Filipinos are a very gentle people. They are very quiet and demure. They speak very softly, sometimes so softly that sometimes it is difficult to hear what they say. Of course, you already know these things, because we hear it all the time.
STOP! Wait, is it true?
If Filipinos are so gentle and quiet, then why do we also hear complaints from our fellow foreigners (myself included) about the noise problem here? Oh, I know… you are saying that the noise is from the dogs, the roosters and the traffic. Is it, though?
I did not plan on writing about this topic today, but a while ago I was in my office making some coffee. I keep all my coffee supplies in the office and have a little “coffee station” there where I can brew up some wonderful coffee concoctions. When I was standing there waiting for the brew to finish, a group of construction workers next door was taking a break. They were sitting in a group of a half dozen or so, and talking. These guys were probably 60 to 80 feet away from me, and I could hear the entire conversation! And, I didn’t have to strain to hear it, or be quiet so I could “eavesdrop” on them. No, even if i was loud in what I was doing, the conversation could not be avoided. And, I was inside the house and in a different house from where they were! They were downright loud! They were not abnormally noisy either, not fighting or arguing, just having a normal conversation!
The same thing happened yesterday. In the morning I went into my office and sat down at my desk to get to work. In the mornings, I like to keep my office windows open to let the morning air permeate the office. Yesterday morning, though, when I sat down, after only 5 minutes or so, I had to get up and close the windows, because all the conversation among the construction workers next door was just so loud, I couldn’t even concentrate! Even with the windows closed, I could still “listen in” on what the guys next door were talking about!
Another example of this is in my own household. A lot of times, if I am upstairs in the bedroom of my house, with the kitchen directly below me, I can listen to the entire conversation of my kids and other family members downstairs! Sometimes, if I am watching TV, I even have to turn up the volume so that I can hear what is said on the TV show over the conversation downstairs! And, I am not talking about hearing muffled noises from downstairs, I am talking about being able to understand everything that is said!
Why is it that we have an image in our heads that Filipinos are very quiet and gentle people, but in actuality they can be quite noisy? As this thought came to me because of the “conversation” next door this morning, it kind of amazed me. The truth is that Filipinos can be quite quiet in talking, sometimes very reserved. I find this to be the case when they talk to me, as a foreigner or an ousider, not part of their “core group” – but when the group or barkada is all together, all inhibitions go out the window, voices move up to “loud” and the conversation is ON.
What do you think? Have you noticed this too?