The Philippines: First World Country but Third World People

With the Philippine economy declared by the World Bank as one of the fastest-growing economies now, our current 3rd World label can no longer just be blamed on wealth. What truly makes the Philippines a 3rd World country is how 3rd World its people conduct their business. I don’t mind being hated for this comment but every Filipino here cannot deny that several pervasive extensive consistent bad business habits exist here.

And no, I will NOT accept the constant defense of Filipinos who say: “That’s how things are done here” or “Ganyan talaga dito.” No, unacceptable. Also, Filipinos who live here should find that unacceptable. To accept it quietly is a way of supporting its continuation.

And, do NOT even think that I am just a bitter ex-Filipino turned American citizen who’s simply being bitchy and is whining about many things. I am not coming from an elitist or foreign stance, rather a professional one. Mind you, being professional has NOTHING to do with your race, citizenship, wealth, the color of your skin, religion and age. A professional person IS a professional person.

In the past 3 months of being in Manila:

1) Why are most people at least 30 minutes late, without any text message courteously telling me that they are running late?

Actually, why are you late in the first place? When you set a time and date, factor in the traffic. Factor in your load at work. Factor in your time to put on makeup. And pls, just because I am on vacation mode and the person I am meeting is working is no excuse. When my friends from the Philippines visited New York, I was 99% of the time always 15 minutes early, despite my busy work schedule. It is basic respect.

2) Why are most Filipinos incapable of Yes or No answers?

It’s always a ‘Maybe.’ Instead of maybe, say that you’ll get back to me and need some time to think (but please advise me how long it’s going to take for you to make a decision). After giving a project to a local craftsman to manufacture a product for me, I asked: Can you be done by May 15? His answer, “Baka po” or in English, “Maybe.” I don’t understand. It’s either you can or you cannot. It’s not that hard.

3) Why are most Filipinos never specific?

This is worse than my second point. I asked a real estate agent recently, What time can you email me the quotes? He answered: “Baka mga hapon po.” or “Sometime in the afternoon.” I snapped back: “What time in the afternoon?” He answered: “Baka/maybe mga 4 or 5 po.” I lost it and snapped back: “Choose a time. 4 or 5?” He answered: “4pm” Why do we need to go through a lot of back and forth? This could have been avoided if he simply answered my first question directly when I asked, “What time?” Was the question not clear? I spoke in Filipino so it should have been clearer.

4) Why are most Filipinos bad with email confirmations and replies?

A Facebook friend recently asked me for advice. I told her that she’ll get a reply from me in 12 hours. I emailed it to her in less than 12. I texted to ask if she received the email. She neither texted nor emailed back to confirm receipt of email. If I made the effort to craft a long email to dispense the advice this girl badly needed, why can’t this woman have the courtesy to spend 5 seconds to text back one word: “Yes”

Another example, a restaurateur asked me for my design help on a brochure. I emailed the file of a draft. Did I hear anything back? No. Guess what, I see him 2 weeks after and he verbally confirmed that he got it.

Listen, if you don’t have internet at home or heaven forbid, at work, there’s no shame in it. Just tell me you prefer it sent through Facebook. All Filipinos seem to be super quick to comment and ‘Like’ stuff over there. Maybe all government and business processes in the Philippines should be conducted on Facebook for a significantly speedier response.

5) Worst of all, why are most Filipinos bad with keeping commitments?

A real estate agent promised to email me information. After much back and forth (see Point # 3), we agreed on July 17, 4pm. Guess what, 5pm passed and still no email. I texted. No answer. I called, he picked up. I asked him where the email was. He said he couldn’t right now since the rain was so hard and he’s inside the bus and traffic is bad. I asked: Why didn’t you email it when you were still at the office and had access to the internet? He answered that he forgot. I told him, find another client.

Yes, you can all argue that this is such an unfair and hasty generalization. That maybe, those that I conducted business with are just exceptions to the rule. I am sorry but the examples I gave you were just the tip of the iceberg. Unfortunately, from my experience, this is more the rule than the exception.

In a country that severely needs people to invest (both local and foreign) not just in its present but also in its future, why are Filipinos making it so hard to conduct business here? I have no control over macroeconomic issues and policies but if a person here can’t even call me back at a time that we agreed on, that’s more important to me than any World Bank vote of confidence.

If the Philippines truly wants to join the league of developed nations, its professional values and ways of doing business should equally be ‘developed.’

