Living in the Philippines – Foreigners How Socially Integrated are you ?

A Discussion about Respect, Good Manners, and Living as a Foreigner in the Philippines

I was thinking about some of the experiences I have had in the times I have stayed in the Philippines, and wondered, why do so many Filipino citizens remark about foreigners being either unaproachable, isolated, bad mannered, rude, suplada/suplado, inflexible and disrespectful to nationals of the Philippines.

Before anyone contributes an experence or a view, I just wanted to make clear, that not all foreigners are like this, in fact some foreigners are extremely polite, respectful and well mannered, nor do they display airs of self importance.

But it has come to my attention one several occasions, that suprisingly, Philippine nationals have remarked at just how approachable I am, how down to earth they find me, showing no improper pride, and well spoken.

Bob has remarked about this in the past, and stressed the importance of being polite and respectful, and of course posted in the past about behavioural standards, I wanted to explore this a little further because some of my new freinds and even our helpers have remarked about their reluctance to engage with foreigners because of the afore mentioned reasons.

It appears to me, that it is not always a matter of a reluctance to engage with foreigners because of english speaking ability, so I decided to investigate this further.

I spoke to two of my Filipino freinds and asked them to be frank and open about their feelings when it came to speaking to foreigners, or engaging with them, their replies kind of dissapointed me, because although I know they had no problems with me, a fact of which i am grateful for, it appeared that in the past, their experiences with foreigners were not a great advertisement for those of us who have to live amongst them, and not forgetting it is us who are the guests not the other way around.

Naturally, we cannot all atone for what others have done before us, but its not a great feeling when youre told that there have been instances where foreigners have appeared to be suplado, I understand this term, and correct me if I am wrong our Filipino readers, is a term applied to someone who is coming over as being superior, or snobbish.

If I am correct in this, then it appears that some foreigners have given off the impression they are somehow superior, they of course may not have wished to convey this, it maybe a feeling that some have got.

So how respectful and good mannered are you in the Philippines, I try to be perhaps even more well mannered than I am back in UK, I don’t want to give the impression I am not well mannered back home, thats not what I am trying to convey in this post, but let us say, I am very mindful of my being a guest in the Philippines, even when I have encountered differences in culture that have irritated me, I have tried in all circumstances to retain my composure, and keep my temperament, in any event loosing ones temper in the Philippines is not the best way to convey a spirit of freindship with people of another race and country.

In my country for example, we do not address or rarely do we address older women as Maam, I kind of like the politeness of the Philippines, so I have taken to this form of address quite easily, I also refer to younger women than myself as Maam also, its more formal, but it kind of evens out the playing field and is easier to remember.

Back Home we refer to other ladies as Love ! its common for us to call ladies who are about our own age group or younger as love, its just a term of endearment for a fellow human being of the opposite sex, suprisingly, its rare to call a man Sir here, unless its a customer, we tend to say Mate ! which meay be hard for some of our readers to contemplate saying.

In London, we actually call most men Governor, which is shortened to Guv ! when speaking around the capital city, I actually would ask for information about a paticular location, or when buying something from a street vendor such as a newspaper that sort of thing, I would say Thanks Guv ! short again for Governor, this stems from way way back in time, when it was respectful to refer to men of higher status as Governor.

I’m not sure how it would be received if we started calling all young ladies in the Philippines “Love’ when we did our grocery shopping or spoke to the waitress at a restaraunt, has anyone tried it, and if so how was it received.

One of the things I love so much about the Philippines is its culture of politeness and respect, it seems to me, they have got this right!, older people are respected for their experience and maturity of age, and quite rightly so, children are very respectful and Filipinos seem to not only expect politeness but it is conditioned within their upbringing.

So why did some of my close freinds say that they found foreigners a little rude, and in some cases snobbish ?

It appears to me, that this maybe due to a lack of willingness on the part of some foreigners to engage with Filipinos, I may be wrong, and the point of this post is to solicit all your views, because I think its quite an important subject.

A lack of Willingness to engage in the community you live in, i.e. social integration, but please for a minute do not suppose that foreigners in the Philippines are in an isolated situation, in fact, certain ethnic groups in my own country are often accused of refusing to socially integrate with the mainstream population.

So if our Filipino citizen hosts think that foreigners are a little hard to engage with, and that they are at times a little rude, disrespectful, and bad mannered, it goes without saying that those of us who are in the Philippines can do much more to ensure that that opinion is changed, and that foreigners are not tarred as we say, with the same brush.

Stereo typing of certain groups is a sad bi-product of the bad practices of a minority among us, we have to where we can show that those ones do not act or speak for the majority, and depending on the experiences of our Filipino hosts in their own country, we will not always be in a position to correct the indiscretions of those who either go before us, or continue to give off a bad impression about all foreigners.

I can testify to all of you, that on all occasions I try to foster a spirit of cooperation with local people, I make it clear at all times there is nothing special about me, in fact my favourite phrase to people during discussions is always the same, “i am just a guy who is trying to etch out a living, just like you” “The only difference with me is a geographical accident of birth of which I am not responsible”

That seems to bring on a few laughs, and people start to realize that hey, this guy is a freindly down to earth guy, you can talk to him, that is the impression I always try to do, coupled with generosity where I am able to give it, and kind words and a cheerful spririt, I just hope that some of that might go towards changing the way foreigners are viewed at least in the part of the Philippines where I made my home.

Whats your experience, have you found similar, how are foreigners viewed where you live ? what could we be doing to be better neighbours ? How can we integrate more into Filipino culture, these and many more questions I am sure will receive a wealth of replies – looking forward to your views with keen interest, – your freind Pete

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  1. <![CDATA[Paul]]&g says

    Lot's of wisdom there, guv! :smile: (Been a while since I've heard the Bow Bells!)

    Of course, acceptance by any group only comes after a sufficient period of time to "eye-ball" you. Memories of other strangers are used as a measure. In the Phils, I feel as though I'm always under the microscope as foreigners in our province are more likely to be short-term visitors and not residents. Even among groups of friends who have accepted me as their pare, an occasional check to see how I react to a situation or how I present myself to others outside the group still occurs.

    I know I'll never have the 100% acceptance that those born and living in the home town have for each other–based on years or decades of knowing one another–but I can try to come as close to it as I can! 😉

  2. <![CDATA[IPPL]]&g says

    This is a tricky topic. If I appear friendly, I attract too much attention from people who may try to take advantage of ignorant foreigner. If I appear non-expressive, I may be misinterpreted as being unfriendly. Filipinos expecting too much?

  3. <![CDATA[Jim]]&gt says

    Hi Pete-I agree with Paul approachability comes with time. When we are in the Philippines we walk around the Barangay every morning like clockwork at the same time.
    I always smile as people pass be it stranger or neighbour and bid them good morning.
    We have been back now three times in the last eighteen months and Marilou has told me to stop being so familiar incase I'm asked to stand as Barangay Kapitan at the next election.(And that can be expensive).

  4. says

    Hi Paul, thanks for your comment.

    Hi IPPL its a dilemma, but common sense will prevail i guess.

    Hi Jim, an excellent point, I can identify with your point about being asked to stand for local office, I was recently visited by the President of the Home Owners association, from the points I raised about certain issues in the sub division, he suggested I attend a meeting and speak publicly about it, next they will be suggesting I stand for Vice President.

  5. <![CDATA[Kevin K. says

    Hi Pete,

    Once, while standing at an intersection in Manila, a white South African attempted to start up a conversation with me. Across the street was the ever-present enormous queue of Filipinos waiting to get into the US embassy. This complete stranger was a racist of the first order, and he made the most vile remarks about the Filipinos people. He called them "bloody kafirs" which I have come to learn is the equivalent of the "n" word in America. He had two Fiipinas in tow with him, they looked less than seventeen years old and he had to be at least sixty. It was obvious that he was just using them, as he insisted they walk behind him, and he spoke to them as if they were mere property. It was all I could do to not grab the girls and explain to them the utter contempt he had for Filipinos, and that it wasn't worth whatever he was paying them for his companionship.
    A few foreigners like that can really poison the waters for the rest of us. Who knows how many people he offended and thereby caused prejudice against foreigners?

  6. <![CDATA[jul]]&gt says

    Hi Jim:
    I would say you're really one candidate to beat. Your smile and positive demeanor make a lot of difference! Marilous is right, you can run for any office in Talakag. Has anyone approached you to be the maninoy/ninong of weddings or of baptism/child dedication ? That's the start. 😆
    Foreigners in the Phils don't like to be stared at. If Pinoys stare at you and if it happens that your eyes locked, just smile. Don't flip your head to look away because that's what the teens call–esnabiro/a !
    In America I refrain from staring or looking intensely at someone. Many times though I just stare but my mind is far from what I was looking at, if you know what I mean. I also notice that a lot of people stare at me and I give them a warm smile in return. It's funny to look at some who flip their heads the moment I lock my eyes on them. Pinoys simply smile at each other and to some extent wink! 😉

  7. <![CDATA[Richard] says

    Prior to coming across this blog I joined two yahoo groups that 'supposedly' catered for people either living in the Philippines or who were married to a Filipina/o's or at least visited the Philippines regularly.
    Well some of the remarks and tale telling of the use of Filipina's was down right disgusting. When animals like this are let loose it is no wonder that we all get tarred with the same brush.
    Needless to say I quit those newsgroups pretty quickly. You live and learn I guess.

