Filipinos cannot progress if they cannot follow even simple guidelines

A noted blog commentator once made an assertion that the Philippines will never be a great nation unless Filipinos learn to live by the principle of the “rule of law”. Indeed, some people even insist that none of the calls by certain sectors of Philippine society for a system change like a shift from a Presidential to a Parliamentary system or even constitutional amendments will work to uplift the status of the nation because most Filipinos simply cannot follow the “rule of law.”

Earthquake discipline: Japanese orderliness even in time of stress

It is quite certain that the success of any nation depends on the character of the head of state and the character of the people in general. A strong leader will put the interest of the nation first before anything else. A strong leader supported by strong institutions can work towards achieving social and economic stability for the people.

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However, a weak leader in a country like the Philippines, which has weak institutions will tend to succumb to the world-renowned Filipino “padrino” system — a system that trumps any other system in place. Worse, such a leader will mask his weakness or understanding of the law by acting like he is above the law.

A weak leader, whether he is leading a country or a small community tends to let praises or expressions of adoration from the public get to his head. Because he is easily impressed by such accolades, he also tends to become arrogant and will see criticism of him as a mere non-constructive annoyance. Such a leader will not work towards unity and harmony in Philippine society. Unfortunately, weak systems tend to harbor weak leaders.

What is with Filipinos and following the rule of law?

There is very little evidence that Filipinos are capable of living by the “rule of law”. The society is quite extraordinary in the sense that simple rules and regulations whether on the road or in the work place are for the most part ignored. This is because each individual has this baseless sense of being more important than everybody else. It is why you see people cutting you off on highway lanes on the road or pushing their way in lines ahead of the rest in a queue. In other words, Filipinos in general tend to put their own interest first before other people.

As a blogger, I quite often come across commentators who cannot even follow simple commenting guidelines. There are some participants in the blogosphere who constantly violate the guidelines by consistently writing obscenities and foul language on forums just to give the impression that they are above the guidelines. The funny thing is, being moderated does not even stop them from misbehaving. They even cry foul for being moderated instead of conforming to the guidelines.

This brings us to another world-renowned Filipino mentality — the “victim” mentality. Filipinos are good at playing the “victim card” because they are very sensitive and emotional people. They play the victim card in front of the public to get as much attention as possible. Filipinos always try to get around following any rules and regulations or even simple guidelines by appealing to emotion.

Filipino victim mentality was quite evident in the case of a group of nurses in the US who reportedly filed a discrimination complaint when their employer called their attention for speaking too much in their native Tagalog at work. Victim mentality was also quite evident in the way the Philippine government tried to intervene and stop the execution of three drug mules that were sentenced to death in China for violating their anti-drug rule. Likewise, victim mentality is definitely evident in the way the incumbent President, Noynoy Aquino (PNoy) cries foul whenever he is criticized for decisions that were obviously not thought through very well.

It is quite interesting to note that some Filipinos would rather act like idiots than follow the rules. They always want to find an easy way out of a situation. They want to make uncomplicated things complicated. This brings us to another world-renowned Filipino trait: “lack of discipline.”

Filipinos in general are incapable of any form of discipline because they focus more on form rather than substance. In short, they want to stand out. They lack the discipline to engage in discussions in a civilized way and lack the discipline to not turn a public forum into a circus. This is why issues do not get resolved. This is a consistent observation — from every Senate inquiry being broadcast to the Filipino public down to the most benign discussions in the blogosphere, Filipinos love honking their horns.

Worse, Filipinos in general feel a strong sense of entitlement to relax or “chill-out” even when there is still so much to do to move the country forward. Instead of discussing solutions seriously and in detail during their spare time, Filipinos would rather spend it fooling around — never mind that societies from great nations like China, Japan and South Korea have historically shown that being more serious and devoting more of their time to solving problems yields better results in the long term.

From the top guys and gals sitting behind desks at the Presidential office down to the tricycle driver down the road, everyone just wants to have “fun” in the Philippines first before tackling the problems of the land in a more serious manner. You can be forgiven for thinking that one hit wonder Wang Chung probably wrote the song “Everybody have fun tonight” for Filipinos. It can absolutely boggle the mind to wonder why Filipinos cannot limit switching to party mode when they are at an actual party.

As discussed in my previous article, Filipinos are proud of being a happy-go-lucky society and make it a point to show the rest of the world that they are coping with smiling faces despite the dire circumstances they face. This mentality shows that Filipinos are satisfied with mediocrity and find striving for excellence too daunting. A few remaining Filipinos who want to engage in a more serious discussions are even labeled “kill-joy” or “librarians.” Aside from their penchant for bullying when others don’t engage in “pakikisama,” Filipinos indeed, have a tendency to discriminate against more sober ways of tackling solutions.

Unfortunately, a 90 year old study by psychologist Dr Leslie Martin and his colleagues in California suggested that “too much of a sense that everything will be fine can be dangerous because it can lead one to be careless about things that are important to long life.” Likewise, the study also showed that those who are always optimistic take more gambles with their health. They were more likely to drink, smoke and eat badly, which is a typical characteristic of a Filipino. While prudent and persistent individuals are more cautious with their health and overall wellbeing – characteristics that are less likely to be found in Filipinos.

Filipinos have so much to learn from the Japanese. Despite the devastation that the people of Japan experienced due to the magnitude 8.9 earthquake that hit country and the killer tsunami that followed immediately after, people around the world admired the stoicism and orderly reaction of the Japanese. People in most societies would have found themselves wailing in misery and chaos after such destruction.

Maia Szalavitz in an article she wrote for TIME magazine aptly described how it works for the Japanese — they follow the belief that “others are at least on par with the self, if not more important.” Here’s an excerpt:

“In restaurants, you never pour your own sake, you have to notice whose glass is empty and you serve them. It’s these little rituals [that have prepared them for this crisis] so that even if you have one bowl of rice, you share it with a stranger.

The wonderful thing about the Japanese is that they are presenting an example of the pro-social power of the group. The group as a whole is saying explicitly or implicitly, this is what we do: no looting, no horn honking even if you’re in a 12 mile traffic jam, no complaining. [CNN’s] Anderson Cooper said he’d never seen such calm in the face of such adversity.”

Not that Filipinos need copy what the Japanese do to a tee, but the most interesting thing to note about societies like Japan is that nobody has the desire to grandstand. Individuals do not want to show that they are more important than everybody else. This is in stark contrast to people in societies like the Philippines where people in general want to be the “star.” And this is the reason why some Filipinos think that they are above the “law” or above even just simple “guidelines.”

Discipline should be inculcated at an early age. If people are not taught how to follow rules and regulations when they are still young, they will be shocked to realize once they enter the “adult” world that they will have a hard time coping with life if they keep deviating from the rules that put order in society. Which is what is happening to most Filipinos now.

811 Replies to “Filipinos cannot progress if they cannot follow even simple guidelines”

  1. Discipline is to be found within a moral framework. The Japanese culture you cite may be polite, but it is hardly transparent. Japanese share shades of meaning that we outsiders are unlikely to grasp, for we are unrefined by Japanese standards. The Philippines cannot become Japan-like nor should that be an aspiration.

    The Philippine moral framework is based on the push and pull of Ego, capitalized because the Ego framework is specific to the Philippines. This Ego is similar to Japan or China, being pride based, but in the Philippines, the opposite, “loss of face”, does not engender humility. It engenders angry reaction to the challenge that results in loss of face. In the Philippines, pats on the back (gaining face) come from warped interpretations of what is important. Cock fights are macho and worth a pat, reading is not. White skin is beautiful and worth a pat, brown is not.

    The moral scale is sick so the disciplines to be found under that moral view are also sick. Skirting the law for personal gain is not condemned; people brag about what they get away with. They gain face by cheating and lose face only if caught. The Filipino Ego defines right and wrong not as society’s right and wrong, but as right and wrong in terms of personal power or advantage. The law is society’s definition and it is irrelevant if personal advantage can be gained by ignoring it or circumventing it.

    These deficiencies are more than intellectual. They are built within the personalities, within the culture. It is as fruitless to get a Filipino to deflate his Ego as it is to get a Japanese to abandon false politeness and the penchant to hide from hard truths.

    We westerners like to lay our patterns of propriety on Filipinos, and you offshore Filipinos who have been indoctrinated in a cleaner, more logical, more pro-active, more courteous environment, tend to do the same.

    But the culture here is and always will be based on personal pride. The best we can hope for is greater awareness of the importance of each Filipino trying to be a hero to other Filipinos. In that way, the positive aspects of pride will emerge, and personal gain will not be as important as caring for others.
    Frankly, I don’t have any idea how to get to that cultural style quickly or easily. I tend to think the solution lies more in self-awareness than discipline. I fear that your eloquent words are just water off an Ego-bound duck’s back. Until people realize “I am trapped by my values”, they cannot change them. And Ego prevents such awareness from emerging. Even most of your writing cohorts are trapped within their Filipino Egos, defensive, inerrably quick to condemn and slow to be gracious.

    1. It has to start with the media as well. My wife orders TFC and I don’t know how she can stand to watch that crap. It’s all mostly garbage. You see the ego, the pride, it’s all there and the oh so poor people, because they just can’t see beyond, keep on apraising this kind of things. I just don’t know how the Philippine Media does it, showing the terrible teleserias. I don’t understand tagalog, but I don’t even think you can understand what they are saying period in those shoes. All you here is yelling, crying, gun fire, and more yelling. What the hell!!!I’ve been around the world, and seen all kinds of programming, but the Philippine shows are the worse. Why is there so much emotion and empathy..I”m sick of seeing the filipino dive into this. It’s gotta start with our media. And what’s with filipino society praising gay men…to me it’s not funny.

      1. i sympathize with you. Believe me im already in the USA and my family still watch that crap. You dont learn anything from it. No wonder the Filipino slice of life there is comical at best. Filipinos in general likes drama. Because their liFe there is full.of drama. The more chaos in life.the more they like it. LIFE THERE IS NOTHING BUT A COMEDY OF ERRORS.

      2. I agree with you Sir. Even though I am a Filipino, I can no longer stand teledramas. Yeah, they may say that dramas are patterned after the realities of life, but after that, the realities of life become patterned after dramas. Just like a cycle. I based my observation on the reason why crime rate increase, it is because TV programs air those kind of news. How powerful media is!

        Now, back to dramas, if we can break that cycle and introduce shows that show moral values and cultural ideals, and value educational endeavors, then I guess it will be instilled in the minds of the people. Like how water can eventually break a hard rock. I am so sick and tired of slapping here and there, legal wives and mistresses, gay lovers, sobfest with screamfest, amnesia plots, gun plots, exchanged birth plots, horror plots.

        1. …not to mention that teleserye show about a 14-year old girl whose constant outfit makes her breasts want to spill over. DISGUSTING!

    2. I agree with some points of this article. But the observation is totally poor. I lived in the US ten plus yrs now . Are there lazy Americans? yes. I’m sure these traits are present in all walks of life, whether in Japan or China. Been to Thailand and those people are not that disciplined either, but the country came a long way. Maybe Philippines has progressed a lot economically in the last 30 year or so. Can we plot a graph maybe? Success is in the eye of the beholder. We only see the bad and ignore the good. What ticks for Singapore doesn’t mean it will work for Filipinos. My opinion strongly is Filipino progressed everytime they fight for freedom against tyranny and the immediate replacement of corrupted leaders. I do know that Filipinos do have discipline. Like that poor young girl who made Summa Cum Laude despite residing in a humble “nipa” home.

    3. Filipinos are law abiding. Of course, you have crime, because it is everywhere, part of the human condition. But I have been all over the Philippines, China, Japan, Hong Kong, and I am a native of the USA. My preferred country is the Phils.
      In all my time in the Phils, I have never experienced a crime. Nor do I live in gated communities or hotels. I stay with family, ride jeepneys and tricycles, as well as the bus and taxicabs. My experience is real
      I think “the problem” is, too many pinoys/pinays pointing out “the problem” The Philippines is a fine country, full of friendly, good hearted people. Their system works, and it is a good place to live and raise a family. Why are there so many there who want to change it into Hong Kong or Japan?

  2. Hey Joe!

    Thanks for the comment.

    You said:

    “I fear that your eloquent words are just water off an Ego-bound duck’s back. Until people realize “I am trapped by my values”, they cannot change them. And Ego prevents such awareness from emerging.”

    It is indeed, the Filipino culture itself that is keeping the country from progressing. Most Filipinos cannot understand this because any criticism against the culture is not appreciated. They’d rather blame some public servant for all the ills in the land.

    Most Filipinos do want progress but they can’t deal with the reality that they have to be more serious and work harder. It is easier for them to shrug the problem off until the next crisis comes.

    1. Hello I am a Filipino myself…and what you have written really hurts me A LOT!!…but this is reality…To be honest I tried to recall the things that happened to me in the past and somehow it made me laugh, and made me cry as well.

      I asked myself, why is it that somebody should have written this before I get to my senses. I should have known this years ago. All that you have written Ida is TRUE. We are all emotional (Filipinos).We forget to weigh things out. We are blinded by are ego,pride and fame-seeking attitude that additional power means additional responsibility. We simply want all the glory, all the power, all the right but not all the responsibility. It is so sad that we Filipinos are a victim of our own mentality.

      I can’t think of any solution except to be AWARE. Awareness without bias. Just pure critical thinking and not criticism. I should say that to change this great nation should start with ME…with YOU…with EACH and ONE of US…

      Thank God I found this blog…hope to visit this again

      1. it has been 10 years now and i’ve adapted a lot of american culture w/c are a lot different from Filipino culture; the worst tv shows on tfc w/c i find annoying, is very much patronized by a lot of Filipino communities here in the U.S. of A. and to think that these kababayans doesn’t care much about what’s going on here but rather have their focus back home is so absurd/ridiculous; so to say, they’re physicaly here but their minds and heart are still back in the P.I. (??????)

  3. Sa tingin ko dapat itranslate mo to sa tagalog para mas matulungan mong makarealize ng mga bagay-bagay yung mga Pilipino.

    1. Seconded on that note. It’d be nice if the masses could read and understand this. My family in itself would benefit from the facts/insights presented.

      1. The problem is even if you translate it into “Filipino” only a few would dare to read it. I don’t mean to be a “crab” but seeing that most of us are so lazy to even read such a wonderful post as this.

        Although more and more Filipinos are changing there ways. I hope it keeps up and truly change our way of thinking.

        1. Indeed, I think someone asked the question a while ago: “How do we address this condition?”

          For me part of the solution is to embrace the English language, because a lot of information and material that express the concepts and attitudes that we all need to learn and internalise in order to change our ways are written in English.

          So I respectfully suggest that if we are all serious about building a will to change among Filipinos, the first step is to embrace the medium of expression where the greater bulk of world-class thinking is articulated. 🙂

          A good article to check out with regard to embracing the English language can be found here.

    1. @tebanski

      We as a people should stop looking for someone or something to blame for why our society is still in this predicament. We should engage more in self-reflection. Filipinos are quick to blame their public servants but what they don’t realise is that they are the ones who voted them into office.

      I discussed this in detail in my previous article:

      Filipinos and happiness: why we need to be serious about it

      And also this article discussed our inability to see our own shortfall:

      Being average is not being resilient

      When the Japanese was struck by an earthquake and a devastating tsunami recently, they did not blame God or complain about their misery. They quickly switched to the process of picking up the pieces. We can learn so much from them on how they handle challenges.

    2. How to address it are all there also in the blog… Don’t do what is not right or correct it… do the opposite of the wrong listed. How if you ask again? Self discipline, be conscious of what you say thing or do.

      “Your beliefs become your thoughts,
      Your thoughts become your words,
      Your words become your actions,
      Your actions become your habits,
      Your habits become your values,
      Your values become your destiny.”
      ― Mahatma Gandhi

      “Carefully watch your thoughts, for they become your words. Manage and watch your words, for they will become your actions. Consider and judge your actions, for they have become your habits. Acknowledge and watch your habits, for they shall become your values. Understand and embrace your values, for they become your destiny.”
      ― Mahatma Gandhi

      “Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions.
      Watch your actions; they become habit.
      Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.”
      ― Lao Tzu

  4. I agree with you when majority of us Filipinos have the victim mentality. It’s frustrating to see Filipinos complain of the punishments they receive when they don’t read and follow guidelines and rules in the first place.

  5. For argument’s sake, I think the reason why the Japanese are able to pick themselves up is because of their culture that has embraced SHINTOISM, a type of religion as it is already made a culture. Part of that is the value of honesty, integrity, and social justice.

    How I wish we could have the same type of discipline that I see in foreign countries but until the Pinoy moves forward, it is but wishful thinking. In all honesty, though I sometimes become someone as a hypocrite by not following rules, I despise those who would always find the easy way out. I think it has something to do with the way I was raised by my parents (dad’s a retired soldier, mom’s in the government; discipline and knowing thy limits are two of the many utmost important values they try to inculcate).

    I’m not saying I belong to the very few people who live by a certain code of conduct, and try as much as to adhere to it, but i hate it when others cheat to get ahead, look for the easy way out than strive to achieve something done through hard work, and play the victim card. And yes, include those who cannot or don’t want to immerse themselves in a culture of “intellectual intercourse” by focusing on a topic rather than putting themselves on a pedestal.

    Oh yes, and let’s keep blaming the public officials; they’re part of the problem anyway, aside from ourselves.

    1. Sorry but i believe saying SHINTOISM is why Japan was able to pick itself up is extremely silly. “honesty, integrity and social justice” is part of many if not all world religions including catholicism, protestantism and even the christian cults. let’s try comparing ourselves to other progressive countries other than Japan: South Korea, Singapore, China, India even Vietnam. We suck ass compared to all of them. different countries, different religions yet they are able to progress. it really is a cultural issue.

      1. @Matt

        You have a very valid point. I just used the Japanese culture as comparison because they are in the news at the moment due to the devastation in their country brought about by the earthquake.

        Yes, we really have no excuse not to progress. Most Filipinos just cling on to silly excuses like our colonial history… etc, etc – all lame excuses really.

    2. @C-Lo14

      You are right about how most the Japanese believe in Shintoism and I’d like to quote an excerpt from an article from TIME magazine about their beliefs:

      “What’s unique about Japan is really a combination of a deep belief in Buddhism and Shinto religious rituals and what we call a collectivist culture where others are at least on par with the self, if not more important.”

      Discipline is part of their life. It’s not something that is introduced to them at a later stage in life. It’s embedded in their psyche. Unfortunately, what is embedded in most Filipinos psyche is that they are more important than everybody else.

      1. Well, it is in our religion too…I am Christian but not catholic. I consider myself to be more a bible based chritian and practice passover and the sabbath, rest on Saturday. I go to the catholic church sometimes because my wife is catholic. Not to be anti-catholic, but the catholic church is not empowering. It does not empower its message. I think alot of Filipino’s see God as, if I go to church and devote 1 hour a week, I will be good and who cares about the sermon. After leaving the sermon and going out into the parking lot, here you go, all the Filipinos honking at each other because everyone wants to rush out first. I don’t know..Scrath on my head.

  6. great insights Ilda! so sad that the mindsets so deeply imbedded in pinoys is really what’s holding us down as a society. i really do wonder if we’ll ever improve. something i observed about pinoys is that it really doesn’t matter to what social class you belong to: rich or poor, “educated” or not, 99% live by padrino, pakikisama, “chill-out”, “victim”, “im more important”. it’s really sad.

    1. Thanks for the compliment John.

      Yes, you are right about this “padrino system” and “victim mentality” syndrome. It transcends all social classes in Philippine society. What is really disappointing for me is when I see it on Filipinos who were educated abroad. It is a real crying shame that they wasted their money for nothing.

    2. Pakisama is so sad…Balikbayan box is so sad…Making Manny Paquio a president is so sad…TFC is so sad….Praising and laughing at gay people on TFC and shows is so sad…Filipinos good at dancing and singing, so sad…Ninoy Aquino, so sad…any good and better news? There should be a new gospel going around in the Philippines…preaching this article.

  7. I’ve went through the same process of introspection as you probably did for this article, seeing that it’s well-articulated, but I may have arrived at a different conclusion than what you wrote. Yes, I’m also sick and tired of the fact that our ‘culture’ seems ‘way off’ the ideal given the conglomeration of factors that you have mentioned. What occurred to me though, is the fact that maybe I’m looking at it at a much different perspective. Let me try to illustrate it with an example.

    In child psychotherapy, it is nearly not useful to deal with talk therapy as the primary treatment modality because the ‘language’ of a child is quite different from that of an adult. What seems raucous behavior might be just their way of explaining their emotions. This is the reason why we engage in play therapy and other expressive approaches – art, dance, music, are just a few examples – to draw out their inner worlds. In this regard, what I’m trying to say that language varies across cultures, i.e. a child has a different culture than an adult.

    Given this, I started second-guessing myself as to why I always ponder the negative aspects of the Filipino culture. Is it really a culture of laziness as we say it is, or are we just ill-equipped to interpret according to the realities of the Filipino culture? My professor always reiterates the idea of ‘class values; into this discussion and I’m also considering the same – are the values of my ‘middle-class’ upbringing preventing me from seeing anything positive about our culture? Am I even ‘seeing’ the Filipino in the correct way given that I’ve only lived in the urban metro and have only lived in conditions way different from the people I’m talking about?

    I know this could be a little confusing, seeing as this is written off-the-cuff, but what I’m really pointing out is our predisposition for seeing the negative and consequently generalizing it to the culture as a whole. Is it just because we’re using a language inadequate to describe the realities of our own culture?

    1. I think the real test here is to make a list of ten convincingly “positive” things about the Philippines, and see if this list will stand up to objectively cold scrutiny and evaluation. That’s the challenge, if anybody is up to it. 😉

    2. @RodgeB

      You said:

      Am I even ‘seeing’ the Filipino in the correct way given that I’ve only lived in the urban metro and have only lived in conditions way different from the people I’m talking about?

      My response:

      As I said in my article, everything I wrote about is a consistent observation – from every Senate inquiry being broadcast to the Filipino public down to the most benign discussions in the blogosphere, Filipinos love honking their horns.

      Unfortunately, the negative aspects of our culture hinders our progress.

  8. Thanks you for sharing your insights. I’ve read the whole post and though it is well written, it is derogatory. It sounds like a report on some animal that you’ve been studying for a year. Nevertheless, we share the same sentiments.

  9. Before anything else, we cannot expect the Filipinos to follow the rules and act in a disciplined manner until they learn to love, respect, and identify with the Philippines. It is not until they get to value what it is to be a Filipino that a disciplined society may come about for why will one act in accordance to the laws of a country that they do not value at all.

    1. Most Filipinos claim to love and boast about being proud to be Filipino yet act the opposite of what they say. Go figure.

  10. Itapon na lang sana lahat ng radiation galing Japan para mamatay na tayo lahat. O kaya ay gawing lider dito si Gaddafi. Para mabawasan ang mga inutil sa mundo.

  11. Negative minded. Although you are right. It’s really negative. You are talking about the people in general. That’s not nice. But nice insights though.