Whenever other nationalities criticize the Philippines or its people, millions of Filipinos are quick to rally on Facebook and defend themselves with utmost urgency and passion. While some of those international insults are unwarranted, my beef with the professional conduct here is. Before you create an I Hate You facebook page dedicated to me, look at the mirror and ask yourself if you’ve ever been guilty of any of the points above.

The problem with the Philippines: We are a rich country who thinks and acts poor.

(If what I wrote is resonating with you, feel free to share. The points here, while painful, are important.)

Kristian Cruz

  • Kai San

    Is being third world a Filipino culture? Why are you guys ok with being third world? Like what Jack Ma said, you are poor because you have no
    Ambition.

    The author is sharing his honest obsevation about filipinos in the Philppines, and i dont see anything wrong with that.. Most filipinos do not understand and do not have a concept of what basic respect is… Example is respecting someone elses time, someones right of way or someone elses property… Most filipinos are highly educated that they always have to be smarter than others.. Just like some of the people who posted their comments here. They are so good at English that they belittle those that make grammatical/spelling mistakes.. I guess this is whats wrong with the Philippines..

  • Angel

    What I’m not understanding is the hypocritical notion of your whole article. One other stereotype of the Filipino people, in regards to the inhibition of social development, is that we always put each other down (individually or as a whole; crab mentality) – by your logic, since you’re displaying and enforcing such a stereotype, does that mean your contributing to the lack of development in the filipino culture? Of course not. If you understand the lifestyle in the Philippines, you understand that the sense of urgency we have in America is not instilled there due to the lack of the conditioned corporate America mentality – everything is a go go go. Regardless of the social understanding of why things are the way they are, you also have to understand who you’re comparing these people you’ve encountered with here in America. There are tons of people in America that lack professionalism; relatively, professional occupations do not have the same hierchal level in both countries thus don’t have the same requirements in professionalism. If you want to deal with people who can text you at any time or use a laptop at anytime, hire workers that have such luxuries. Don’t hire an unknown real estate agent who doesnt have the means to deliver your required electronic updates. In terms of facebook, did you know that paying for unlimited facebook is cheaper than paying for minutes for talk or text? Your facebook rant was just ridiculous. Unless you’re willing to provide your contractors money and equipments to be able to send you texts/emails right away, be patient. Or better yet, hire an established business/corporation in the Philippines who can cater to your needs.

    You can’t impose your learned American trade to another country. Seems like colonialism would loved to have your kind of person on board… but you know, not really, since you’re brown.

  • Mr. FLupp

    This person has a point and basically he is not a hypocrite. Even I must admit that I am not proud to be a Filipino despite of the achievements the Philippines had.

  • MCM

    I’ve just read this and I couldn’t agree more. Although I must say this can be said to just anybody else. The point is, unless change for the better is welcomed, one would always think and act poor despite the riches or success at hand. I’ve lived in Europe and have been learning a lot about people’s different worldview; and sometimes I wish my own people would change their mindset – not to copy and be like someone else – but to learn from their experiences. May we take an effort to change for the better and not blame what history has done to us (although these are significant). Mabuhay ka Pilipinas!

  • Jose Rizal

    Well – Amen to that. God Bless America and no place else. You are a bigot and cynic. Good luck on your new adopted country and see if they’ll truly accept you as their own. US citizenship is hard and it will fight you at every step of the way. Good Riddance to you. Stay there and never come back. The Philippines is better off without you.

  • Feli

    Truth told in simple terms. I have been in the Philippines for just 3 months and really wish i never came and to know that i would have to be here for four years……is scary. Before i came, i had heard so many bad things about the Philippines but i did not know it was this bad. 1. Filipinos have a bad smoking habit and smoke every where and in your face. Children as young as 10yrs are seen on the street smoking and puffing cigarette in your face every where without courtesy. for my 3yr old and I who is asthsmatic, this is hell. 2.They litter every where and hence rubbish every where on the street. Its a nasty sight when it rains. 3.They spit anywhere and right in your face. 3. Most Filipinos just don’t know how to relate with foreigners as they wouldn’t even say hello or even respond back when u bellow one. I leave in a flat with Filipinos and i feel like a real loner. I can’t agree more with the statement that Philippines is a country with citizens who thinks and acts poor. Filipinos need to change their attitude and change their bad international image out there.

    • Jose Rizal

      Yes FELI – learn how to spell 1st before you even dare criticize or make any crude, uneducated comments about anybody. Look in the mirror 1st and you’ll see an ugly and unlike-able person with an unhappy and unsatisfied life. Go have coffee or go take a long walk on a short pier with smart boy Kristian Cruz –

    • Angel

      Where do you live? Are you a white person in North Carolina where you bellow out a hello and I think isn’t echoed back? You must’ve never lived in chicago or New York – we’all look at you crazy and walk away if you try that mr rogers crap here. Please NEVER stereotype American living with your experience, because it’s definitely not applicable to bigger and more urbanized cities; it’a normal to know fraternize with neighbors.

