There are things we find annoying about Filipinos- our bad habits don’t seem to change for the better. It may be true that certain nationalities have worse attitudes or habits, but why pick on them? We should be more concerned about what’s going on in our backyard than elsewhere. Such negative Filipino traits earn us a negative reputation and paint the country badly.
Of course, not all Filipinos share these bad qualities, but if you feel offended reading any of the items below, maybe you fall into this segment of the society that needs improvement in attitudes and outlook. If not, good for you.
Acknowledging our negative Filipino traits means we are open to improving ourselves
Here are some of the bad qualities possessed by many — not all — Filipinos.
When someone celebrates a birthday, graduation, or winning the lotto in the neighborhood, the party lasts through deep in the night, keeping neighbors awake by the noise of an out-of-tune videoke singer.
On the road, inconsiderate drivers blow their horns every 24 seconds, make a U-turn at prohibited areas, and rarely give way to other vehicles. Just because a poker game is among the few reasons to attract people to join a grieving family is awake, the cards game is reluctantly introduced even against their will.
Even if there are signs of “do not block the driveway”, “no parking” or “bawal umihi dito” there are still inconsiderate kababayans who do the opposite.
Many Filipinos are observed to throw cigarette butts on the streets or household garbage on rivers. Motorists are seen on the road not following their lane or offering courtesy to pedestrians crossing at designated areas, or driving recklessly.
Some neighbors disregard others through their loud karaoke music or revving their motorcycles loudly, which could disturb the peace of others at night.
Some Filipinos cut in line at supermarkets, churches, or crowded places and do not follow the first-come-first-served system.
Some kababayans are rude or disrespectful to service workers, such as servers, cashiers, or customer service representatives.
Even after agreeing to meet at a certain time, many Filipinos fail to fulfill it, using alibis as traffic, getting caught up with something, or getting lost in the way, disregarding the feeling of someone who just complied with the agreed time. Many professionals like doctors, dentists, and engineers arrive late for appointments with little regard for other people’s time.
Some government workers procrastinate or delay their responses to urgent requests or inquiries, causing unnecessary stress and anxiety to the general public. On a related note, co-workers can be seen engaging in non-essential or prolonged conversations or discussions during work hours, preventing others from completing their tasks or responsibilities on time.
If these folks can’t fulfill simple tasks, can we trust them when lending them our prized books or CDs, loaning them money, or anything they promise to return? And hey, the videoke shop in the neighborhood needs to do its business and ignore everyone, disrespecting even when there is a prayer for a dead neighbor going on nearby.
Related: Annoying Habits of Many OFWs
Many Filipinos complain of being racially profiled (eg. Some Filipinas in the Middle East are easy to get or gullible). Still, some of us look down on other people such as Indians as fellows with stinky body odor who live off through ‘5-6’ usury business. Or on Chinese neighbors who own bigger stores in the market as penny-pinchers. But we can’t look at ourselves and fix our flaws.
Once we Filipinos are exposed to other cultures, we mature and widen our understanding of discrimination and racism. While they taunt and make fun of others back home, they complain as victims of discrimination abroad.
Many Filipinos want to know who is his or their stalkers at social media and install the ‘who are my top viewers’ application which turns out as a link to a malicious website. Many Filipinos want to get everybody’s attention to the point that they post clinging to a celebrity in photos, take photos at Starbucks, or some luxury item trying to show off their social-climbing skills.
Some Filipinos constantly seek attention and admiration from others and feel entitled to special treatment. They are likely the same people who are preoccupied with physical appearance and material possessions and dismiss the opinions or accomplishments of others. At the same time, they constantly seek to be the center of attention.
Even when things are of higher priority, many Filipinos continue to devote time, effort, and money to things that make them famous or appear on the upper levels of society, even if it means they’ll bury themselves in debt.
While admittedly profoundly religious, many Filipinos also live a life of hypocrisy or failure to walk the talk. Inside the Quiapo church are devoted, spiritual people. But outside seems like a world away. Some shops sell abortion formulas, clearly, in defiance of church teachings — and an apparent sign that unwanted pregnancy is a common observation n the country. On top of that, viewers in the Philippines are consistently ranked top when it comes to accessing adult websites.
Some churchgoing hypocrites sit in front and are attentive to church activities. But they also say one thing but do another, such as preaching about being pious while maltreating their household helpers.
We easily go ballistic whenever the word Filipino is used as dark humor in a script of an American sitcom or a celebrity mocking our “presumed” perfect accent. We are quick to call for apologies, even if they’re all meant as a joke.
