Why ‘considerate’ is not a word that describes Filipinos


Considerate. When was the last time you heard that word used to describe a Filipino? When it comes to the common courtesy of being considerate to the people around you, Filipinos will likely be the last thing on people’s minds. Why? Because the average Filipino quite simply does not care about anyone or anything outside of his property line, outside of his family tree, or even outside of his line of sight.

The foundation of an ethic of being considerate is common courtesy. But like common sense, common courtesy seems to be uncommon in Philippine society.

As more and more Filipinos share less and less resources, courtesy and consideration become more important.

As more and more Filipinos share less and less resources, courtesy and consideration become more important.

Subscribe to our Substack community GRP Insider to receive by email our in-depth free weekly newsletter. Opt into a paid subscription and you'll get premium insider briefs and insights from us.
Subscribe to our Substack newsletter, GRP Insider!
Learn more
You can see it in the way Filipino drivers interact with other motorists with whom they share scarce road space. Instead of mutual respect, we see mutual contempt. Often this results in a mass of drivers on a rampage to maneuver agressively for each opportunity to gain minor incremental advantages over the other over the course of their respective trips. The overall collective result on the road is an even tighter and more untenable gridlock.

Then there is the din of blaring karaoke parties at 2am in Philippine suburbia most nights. For a people renowned for being so “conscious”, Filipinos are pretty good at suspending any semblance of self-consciousness when behind the mike. You can hear them belt it out to the wee hours. It sometimes makes you wonder if you are the only one in the neighbourhood who needs to get up early the following day to make a living.

Let’s not forget the trash — steaming mounds of it in plain sight everywhere abuzz with flies or washed up on our shores after a storm subsides. But it’s the trash we don’t see that causes the most grief — its contribution to Filipinos’ miseries comes in the form of the floodwaters that bubble up from our clogged sewers and spill across our streets and into our doorsteps after even just a brief downpour.

Those three among many other small examples, are prevalent at the micro level of Filipinos’ daily lives. But the more nefarious form of this society-wide lack of consideration comes at the macro scale — in Philippine politics.

From the local township level up to the national level in the halls of Philippine Congress and the stately rooms of Malacanang one can see the same manner with which Filipinos regard their place in their society:

Family first, friends second.

Nothing wrong with that of course — except if you are a public servant and you apply this attitude in the manner with which you deliver public service while in office. So, indeed, if you are a public servant and you put family and friends first in the “service” of the Filipino people, then you are no better than the inconsiderate boors who inhabit the country’s streets, screech out “My Way” at 2am on a Tuesday night oblivious to everything and everyone around them, or toss their rubbish off their stilted shacks onto the estero below.

The idea that Filipinos would continue to elect characters who are singularly motivated by nothing else but a desire to keep their place in government all in the family becomes less baffling when we see it in light of the way ordinary Filipinos themselves remain inconsiderate to the greater community to which they belong.

Are Filipinos really a community? Or does historical consequence still remain the only reason that the “Philippines” continues its pained existence?

The answer to that question remains quite obvious even today. This is because no Filipino — not the ordinary voter nor any politician who pitches her value to them — can offer a compelling step upward from the burden of history and tradition that keeps Philippine society stuck in its fragmented tribalism. To become a considerate people as a general rule and leave behind the backward selective way we apply ourselves to one another today should be a goal mounted at a national level. It is only when Filipinos become a considerate people can they begin the journey towards becoming a true unified nation with a bright future ahead of it.

19 Replies to “Why ‘considerate’ is not a word that describes Filipinos”

  1. What’s the Filipino/Tagalog work for “Considerate”? None. ‘Nuff said.

    No, “konsiderasyon” doesn’t count. Its a loan word.

    1. Can’t say it’s “mapagbigay-daan” either.

      But even if the word “considerate” has a formal Filipino equivalent somewhere, in da Pinoy’s mindset, being “considerate” means being “easy prey” or “easily exploitable”.