      • Angel

        Correction:
        – where you bellow out a hello and IT’S echoed back…
        – we’ll all…
        – it’s normal to not fraternize…

  • 3 Basic Problems

    US imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism

  • Andy Roque

    I think CHANGE is GOOD for all of us.

  • Andrei Japitana

    I’ll say again what I said in a reply in one of my comments below: Kristian Cruz although obviously IS FILIPINO IN RACE IS NOT FILIPINO IN CULTURE. He is a pampered U.S. Citizen that doesn’t understand who we are, why are are what we are. He doesn’t understand the almost 400 years of history with the Spanish, Americans and Japanese.

    • Marc

      Natamaan ka ba sa sinabi niya? Kasi dito ako nakatira at nagnenegosyo at nagsa-sang ayon ako sa kaniya. Sobrang hirap bang tanggapin na kupal lang talaga ang ibang tao?

      • Andrei Japitana

        I’m sure dami din kupal sa Japan 80 years ago, sa Singapore din dami din Kupal 40 years ago, sa South Korea din 70 years ago. Again, mahirap baguhin yan after 400 years.

        Hell even the US was only a TRUE DEMOCRACY in the 1960’s and only after that did people there stop complaining about how “Kupal” they were.

        Why do you think Binay is number one in the surveys? Because were a stupid people that do not know any better but we’re getting there so give it time.

        Ayoko lang na isang AMBOY na obviously walang alam sa US and Philippine history ang nag rarant na wala naman sya talagang alam.

    • T

      And that my friend is an excuse.. Time to put the excuses away and start thinking about positive change otherwise PH will look like a 3rd world to the rest of the world. Is that what u want?

      • Angel

        I’m sorry, based on your logic, the US is basically this 3rd world since it can’t get over slavery and racism????

  • AJ

    Actually, it just sounds like pure ranting to me. So yes, question all the facts here because this is an article by a misinformed individual who had a bad day and felt the need to rant about it. First of all, don’t use the label “third world” if you don’t understand the implications. Technically, after the Cold War, we’re first world. Third world only referred to non-aligned countries. So designations had something to do with political affiliations. But later on it might have included prevailing economic systems within the countries. The first world for capitalists, second world for socialists, and the third world for those with colonial pasts. The classifications are not standard and problematic most of the time. But that doesn’t mean you can metaphorize the Filipino experience by loosely using the third world tag to refer to what’s bad in all of us! This is ignorance. What’s third world about us, what we all share, and mostly what shaped us, is the colonial past. More than 300 years under Spain, 100 under the Americans, a few more under Japan–and after the momentary illusion that emancipation had given us–until now, we’re obedient followers of that weird Uncle, who never forgets to remind us about everything he did for this country, after many centuries, how can so long a history of oppression not change or shape us? Not blaming anyone, not making excuses. The essentializing, haughty tone of this article didn’t help in justifying the author’s points which are ultimately misguided notions about history, race, and progress. Oh how we forget everything!

    • Jose Rizal

      YO-HO! some sense and sensibility over here!

  • nelson

    The real problem is not the government or anything else in the Philippines, … it is its PEOPLE… it is US Filipinos. ..

    • Bulay_Og

      You mean US Filipinos (US-based?) LOL!

  • nick

    I had a same experience with my insurance agent. We communicate via email since she said she has no internet. I asked what options i can use to pay my insurance since im in US she said she will get back to me 3 weeks had past no reply from her, I keep on mailing her on the 3 weeks since i dont want to be delinquent but no rsspinse but i see her post on FB, so i said i’ll file a complain to her office and thats when she answered that im to mean and being unreasonable!

    • Bulay_Og

      Try paying the agent like you pay an agent in the US. You will get better results.

  • Bulay_Og

    Switching allegiances is 3rd world too 🙂 Naging kano lang dami nang sinabi. Those traits that you enumerated also happens in other countries. Have you tried looking for reputable local craftsman that would take lives so he/she meets your deadline? Marami rin namna local craftsman sa ibang bansa that can be as what you have found here. Kung may inutil sa PInas, May ungas rin namna sa Tate.

    • Victoria

      You just missed the point of the entire article.