  8. <![CDATA[Paul]]&g says

    Hi Richard – know the newsgroups of which you speak. I could only take about a week of it myself, and pulled the plug on them. One thing I noticed, however, were a lot of those participants were only living a fantasy, believing that one day they would triumphantly stroll down Roxas Blvd as King Stud! 😳

  9. <![CDATA[American says

    Well, I as I have mentioned in other post comments, you decent, respectful foreign men have the reputation of the bad ones to live down. Just do it! :-) I have spent a lot of time warning young girls to stay away from internet cafes and foriegn men because of the things I have seen and heard. Yes, guys like those in those newsgroups, I would imagine, some who look like they just got out of prison, some who arrange to visit a number of girls on one trip, etc.

    So don't be surprised when people are suprised. Just show them that you are not like that!

  10. says

    Hi AmericanLola, well said, its true, the good have to carry the sins of the bad, thats the way of life I am afraid, the men who visit a number of different girls are termed 'Butterflies" thankfully there are not as many of them as the media would have us beleive, but the buttterfly is out there, I have had a number of e mails over the last 3 years from young ladies in the Philippines regarding experiences they have had with the butterfly, from my own country I am sad to say.

    Many girls have become tricked into sexual encounters simply by the promise of marriage, and the evidence of this is always there if they care to look carefully before committing to such a relationship, sadly there is little one can do to stop this, other than the warnings of the type you are giving out to them.

    I think your final comment is the way forward, not to be suprised, at times one feels as if one has to tread on eggshells, and its so hard to bring peoples viewpoint around, when foreigners have behaved so abominably, I met my wife over internet, she is one of those who used to talk over internet, although it was at home, not at internet cafe, although there has been occasions when she has had to go to cafe, because of problems at home with broadband etc.

    Many relationships with foreign men, i would say the majority start via internet cafe's, the chance meetings of foreigners and Filpino citizens are always there, some meet in the middle east, others in UK, USA etc, and Western Europe, others in Japan, Korea, and other countries, but internet cafe meetings probably account for 85 per cent of all relationships that lead to marriages.

    Most of the readers who come to my own website for British-Filipino relationships start via internet cafe, most of the people I know in UK, all met their wife via internet cafe, whilst your advice is correct, so many go down this route, I am afraid I have to say its the old story, for every 10 happy endings there is 1-2 disaster stories, in cyber world, people get hurt.

    Thanks for your comments American Lola, I enjoyed your post.

  11. <![CDATA[Jae]]&gt says

    "foreigners are …unaproachable, isolated, bad mannered, rude, suplada/suplado, inflexible and disrespectful to nationals of the Philippines"

    I have also noticed that Filipinos who say this were generally those who received less than they expected. Like less tip, less commission, less "ready-for-cleaners money", etc. etc. They naturally expected more because we are foreigners, but when they get less than expected (but still lot more than from fellow Filipinos), they get offended. Because they spent a LOT of SMILE PESOS (i.e. many smiling faces they gave us).
    I really haven't encountered too many Filipinos who complain as quoted above who expected nothing (not even a small tip) from their interaction with foreigners, such as bank tellers, supermarket cashiers, etc.
    I guarantee that any foreigner will get the "respect" they deserve if they freely spend their dollars.
    For me, I don't care to buy such respect. In the end, the true ones stay put, whereas the phony smilies go away grumbling about disrespect and whatever.

  12. <![CDATA[American says

    Jae, I don't agree with what you have said about how Filipinos see foreigners. The truth is, some foreigners ARE “unaproachable, isolated, bad mannered, rude, suplada/suplado, inflexible and disrespectful to nationals of the Philippines.” Maybe if those people throw money arround, it makes them more tolerable, but I don't see money being the basis for nice treatment or respect. There are grouchy people the world over, and I have seen some grumpy Filipinos. But most, are kind, polite, friendly and helpful. If I am not distracted and staring off into space, but instead, focus on the person in front of me and smile and greet them, the response is always more than gratifying! You want respect? Show respect. Respect gets respect. People often end up getting back what they dish out, good or bad.

  13. <![CDATA[Tina]]&g says

    I agree with you, AmericanLola.


    I think you need to reevaluate your perception of Filipinos. I remember, on another post, you mentioned that they are just interested in what's in your pocket. This is a sad way to see not just Filipinos, but fellow human beings. Surely, people are interested in you for who you are, not for what you have…

  14. <![CDATA[Jae]]&gt says

    I didn't make the generalization about Filipinos. I did make a generalization about people who are expecting something. I think your "genuinely" kind, polite, friendly and helpful are found mostly in the faraway provinces. Because it is virtually impossible to locate them in any reasonably sized metro areas. And somehow I doubt these provincial genuines are the ones complaining of rude foreigners, because they really don't know what to expect.
    The ones complaining are the evil ones who are out to benefit at the expense of what they believe are "ignorant" foreigners. And when they realize they are not so ignorant afterall, they complain that they are rude and disrespectful.

    There are, unfortunately, too many fake smilies all over metros looking to make ends meet at the expense of ignorant foreigners.

  15. <![CDATA[Jae]]&gt says

    Surely you are quoting me out of context. I said Filipinos are just interested in what's in people's pockets? That doesn't sound like me at all. Perhaps you should look at the past post and verify as I don't remember it at all. If I did say it, I will make an apology, because I would never mean to say anything like that about the Filipinos as people. My wife is a Filipina. I would never have married a Filipina if I felt this way about the people. If I didn't say it the way you quoted, you owe me an apology.

  16. <![CDATA[American says

    My experience has been in big cities (CDO, Davao, Cebu, Manila) as well as more remote locations. Maybe this is your experience because you are Korean. I know that Filipinos are feeling pretty resentful towards Koreans these days. Are you in business here? Maybe it is in the business environment that you find this kind of interaction.

  17. <![CDATA[Mike]]&g says

    Well as commented bad manners, in any part of the world, will not help you.
    And in the Philippines, as frustrating as it may be, losing your cool definitely does not help.

    My personal experiences working with filipinos, mostly in the middle east, was that I treated them the way I would prefer to be treated myself. From my point of view this works for me, and provides for a social as well as working interraction However I have seen other national treat everybody like they were something they had stood in, and it sure as hell made life more difficult for them than me.

    A lot of filipino men appear to be quite sensitive underneath the outer shell , as opposed to their macho front, and seem to take some comments to heart. And afterall it doesn't cost you anything to be polite anyway.

    Even in Metro Manila I treat most people with a similar approach, as long as I'm not standoffish or aloof and treat people as an equal it works, it not be perfect but it helps me. My wife not always agree, but then she has the benefit of local knowledge. Drives her nuts when I get the MTR or a bus but hey "works for me".

  18. <![CDATA[Jae]]&gt says

    Filipinos being resentful of Koreans is another topic, but I consider it misguided jelousy.
    Anyway, as for me, I really don't think I have rubbed any Filipinos the wrong way to make them think negatively of me. No, I have never been in business in Philippines. These slimeballs types, though, exist in all strata of life. It even exists among relatives.
    Come to think of it, I did rub someone the wrong way. A male relative of my wife. He had 2 additional "concubine/families", never contributed a single peso to the welfare of his real family. Only sucked blood from it. Then, when he got a job offer abroad, he has the thick face to demand his wife to pay for his new clothes, shoes and luggage. Then through my wife, he asks me for 10,000 pesos to get him started abroad. I said thank you for the kind offer but shove off, through my wife. I wonder what he said about me? He probably told all his friends that all the talk about ugly Koreans are true.
    I am actually surprised that you haven't experienced this in your 20years. Perhaps it's because you are a missionary, and you don't attract these slimeballs due to your profession?

  19. <![CDATA[American says

    Over the course of 20 years I think we have met all types, including those who take advantage of others. We have been taken advatage of before, way more than once. But the people whom you call 'slimeballs' do not single out foreigners for their greedy, hard-faced behaviour. As you mentioned, the relative of your wife was taking advantage of anyone he could, not just you. They people who took advantage of us also took from their relatives. There are Americans like that, and I am sure there must be Koreans like that as well. Yes, there are Filipinos who see foreigners as a means to an end. There are also foreigners who see Filipinos as a means to an end. Both are headed for trouble and give their countrymen a bad name. And I would say they are the minority.