    1. Negative minded? There will always be an exception but that exception has been overshadowed multiple times already that it feels and looks like a disease spreading.

      Funny, when Pinoys are in their homeland, they don’t care about the rules. But when they “migrate” to say, the U.S. or any other places, they suddenly behave like any other people.

      1. maybe that’s the reason why most of us decided to go abroad and actually be accustomed with other nation’s discipline.

        1. That’s just one of the many reason’s George, mostly because of opportunities for the kids. Pinas just doesn’t offer that much of a stability for our kids future. I have a childhood friend who was a CFO of a very popular company in Makati, and yet he chose to migrate for his kids future. Now, what does that tell you and all our kababayans ?

    2. @lyka

      I can assure you that my outlook in life is far from being negative. My foresight has saved me from being stuck in bad situations in the past. Meanwhile, most Filipinos lack the ability to foresee where their actions will lead them to – on the road to nowhere.

      The truth is never easy to accept but I personally would rather deal with it than pretend everything is perfect.

      1. You have a very realistic approach to life Ilda and I could only wish the youth of today would have a bit of wisdom like us to disciple themselves from the ironic views of ignorance ! Please keep posting in the hopes of more and more would begin to understand and accept.

      2. Living in the Philippines and California born in Europe with its diverse population, married at one time to an Indonesian lady, now a Philipina I feel I have a good feel for the lifestyle in the Philippines. The Philippines is a country of two opposites. A beautiful side and a rotten side. We know about the widespread corruption (we call it leverage) at all level of so society. The average Phillipino takes advantage of the condition because he/she can. Place this same Philippino in the United States he/she will be a model immigrant/citizen within a view months. Why? Because of the system, it won’t let him be corrupt. Actions in the Philippines to fight corruption have an only short term effect because too many people lose money. Back to standard, ;( ;(

  12. I for one am just glad there’s a blog post out there stating simple fact. Now I’m waiting to see if all the misguided “patriots” are going to flood your comments section with “shame on you, you should be proud to be Filipino” and all that petty nonsense Filipinos always resort to when slapped with an uncomfortable truth. Personally I find all this mollycoddling and pandering to our own bullsh*t very irritating.

    Bravo on an articulate and insightful post. If only such clarity of thought were more common.

  13. Nice post. However, I’d like to comment on Filipinos being happy-go-lucky. Maybe you’re pertaining to the “bahala na” mentality?

    I’ve taken up Sikolohiyang Pilipino and there are some readings available that would explain indigenous concepts such as “bahala na,” “ningas cogon,” and “filipino time” among others. I think Virgilio Enriquez has a published article about this.

    It’s really interesting because you’d know why Filipinos act this way. It goes way back in history. Maybe that will help you answer why we behave so differently from other cultures. 🙂

    1. Thanks for the info Ayeen

      I really think that it is important for us to acknowledge that concepts such “the padrino sytem” does more harm to our society than good. So to me, the history of why Filipinos engage in such is irrelevant to me.


      PS. Yes, the happy-go-lucky society has the “bahala na” mentality. 🙂

      1. But I just believe that history is very important in why people act a certain way. I don’t know, probably this is what my professors at UP taught me. We can’t disregard that the way we Filipinos is a product of what we’ve gone throughout history.

      2. P.S. “Bahala Na” for foreign social scientists is equal to “fatalism” but for Virgilio Enriquez and other Filipino social scientist, it describes the Filipino way of life, in which, he is determined to do his best, hence the term bahala na, which actually came from the phrase bathalan na, meaning ‘I will do all my best, let God take care of the rest’.

        And I don’t think history is ever irrelevant when we are talking about culture.

        I’m not defending the “wrong ways” of the Filipinos. I just think that we should use relevant sources from our country written by our own social scientists to explain phenomena like these. “Taong bahay” instead of “tao sa bahay,” as what Virgilio Enriquez would say.

        1. Ayeen

          Regardless of what we have gone through in the past, what is important is our future. We need to get rid of the bad traits that are stopping us from progressing. It is as simple as that.

          You mentioned that “bahala na” actually came from the phrase bathalan na, which means ‘I will do all my best, let God take care of the rest’. The problem is, the meaning of the original word is not applied anymore. Most Filipinos certainly don’t do their best. They just leave everything to God.

          So for me, the “bahala na” attitude with its modern meaning today is what we need to get rid of.

  14. It’s funny coz my wife has an online store where “how to purchase” is all over her website, and still there are people asking how to purchase.

    I like this post. Very well said. Tweeted & FB shared.

    1. even on forums and other online resources with deals with what you do with gagdets (celfone, pc and the like), an instruction was given and people will still ask an explanation. Or let me put it this way, pinapatagalog nila.

      Not belittling them. But what have we become?

  15. I’m happy to have stumbled upon this article, and I’m happy to know that someone out there have the same sentiments as I do.

    I just wish some Filipinos would be more open-minded the way they want other people to be open-minded with them.

    As much I wish I could talk about this with my friends, though I doubt any of them would ever understand or atleat try to comprehend what I’m trying to explain. I will just be accused of being unpatriotic and be told to just go to another country if I wasn’t satisfied with how things are in the Philippines. Well, it already happened once but hey… (sigh)

    Sorry about my insufficient English. I know more English than Tagalog but I’m really not good at expressing what I meant clearly through written words. But I do hope you understand.

    1. Hi Jinny

      I know what you are saying. Filipinos who have misguided patriotism outnumber us. Most of them think that pointing out our cultural flaws is unpatriotic. Never mind if those flaws are getting in the way of our progress.

      Thanks for your comment.

    2. It will be easier for the younger generation to understand…it’s the old people, and the old ways to change…like they say, it’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks.

  16. The situations presented in this blog are really evident here in the Philippines. I hope we Filipinos would lower our pride and read and reflect on this thoroughly.

  17. A very insightful and intelligent article. There’s just one catch: it takes an equally insightful and intelligent mind to appreciate. Most Filipinos would read a few lines and think that they’re being bashed. That’s the problem here: ego.

    You see, Filipino pride is sometimes, hypocritical; most of them defend their ego as they see fit, honking their horns to see which honks the loudest (in what a Filipino might say, ‘nagbubumida’) but, when the opportunity comes to really stand up and make their country proud, only a few rise to the occasion – the others simply ranting in histrionics on how everything has conspired against them.

    Let’s face it: the article is a bit criticizing. But then again, we are looking at mistakes here; it’s supposed to be criticizing. I myself am a Filipino and know of a number of my countrymen who are offended by critical assessment. It really doesn’t matter if it’s offending or not, it’s how you take that criticism and make something of it.

    A very good article discussing an issue really worth looking into.
    Thank you for the very good read.

    1. Hi Pots

      I am glad you appreciate the concept behind the word criticism. Most misguided Filipino patriots would just dismiss this article as being negative, indeed.

      I know of people who don’t “like” me anymore because of what I write. Some of them even went to school abroad and now live in progressive countries. I am very disappointed that they do not even apply what they have learned abroad to help change the situation in the Philippines. It’s like they are very nostalgic and do not want to change anything about the country, which includes the bad traits of our countrymen. They simply shrug it off as “ganyan talaga ang Pinoy.”

  18. I appreciate your observation towards the Filipinos, Ilda. Maybe it is positive or a negative, it doesn’t matter but still it strikes me out because I’m a Filipino. I will try my best to share this post to my friends.

    PS: We have all their own lapses.

  19. Great article! However, I believe when most Filipinos read this article, they will be angered as most Filipinos don’t take criticisms lightly.

      1. accuse of what? hmmm… let me remind you of what you wrote:”Of course. But dialogue is also an option. Perhaps there was less of dialogue and more of drama in that instance, don’t you think?”

        what did you accuse them of? aba! read what you wrote!

      2. i’m trying to understand your position. at this point, it appears you dont have one.

        lets recap:
        1) i say that speaking filipino during their breaks should be ok, and if prevented they should fight for their right
        2) YOU said they were making a big deal. YOU said they was too much “drama” coz they didnt resort to dialogue
        3) i said: how do you know they didnt try to use non-legal means to resolve their differences
        4) you said: you dont know that
        5) i said: so, IF you dont know that, then why call it “making a big deal”? or full of “drama”

        what do i think? i think fighting for your rights (whatever that happens to be) using legal means isnt victimhood. in fact, its the opposite.

        i think you believe that too. so what gives? why malign the nurses when you dont have evidence to the contrary?

        1. benign0: The nurses were “making a big deal” because there was the option to engage in dialogue first and instead made a big drama of it.

          GabbyD: How did benign0 know that they did not have a dialogue first?

          benign0: How would GabbyD know that they did?

          Ergo: At face value, it was a big drama over something that could’ve been settled with dialogue. Whether said dialogue occurred or not, the result was STILL a big drama.

      3. the curious thing is that, even tho u DONT KNOW that they didnt try to settle with dialogue, you went and assumed it ANYWAY.

        why? it could have been solved, if BOTH PARTIES wanted to. it takes 2 to dialogue.

        again: they are trying to solve their problems legally. why not celebrate that?

      4. And the other curious thing is that YOU wouldn’t know too that they didn’t have said dialogue and yet you made it the basis of your counter-argument.

      5. of course its the basis of the counter argument!

        without knowing if in fact there was a dialogue, you assumed that there wasnt ,and that the first thing they did was file suit.its natural to believe that they did try other means; if only because its cheaper to dialogue directly.

        hence, i THOUGHT you had inside information on this.

        i THOUGHT ilda had inside info.

        alas, no! you just assumed they didnt try to talk, and thus concluded based on it, that this is victim behavior!

      6. And you built your argument on the notion that it was a worthwhile step to file a lawsuit because of the presumption that there actually was a dialogue that preceded it.

        Fact remains: big dramas for such a small slight on the fragile ego of Da Pinoy.

      7. its is always worthwhile to fight for rights. that isnt “victimization” nor “drama”

        “you built your argument on the notion that it was a worthwhile step to file a lawsuit BECAUSE [my emph] of the presumption that there actually was a dialogue that preceded it.”

        no! naku, naku… let me explain VERY SLOWLY.

        1) its worth-while to have the right to act freely during non work hours. fighting for rights legally is always good.
        2) thus, it is worthwhile to act to retain this freedom a lawsuit is PART OF IT. so is a dialogue.

        gets? now, why is it ma-drama? coz you assumed that they didnt dialogue. but you and i both believe its more logical to dialogue first (for many reasons).

        Q: if you and I believe that, WHY WOULDNT THEY?

      8. See, now you add a new assumption to the discussion. So now I ask you in light of that:

        What makes you think that these nurses think logically as a matter of habit?

        And the “debate” thickens… 😀

      9. what new assumption?

        is believing that other people would want to achieve their goals in a quick a manner and as costless manner “a new assumption”?

        is this all new to you?

        what motivates you?

        how do you think people behave?

        indeed this is what you dont want to talk about: when you dont know the details of something, why assume they’d prefer the costly drawn-out way, to a (possibly) easier way to achieve their goals?

        indeed, by calling this “a new assumption”, the mystery of how you view society becomes murkier by the day!

        1. Here is the snippet where you made this assumption I was referring to:

          but you and i both believe its more logical to dialogue first (for many reasons).
          Q: if you and I believe that, WHY WOULDNT THEY?

          You seem to be under some sort of assumption that these nurses see dialogue as the logical path to take. How sure are you that this assumption is sound?

      10. mali ulit!

        what i said was, if dialogue was available or useful, they would have used it. the fact that they are suing means they tried it and it didnt work, or it wouldnt have worked at all.

        “You seem to be under some sort of assumption that these nurses see dialogue as the logical path to take. How sure are you that this assumption is sound?”

        now, it is you that raised dialogue that is something they ought to have done! on april 4 you wrote: “But dialogue is also an option. Perhaps there was less of dialogue and more of drama in that instance, don’t you think?” i agree with you that dialogue, when and were available, should be used.

        you were the one who assumed they didnt dialogue first. why?

        now cmon, this is simple: why did they exhibit victim mentaity? why did you think it was a “big deal” ? what is the “drama”?

        these are super simple questions. are they so hard to answer?

        1. “what i said was, if dialogue was available or useful, they would have used it. the fact that they are suing means they tried it and it didnt work, or it wouldnt have worked at all.”

          How do you know that they tried dialogue?

      11. i think this is the core of your attitude:

        “What makes you think that these nurses think logically as a matter of habit?”

        by asking the question, you DOUBT that they thought logically.

        but if YOU think logically, WHY WOULDNT THEY?

  20. really good article! i couldn’t agree more. One thing I noticed is that the people who break the rules are the same ones who cry they are the victims. we really can’t progrees with this kind of attitude. and the one thing i hate about it, is that they always get away with this bad attitude. this makes me remember the principle of sowing and reaping. sow bad seeds, eventually they will get back at you and even worse than what you did.

    1. Tell me about it. The squatters and the street vendors cry foul when they get evicted by the authorities. They have this misguided sense of entitlement. Which is why the authorities don’t bother to act until the problem is already out of control.

      Thanks for the input!

  21. very well-written article. harsh truths but not expressed offensively. it’s so sad to see how people claim that they are so proud to be Filipino but fail to act like they want the best for their country. nationalism is much more than just telling whoever will listen how much you love your motherland. and it’s definitely not cussing out those who criticize your people.

    Filipinos have many positive traits at well. I wholeheartedly hope that they – we – will someday all learn to shelf our blind pride and get to work on fully utilizing our skills and resources. then hopefully we’ll also make a good impression on people from other cultures who have been led to believe that there’s nothing good about us.

    cheers to the future and please keep writing.

    1. Thanks for the comment Harper

      We Filipinos need to learn to look at both our negative and positive traits. Just like when you go for a job interview, you get to discuss both your strengths and your weaknesses. We should be able to discuss our society’s strengths and weaknesses without feeling like we are being unpatriotic. Unfortunately, what usually happens is that most Filipinos tend to exaggerate our good traits. A classic example of this is when we boast about being “hospitable.” I’ve met a lot of people from Thailand and I can confirm that they are also friendly and hospitable. If not more


      1. A relative of mine lived in Thailand for a long time. He has lived in Malaysia as well. He is in the best position to compare. I vouch for the guy’s objectivity. According to him, these countries still don’t compare to the Filipino hospitality.

    2. It will open happen with the younger generation. With the older generation still at hand, it cannot happen. And only, when, this will happen too is when the Phillippines starts inventing products such as a car or something scientifically that will alter our course. For now, we still have to adhere to uneducated presidents, the popular vote, the crappy tfc, and lawlessness. Sorry guys…if you wanna bash me, go ahead…

    1. @GabbyD

      I didn’t say the nurses are victims. I said they have a “victim mentality.”

      And the issue was not about freedom of speech but it was actually about the nurses’ violation of the hospital guidelines.

      “The hospital’s policy states that English is the principal language and must be the exclusive language spoken and written by all employees while on duty in the emergency department”.

      1. thats certainly ONE side of the story. hence, the conflict! from your own link:

        “However, the nurses, who are being represented by the Migrant Heritage Commission, said that they do not recall speaking in Tagalog in front or while providing patient care in the Emergency Department. They admitted speaking in their native language only during breaks at the Nurses’ Station.

        The nurses’ lawyer, Atty. Arnedo Valera had asked the EEOC to investigate the complaint and if the hospital’s English-only rule in the workplace violates the Civil Rights Act.”

        again: fighting for one’s rights is victim mentality?

      2. ah, maybe its this: its victim mentality IF you disagree with another person? so in this case, you disagree with the claim of due process and civil rights — thus its victim mentality?

        thats why its victim mentality?

        1. Nah. It’s victim mentality because these people convince themselves they are victims and because they appeal to Filipinos’ innate inclination to routinely feel like victims.

      3. “It’s victim mentality because they created a big drama where there could’ve been DIALOGUE first.”

        again, why assume that they didnt attempt 2 resolve this via dialogue?

        we’re back to this thing… 🙂

        reading the news story again: can you dialogue with someone who unilaterally fires you?

      4. “It’s victim mentality because these people convince themselves they are victims”

        wow! we are at the end of your rope. now its down to semantics and circular reasoning…

        anything that a “victim” says is victim mentality… coz they are victims…

      5. In the US it is our right to speak whatever language we want to in our downtime! Speaking up for oneself is also a right.

        So please, that’s not victim mentality–that’s having a conscience.

    2. Suing for freedom of speech in this instance IS victim behavior. There I said it. The proof is in the dinuguan. If you don’t have freedom of speech, you won’t be allowed to have the opportunity to sue in the first place. Only an open progressive society would allow such countermeasures. Victim mentality enabled them to think they could skirt the rules and then cry foul when they got caught. Do I believe they have the right to speak Tag at work? Sure. English is not written anywhere in federal American law to be the official language. But let’s be honest, this is not about legal matters;this is about social manners..and the lack thereof.

      In conclusion, these nurses were testing the system, were being used as pawns by their legal defendants and ultimately making a mockery of the US court system.

      1. thanks hungry! at least thats an honest opinion backed by arguments.

        its possible for people to disagree with you (namely the nurses that work there), but at least its forthright.

        much better than ” It’s victim mentality because these people convince themselves they are victims ” which is the most circular of circular arguments.

      2. @The hungry traveler

        Thanks for the comment Nate. I’m glad GabbyD takes your word. Even though what you are saying is basically the same as what we have been saying. 😉

  22. This is very true. Only very few Filipinos have changed, and those are the Filipinos born outside of the Philippines. Most of the time, the filipinos born here are always complaining and so ashamed of what they see when watching current Filipino shows…Filipinos are one listens to Filipinos throughout the world. Yeah, they are smart but don’t use it, especially when it comes to ethics and principal. All you ever here are, Filipinos are the backbone…and thats it. Filipinos only kiss ass to Filipinos that have money, and don’t do enough to join in the green movement. All they want is mediocrity and don’t want to get their feet wet when it comes to voicing in other countries or showing that there is unity amongst filipinos. Filipinos in the Philippines must change and it has to start in the media. Usually, what you see in the tv, will show the kind of mentality the society has.

    So what is it you see in Filipino TV. All you see are variety shows where most of the time the announcers dont have scripts and just wing there shows. Seems like all the Filipinos are pure music lovers. All they do is Karaoke and know almost every dang song there is in the planet. And the movies, please…is there a dailogue..most of the time all you here is shouting, gun fire, crying, and more shouting. No story line at all. No acting at all.

    Education folks. Filipino’s, wake up and get rid of that stupid pride personal pride you have. Stop copying the rest of the world and show some originality. Filipino’s are smart. How come they cannot manufacture cars, or something scientifically that will benefit the world. All we do is export nurses,religion (no matter what church you go to throughout the world, you will see a filipino) which is good, but it shows too that we are insecure too much and are idolaters (catholics and using the the santo)..i mean come on…that is big time idolatry.

    And balikbayans, stop bringing back all those balikbayan boxes with all those goods. Just give your relatives money. Because that’s all they really want to do is take your money and be dependent on you. Contributing to laziness.

    Wow, look at this forum..all the filipinos replying here using educational and big words, sounding very educated and in fairness…that’s all it is, is mouth. Good talking…but how about action..But when it comes to you, that’s it, it’s all about you and not others…The Filipino is all about , I , I, and I. I’m totally confused now…well, that’s what the filipino will give you…make you confused.

  23. I read the article, very interesting. I do not agree with everything that was said in that article about the Filipina personality and behaviors and responses. I cannot speak for Pinoy living in Philippines I (I do not have exposure to them) but as an American Nurse who worked on both East and West ends of America and interacted with thousands of Filipina RN’s I see things differently. Also being married to a Filipina RN adds to my perspective. I have known Pinay RN’s as friends, co workers, staff RN’s as well as Supervisors and Administrators.
    I see the Filipina Nurse in America as very dependable, prompt, punctual and organized. She is an individual who is a team player and takes constructive criticism well and is very intelligent and dependable. The Fill/AM Nurse is very proud of the work she does and shows a great deal of respect for her patient. The Fil/ Am Nurse is refine, well manered, very clean and immaculate and dresses very nicely. They are also well focused, take things seriously and are not a bunch of Chismosa while art work (although they do have very bright cheerful personalities).

    As far as the article talking about Filipina Nurses feeling victimized about being criticized for speaking Tagolog at work. Happens everywhere. In NYC in the ED I worked we had Haitians speaking Creole, Chinese Nurses speaking Cantonese, Mandarin, Puerto Rican Nurses speaking Spanish, and they all feel offended when told not to speak their language around Patients
    After having been once treated by a Filipina RN Pt’s always look forward to being treated by them again because they provide a very high standard of care.
    AS far as Drama queens I agree with that! But then so are Italians (my ex wife) and most other races.
    So all in all perhaps one the Filipina transitions to and assimilates American Culture they change in responses and behaviors and adapt and act differently then they had in Philippines.

    1. Mike

      It’s good that you met some Filipinos whose behaviour we can definitely be proud of!

      Thanks for your comment.

    1. The article did not say “all nurses.” It actually said “a group of nurses.” There is a big difference. Unfortunately, it’s something that you CAN’T get your head around to understanding.

      1. i’d have more sympathy with this if you hadnt rushed to a generalization on “THE FILIPINO”

        — EX: “This brings us to another world-renowned Filipino mentality — the “victim” mentality””

        … which you supported based on a biased reading of ONE news article about a “group”. a biased reading that mike gladly corrected.

        But i’m happy you wont generalize about “the filipino” now. i look forward 2 articles where statements like i quoted above will be a distant memory.

      2. GabbyD,

        The victim mentality and excuse-making exist around the world in every culture when people can’t, for one reason or another, grasp their own responsibility for outcomes and try to pust responsibility on others. A thief generally uses the excuse “I am poor because the world treated me wrong; they forced me to become a thief”.

        Well, no doubt, those kids born into poor Filipino families have a harder time than those born into middle-class American households. Also, those kids whose parents sit them down in front of the TV have a harder time than those kids who sit on their parent’s lap, reading.

        The latter invariably has fewer excuses to make, because they learn to carve out their own place in life.

        There are more of the former in the Philippines.

      3. “But i’m happy you wont generalize about “the filipino” now. i look forward 2 articles where statements like i quoted above will be a distant memory.” -GabbyD

        gabbyd, gabbyd. when was the last time a commenter’s personal approval dictated the validity of a statement? when was the last time this huwag-no-naman-lahatin mode of argument actually prospered? answers: first, it doesn’t; and second, it might have in a now-dead blog we had fond memories of.

        kick that tail-chasing habit, keep the eyes on the prize. (unless for some people the prize IS the tail.)

        victim mentality perpetuates filipinos’ wasted potential to become what they wanted to be in the first place. it’s always coupled with the innate ability to come up with excuses. it develops the practically automatic tendency to reach for an excuse first before a coming up with a solution. it also drives the irresistible urge to argue in circles.

        and for once i agree with joeam. read his comment and weep.

      4. ” when was the last time this huwag-no-naman-lahatin mode of argument actually prospered?”

        hey, if you believe in broad generalizations, go ahead! make broad generalizations, live your life according to these generalizations. judge people according to these generalizations.

        if you think thats a valid argument, fine!

        oh, and when does agreement validate an statement? it depends on many factors! one is, it depends what the statement is.