      • Bulay_Og

        Hahahahah. That the Philippines is a first world country? Since when? I am comfortable with the fact that Philippines and pinoys are third world. period. What is wrong with being third world? One need not step on a foreign soil, nor switch allegiances, to know that.

        What made this country third world are its people who have abandoned their motherland coz they just can’t adjust and thrive to the challenges of a third world environment. They left, they change passports and now they think they are better.

        You should probably pay first world if you are looking for a first world professional service in a third world country. Baka magulat ka sa resulta.

        • patty

          yes! yes! I agree with you

        • Rico

          That sums it all up.

  • ron

    I am a filipino and i admit it this is all true. Im finding ways on how to improve this kind of culture in dealing with people.

  • Red

    This is all true. But the words and tone used on this article can be improved so it may not sound degrading to Filipino people.

    EX. Instead of 1) Why are most people at least 30 minutes late, without any text message courteously telling me that they are running late? You can use “Being late without giving notice”

    Since you are saying that your post is about Professionalism, you should use professional words and create professional sentence.

  • Andrei Japitana

    What you’re missing here sir is that we were under the Spanish, Americans and Japanese for almost 400 years so it is innate (and in our blood) in us to have a “servitude” culture. We don’t want to disappoint people so we promise things we can’t give just to please who we’re talking to (especially if it’s somebody senior to us and/or non-filipinos). Although we would say otherwise, we really are not a proud people because of our history.

    On the “maybes”, it’s not really a maybe, it’s a “Filipino Yes” – We answer yes but we really mean any of the following (and more, feel free to add to the list):
    1. I hear your but I don’t agree with you so I will say yes
    2. I’ll just say yes coz your my boss but what I really mean is a no
    3. Yes I don’t understand what your are talking about

    Again, bottomline is, we don’t want to disappoint people (especially those “superior” to us) thus we give promises we can’t give (thus we can’t say “no” as well).

    • allen

      You have a point of respecting feelings… but is this better rather than saying the truth in a nice way… and prefer to be a ” Plastic” ( not true )

      • Andrei Japitana

        I never said it was better. Again, we just can’t help it. It is difficult to undo 400 years of being servants to foreigners in just a few decades. We need a major event to create a paradigm shift for us to change (aparently the people power revolution wasn’t enough). Remember it took 2 atomic bombs to bring the japanese to where they are now.

      • Andrei Japitana

        The author of this article although filipino in race, is not filipino in culture so he doesn’t understand the deeper meaning and history of who and why are are what we are.

  • im_earth

    Wow 4 items and it means already for the entire people in a country?!!!
    Shame, selfish and 3 months passed u already got a full wiki of the people?…

  • gwapito

    Thanks for this eye opener. I added my own opinion regarding the number 3 example on my blog

    http://gwapito.com/why-are-most-filipinos-never-specific/

  • Michael Alan Mertz

    its true you sound a bit over the top stressed out…..just relax a bit. If the email goes out in the afternoon who cares if it is by 4 or 5. You are the kind of tax client i hate working for…in fact i don’t do it anymore…..

    • Papaduck

      Well when you promise a certain time you should keep it. He also forgot to email back anyway. I would stop doing business with him too

  • gary triplett

    Your post is interesting, I can add to it somewhat from a canadians perspective. I came to live there for 2 1/2 yrs with my wife. I’ve been self employed for 49 yrs in construction and government jobs. I had a very hard time with many things there that are done so differently. It takes three people to check you out of stores??? why not one? is it because the cashier is dishonest or makes too many mistakes? why check over and over, then maybe a guard check again before you leave the store? Good grief that is stupid! and such a waste of manpower and money. I found it almost impossible to find supplies online, and too many places do not have a website to accept orders from. In hardware stores, some workers follow you around almost on top of you, as if they think your going to steal something. I’ve had to turn to some and ask if I can help them, they look at me ! When you go to many offices, like lawyers, government places etc, they have a TV or computer on, playing games or watching television??? You’d never get away with that here. In a big city, most shops close at noon???? whats up with that? how crazy! just take turns with the lunch breaks. I’m just touching on a few beefs I ran into, but things are so entrenched and even ways of building are so far in the past there, its funny. I have many good friends there and love the people, don’t take me wrong. I just shake my head at how things are done. I won’t get into the corruption end of things, been taken so many times that I had enough and returned home. yes, many things need changing to improve things.

  • Bit more humanity pls

    I really dont wanna know how old you are cos it could be highly ashaming for you. Obviously during the living time that this world granted to you, you have not even started to understand people a bit. Propably you’re even far away from trying it. This whole article is just selfish, intolerate and as far away from interhuman multicultural understanding as the Philippine society from being an economist society.
    So just to make my point clear, im not doubting any of the facts above, but the perspective from which the author is looking at it is ridiculously misconceiving. But i feel sorry for him to live in a society he cant understand.

