home’.
    I know of situations where the Filipino family quits jobs and solely rely on the money such OFW sends home. And the money this OFW is sending is never enough, they always ask more, more…
  • annoying behavior-double standardsDouble standards
    All over the Filipino society, hypocrisy is something you will notice.
    An adulterous woman will be condemned, but polygamous men are applauded. Breastfeeding women can be seen all over the country, but do not show it on TV. Naked body parts are not allowed on TV, but the moment they are covered with very fine see-through cloth, it is accepted, even in the middle of the day. Sexy dances are common, also done by the youngest people. People even encourage children to do so, but magazines like Playboy are not allowed to be sold in the Philippines.
    The same with politicians, they promise to take care for reform and good governance in the pre-election period, but the moment they are elected, they have forgotten all about it. The sad part is: most Filipinos believe these promises, every time again!
  • annoying behavior-spending habitsSpending habits
    Filipinos like gadgets. I think they find having gadgets even more important than everything else. Every Filipino wants to have the latest, newest cell phone, the latest tablet and more of those things. Every pay day, for most people every 15th and 30th of the month, the whole family goes out, buying the latest toys for the children, going to dine in a restaurant and spend money on lots of things they do not actually need, but just want to have. At the end of the day often half of their income is spend on these things. After that the electricity bills and other bills needs to be paid so there will be hardly money left to feed the family until next pay day.
    So borrowing will take place. From everybody they know. Paying it back might take years, if ever it will be paid back. Putting some money on the bank and save it, is something only very few Filipinos do.
    The spending behavior of Filipinos will keep them poor people.
  • annoying behavior-excessive partyingExcessive partying
    I have kept the strangest to one of the last.
    There’s nothing wrong with throwing a party for something worth celebrating. Problem is that Filipinos find ‘everything’ worth celebrating. Even funerals are turned into a party with excessive food and drinking sessions. Karaoke and gambling are also seen often on funerals or during the wake.
    What is even stranger in my eyes is the fact that even the poorest families do so. They have to borrow money (which they probably never pay back) to be able to organize a party. Excessive food, much more than actually needed for the guests, will be cooked and not just simple food, it has to be the best and most expensive.
    The Philippines is the only country, as far as I know, where people also celebrate monthsaries (I am not sure if the spelling is correct). The parents of a baby celebrate 11 monthsaries and one anniversary in the first year of the baby’s life. Birthdays of children, even if these children are too young to realize what’s happening, are held in places varying from Jollybee and McDonalds to expensive venues as exclusive resorts (and often with borrowed money).
    It seems that every street, village, barangay, town or city has its own fiesta, sometimes even more than once a year. That’s the reason the Philippines is called a Fiesta-country!
    Want to know what Fiestas are worth going to? Check the Fiesta pages!

Are you aware of other bad behavior of the Filipinos? Leave your comment below.

17 Comments

  • Ben commented on 29 October, 2015 Reply

    You certainly hit the nail on the head with this article. I am married to a Filipino lady ( 8 years now). Sadly, she doesn’t understand anything about saving money and buying only the things she needs. She never buys anything for the house – she spends her money on gadgets and clothes. I have tried, with no success, to get her to understand that we need to save some money for hard times. She sent $3000.00 dollars to her family. They were supposed to put it in some kind of account that drew interest. That never happened. Instead, her mother and sister spent every last dollar of it on island hopping, partying, and such. My wife then turned around and made a trip to the Philippines. While there, she ran up a credit card debt of $5000.00, and spent another $4000.00 in cash. She purchased plane tickets for her family members just so they could experience traveling in an airplane, she funded parties just to satisfy her family. Even more sad, is the fact that we had been sending money on a regular basis to her family before all this happened. All that money was supposed to been going for food and repairing their home. I was lead to believe that was what they were doing with the money. They weren’t. They were wasting the money, and they made me believe they were using it for food and repairing their house. I love my wife. But I had to tell her and her family that we would not be sending anymore more until they learn how to be honest and use money wisely. And when I tried to explain to my Filipino in-laws that my wife and I work long hours to earn our paychecks, my words slid off like water running off a duck’s back. I suppose the lying and stealing is the habit I detest the most. Thanks for allowing me to share my experience.

    • Dutch Expat commented on 30 October, 2015 Reply

      Hi Ben,
      Thanks for leaving us your story. It will help People to think before they get involved with a Filipino spouse eventually.
      It shows that my post is true for most things.
      You must be very much in love with your spouse to accept all her (wrong) spendings.
      Sad to hear that your wife is exactly one of these Filipinos who think that there is a money tree in your garden. Her family must think that you are a billionaire. Just like so many other Filipinos think that all westerners are filthy rich.
      As long as you can afford this spending habit, it would not be a big problem, but the moment your savings are finished, or your income stops….You need to be very careful.
      All the best, I hope you will find a solution soon.

  • dante commented on 9 November, 2015 Reply

    my number 1 pet peeve is them cutting in lines constantly

    number 2 would be noisy neighbors

    overall most of the annoying things about living here come down to a complete lack of awareness about what their actions may do to other people, i really don’t even think most of the rude things are intentional…. they just don’t think beyond ‘i want to go there’ or ‘i want to do this’ so they just do it and dont realize others may be waiting to do the same

    im not racist but it does get old

    oh and the horn honking is out of control

    • Dutch Expat commented on 15 November, 2015 Reply

      Agree with you, I find them often very egoistic
      My list is in random order though.

