General Time Orientation in the Philippines Part 2

Time Orientation as Related to Business Deals: The pace of doing business in the Philippines is casual and leisurely, to say the least. Things usually unfold at a snail’s pace that can be downright excruciating for the results-oriented Westerner (I can and do so testify). However, it has been like that here for centuries and current trends toward Westernized modes of business interaction havRead More…

General Time Orientation in the Philippines Part 1

Time Orientation in General: Although there is a tendency to think of the Philippines as a place where it’s fine to be late, this is no longer true. Businesspeople have gradually come to appreciate the important of punctuality, and it’s best to arrive on time. I generally allow extra time for traffic congestion and unexpected delays, figuring its better to kill some time in a coffee shop thaRead More…

Public and Private in the Philippines: Are they the same space?

Lower Banaue, Ifugao province Most Filipino homes are architecturally open. Traditional homes have open windows, wall with openings for air to flow through. Some homes are one big space with no dividers at all. Bathrooms and kitchens are often times located outdoors open to the public. In upper class homes, indoor kitchens are rarely used, the ‘dirty kitchen” (outdoor kitchens) becomes the plaRead More…

Making Excuses in the Philippines

As in most Asian cultures, Filipinos find it hard to say “no” to invitations, requests for favors, etc. Saving one’s face is quite important, and the only way to save himself from embarrassment is to come up with alibis or excuses. This is also true in situations when one has to come up with explanations for why he or she is late or unable to come to appointments or commitments. Dahilan is theRead More…

Everyday Traditions in the Philippines

Nipa Huts, Evening. Fernando Amorsolo, 1951 The Tagalog word for habit is kinaugalian, which is related to the word kaugalian (customs or traditions).  The root word for both terms is ugali (roughly equivalent to “character,” but also connotes how one was raised in the process).  Ugaliin is another Tagalog term that stems from the same root, but has a positive connotation that means “Read More…

Education and Occupation: A Filipino Pride

The coming of the rains allows farmers to plant rice in Barangay Matolong in Manaoag, Pangasinan. – Photo By Cesar Ramirez, Source: www.philstar.com In Filipino society, a person’s social status is usually associated with his profession or occupation. Education is highly valued in Filipino culture, as in most Asian countries, because it is considered a passport to advancing one’s status in socRead More…

Saying NO! in the Philippines

Saying NO! Unknown Vocabulary Word – “No!”: In dealing with Filipinos, you soon discover that they don’t much care for the word “no.” In a Western setting, it’s usually pretty clear when the other party isn’t interested in your proposal, whatever it might be. The responsible executive simply looks you in the eye and says: “Sorry, but I’m afraid the answer no.” If you ask why, he or she wiRead More…

Confrontation in the Philippines

Confrontation Gandhi in the Philippines: Many Westerners are used to organizational cultures in which confrontation is the norm. In meetings, folks show their feelings, glare and gesticulate, criticize and even yell one another. But — hey, no hard feelings — they end up going out for a drink after work or watching a ball game together that weekend. Not in the Philippines! A raised vRead More…

The Concept of Ownership in the Philippines

The Concept of Ownership Ownership in Filipino culture has a number of dimensions. There is ownership or possession of things, such as personal belongings, that are not shared with anybody else, including members of one’s family. Personal na gamit is the term used to describe personal effects, such as clothes, toiletries, books, etc. One has to respect an individual’s ownership of thRead More…

Common Responses in the Philippines Part 2

Common Responses Part 2 Filipinos are basically cheerful people. Even if they are facing a number of personal problems in life, they still find it easy to smile and express optimism. This is best captured in a number of everyday greetings in Tagalog that convey some important meanings. For example, the greeting Kumusta ka na? (from Spanish, Como esta?, or “How are you?Read More…