    • Peewee

      So you find the list true but you think the article is misconceiving? While I think the author could have been more objecting in outlining the flaws of how filipinos work… I think it’s an unfair assumption that he doesn’t understand it.

      At the end of the day, the list is bad habits for ANY business. That’s why most successful business owners in the Philippines are foreigners or half-filipinos or filipinos who have to acquire some business habits OUT of the Philippines.

      We just have to accept that the society has to change. Because if you resist change than you’re resisting possible improvement as well. There’s just no excuse for being late or not having a definite answer, especially on a service you’re offering.

  • laborer

    all true.. I am a filipino also and I feel the same way. this article should be an eye opening to all filipinos.

  • Logic matters.

    I agree with all your points. As a Filipino, I am also ashamed of these bad habits that resonate throughout our society. However, I believe that some of this can be resolved if most Filipinos become more assertive when dealing with people. Rather than being half-assed about things, most of us should yearn to do things through and through regardless of the outcome and be prepared for the consequences. That lack of initiative provides for self-hesitation and thus leads to answers like “maybe”. If most of us were to just see things through given the limits we have been set upon then I believe that the overall situation can improve.

    The lack of organization in one’s day-to-day activities is also a big problem for Filipinos. Most of us here do not even bother with identifying and classifying activities in our daily lives that attend to a certain timetable. This consistent reliance on a “skim-through” day tend to make us incorrectly judge our priorities and thereby promote a shoddy relationship with people in regards to keeping our commitments. Just a little pause before beginning our workday to organize the proceeding events in a tiny note or in our phones shouldn’t be too much of a bother.

    I can name many more of these tiny changes that we can do to improve the way we conduct ourselves professionally but at the end of the day, it’s all about the desire and flexibility to do so. If most of us do not want to change things then our country and society as a whole would be stuck with a “maybe” all our lives.

  • Ross

    This is absolutely right! I am one those Filipinos who felt guilty when I read this article. What we really have to do in the first place is to change ourselves (If we want change, then start it within yourself), change our Filipino time (This is what i really hate the most, as much as possible wake up early and prepare early to avoid hassle, traffics and everything) and then lastly, have some self discipline (Maybe, this is what we don’t have, a self discipline). Philippines is one the richest countries in the world in terms of natural resources and etc but the people in here seems to be the problem and a big factor why for so many years we are still in the “TURD-WORLD” category. Maybe this is the right time to change our ways of life if we want to contribute change in our homeland.

    I admire the author of this article for sharing it and I hope that many Filipinos will be able to read and get enlighten their minds and consciousness about what truly makes the country a “FIRST WORLD”. It is not about the country’s income and etc, it is also about the people living in it.

  • nicnarf

    Well said but there is something i want to share to you.
    Filipinos are really like that. These are the things that we want to change and sometimes its frustrating.
    During my 1st year in teaching in public school, I am always angry with my students for not doing their assignments and other assigned tasks. And when I ask them if they understand what i have been teaching, they will simply nod. I didnt study in public school so Im not so aware of the real environment. So I keep on complaining.. Then an experienced teacher told me,” what will you get from always being angry? Do you know what kind of students do we have? They are here because their parents cannot afford to send them to private schools or they have not qualified in the entrance exams given by the private schools. If they can do better they are not here. And if we are not going to accept them, who will? ” I learned a lot from what my co-teacher told me. Acceptance, patience, understanding and A GREAT SMILe……. sometimes i get angry but i always look at the other side of my students and i try to find why they are like that.
    And i learned how to love the most PASAWAY students of my class and I am hoping that they will slowly absorb the things I am teaching them to become a whole and responsible individual. We cannot change them as what we want them to be. But we can help them to slowly change by first loving and understanding them. See the good sides, make encouragement and later on you will see the changes.

  • Very well said !

  • Orly

    When the person you’re dealing with can’t commit, it’s coz they’re not the boss and/or most likely are noobs. It’s that simple. I’ve no problems dealing with business owners or the decision makers in businesses here especially ones who’ve been in the industry for a long time. They’re reliable so they thrive. Maybe I should ask if they’re Filipinos and how is it that they could own and run retail here.

    The quiet, hardworking, reliable, “mabilis kausap” Filipinos are usually too busy to come across nonsense that’s written about them online, too busy to even care. If you keep coming across the kind of people you just described, perhaps you should rethink what it is you’re doing that’s been drawing these types to you.

