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Philippine culture - Why?

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Hi there,

Afer roaming the Philippines (Cebu) for a little over 2 years now, I learned a lot about the Philippine culture. The way they think, they way they behave, the do's and don'ts. As a foreigner I have to accept all of those traits even though they are 180 degree opposite to the Dutch, European and western way of thinking. What I am trying to do for those 2 years is to grasp and understand WHY they are so different in their behavior and way of thinking. To name just a few examples: The delikadesa, the mano po, Tampo, "Juan Time", "hya", no man is allowed to witness the birth of his own child, its impossible to address constructive criticism directly to a pinoy/pinay, the inefficient public transportation system (buses, jeepneys & tricylcles). My favorite website so far, by far is http://getrealphilippines.com.

My question is quiet simple: Can someone explain me WHY those people still think so different compared to us? The Philippines live today, like we lived 50-60 years ago (if not longer ago)

  • Go to Robert Haighton's profile

    posted by  in Philippines forum 

    Hi Arch Ien Tayamora, thanks for your response/reply.

    I have learned to accept it although reluctantly. As you may know most people in the West - regardless of their situation - want to move up and move forward. They tend to "live" according to the "rules" of Maslow's pyramid (hierarchy of needs). But there are more differences. We dont do the Mano, we dont have "Utang na loob", we are far more self-driven (pls dont confuse that with being selfish), we dont procreate bec we need kids to take care of us when we are old. In fact, to be successfull, we dont even need our family(-members). The Philippine people are known for their hospitality and smiling all the time. If I were in their shoes, it would be rather difficult to do that bec I would be very worried. Exanple: having no job, the need to take care of partner and 6 kids and maybe even the need to take care of the extended family.
    I see/saw a lot of single momsbec they were left (behind) by the biological father of the kids.

    Last but not least: Personally, I think the PH culture is far too dictating for me. Living together (unmarried) is sheer impossible, having no desire to procreate is looked upon as a crime. My happinness is not determined by marrying a woman and having one or more kids. My happinness lies far deeper than that. Procreating and marrying is easy.

  • Go to Arch Ien Tayamora's profile

    posted by  in Philippines forum 

    Hello Robert. I read your comments about the Filipino culture and i must say that to some extent i do agree to your observations. To answer you question to why it is so perplexing to think that Filipinos live 50-60 years backward: Filipinos are typically (but not all) not innovative people compared to the Germans and Americans. Most are contented with what they have and will not strive to think of achieving something better (especially those that are living in the low end country side and slums). Some would go to the Faith Healer rather than go to the Medical Doctor to seek help. Some would choose to believe old wives tales of explaining stuff rather than examine it through science. Filipinos adhere so much to tradition and roman religion with unquestioning faith. "Sabi kasi nila" (because they said so...) is the way to explain things here in the Philippines. Filipinos are generally resistant to change, i mean real change that's why the Cebuanos that you observed in Cebu would rather sit their asses off.

  • Go to jhazmin jagunap's profile

    posted by  in Philippines forum 

    just adjust your self know the person you talk and learn their culture

  • posted by  in Philippines forum 

    the reason for this is simple. we filipinos think first of what others may feel. of course, even i find a flaw in this thinking so i don't really follow it. Aside from that, we never had the 60s revolution of ideas which liberated most of the western world. Want to shed pounds naturally. try my helpful tips just click the link
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    Fast%20Naturally.aspx

  • Go to Work Abroad's profile

    posted by  in Philippines forum 

    Hi there. Well maybe you are just talking to the wrong people. And talking to some people is no reason to conclude that the rest of the Filipinos think that way . I can assure you that there are lots of intelligent persons here, you just haven't met them. and there are many working moms here too and there are many open-minded individuals too . we are family focused and we are a bit conservative in some ways but i don't consider that a flaw.

  • Go to Robert Haighton's profile

    posted by  in Philippines forum 

    Hi Work Abroad,

    I know the Philippines is a mixture of different backgrounds and I know the Philippines is generally a traditional, conservative country but that are no reasons to not move forward, to not evolve, to not progress and to not improve.

    The Philippines IS living today, like we Europeans lived 50, 60, 70 years ago. To give you an example: IN those days the "only" household we knew of was a dad (the provider), a mother (the house wife) and a bunch of kids. And sex was only done within the constraint of marriage/wedding.

    But now since the sexual revolution (1960s), the invention of the contraceptive pill (the 1960s) everything changed overnight. Then there was also the reduction in working days from 6 to 5 days per week, the increase of salary. It was also the start of secularism. People started to think "outside the box" and started to use their brains. Resulting in churches masses/services and church-goers becoming less and less. In other words: people started to question their own belief system. They became critical consumers/individuals. Hence, atheism was on the rise.

    I really think, the major differences between the Philippines and the West (e.g. my country) is that the Philippines is overwhelmingly family focused while the West is overwhelmingly individual-focused. We dont have to worry about all our other family members. They can and will look after themselves. We also do not live in a society with lots of "social control". People dont interfere in our lives (thank god).

