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Living and being around Filipinos (part 1)

There are a lot of things I have learned about the people of the Philippines. Most I like some things I need to get used to and some things that I do not like.

Filipinos are very resourceful and most are hard workers. They will have a main job and then have side jobs, selling things, doing services or making things to sell.

I have recommended tradesmen I know or have used and they will offer 10% of their profit as a gift to me for finding them work.

A lady I work with has a side business selling handbags made from a native fiber abaca. They are well made and have some pretty designs and patterns. This lady met with Elena and offered her a percent of her profit if Elena can sell some.

Filipinos are in most cased very friendly. They like to engage in conversation and I find them very open and honest. Yes I know, some of you have found otherwise, but can you tell me all people from your home country are honest?

It might be that I am open and friendly to every Filipino I meet and have the opportunity to talk to. I try not to complain or treat them any different that I want to be treated.

Elena works evenings at an Indian cuisine restaurant and some evenings I will go there to see the owner and sit there until Elena’s shift is over. I will sit outside. The restaurant has outside tables and a lot of evenings there will be people sitting and having beers. Many times I will get into a conversation with someone there. I have met interesting people, learned about them and their life and they will ask me about myself and life in America. Sometimes I will sit down and someone from the next table will just offer me a beer. When I decline they look offended so I have to explain I do not drink beer. Some will offer to buy me a cocktail.

The other day I needed to go see a doctor for a skin allegory that started up. At the end of the exam Elena came in. I needed to use the Restroom so I asked Elena to pay the bill. She later told me the doctor told her how much the doctor enjoyed meeting me. She said most foreigners are cold, sometimes nasty but I was friendly and she enjoyed talking to me and my little jokes.

This was not the first time I have heard comments like this. When I took my car in for service, Cathy, the service writer said to me “Sir, what is wrong with you?” I was confused and asked “Wrong, I am fine” She then said “most foreigners complain about parts delays and other things. I told her, “you do not control the system; it is not your fault, so why not be nice and enjoy talking to her”.

A few weeks ago, there was talk in the office in Bisaya and I saw some kind of tickets. I asked what was going on. Irwin told me his brother gave him 5 complementary tickets to a concert which was across the street form where Elena works. He asked me if I would like to go and offered me 2 tickets. I told him I have at home 3 nieces, their brother and his girlfriend. He then offered me all 5 tickets. I text the girls and they all wanted to go.
I always will show appreciation to someone when they do me a favor so I offered to buy him lunch. He refused and told me the enjoyment of my family seeing the concert was gift enough.

When we go to the mall, all the entrance doors have a security guard that will inspect any carry bags and lightly pat down the men. They will always say hello, but I will also ask how they are today, and I wait for the answer.

A few times one of the guards will be walking through the mall on their way back from break, see me and come over to say hi.

Clerks I have friendly too will walk up, say hi and ask how I am. We usually will get into a conversation about something and after a few minutes they will apologize that they need to get back to work.

Since this is getting long, I will continue and include some things I do not like in part 2 in a few days.

4 Responses to “Living and being around Filipinos (part 1)”

  1. Hi Bruce,

    This is the first time I’ll be making a comment on your blog. I hope I get it right. Filipinos are no different than anyone else in this world. They want the same thing you and I want. In my dealings with them–and I’m a Filipino–one thing I found to work in all situations is when I apply one of the principles I learned from a Dale Carnegie course I took years ago. That is, make them feel important all the time. This treatment is something Filipinos are not used to because of the “crab mentality” way of thinking that’s prevalent throughtout the country. I prefer to call it ‘Tribal Mentality’, but that’s just me. I call it the way I see it.

    But when you lavish Filipinos with uncommon humility, they can’t help but lower their guards and allow you access in their personal lives. I think that’s the problem with most foreigners and Filipino expats who are new to the Philippines or have been gone too long, respectively. They have such a high standards that they expect the Philippines and Filipinos to live up to. That’s why these foreingers and Filipino expats have such a hard time adjusting to the life here.


    • Bruce says:

      Thanks for visiting. I try to learn and understand Filipino culture and mentality. At times it is difficult to understand the differences in thinking. I try to treat all people I meet as I would anywhere. The but sometimes the shyness, the language, sense of humor and just our differences get in the way.
      I like to joke, so when I get close to a Filipino, like when I was working, I tell someone, I never intend to insult. I ask them to help me learn the differences. When I get invited to a poorer Filipino home, I do not comment about their home and will complement something I see that is nice, like the kids drawings displayed on the wall.
      I know I will never totally understand the Filipino comepletely and they will never understand foreigners but I try to close the gap when I can.

  2. Hi Bruce,

    At least you’re trying to understand the Filipino mentality. That’s really all you can do and I believe the person–and they don’t have to be Filipinos–to realize that you’re making the effort to become a friend. Filipino and non-Filipinos may be different culturally, but the emotions they feel are universal. I know that’s surprisingly new coming from me, especially when I’m known to be a big proponent of adhering to one’s culture. But you’re doing a fine job, Bruce. Maybe someday this will written on your gravestone: ‘Here lies a man who succeeded at being misunderstood. Those who attended his wake he felt were offended.’ JPB

    • Bruce says:

      Thank you for understanding my misunderstanding. As the old communication saying “I know you understood what I said, but you do not realize, what I said might not be what I meant”

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