  2. Considerate is an adjective; it means: full of polite concern for the well being of others; or being thoughtful.

    Being Considerate is not in the vocabulary of Filipinos. From the leaders to the common drivers.

    Filipinos have the “Me First” mentality. “Ako muna” or “pamilya ko muna”…

    Look at our family political dynasties. Look at the massive corruption. Look at the Political patronage.

    Aquino owns the Hacienda Luisita. Was Aquino being Considerate for the welfare of his tenants/Serfs?

    Aquino used the DAP, PDAF, Pork Barrel Bribery to promote his political agendas. Was Aquino considerate of Us, Filipino taxpayers?

    Roxas played politics, in the Typhoon Yolanda relief program. Was Roxas considerate of those starving/homeless Typhoon victims?

    Roxas told people, that the Mamapasano Police massacre was a “misencounter”…Was Roxas considerate of the feelings of the love ones of the fallen 44 Heroes?

    Binay established his family political dynasty. Making/Putting his wife, daughter, sons in public offices. Was Binay considerate of other Filipinos , who would have served better?

    “Do not do unto others, what you don not want others do unto you…”, from a good teaching…

  3. an astonishing sight is the way Filipino’s treat each other in all aspects of their everyday lives. From cutting in front of people in a line (try that in London sometime ! HA…good luck with keeping your teeth !). throwing garbage out anywhere it happens to land. this is a truly disgusting spectacle and when Westerner’s see this type of behaviour all respect for these pigs goes right down the loo.
    no need to extrapolate further on these inconsiderations but the time can not come soon enough when the people of the Filipino’s do something about their colllective plight and take some positive course of action to improve the pig-stye of a country that was once so beautiful.

  4. A very interesting traits of the Filipino people and very true on all aspects. We can wonder why Filipinos are like that when they are in the Philippines but when they go to other countries , why do they change and almost all of them follow the law , rules and habit of that country ..I for one are like that when I am in the Philippines but when I got overseas or here in America.. I changed and became disciplined … I changed , America changed me..very disturbing observation I thought …OFW s expirienced the same ,,,,most of them those, that stay abroad 5 yrs or more completely changed and those that come back sooner went back to the old habits…I saw a better way to do things but when I come home and try to change my relatives and friends to a better way…. They look at me as arrogant , no longer a Filipino and I became a stranger to them because I am trying to change their habits… Nakarating Lang daw ako sa America ang yabang ko na daw… Eh gusto lang naman maging malinis ang paligid… It is very depressing na ang tingin nila sa akin
    Like I don’t belong anymore. Whyyyyyyy ??????so either you go back to your old way , or just stay away ,,, but I still love Philippines para akong salmon ,,, going home to the place I was born but I cannot change them … That is Philippines and Filipinos ,,,, you cannot change them at home,,, either you join them or get the hell out of their way,,,, that is my personal observation ..

    1. its been my observation that filipinos will do whatever everyone around them is doing..if others are throwing their basura indiscriminately,so will they,if others are placing basura in the proper containers,so will they.I believe this stems from the culture of not wanting to be stand out and differentiate yourself from others,no matter what the cost….basura everywhere,no big deal..mayhem on the roads,no big deal…poor work ethic,no big deal,everybody else is doing it,right?If ssomehow filipinos could adopt the ATTITUDE of of others who are more successful in these issues,some real change could take place…Today with communications and social media what they are,how difficult would it be to promote a national pride day,one where every person takes 20 minutes out of their day(woah)!! To clean up an area nearby….I think you might find it successful,sort of the snowball effect,once more and more people got involved…

  5. A policeman shot his neighbor’s dog because it was noisy. Daughter made fun of the incident on social media. Obviously, the netizens gang up on her.

    There is just one problem. Nobody seems to be inquiring why the dog was noisy in the first place.