    “We see others as we are.” — Old Buddhist saying.

    • T

      So I guess if one needs to accomplish something they should go straight to the owners..Good luck with that.. lol

  • saranghae_yoona

    well,i’m super guilty.haha.i do that all the time,the “late” thing.fair point well made.:)

  • lys

    this is really what happening to our country .. I agree with you ..

  • Benedict Torres

    this is very accurate. I deal with these every single day. The problem with it is that most Filipinos tolerate this attitude thus people do not feel obliged to follow this simple rules. Imagine if every Filipino buying real-estate properties would really be strict when dealing with their agents and would not tolerate commitment misses, I bet every agent would follow this basic rules. Problem is, we tolerate laziness, tardiness and missed commitments without them feeling the consequences.

  • > And, do NOT even think that I am just a bitter ex-Filipino turned American citizen who’s
    > simply being bitchy and is whining about many things. I am not coming from an elitist
    > or foreign stance, rather a professional one. Mind you, being professional has
    > NOTHING to do with your race, citizenship, wealth, the color of your skin, religion and
    > age. A professional person IS a professional person.

    Nope, however your definition of “professional” has to do with a very very small portion of the world (http://wp.me/p1wjnz-9z). And the older I get the more convinced I have become that this smaller portion of the world has very little to offer that is beneficial to the majority.
    And to shed light on my perspective, I’m an American by the way. And I lived nearly four decades of my life in the U.S. I’ve worked either in or for fortune 500 companies, and was even an Executive myself. I had a television show on channel 24 in Atlanta GA and sat on a steering committee set up to advise the governor on issues related to recycling and technology in 1999. So I’m all too familiar with this “professional” ideal that you tout as valuable here.

    > 1) Why are most people at least 30 minutes late, without any text message courteously telling me that they are running late?
    > 2) Why are most Filipinos incapable of Yes or No answers?
    > 3) Why are most Filipinos never specific?
    Really? … You need to simply relax a bit. Whether you get these answers the way you want or not, life will just keep on ticking away. And something I realized in my late twenties (which was humorously relieving BTW) is that when we both die, our “in boxes” will still be full.

    > 4) Why are most Filipinos bad with email confirmations and replies?
    > A Facebook friend recently asked me for advice. I told her that she’ll get a reply
    > from me in 12 hours. I emailed it to her in less than 12.

    And this is actually quite related to your points two and three above. Do you realize that there is ‘so’ little difference between telling someone “Maybe I’ll email between 4pm and 5pm” and telling them that “I will email you in twelve hours” knowing all the time that you will likely be able to email them back much sooner than that.
    I’ll take that back actually. The “business” or “professional world” cultivates and environment of self image, outward deception, and self deception. Even the smallest parts of communication (like this one) are often formed in a way to make one see impressive by “a standard” but in all actuality doesn’t get things done in better. “I’ll email you in twelve hours” is just another way of saying “I’m not sure when I can email you today and since I’m not as organized as I want you to think that I am, I am going to tell you twelve hours and try to email you sooner so that you will be impressed with me” LOL

    > Another example, a restaurateur asked me for my design help on a brochure.
    > I emailed the file of a draft. Did I hear anything back? No. Guess what, I see him
    > 2 weeks after and he verbally confirmed that he got it.
    he he … this happens in the U.S. all the time; especially in businesses with fewer than fifty to one hundred employees. In the business culture of the U.S. we are taught that this is the reason follow-up is important. Clients (especially those in small businesses) are so busy and “pulled” in so many different directions that sometimes they see an email, want to reply back to it in a more thoughtful manner, but then forget to get back to it.
    … Once again … relax 🙂

    > 5) Worst of all, why are most Filipinos bad with keeping commitments?
    > A real estate agent promised to email me information. After much back and
    > forth (see Point # 3), we agreed on July 17, 4pm. Guess what, 5pm passed and
    > still no email. I texted. No answer. I called, he picked up. I asked him where the
    > email was. He said he couldn’t right now since the rain was so hard and he’s
    > inside the bus and traffic is bad. I asked: Why didn’t you email it when you were
    > still at the office and had access to the internet? He answered that he forgot.
    > I told him, find another client.
    Unfortunately he didn’t realize that you were “one of those clients”. He could have used some tips on how to deal with “professionals”. And if he had known he would have just told you that he would get that to you in twelve hours 🙂
    > Yes, you can all argue that this is such an unfair and hasty generalization. That
    > maybe, those that I conducted business with are just exceptions to the rule.
    Nope, I won’t make that argument at all. I think that these are normal everyday people (members of the 90% majority) that are trying to live and have families and friends that they are trying to interact with. And if they followed the “professional” way of doing things they would become even more dishonest (than human nature already has a tendency of lending itself to). Not only that but they themselves would start to become “professional” which would mean they would start to be aggravated by the actions of 90% of the world’s population who are far from deserving such social dismissal.