  20. <![CDATA[Jae]]&gt says

    I feel like I am beating a dead horse, but once again, I am not saying the majority of Filipinos take advantage of others. What I am saying is that the majority of people who tend to criticize foreigners of being rude and disrespectful are those Filipinos who take advantage of others/foreigners.
    So, yes, these "slimeballs" are a minority. We are NOT in disagreement here, AmericanLola…

  21. <![CDATA[American says

    Right! I got it. Yes, I think you may be right… makes sense. Sorry I didn't get it the first time around! :-)

  22. <![CDATA[angie]]& says

    Accdg. to AmericanLola,
    "You want respect? Show respect. Respect gets respect. People often end up getting back what they dish out, good or bad."

    Oh boy, do I ever believe that. That's been my personal mantra for so many years. And that's what karma is all about.

    I strive to keep my "karmic debt" to a manageable level 😆
    I now I can't afford its compounded interest. Amen.

  23. <![CDATA[angie]]& says

    To Jae's post #16:

    "Surely you are quoting me out of context. I said Filipinos are just interested in what’s in people’s pockets? That doesn’t sound like me at all. Perhaps you should look at the past post and verify as I don’t remember it at all. If I did say it, I will make an apology, because I would never mean to say anything like that about the Filipinos as people. "

    I'm here to reinforce Tina's statement. Jae, you did say that and I remember because I immediately sent a rebuttal. My response to you was something along the lines of (and I must admit I didn't care at the time whether I sounded a little unkind, as I was slightly peeved by your post…)…

    "And what makes you think that these Filipinos are so interested in meeting you in the first place? And more, why think that they're only interested in what you have in your pocket…"

  24. says

    I can relate to this topic because when my step dad (american) came to Davao to visit my Mom for the first time, a lot of our neighbors came to our house and very curious of seeing a white man. Even me, I was also curious to see a white man. I started to shy away from my Mom penpal friend that time when he himself closed all the windows of our house because he was bothered by our neighbors outside and watching him. He did not bother to really try and talk to them and just stay indoor most of the time.
    When my Mom married my stepdad, I got to know him better when they petition me to come to hawaii. It was very hard for me to adapt the american culture. My stepdad tought me some mind your own business culture which I dont like. I also meet some american here who are nice but most of them are not really that friendly compare to asian culture. White poeple in Hawaii sometimes are being called HAOLE or in translation to "no conscience from the hawaiian dialect". I dont blame the hawaiians for calling them that because I kinda learn something about the history of Hawaii where the Monarchy was being thrown out by point gun of the Americans.
    Back to the topic of Americans in Philippines, I also meet some american in Davao before and some arenot very good experience because I feel that they are arrogant and sometimes look down on us Filipinos. I dont really generalized all american but I understand that they come from a different culture and environment.
    I am a Certefied Nurses Aide for 10 years now and have a lot of experience working with different culture in the hospitals and home setting. If I have to make comparison between clients, I think I prefer the Asian patient. A lot of patient here prefer to have filipino caregivers because they see how caring we are to the elderly.

    I hope American will adapt some of the Asian cultures.

    what do you guys think?

  25. <![CDATA[American says

    Hi Jeff! Wow, you have had a lot of changes in your life! I think you are in a position to make some good observations. Asian and American cultures are not the same. Even a nice American person, acting 'normal' in an Asian setting can come across as pushy, loud and insensitive without even knowing it. Asians appear to Americans to be quiet and 'not straightforward.' You have made a good observation when you said, "I understand that they come from a different culture and environment." This is really true!

    I remember after we had lived in the Philippines for 5-6 years, we went to visit family in the States. We flew on an Asian airline until we got to Tokyo, at which point we got American flight attendents. We were shocked! Those ladies were so loud, pushy and agressive! We called them "brassy babes" when we were talking about it! :-) But they were nice ladies, they were just American! Maybe they were being a little impatient, but they were being helpful and efficient and friendly, by their cultural standards.

    If I were to choose to take care of elderly Asians or elderly Americans, I would prefer Asian patients too, and I am an American! :-)

  26. says

    Yeah, people are people, no matter what color or race, we all have our own differences. I guess thats why the world is in chaos. But honestly, right now, americans are in bad position. I feel bad for the good Americans. With the current events, like the war in Iraq, americans are more and more vulnerable to be target by terrorist or bad treatment by some filipinos. Maybe its one reason why some people of other culture doesnt like Americans because Americans made too many mistake handling matters with other countries. I feel that being too proud to be american doesnt do any good. Other countries think that too much ego and too arrogant. Its like hey look at me, I am living in american dream. When I go to attend parties sometimes all I hear is… I have a nice big kitchen…nice house….nice car…. just materials stuff… thats why theres a lot of divorce here. I cannot blame some American guys wanna marry a filipina because if you buy them cheap stuff its ok but dont spoil them.
    When some filipinos expect too much sometimes, it also make me feel shame for their behavior but I cannot really blame them. I experienced cops and customs asking bribes from me, bad taxi drivers, taking advantage neighbors and relatives etc… thats why our country is still a third world country. But when I think of all the good things, I still think that filipinos have a lot to offer. Money is just money, United states and Europe might be rich but if you study the statistics, a lot of rich and middle class people here are not as happy as I thought they would be compare to poor filipinos. I have been poor before but I was happy even if I dont have a lot of nice stuff.
    I could say that maybe 80% of americans are over worked and doesnt have much time for their family because most of them have bills to pay. House mortgage, auto loan, home insurance, taxesssss, credit card debts, etc… I cannot blame some Americans are moving to third world countries because its cheaper to live.
    Paul, in my profession, I help anybody. A few years ago I have an american private client for 2 years. At the hospital, I took care a lot of white people so raise is not an issue to me to care for the sick but if I am given a private client who is Asian, I am more happy because its easier for me to care for them since I can relate to them more like their food and culture.
    I wanted to say that, if you americans or other culture come to Philippines and meet bad filipinos, dont complaintoo much, just take it the way it is or learn from your experience… otherwise maybe its not the place for you. But try to scale the good stuff first…. our much better and rich culture, honestly. Most of filipino family hang on to each other, we sacrifice to help our poor relatives, we take care of our family financially as much as possible. If you encounter a bad policeman, just think of it as if they needed the money because they only get paid so little to support their family or taxi drivers who tried to make ends met but only to a certain extent.

  27. <![CDATA[angie]]& says

    Talk about integration woes.

    When I was trying to happily integrate into my new homeland, I used my eyes and ears a lot — to learn how they do things around here. I consider myself a fast learner and hardly one to get intimidated by "new" approaches to life but even then, I had a few mishaps that I, till now, find hilarious.

    I remember being at the grocery store and at the checkout counter and being first in line (meaning I had no one to observe & "copy"), I was asked "paper or plastic" ? I was stomped… Paper or plastic what?? I had no idea what the question was about. To me, then, plastic meant credit card! So I replied, rather annoyed — "Oh, I only pay cash…" (Because of course at that time I was too new to "qualify" among the credit-card carrying society.)

    So the clerk asks again, "okay, but what should I use, paper or plastic?"

    I really still did not understand but paper sounded better than plastic so I chose paper. (Also keep in mind, the term plastic to Filipinos then, meant someone who is "fake or "insincere" so the term did not resonate well with me at all.)

    Now, years later, I have pretty much mastered all my integration issues. Yet I'm still in love with my first naive choice, paper. Except now each time I ask for it, I'm very well aware of the choice. It's an informed decision rather than a random choice to "save face." (Didn't we already all agree don't let a Filipino lose face? 😆 )

  28. <![CDATA[Rey]]&gt says

    Jae, I don't know if you are aware of what your fellow koreans are doing in the Phils. particularly in Davao. Sad to say, most encounters I have with Koreans there in Davao is not so good. What I'm wondering though, here in Dubai, most of the Koreans i've meet are quite nice and not rude people unlike the Koreans I've known and met in my hometown Davao City. In fact, one of them live with us for several months without us charging him of anything although he buys his own meals.

  29. says

    To each his own, Rey.

    I've had many contacts with very professional and friendly Koreans in Davao. My family deals business with a group of Koreans. I've dined with a few of Davao Koreans. I think the misguided perceptions are really a basic case of unfamiliarity and culture clash.

    Of course there are bad apples in every bunch (Filipinos included), but it would be wrong and bigoted to generalize a whole culture from limited experiences. I'd expect more understanding from a person who has travelled the world. I wouldn't want a foreigner to have a negative view of Filipinos for having met some pinoy jerks in say, Beirut.

    But tell you what, I owe you an apology if you based your assumptions having met every single Korean (man, woman and child) in Davao. That would be something.