      5. hey you wanna lecture somebody on generalizing? try that one on joeam because he made one trying to explain to you a good point, gabbyd.

        this sort of discussion blows your skirt up? sheesh, dude. you can’t let all the criticisms on da pinoy hit you like it’s all about you p’re. unless the shoe fits.

        1. It is easier for some people to remain in denial. They’d rather blame something or someone for their misfortune. They’d rather play the “victim card” so they can get sympathy or compensation instead of quietly working on achieving their goal.

      6. right, ilda. even for the president himself (who seems to always be a victim of gloria’s legacy, the words of his critics, the incompetence of his palace messaging group, the hounding of the press on his dubious lovelife about which he could hardly be called discreet, the stress of the job, and the tremendous expectations of the same people he promised the garden of eden to, but never his sorry self), the victim card is the easy way to avoid having to do the real work and paying the true costs of substantiating what he calls his matuwid na daan. every other pinoy does it so why can’t pnoy who is most definitely tops in pinoyness, right?

        blaming everything else certainly beats being courageous enough to publicly admit “i’m just too incompetent/lazy/ignorant/clueless for this job, folks.” poor mister kawawang president who actually asked for the job by promising vaporware.

        hey who was that guy who was a participant in the whole zte broadband thing but snuck under nuns’ skirts and played victim to be da pipol’s weaselblower? there’s a victim right there. 😉

        who are the victims in your neighborhood?
        in your neighborhood
        in your neighborhood
        so who are the victims in your neighborhood?
        they’re the people that you meet
        when you’re walking down the street
        they’re the people that you meet each daaaaaaay!

        buhay pinoy talaga.

      7. @B0

        i know! there was a time when i was curious how you can make broad generalizations with a straight face.

        but now, all i ask is for evidence that supports that kind of thinking.

        unless you just WANT to make that argument regardless of the evidence.

      8. @paralax

        who’s lecturing? if you wanna hold beliefs based on broad-brush generalizations, go ahead.

        be proud of it!

        all i ask is for some evidence.

        1. @GabbyD

          I don’t know what it’ll take for you to realise that our generalizations are spot on. It seems that you need to wait another 5 more years just to accept that PNoy’s win was a huge mistake. PNoy’s ascension to power is a classic example of mediocrity. Mediocre is what best describes most Filipinos.

      9. I don’t believe in facts, myself, for they generally divert one from the essence of the argument, and half of them are lies and concoctions anyway. I believe in ideas and principles, and even fiction if it has meaning.

      10. @baggyd:

        well, here’s the thing.

        first, a functioning brain fills me with gratitude to the lord who blessed me with it, not pride.

        second, if you seek evidence of these things from other people then you’ve been living under a rock, which i’m sure you’ve been told as many times as you’ve forgotten it. experience (and congnitive function to appreciate what the hell is happening around you) is non-transferrable, sorry.

        third, we’re not talking about beliefs. it’s all happening, dude.

  24. I’ve lived in the Philippines for 4 years now. It always appalls me how so many people here have a total inability to feel any lack of shame. That makes them almost sociopathic in a way.

    Plus it’s hard to communicate in English here above the simplest questions. Many people seem to be on a “happy ignorant” pill where they are unaware of anything and don’t care. When you try to get them to explain things, they act like they are retarded or brain damaged. It’s really annoying and aggravating.

    It’s not surprising that world IQ statistics show the Philippines as very low, only 77 on average. Only Africa is lower.

    1. I totally agree with you Wen . I’ve been here for 5 years now , n ALL a person can talk about to a filipino is cockfighting , tv shows , or other childish n senseless things .
      No wonder most of the foreigners living here hardly made ANY filipino friend in years .
      the level of stupidity here is just mind boggling .

  25. After living in the Philippines as a foreigner for a few years, I’ve concluded that other than open friendly sweet girls, there is NOTHING good in the Philippines that is worth staying for. The air and streets are immensely polluted, the food is horrible (every traveler says it is the worst in Asia, hands down). There are no quality standards, skill, refinement or art in cooking.

    To live well, you gotta pay overly high prices (compared to other developing countries like Thailand or China). And so many people have no shame, think it’s not wrong to lie, lack common sense, and act retarded. It’s aggravating to deal with.

    I wrote up a list of pros and cons of living in the Philippines in this forum thread. Check it out:

    And if interested, see if you can answer my questions about middle class Filipinos here:

    1. LOL ! i agree . . .
      Other than the girl thing going on here . . . there really is NOTHING else in Philippines worth staying for .

  26. Konti lang ang binasa kong comment, hanggang dun lang sa ng suggest na i-translate mo sa tagalog ang article na to. Tama ka na medyo walang papansin nito kung tagalog mo isusulat pero most Filipinos don’t have access to computers. So mas magandang suggestion ay i-translate mo sa tagalog at i-publish mo sa newspaper. with that way mas marami ang makakabasa nito at makakaintindi. Baka sakaling magbago pa ang mentalidad naming mga Filipino.

    1. Hi Marc

      Thanks for the suggestion. Siguro nga sulit i-publish in Tagalog because this article has been published 4 times and a lot of people agree with it.


  27. This is pretty interesting commentary. I’m an expat living in a South American country, and I have to say there are some strong similarities with what you described with society here (at least in the main urban area, I don’t know what it’s like out in the rural states). It makes me wonder if some of it does have to do with the legacy of Spanish colonialism. If you notice the countries that resulted from British colonialism turned for the most part, okay. Rule of law seems to go hand in hand with Puritan values. (However, the British examples also tended to kill off a lot more of the indigenous, hence removing opposition to their societal rules and values – but the system you see today, overall, immigrants comply). On the other hand, the French colonies – Haiti, etc. ugh – makes Phillipines look like Disneyworld. In all cases, however, gaining independence from colonial powers, unfortunately, did not better the lives of the indigenous that survived. Regardless, it does beg the question – why *is* it so hard to follow a rule of law?

    Just to mention as another point – a few upper-class Filipinos that I have known pretty much only go to Phillipines to vacation, visit, etc. Where I am now, there is still a visible upper-class(in their gated communities of course, and private country clubs and such so they don’t have to mingle with the unwashed masses), but when things become unstable all the elites have an out (many have dual/triple citizenship in US and various Euro. or Skand. countries) and they flee. It’s sad, actually, no sense of nationality or feeling that it’s “worth it” to stay and fight for their standard of living. No sense of country and demanding to stay in that country. More like, “okay, the riff-raff have taken over, I’m out.”

    I don’t have an answer to any of this, and obviously a zero-tolerance attitude of “just do it already” doesn’t register with the masses who don’t necessarily feel the need to follow rules out of virtue or fear of being penalized with fines, etc. The unofficial caste system which generates resentment (I also have seen people close up when they see my more “white” looking spouse try to ask a question), class tensions, corrupt and inefficient legal/law enforcement system are all at play. Remember US is a middle-class majority nation, so middle class values prevail (and injustices still occur, of course). So imagine – I don’t know about Phill. majority, but here, it’s 35% poor, 10 of that considered extremely poor. The majority is shades of grey, but pretty much people living hand to mouth for the most part. So you have a nation that is predominantly have-not, and the behaviors you see are not too concerned with ethics, it’s very much grab-what-you-can-at-the-moment. But obviously as someone pointed out – it’s not that they aren’t capable – those who go to the US seem to have no problem conforming to a rule of law.

    1. @ some similarities

      While to a certain degree, it is true that having been under a colonial rule or two could have possibly wrought havoc on the Filipino mind in general, but we Filipinos cannot keep using it as an excuse not to be able to move forward.

      The simple fact of the matter is, Filipinos cannot and refuse to follow the rule of law because impunity rules in the land. Those who violate the law particularly those in the public sector do not get prosecuted and keep getting away with their crime. This is the reason why the average Filipino has low moral and can never trust their public servants and worse, each other.

      When a society does not have trust in the system or their compatriots, it is very hard to implement any kind of reform or changes, which could help move the country forward.

      And it is no surprise that those who can afford it, have their second passports handy just in case the “riff-raff” take over. 🙂

      Thanks for your comment.

    1. That is a photo of a group of Japanese people taken after the recent earthquake that struck a part of their country. Despite the devastation, they still manage to fall in line and observe courtesy. In the above photo, they are sitting at the edge of the stairs patiently waiting for something but are mindful not to block the way for others. I should really put a comment under the photo. Thanks 🙂

  28. The Tagalog speakers of the Philippines seem very interesting people. If you look up Google Trends for the word ‘Aristotle’ one gets the surprising result that the biggest group searching for this word on the web were Tagalog speakers. English comes second. Repeat the search for ‘Stoicism’ and you will get the same result. This seems to indicate another quite remarkable dimension to the culture.

    1. @Douglas

      I’m sorry to say that I cannot associate the terms “stoic” and “philosophic” to Filipinos in general. As discussed in my article above, Filipinos have a penchant for playing the “victim card”.

      1. @ Ilda
        do you have scientific data or empirical evidence for such statement?:

        “Filipinos have a penchant for playing the “victim card”

        …as if it were in their DNA?

        Really, you perpetuate the cycle of negativity that festers in that country.

  29. These Filipino characteristics as you have mentioned can be attributed to the Spanish regime w/c lasted for 333 years. Imagine the number of generations of Filipino families that somehow inherited or absorbed such traits during those times. I’m in the premise that our society is still young and somehow still trying to find/look for its identity.

    Countries like China, Japan, Korea, France Germany and even US didn’t mature or prosper overnight. Change takes time, the question is are WE Filipinos are up to the challenge that change will be bringing to us? Right now we’re not. But I hope and pray that we will someday. But it has to start of each of every Filipinos around the world.

  30. hi Ilda, i am very confused at the moment, why most filipinos who are living and working overseas, are more conscious of following the law of the land? If they are genuinely good, honest, and hardworking people, then the Philippines should be a better place to live in ?

    1. Hi Ann Marie

      I can’t blame you for being confused. However, there is a simple answer to your question. Filipinos follow the rule of law in other countries because they know they cannot get away with not following it.

      Most advanced countries have a very organised law enforcement agency (Police/FBI/CIA) that promote adherence to the law by punishing individuals who violate rules governing their society. Filipinos who go to those countries know that they cannot bribe members of the agency to try and get away with their crime.

      The law enforcement agency in the Philippines is very different. They are said to be too corrupt, incompetent and ill-equipped to enforce the law. And it doesn’t help that some of the elite members of our society are the ones promoting a culture of impunity by bribing the PNP and other members of the Philippine justice system.

  31. This is the reality, No kidding.

    You are awesome 😀

    -WARNING- Wrong grammar ahead…. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

    Anyways Most of us Filipinos, Think they are so great in things they are not. I know most of my faults because thankfully I have a sister who points it out, We try our best to apply the Japanese Discipline.(We adore Japanese Culture as much we adore the beauty of the remnants of our country’s Nature…remnants due to some Foolish actions of others. )

    Which gave us a great Advantage when it comes to serious events. Most of the teenagers here in the Philippines would rather play with their friends do vices rather than to study. Most of them would foolishly do something stupid just because they love each other, no scratch that… they are LUSTING for each other.

    I’m sorry if others would find this offensive. I’m only stating my point of view.

    1. @Moon Clam

      Thanks for reading it. I can understand what you are saying. Most Filipinos are not good at taking criticism. They’d rather pretend that everything is ok. Which is why they always get caught with their pants down when disaster strikes.

    2. ” Most of the teenagers here in the Philippines would rather play with their friends do vices rather than to study. Most of them would foolishly do something stupid just because they love each other, no scratch that… they are LUSTING for each other….” — ibig sabihing ipinanganak sila “13 to 19 years ago”… kaninong panahon nagsimula ang pagkawala ng direksyon ng mga kabataan… “20 years… onward” sila na ang mga magiging magulang na gagabay sa mga kabataan, kabataan na tinaguriang pagasa ng bayan.

  32. Thank you for such an article…There were times wherein I felt giving up for a cause because the people around were exactly what you have written about. But as a Filipino, I believe that I need to break out of the mold even though everything around you seems to be very disappointing.

    Thank you again for the article, because you remind people to stand strong for the truth and always work for the better.

    1. @houseofscribes

      All things worth pursuing takes time. We must persevere in our fight against mediocrity and monorism.

      Thanks for reading it!

    2. “…though everything around you seems to be very disappointing.”—- wala na bang nagawa o ginagawa o gawaing mabuti ang mga pilipino? ang artikulo bang ito ay sumasalamin sa buong sambayanang pilipino? sabi sabi nga sa tambayan sa kanto… “kawawa naman, basag na eh dinudurog pa”

  33. I am a Filipino myself. But I completely agree with this article. Marami pa tayong kailangang matutunan kung gusto nating umunlad ang Pilipinas. Para rin naman sa ating ikabubuti ang mga rules na yan eh.

  34. Excuse me, but where did you receive this information? Is this what you have observed from your own experience? Well, listen up. We Filipinos ARE indeed as happy-go-lucky as you say, but that does not mean we can not take certain things seriously. Take the poverty in the Philippines, we did not WISH for that to happen, and many of us are fighting to end this.

    Call Filipinos what you want, but have you ever actually met a Filipino? Many of us are well educated and are VERY hard working, but it is true that we can also be lazy. It almost seems as if the Japanese never want to enjoy life for what it is. And that sense of calm you Japanese always seem to have even in the most atrocious weather/disasters, could you also remember that your ethnicity is not the only one that has this? Thanks for a great article, nice and straight to the point, but this is bordering along the thin line of racism.

    1. And from where did you infer that Ilda is Japanese and not Filipino? And besides, does her nationality even matter?

      I don’t even see how this is “racist.” But then again, Filipinos are so averse to criticism that they are quick to label it as “racism.”

      And yes, I am a Filipino. 😛

    2. Oh please. There is no way that this article is being racist. Hell if Gordon Ramsay will make a fair criticism complete with his ferocious temper about the bad taste of a Filipino food even if it’s not exotic, will you still gonna call him a racist? If you do that, you’re easily got butthurt simply because you can’t handle the truth. You just don’t know the big difference between racism and criticism which is one of the cancers pinoys must stop once and for all.

      1. Gordon Ramsay is a god. Hell, even you hate him for his way of criticism yet he has a good point.

        This is sad yet painful truth: “If someone wants to educated Filipinos,they will take it as an insult to their intelligence.”

        Sad. So sad.

    3. A concrete example of why we our country doesn’t prosper. ACCEPT Criticisms and USE it as a way to improve yourself as a whole 🙂

    4. I think the writer also failed to include how Filipinos tend to go overboard with their pinoy pride..just like how this moron yaps about it. Im beginning to love how online Filipinos have started to embrace the Black mentality of crying racism at every given opportunity to cover up for all our deficiencies and sins to society.

  35. Gawd! I wish I had people like these to interact with face to face on a daily basis. When someone starts talking this way in public fliptards will think of that someone as “pasikat” or nuisance. It’s like he is a disease, that he is too self-righteous. I’m not an expert with politics, economics or anything but it is really nice to have individuals talking sense not just the trivialities of life. Yes, we all have our own share of burden to carry, but I think the root cause of it is the lack of will to change the situation. Hayso Pople will run to others to tell their burden but are upset when you give them suggestions because they don’t need fixing, they know how to fix tjeir problem, for once just listen to them lament.

  36. Thanks for the article. It is always good to learn from our mistakes. Yet, perhaps we should strike a balance and likewise, focus on and herald the good things that set our race apart. We often forget that time and again, Filipinos everywhere are heroes in their own right….

  37. Nice article…Criticism is really hard to accept and sometimes really offensive but we should look at it in a positive way for us to improve. It is sad because we are judge in general but some of us are not like what you stated. I just hope this will be a wake up call for other filipinos to stop being a happy-go-lucky people and start to work on our problems not just for ourselves but for our country.

  38. Hi Ilda, I agree with some of your points and they are important things that should be addressed if we want to be a better nation. I also understand that you just wanted to make Filipinos a better race, but with all due respect, you talk like as if you are innocent and done nothing wrong to others. What have you done, except from criticizing and blogging, to make your neighbors (your fellow Filipino, if you are really one) be better persons? There is another thing that we Filipinos are good at that you have forgotten to include here, we are very good at criticizing others (criticizing mentality). We are very good at pointing out the faults of others while not honoring the good traits they have.

    1. Hi Ilda, I agree with some of your points and they are important things that should be addressed if we want to be a better nation. I also understand that you just wanted to make Filipinos a better race…

      You really should have stopped there. 😉

      Here’s something else you need to read:

      Criticizing PNoy is good for us and democracy

      Happy reading!

      1. i can’t help but laugh at some comments here… you know what i mean. XD

        great article! 🙂 nakapagsulat ka na ba tungkol sa pagkikilala ng mga Pilipino sa kapwa Pilipino na nasa abroad sumikat? pansinin mo ganun madalas mangyari. kung hindi pa kinikilala abroad, dinededma lang nila dito. pero pag kinilala na sa ibang bansa, saka lang bibigyang importansiya dito. isa pa yung pagiging “hero” ni Pacquiao. hindi ko talaga ma-gets paano naging hero yun. hahaha.. wala lang, baka maisulat mo next time 😉 malamang marami kang matatanggap na negatibong kumento ukol dun lol

      2. hi Ilda,

        are you refering to our current president? if you are, then you are right on target. after all its the leadership that counts.

        you dont have to look far really its right there in front of us.


    2. VLRamos..this is her Blog. Bakit mo pa kwekwestyunin kung anu yung na contribute niya how to make things better. Again, this is a blog. It was quite clear from the title what this blog is all about, and then you are questioning her bakit di niya nakita yung good traits ng mga pinoy. I really find it so awkward. Its like watching a horror movie and then you’re expecting na sana may Drama within the movie. Her blog is actually well written, yung opinyon niya may bak-up na facts.

  39. Ilda, this is probably the best post i’ve seen that discusses Filipino mentality. you nailed it all in just one short article!

    indeed, the worst in the list (of unique Filipino “virtues”) are the star mentality and victim mentality, which are actually tolerated in our society, if you really think about it. i mean, just look at the trash they call prime time tv shows these days – they essentially condone the acts of perpetrators and glorify the helplessness of “victims”. in the real – and practical – world, there should be no such things as victims, only fighters. the sad truth is, filipinos who “hide behind their smiles despite hardships” simply do so because they just couldn’t care less, and would rather live their fantasy world of being “kawawa”.

    alright, getting off my soapbox now. i’ve just seen too many of those cases to just let them go by. keep the fire burning Ilda!

    1. @Junelle

      Thanks for the kind words. It is unfortunate that this article will still be relavant for years to come.

      1. hi Ilda, i liked how you “Painted the Picture” its colors depicts real-time Filipino mentality,this would be a great help to add to some of my lectures about discipline… and etc.. may I use some of your Phrases in some of my lectures (to quote ..with your name and link to this site)may i?

  40. hey ilda, ur blog is really accurate….although i would love it if you have stated some positive side of the filipino mentality especially filipino pride, but there is none…and im glad you did not encourage it…filipinos are taught at a young age of the of this filipino pride, we should be proud of this and that…brainwashed for a fact that despite everything we can still be happy, which shouldnt be…striving should be our mentality not a happy face in dire circumstances….i gues people forgot of the sufferings from our ancestors, the way we handled freedom is quite dissapointing and corrupted us…the way the media is handling things, its making us even more dumber…its all about entertainment, hiding the truth and harsh reality of the filipinos…we need to change….

    and can i ask why did you chose that picture?

    1. @haimer

      Great insight in addition to what was discussed. It’s the “everything happens for a reason” mentality that keeps Pinoys from embracing the reality that they have to face consequences of their actions. Like, if they vote for an incompetent leader, they will suffer for it.

      and can i ask why did you chose that picture?

      Well I wrote this immediately after the recent nuclear disaster in Japan following the earthquake/tsunami that devastated parts of their country. The world took note of how the Japanese were still so calm and how they managed to observe courtesy even under pressure. The picture shows Japanese people seating on the side of the stairs mindful of not blocking the passage way. They certainly are very disciplined.


  41. You hit the nail right on the head. I myself have observed the same thing and have not been shy in telling my family and friends about it. ^^

  42. I do really believe in your blog. as a Filipino it is not new to me. so many or most of the time those “Padrino System” and “Lagay System” is been observed both in Public Office or in Private. I do hope and wish that more Filipinos can read this. and it might be an eye opener for us all. Let us do our share to influence other Filipinos to shape up our Nation. if only we had the will for a change we can do it. let us change our image. Election season is up coming and if only we can choose the leader it would not be far away to change our image. but it should start right in us as Citizens. thank you for your blog. there are also few who are straight.

    1. Yes, election season is coming up. We’ll be seeing the usual circus that goes with it unless Filipinos start demanding more from their public servants.


  43. Please correct them if you think what they’re doing is wrong. That way, you are educating them. Cooperation will surely help.

  44. Indeed it is a good read. I was about to give up on how things work in this country with the people as they are now, I won’t be able to see any progress and the current state of affairs is the proof to that. I was always the subject of the bullying and being labeled as the “killjoy” of things, which is really disheartening that I feel like I’m out of place wherever I go. This article made me feel better about myself. Thank you.

    1. Voicing my views won’t change the mindset of the majority but it may give some people the courage to voice what they always knew deep down.

      Thanks for reading.

  45. I just need to ask, why do we, Filipinos, need to learn from the Japanese. I have a high respect for them, but I do not think they are the most fit to be our “teacher” (if you will). They have flaws as well that we do not know about. Just saying.

    Nevertheless, I do agree with you have written in your article. We do have ugly characters and traits, but so as the other countries. I do believe that mas marami paring good traits ang mga pinoy, than bad.

    Thank you. Great article, though.

    1. We don’t have to copy everything Japanese but I strongly recommend that we emulate their discipline.

      I do believe that mas marami paring good traits ang mga pinoy, than bad.

      I’d appreciate it if you could list them down for us. Thanks

      1. I do believe we are the most hard working people in the world. That is why foreigners are recruiting Filipinos all over the world to work for them. We strive to live even in the most difficult times of our lives. We are strong, caring, passionate, and loving. We help and support one another during calamities; we send goods, clothings, and sometimes money. We help build houses for the victims. We have impeached our leaders because we know what they were doing is harmful to our country (people’s power). I have seen teachers and young adults offering free classes on the weekends to educate young children. The buy books amd other necessary materials for teaching out from their pockets. I have seen trucks roaming around manila and other provinces offering free basic cooking skills to help moms how to cook and bake so they can have their own business. I have seen farm owners hiring locals to get jobs in their farms. We have Bantay Bata thats helps out children. These are just few examples.

        Filipinos are not all negative. Instead of looking at our mishaps, maybe we should focus more on our positive side and encourage it more. Although, I agreed to some of your claims about Filipinos, I still do believe that the negative things you have mentioned in your article are not limited to the Filipinos only. And please, do not over generalize that all Filipinos are all bad.


        1. @Kikay

          The article does not say that “all” Filipinos are bad. From the title alone, it should have been clear that the point is to discuss why the country cannot progress. And that is because of our bad traits, which by the way, overshadows what you consider our good traits.