    > In a country that severely needs people to invest (both local and foreign) not just in its
    > present but also in its future, why are Filipinos making it so hard to conduct business here?

    Why can’t the upper ten percent just relax a bit and have a plan B and a plan C just in case others don’t get back with them in their “Plan A” time period. Here’s a novel idea. Real Estate agent says he will email you at 4pm but (in your head) you say to yourself that you will wait until the following day to use that information so you don’t “stress yourself out” about it not being there in the aforementioned day at 4pm.
    Schedule an early dinner with an old friend you haven’t seen in a few months because you have been TOO busy. Sit back with them, relax, have some good conversation, and perhaps call the real estate agent to ask them about the 4pm email when you are relaxing. Then your response might be something like “ok, take your time, see if you can get it to me tomorrow. I’m not in the office anyhow because I’m too busy enjoying the company of another human being.

    > I have no control over macroeconomic issues and policies but if a person
    > here can’t even call me back at a time that we agreed on, that’s more important
    > to me than any World Bank vote of confidence.
    I’m sorry, the “World Bank” must be an advocate of life quality issues. I’m sure they have a satellite in place now that takes bio-metric measurements of every nation regarding how many smiles and how much laughter is in place in each country. ‘That’ would be a far better measurement to live by, if it were even possible.

    > If the Philippines truly wants to join the league of developed nations, its
    I hope “they” stop trying.

    > Whenever other nationalities criticize the Philippines or its people, millions of
    > Filipinos are quick to rally on Facebook and defend themselves with utmost urgency
    > and passion.
    And they should have their perspectives curved a bit as well. When I was in the U.S., people in other countries had criticisms, and I wouldn’t waste my time defending the U.S. but I would simply listen and see if there was something valuable that I could take from the criticism. And I think I did. I certainly did my best to listen and learn. Other country nationals would say that U.S. citizens (by and large) are arrogant, unacceptable of other ideas, prejudice, and spoiled. A lot of these are related, almost married together. I did my best to listen.

    > While some of those international insults are unwarranted, my beef with the professional
    > conduct here is. Before you create an I Hate You facebook page dedicated to me, look
    > at the mirror and ask yourself if you’ve ever been guilty of any of the points above.
    At times in my life I have, and at other times in my life I haven’t. I think the “quality of life” is better measure in a smile or laughter. And more importantly than that, I’m sure that when we all stand before God on the last day that he’s not going to be asking us if we got to a certain meeting on time 🙂

  • let education set in I guess…? a very thorough education could change our course of thinking. let them see how education could really change lives when they graduate and let them see how fun it is to learn.

  • J_ag

    One aspect of Pinoy culture when dealing with business matters is this. If a Pinoy perceives his prospective client is not really serious, mayabang or bolero he will not say it to the persons face but he will show it through his actions. Pinoys also like to establish personal rapport with their counterparties. Pinoys are naturally not a trusting bunch. It comes from years of being screwed by their fellow Pinoy.

    • RyanF1

      It comes from years of being screwed by their fellow Pinoy.

      Ahem, you mean “being screwed over by their fellow Pinoy[s].” Trust me, there’s a difference. It’s a big a difference between saying “I’ll blow you!” and “I’ll blow you away!” as you hold a loaded gun onto a person.

  • UPnnGrd

    Now back to Kristian Cruz’ point about Pilipinas citizens (at least the ones that Kristian has interacted with)… Pilipinas citizens being persistently late.

    One can’t blame schools/colleges because in these institutions, the classes will start with or without you. And one can’t blame the movie-houses because the shows start… with or without you. And one can’t blame watches and clocks because those things move tick-tock / tick-tock with or without you .Even if your watch is set to the wrong marker, the standard GMT-time disregards you.

    Must be the parents’ fault, then — undoing inside the households what is being correctly demonstrated elsewhere.

  • UPnnGrd

    But… but… but… but politically Pilipinas always has been First World — Go USA// Go USA/ Rah Rah Rah!!!! Excet, of course, recently when PersiNoynoy capitulated/became KKK to Beijing and PersiNoynoy ordered DFA to boycott the Oslo Peace Prize ceremonies.