  30. <![CDATA[Rey]]&gt says

    Quite right Macky, maybe it was just my luck to meet the unpleasant ones but as I've said already, I haven't met a rude Korean here in Dubai and since we are in the freezone, there are quite a few them here too. Unlike the ones I've encountered there in Davao who acts arrogantly towards filipinos and as I've said, we hosted one with us, he lived in our house for several months and never did I hear him say thanks. Oh well, could be a cultural thing….I just got reminded the way Jae said it on his first comment, he sounded arrogant and contemptous towards majority of the filipinos who are not on his level financially and that's the reason maybe why most filipinos are resentful to the koreans now.

  31. <![CDATA[IPPL]]&g says

    Yup, I am a kind, friendly, totally fair, culturally curious/sensitive, caring, handsome Korean!
    Well, maybe except for the handsome part (but my asawa says i am so there).

  32. <![CDATA[Jae]]&gt says

    IPPL is Jae by the way (leftover ID from another internet stuff I was doing–which for some reason got into this blog ID a few times…).

    Anyway, Rey and others who dislike "some" Koreans. I really don't understand it when you try to relate this to what you call general resentment/dislike for Koreans by Filipinos. What has Koreans ever done to Philippines/Filipinos??? Has anyone ever seen any Koreans treating domestic help the way the Filipino masters treat their Filipino domestic help as seen in many GMA/ABS-CBN tv drama (i.e. slapping, yelling, etc. etc.)? The only real Korean/Philippine interaction in the past 10 years or so, are the recent students who come to Phil to study English, and people who decide to retire here like other nationalities. Koreans may be many things, but they are not known for being a**holes. They don't go invading other countries, and they don't go enslaving local women, including filipinas(!) and force them into prostitution for its military, and still deny this has ever happened. Read this as JAPANESE. Are Filipinos so forgiving about all the atrocities committed by the Japanese only a little while ago, while resenting recent Koreans who want to study/live here? This makes absolutely no sense to me. I have nothing against the Japanese. I think I said before my scuba pro is a Japanese (even though there are plenty of Korean scuba pros here, that's for sure). I am simply expressing my disbelief that some of you Filipinos are so misguided as to make crude and rude comments about Koreans.
    You say "I haven't said all Koreans, did I". But anyone can see that you are trying to correlate your skewed personal experience with the "general resentment" towards Koreans in Phil. If you truly feel that your experiences are isolated few personal encounters with bad Koreans, don't post them on open blog like this to support your case to propagate hatred towards Koreans. That only makes you a bigot. Surely, Filipinos have been one of the worst victims of bigotry in the world. Don't make yourself one of them.

  33. <![CDATA[Rey]]&gt says

    Has anyone ever seen any Koreans treating domestic help the way the Filipino masters treat their Filipino domestic help as seen in many GMA/ABS-CBN tv drama (i.e. slapping, yelling, etc. etc.)?

    How about the filipina wives of the Moonies? And one thing too, you believe in TV soap operas? hhhmmmm….Don't tell me you believe those Korean telenovelas too?

  34. <![CDATA[Jae]]&gt says

    Cooling down from what? And what's my first comment, as you understand it? Because I don't think I have said anything that would cause any Filipinos to raist their arms up against Koreans?
    And what do I mean by Filipinos being at the receiving end of bigotry? Surely you have studied your own history? The Spanish, Japanese. What they have done to Filipinos/Philippines? That's what I mean. Koreans have been the receiving end in the past, so Koreans tend to be very sensitive not to inflict such to other people. This is waht I mean.

    And what do you mean I have just confirmed? You are my victim? Ha? I don't understand you.

  35. <![CDATA[Jae]]&gt says

    Filipina wives of moonies??? ha? what? Can you enlighten me as to what you are referring to? I am aware of Moonies, the famous korean cult whatever, yes, but I never heard about filipina wives of moonies. Can you share? But please be factual, like news articles, etc. Pls don't use hearsay, like "well, i heard from my friend who's cousin's friend was a friend of a moonie wife…"

  36. <![CDATA[Jae]]&gt says

    ok, Rey,
    So there are mailorder Filipina SCAM problems to Korea, canada, or wherever. So how is that related to resentment towards Koreans in Phil? Do you know how many filipinas go to Japan each year to work in brothels?
    What I am saying here, Rey, in case you don't clearly get it, is that why are you singling out KOREANS with your bigotry?

  37. <![CDATA[Jae]]&gt says

    In case you were out of country for so long, you may not realize, but there are many SCHOOLS in Manila/Cebu who TRAIN Filipinas to be GROs to work in Japan as bargirls, which translates into prostitutes. They learn Japanese language, etiquette, etc. Why are you not pointing this out, and just poking at Koreans?
    My beef with you is not that Koreans are perfect–they certainly are not!. It's with your fixation on making Koreans look bad.

  38. says

    Hi all, including Rey,
    When I sometimes complain about certain things/people of Philippines, it’s because this is my home now. And because it’s my home, certainly I would like to make it better. And sometimes, when I know certain things are next to impossible to change in my lifetime, it gets very frustrating, and thus I vent it on web like this one.
    But the complaints I make are always about things that CAN BE CHANGED. I learned in elementary school never to criticize other people on things they can’t change, like big head, 6 toes, 3 testicles, etc. But that I am free to make constructive criticism on things that they CAN change, like, hey you should lose some weight to prevent potential illness.
    So I would make complaints like why Filipinos throw trash everywhere, including their own backyard. Yes, I hate this. I want/hope Filipinos change this behavior. I don’t think I am degrading my wife’s fellow citizens when I make complaint like this, because I certainly am not.
    Believe me, when “outsiders” say any bad thing about Philippines, whether or not they have merit, I am one of the staunchiest defender of the Philippines. As I said, Phil is my home now, and no one talks bad about my home!
    I think we should give benefit of doubt to the posts made by the members of this blog, whenever we read something that appear on first glance to be degrading to Filipinos. Philippines does not belong only to natural-born Filipinos. Philippines also belong to the expats who made it their new home. We should remember that all members here care about Philippines very much. That’s why we are here, no?
    (I think people who hate Philippines belong to

  39. <![CDATA[Jae]]&gt says

    Slimeball, jerk, a**holes. These are words I freely use to term those who steal from others, regardless of their nationalities. In the past posts, I used these terms to describe the Filipino a**holes who try to steal and take advantage. I really don't want to use terms like "undesireables" to describe someone who try to steal from me.
    Ask youself, what do YOU call people who try to steal from you?
    If I used the term for Filipinos in general, that's a different story. Let me know if I did. Let me repeat. I hate these slimeball jerk a**holes.

    No, Filipinos don't have genetic predisposition to throw trash everywhere. I said I don't like Filipinos throwing trash everywhere (in PHILIPPINES). Did you really think I meant Filipinos throw trash everywhere they go around the world???
    Forbes park? Eastwood? O, Cmon, they are 0.00001% of the population of the Philippines. Are you going to lecture me on how I shouldnt generalize because there are a handful of exclusive communities where people don't throw trash?
    I said it before, and I will say it again. Filipinos throw trash EVERYWHERE, and its a disgusting habit. It should be stopped. It can be stopped. I hate it. Yes, DISGUSTING, not undesirable, habit.
    Are you going to say that I degrade Filipinos because I am now saying Filipinos are disgusting by correlating my statement regarding trash with Filipinos in general?
    I am signing off for a while. Going on a few week trip abroad in SE Asia. Perhaps I will be banned during that time? Have fun guys.

  40. <![CDATA[Cheryll says

    As someone in the retail business I can say there are some very nice foreigners and some VERY NASTY ones.

    Some will even say why in my country this is bigger . better, brighter, etc etc – I am always tempted to tell them – then go back to your country.

    Drives me up the wall, I tell you.

    There are also some very wonderful foreigners who are more Filipino than Filipinos and seem to care more about the Philippines.

    Last week I played hostess to our ex housekeeper her Canadian husband and his grandkids, they were wonderful people. And these people went to the province where there was no A/C stayed a week and bathed without a shower tabo/tabo only and they did NOT complain. And were nice and kind to everyone they met.

    I had a guest from the Netherlnds last year who was so friendly he even kissed the cheek of our bodyguard, LOL LOL!

    As for trash throwing rich or poor most Filipinos are not taught to clean up after themseleves. I AM SO ASHAMED.

    Like when I would go to US I seldom eat at KFC, Mc Donalds, IN and Outburger etc. BUT when I do I KNOW who the Filipinos are -they DO NOT throw in the trash the remains of their meal after they eat it. OMG!

    Some are even so rude as to bring an empty cup to In and Out burger and do not buy the cup for refillable drinks so they drink the soda free – disgusting people.

    Guess they are so used to just leaving everything on the table over here…

    I will not even talk about the Filipinos in the US who grab handfuls of napkins, salt, pepper, etc OMG!

    About KOreans = The Koreans I have met in davao are all nice people. If you guys go to Arirang the lady who owns it is a sweetie and her help even speaks KOrean really well as she has been with the Korean family almost forever.