          There is no denying that there are Filipinos who help and devote their time to charitable causes. Unfortunately, what they do is NOT unique only to Filipinos. In fact, in our society, those who volunteer to help are very few and some of them are only visible during disasters. Meaning, their charitable activities are not a regular thing. They are simply not enough to cater to the growing number of poor Filipinos.

          Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I am advocating for people to give to charity on a regular basis. I mean, that is fine but I also believe that charity is mainly a bandaid solution. It doesn’t address the root of the problem. The problem is the majority’s total disregard for the rule of law, which is what I discussed in detail in the article.

          Anyway, my point is, we need to discuss why the country remains one the world’s basketcase. We can’t keep saying that we are good just to make ourselves feel better. We have to face reality because that is the only way we can begin to change.

  46. This is an excellent article. I share the exact same sentiments. I like this line best: “each individual has this baseless sense of being more important than everybody else”. This is absolutely spot on. Before anyone starts whining and crying… am I am a Filipino, born, raised and educated in the Philippines and I observe examples of what this article describes on a daily basis. I wish there was something more we could do to help improve our culture and fix our flawed mentalities.

    1. I wish there was something more we could do to help improve our culture and fix our flawed mentalities.

      We just have to keep pointing out what is wrong in our society. The change we are hoping for won’t happen overnight but all things worth pursuing takes time.

      The problem with majority of Filipinos is that they are uncomfortable with discussing unpleasant things. We need to do it so we can address the problem and deal with it.

      1. “uncomfortable with discussing unpleasant things” is an understatement. Speak ill about something that is obviously wrong and we will be condemned for it. Try to educate others and we will be branded as dictators. There is just too much pride. Someone will always play the victim card as you say. For instance, you don’t know how many times I’ve heard this used as a rebuttal to a valid argument:”dahil mahirap lang kami, inaapi niyo na kami!” Explaining things to Filipinos is like talking to a brick wall. I’m not giving up hope to those whom I can touch. But what do we do with those who do not have anyone that can teach them?

  47. Loving your article.
    Maybe not all of us here are like this.

    I follow the basic rules here of what our country wants.

    – Taking out your trashes properly
    – Properly cross the road
    – Avoid spitting everywhere

    hmm what else.

    Sadly I’m an outcast Filipino.
    The “weird” people.
    Meh. Did my best to follow the rules to be at least probably helpful for our country but then again the Filipinos will ignore my efforts of such an amazing citizen I am lol. Kidding I’m being so eccentric now. Anyway. Great post 🙂

    1. Neil,

      Count me as one of the “weird” people.

      I get more polite behavior in Fujian province, from supposedly “rude” Chinese, than any given time in Metro Manila, including the sassier parts.

      And it’s not just about following the rules. Most Filipinos are just plain crooked. I’ve been living in Metro Manila for 7 years now, and only ever got 2 cheerful concessions to propriety that wasn’t part of a business strategy.

  48. Hi Ilda, such a nice article and blog you have. 🙂

    For me, it has been hardwired in our custom(ugali) already of being ‘pasaway’, indolent, ‘ma-pride’, etc… These things developed over time and I believe we can overcome these, too, through time. The problem now is that, we do not know how to start changing our crooked ‘ugali’, because its really not that easy. for me, it’s like learning how to quit an addiction/vice! our leaders should do something, as in really DO something, to make that change happen. if they already did start doing something, well, then i can’t feel it. ha ha. or else, if they’ll continue to laze around in their seats, well, our country would become harder to manage/lead if our population will increase in the future and this problem will be passed on to the next generation, to the next, until a powerful country takes over/invade our land, poor us! i’m really hoping that this country will not reach that point.

  49. Ilda,

    Please take this as a compliment when I say that it takes balls to write this type of piece. I’m pretty sure many Filipinos were offended when you tell them what they don’t like to hear.

    It’s hard to really make a difference in a land where breaking the rules is the norm rather than the exception. People here will always opt for the quick fix instead of the long haul solution even when it’s clear that the latter reaps more benefits, although not all at once.

    This reminds me of one of Bart Simpson’s most famous quotes: “I didn’t do it. Nobody saw me do it. You can’t prove anything.”

    1. @Amir

      Thanks Amir. It boils down to the majority’s desire to cater to instant gratification. Most Filipinos are not patient enough to wait for their turn or believe in hard work before getting a reward.

      1. Here we go again in the ” Most Filipinos”.I try to avoid to read this kind of article because i believe the writer is just trying to get an attention rather than. I say this is just plain rubbish

        1. There’s inconsistency in your comment. If you didn’t actually read it, then what makes you say it is “plain rubbish”? 😉

  50. This is so true. Most of us Filipinos are so full of ourselves we ignore the rule of law. Take road eriquet for example, jeepneys purposely block pedestrian lane so to attract passengers. And prevents people from crossig the street, makig it a maze for pedestrians. Drivers cut each other on the road and don’t even understand road signs. Im proud to be Filipino don’t get me wrong. But a lot of ‘our’ supposed to be values seem to wander off as years go by. Its a sad reality, but let’s face it, most Filipinos would rather rationalize to things than accept whats real and what needs to be changed: As a whole. As a country, and change from each and every Filipinos and how we want to be known by the world.

  51. Hi Ilda,

    This article is really an eye opener. I appreciate you using the phrase “in general” and not “all” because it is true that such characteristics you discussed here are what Filipinos are “in general” but not all.

    I have been living outside the country for a while now and being far from home did give me the advantage of seeing who we Filipinos really are. I thought that what I am seeing here is just a “figment of my imagination” but what you wrote here confirms every observation that I have with our culture. What you are saying in your article is not only true in the Philippines but also true for Filipinos abroad.

    It is sad that this has become a culture in our country. However, I still believe there is hope. To those who have seen and realized these things, we should do our part and start walking the straight path. Change will come one step and one person at a time.

    Thanks a lot.

  52. Well-written article. I’m a Filipino and I completely agree (with some pain) with your points. A simple example would be the LRT and MRT ‘lines’ when boarding the train. Giving way means you’ll be pushed and shoved, and very rarely will you see men giving up seats to women. It’s a classic “eh bakit ba” and “sino ba siya” attitude – which reveals, unfortunately, so much of our negative traits.

  53. I agree with most of what you tired to say but I do have a few inquiries:
    Isn’t the “sharing ritual” of the Japanese similar to “pakikisama” of the Filipinos that everyone should experience what the others are experiencing. e.g. “ay o, ang bango ng tissue (ipapa-amoy sa kasama)”.
    Also, I beg to disagree that Japan and China does not have “padrino” culture. In fact, it is inherent in most Asian countries that we have “utang na loob” to those that provided help in our most dire moments. It is one of our identifying qualities as Asians. So don’t go blaming oriental culture and stop thinking western.
    Yes, changing the constitution will not help. Maybe if we did away with WESTERN means of governing and embraced more of oriental nature, things will run a lot smoother. Who knows.
    But this, I know, most or your arguments are WESTERN in nature and WILL NEVER UNDERSTAND THE CULTURE OF ASIANS. It has been proven that most if not all of recorded history has been seen and written through the views of a westerner.
    Unless you speak for ALL WALKS of FILIPINOS anywhere, don’t try. It is unbecoming of a Filipino.

    1. @Drew

      I’m sorry but your comment is beside the point. Whether we have similar traits with other cultures or not is irrelevant. We still remain one of the world’s basketcase. The evidence can speak for itself.

      And where did I say that we should emulate the western culture? I even cited Japan, China and Korea as examples. The point is that we have traits that prevent our country from moving forward. Like what I said, the problem is the majority’s total disregard for the rule of law.

      1. Yes, they were cited but they have exactly the same traits as Filipinos in terms of “sharing” and “padrino” but your arguments are totally western based.
        It is relevant if you look at it in the oriental point of view that it has to do with political will. Yes China is improved ECONOMICALLY but not politically not by a hair from what the Philippines can do and has done. Only reason Japan and Korea are so improved is that manufacturers are based from there.
        Since we’re comparing in Asia, look at Myanmar, Cambodia, North Korea, Indonesia, Brunei, the former Soviet Union states, all of them have failed in assimilating any western political thought and rule of law.
        I beg to disagree that my argument is beside the point because it all stems from it.
        You’re looking at the smaller picture. Why do you think people rebel, because the whole system does not work from the poverty line down because they have nothing else to lose.
        You can identify traits of Filipinos, ok. But you failed to see the exact same traits happening all over Asia. Ergo, the problem is the influence of western politico-culture and not the Asians.

        1. Yes China is improved ECONOMICALLY but not politically not by a hair from what the Philippines can do and has done. Only reason Japan and Korea are so improved is that manufacturers are based from there.

          You don’t really have a point. You seem to think that we are better than China, Japan and Korea. Worse of all, you are using the excuse that western influence has prevented us from moving forward. Gees.

          Sorry, but you simply cannot understand the concept of rule of law.

        2. I’ve been studying politics for 5 years and I’m still learning. Both domestic and international. Don’t you dare tell me I don’t know what I’m saying.
          YES! we are far better than China, have you been there? Have you ever studied their government? Have you ever experienced their government? Were you made aware of the implications of not turning over our own nationals to us if caught in foreign territory?
          Simply because you can’t understand my argument you can’t tell me I don’t understand. Maybe it is you that doesn’t understand.
          All your arguments are based on feelings and emotions and not credible substantial facts.
          In truth, you have no scientific evidence of your claims but just “hear-say” and perceived realizations.
          You have no idea of the bigger picture you missed.
          All that you have are purely circumstantial.
          I’d like to provide evidence as to how Filipinos can be credited:
          There was an experiment conducted in different countries where researchers would deliberately leave their cellphone with sim out in the open and check if people would return it. You know how the Philippines ranked? 78% of the phones “lost” were returned. Far greater than 7 of 12 countries tested against.
          Have you heard of a shop in Babuyan Islands that doesn’t have anyone manning the store? only 5% steal from the shop but all the others leave money exactly or more than the price.
          How about all of those taxi drivers that return the items left inside their cabs.
          And I’ll tell you what. I have personally experienced all of these. But I’m not saying Filipinos are the perfect citizens. No. We still have a lot to improve on.
          But the thing is, instead of helping YOU decided to complain and bitch about it. What have you done for society recently? I know my deeds and what I’ve done. Have you helped a stranger lately?

        3. @Drew

          Sorry for the delayed reply. I was busy with the impeachment trial. Anyway, I’ll just share my previous article in response to you:

          Better and best rather than just good

          In writing about Philippine politics and society in general, I often come across Filipinos who get offended by my “no holds barred” criticism of the country and its people. They quickly defend the mediocrity in the country by saying, “Don’t be too harsh on Filipinos. It is worse in India” or whatever third world country they perceive to be in worse condition than the Philippines. I find that kind of statement so lame. It is an excuse for defending the status quo.

          In saying that there are countries in worse situations than ours, we congratulate ourselves for being better while doing minimal work. We therefore come across as a people who are content with inferior workmanship or what is called “pwede na yan”. Which is why we remain who we are today, a nation of braggarts and show offs living in third world conditions.

          Like what I said in my previous article…

          Until Filipinos learn the real meaning behind the adjective word “good” in its comparative and superlative form, “better” and “best”, we cannot consider our society “resilient.”

          Unfortunately, most Filipinos actually take comfort in the thought that if the Philippines is bad, in their mind, some countries are worse or the worst off. And I do believe that Filipinos are still waiting for the day when things go from bad to worse before they do something more drastic to uplift their condition.

  54. Ilda, you actually chalked up 2 of the main kind of rule-breaking Filipino. You already wrote about the “victim” (unawain nyo kami!); then there is the “bully” (kilala mo ba ako?). The former would grin sheepishly and scratch his scalp when caught; while the latter would rip off his shirt (literally or figuratively) and swagger around like an agitated ape. Curiously, the shift from one sort to the other in one person is directly proportional to the number of witnesses (including media coverage) to the rule-breaking event, i.e. that Keh guy from Ateneo.

  55. Very nice! I really hate it when people cut lines then get angry when their attention is called. I mean duh, if you don’t even have the self-discipline to fall in line then you have no right at all to complain about how hard life in this country is.

  56. Nice article. Just something I would like to share. I’ve lived abroad but I’m now based in Metro Manila. Yes, discipline is definitely lacking here especially in public situations. However, I’ve noticed that people in other countries always call out the people who are “misbehaving” while here we (Filipinos) have the tendency to just shut up about it b/c it’s not our “business.” i.e. If someone is trying to cut in line – people in line (usually from the back of the line) will yell at the people trying to cut so that they move to the back. This way the majority somehow “controls” the actions of the few. We are not holding the “few” accountable for their actions.

    1. That is a good observation. I like the fact that in some societies, they can be totally frank in calling out the attention of someone who is trying to pull a fast one and not take it personally. While in the Philippines, most Filipinos would hold it against you if you remind them to do the right thing.

      1. hi ilda,

        Great articles, which is very true. Things needs to be notice also which might be you forgot to mention in your observation,like our “crab mentality”,ma-ingitin,mapangsira. and much more I guess.Which I really noticed by most of us filipinos. Sorry to say this, men and women likes gossip especially if you are new in the block.

  57. There wasn’t a reply button so I started a new thread. I agree with the “pwede na yan” concept but the thing is you are basing your arguments on observations. Yes there are faults in comparing to other countries but the thing is you can’t compare the Philippines to first world countries.
    Also, for your arguments to be truly compelling you need to compare to countries better off than the Philippines with information that have significant outcomes.
    1. You can’t say the Japanese are successful because they are disciplined. It just doesn’t equate like that.
    The Japanese are successful because from the beginning of their time they are mandated by “rule of the heavens” to obey their leader that was “chosen by heaven” and they have obeyed since. Also it was beside the fact that they were hardly occupied compared to the Philippines giving way to the idea that their culture wasn’t “tarnished” by others.
    I believe that the early Filipinos before the multiple occupations were poised to creating a society way better than what we have now. We had sultanates and barangays that was supposed to assimilate with others that could have created a direction far different from what we have now. We may have even developed our own set of laws and rules and religions and all the fun stuff the first worlds have. I’m not throwing the blame on the occupation. It has its good sides and bad. But the thing is Filipinos have forgotten our true identity as Filipinos and are turning into Americans (in this sense I mean that America doesn’t have a culture of their own but cultures that are “adopted” and “mixed” with others). What we have as a society is Hispanic-Filipino or Chinese-Filipino or American-Filipino but no Philippine-Filipino. Heck, even our country is named after a Spaniard and a tree that isn’t even a well known species here.
    2.I saw how much better the Philippines and the Filipinos can be after Ondoy and Milenyo. I never thought I’d see the day when regular Filipino folk would band together to volunteer for people they hardly knew. Even provinces sent out relief goods to Manila.
    I’m not saying we need another disaster to realize this but it’s been with the Filipinos all along to be giving, disciplined, organized, equal and caring for their countrymen.

    You can go be negative all you want. I guess you are blinded because of hatred or guilt or for something that has happened to you in the past. I’m sorry.
    But you are not seeing the bigger picture. You really need to educate yourself a little more before putting things up on the internet.

    Heck, you are like the Spaniards that commented on how we are “lazy”.
    You know why? because they saw farmers sleeping until afternoon but they didn’t realize that farmers wake up BEFORE sunrise so that it won’t be too hot to tend to their crops.

    See, it’s all a matter of seeing the whole picture. You’re using a magnifying glass. you can only see the blots and ink splashes.

    1. *sigh*

      You agree with what I said but then you have a “but”…tsk tsk. You give so many excuses for why the Philippines remain one of Asia’s laggard. Do yourself a favor and look around you or better yet, just read the article again because I can’t waste my time repeating what I said. If you can’t accept the truth, then just go ahead and leave things the way they are. Let’s see where the country is in the years to come. Just remember the saying, “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.

      I saw how much better the Philippines and the Filipinos can be after Ondoy and Milenyo. I never thought I’d see the day when regular Filipino folk would band together to volunteer for people they hardly knew. Even provinces sent out relief goods to Manila.

      The question is, where is it now? Was it just for photo ops so people can share what they did on Facebook? Obviously. And besides, the “bayanihan” thing you guys keep bragging about is not unique to Filipinos. It’s more of a once in a blue moon activity Filipinos engage in when a preventable disaster happens. If it were really on a regular basis, like if more Filipinos actually spent more of their time volunteering in the community, well the surroundings would be much cleaner.

      Anyway, it’s your life. Have a nice one!

      1. Ilda, Ihave the same observation about filipino attitudes speacially when it comes to rule of law..This Drew character is a also mentioned in my previous comments how South Koreans and Japanese reacts when face with national disaster etc..Just keep it coming, truth hurts sometimes, but still the truth.The past impeachment trial really show case filipino menatallity about rule of

      2. Ilda, I finally hear it….the “bayanihan” thing. For the longest time I have been wondering why Filipinos think that it is a unique trait of theirs?

        I recently saw the “More Fun in the Philippines” commercial on TV. It was a native hut on top of two bamboo poles being moved to a “better” location by what I imagined to be neighbors and friends. I had several friends over at that time and the comment that stood out was, well….not very positive but quite telling of what an entitled Filipino is like(I don’t know how that can get toursists to visit). The hut’s new location actually ruined the view of Mayon Volcano for others(but of course the hut owner didn’t care so long as she liked HER view). It was funny though, how the tourists in the commercial tried so hard to get a good photograph of the mountain without the hut in-frame.

        We were told that the commercial actually depicted a “bayanihan” thing.

        Americans, to this day, when moving house can always call on friends/neighbors for help. A friend who owns a truck is always very handy. Sure there would be a couple of cold beers shared when the job is done, but that’s not the reason why it works. It works because when someone else needs a hand we are there for them too. I guess this happens not just in the US but everywhere else.

        I am glad someone else thinks that the “bayanihan” thing is not uniquely Filipino. Being neighborly is not a trait that can be claimed exclusively by a particular race.

        I’m really getting a lot of insights….from your blog and I’m enjoying the discussions too. I like the way you handle (or dispose of….) things. I’m your newest fan!

        1. Hi Jack

          Yes, neighbours helping each other out is not unique to Filipinos, indeed. Helping out in the community to keep the environment clean and orderly is not something you can expect from most Filipinos on a normal day. If that were the case, we wouldn’t see trash or chaos everywhere. I do not know why a lot of Filipinos think “bayanihan” is exclusive to our society considering you only see or hear of Filipinos helping out when there is a disaster.

          Thanks a lot!

    2. Ever been in Japan? Discipline might not have been the major root of their sucess but it certainly contributes. In Japan today, do you still believe that they are still obliged to obey the Empror who is just a ceremonial head of government? The Emperor might be a person that binds them tioday but the people would be foolish to cater to someone who is technically not in power. Japanese people work their ass off and they obey the law becuase they know that being outside of the law would be a liability to them. And the law is more effective there becuase people actually obey their laws.

      It’s not about hatred or guilt, it’s poor annoyance that simple things can’t be done becuase of egos and becuase people know how to see loopbholes. No wonder that only the rich know the law becuase they bother knowing it. Also, it’s pure annoyance that people ca’t see things witohut their ’emotionss’ hurt. Being crtiical doesn’t mean we want to see people hurt and down, it’s about seeing a new perspective, whether they like it or not.

      1. the “mandate of heaven” is not applicable anymore. It’s just that they have gotten used to the concept of following orders because there is greater purpose in them. This of course translates into following the law today which leads to the betterment of Japan as a whole. to add, they also have a culture of the Samurai that always put honor first before anything. Without honor, there is only shame and one should commit harakiri to remain honorable. See, Filipinos don’t have that kind of culture. Thus, should be seen differently and apply knowledge of culture and traditions differently. One should not actually compare but improve from within.

        1. @Ms Drew

          More excuses. You just need to look at the problem and fix it. That’s all you need to do. There is no need to dig up the past. Filipinos just need to follow the law and we’ll be on our way to fat city.

          BTW, any further comments with excessive ad hominem will be deleted.

        2. I get the point but when do you change culrure? Does anyone want this kind of culture to persists? Are you just gonna let culture and lifetsyle be the obstacle for a better one?

          Frankly,. I am long annoyed with mediocircy. Sorry if that makes me an ‘intellectual snob’ or ‘not a maka-masa.’ but I always thought that if people want to be better, they should do it. If they don’t want it. then suffer with it. If an individual can change, why can’t society as a whole?

          I guess I don’t blame my future sister-in-law to want her child to be a Japanese citizen or settling in Japan. Or other Filipinos who don’t come back. It’s a completely different world out there and they like it despite the discrimination. people have different standards of them and othrrs despite living in a already structured culture. Don’t blame me if I want a better culture than what I am experiencing now. Or if I prefer other coutries’ culture.

        3. How do we imrpove from within if we soemwhat keep denying to ourselves what is out there? Any effective pill don’t work if a ‘patient’ don’t take them.

    3. it is in criticism that we change for the better.. your point is that theres nothing wrong with us and should stay the way we are.. stay with the title and its context.. progress is the main concern..

  58. I’m a foreigner and currently in a situation with my Filipino landlord that is failing to make my house safe to live in because I am exposed to raw sewage from the neighbors running to my house. When I moved out they took my deposit. When I asked for the Certificate of Occupancy required to renewed each year, they don’t have one. It is required to be inspected yearly for safety. When I told them I will take them to court, they said they have friends who stop that. But they also said they are the victim because we moved out. They have 4 houses without a Certificate of Occupancy. also they are building a house without a permit. I told them if I go to court they will investigate the property and found all this out. Again they said they are the victim. They told me that it is okay. I am a foreigner and that for me to lose the money is good because I have plenty and they don’t.

    1. That’s just sad, really. You can’t win with reasoning like theirs. My advice is for you to run as far away and as quickly as possible because they just might resort to physical violence.

  59. (Not good in English)
    This is a very nice and it strikes reality to us Filipinos. I’m not yet an adult but even so I do believe this is true. It’s sad that only few Filipinos do follow the rules and some of them are even oppressed. I’m thankful that I read this article that somehow it enlightened my mind of how should I act as a teenager 🙂

  60. Hi Ilda, just want to tell you that after reading your article, I learn something for me to grow as a better filipino.. I hope this can open the eyes of our fellow pinoys as I am starting today! keep it up!

  61. Hello there. I have stumbled upon this good read just now. I very much agree with everything you said in this blog entry. Your entire entry “voiced out” what has been bothering my mind for almost every single day I wake up and see the situation of this country.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love myself as a Filipino, what is getting into my nerves is the people.If only your blog can be a shown to the majority and be a medium for change, then the Philippines would be on its way to progress.

    Ilda, you are just one of the few people (including the intelligent people who comments in this entry) who happens to have a keen mind and profound thoughts about what is wrong in this country. And not just that, based on this blog, You are among the people that I have “encountered” who do not point a finger solely on the gov’t but the people of the entire nation instead.

    >Thank you so much.<

    1. @Jacqueline

      I am more impressed with people like you who actually get my point. Using one’s critical analysis is not so common in our society. Most Filipinos tend to follow what the majority are doing to avoid sticking out like a sore thumb or be crucified by the mob.

