How to Act Around Filipinos

I found this viral video on the internet a few weeks ago and I thought it was interesting. It’s a video about how foreigners should act around their Filipino friends. It’s quite long, around 9 minutes. The story is about Tommy, a Canadian, and his Filipino immigrant friends. This was written and directed by a Filipino, Ms Shantel Mempin.

How to Act Around Filipinos (Part 1)

1. Don’t expect them to arrive early.

Yes, we Filipinos have our so called “Filipino Time”, but let’s not generalize. There are also responsible Filipinos who come on time. I liked the part about the “tsinelas”. I also do that, especially then I’m at our ancestral home.

2. Don’t disrespect their parents.

Respecting the elderly is very important in our culture. “Pagmamano” and saying “po” and “opo” are signs of respect. Everyone should always remember that.

3. Pray before you eat.

Most Filipinos are Catholics so we pray almost all the time; before meals, after meals, before we start our day, before going to bed, and also before taking exams.

4. Do not correct their accents.

In general, I think correcting people’s grammar or accent is rude. But I think the exchanging of “f” and “p” and also the “i” and “e” is common here in the country.

5. Don’t talk about your punishment around them.

Well, we do have very creative ancestors who thought of such cruel punishments to discipline children. I’m surprised that they didn’t mention the kneeling on monggo beans punishment. Now that’s the best! haha

6. Do not expect expensive gifts.

Hmm, I don’t think so. Filipinos are very generous and “galante” especially on special occasions. If we could afford an expensive gift, we would but it for the person. It really depends on the environment where the individual grew in.

7. Know what “bootleg” movies are.

I thought this was only in the Philippines. I guess they still do it in other countries. I think this is bad though.

8. When a joke is told, just laugh.

It’s a pity he can’t understand Filipino jokes. I think Filipino jokes are the best. For me, English jokes are boring.

9. Always know your Filipino dance moves.

I don’t dance and I don’t like otso-otso. Period.

10. Manny Pacquiao is the best.

I think it’s great that Manny is able to boost the morale of the country but I’m still not a fan. Peace. 🙂

Overall, I think most of these are true. I think that we Filipinos should work on a little bit of culture correction, especially on our “Filipino Time”. They should have replaced the “bootleg” movies part, I think it’s not good for our image. I didn’t find the video too offensive. It’s actually really funny.

What do you think?

*To watch How to Act Around Filipinos (Part 2) click here.


13 thoughts on “How to Act Around Filipinos

  1. oh my god, Diane, I so love your entry! 🙂

    I think there are no negative Filipino culture per se, but how we use those attitudes or beliefs in one way or another makes things negative. If only we can use each to be of benefit to others, then there will be no problem. The issue with us is in how much we think every belief or attitude, like Filipino time, is a cliche and that there is nothing wrong with it anymore because it’s the norm or what. 🙂

    P.S. Could I repost the videos? Hehe

  2. Hi Jody! I think Filipino time is okay if it’s between family and friends. But when it comes to our professional life, this should not happen. It wastes other people’s time. You can repost this. 🙂

  3. The internet gives us the freedom to broadcast ourselves (as of the tagline of YouTUbe). The video has been too scripted but it was funny and practical in showing some of Filipino values and culture. However, the framing depicted in the internet about a person, a company or a country may make or break his/her/its reputation. This is how wide its influence can be to our society nowadays.

  4. I think I was almost offended (almost!) with the outsiders’ perception of what Filipino time really is all about. Though it’s true that we sometimes tend to arrive late during meetings, it’s not always the case. It’s not always like that. There are still a lot of Filipinos that come on time and follow the schedule. I know I always try to. HAHA. Also, I remember our Anthropology (Anthro185) professor, Ms Rosa Castillo, saying that the concept of Filipino time actually originated from the Spaniards. They were the ones who wouldn’t come on time and who wouldn’t follow the specified schedules, and the Filipinos (being the oppressed and the “defenseless”) were only to follow in their footsteps since the colonizers proclaimed that they are the civilized ones, meaning, they must be followed/idolized/imitated/emulated. It’s a sad story — three hundred plus plus years of being under that brood of colonizers, and we pay the price for the “Filipino time” culture that is branded us. 😦

  5. Then we should let her know! Haha.

    I find nothing wrong with the video. It’s meant to be funny, that’s why it’s so exaggerated. I agree, though, that it takes a certain common ground to understand the humor. I’m assuming that she feels secure with her output, considering that she posted it on YouTube.

    I also find NOTHING wrong with our culture – yes, including the notorious “Filipino” time. Remember what we discussed in intercultural comm regarding Mexicans? They’re so relational that they, too, always come late. It’s because they don’t like the cold feel of being “professional” (in American standards, that is). Family comes first. Do we consider their culture as “wrong”? We MUST not. Considering OUR culture wrong is being ethnocentric with our own.

    Let’s understand if the Canadian doesn’t quite get the Filipinos, our humor, our punishments. We don’t get theirs too sometimes. We should know better. 🙂

  6. It’s really great that we can learn about cultures of different countries and get an overview of the character of people around the globe through the New Social Media. It’s learning cultures minus the expenses 😉


    3. Pray before you eat.
    Most Filipinos are Catholics so we pray almost all the time; before meals, after meals, before we start our day, before going to bed, and also before taking exams.

    I think this part does not only account for the Philippines being a “Catholic” country. 😉

  7. Totally LMAO Diane! We should also do a video about “How to act around Canadians” Hahaha that should set them off!
    Sometimes we get upset about the Filipino time but I don’t think that’s a tradition we can erase so I say live with it! BUT choose which occassions you would decide to come late AND always always tell someone if you’re gonna be late cause waiting sucks 🙂 So let’s just see the humor and positive side of these things. Maybe the Canadian culture is so boring they made fun of ours instead. LOL.

  8. I didn’t find the video that offensive. I recognized the humor it was meant to display from the start. Besides, it also gives us an idea of how other people perceive how Filipinos act. We do it too.

  9. It’s a matter of perspective, for me.

    You cannot really fully appreciate a culture unless you become part of it and our guy here, unfortunately hasn’t had the chance to live with us. Give him a month or so and he’ll start saying the opposite!

    It’s always easy for us to find fault in others, we do just the same on them sometimes. Give them them the benefit of the doubt and a chance to change their view- in time, of course.

  10. This is just so hilarious! 🙂

    Yes, I do agree with how Filipino time is perceived yet we cannot blame the people outside our culture from generalizing us. The challenge left for us to do is to make them eat what they said and prove how we are not like that. 🙂
    Videos like this also serve as a wake up call for us filipinos on how other cultures see us. We may overlook these things at some point yet we also need to get a hold of ourselves and try to change what really is healthy and unhealthy practice.

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