    The Shins who own that place in VP carpark (forgot what the name of the establishment is called ) are also very nice people.

    OK I am getting out of topichere, LOL! Toodles!

  41. <![CDATA[American says

    Hi Angie, no, Smokey Mountain was nothing more than the Manila city dump, but hundreds of poor people lived on it and around it, making a living by salvaging sellable items. It became the icon of poverty in the Philippines and was later done away with, and the people living there re-housed in a different location. I have to wonder what occupations these relocated people had then. I think the one that collapsed was a different dump site, but the same kind of situation. Anyway, any time you have large populations, you will have dumps, and there are always people here ready to make a profit and support heir families in this way. I read a story recently about a widow who became a junk dealer and put her 5 kids through college!

    Yes, Rey, you make a good point. I wish this comment was at the top of the comments, it is so helpful! We outsiders should read what Rey has written here, and study it. This is a rare glimpse into how a Filipino man feels about things. People who want to get along well living in the Philippines must speak nicely and softly, no matter what they feel…

    I have found that if I treat people the way I would want to be treated, am polite, kind and respectful, help when I can, I get MORE than friendship, I find loyalty of an amazing kind. I can say that I have friends here who would do anything for me. They pray for us every day, they would give me their last peso, give their blood, even give me their child, if I asked. This is a very humbling thought. I have no friends like that in the States.

    The converse is also true. If a Filipino is treated with disrespect, accused falsley, or spoken to harshly, you will find no loyalty whatsoever and no obligation to protect you or your interests, even if they are being paid a wage. The wages become the only reason for staying, and if the situation becomes so intolorable that even the wages are not worth it, they will quit, and sometimes even compensate themselves for their pain on the way out. That is why I said in an earlier comment, "If you blow your stack and call names with the Filipinos around you, where you live, it will only bring you trouble."

  42. <![CDATA[rick]]&g says

    Thanks Rey and American Lola, this is why this blog is so important for me, going into a new culture BUT also one where i feel very welcome and look how easy it is to make a fool of yourself. Good advice from all, Rae and Macky, but then we have Americanlola to link the detail between the locals and the foreigners, this is very helpful for me, thank you.

    Rey, i was in dubai recently and didn't like the place, bad atmosphere for me, how do you gewt on working there?

  43. <![CDATA[Rey]]&gt says

    Hi Rick, sorry I haven't answered immediately. We have the same sentiment about Dubai. I have doubts if this place can sustain itself in the long run even with all the developments they've made. Right now officially it has the tallest tower in the world and it's still going up. I wonder if this will become the modern day Babel…

  44. <![CDATA[angie]]& says

    "I have found that if I treat people the way I would want to be treated, am polite, kind and respectful, help when I can, I get MORE than friendship, I find loyalty of an amazing kind. I can say that I have friends here who would do anything for me. "

    I truly believe this, AmericanLola. And as a missionary you're in the best position to experience this kind of exchange of goodwill.

    It is really in the "giving" that we really receive. Don't know if I'm making explaining it well; but I liken it to a pump. To get water, we prime it first with water.


    "Ugh, deadlines. I feel your pain, Angie."

    Thanks for the empathy. I don't feel any pain as I'm always well anesthesized 😆 To me deadlines are no more than marked dates on a calendar to keep me aware of when something must be done by. But these are negotiated dates so if I did my job well upfront, then I would have already enough built-in cushion to be able to recover from the unexpected. So it's not as ominous as it sounds.

    But for something like a hobby (like writing for fun), then I won't want to deal with deadlines.

  45. says

    Hi Rey – Personally, I think Jae is a respectful person. I have not seen a time when he acted like he thought he was better than anybody. I think his first comment here on this thread was more of a statement of what he has experienced. His experiences may be different from what others have experienced, and that is OK. All of us are different, and perceive things differently at times too.

  46. <![CDATA[Rey]]&gt says

    Well Mr. Jae or Mr. IPPL, please look on your first comments before accusing me of something. I'm already cooling down but you want to drag this on… and I don't get what you mean "worst victim of bigotry". Please clarify if what you mean we are at the receiving end and you've just confirmed it i'll be your victim too?

  47. <![CDATA[angie]]& says


    I've always felt that IPPL and Jae were the same person. Matter of fact I almost asked you if IPPL is just Jae's alter ego. But then I held off asking as I did not want to be accused of being overly paranoid.

    But I could tell — just the flow of IPPL's thoughts and the manner in which they were expressed. The syntax was so eerily Jae's! So I started thinking, hmmm, this is Jae. Now you just confirmed it and my curiosity is laid to rest… w/o my asking! Neat!

  48. <![CDATA[Ian]]&gt says

    Hi all, and Jae / IPPL,

    Hmm, we all get tarred with the " bigot " brush, from time to time dont we?

    I dont think anyone here is a bigot. We are all multi national, both in our private, and social lives. If we dont like something we see, or hear, surely we should be able to say so, especially on here. England is a multi national country, and yet, there are problems, even here, with various minority groups, the USA is the same, but it shouldnt stop anyone who has seen/heard something from bringing it to our attention.

    By the way, have you heard about the " six minor differences, in DNA ", apparently, we are ALL the same, the only difference between us, are things like,…hair colour, eye colour, height, build etc. The rest, is is just down to where and how you were brought up, education, experience etc

    Just thought I would throw that in.





  49. <![CDATA[Jae]]&gt says

    Well, I don't see guns in Korean telenovelas. But I see way too many guns in Philppine prime time TV. The murder rate in Korea is near zero. Viritually none by gun. I think you know better than me about Philippines and guns.
    Slapping domestic help by Filipino masters? Well, I see way too many of them. I just can't help thinking, if it's not true, why is it so prevalent in Phil TV? Surely GMA/ABSCBN are not trying to portray Filipinos are evil people?

  50. <![CDATA[Rey]]&gt says

    You're indeed thick! So that's where you're basing your impressions towards filipinos, ABS-CBN????

  51. <![CDATA[Rey]]&gt says

    It was you who started it…please re-read you previous comments again…I have a very nice Korean friend here in Dubai in fact, he put up his business here along with his family, and all those I've meet here (Koreans) are actually nice people. So don't tell me i'm fixated on making Koreans look bad…I just did what you want me to do.

    And to think that you base your observations on watching telenovelas and soap operas made by our TV network, speaks highly of you or whatever…

    What I did was merely pointing out or telling my experience as what you did in telling your experience from the filipinos also…or was it from the telenovelas or tv soap that you take it from?

    Where I am now there is a hodgepodge of culture that I interact to on a daily basis. It seems I've interacted with almost all kinds of nationality here, rich and poor if you mind. I've a British room mate, Indian neighbours, pakistani, africans from A to S, all kinds of Arabs, East and West Europeans and all other westerners and fellow asians and fellow malays as well. Still we try to get along inspite of all our differences. I do encounter some racist attitude but I always put them in their place. Sadly, aside from a few white South Africans who seems to still have some hangover in the apartheid era, I've meet discriminatory behavior only from a fellow asian, he is an Indian. But then, I think it could be their culture since they discriminate their own countrymen too with their caste system. Ok, I digress…

    Now, if you please, since you have a filipina wife and is living somewhere in Negros and would want to assimilate or stay in the country, try to be or understand who we are and stop insulting the race of your wife.

  52. <![CDATA[Paul]]&g says


    I was sure that you lived and worked by the spirit of the Hippocratic Oath – and I wanted all who happened onto this thread to know that. Without causing a fuss, I commented with a wink to draw you into stating it precisely – which you did. 😉

    The following is said with the best of intentions and is not intended to be a flame of any kind:

    Regarding the phrase "you Americans" – please take care when selecting phrases and cliches. I don't enjoy being painted with a broad brush in the same way a pinoy/pinay wouldn't enjoy it. (btw, I'm not a newcomer to the Philippine scene.) Having met and interacted with the good and the evil, the ethical and the corrupt, the rich and the poor, etc., in the Philippines and around the world, I've learned that the world is made up of individuals, not groups or stereotypes.

    If in your past, you have had experiences with, or have heard of, a kano who was arrogant or treated you or others poorly, please associate that behavior with that one kano. Many of "us kanos" try our hardest to treat others as we would want them to treat us, and willingly give our respect and friendship freely. We don't enjoy those bad apples among us, and work doubly hard to undo the impressions those bad apples leave on others.

    I'm sure you know all of this, and that you had no intentions behind the "you Americans" phrase. :)

  53. <![CDATA[Jim]]&gt says

    Hi Rey/Jae – I don't think this is the kind of respons that Bob wanted with his new foremat you guys arguing on this forum.
    If you wish to continue this debate please do it in private as it's obvious your hogging the comment board and thats not fair to other readers.
    I hope I don't seem rude as it is not my intention.