      Thank you for reading.

  62. Filipinos will always be Filipinos. The Filipino traits and traditions will always be kept by the Filipinos whether they reside in our country or abroad. I know a lot of Filipino families residing abroad and some of the children were born and reared abroad but the parents still maintain our traits and traditions. I beg to disagree that the cause of our complete progress is our “bad” Filipino traits.

    I think what would hinder our progress is our lack of discipline and the supertitious beliefs. Discipline, how could we progress when there is always monstrous traffic jams all over Metro Manila, the center of business. The main cause of the traffic jams are lack of discipline from taxi, jeepney and bus drivers. To complicate matters, there is also lack of discipline from pedestrians and cross across roads and highways and not using the pedestrian lanes and over and underpasses. People spend four to five hours in the street instead of working and being productive. How could we have progress? People throwing non-biodegradable waste practically anywhere including sewers, rivers and lakes. When rain pours, there will be floods and commerce cannot use the roads to transport commodities and labor. These are some of the examples of lack of discipline which hinders our complete progress, as family, as community and in general as a country.

  63. Not bad…composition and grammar were ok! Excellent! The thing is your just blind !!! I pity u! Theres so much traits that can help our nation to progress more.

    1. @Perry

      If you prefer to believe someone from the mainstream media, please read this: How Manila has become a portrait of ugliness

      Some Excerpts:

      “When in an interview on US television “The Bourne Legacy” director Tony Gilroy said that after seeing Jakarta and Saigon he decided to shoot his movie in Manila because it felt so “Bourne”-ish, he was just being factual.

      What got the goat of supersensitive fellows was when he explained the city: “It’s just so colorful and ugly and gritty and raw and stinky and crowded.”

      That’s unacceptable to our custom of hospitality. You don’t go to someone’s home, receive its amenities, then tittle-tattle about the tackiness of its furniture or the crappiness of its food. It sounds so ungrateful. We even have a colorful idiom for it: asal hayop, or “beastly,” that is, biting the hand that feeds it.

      Yet, if Gilroy’s statement is taken in context, we shouldn’t have been so onion-skinned. Because we’ve brought it upon ourselves. It is we ourselves who’ve made our place ugly and stinky and, well, “Bourne”-ish. We deface our landscape, defile our home, and when some visitor comments about it, we get touchy, we are hurt.


      “And here we are, so Pinoy, so Third World, who’d prefer to turn cultural heritage into cold cash and erase what little valuable architectural landscape that we have from the face of the earth.

      and erase what little valuable architectural landscape that we have from the face of the earth.”

  64. Baka magulat kayo kaya pala progressing ang isang country kasi pinoy ang mga nasa ilalim nito! Kasi likas na madiskarte at matalino ang pinoy!!

    1. @Perry

      Magugulat talaga ako dahil sa Pilipinas nga merong 100 million Filipinos pero hinde maging progresso ang bansa.

      BTW, can you give us an example of a country that has progressed because of Filipinos? Thanks! 😉

      1. @ Ilda re: question to Perry

        THE USA. So many skilled (doctors, nurses, engineers, accountants, etc.) Filipino immigrants in the 60’s went to the US and became successful in different sectors of society over the past decades, as did their offspring. If you ever get the opportunity, take the Filipino-American history course at UC Berkeley and you might restore your faith in your brethren one day.

  65. Not the first, but definitely another well-written of the numerous attempts to bring reality and truth to the forefront. One thing I noticed is how some comments seem to follow the norm – bash the messenger. While it addressed some distinct Filipino traits at lenght, you failed or did not mention the inability of many Filipinos to accept the truth…because the truth often hurt. The tendency to articles such as yours is to react without really understanding what the material is trying to get across. Let the whining begin as I see is surely to happen and it has.

  66. Hi Ilda,

    For me, this hit the nail on the head so many times. This has to be my favorite article here and even your response to VLRamos was lovely and made me laugh.

    Another trait you forgot to mention is that when someone speaks out or is generally; the first thing Filipinos will do is try to put that person back into place by attempting to discredit them. A great example of this would be the line given: “Bakit, ikaw ba ang may-ari ng daan?”

    The sad part is that this is seen everywhere, even in the smallest barkada, club, or what have you and people that display discipline are usually labeled as “killjoy” as you have described.

    Then there’s the satisfaction with mediocrity as a norm and the pressure placed on people that display skill, aptitude, and passion for something. They get labeled as “bibo” or “kina-career/kuma-career” and are generally ridiculed or shamed.

    I am a Filipino, but I can’t help at look at my fellow countrymen and feel disdain.

    1. @disillusioned

      I wrote about that in my other article here. Here’s an excerpt:

      “It is not an exaggeration therefore to say that Filipinos who are labeled “killjoy” or “walang pakisama” are the same ones who are serious about the state of the nation and use their heads for critical analysis in most situations. Unfortunately, those who apply a critical mind in Philippine society are outnumbered by those who don’t, so the former ends up being bullied to submission or being helpless.”

      I am a Filipino, but I can’t help at look at my fellow countrymen and feel disdain.

      I feel the same way, unfortunately.

      Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts!

  67. I’ll be the devil’s advocate here and start with a quote from JFK. Cited because I don’t want to do a Sotto. “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” The flip-side of this discussion and what I mean by quoting the above is that the system can be changed, but if the people do not change, then nothing will happen.

    So in a nutshell, I believe that change starts with the individual, however it takes us back to the main problem: people. How many of us are willing to really and honestly make that change within ourselves?

    1. @disillusioned

      Not a lot of people are willing to change the status quo. Some are sentimental and cannot handle change; some are just plain lazy to effect real change; some know that deep inside they enjoy employing cheap labor and cannot afford to have an educated masa lest the latter ask for more benefits. These are just some of the reasons why it would be hard for most Filipinos to actively seek real reforms.

  68. Will you marry me?

    Kidding aside, it’s a well written, honest to goodness, no holds barred article on why we’re not progressing as fast as we should. I understand the ad hominem of others for the simple reason that the truth hurts. It really boils down to our attitude and lack of discipline–and it starts with the little things. Just go for a drive around Subic and you’ll notice how motorists behave differently. There’s an absence of honking and motorists actually respect traffic lights and signs. Everything is so orderly it’s like you’re no longer in the Philippines. Which makes you wonder–if we are capable of being disciplined in Subic, why can’t we be disciplined outside Subic as well?

    1. @parmajam


      Yes, the behaviour of Filipinos inside Subic shows that Filipinos can follow the rules if they want to. I noted this before in my previous article also. It is funny how Filipino visitors at Subic follow its set of traffic rules as if they were in a different country. Within the former base, they have to stop or give way as the sign indicates.

      Filipino drivers who entered its gates become obedient of the road rules while inside most likely because Americans ran the place before and to this day Filipinos still found shame in getting caught not following the rules. Blame their obedience on colonial mentality. Likewise, the well paved roads and first class facilities probably helps people be more careful in driving. Goes to show that Filipinos can be driven by “hiya”.

      Unfortunately, in most parts of the country, Filipinos do not bother to follow the road rules because they do not see the value in their individual contribution to maintaining order. They don’t see the point since everybody else is disobeying. It doesn’t help that the roads and infrastructure sucks big time.

  69. Good read and an eye-opener. I could feel a hint of elitism, and this really shakes things up, but good read. I agree with a lot of what you’ve written.

    1. @Dave

      I don’t know how the article came across as elitist. I was just stating the obvious.

      Thanks for the compliment anyway! 🙂

  70. Oh this reminds me of an old Erap joke and it goes like this:

    Erap driving a truck, with Lito Lapid accompanying him. They arrive infront of a tunnel. The sign says MAXIMUM HEIGHT 3 METERS.
    Erap measures the truck and says, “3.2 meters.”
    Lito looks furtively around and says, “Walang pulis! Tara na!”

    This joke, although funny in it’s entirety, actually defines on how a typical Filipino driver abide by the rules when there is an MMDA officer or a policeman in sight. But as soon as the coast is clear, all hell breaks loose.

  71. Hello Ilda, this is such a great article. Some people just can’t take it but hey! truth hurts. I am a filipino born and raised in the Phils. (’till i turned 22)and now living outside the country and I don’t feel insulted to what you’ve written because it’s plain true. I am all in for a CHANGE. Keep writing, keep waking up our fellow filipinos.

  72. Filipinos need to read this:

    Discipline IS freedom. You may disagree with this statement, and if you do you are certainly not alone. For many people discipline is a dirty word that is equated with the absence of freedom. In fact the opposite is true.

    As Stephen R. Covey once wrote, “the undisciplined are slaves to moods, appetites and passions”. And in the longer term, the undisciplined lack the freedom that comes with possessing particular skills and abilities – e.g. to play a musical instrument or speak a foreign language.

    They could learn from Stephen R. Covey.


  73. At Last, Someone Who can say the Truth. Not like the others, I have to say that what you have written here is just WHAT A COMMON OBSERVER WOULD SEE in the daily life of filipinos(Including those tasty feedbacks).

    I’m a filipino yet I didn’t get offended because these are Truth.

  74. I’m a foreigner that has now lived here two years. My filipina wife has her 7 year old niece living with us. She was asking about why everything floods. I told her because everyone throw their trash and garbage on the ground. Then the rain washes it into the river along with the sewage from the houses and it clogs up the river so it can’t flow. I asked her what is suppose to be in the river and she didn’t know. When I told her fish, she looked surprised and said “REALLY.” I told her the rivers by my old house are full of fish. she though I was lying. I can’t even drink the city filtered bottles here. I have to buy from SM. Through the eyes of our youth will we see the truth before it is too late for them?

  75. Hi Ida, You are perfectly right in all your statements. I just would like to add that those very few people who still know what is right and wrong are the ones persecuted or “attacked” because they are not able to blend with the majority. For me, those who reacted negatively to this article are simply hypocrites or just have been consumed by the system of stupidity as well, that they themselves do not see the problem anymore, and have already accepted these “wrong practices” as normal occurrences. I hope Filipinos will someday develop a sense of maturity and discipline.

  76. great valid points. i love it! The problem is not all Filipinos are emotional hypocrites but the majority of us are taught to settle in mediocre. I hate to bash the church but even the church teaches its people that mediocrity is a good life to live. The challenge is how to lessen or even better eradicate this god awful trait of ours. It always seem like we are one step further from greatness.

  77. the only reason people disobey any law is because they know (or think) they can get away with it.

    but true discipline is not about fear of punishment, but a resolve to act sensibly & responsibly even when no one is watching.

    this is article is good – my exact sentiments.

  78. hello mga kababayan!
    this is your fellow kababayan from Canada.
    Please support a Pinay daughter from abroad.
    we have guts feeling that you will agree.

    World Bank: Philippines is the 4th
    biggest remittance recipient in 2010.

    According to the report:

    1.) India amounted to $55 billion
    2.) China with $51 billion,
    3.) Mexico with $22.6 billion
    4.) Philippines with $21.3 billion.

    Philippines is the smallest nation
    compared to the first 3 mentioned above.

    To our Kababayans, this is the
    collective accomplishment of Filipinos
    abroad that you can be proud of. We are
    here to help our nation’s economy, so we deserved
    to be recognized as Filipinos no matter what.

    The first Filipino who first set his
    foot to the foreign land many years ago,
    had a big dream and a vision; that by
    helping family back home will help the
    country’s economy.
    Today, there are Millions of Filipinos abroad who have
    followed his footsteps.

    If only he is alive today, he will be
    extremely proud of Filipinos abroad
    (whom he referred to as his
    grandchildren and great grandchildren)
    who are gaining recognition at world-
    class stage level.

    Jessica Sanchez is just one of the
    products of that one great idea, coupled with courage and sacrifices
    of our great grandfather.

    So please welcome Jessica home with an
    open mind, open arms and loving hearts.

    when Filipino celebrities are coming abroad, they asked for Filipino supporters here and we just go crazy promoting their events, emailing, phone calling and publishing in all Filipino newspaper; making sure no Pinoy will miss it. It is just a good feeling that we are being serenaded by our kababayan.


    1. Its the system that allows people to break to law and dont give a dam. Place the same Philipinos in the USA and they follow the rules like the rest of the people.
      But I agree living in the Philippines is open season to break the law or pay tong
      It will not change unless we have a police force that extually does some thing other than collecting money. And stand aimlessly on street corners.
      But I live in the PI several months a year. Its habit forming.

        1. Its simple. Most people regardless what country, even Japan, would break the law if you can get away with it. In Japan and Germany they always have been strict. Starting a fire in old Japan could cost you your life. Its the habbit. In the PI its the habbit NOT to follow the law and get away with it.

  79. But, you know, one thing I have to add is that, despite the lack of discipline and lack of order here in here in the Philippines, I think it mainly revolves around the politics found in Manila. The people in the province tend to be much nicer and have a lot more discipline and order. People from there have also said the same thing about people from Manila.

    So, in any case, if people thought of just Filipinos’ in general, that isn’t true. Its just people in Manila or at least for the most part. Outside, in places like Bagiau or Mindoro, it has a lot more order, and the people have load of camaraderie. Just to add.

    1. Unfortunately, Manila is the Philippines and people from the provinces tend to emulate what people in Manila are doing.

  80. After a number of years living in the philippines my personal experience and observations is that a large part of the population suffer Narcissistic Personality Disorder…but it’s like its a cultural personality disorder…if I think about how I see in filipino groups and communities behave and listed down the most common traits I see…it matches the DSM description of NPD…but on a whole country scale

  81. I agree with you here especially on the ‘Filipino Victim Mentality”. This is what happens usually whenever our teacher would like decide something that we don’t like. I used to be a real doer of this but as time passed by, I realized how stupid I was and how childish I have acted. It is so stupid how people would make an idiot of themselves and like act that they’re the victims when infact they know exactly what they’re doing but just doesn’t accept the fact that they’re wrong.

  82. I am now writing a book which addresses Filipinos’ greatest hindrances to Success. Here are the common Filipino problems which are also the chapters of the book:
    1.Que Sera-Sera Approach to Life – The problem of Purposelessness
    2. The overly shy and the too proud Attitude – The problem of Poor Self-concept
    3. Ubus-Ubus Biyaya Life Style – The problem of Financial Irresponsibility
    4.Manyana Habit – The Problem Of Procrastination
    5.Pwede-Na-Yan-Work-Standard – The Problem of Mediocrity
    6.Ginagawa-Din-Naman-Ng-Iba-Reasoning –
    The Problem of Compromised Morality
    7.Wala-Din-Namang-Mangyayari-kahit-Gawin-Ko-Yan Attitude – The Problem of Defeated Mentality
    8. Pagkatapos-Mag-aral-Education-Perspective – Lack of Continuing Education.
    9. (No exact word yet)- The Problem of fanaticism
    10. Ningas-Kugon Attitude – The problem of …

    Maybe you can give comments and suggestions… it will be highly appreciated.
    Many Filipinos don’t succeed not because they don’t know what to do but because they don’t do what they know… God bless you all and God bless the Philippines!

    1. Initial suggestions, italicized entries (I’ll post more as I think of them):

      Tigas-Ng-Ulo – The problem of fanaticism

      Ningas-Kugon attitude – The problem of lack of follow-through

      1. Wow! Thanks Amir! I’ll be waiting more comments and suggestions from you! Highly appreciated. God bless you!

  83. We need to eradicate every negative aspect of our culture if we are to move forward. Lack of discipline, as mentioned in this article, is one of the most negative aspects but not the only one. There are also false shame, false pride, indolence, insolence, self-righteousness, “mata-pobre,” crab-mentality, institutionalized corruption, cheating, stealing, bribery, … need I go on?

    We are a fake people that needs to get our act together before it’s too late.

  84. i wonder what do you get out of this blog that has degraded and put down filipinos in this manner of your blog.

    i wonder what you have done to uplift any 1 filipino in your lifetime?

    i wonder if you have gone out of your way to BLESS 1 FILIPINO WHEN YOU ARE WALKING OR DRIVING FOR GROCEY OR ANY ERRAND.




    1. You, just like so many Filipinos, only see what they want to see. Just like you, I also wonder and I wonder why that is so. But if I were to answer my own question, the answer would simply be, “they have a difficult time comprehending that they tend to assume so quickly based on only the few words they can understand.” As for your question, “i wonder what do you get out of this blog that has degraded and put down filipinos in this manner of your blog.”… the blogger did not intend to degrade Filipinos in any way. Perhaps, you should read it again, and try to understand. If you feel this to be degrading, then perhaps you might feel some sort of guilt, thinking that you are being attacked. The blogger merely expressed her opinion, and yes, it is true that the Filipinos lack discipline among others. If you were to deny this, then you must either be blinded by your self-pity that you fail to see reality or perhaps, you simply misunderstood. It is true that the Filipinos are flawed in so many ways and these flaws are never corrected. No one is perfect. But do we really have to be perfect just to obey rules? No, we don’t. The blogger expressed herself and she spoke of the truth. Honesty is not the same as degrading anyone. Would you rather she lied?

    2. I wonder why “virgie’s” post doesn’t make any snese?
      I wonder why virgie keeps typing in ALL CAPS.

      By the way, lumang style na yan, common spiel na yan ng isang yellow zombie pagka wala na silang masabi sa isang anti aquino

    3. ms virgie, kung kuntento ka at tingin mo “ok” na ang quality ng buhay nating mga pilipino at it’s current state — malamang tama nga na deserve natin itong “basurang” klase ng buhay..

      nakapagtrabaho na ako sa Singapore, na-assign na ako sa California at UK, at compared sa mga bansa/state na yan, basura ang Pilipinas.

      Kung nasasaktan ka, malamang, totoo.. Matuto ka tumanggap ng mali at baguhin mo yun. Kaya hindi tayo umuunlad, kasi dahil sa mga taong katulad mo.

    4. Virgie your way of thinking is exactly what this article is about. Sadly, he/she made another point. The victim. As far as i could tell and from what i read, he/she is accurate on all accounts, and based on your response you just proved them correct on all basis. He spoke the truth, and the only to kill the truth and change is to realize what the issue or the problem is and kill it and make better strides. We are no victims, its true we are a proud culture and we should be, but we should have something to really be proud of. Not a president sitting in office thinking that he is the reason why the economy is starting to get better. No, he did nothing. And for those people watching and thinking he is the one doing it, then im sad to say that they are more bigger idiots that i thought possible. Dont be ma, realize and asses the situation.

    5. Truth hurts? Even in this writing you are playing victim as mentioned in the article.

      This is not degrading in any sense about us Filipinos. It is merely an eye opener, truth about what we badly need to change about ourselves as a whole, as a nation as Filipinos.

  85. Uplift the spirit? Bless 1 filipino while driving? Why? I probably cussed out a gazillion jaywalkers and PUV’s along EDSA alone. Are you in the same country as we are?

    The law should apply to everyone. No exceptions. The most basic of these laws are blatantly ignored on the road. No speeding, no u turn, no jaywalking, “bawal umihi dito” (yes ive seen drivers get out of their vehicles during traffic and pee on their tires. its embarrassing) etc are nothing to Filipino drivers because enforcement is a joke. Why do Filipinos follow the rules when they are abroad? Because outside the country, they have no padrinos and THEY WILL GET ARRESTED or fined for multiple offenses. That is one of the main problems. A deep sense of entitlement. And being emotionally insecure and immature. Too sensitive!

    1. “drivers … peeing on their tires.”

      I’ve seen them a lot too! On their tires, on trees, against walls, just anywhere.

      And that’s not the worst part! Of course, they don’t wash their hands! And they hand you your change with those hands! EEWW!

  86. I really do like your article, ma’am. I must commend you on your courage to actually talk about the truth because a lot of people tend to just ‘dust it off’ like it’s nothing. Thank you for this. As a young individual of this nation, I still have high hopes for it. No, I will not proclaim myself as the best human being, but I continue to strive as a great Filipino, as should all of us. I think the edge that some cultures you mentioned have is their collectivism kind of culture. Group over individual. I think if we can finally achieve that sense of being unified, then we can start moving forward together. Regardless of age, sexual preference or religion. Others would blame geography, but I still think that diversity and abundance is wealth and with the right ideas and innovation, we can use that to our advantage. Again, thank you for the article and GOD BLESS THE PHILIPPINES. MABUHAY!

  87. I think enough intellectuals know this, now if it could be translated to local dialects and shoved down the 70% of the population who its meant to address.
    The ones who elect morons; the ones who leech off an OFW family member that if their provider dies you see on TV the parents, siblings, children of siblings & other relatives pine in unison ‘paano na kami? (what are we to do?)’; the ones who take no responsibility for the outcomes of their actions, use stupidity as an excuse, blame bad-luck for their lot in life and in 2016 will most likely elect a slippery moray eel as president.
    The masses and the politicians have an unwritten, subconscious relationship: you keep us in power and we’ll keep paying you lip-service. Anyone who speaks ill of you we’ll squash…so what if it’s the truth.
    Voting age is 18. Pity it’s not based on mental maturity instead.

    1. eherm… kasama ka dito. she meant Filipinos. Lahat ng filipino, bobo man o matalino. pati ikaw. no them, no they, no 70%.

      magisip-isip… kung may time.

      1. Ang ibig nya sabihin tagalugin ang blog na to para maintindihan ng 70% ng populasyon natin na nagluloklok sa mga walang kwentang tao sa gobyerno!

  88. Complete and utter BS. You just described citizens of the Gulf countries. Have you seen their living standards recently? Have you see how their new generation have leaped forward? A huge change in what, only 10 years from when I have been able to observe them. And following the rule of law is not their best side either. I understand what you want to say but it is all too tiring … Filipinos this, Filipinos that. I cannot relate. Write something more solution-oriented.

    1. @sir_ivan_hoe

      Complete and utter BS

      Please cite specific statements from the article that you think is “utter BS”.

      You just described citizens of the Gulf countries. Have you seen their living standards recently? Have you see how their new generation have leaped forward? A huge change in what, only 10 years from when I have been able to observe them.

      Hehe…please be specific about the country you are talking about. It’s going to be hard to convince us without naming which country you are referring to.

      Let’s see how the Philippines will be like in ten years time without changing anything particularly the Filipino people’s habit of disregarding the law.

      I understand what you want to say but it is all too tiring … Filipinos this, Filipinos that. I cannot relate.

      Yes, I understand what you are saying. It’s too hard and tiring for you to comprehend that to achieve peace, order and prosperity in the Philippines, majority of Filipinos need to follow the rule of law. It seems it is such a hard concept for people like you to understand.

      Here’s a solution for you: ask your neighbours in the community to follow the rule of law and take note of the huge change in the living conditions and the environment.

      1. If only filipinos like myself will be mature enough to accept any form of constructive criticism – or even those are not & try to learn something from them then we, as a country will get a long way. It does hurt reading this, but the truth usually does yet once accepted & learned will eventually set us free. Our country is left behind by other SEA nations simply because of what’s being blogged here. Following the rule of law, or simple instructions are most of the times too hard to grasp by the majority. Padreno system, utang na loob, pakikisama among others are traits that we harbor from the common tao up to the highest echelons of government and even private offices. So kudos Ma’am for this article, I only hope that you also point out other positive traits you have observe from our culture.