We choose to fight back instead of changing our bad habits. That may be a reason we have become a common topic of humor. We didn’t hear an uproar in Kingston when Stephen Bishop sang, “down in Jamaica…lot’s of pretty women…steal your money and break your heart.” He might be considered persona-non-grata if ‘Jamaica’ was replaced with ‘Philippines’.
In a celebrity-driven society where the words and actions of famous people command attention and influence public behavior, more Filipinos are becoming emotional or upset when things do not go one’s way, and blaming others for one’s shortcomings or failures.
Some Filipinos prefer to receive a few hundred pesos, two kilos of rice, or a shirt printed with a mug shot of an aspiring politician in exchange for votes running for office rather than resist temptation and bond together for a better society and governance.
Yet they are the first to complain of poor governance, regardless of who the Philippine president is. Poor tricycle drivers are allowed to ply dangerous streets — risking the lives and limbs of passengers — to earn a living. No wonder politicians often find it practical to plaster their faces everywhere, no matter how shallow the idea is. That’s because the more they are visible, the more likely they’ll win, even if records show they’re worthless as trash.
When going to the market, some Filipinos prefer to take a motorized bike and pay a premium instead of a 20-minute walk — to ensure he or they will not miss a favorite TV show. They lament how a hundred peso bill could no longer be stretched.
Or they spend the whole day staring at the television, sending SMS on shows that offer prizes to ‘home text partners’. Ironically, to say that OFWs are not lazy is an understatement; overseas Filipinos are among the hardest-working people on Earth, taking jobs others would likely ignore. One thing that keeps unemployment high: half of the unemployed are not looking for work. While not all of them are lazy, certainly the lack of drive to look for a job is partly caused by being lazy.
Many Filipinos live off talking about the affairs of other people. Maybe that’s because it’s a major function of Filipino culture. Who impregnated a neighbor’s teenage daughter? A barrio councilor has bad breath. The baby of a close friend has a striking resemblance to the family driver.
Many folks in the neighborhood are quick at spreading rumors or hearsay about other people’s personal lives, such as their relationships, finances, or health issues. They spend the day in idle talk or speculation about other people’s motives or intentions without any basis or evidence. They are very good at participating in conversations or discussions focused on criticizing or belittling other people rather than on positive or constructive topics.
No wonder many families are broken, trust lost, and friendships gone awry because of people trying to get in the way. Proof: tabloids are selling like hotcakes.
Pass laws that are easily broken: no smoking on jeepneys, no jaywalking on streets, picking flowers in the park, or peeing on fences, trees, or truck tires. Even wearing prescribed attire (‘please wear semi-formal wear’) when attending wedding ceremonies becomes challenging to follow.
Many Filipinos are consistently late for work, appointments or meetings without any valid excuse or explanation, if not traffic congestion. Many Filipinos also lack self-control or self-discipline in personal habits or behaviors, such as eating, exercise, or spending habits.
When we arrive abroad, we find it necessary to follow the rules, but we seem to take our country and its simple laws for granted.
We throw our garbage anywhere, assuming that someone will fix our mess. We don’t clean up our tables after eating at fast food outlets, presuming we paid the janitor to clean it.
Practice crab mentality
Once a fledgling sari-sari store business becomes the talk of the barrio, everyone is riding the bandwagon and doing the same business. Eventually, every single store in the neighborhood fails and shuts down its operation.
Many Filipinos refuse to acknowledge or appreciate other people’s talents or abilities and belittle or dismiss their contributions. Instead, they engage in “tall poppy syndrome,” where successful or accomplished individuals are targeted for criticism or ridicule to bring them down to the level of others.
If someone gets promoted at work, some Filipinos are good at making up stories; did he date the supervisor? Did she sleep with the manager? It also exists in the form of protectionism. Insecurity or lack of creativity drives this attitude.
A bright yet not well-connected job applicant never gets the job vacancy because it was reserved for a family member of an incumbent official or a reward for supporters of a candidate who just won the elections.
Eventually, he lands a job abroad and a firm foreign benefits from his skills. A well-connected passenger gets the airport’s particular lane while hard-working OFWs sweat it out on a long line. The political supporter who lands the job is often a topic of conversation because of his/her skills, or lack thereof.
“Nakapasok ako as clerk sa City Hall kasi malakas ako kay Mayor,” a proud yet unqualified government worker might say.
Sadly, this habit encourages corruption in government service, a disease that society struggles to avoid.
Some Filipinos have the nerve to crash into birthday parties uninvited or show up at a birthday party because a friend of an invited friend brought them along. Also they tag along other family members on wedding banquets even if organizers have carefully considered the tight headcount.
They enjoy free electricity supply through illegal connections or enjoy a bonanza of free water from busted pipes instead of reporting the apparent waste of scarce resources.