  54. says

    Rey – This argument between you and Jae has gone far enough. Please refrain from further arguing on the board. Personally, I don't see what you have against Jae, when I read his comments I have not found them to be condescending toward Filipinos. As a matter of fact, I always thought that Jae was so different than the typical stereotype that Koreans get in the Philippines.

  55. <![CDATA[Ian]]&gt says

    Rey and Jae,

    Come on guys or Gals, whatever,

    Its time to put the handbags away now, I think.

    I think you both need to cool off for a little while.

  56. says

    Yeah, i dont meant it that way. I also have problem sometimes communicating or have some language barrier problem but im learning from time to time. When I first move to Hawaii, I am so afraid to answer the phone coz I am scared to say the wrong english word. My stepdad used to get mad at me coz I dont even get the name and number of the person calling. I guess I was a little stupid that time.
    The point in this topic for me I guess not to judge a person or certain culturejust because of a bad incident. We all know that theres always up and down in anyones life. We just have to go with the flow sometimes to make our life easier.

  57. <![CDATA[Paul]]&g says

    I know what you mean, Jeff. I had to move to different countries/cultures about every three years while I was in the Navy. Each locale was different with its own, new challenges. Each one was tough, but do-able. (You know what I mean!)

    Your stepdad probably wasn't mad at you – he may have been a little frustrated with himself not being able to help you become more familiar with your new surroundings. All fathers feel that frustration from time to time (me included) and we're not that well prepared to hide it. 😉

    We lived in Ewa Beach and still have plenty of family in Waipahu, Kalihi and Kahuku (and plenty on other islands, too). I was fortunate enough to be considered kama`aina by the locals, and of course, would be jokingly referred to as a haole from time to time.

    The kanaka maoli (Hawaiians) looked at all foreigners as haoles, but assigned other nicknames to different groups as well. In the end, haole ended up referring to white foreigners. A Filipino who came to the islands to work the cane or pineapple fields as sakadas were often called buk-buks. So, me being haole and my wife being buk-buk, my hapa-haole sons were often referred to as buk-les! 😀

    I totally agree with your thoughts: we all need to give the other guy or gal an even break, and sometimes things are beyond our control and we just need to go with the flow (and "hang loose"!) 😉

  58. says

    hahaha! thats funny… I used to work at a farm before. Some of my co workers are hawaiians and would say a word that I dont understand like buk-buk. But i am becoming more local now. I think Hawaiians are still lucky because Ive heard that they can rent a land for just a dollar a month or get good education benefits.
    Hawaii has really changed lately. Its getting crowded now and very expensive to live. I cant wait to move back to Davao.

  59. says

    I admire your candor and being man enough to correct yourself in your reply to me. It is difficult to do that on the internet where anonymity is a convenient wall to hide from. Thank you.

    Allow me to be frank here. I myself do not know Jae. I only read his comments in this blog. Interestingly, we had a minor disagreement in a post a few weeks back. It stemmed from a healthy debate and learned from it (like we all should).

    I agree with Bob that I find him quite intelligent and well-intentioned. He is not the "ugly korean" that you so want to target. He may have views that you disagree with, but believe me, he is not the only one. Trust me on that.

    This is getting quite ugly, Rey. As a Filipino, I do think that you have made statements that is quite harsh and unfair. It seems that it may have been unintentional but when you start throwing out additional dirt like "wives of Moonies", your argument becomes quite shallow.

    It holds the same weight as "wives of the Rizalistas" (apologies to any Rizalistas, just making a point).

    Oh, and we don't need to watch ABS-CBN to know that there are some unpleasant issues within our culture. That's easy to see.

    If a Korean (or anybody for that matter) really wanted to research more stories about the ugly stories done by Pinoys just to peg them as bad people, it would be soooo easy to do.

    But why do that? What is your agenda other than going after Jae? You already said that these stories does not mean ALL Koreans.

    It now seems your just throwing dirt at Koreans and hoping something sticks to get an edge on Jae. Let's not do that. I see how Jae got upset because you have targetted his culture. I would too.

    Jim is right. Let's keep this civil, kababayan. we are just visitors in this blog and the discussion is vearing away from the blog's main purpose.

  60. says

    Macky – Thanks for jumping in and saying this, I appreciate it. I don't want to jump all over Rey, because I also think that in the end he is a nice guy, but maybe has some problems with Koreans that his channeling toward Jae. Another Filipino, like you, can better address it with Rey. I hope that Rey also understands that I am not against him, I just want to have a place where we can all get along, compare ideas, and help each other!

    Thanks again, Macky!

  61. <![CDATA[Rey]]&gt says

    Sorry Bob, yeah I was way out of line here. Could be I was merely affected by the heat here.

    My sincere apology to all people here.

    Peace Jae!

  62. <![CDATA[Tina]]&g says

    Hi Jae,

    I understand and appreciate your concern about the Philippines. I think what would help all of us in this blog is to be careful about our choice of words. There are certain words that just cause us to react strongly and be defensive about our country/countrymen. I guess because some of us are not used to this kind of language – i.e., "slimeballs", "**sholes", "jerk" etc. I wonder how you would feel if a Filipino calls your fellow Koreans these terms, despite knowing there is some truth to it? Won't you feel offended, too? You may agree with him but you have a bad feeling inside you. That is how I, as a Filipina, feel when my countrymen are attacked this way. But, if this Filipino says, yes, there are "undesirables" or "opportunists" or "users", don't you think these are more palatable?

    Again, we are here to voice our opinions and dispel misconceptions. I hope you understand where I'm coming from.


    I tried to respond to Jae's comment above but the "Reply to this comment" did not work. Did I find a bug???

  63. <![CDATA[angie]]& says


    Here's an interesting observation, my observation.

    Filipinos don't throw trash everywhere! Filipinos' trash habits are probably abominable *when they are in the Philippines* and when in the Philippines, that can be observed depending on their locale. I bet you, you won't find trashing inside Forbes Park or Greenhills or White Plains. Get the idea?

    In the same token, Filipinos don't throw trash when in the US (with very few exceptions again, depending on the locale. But in such locales, people throw trash, regardless of national origin.)

    So what's my point? This is not a genetic predisposition. The habit is not acquired or is passed on because one is Filipino. I think it has to do with consciousness and "inner programming." And once this inner programming is entrenched, the same non-trash-throwing Filipino will behave identically whether s/he happens to venture into the slums of Manila or is back in his/her own natural surroundings in Greenhills or whether s/he resettles in the US.

    I think many or some of us are aware of the phenomenon of the "hundredth monkey syndrome"? Google for it as there are so many articles that explain this. But I took a "blurb" which might sum it up for a quick read, as follows:

    "This phenomenon is considered to be due to critical mass. When a limited number of people know something in a new way, it remains the conscious property of only those people. The Hundredth Monkey Syndrome hypothesises that there is a point at which if only one more person tunes in to a new awareness, a field of energy is strengthened so that new awareness is picked up by almost everyone."

    Those are my thoughts on this subject.

    Be well.

  64. <![CDATA[American says

    I agree that we should assume the best about each other. We all care about the Philippines, and we all have different experiences which are experienced in a unique way. As Tina said, name calling should not happen. I think the word 'bigot,' which was tossed in my direction a couple days ago, should also not appear on this blog.

    Words like 'always,' 'never,' 'everywhere,' and the like should be carefully considered, because there is usually an exception and gives the appearance of judging a group by the actions of a few individuals. I have learned not to use those words when talking to my husband about something I want him to change! :-)

    If someone says something we consider to be outrageous, then we can ask if what it sounded like they said was really what they meant to say. This assumes a misunderstanding rather than a glaring character flaw. If there is clearly a glaring character flaw, then we can all sort of back away and leave them to their own problems, or let Bob deal with it.

  65. says

    Hi Tina – Actually – You DID reply within his comment! It seemed to work fine. Notice how your comment is highlighted in blue and within the same little box that Jae's comment filled? It just appears that it is not, becuase it is already at the bottom of the comments!

    Now, I do want to comment on what you said to Jae too. Did Jae use words like those you listed? If so, I overlooked those. If I saw such words used, I would have commented on that. Now, this particular post was posted by Pete, and I don't read every comment, except for the posts that I make myself, or if I am particularly interested in a thread. So, I agree, those kind of words are best avoided. In particular, if you are talking about the site owner (me!) NEVER use any of those words! 😉

  66. <![CDATA[angie]]& says


    Very good summation, esp. this one.
    "If there is clearly a glaring character flaw, then we can all sort of back away and leave them to their own problems, or let Bob deal with it."

    Yes, why be in the midst of someone who is intent on wallowing in his/her problems… unless the person needs help, and asks to be helped, then we can do so. If the person is just bent on creating problems, then we can back off, as you say. We can all *help* define what our life's experiences should be like.