  6. as I cycle around my subdivision before dawn, I hear a few neurotic dogs that keep on barking away even when there’s nothing there, but I’d far rather put up with that than the 4 or 5 or 6 roosters that never seem to sleep but keep on crowing as if that was the most normal sound one would expect to hear in a small subdivision. the rules of the place prohibit roosters but the rules are ignored, so what if I wanted to keep a small herd of goats, would that be any problem?
    probably not1

  7. Intensely selfish Failipinos are always very decided as to what they wish. They do not waste their energies in considering the good of others.

  8. You ought to observe behavior in and around elevators. I swear im on the verge of decking some of these in “considerate” ASSHOLES!

  9. Being considerate is showing concern for the rights and feeling of others. It is being tactful, thoughtful, kind, unselfish. The antonym is being inconsiderate, which is being selfish, uncaring, tactless, unthinking.

    Google translate considerate as mapagbigay; tactful as magaling makitungo; thoughtful as nag-isip; kind as magandang loob. On the other hand, inconsiderate as walang pakudangan; selfish as maka-sarili; tactless as walang taktika.

    Therefore, I think something is lost in the translation if we just say being mapagbigay is being considerate. If being considerate is being thoughtful, that suggest orderliness, and mapagbigay sounds like being kind without order. I don’t like love without order, for love to be love, it has to have order. So, mapagbigay may not be right as it suggest giving without thinking, which leads to waste, and I hate waste. One, thus, can be taken advantage of if one is just mapagbigay.

    If we take being considerate as magaling makitungo (tactful), that sounds like being makatao. Being makatao is being humanitarian, something to do with being human and treating others as human. That means not being rude, or not being bastos.

    Now, we see why the Philippines is a degenerate society, which suggests there are a lot of perverts, miscreants, deviants, and debauched within the society. It is a society living within sub-human levels, they have no idea what human dignity means. So, how can they be considerate?

    Remember the Singaporean PM tweeting that PNoy was making all other heads of states wait? Well, PNoy was being rude, being bastos. PNoy didn’t want o make a big deal about it because the air he inhales and exhales in the Palace, after all, is that of deviants. He doesn’t mind hiding for long hours after Luneta bus hostage and days after Mamasapano because that’s it: he is bastos. Philippine politics is about kabastusan — they are sub-human creatures.

    You can say the same thing of the populace in general. This is the reason why we will never catch up with Malaysia and Thailand in tourism. Many tourists to the Philippines never come back, and that is why our tourism is not even 10% of either Malaysia or Thailand. Filipinos are a despicable lot. Manila, as many have observed, is for the pigs. Foreigners are repulsed by us.

    Until we relearn what human dignity really means, Philippines will go nowhere. Remember what our grandparents kept on advising us before we marry someone: go find a way to take a look at his/her toilet/bathroom and the closet where he/she keeps his/her shoes. If they look filthy, then forget that you ever loved him/her; run away.

    So, we were never like this before, we knew how to be humans, and thus, we were considerate. We had a pleasant society. See how Vice Ganda treats people now as sub-humans, as an example. And there was a time when Filipinos love a song about somebody who is maginoo pero medyo bastos. Where have we gone, and where are we going?

    Come back to your roots, friends, we cannot continue this way.

    1. The thing is that Asian societies are known to be polite societies. In Japan, they bow and use sumimasen (sorry) a lot. They use the suffix -san and for higher position, -sama on names. China and Korea are even more complicated than that.

      Thailand use the prefix Khun on names, while Malaysia and Indonesia, the prefix Bapak and Ibu. We use Mang and Ale, or kuya and ate, po and opo, and now substituted all these with sir and mam, but more to be condescending, than respectful. What happened to us?

    2. Well, the APEC meetings are coming up soon in Cebu City, and I am sure those delegates are going to see plenty of traffic, squatters, garbage etc. Let’s see if the delegates are going to be steered away from all the “street life”.

  10. So how in the world you changed habits of the majority??? Is there a way to do it? How??? Or the word democracy is true, whatever it is… good or bad … Majority always wins… patay Kang bata ka …people let’s find a way ..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.