  89. It all comes down to loving and respecting each other. And I think we don’t, because the fact that the rich takes advantage of the poor, and the highly educated takes advantage of the ignorant, is in fact lack of respect and love. Having lived in North America for awhile now, I see how filipinoes treat their fellow filipinoes with indifference. We are smart people, but we do not use it the right way. Unless we change this behavior only then we can, and I mean everyone beginning from the top, only then it will improve our lives. We want to prove so much to the world, but we don’t practice good behaviour in our own country. Change starts from within.

  90. You know what it all boils down to my fellow Filipinos? Alam nyo ba kung ano, Filipinos are all to Arrogant. They always want to be acknowledged and would never dare to do anything that they wont get acknowledged from. They always want to be higher than the next guy and when they do, instead of pulling the guy next to them they laugh and point fingers instead and congratulate themselves for being so much better and not sharing the achievements. Sad and very true, i have witnessed it in many occasions, from my friends and others. While people like the japanese culture or China, work to better each other, and not themselves. For the betterment of many and not 1. Really is sad, especially when you have a leader sitting on the very top who think way more of himself than he is really worth…

  91. I wrote an article very similar to this on my blog called “Freedom and the Law” (link up there). I thought we were talking about the same things and in the beginning we were, but you kind of lost me towards the end.

    I get the impression you want to change the character of the Filipino for true progress to happen. I mean, yes, Filipinos are by nature happy go lucky and they like to see the fun side of things. It’s like you want to get rid of that. But you know that’s never going to happen.

    I think true progress can still be accomplished without sacrificing the good things about us, and that’s our inherent nature to laugh at things when things seem hopeless.

    I do agree with the idea that change will come from educating our young. To me that addresses the very root of the problem.

    1. @Gerry

      Thanks for the link. Not much has changed since you wrote yours.

      The concept of happiness in my article seems like a complicated topic for most because we have all been brainwashed by corporations into thinking that we have to be constantly in pursuit of happiness. That’s because they want our money. Happiness to some could be in the form of acquiring the latest gadgets or partying every chance they get. They don’t care about saving for a rainy day as long as they are happy.

      Likewise, the idea of setting aside time for helping the community or learning a new skill or doing something for the environment is alien to most Pinoys because they’d rather be having a good time. Pinoys think that only the government is in charge of everything. This is wrong because we all know that the government doesn’t have enough funds and resources to cater to everyone’s needs including the environment. The country also needs volunteers who will donate their time and money to improve the surroundings and help those who have little resources. That is how it is done in other countries. People from other societies help in nation building. They can’t always rely on the government.

      Perhaps you could read my previous articles about Filipino happiness:

      Filipinos and happiness: why we need to be serious about it

      Here’s an excerpt:

      “The country remains Asia’s laggard perhaps partly because most Filipinos don’t have their priorities right. Most of us would rather pursue activities that cater to instant gratification because most of us want to be “masaya” all the time. We get instant gratification when we engage in activities that give us fleeting moments of happiness. Most often these are activities that are not well thought through and may even be impulsive. It could also involve being on a fiesta or celebratory mode more often than necessary even when we don’t deserve it. This also includes not participating in the running of the country and letting our public servants wreak havoc using public funds. Instead of being serious and more assertive about national issues, we dismiss topics pertaining to politics as something that we cannot do anything about or is none of our business.

      Because Filipinos love a good time more than anything else, we don’t bother learning a new skill on our spare time. Most Filipinos don’t like the idea of working harder to elevate our status to one of being among the first-class nations in the world; we would rather wait for someone to do it for us. Unfortunately, because our society has become anti-intellectual, the intellectuals are driven to leave the country. The brain drain reduces our chances of competing with other nations whose aim is to be the best at what they do and excel at every endeavor.

      It follows that since most Filipinos in general would rather have a good time than work hard, it is no surprise that they also love riding on the success of other Filipinos in the entertainment industry where fame and fortune carry away singers, actors, and even sportsmen — boxers in particular. It’s not that there is anything wrong with being happy for someone who achieves international recognition, it’s just that Filipinos tend to take it to the extreme and only idolize those who appear on TV and films due to their fame rather than those who work hard to excel in science and technology – those who can actually help elevate the status of the nation.”

      Here’s another article you might be interested in:

      Filipinos are too emotional for their own good

  92. Great article! Captured what I feel (but just can’t explain it myself) about why this country is close to being hopeless. I love this country but hate the 90% of its population

  93. Very well said. You have actually verbalised what I feel.Bravo! Looking forward to a time when Filipinos will switch off the party mode and get to work, seriously. I have had the experience of working abroad and I learned that even in jobs that Filipinos would consider to be “lowly”, people take pride in their work and do it with excellence.

  94. I can’t agree more with what the blogger noted here. Everything are true and are facts. Truths are indeed one of the hardest thing to believe. If someone disagree, then they might as well check if the instances noted here are not evident on our society and prove her wrong, by then s/he should also show some proof that the claim on this said article are pure imagination and are just so called “opinion” because as far as I read the entire articl, the only thing that came to my mind was “I can’t agree more”

  95. Hi. I took time to read the entire article, and YES-it’s TRUE and it’s SAD. I am a Filipino and I can see how the people around me act….like the peeing on their tires during traffic….pushing thru long queues etc etc…..YES, these things are TRUE, BUT there are also those who follow the ” Rule of Law ” myself included… family and maybe most of my friends…..and YES, it is an INTEGRAL part for US as a country to make the Philippines a GREAT Nation.

    I think for US to improve ourselves….the CHANGE must start with the VERY young Filipinos… inculcate in them the importance of the “rule of Law”….to instill correct values and the desire to “think” FIRST not as an individual but a PART of the whole SOCIETY…meaning the perception of the “SELF” should come after the perception the individual as part of the society…..and maybe CHANGE can be seen 20-30 years from now. Sadly, we cannot do anything with the PRESENT system…..everything Bad, unsightly, abhoring, evil is already deeply rooted and very hard to CHANGE. So, our HOPE ( and I am not losing HOPE ) will be in the future….where the children of today must be intellectually guided through the right values in order to have a better Philippines in the Future.

    Yet, despite what is happening with our country right now….and compared to the amazing and wonderful countries that i have gone to……I still remain a Proud Filipino and I am NOT losing HOPE that one day we will be a GREAT Nation. Thank You and Best Regards…..

  96. “..pushing their way in lines ahead of the rest in a queue.”

    Will be seeing this in Andrew bldg.

    You don’t just “change” a culture. It’s not as direct and simple as forcing people or conditioning young kids with practices that propagate rule-mentalities or collective-mentalities. This culture is a product of the harsh and suffocating economic condition of this country. The economic situation in NCR may not be that grave but NCR is located under a bigger socioeconomic umbrella/structure determined by the provinces, which compose the majority of the Ph population and have far worse poverty levels. Go to any other developing nation out there and you’ll see the same patronage, neopatrimonial, transactional, feudal, self-oriented socioeconomic system. Read Marx and Weber in-depth and you’ll see a better or at least an alternative picture. 

    1. Oops, ignore this:

      “..pushing their way in lines ahead of the rest in a queue.”

      Will be seeing this in Andrew bldg.

  97. There is an ongoing tug-of-war within the younger generation of Filipino people. I and students alike are caught up in the process of whether or not to cross the pedestrian lane when the traffic green light is still on while no cars are passing by.

    I am on the disciplined end of the generation. There are still students who, for some reason or another, do not follow simple traffic rules like such. Yet, I find excitement learning that more and more people (especially the adult ones) follow and mimic us the younger ones in this student-filled area of the Metro. Hope this begins and (rather) continues in other parts of the country.

    I am very optimistic that this younger generation (where I belong to) will propel the Philippines to where it deserves to be – a prosperous and wealthy nation proud for its culture, tradition, and humble beginnings.

  98. “Bawal tumawid dito. Nakamamatay!”
    “Bawal tumawid dito. Marami nang namatay dito!”

    dapat siguro gawin:

    “Bawal tumawid dito. Pag nagpumilit ka, papatayin na kita dyan!”

    1. Didn’t the MMDA post signs a few years back that said something like “HOY, GAGO! BAWAL TUMAWID DITO!”

      I assumed that they did work for a while until they were eventually dismantled.

      1. No, they didnt. Obvious naman that they didnt. Not all the stuff you find in the internet are for real. Some are jokes of course!

  99. I appreciate this blog, this is very true. But you sited an example of the Japanese attitude for being a disciplined people. Why is it in Japan the most number of suicide committed compared to other countries. I think, it depends with the person not generally Filipinos are not deserving for progress.

    1. @Norman

      Are you saying that just because Japan has a high suicide rate, it means they are not disciplined? On the contrary, in Japanese society, shame is said to be the primary agent of social control. If one feels that he has shamed his family or community by disobeying the law or failing at something, one feels compelled to commit suicide. This is why it is very orderly in their society. Meanwhile, in Philippine society, the percentage of Filipinos with a sense of shame is very low. This is why the country is in a state of disorder.

  100. I disagree. Filipinos can follow the law if people higher up follow it as well. You can see this in Filipinos working in proper companies. The problem is the the media and the current living standards. The media enchants the Filipino with wealth and fame while with the current living standards makes it necessary to put themselves above others to survive. No offense, but this is a shallow article that only tries to get the attention of Filipino readers online. People don’t feel the need to follow rules if people above them like their parents or local policeman doesn’t follow them. It’s not a national trait, because if it were true then we’re not qualified to work overseas or just work in general. This is not the root of the problem. Something else is. Try to discuss this with your peers because I felt like you just filed a complaint without talking to anybody else about it first like that overseas working nurse you used as an example in your article.

    1. @Kevin

      Try to do a little math:

      Filipinos from the elite who don’t follow the rule of law + Filipinos from lower class who don’t follow the law = The Philippines.

      I have discussed the point you were trying to make in my previous article Why is it so hard for Filipinos to just obey the law?

      Filipinos follow rules and laws in other countries because they know they cannot get away with not following them.

      Most advanced countries have very organized law enforcement agencies (e.g., the Police, the FBI, and other criminal investigation services) that motivate people to abide by the law. In short, individuals who violate these rules and laws are punished.

      Filipinos who go to those countries know that they cannot bribe members of these agencies into allowing them to get away with their crime. Hence, they follow the law.

      Law enforcement agencies in the Philippines perform very differently. They are said to be too corrupt, incompetent and ill equipped to enforce the law most of the time. And it doesn’t help that some of the elite members of our society are themselves said to be promoting a culture of impunity by bribing the Philippine National Police (PNP) and other organizations that make up the Philippine justice system. Therefore, most Filipinos in the Philippines have a tendency to ignore the law.

      As a reminder, the following are the main functions of our main local law enforcement agency, the Philippine National Police (PNP):

      1. Law Enforcement.

      2. Maintain peace and order.

      3. Prevents and investigates crimes and bring offenders to justice.

      4. Exercise the vested powers from the Philippine Constitution and pertinent laws.

      5. Detain an arrested person for a period not beyond what is prescribed by law.

      6. Implements pertinent laws and regulations on firearms and explosives control.

      7. Supervise and control the training and operations of security agencies.

      Have members of our PNP become so gutless as to now consistently fail to bring many of our criminals to justice? Or have they forgotten their mission to ‘enforce the law, prevent and control crimes, maintain peace and order, and ensure public safety and internal security with the active support of the community‘? It would seem so. How many times have we witnessed some of our public servants act with complete impunity? A lot of times. Some have cleverly evaded prosecution by disappearing for months and resurfacing only when the charges against them had been miraculously dropped. All the while their position in the public service remained intact despite all that.

      Unfortunately, the general public does not even feel the slightest bit of disgust over how influential members of the elite get away with their dirty deeds, from the pettiest crimes like stealing, down to the most heinous crimes like murder. Most Filipinos just shrug their shoulders in acceptance that there is nothing they can do about it.

      Since Philippine law enforcement agencies cannot do their job, why can’t Filipinos police each other?

      The answer to that is very complicated. A conscience it seems is something that most Filipinos have not acquired. Some of us appear to have a total disregard for what is right and wrong. This is in total contradiction to most Filipinos’ religious upbringing. It is as though the veneer of spirituality we see in Churchgoers is just for show. An encounter with a typical religious zealot would be enough to tell you that the higher levels of conscientiousness and self-restrait have not developed in some people.

      Perhaps we can also blame a weak sense of nationalism in general for the low regard Filipinos reserve for Philippine law. But what accounts for lack of nationalism? It is one of those chicken-and-egg quandaries.

      I hope you can organise your thoughts better before you comment on a public forum especially when your main objective is to try and put the writer down. You just come across as someone who didn’t get the point of the article. Maybe you can try reading the article again to help you understand it better.

  101. I agree with you on many aspects especially when you said that Filipinos have the tendency to put themselves first before the community and I also noticed this stark difference when I spent four months in South Korea where I witnessed the Koreans’ high regard and respect for society. I even passionately expressed this to friends and family. However, I also realized just now that maybe most Filipinos have become that way because we come from a third world country where most of the country’s resources are controlled by the very few. In a situation where most people hardly have anything to eat while a few people get most of the profit and corrupt people’s money, it’s hard to still think of your neighbor. Even when people have jobs and have enough to eat, they are often frustrated about how far they can only go in life knowing that they can never be as rich as the 1% elite.I think the first and foremost problem to be solved is the unequal distribution of wealth in our country and the dominance of the few ruling elite. It is hard to compare the Philippines to countries like Japan and South Korea at this point because the living situation and conditions of the people are entirely different. Nevertheless I still agree that we need to think of society more and not just ourselves, but perhaps the only way to achieve that is by improving the condition of most of our countrymen first.

  102. The lack of discipline in the Filipinos was one of the things that irks me. I’ve been living in the Philippines for 4 years, moving from Singapore. I myself am a Filipino, but growing in Singapore since I was 4, I’ve also learnt to value the sense of community and the importance of putting the group or society ahead of the individual. This idea of society first stems from the Confucian ideal that the needs of the many will always outweigh the one or the few, and that is why in countries that have an inherent Confucian ideology (be it in politics or in society), like S. Korea, Japan, and China, the people prime themselves in serving the interests of the collective whole first before their individual needs, because they know that they will benefit from that more. I wish the Philippines can learn from this, because ultimately, if we do want to become great, we have to be selfless and work towards a larger goal, bigger than ourselves.

  103. This article posits very valid impressions about Filipinos, and impressions are impressions. But wonder of wonders, why Filipinos behave quite differently in other countries? There they observe pedestrians, they do not litter, they pay taxes. Could it be that Filipinos just tend to assert themselves if they feel they are being shortchanged?

      1. it’s hard kasi, yung law e written in english. at most of the discussion ay english. gaya ng mga pinag gagawa nyo dito.

        1. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse. Even without reading the law, applying common sense in their daily activities will help Filipinos progress.

        2. Hindi po sapat na rason ang pagsasabi lang na “eh kasi nasa inggles” ang pagsulat. Tama na po ang pangangatwiran kung bakit hindi po natin kayang sundan ang batas. Tulad ng nasabi, kaunting common sense lang naman ang kailangan para manatiling “disiplinado” sa karamihan ng kaso. Tulad ng pagbibigay-daan sa kalye. Sa pagpipila nang maayos. Sa pagbibigay respeto sa kapwa. At sa totoo lang, pakinggan niyo naman po ang lohika ng sinabi ninyo : “Ok, nasa inggles ang batas, kaya puwede ko nang hindi ito sundin dahil hindi ko maintindihan. Puwede ko nang businahin ‘tong gago sa harap ko dahil ang bagal niya magmaneho, imposible naman malaman na bawal ‘yun.”

          At anuman ang sabihin niyo po ukol sa paggamit ng inggles, ito pa rin ay ang ating opisyal na wika, kasama ng Filipino. Hindi ito kaso ng pagiging “konyo” o elitista. Eh nakasabi sa konstitusyon na Inggles ang isa sa pangunahing wika ng bansa, kaya hindi ko makita ang kasalanan ang pagsusulat ng artikulong ito sa Inggles.

        3. Stupid excuse is stupid. Go back to elementary and learn English again. Halatang nangdaya ka sa English lesson mo para lang makapasa ka.

    1. The problem in Philippines is implementation of the rules/laws. The laws /rules are there, but not consistently implemented. In other countries (and even in local like Subic )if they know that they will be punished, they will follow the rules.
      What’s the problem with implementation? implementors want to protect voters or sometimes “pakikisama”(another bad characteristic of Pinoys), “utang na loob” or takot sa “ganti” whether physical harm or deprivation of vote sa local officials.

    2. just a theory, pinoys have this other trait ‘pakikisama’ so i think while in other countries, they are in essence, “nakikisama” to their culture.

  104. Keen observation, and I agree with most of what you’ve said. In adition, one reason also why Filipinos do not follow rules is because they see their government leaders disobey the very same rules that they ask the public to follow. Ex., express service in airports skipping through lines, locking-in government projects without the bidding process, bribing judges for a favorable decision, etc……

  105. Hi,

    I strongly agree with you. I married a foreigner and these are the same things she noticed about Filipinos. We are intelligent but these are the factors that keeps us from being a 3rd world country. We know how to solve this and the solution is changing the wrong “traditional ways” of the Filipino. Can we change?

  106. Too true, and the problem is people will not admit it, denouncing those who do admit it. It will take more than a crisis to open their eyes. As if Ondoy wasn’t enough. No, I’m not sure we’re more prepared for floods than we were four years ago.

    As a Chinese born and raised in the Philippines, I totally love the Philippines, which is precisely why I am so harsh of and critical with it. People I frequently am with will know that whenever I travel to places like Japan, Singapore, South Korea, and Hong Kong – in particular their airports – I always feel both sad that in this age, we are a far cry from how organized, how efficient, how effective, they are; and angry and desperate to make a change.

    One thing I am most annoyed with is the traffic situation. A national highway with four lanes, in one area, has not just one, but TWO or even THREE lanes with cars all vying for the U-turn slot (drum roll… it’s C5-Libis). I don’t think everyone realizes only at the last minute that they need to take a U-turn? And traffic jams are only getting worse each day. Furthermore, when vehicular accidents happen – oh, how often they do! – everyone behind the affected vehicle(s) is affected. Why? People always think they are kings of the road. Um, you’re driving in the most densely populated city in the world, where a significant portion of the middle class drives cars to get wherever because unlike Hong Kong or Paris, subway stations are too few and far in between.

    And this rant of mine is mostly directed to city bus and jeepney drivers. There are designated bus lanes and bus stops; there are also designated jeepney stops. For the former, Singapore and Taiwan in particular I have observed strictly follow these – never mind a few passengers become inconvenienced slightly if it will improve overall circulation. And I abhor the “para po” system because it gives drivers the prerogative to stop in the middle of the road, where not just his vehicle but the disembarking passenger have an increased chance of getting into an accident.

    The worst part is that no one party is to blame. It is not just the fault of the common commuter or the authorities. We are the result of an already-imperfect system implemented by the Spanish that only became more and more rotten over the centuries, with thanks as well to the Americans, the Japanese, World War II, and dictator-era Marcos. If only it were possible to figuratively blow everything up and start over, but obviously it’s not.

    Changes have to be implemented, but unfortunately many members of the government are resistant to this and will “reward” these change-makers for their efforts – cue political murders and the like. It’s a mass exodus that’s needed – one where the entire nation is united for development and progress. Or rather, re-development and re-progress.

    Wake up, countrymen. We’ve been asleep for too long. Too much sleep also ruins you.

  107. I agree with most of the contents of this article. This is the other end of the spectrum of Filipino nature. However, I think that the idea “Filipinos only think of themselves” can be expanded. It’s not really just selfishness per se, but something akin to it: Filipinos only put care to what is happening within their own sphere–their family, their friends, their immediate community. It’s ironic how this shows that, in fact, Filipino trait of “pakikisama” has its limits.

  108. Hi author,

    For the most part I agree with the article, but I just have to nitpick with one area :

    “Victim mentality was also quite evident in the way the Philippine government tried to intervene and stop the execution of three drug mules that were sentenced to death in China for violating their anti-drug rule.”

    Of course, I won’t be surprised if our government played up the “China-is-a-bully-part” for this too, as it has so far been working in other areas, for instance the West Philippine/South China Sea Question.

    But I agree that the Government should still take steps to succor and try to protect its citizens abroad as much as possible. Diplomatically, it is not so much a question of right or wrong or being victimized than one of protecting 1) national interests and 2) Filipino citizens abroad. That is how governments everywhere operate with respect to their citizens. Notice how every time there’s a rape case here by a US Marine, the US does all in its power to prevent our justice system taking him.

    The point is that Governments, ever wary of their sovereignty, never see fit for other countries to judge its citizens. Whether they really did wrongdoing or not is a moot point. Acquiescing is simply not an option lest it be construed a sign of weakness.

  109. Many thanks for such a well-written piece on putting us Filipinos in our place, by showing that a lot of us can be a bunch of onion-skinned, narcissistic, entitlement/publicity/popularity-driven yahoos, always blindly following whatever’s hip with the rest of the dumb herd, same with happily being content with the “pwede-na-yans” and the “bahala-na’s”. It’s hard not to ignore observations such as these, but it’s true. All this pathetic Pinoy Pride bullshit and fake “nationalism” is not doing anything but just merely obfuscate us from the heart of the matter that we as an entire country need to have a real radical change from within. Each of us have to take these things with a pinch of salt and just do what we can to reverse this curse we’ve been stricken since time in memoriam. Enough of the old excuses of being poor and unenlightened. It’s up to us to man-up and decide whether or not we want to stay up to keep rolling with the punches, or as the rest of the dumb cattle would prefer, chew the cud and stay down.

  110. Hello! I think every attack of this blog is true except for the President.

    I think there’s something you’re missing and it is being manifested on this blog.

    I am satisfied with the performance of our President right now. Even if he fails in the eyes of many, can’t we even help him na lang to do his work? Not every fucking needs of our countrymen depends on his shoulders? Foods? Shelters? Entertainment? Good Life? WTF isn’t?

    The missing attack on this blog is that everybody wants to hit the one who’s in the chair. Isn’t? We are blinded by the negative things that these people do and we overlook the positive things that they have done.

    “99” Correct and “1” Mistake is Philippines is huge.

    This is a nice blog anyways. 😀

  111. I agree most of this article, it is the reality that we Filipinos does not mostly Obey the simple guidelines. I am not proud to be a Filipino. I’m not a pure Filipino but I grew up here in the Philippines and i can see all the negative examples all over the place but not all disobey the law.I obey the simple rules in school, and the simple rules in the country Its not that hard to obey but the word “Blending in” is always there in the Filipinos the word”Pakikisama”.We cant take the fact that our country isn’t improving that much even though the Philippines is a small country. I am sad about our country. Many Overseas Filipino Workers are working so hard in another country. All my relatives are in there to work and have a better salary. Why? Cause they think it is for the better of the family. Is it the President’s fault that’s why the country is failing? NO i don’t think so.There’s something wrong with Both sides. The leader Must always work together with the members. I can see the hard work of our recent president. He’s doing well very well..A Great leader can lead its members, but if the members do not obey nor like the leader then they will not.A leader who can lead the way with good example will lead a country in good and a harmonic country. I still believe there’s a chance but an only a few percent of chance that the Philippines will stand up again about 10% of chance(In my opinion). I admire Japan for having a great government. And stay so disciplined all the time. They did have their earthquake, and still after a yr. They had their place nice and organized once again in that short time. I really wish our Country Philippines will stand up on its own. and Build nationalism instead of narcissism.