    Even on blogs, I've noticed that it does affect my *feelings* depending on the quality of exchange(s) going on. I'm always mindful about how I feel and why and whether it's time to go do something else to get away.

    And as to you being a "B"?? Nah. One comment that dissatisfied one reader does not make you that. That is not the sum total of your persona. Or else you would not do well being a missionary because a "B" would not be congruent with that calling.
    Twenty years or more on a mission? That already tells me who you are.

    Good day, everyone.

  67. <![CDATA[Rey]]&gt says

    It seems Klaus latest blog post clearly says about this and I could be guilty of it…ok, I'm guilty!

    The filipino people as a whole indeed have some bad habits which can be changed and I'm doing something about it through my kids. I inculcate in their minds what this bad habits are and to avoid from doing it and also to be compassionate and not look down those who have less in life but instead to help them in whatever capacity he can. It is through this new generation which can make change if we guide them to the right path. I have a high respect also to those people who try to make a difference and I've seen and heard a lot about it here in this blog.

    To you Sirs and Maams, I salute you. And don't get queasy if I called you that as it only means that you're respectable and decent humans.

  68. <![CDATA[jul]]&gt says

    Hi AmericanLola:
    Thanks for this very good reminder. In this constraint space of blogging I try to write in a way to bring the message across in a simple and short manner, trying to avoid words that will "murder" the spirits of the readers. I, whose field is not in communications and with limited knowledge on comm arts (thanks to my professors for giving me passing marks!) had to delete some of my responses when I believed it's not worth. To be honest, there are bloggers here that kept me on the edge of my chair when reading, not so much about the thoughts of their writings but by their choice of words. You and Angie just made me say, whewww, what a relief!

  69. <![CDATA[angie]]& says


    There is so much antagonism in your post. As AmericanLola says, when this happens, back off. So after this, I will back off. Time to go hit the trail.

    You misunderstood me and probably it can be that my post might be misunderstood by others. When I talked about Greenhills and such locales, what I really was trying to point out is *not* the disparity between rich & poor. Okay you say it's a very minute percentage of the population. That is true.

    But I mentioned that because my point was this: the poor Filipinos and rich Filipinos are capable of having the same disposition. Good habits are acquired, rather than being predestined for those born into rich circumstances. Poor people are just as likely to get good habits, if exposed to them. That was my point. It's a matter of training and getting to a critical mass. Even in poor neighborhoods, the same good habits can be bred into the community.

    So again, that post is not about richer communities being more superior just because of their financial edge. My point is that we're all naturally born with the same brain matter that can be trained into doing things (which then become habits).

    And sorry Jae, I was not lecturing you. I was trying to add to the discussion. If you felt that you were lectured to, no one can change that thinking except you. I'm not even going to try. You are the master of your own devices.

    I'll heed AmericanLola. I'll back off now.

  70. <![CDATA[rick]]&g says


    Listen to the girls, the comments of Angie, Tina and Americanlola, i know you are very fluent in english and i admire you for that but you are missing something here. Views expressed are sincere and although you are very entitled to your opinion, moderating advice is given by the above ladies is very genuine and in the best interests of all.

    Passion is admired but once cooled down it is not necessary to re-visit. Macky came in strongly on Rae and he calmed down immediately with good grace and maturity. As noted above the ladies advice was intelligent and constructive, not meant at all in a patronising way, please take it as such

    i have read your posted comments and valued your contributions very much, i don't think the above post is of that standard

    by the way Americanlola the bigot reference was way way way off the mark, in fact i feel insulted on your behalf, my goodness me if anyone did not have to prove their openess and sincerity it is your self, as judged by myself and many others in these postings, i think Angie is your biggest fan. Angie, do you work in the media or journalism? your style of writing is…. what can i say, well i admire it.

    very best regards

  71. <![CDATA[Ian]]&gt says

    Hi Jae, and every one,

    We have a word here, in the North West of England, " SKALLY " short for SKALLYWAG.
    Originally, it meant " SCOUNDREL ", that is, anyone who is poor, petty thief, of limited intelligence, poor behaviour, lives in substandard housing etc.

    I feel the need to call people skally's on a regular basis. If I see them drop litter, they are a skally. If " as has happened ", I find something has been done to my car, it's the skally's who have done it, and if i hear young people swearing, in public, they are skally's.

    So, I think I know what you meant, when you referred to slimeballs, also I can understand why people became defensive.

    Perhaps, the words you used were misinterpreted and vice versa.

    Have a nice trip.


  72. <![CDATA[American says

    I clicked on the 'reply to this comment' under Jae's comment, but it opened under Rick's. I don't know why.

    What I call someone whom I know has stolen from me is "thief" or "kawatan." Someone I have reason to no longer trust I call a, "former employee," and I say, "Too bad I could not longer trust them." But even those terms I do not use when talking to the relatives of the person who has wronged me, if I want to remain friends with them. I learned this through sad expereince. A whole family of people we loved and respected avoided us for years because they were so ashamed that a family member had stolen from us. It would have been better to never have mentioned it to them.

    Jae, sometimes you are very reasonable and fair minded in what you write, but when you rant on and on like you have in this comment, using insulting names and making broad statements, people might think you qualify for one of those names. If you blow your stack and call names with the Filipinos around you, where you live, it will only bring you trouble.

  73. <![CDATA[Tina]]&g says

    Yeah, Jae, I think you need a break from this blog. Maybe when you come back from your trip, you'll feel differently. You may be under a lot of stress right now.

    If, when you come back, your perception of the Philippines and SOME Filipinos hasn't change, then maybe the Philippines is not the place for you. You are, obviously, living a miserable life there and it is not healthy. I read your comment somewhere that you would build a pyramid for a home with a secret entrance to keep out unwanted visitors. Maybe, you should go find yourself your own island, then you won't have a problem with "**sholes", "slimeballs", and "jerks", for you will, unfortunately, find them in any society.

    You have a great opportunity to rectify misconceptions about Koreans on this blog. Are you up to it???

  74. <![CDATA[angie]]& says

    Welcome back, Rey! I always felt that there is a side of you that is compassionate and understanding. The gem in you was just waiting to shine through.

    I hope to hear more from you. Hi to your wife and kids. As I remember you're in Dubai?

  75. says

    Yep, there is a trash problem in the Philippines. And it really hurts to see dead rivers and the like in the country.

    Jae brings a point about Filipinos learning to adapt when in a foreign locale. I'm not sure about the Forbes Park example since the residents normally have a household staff (and security guards) to regularly clean the area. I bet you won't see the home owners doing the sweeping.

    I just see it in my own family visiting the US or newly arrived immigrant friends.

    My own folks for example are suddenly aware of recycling rules or traffic laws. Tipping, something Pinoys are not known for, becomes a regular habit. Smoking is done with consideration for others, though my dad has had a little practice in the smoking laws in Davao.

    I have lived in the States for a decade now and I always see an evolution of habits from new immigrants. I find this quite inspiring because I know how we cut corners whenever we can.

    I am describing Filipino immigrants of various social status. When they move here, the lines are blurred and they learn from each other.

    Whenever I fly home or visit friendster or multiply profiles of friends in Davao. I am also pleasantly surprised that there is a grassroots awareness of environmentalism. I see friends taking up hobbies that are in vouge like diving, hiking and surfing and that brings awareness. Some of them write blogs and I witness a maturity in them that I would not have expected.

    These Filipinos, the ones in the Philippines and those returning to the Philippines, become a starting point to change.

    The growing number of expats might also bring with them knowledge they can share about conservation (mind you, i don't mean "tainting" a culture. Just a positive awareness that is common in other countries). This group discussion is proof of that.

    There are bumps in the road, of course. I am fully aware that we still have to go a long way to match other country's standards.

    But maybe I'm a glass half full kind of guy (As a Pinoy, you really have to be). As long as people get educated and the word spreads, a culture can change for the better.

  76. says

    Hi Cheryll Ann – Nice comment with a lot of interesting information. No reason to be ashamed because of some Filipinos that you've met or seen in the States. There are good and bad people in all cultures, and the things that the bad people do are not any indication about the good ones.

    The Korean place in Victoria Plaza parking lot – is that Twosome Palace? I've been there, but was not sure of the name of the owner.

  77. <![CDATA[American says

    Thanks Rick, for that vote of confidence. I have to admit it made me feel kind of sick, and made me think maybe I should spend less time here. Sigh.

    I think that moderating the way we communicate in this blog setting is good practice for getting along in the Philippines in person. I think the verbal 'scuffles' that arise here are a picture of the kinds of things that come up between people in face-to-face cross-cultural situations, and are often never resolved.

    In this setting we can be guided by some collective wisdom given by Filipinos who are willing to help us understand (Angie, Jul, Tina, Macky, yourself, and others) and by long time residents who have learned some things the hard way (like me, Bob and others).