  • ab commented on 21 November, 2015 Reply

    In terms of your post on “filipino time” I can remember when I had a dental appointment in Manila and I wasn’t seen for my cleaning after waiting for 75 minutes in the waiting room. This would be obscene in the States. I would never wait so long for an appointment in the states. Basically, this is unacceptable in western standards. In terms of “onion skinned” and also combining the “crab mentatlity”, I remember visiting for the first time the showroom of a condo unit my bf purchased before meeting me. I was so taken back by how SMALL it was and his sister asked me what I thought about it and I told her I thought it was very small for a family to live in and she barked at me saying that you dont need much living space in the capital city and then I remembered that her condo unit is the same exact size as the one my boyfriend purchased………….

    • Dutch Expat commented on 23 November, 2015 Reply

      Hi Alana, Common houses for Filipinos are always small in size, bedrooms are often not bigger than 5 or 6 square meter, and also they sleep there with 4 or more. But for a Filipino, to own a condo like that is already something. They do not belong to the lowest class anymore.
      You need to understand the Filipino way of living first, before making comments like that. Comments like that make them angry and hurts their pride.

  • Jan commented on 25 November, 2015 Reply

    First of all, I would like to mention, that not all Philliipinos/-nas are the same. My gf is a grade 10 teacher (English), has a nice salary and a house on a nice propertiy. And guess what: she likes to save money on her bank account. She raised her two kids on her own, because ‘daddy’ left the building to start another family. According to the Phillipine law, she still has the status of ‘married’; no annulment (yet?).
    In spite of this, i recognize many things from yourr list and, if you don’t mind, I would like to add one.
    My biggest frustration is about the publlc transportation. We all know the tricycle, the motorcab, the jeepney and, of course, the taxi. The first three options have one thing in common: too small for us, western tall people. Besides that, there is a very specific reason, which made me decide, never again to enter a jeepney: I don’t like to be treated as an animal in a cattle. Let me explain….. When you enter a jeepney and the conductor (the one, who collects the money) is not satisfied with the volume of the cattle to transport, he will slam the side off the jeepney a few times….. this should be the signal to the cattle to move closer, so more cattle can be transported. Very inpolite behavior.
    Oops…. I even forgot the train in Manila….
    So it may be an expensive way of transportation, for the Phillipines, i prefer the taxi.

    • Dutch Expat commented on 28 November, 2015 Reply

      Hi Jan,
      As I wrote already in the first paragraph, not all Filipinos/as have these behaviors, but many do have one or more.
      You are one lucky guy to have a girlfriend like this. Take good care of her.
      About public transport, there is a joke about it: If you ask how many passengers a jeep can transport, the driver will always say: There’s always room for one more!
      I also hate to take a jeep or bus, for that reason I have my own car and I drive everywhere, also in Manila, no problems.

  • dante commented on 5 December, 2015 Reply

    i had to go to a dermatologist one time, they opened at 9am, i showed up at 10am, the doctor wasnt there yet, i asked if i waited would i be the first she saw, the girl said yes i would be the first….. but i would have to wait until after they had their bible study

    • Dutch Expat commented on 6 December, 2015 Reply

      Hi Dante,
      When I go to a doctor I always ask first if the doctor in in, or what time he will come in.
      If he is not in time, I wait 15 minutes max. and look for another doctor.
      This is how it should be done, I think.
      Making appointments does not work, they are always late due to Filipino time or they blame it on the traffic…

  • Sandy commented on 22 July, 2016 Reply

    So, it seems to me that all of you are complaining to the habits of Filipinos. You are in their Country, just like if they are in your Country instead of bashing their way of life, you need to adopt to it like they have to adopt to yours. Philippines is a poor Country but you chose to be there or married one of them. Either go live somewhere else or divorce that person. Each one of you should be ashamed of yourselves to point out the Filipino characters. Have you look at yourself in the mirror? Why you are there the in first place or married one anyway? Is your Countries govt better than the Philippines Govt? I know in other Countries medical services are just as bad as well. Then go back to where you belong. Most Flipinos are tolerant to people like you but they do not judge your ways of life. Everyone has their opinion but look at your ways of life as well.

    • Dutch Expat commented on 3 October, 2016 Reply

      Do not see it as complaining. Just pointing the habits of Filipinos, because they even do not know themselves that they are like that.

  • Erik Møller commented on 20 August, 2016 Reply

    Philippines are the Land Of Rubbish. It’s really a problem no one can clean up after them self, leaving rubbish all over. Just take a small walk off any major street in Manila – and rubbish are flooding the streets. Ever went to the province…? People live in their own rubbish dump. You might say; “no, that’s not true”!! Just believe me… it’s the full truth.

    • Dutch Expat commented on 3 October, 2016 Reply

      I agree Erik. Although I also see young people throwing their garbage in the bins….
      Sari-Sari stores should be forbidden to sell drinks in plastic bags and the cities should place garbage bins everywhere.
      McD and Jollybee and others should NOT give these carton and plastic packages anymore. Still a lot to be done in this country.

  • Stephen commented on 2 September, 2016 Reply

    Your comments are hilarious and mostly true. Having said that, if you were Spanish, your list would be different. Having been to The Netherlands, I’m sure that I could come up with a few traits of the Dutch that are annoying – but like Filipinos, I mostly just think that the Dutch are amazing but a bit different. Re giving money to the family, I dare say that America and Western Europe were the same before pensions and Social Security obviated the need for family support.

    • Dutch Expat commented on 3 October, 2016 Reply

      Every person on this planet has some things not liked by others. These are my observations of most of the Filipinos I know. Yet I like this country, and I have learned to live with these ‘Filipino Shortcomings’. On the other hand they also have some good things. But that’s for another post.

  • Robert westhoff commented on 18 January, 2017 Reply

    Before I married my wife I told her I don’t pay for your parents. That’s your father’s job. But I might at times if I want to give them something. But don’t expect any. My wife saves every month a fixed amount from her budget. Yes I am an accountant and at times see her account balance. You can control these things when they know you are serious. I stopped lying and time issues. Just not tolerated. She now is a wonderful wife.

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