    1. the truth hurts ika nga… ang akin lang eh sa lahat ng Pilipinong nagsalita dito, kaya nyo po bang makatulong sa pagbabago ng ugali at pananaw ng kapwa natin? Kaya nyo po bang isa isahin ang mga taong hindi pa nakakaintindi sa o ayaw pang tanggapin ang halaga ng may disiplina o ng may common sense? kaya nyo po bang maging matyagang “mentor” nila na walang halong ang iinsulto? Bottomline, can you be a part of the system in personally advocating/helping our Filipino people?

      1. Nice point. Ethan.

        It’s nice that we pinpoint the problem,but I hope we only not see it but we’re doing our part how to address it without making ourselves above the other but just a pure act of kindness.

  112. if the answer to my question is “NO” or “bahala sila sa buhay nila kasi malaki na sila”, or “hindi ko sila responsibilidad”, then, obviously, wala kayong pagkakaiba sa mga Pilipinong tinutukoy nyo…

  113. pustahan mga nagcocomment dito ay nagtatapon pa rin ng basura kung saan-saan. start with ourselves! magsimula tayo sa hindi pag-lilitter. walang mangyayari kung hindi tayo mismo ang magsisimulang magbago

  114. These “simple guidelines” boil down to two very powerful words: Common Sense.

    But based on what is actually happening, there is an apparent lack of it in the Philippines.

    It’s so rare, it’s a superpower

  115. it is simple, filipinos have no responsibilities to country but only to themselves and their family. we find our leaders don’t even follow the rules they used to created. what we see is what we act. what we heard is what we spread. filipinos will never change unless the government, religious leaders will follow first and act accordingly to the rule of law. maybe it need to kill all the filipinos from age 3 years old above to create new race of filipinos?

  116. isang halimbawa lang niyan. subukan mo sumakay ng MRT. malinaw na sa mga direksyon ng arrow nasa sahig kung saan dapat pumila at hindi. pero talaga naman tatapatan pa ng iba ang maling direksyon. para bagang napaka hirap intndihin ng pagkaka drawing ng arrow. I cant help but wonder. nahihiya ako para sa kanila. dahil parang hindi nila kaya sumunod sa simleng direksyon.

  117. This is such an enlightening article. Thank you. It’s also upsetting, though, knowing that these problems run so deep that it will take years and years to fix and a good, strong leader to guide us towards the “right path” – someone who is not afraid to follow the rules, someone who is willing to serve their country and not merely get rich for six years.

    It’s unfair to blame the government as us normal citizens have to discipline ourselves, too, for us to progress but many Filipinos don’t know any better because they are not educated because they are too poor to afford it, which brings me to the issue of improper allocation of funds, which makes me blame the government and the people who run it behind the scenes.

    I know the only way for the Philippines to progress is if all Filipinos do it together – staying in the Philippines, loving the nation and all that jazz – but if a person wants a better life for his/her family, I don’t think staying in the country is the answer. Not if the conditions are like this.

    1. Re: (It’s unfair to blame the government as us normal citizens have to discipline ourselves, too, for us to progress but many Filipinos don’t know any better because they are not educated because they are too poor to afford it, which brings me to the issue of improper allocation of funds, which makes me blame the government and the people who run it behind the scenes.)

      Sure, it is unfair to just put the blame on the government. The blame must also be shared by the very same people who, for so many years, have empowered a government consisting of individuals whose tract records reminds one of a “criminal arrest” sheet.
      It is not easy for one who is only looking from the outside to pass judgement, or even issue an opinion on the subject, when the answer to the issue of good governance rests at the very end of the noses of those from within.
      The Filipinos just haven’t learned from the lessons of their past – they keep on repeating the same mistakes and, knowingly or unknowingly, maintaining the status quo.

  118. I totally disagree with this essay. I have been going back to the Philippines two or three times a year for the last eight years and sure there are folks who don’t follow the rules on the road but for the most part, most drivers on EDSA boulevard and the highways follow the rules. Hell, most folks here in the bay area where I live rarely follow the speed limits on the freeway, so what would make the Philippines any different. It’s just that the roads in Manila are not built wide enough to handle that much traffic so folks have to be more creative. In terms of trying to be a great nation, why do Filipinos need that hanging on their national psyche with the comparisons to Japan, Singapore, and South Korea? Those countries are so comformist; i guess you can call that discipline. Give me the Filipinos “lack of discipline” fiercely independent malaya spirit any day. Yes some folks in the Philippines want to be a “star” but we have that in even in the US, but FIlipinos also abhor people who are “mayabang” or boastful. So let’s balance the perspective a bit. Don’t let a few bad apples on the road or the many bad apples in government be an indictment on common Filipinos just trying their best to live a good life for themselves and their children trying to follow the rules.

    1. Tell me, when you fly over to the Philippines- how long do you stay here, and where?

      Just a suggestion: try living at the Pier area in Manila (google search for Moriones, Tondo) for a year, and let’s see if you’ll say the same thing after. 🙂

      1. Tsong di mo yata na intindihan English niya. Ang sabi niya hindi lahat ng Pilipino gago at hindi lahat ng lugar sa Tondo nakakatakot. Ang ibig lang nyang ipahiwatig ay wag lahatin ang Pilipino dahil nangyayari din ito sa ibang bansa…mas malala pa. Sa Amerika lang ay daan daang tao ang nasasagasaan ng kotse araw araw dahil sa hindi pagsunod sa batas trapiko. Nangyayari ba ito sa Pilipinas o sa Manila? Aba syempre pero hindi ganon kadaming biktima kumpara sa Amerika. Kung ang Tondo ay merong maraming masasamang tao ay ganun din sa Amerika, Europa o sa Japan at China at mas masahol pa kaysa sinasabi mong Tondo, pier or Parola ( naglalakad ako dyan kahit gabi pero may dala akong baril LOL ). Kaya Tsong ma Pinoy ka man o ibang lahi , kung masasamang tao o taong hindi sumusunod sa simpleng batas ang pag uusapan, kahit saang lupalop ng mundo meron niyan.

        1. – Tsong di mo yata na intindihan English niya.
          Pasensya na po, kayo na po ang magaling sa English.

          Not because I chose to disagree with his comment, does it mean that I did not understand what he said. Common sense po, like what was mentioned above.

          As well as, not because there is chaos, death, and evil from other countries in the world, does it remove the fact that Filipinos lack discipline and most of the time do not follow even the simplest of rules. The article addresses the negativity of the citizens in general, not as a whole, not as everyone. It did not say, “All Filipinos cannot progress…”

          Dragging other countries into the discussion by stating that they are guilty of this is a sign of victimization. Instead of having a mentality of “We’re not the only guilty ones, they do it even worse than us!” why don’t we all just admit that WE as Filipinos are guilty of what the author said, and move forward towards changing to be a better nation.

          But of course, acknowledgement/realization is the first step.

  119. This article is so true to some, and having been to other countries, I would definitely say that they are not spared of what the author is blaming Filipinos for. U.S. for instance has more deaths along their crosswalks simply because of traffic violations and not to include hundreds of victims from drunk driving everyday. How do you then explain to me that Filipinos can not follow simple rules if based on facts/statistics, the richest and most educated country in the world has more simple traffic violations which resulted to the most gruesome deaths of unsuspecting pedestrians and motorists??? I am only citing this example among others but hopefully before you write an article about Filipinos please set aside your biases, colonial and crab mentality. Not all Filipinos can not follow simple rules and same is true that not all Japanese, Americans and Koreans follow simple rules!

    1. But you’ve gotta look at the overall outcome. It comes down to this: Do I have to step over mountains of trash and homeless people and shit and piss just to catch the next packed jeepney that the conductor swears can fit 5 more?
      Is it easier for me to buy pork cooked in pork fat with pork-flavored MSG than to get something even remotely healthy?

      But there’s hope. There’s always hope that a more conscious generation, bred from the internet and discontent. The goal is not to be like the west. It’s to cultivate the positive aspects of the Filipino character. War, loss, and the conquest of larger nations put us where we are. But our minds can get us out. We’re so damn smart, it’s numbing.

      Also, Jun, give a source when you pull up a statistic instead of using it out of context and to your own weak argument.

    2. @Jun Lopez

      The article did not say people from other countries do not violate written laws. You should have realised while writing your own comment that those who do violate laws. cause problems in every society. Majority of the members of advanced societies follow the law, which is why they are successful. Unfortunately, in Philippine society, majority do not follow the laws, which is why the country remains one of the world’s basketcases .

      I suggest you analyse things carefully before commenting.

      1. When you say “majority do not follow the laws”, do you have actual data that can back up your statement? I would rest my case if you can provide me with actual verified statistics that majority (more than 50% of Filipinos) do not follow laws. Otherwise, you are making such a hasty and unfounded statement about an entire nation. (Which includes you by the way)

        I suggest you analyze things before commenting.

        1. @Migs

          LOL…you want data to prove that majority of Filipinos do not follow the law? Just look around you. Try to observe the people who use the pedestrian crossing and you’ll realize what I’m talking about. The number of squatters alone, those who illegally occupy other people’s property should already tell you that the average Pinoy doesn’t care about the law.

          To get the data you want, you need to conduct a survey. Tell me, do you actually believe that people who do not follow the law will truthfully answer survey questions like “do you follow road rules while driving?”

          Those who cheat the system won’t admit that they do. So therefore, I cannot conduct a survey to give you data. The fact that the Philippines is still considered as one of the world’s basketcases is already proof that majority cannot follow the law. Even former Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew said that Filipinos lack discipline.

        2. Just look around us… People crossing the streets on red traffic light, jeepney drivers criss-crossing and overtaking, fastfood eaters leaving trash on the table after eating, litters everywhere, great number of “tambays”, etc. We don’t need statistics. It’s already in front of us and we’re inadvertently joining the crowd that’s why we don’t seem to notice.

        3. @ Migs

          Just for the record, she didn’t come up with any hard data to your respectful question. That what makes her diatribe come across as just ‘stream-of-consciousness hot air.’

      2. most of these people are living in denial. that’s another filipino trait. “bulag-bulagan, bingi-bingihan and the worst one is palusot-lusutan” from reading this blog i knew you were gonna get hammered by these moronic comments. statistics? where the hell do you live? i see this everyday. traffic is the best example. don’t tell me you guys don’t drive or ever get on a vehicle to get to work. in metro manila alone it is 80 percent of the population that defies all rules and law of traffic. if you guys can’t see that, then there is what’s wrong. try driving the way you are driving in davao and see what happens. Have you ever ridden the MRT? do you guys see anything wrong with it? that’s why we can’t change this country for the better because everyone is so perfect. see, instead of back lashing the person who wrote this blog, why don’t you do something about the things you don’t like to hear. start from your house.

      3. I think there are plenty of laws, but in every country people are people, and I know the in the US laws are not followed unless there is strond enforcement. The problem in the Philippines is total lack of predictable, fair minded enforcement….the people can change if they new they would get punished.

  120. obedience to law must start from top to bottom. people on the hierarchy should set the example to follow the rule of law. unfortunately, how can a chief executive acquire the moral ascendancy to execute and enforce the law when he himself did not observe the rule of law when he was elected.i would say that there’s a need to inject discipline and moral ascendancy in all levels in our society for us to recognize and observe the “rule of law”.

  121. honestly, in the Philippines it so hard to correct the unlawfuls even then it became a habit of man because of the absence
    of law enforcement visibilty or the law enforcement itself is ignoring the law. just an example on the road why are there still many repetitive violator drivers, snatchers/theft who come and go from the cell, robbery hold ups, and many more elements of crime has never been corrected by law. is this normal? whenever I go in public places or taking public transport I usually keep an extra care infact there was a time a snatcher robbed a woman’s mobile phone,fortunately, a man right in front of her had noticed the commotion and rescued, thus i immediately help to catch the snatcher. where’s the police visibility? if a Filipino can’t attain to follow the rule of law then you’re NOT Filipino! A real Filipino you know how to love your own country, you think you’re own country, you speak, act and live the truth about your country. above all a Filipino have sense of integrity and belongingness of discipline.

  122. I agree with this blog. Ilda was right to the core. I have been to many Asian countries particularly the ones better than ours and I would say the same. Filipinos lack the discipline and patience. They want a better leader but they do only follow him if its a carpet ride.

  123. Your attempt at comparing Filipino people with Japanese, Chinese and South Koreans is laughable. The Philippines is the most un-Asian Asian country compared to all its Asian neighbors (if you haven’t noticed). This argument is as senseless as comparing apples and oranges. The “padrino” is not a world-renowned Filipino system, goes to show how little you know and how little research you made – it’s from Spain. Which is where we got it and where our cultural behavior is most heavily influenced. It exists in many nations and societies that Spain had colonized and to this day it is practised in Spain, Italy, Mexico, South America, Portugal.. take your pick. If you want to compare and site good examples take it from nations that the Filipinos can familiarize themselves with. It’s all about cultural behavior and just because the Filipinos have a different outlook in life compared to the neighboring countries you mentioned, does not mean it cannot thrive. We are not Japan, we are not China, can’t ask a dog to turn into a cat now can you? You cannot change a nations cultural behavior, its beliefs, nor the way people think. You can only define their strength and work from there. Generalizing the Filipino people and labeling them undisciplined, unable to follow rules (yeah because the Chinese people are known to fall in line and respect cues), I mean, you can do better than this poorly thought out scraps of quotations. How easy this must have been, you just had to look around you, criticize what you don’t like and call it an article.

    1. But everything in the article is true. The author only wanted to correct what is wrong. Are you implying that we shouldn’t change for the better and just stay as unruly as we are today? Someone needed to speak, and the author spoke.

      This is not about the “Philippines colonized by Spain”. We have our own image as a nation and we need to check whether it is good or bad. We should take the best of everything, and get rid of the bad.

    2. You obviously didn’t read the article ’til the end.

      “We are not Japan, we are not China, can’t ask a dog to turn into a cat now can you? You cannot change a nations cultural behavior, its beliefs, nor the way people think.”

      > “Not that Filipinos need copy what the Japanese do to a tee, but the most interesting thing to note about societies like Japan is that nobody has the desire to grandstand.”

    3. @Monique

      Good grief…another point misser and an angry one too. 😉

      Here we go:

      Your attempt at comparing Filipino people with Japanese, Chinese and South Koreans is laughable. The Philippines is the most un-Asian Asian country compared to all its Asian neighbors (if you haven’t noticed).

      Well, I hate to burst your bubble but we actually have a lot in common with the ethnic group Bumiputra or the Malays and indigenous people from Malaysia. Majority of Filipinos have the same approach in life as the Bumiputras. Just like Filipinos, they tend to be less successful than the Chinese and Indians living in Malaysia even with the help of the Malaysian government’s affirmative action that favour the said indigenous group.

      Like what I said in my previous article: Filipino tragedies: Is incompetence in our cultural DNA?

      We Filipinos are not really that different from the Malay group found in countries like Malaysia and Indonesia.

      (…)if you stop to think about it, given the right opportunity and a life under the same environment, it seems that the Malay “race” or ethnic group are susceptible to falling into a comfort zone. What I am trying to say is that, it may indeed be part of some ethnic group’s genetic makeup or DNA to be less competitive than others. And being part of the Malay group, native or indigenous Filipinos tend to be less competitive than majority of the Filipino-Chinese residents in the Philippines. There seems to be a pattern in the behavior similar to that of the Malays in Malaysia.

      The Malay syndrome

      It is therefore evident that ethnic groups in the Philippines and in Malaysia (or possibly Indonesia), tend to have the same nature, which is entirely different from that of other ethnic groups like the Chinese, for example. Whereas the Chinese tend to be entrepreneurial and hard working, the average Malay needs a few more incentives to be able to work harder in order to advance his economic status.

      So therefore, I think you were wrong in saying that the “Philippines is the most un-Asian Asian country compared to all its Asian neighbors”.

      The “padrino” is not a world-renowned Filipino system, goes to show how little you know and how little research you made – it’s from Spain.

      People from other countries practice the padrino system as well. It’s not just limited to the countries colonized by Spain. The Chinese, Indians, most Asian countries have their own padrino system, indeed. However, some countries have placed checks and balances to avoid the excessive use of the padrino system . Even when the Chinese use their own padrino system for example, those who do not deliver results get prosecuted or suffer the consequences. In the Philippines, hardly anyone from the elite members of society get prosecuted. Ping Lacson is an example of someone who got away without being prosecuted at all. He was accused of murder, hid from the law and then even before he emerged from where he was hiding from, his case got dropped. That’s why I refer to ours as “the world-renowned Filipino padrino system.

      We can’t continue using the excuse “we got this and that from the Spaniards” forever. Whatever bad traits you think we got from them is not something that we were born with. It was a learned behavior and we can unlearn it. It is unfortunate that Filipinos it seems, tend to acquire only the bad traits from outside influence. Spain isn’t a third world country like the Philippines. In fact, they were once a superpower. It goes without saying that we didn’t copy their good traits. That says a lot about the Filipino people’s lack of motivation to succeed.

      I mean, you can do better than this poorly thought out scraps of quotations. How easy this must have been, you just had to look around you, criticize what you don’t like and call it an article.

      What quotations? Please be specific. Who said it was hard to write it? Why don’t you write your own article then if you think “you can do better”?


    1. @Monique

      It’s been said that crab mentality refers “to a person or a group of people who will attempt to pull down anyone who achieves success out of envy, conspiracy or competitive feelings.”

      Since Philippine society hasn’t achieved success yet, your claim that this article is an example of “crab mentality” is WRONG.

  124. So true! I’m a Filipino who lived in Hong Kong for 38 years. Even before the handover to China in 1997, most Hong Kong people now are still disciplined because of the type of government that governed us for the past 99 years, and that is the British Monarchy rule. The citizens of Hong Kong, and like the rest of the commonwealth countries under British rule, love the Royal family dearly. It is that kind of love and respect for the government that made these countries great. Said to say, but I strongly believe that Democracy will not work for the Philippines. Democracy – “a government chosen by the people for the people” is a total failure in the Philippines no matter who becomes the president. I rather allow a kind and generous self proclaimed King who is rich enough to pay all the country’s debt and rebuild the infrastructure and economy of the Philippines. Of course, we will forever owe our livelihood to this new King and royal family of the Kingdom of the Philippines. Sounds crazy, but not impossible. Don’t you think? Haven’t you guys notice that most rich countries are Monarchy Rule?

    1. Haven’t you guys notice that most rich countries are Monarchy Rule?

      Hmmm…the French executed the royal couple after the fall of the French monarchy during the famous French revolution and their country did just fine.

  125. Lmao filipinos are pretty stupid. I’ve been to the Philippines over 30 times. Every year they seem to get dumber and dumber. Someone should make a documentary on how dumb that country gets every year. I’ll fund it if someone is will to make the documentary on it.

  126. Well at least you didn’t mentioned “ALL” or else it would be outrage here :)…. now your statement of feeling “victimized” is showing up…. why can’t we just take this as a constructive criticism… when people see our fault why not we examine our self and try to improve ourselves, not bashing the one who criticize, you don’t need data that much for one’e point of view.. to cut the statement short, just look at the problem and do something about it, not nagging about it or worst be proud of it. just saying….action is the key… This is not to down us but to wake us up, to change our lives better 🙂 because these is what people see, so they just pour out their mind. Let’s not be affected of these negatively 🙂 I’m proud to be Pinoy 🙂

  127. Not all humans races can be on top. Who will be rich if there are no poor. Not all will be masters if there are no slaves. Same with human mentality , if everyone is intelligent who can we compare them with? This is all part of the world system to make it work.If one is intelligent another has to be dumb and another, a dumber!

  128. The rule of law cannot easily take root in the Philippines because the nation does not possess the political maturity to sustain a thriving republican democracy. The concepts of the rule of law and democracy are fragile ideals and aspirations, which need constant vigilance and a continuing active social commitment. They are not indigenous to any one particular people or nation in the western world, not even the United States of America where they have eroded over time.

    In order to foster the rule of law, democracy must be supported by the integral, moral discipline of its citizenry. It is a discipline that does not come about through force or imposition. It does not come by as an unconscious, random natural process. Rather, it is the product of a volitional, conscious choice and effort, individually and collectively, to progress beyond the past and well on to the future, based on the sense of a common good for the greatest numbers of people. It is a learned, informed, and enlightened discipline, which is promoted, encouraged and permitted to develop and evolve over time. It is powered by the same kind of determination a medical student might have to studiously, dedicatedly apply himself to his medical studies and practice, in order to become an effective physician and potent healer.

    By and large, the consciousness of Philippine society is still very much tribal, at worst, or feudal, at best. The nation is stuck in the feudal mentality of its historic past, and the ongoing failure of the nation to confront and transform its poor, historical self-image has only fueled a pervasive social indifference, self-denial, and hypocrisy.

    Efforts in the past to externally change this have not succeeded, because the nation’s backward feudal mentality is very deep-rooted in the national psyche. Such mindset manifests from its grossest manner in the rural areas to its subtlest in the highly populated urban areas. It blankets the country extensively with its regressive value system (the real Juan Tamad syndrome) and detrimental social by-products, to the point of suffocating and driving away the nation’s brightest, progressive and promising minds, who are forced to leave the country for the greener pastures of opportunities, challenges and the promise of fulfillment elsewhere.

    The nation cannot seem to rise and transcend upward to the skies beyond its roots in the ground. Thus, the people are deluded into a smug contentment of crawling and spreading themselves on the ground only like a creeping vine’s tendrils, instead of sprouting thick sturdy branches and tall tree trunks by aspiring to heights of excellence and greatness. It is a catch-22 situation unfortunately. The nation’s political, social, religious, and educational institutions conspire to reinforce and assure the ongoing mediocrity of the nation.

    To aggravate matters, the people do not have a shared collective vision or goal of what they want their nation and country to become in the 21st century. So, people just plod along doing their own individual thing from day to day. Neither have they been blessed with a leadership that can sincerely fire the nation’s collective imagination and motivate the people toward a brighter, glorious, truly prosperous future.

    For Filipinos, the presidential form of government has become another socio-political instrument for preserving political opportunism and societal mediocrity. It is unfortunate that the country never gave the parliamentary system of government an authentic working chance. The latter could have been a good political experiment and laboratory for the nation to rediscover and reinvent itself. During pre-colonial times, native Filipinos governed themselves through the consensus-building political-social unit of the “barangay.” It is my view that this pre-colonial administrative structure would have been the evolving early attempts of the people toward parliamentarianism.

