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.
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.
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.
- Crab 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.
- Tomorrow 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.
- Colonial 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?
- Disregarding 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.
- Being 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!
- Balikbayan 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…
- Double 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!
- Spending 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.
- Excessive 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.