They don’t pay fares of jeepneys driven by friends — assuming that it’s implied even the driver made no mention of free rides. “Thank you, pre,” the freeloader quips as he alights the vehicle. They sometimes disrespect the families of the recently deceased, coming to the wakes not to pay respects but to get free meals.
They often visit the house of a balikbayan/OFW who just arrived and demand — they don’t wait — for presents. When a foreigner invites a Filipino out for lunch, this Pinoy might bring along his kids, parents, and whatnot.
Filipino politicians often change parties not because they found a better-principled group but to gain something — power, money, or fame. When momentum shifts, be prepared to jump ship and switch loyalty. Read their biographies and be not surprised they’ve been into various alliances with no actual accomplishments to show.
In Filipino culture, the fruit of the balimbing/starfruit tree has five sides or points, and it is often used metaphorically to describe individuals who are two-faced or opportunistic. In politics, a “climbing” politician changes their political affiliation frequently, often without any evident ideological or moral basis, and is perceived to be driven primarily by self-interest and personal gain. This term is often used pejoratively to criticize politicians seen as untrustworthy or lacking integrity.
Appointments are never meant to be on time as many Filipinos make it a habit of not making it on time. Meetings, parties, church services, and so on. We guess teachers didn’t lack the motivation to make us punctual as tardy ones were meted with appropriate punishment. Shall we blame others for this? Traffic congestion, slow jeepney driver, hard-to-find location, I was robbed, and others in an endless list of alibis and excuses.
Overindulgence in ‘good time.’
A gathering of friends isn’t bad. But if it always meant 20 bottles of hard liquor to be consumed overnight, that’s something. Just get the job? Let’s celebrate and have a drink. I just got the paycheck. Let’s have a drink.
When someone starts reminding them to be frugal and slow down on alcohol spending, they reason out, “it’s my money, you have no business interfering”, “this is just once in a while” or “I need to drink to forget my problems”. Yeah, right.
Treat OFWs as ATMs
Some Filipinos are overly dependent on relatives working overseas that they don’t look for jobs or don’t attend classes because they are in an “abundant supply of financial aid”. Worse, money remittance from OFWs is spent on luxuries and expenses like mobile phones, cars, and jewelry they can brag to friends instead of investments like farm lots or small businesses.
In many cases, nothing was allocated for savings or investment. When OFWs come home, families find it hard to explain where money was spent. That is why we sometimes think of reasons we shouldn’t remit money back to the Philippines.
Some Filipinos try to portray themselves as well-off, can-afford individuals who share photos of their latest branded bags (or wear employer’s dresses), shoes (even if they’re imitations), or drink coffee at some “social” coffee shop. There is no problem bragging if one can back it up.
Some Filipinos are good at constantly name-dropping or bragging about connections to influential or wealthy individuals to gain status or recognition. Some of them mimic the behavior or lifestyle of individuals in higher social classes, such as adopting specific speech patterns or mannerisms or frequenting upscale restaurants and clubs. Hey, don’t forget to post our macchiato at Starbucks on Instagram!
The go beyond one’s means to appear wealthier or more affluent than one is, such as purchasing expensive clothing, accessories, or cars and flaunting them on social media for everyone to notice and hopefully gain a few more likes in the process.
But the problem begins when such actions conceal reality. To cope with their “affluent” lifestyle and continue to join that exclusive circle of friends, these Filipinos may resort to extreme measures (embezzling money, prostituting themselves or run to the nearest pawnshop). For OFWs who practice this habit, this could lead to more demanding families who think their relative abroad doesn’t have money problems or even become the target of robbers when they come home.
Some Filipinos have a lot of negative things to say about the Philippines. The government is corrupt. The airport stinks. Filipinos are always late. The Philippines remains laggard among its Southeast Asian neighbors. While these statements may be true, it doesn’t help if we only dwell on identifying the problems. We also must-have solutions to offer to remedy the problem of tardiness, fixing the issues of our airports, or rampant corruption.
Some may ask, ‘Why just nitpick on bad attitudes and not offer solutions?’. You’re old enough to deal with these bad habits unless you failed your basic ‘good manners and right conduct‘ classes years ago.
Bato bato sa langit ang tatamaan, huwag magalit.
Of course, we possess more than 20 of these negative Filipino traits and bad attitudes. But if we aim to correct them, we think it’s good enough to list the 20 and try to change them instead of listing a hundred and failing to improve.
On the flip side, there are many things we can be proud of as Filipinos and positive traits we should adopt at all times. So it’s crucial that as we try to fix our flaws, we are proud of the attributes that are unique to us Filipinos.