  78. <![CDATA[angie]]& says


    "Angie, do you work in the media or journalism? your style of writing is…. what can i say, well i admire it."

    I did not mean to ignore you but I took a break from the blog and I'm now just catching up… Thanks for the above comment. That's nice of you to say. Actually I'm in technology. Surprise!

    I do love writing and I do so but only for a hobby. I am not formally trained in writing nor journalism though I've been invited a few times to be a staff writer, esp during the early days when ezines and web publishing were just gaining ground. However, I've always declined as I don't want the added pressures of deadlines. There are many deadlines to deal with already, both in business and my personal projects :roll: Commenting or posting on blogs just suits me because I can do it as I find time.

    For instance, I've been on a lull for a few weeks, as I await something major to begin. And it will, just in a couple of weeks. That means I will probably be less active on this blog for a while.

  79. <![CDATA[jul]]&gt says

    Hi Macky:
    Speaking of trash disposal, people started segregating their trash (bottles, papers, plastic etc) in separate cans or bags years ago. In fact, there's even a color coding scheme in the garbage cans. Some school kids were the ones educating their parents in this regard. The sad part is , when the garbage trucks collect the garbage, the segregated trashes were simply dumped into the truck.

    What I did was to give the bottles/cans to children who go around and collect and later sell these bottles. Sometimes my cousin kept the bottles (esp Tanduay!) and wait for those who buy them door-to-door. The sale though was enough for 1 bottle of Tanduay. 😆

  80. <![CDATA[American says

    Good comment, Macky, on adaptation! On one hand, we still get amused looks when we clean up our table after eatng at a fast food restaurant here, but on the other hand, I am finding it harder and harder to resist dropping a gum wrapper on the ground… Oh dear, years of brain washing is weakening! But I still don't do it! :-)

    Recycling has been going on for years in the Philippines and has been supporting the poor. That's what 'Smokey Mountain' was all about in Manila. The fancy colored bins look much better on the streets, no doubt about it, but the stuff gets segregated and re-used very effeciently without that.

    Usually, any trash we put out for the collectors in the evening has been completely picked over by morning. All that is left is the burnable, un-sellable trash which the colllectors collect. Recently we told Marylan, our working student that if she wanted to do the recycling, any money she made from the junk dealers would be hers to use in addition to the allowance she already recieves. She has done quite well! The difference is that the money is going to someone we know, rather than someone we don't know.

    Recycling kitchen waste is something that we have recently begun, and is not something people know how to do. That has really cut down on the quantity (and smell) of what we throw out and is benefitting our flowers and potted plants.

  81. says

    Hi AmericanLola – Actually, your comment IS under Jae's thread of comments. It's just that there are getting to be so many comments that it is confusing, that's all. If you closely look at all the little boxes, you will see that ultimately, yours is under Jae's.

  82. <![CDATA[Tina]]&g says

    Ahhh, composting, AmericanLola! We tried that in our garden. It was a lot of work! Did you put coffee grinds, eggshells, vegetables, etc.? My poor husband did it once and swore he'll never do it again. You have to turn the compost every couple of days! But, what I can tell you is we got big fat wriggling worms! 😀

  83. <![CDATA[American says

    I got information on the internet (where else?!) on small scale, apartment balcony, composting. It uses a plastic trash can with holes in the bottom and a basin (plangana) under it sitting on some wood pieces. We cut up the big stuff (peelings, etc.) and crunch the egg shells, and layer it with dirt. Seems to work pretty well, and turning such a small amount isn't difficult using one of those garden fork thingies. Doesn't smell bad as long as the stuff is covered with dirt. Seems to work pretty fast. When it is full, you dump it in the garden. They say you can make it work faster with rabbit berries, ete or locally available ihi mixed with some water… Maybe your husband really does not want you to know this! :-)

  84. <![CDATA[Tina]]&g says

    Hi AmericanLola,

    I think the problem was he was trying to do too much at one time! Now, we just get our share from the Parks Dept. They give away compost 1 or 2 times a year. You bring your container(s) and they fill it up. Great! 😀

  85. <![CDATA[angie]]& says


    "Recycling has been going on for years in the Philippines and has been supporting the poor. That’s what ‘Smokey Mountain’ was all about in Manila."

    When you say recycling has been going on for years in the Philippines, you are right. I am reminded of my childhood years when even then I remember that our househelp would prudently set aside bottles for "reselling." And newspapers, too, for that matter. At that time, recycling was probably not even fashionable in the USA. So Philippines was ahead in environmental awareness, at least certain respects.

    BTW, is Smokey Mountain the same as Payatas, the one that collapsed and buried many people? I remember (vaguely) reading about it. What do you mean though that Smokey Mountain is about recycling? Was Smokey Mountain really started to allow recycling for the poor? Or did it just morph into that?

  86. says

    Hi Jul,
    I'm not sure which city you are based, but Davao recently set up a segregating bin system. I heard similar comments like yours about the collecting but I cannot verify if its true.

    I found it quite different from what I was used to — with labels like "nabubulok" . I would to see it simplified. maybe have illustrated guides. But I am glad that it is being started.

    I remember seeing the bins chained down because the city paid so much for each bin (I think around 40k each?) and did not want vandals to steal or destroy them.

    This ordinance, the smoking and seatbelt laws and similar rulings makes me quite proud about my hometown, I must say. Now, if those councilors succeed in having electric jeepneys, I would be very pleased.

  87. <![CDATA[rick]]&g says

    Angie technology eh, yes i am surprised, the quality of the written word in this blog is i think very high

    we have not heard from Julius for a while but his written posts were / are of a very high standard, (i wrote and told him i thought so) but also most of the contributors also with a wealth of views and experience. Sometimes passions flare or a rotten comment comes in like the bigot comment regarding Americanlola, but in the main things stay in proportion, although Louie may not agree? Jae and Rey had their spat too but well there are so many views here from different perspectives, perhaps it is inevitable

    easy for me being in english but as i mean 100% very good standard of expressed english, even for a techie, just joking Angie, all the very best regards

  88. <![CDATA[Rey]]&gt says

    Hi Angie,

    Yes i'm in Dubai right now and sees my family only through the net and can be physically with them only for a month every year.

    You mentioned you're in technology, are you into development?

  89. <![CDATA[Rey]]&gt says

    Hi Rick and all,

    It is indeed inevitable and since the topic was about social integration, it is only normal that someone from the host country like me would be riled up and try to defend his fellow countrymen if he/she hear or read a disparaging remark which sounds like a generalization. Majority of us filipinos may be poor but we still hold a degree of respect on ourselves and stripping us of our dignity by anybody who's living in our country could turn into something more ugly. I commend you people who tries to understand and integrate with us especially those who learns our languages and dialects as we have nuances that cannot be expressed in the english word. Unlike the western world where you express what you want and in whatever way you like, there in the Phils. is quite different as we don't want to be confrontational (take a cue from American Lola). We're not used to that and we try to avoid using hurtful words as this could lead to something uglier especially if the other party stops using only words. This is one the bad sides of the filipinos, especially mindanaons. But not all are like that especially the filipina women as they're more likely to use their mouth (mamaak na sila!, ok just kidding, peace ladies! :grin:)

    Expats would sure be overwhelmed by the adjustments he/she has to make by living in our country but we are also trying to adjust from you as we are used to things we've been exposed to since birth. I'm not trying to justify here our bad habits like throwing trash anywhere, as most of us filipinos don't like it also but telling someone "hey, you're DISGUSTING habit has to stop!" is surely asking for trouble. Telling insulting remarks on a person because you thought he's trying to steal from you even if hasn't stolen from you could result to to a distended stomach. Even if that person has indeed been contemplating it but since he hasn't done anything yet you just can't say it.

    Now, some of my kababayan may not agree or may get angry with me on this for portraying an ugly side of ourselves and is now scaring those who wants to live and assimilate here and destroy the gains Bob & Co. has generated on living in the Philippines, I tell you it is not my intention but only to help them avoid the problems that they might encounter as they were exposed differently. I've read somewhere but can't remember exactly the phrase "Speak softly but carry a big stick" would work. But speaking SOFTLY and NICELY is more effective as you can gain a friend here for life who may even die for you if need be as filipinos have this "utang na loob" syndrome which is what makes us unique and could be the cause also of all our troubles especially in the field of politics and governance. But that is another topic and I seem to have hijacked this blog again. ooppss, sorry…:smile:

  90. <![CDATA[Tina]]&g says

    Helloooo, excuse me Rey, what did you mean by "This is one the bad sides of the filipinos, especially mindanaons."? Are you from Mindanao? You better be, 'coz if you're not, you're in BIG trouble, boy! And, no, Mindanao women don't bite, we fight tooth and nail! As a matter of fact, I'm currently learning Tae Bo to prepare for my move back to Davao. 😆 Just kidding, or maybe not… :mrgreen:

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