General Time Orientation in the Philippines Part 1

Business Cultural Notes

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 than to be an hour late for a key meeting. It’s always a good idea to call ahead to confirm a business appointment, either earlier the same day or the afternoon before the meeting.

For most social occasions, it is almost rude to arrive at the stated time. Fashionably late is the name of the game, by as much as an hour. At a party, the more important the guest, the later he or she arrives. More generally, expect slow and indifferent service wherever you go. Integrate that concept and don’t try to fight it, as it won’t do you any good to complain except on a situational basis. Try to adapt a Zen frame of mind when shopping or dealing with crowds rather than fuming or doing a slow burn. No point.

Source:  Filipino Business Norms, Etiquette and Style
From Pearl of the Orient Seas, 1999, Clarence Henderson
Henderson Consulting International, Manila, Philippines

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