    We dont make kids, so that our kids have to take care of us when we are old (and senile). We dont have such things as the Mano Po. We only respect people who earn and deserve it based on personal achievement. Being a dad or mom is not such an achievement.

    Whats intrigueing me most is, that even a lot of Philippinos have access to the internet , they dont use it to do any research (Google, Wikipedia) and that they dont start to doubt their way of living and thinking when they interact with foreigners.

    When ever I visit Cebu and who ever I chat with (coming from the Philippines) I never met (so far) any intelligent person who is able to have a conversation about their religion, their educational system, politics etc.

    Regards, Robert

  • Go to Work Abroad's profile

    posted by  in Philippines forum 

    Anne is right-yes the Philippine culture is very interesting because it is a mixture of different backgrounds and influences. we are generally a traditional. conservative country but i don't think it is fair to say that we are living like 50-60 years ago. there are deeply rooted traits and beliefs that are hard to eradicate but we are slowly moving forward

  • Go to Robert Haighton's profile

    Re: Can someone explain me WHY those people still think so different compared to

    posted by  Robert Haighton in Philippines forum 

    Dear Oliver Sta. Maria,

    My only objective/goal was and is to understand why Philippine people live today the way they live/think/behave/breathe. I do know that no country is the same. But because we all are humans, I, at least, expected that the basics would be the same (at least).

    A good example of those basics are the Maslow's hierarchy of needs
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow%27s_hierarchy_of_needs

    To me it seems that almost all Philippine people are still in the bottom section of that pyramid. While most westerners are aiming much higher. And aiming higher has nothing to do with having no income, being stuck in an old-fashioned culture/traditions.

    "The good news is, I have lived a quarter of my life outside our country and believe me - things have indeed slowly change and I am hoping that as a nation, we will get there." => I hope so too. I just wish all those people a "richer" emotional and financial live.

    Regards, Robert

  • Go to Oliver Sta. Maria's profile

    posted by  in Philippines forum 

    Hi Robert,

    Thank you for clarifying your points. I agree with you that now in the age of INTERNET where information can easily be accessed almost anywhere at any time and the fact that OFWs return bringing home new ideas inherit from their respective host countries - there should be no excuse in remaining to be in a backward (kind of) state. But things are easier said than done. I am sure there are so many Filipinos wanting their life changed from being uneducated to educated, from being poor to being well-off (at least decent living) - Your observation is not exclusive to you and the Philippine's current state is not unique to our country - as you have said and I quote "The Philippines live today, like we lived 50-60 years ago (if not longer ago)" - even your country passed through the same stage - it is just that it happened much earlier than what and where the Philippines is today.

    And yes, PEOPLE THINK DIFFERENTLY - you may see things in a different perspective but sure there are 101 ways to understand it (taking into consideration the culture, the laws of the land, demographics, etc.)

    The good news is, I have lived a quarter of my life outside our country and believe me - things have indeed slowly change and I am hoping that as a nation, we will get there.

    I sincerely appreciate your concern and I wish you all the best.

  • Go to Robert Haighton's profile

    posted by  in Philippines forum 

    Dear Oliver Sta. Maria,

    Thank you for your elaborate response.

    You say that most people in your country do not have the knowledge. Why is that? What were they taught in school? Nothing? How do they use the internet? Only chatting, only social media? There is a world out there to be discovered by using the internet. Whenever I read or hear something that I want to know more about, I will Google that topic and/or I will visit Wikipedia.

    What about all those OFW's? They are in foreign countries and mingling with many foreigners. Dont those OFW's start to learn to look at things differently simply by the fact that they are abroad? Or will they only mingle with people coming from their own country while being in that foreign country?
    How do you think I learned so much about the Philippines? I did that by using my eyes (observation), listening and reading. Then I started to think about it and try to see if it had some merit and/or advantages for me so I could do the same as they are doing. Unfortunately, nothing that I saw was beneficial for me. But then again, many Philippine laws hinder my personal freedom as well as many cultural "laws"/traditions hinder my personal freedom.

    I am very much amazed that so many Philippine people still believe in god and that nobody is ever critical about his existenze and critical about the bible itself. (the bible is full with contradictions and very female-unfriendly)
    I am very much amazed/shocked that PDA (Public Display of Affection) is frowned upon.
    I am very much amazed/shocked that so many Philippine people still procreate when they have no dime to spare.
    I am very much amazed/shocked that a country needs a RH law to regulate the population (it only needs your logic and your brains. If I dont have a dime then I wont take any kids). You know what our mom told us: "we (my parents) want you (her kids) to have a better life than we ever did". I am sure my mom meant that both quality wise as in all other aspects.

    As far as seeing the ruins etc that you mention I can say this that I am a little bit bound (limited) to Cebu island. But for sure, I hope to see them one day (soon)

    Regards,
    Robert
    (Tuesday 29 October 2013 at 07.18PM Dutch time)

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