    Parliamentarianism was an opportunity for the people to politically develop and cultivate their appreciation for the rule of law in a democratic setting. However, it is now just another lost opportunity to the nation, just as many economic growth opportunities have been missed and lost in the past. How true can this be? We do not have to dig deep in research to find out. We only need to note how well Filipinos based and working overseas have done or are doing in their foreign environments. When presented with the opportunity to thrive, they did!

    A nation without a dream is a people condemned to the hopelessness of their mediocrity. A country without a vision of its future is a nation robbed of its present and enslaved by its past.

    At no point other than now can the following Filipino word be more meaningful — Mabuhay. It does not only mean “Welcome.” It also means “Long live,” or, better yet, “Come alive.”


  129. I am rather confused about the connection between “following rules” and the idea that “being relaxed and having fun” to the ideal result which is to “solve serious problems”.

    Citing pedestrian behavior is one thing, but I have to digress on putting too much praise and emphasis on the Japanese discipline. You are simply limiting your perspective as well as to what the problem is (the subjective experience of daily traffic) locally compared to our neighbor country.

    This article also failed to offer a solid, concrete suggestion/s as to how a problem should be solved in the local context instead of just simply suggesting that we mimic what others do.

    1. @Seth

      I am rather confused about the connection between “following rules” and the idea that “being relaxed and having fun” to the ideal result which is to “solve serious problems”.

      I suggest you read the article again. I have copied and pasted the parts where you got confused below. It’s should be an easy concept to understand:

      Worse, Filipinos in general feel a strong sense of entitlement to relax or “chill-out” even when there is still so much to do to move the country forward. Instead of discussing solutions seriously and in detail during their spare time, Filipinos would rather spend it fooling around — never mind that societies from great nations like China, Japan and South Korea have historically shown that being more serious and devoting more of their time to solving problems yields better results in the long term.

      From the top guys and gals sitting behind desks at the Presidential office down to the tricycle driver down the road, everyone just wants to have “fun” in the Philippines first before tackling the problems of the land in a more serious manner. You can be forgiven for thinking that one hit wonder Wang Chung probably wrote the song “Everybody have fun tonight” for Filipinos. It can absolutely boggle the mind to wonder why Filipinos cannot limit switching to party mode when they are at an actual party.

      As discussed in my previous article, Filipinos are proud of being a happy-go-lucky society and make it a point to show the rest of the world that they are coping with smiling faces despite the dire circumstances they face. This mentality shows that Filipinos are satisfied with mediocrity and find striving for excellence too daunting. A few remaining Filipinos who want to engage in a more serious discussions are even labeled “kill-joy” or “librarians.” Aside from their penchant for bullying when others don’t engage in “pakikisama,” Filipinos indeed, have a tendency to discriminate against more sober ways of tackling solutions.

      Unfortunately, a 90 year old study by psychologist Dr Leslie Martin and his colleagues in California suggested that “too much of a sense that everything will be fine can be dangerous because it can lead one to be careless about things that are important to long life.” Likewise, the study also showed that those who are always optimistic take more gambles with their health. They were more likely to drink, smoke and eat badly, which is a typical characteristic of a Filipino. While prudent and persistent individuals are more cautious with their health and overall wellbeing – characteristics that are less likely to be found in Filipinos.

      Citing pedestrian behavior is one thing, but I have to digress on putting too much praise and emphasis on the Japanese discipline. You are simply limiting your perspective as well as to what the problem is (the subjective experience of daily traffic) locally compared to our neighbor country.

      Duh? I’m not sure I get what you are trying to say but the need for discipline transcends cultural boundaries. Discipline is easy to apply it in your daily life. It’s an important ingredient for success.

      This article also failed to offer a solid, concrete suggestion/s as to how a problem should be solved in the local context instead of just simply suggesting that we mimic what others do.

      Here’s a solution: Follow the rule of law. I’m sorry if that is such a hard concept for you to understand but like I said, just read the article again. I have already dumb down my explanation and I don’t think I can go any further

      1. What a harsh reply! I think he was just pointing out that we have our own ways as much as the Japanese has theirs. Sure, I wish Filipinos could have more respect to the law, but relative to other countries, we already are; yet they are better off than us. Instead of giving another copy-paste solution, what the Filipinos need is to figure out its identity crisis first.
        Furthermore, as much as I respect the author and her views, the article does seem like an elaborate and well-put series of complaints comparable to the ones I see in Yahoo! news.
        It’s OK to point out criticisms. And I do hope that the Filipino people realize soon that the stagnant situation in the Philippines is their fault too, not just the government’s. But more importantly, Filipinos need to see what to do, instead of just being said what not to do. Positive change instead of complaints. The author suggested abiding by the law and orderliness for that, but it is not enough nor is it convincing. It feels as if the solution is just an extra and the author just wanted to rant about the negative aspects of Filipinos’ common traits.
        I apologize if this post offends the author, I am merely stating my opinion about the article. My advice is: please be open to criticisms.

        1. @zeph

          You presume to know what the other guy was thinking and worse, you presume to know what my motives are for writing this article. Here’s a piece of advice: stick to the points raised in the article, please.

          But more importantly, Filipinos need to see what to do, instead of just being said what not to do. Positive change instead of complaints.

          I’m sorry to say but your statement does not make any sense. Did you mean Filipinos need to be shown what to do instead of being told what to do? What does “positive change instead of complaints” mean? Please explain. Or don’t.

          The author suggested abiding by the law and orderliness for that, but it is not enough nor is it convincing.

          Suit yourself. The pork barrel funds scam is evidence enough of the Filipino people’s inability to obey laws. It is why the country cannot progress. If you don’t want to acknowledge that, I am not going to force you to.


      2. ” What does “positive change instead of complaints” mean? Please explain. Or don’t.”
        –kind of confusing, don’t you think? You’re asking what I mean but don’t want to listen?
        –I’m not trying to troll, and I see your point. I take your posts seriously and I mean these replies to be respectful, though not always agreeable. Clearly, the Filipino people have come a long way in terms of misinterpreting the meaning of “democracy”. For most of us Filipinos, it’s become freedom without responsibility. I agree with you on that.
        –What I’m trying to say is that after recognizing our failures, there’s little use to complaining and writing about it anymore because negative thinking only restricts progress. There’s more than enough objections/protests/disagreements about the people and the government happening in the Philippines. Our country will NOT benefit from having a society so divided in thoughts and actions.
        – I subscribe to because it keeps an open eye to such important issues, but I really think it’s time to fix things by introducing and bringing in positivity and a more encouraging approach than continue bashing and pointing out each other’s mistakes.

        1. @Zeph

          –kind of confusing, don’t you think? You’re asking what I mean but don’t want to listen?

          I was merely giving you an option. You can either explain what you meant or ignore the request for further explanation.

          Clearly, the Filipino people have come a long way in terms of misinterpreting the meaning of “democracy”. For most of us Filipinos, it’s become freedom without responsibility.

          Now that is worth highlighting, indeed.

          What I’m trying to say is that after recognizing our failures, there’s little use to complaining and writing about it anymore because negative thinking only restricts progress. There’s more than enough.

          I don’t agree. Mainstream media is good at distracting people from the real issues plaguing the nation. The time for Filipinos to face the truth was decades ago. Most Filipinos are not even ready to accept that our dysfunctional culture is part of the problem. They simply blame the corrupt public servants without realising they indirectly encourage corrupt activities.

          I subscribe to because it keeps an open eye to such important issues, but I really think it’s time to fix things by introducing and bringing in positivity and a more encouraging approach than continue bashing and pointing out each other’s mistakes.

          What makes you say we are being negative anyway? The people who are apathetic and indifferent, those who say “wala na tayong magagawa”, they are the one’s being negative in my view.

          Well, I suggest you read more of the articles here again because there has been a lot of suggestions written in the past in how to fix the nation. The solution usually presents itself once you have identified the problem.

  130. I left the Philippines in 1973 when I was 11 years old. I came back to visit in Jan 2011. Your comment is fair, and unfortunately you have the government to blame for it. Everyone is for themselves. There is no structure. The Philippines needs a leader who doesn’t care about the money going into their pockets and their family’s pocket, but rather someone who truly cares about helping the Filipino Citizens. We have a long way to go. I pray that I may somehow get an opportunity one day to be able to help our people. When you have so many people in the Philippines struggling to make ends meat and many children going hungry and people looking for shelter anywhere for their family, how can we expect a sense of order or discipline. I had dinner at the Hotel we are staying at (Marriott) and they had a seafood buffet. I had asked the head waiter if the staff gets to eat the leftover and I was told NO. They sell the leftover to some company. I had spoken to the Manager of the restaurant (who was white) and asked if it’s ok for me to buy his wait staff dinner. He was agreeable. So they set up a table for them and they actually asked me and my family to join them. A comment was said by the wait staff that for all the years he has worked there, no one has ever done this for them. I told all of them two things. First, don’t ever forget where you came from and don’t take prayer for granted. We need to start treating our own people better and perhaps there will be a light at the end of the tunnel.

  131. “Filipinos in general feel a strong sense of entitlement to relax or “chill-out” even when there is still so much to do to move the country forward.”

    This one really hits me. I usually ended up cramming my work when the deadline’s just only a few days away.

    Anyway, good read. Kudos to the author.
    Reading this kind of article makes me feel like I finally found my own kind, my own specie. People that can understand my view.

    Sorry if there were any grammatical errors.

  132. 1. “Victim mentality”, being too proud yet easily offended by criticisms, seemingly unable to comprehend and abide by law… these are traits that are not specific to the Philippines. Many colonized developing countries in Africa and some parts of South America are the same. Just throwing this question out: Are these traits necessarily ingrained into a race or are they an indirect result of being exposed to years of unstable management and unfair treatment by colonizers?

    2. I admire the Japanese for their orderliness, but what works for others may not be the best solution for another. I think the Filipinos could use a lot more respect to the law, but it is by no means the panacea to a better country. Besides, I rather we have our own identity (granted there are negative as well as positive sides to it) than copy again from another (just like when we looked up to the Americans and copied their behavioral patterns).

  133. Corruption is the root of all this negative thing that is happening. If we want to implement laws that will benefit majority of us then we must abide and be a role model, and not a breaker.

  134. i think the writer has a strong point in general, to add up, we Filipinos in general cannot take the ”hurting” part of what we call ”TRUTH” and what the writer’s point is very very true..i think if we will just take it as a step to change ourselves then it would be helpful in the long run. Just look around you, simple rules are violated, at home, school, roads, etc..etc.. Look at how Luzon’s premier problem?when it rains heavily it is already a catastrophe!, because floods here and everywhere not because of the heavy rain but because of garbage that also flooded in rivers ,canal…It’s not mother nature’s fault but its the people’s fault!.. simple rule can’t be follow, have your trash dispose properly!..

    1. Your proposition is great theoretically, but laws will do nothing if the people enforcing them don’t even have the decency to follow themselves. The only way this could happen is if the government itself knew how to abide by a general moral code and principle.

      It is unfortunate to say that the vast majority of people in the government can’t even do something as simple as that.

      Discipline is a quality that the majority of Filipinos lack, be they the poorest of the poor or the richest of the rich. It’s the sad truth.

      1. Well. id have to disagree. If we just keep on waiting on everyone else that we think “matter” to change, then we would be looking, at another long and slow decline in our countrys well being. if you see someone throw trash on the road and walk away, would you wait for him to come back for it? or would you simply do one for the country and pick it up yourself. @the blogger, this comment, is the perfect example of your so-called “victim mentality”.

      2. I partially agree with your point Gillian, but change should have both ways, the people and the government all together. We have a fair share of the deal why this country is not a great country and we have our share of dirt why our government is not doing their job well.

    2. True to some Filipinos, but not all Filipinos have lack of discipline or just happy-go-lucky. We have many Filipinos that we can be proud of. This article is imbalanced, making a sweeping generalization. In fact, in the place where I work, Filipinos are 10 times more hardworking and 10 times more disciplined than other nationalities.

      1. Defensive much? That would be an isolated incidence. Your average, and we mean average, Filipino is fairly accurately summarized. Generalizations exist for a reason.

      2. “True to some”? or True to majority?

        Last election isn’t that a hard enough evidence? The process of picking candidates and the logic behind it. The majority exhibits mental retardation. Society are judge collectively or by their common traits (common traits of the majority that is).

  135. I think the problem starts with the implementation of the law. If only the government strictly enforces the law, I think everybody will follow. All Filipinos living abroad follow the rules of any country they wherein, because they knew they cannot circumvent around it or make a bribe out of it.

    1. Very true. I have lived abroad for 30+ years. When we went back to the Phils. I was a bit shocked to find out how undisciplined the people are from the drivers who are cutting each other aggressively, to improper disposal of their garbage. People doesn’t seem to care. I call it “ I am an alien in my own country.

    2. Really? with the law? seriously? when martial law was implemented. it was the same “filipino” abused it. everywhere as long as there’s an opportunity, they abuse it. even if they became strict with the law. someone in the law would take advantage of it. so why not concentrate on programs or events that will make the people of the philippines take part of the what we called “change” and since the filipino community are mostly Greedy. why not take advantage of that greed and use it for good cause. like maybe a contest like kawang gawa awards or such?

    3. I think you miss the point here. It is us, every single person who has to learn discipline. If this works not even laws are necessary.

    4. Why wait for the government to strictly enforce the law? Why not follow the law just because it is there? Or why not follow it just because by following it, society would be much better as a whole? Halimbawa na lang, yung simpleng bagay na sumunod sa batas trapiko. Kahit na walang traffic enforcer, kung susundin ng mga tao ang batas trapiko, di hamak na mas gagaan ang daloy ng trapiko.

      While it is problematic that the government does strictly enforce the law, what is fundamentally more problematic is the non-observance of our people of the law. I think that is one of the points of this article – that Filipinos in general do not respect the rule of law.

      Your comment itself shows that problem. By saying that Filipinos abroad follow the law because they can’t make their way around it, you are implicitly saying that Filipinos abroad would still break the law given the chance to do so.

      So in the end, the problem really is us. We, as a whole, are the cause of our own suffering. Don’t blame the government; don’t blame your neighbor. Blame yourself. Take responsibility, and do something about it.

    5. Correct! Besides following rules and the laws of their host countries, it has been proven by Martial Law (of Marcos) that Filipinos are capable of being obedient if the rules are implemented. I was a still a student then and saw for myself how people obeyed bus stops, curfew hours, anti-littering, etc..

  136. This article clearly tells us on why the filipinos are having a hard time attaining progress. It is a fact that filipinos love to complain, dwell so much on their emotions, and evidently play stupid in lieu of following a single rule and guidelines. I myself is guilty of it anyway. We just simply loves to violate rules, as simple as that. Almost everyone wants to be superior and think that they will never be wrong. Lahat magaling! I only wish that one day, the Philippines might have a ‘Duterte-like’ leader with a strong-will to implement laws and rules.

    1. Hi Domo

      I just saw this. Thanks for sharing. The guy was really funny. He managed to capture the awful traffic situation in Manila.

      1. Ilda,

        Well written and quite insightful. What might be missing, which might be playing a big part as the root cause of some of these dispositions and tendencies could be religious in nature. The concept of relying heavily on divine intercession and instant forgiveness by the sacrament of penance behind an instant pastoral absolution deeply ingrained in the filipinos fiber are worth marinating and reassessing over. The narcissistic injury of “hiya”, the desire to grandstand, the lack of a common sense of empathy and the shallowness of flash over substance, all could possibly go back to the centuries old and pervading “Filipino poor self esteem”. Just my two cents worth.

        1. @antonio

          Indeed, the appalling behaviour we can observe from some Filipinos stem from their sense of insecurity or poor self-esteem. The arrogance is a form of defense mechanism from their lack of achievements. They feel they have to overcompensate to mask their weaknesses.

          The concept of forgiveness has been discussed in other GRP articles here as well. It certainly helps complicate our already dysfunctional culture. Here’s something I wrote about it:

          “Our religion also plays a big role in how we quickly remove our sense of quilt and shame. We have been made to believe that our “sins” are forgiven once we confess to a priest or a member of the Catholic Church; it is as if our conscience can be wiped clean of every abominable act — and then we are ready to do it all over again. There is no real sense of atonement or remorse after the confession but the cycle of dysfunctional behavior continues until it becomes part of our system. In short, a lot of Filipinos hide behind their religion as they continue their fraudulent activities. We often see a lot of households adorned with the images of saints and the members of the holy family. It makes some Filipinos believe that they are holy despite their unholy acts.”

          To read the full article, click Filipinos need to develop a sense of shame or guilt

  137. Very well said . Now all we have to do is inculcate and spread awareness not only to us cyber users but also to the very poor kababayans.But how do we do that? I just hope media will be a tool on this….and set aside politics(impossible?).Firstly, the school must have a great influence on our young.Because our kids tend to have a negative perception when it comes to parent/ child lecture thinking it is just sermon, lets face it right?.I mean most.But in school ,they have to listen,or just even a fraction would be in thier young minds.So do we educate our teachers first? hehehe. On the part of out od school youth, I think it is the NGO , Rotary, Lions, Jaycees, Inner wheel, etc to teach,educate parents and kids as well. It is my advocate to do this while on medical/dental missions.I just hope someone reads this and spread the word. This way , we can help our bruised economy and make the Philippines a better place to live.

    1. bruised ego as well.. well pointed out Mrs…allow me to address you as such as you speak with the mother’s heart of properly raising her young like a kindergarden teacher. and you thought well as well.. Presently I see no hope for todays generation with their deep fixation to shallow entertainment spearheaded by Kris the number 1 commercial endorser. I see no wrong with her..its the chill mode escapism of the Filipinos I am scared of. we are presently led by weak leaders with a hugh equally lazy following.. hindi naman lahat ng tao bobo at mahirap/

  138. the entire tone of the article insinuates that lack of discipline within “filipinos” is inherent to our culture — which it isn’t. how is it that filipinos overseas, as in singapore or japan, manage to adhere to rigid laws and rules, like “don’t bring durian in the elevator” or “no spitting on the pavement”?

    another thing, when we speak of “filipino,” who are we talking about? did the author, AS USUAL, generalise people from the NCR region or, more specifically, the “tagalogs,” as “filipinos”? has she not considered, say, the bisayans, or the people from davao?
    and what are her bases for her conclusion? she did not cite field researches done on the subject of discipline here in the philippines. most, if not, all, of her arguments are subjective and are phenomenological in nature. if she is confident enough to come up with a conclusion that generalises a population, where are her empirical proofs?

    one last point: regarding the “victim card,” the author has cited the news report of the filipina nurses. read this article… and see that their claim was completely justified. the rule clearly states: “The hospital’s policy states that English is the principal language and must be the exclusive language spoken and written by all employees while on duty in the emergency department.” so why were the nurses fired from the hospital if they spoke filipino/whatever dialect they used during their BREAKS (ergo, they were off-duty)?

    1. @renee

      how is it that filipinos overseas, as in singapore or japan, manage to adhere to rigid laws and rules, like “don’t bring durian in the elevator” or “no spitting on the pavement”?

      I’ll just repeat my previous responses because your question has been answered so many times on this very same comment thread. Filipinos follow rules and laws in other countries because they know they cannot get away with not following them.

      Most advanced countries have very organized law enforcement agencies (e.g., the Police, the FBI, and other criminal investigation services) that motivate people to abide by the law. In short, individuals who violate these rules and laws are punished. Filipinos who go to those countries know that they cannot bribe members of these agencies into allowing them to get away with their crime. Hence, they follow the law.

      You want data to prove that majority of Filipinos do not follow the law? Just look around you. Try to observe the people who use the pedestrian crossing and you’ll realize what I’m talking about. The number of squatters alone, those who illegally occupy other people’s property should already tell you that the average Pinoy doesn’t care about the law.

      To get the data you want, you need to conduct a survey. Tell me, do you actually believe that people who do not follow the law will truthfully answer survey questions like “do you follow road rules while driving?”

      Those who cheat the system won’t admit that they do. So therefore, I cannot conduct a survey to give you data. The fact that the Philippines is still considered as one of the world’s basketcases is already proof that majority cannot follow the law. Even former Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew said that Filipinos lack discipline.

      As to the nurses, well what can I say? Obviously they do play the “victim card” very well. 😉

      Some Pinoys are quick to complain about being discriminated upon but they don’t bother to think about how they alienate others when they speak in Tagalog in front of people from other cultures who don’t understand them. Gees…

  139. I once rode a public transportation and i saw this woman threw her garbage out the window and another kid did the same… A simple event in life that shows how loose our character is, no wonder, the people in general are living in a loose way, and our government are ruling in a very loose way also. How I wish, all Filipinos will live a discipline life, will have a humble character, and not think of their selves highly than others. Instead, bear one another with all humility and respect. I adore the Japanese character. At an early age, they inculcate to their young ones the importance of character building. Filipinos, it’s not too late yet. Few among us are having this character. It’s true they’re tagged as “kill-joy” yet we need to strive and help one another to get out from the life and character that they used to be.

  140. Ilda,

    I agree with your article except for one thing you pointed which is:

    “Filipino victim mentality was quite evident in the case of a group of nurses in the US who reportedly filed a discrimination complaint when their employer called their attention for speaking too much in their native Tagalog at work.”

    in my opinion is not victim mentality. they filed their case because it is required while on duty and they only spoke filipino during break. If they broke the rule then I would wholeheartedly agree with.

    My suggestion is to change your example instead of that case, that is if you are amenable with that.

    Thank you.

    1. I agree with you..They did not play victim here they were simply victims of discrimination very much like the school boy in Canada reprimanded and I think suspended for using a spoon for eating instead of fork and knife

      1. Even without the guideline, it’s just common sense not to speak in your native tongue when there are people from other cultures who won’t be able to understand you. It’s too rude or bastos to blab on and on in Tagalog when others in the room cannot understand you. I guess common sense is lacking in some Filipinos.

        It’s ironic the nurses and those who side with them think that they are the ones being descriminated upon when in fact, in speaking too much in Tagalog in their workplace, they didn’t realise that they came across as discriminating on others who cannot speak Tagalog.

  141. Agree to these article, hope you publish this in a way that most, can have access to it and read it, just don’t have Idea to what publication, about speaking native language, it’s really become a practice of Filipinos even I abroad that they speak their own kababayan language even they know the other Infront of them cannot understand it, that’s our big problem too many dialect in our country just lucky we are not force to learn Spanish anymore, fallow the rules of law, I really cannot comment to these, left Philippines 40 years ago cause of martial law, but I love going home every year, going to different provinces in small town and observe, how people live, kids at school, how all the Squaters settle in anywhere, they think it’s ok, trash all over their neighborhood, it’s very in healthy that cause babies to be born with sickness, color coding is one of the funniest one rule that should be taken out, I call it the most stupid laws and its only in Philippines, you cannot stop the people who has business so they just buy another car, to drive, this particular law should be abolish, yes we are stranger to our country when we take vacation, but we all cannot blame our leaders they were all not the same, some have good intention and some have bad greed and still want to be popular, there’s really no solution, but start educating the educators then educate the young ones and just hope the next twenty years something change for the benefit of our grandchildren, God Bless Us All,,,,