    Now, if more Pilipinas agricultural land gets “leased-kuno” to China and china does more territory-map-modificaitons via dashed lines, then Pilipinas can become 2nd World–Red.

  • Joe America

    Great article, speaking for most of us who have to go through the time warp. It is quite an adjustment to spend 30 years working on a clock because it is the only way professionals get work done effectively, and then to arrive in a land of fuzz and sloth and lazy acceptance of “this as the way we are, and proud of it.” Well, the way we are is fine for a kid or even a teen-ager, but if one wants a real economy and real wealth, it is best to get off one’s butt and work like an organized banshee. And fer chrissake, buy a watch that tells real time.

  • Mike

    This is so true, I am American born but my parents came from the Philippines. I moved here to the Philippines four years ago, and there are good people, no denying that, and what you said doesn’t apply to everyone that goes without saying but I am in a state of dismay everyday by the actions of so many here. The way the majority handle themselves is on the road is a good indicator in how they handle themselves in other everyday situations. There is absolutely no regard for the law, absolutely no discipline shown when it comes to driving, even in the way the pedestrians handle themselves. It’s terrible and honestly the excuse that “that’s just the way it is here is” is worn out. Accept the fact we are doing the wrong thing here and we will be able to start taking steps towards correcting it. However if you continue to believe that this is just the way it is and it can not be changed, this country will forever remain 3rd world.

    • UPnnGrd

      The next time you see pedestrians without regards for traffic common sense… also do a headcount of “pilantod’s”.

    • nicnarf

      You are right sir, but have you seen already foreigners here in Philippines not also following traffic rules? Hehe

  • manuelbuencamino

    Dear Kristian,

    I too had the same experience coming home after years living in a declining first world country. It took me some time to figure out what was going on around here. I do not want you to go through the living hell I did so I will share what I learned in the hope that it will make your adjustment period less difficult.

    Here’s what I learned about my fellow countrymen.

    1. “Why are most people at least 30 minutes late, without any text message courteously telling me that they are running late?”

    Filipinos are punctual. It’s your foreign-made watch that runs too fast. You should have it adjusted to run slower.
    2. “Why are most Filipinos incapable of Yes or No answers?”
    Filipinos are mostly Catholics or muslims, they believe that God, not them, is in control. “Maybe” is the Filipino way of saying “God-willing” or “Bahala na si Batman”. “Batman” is their term of endearment for “God”.
    3. “Why are most Filipinos never specific?”
    Go back to point #2
    4. “Why are most Filipinos bad with email confirmations and replies?”
    Filipinos trust yahoo and g-mail. When it tells them “message sent”, they take that to mean that it’s in your Inbox. They assume that you too trust yahoo and g-mail hence confirming receipt is redundant.
    5. “Worst of all, why are most Filipinos bad with keeping commitments?”
    Filipinos understand commitment as mutual agreement. If they feel that they are being forced to commit then there is no commitment, no obligation to do what was forced on them. So don’t ask them to commit, ask them when it is convenient for them. Then you won’t get stressed waiting. As to the rain and traffic experienced by your ex-real estate agent, go back to point #2 and add “MMDA” to “God”.
    No, I will not say you made an unfair and hasty generalization. The people you did business with are the rule, not the exception. So my tips are meant to help you navigate through the icebergs.
    Finally, Filipinos do not think or act poor. If they did then they would click their heels at the snap of a finger. But as you so accurately observed, they show up at meetings and do things at their own time and convenience. In other words, Filipinos think and behave like rich, privileged, and entitled people which is the next best thing to actually being rich, privileged, and entitled.
    Feel free to write if you have any other questions. I will try my best to help you through your culture adjustment pains.
    Regards,
    MB

    • Mike

      Wow that is terrible, you didn’t hear a word she said, and you did exactly what the writer said you would, get defensive. Just own up to the fact that what she said is true, quit making excuses

      • manuelbuencamino

        I’m not making excuses. I’m not defensive. And I heard her loud and clear so I’m trying to help her out and, hopefully, you too.

        Didn’t you read “I will not say you made an unfair and hasty generalization. The people you did business with are the rule, not the exception. So my tips are meant to help you navigate through the icebergs”?
        Lighten up, And get your watch fixed.

        • Nik

          “Lighten up, And get your watch fixed.”

          Or change her real estate agent.

    • Joe America

      “Filipinos think and behave like rich, privileged, and entitled people which is the next best thing to actually being rich, privileged, and entitled.”

      Now that is very funny.

      I appreciate your cultural interpretation. I’ll go back to bed now, as I think my breakfast will be on Filipino time . . .