One area where you’ll find a huge difference between the Philippines and Western countries is in the way people deal with each other. In the West, we pretty much say what’s on our mind. If there’s something we don’t like, we say what we don’t like. Here in the Philippines, and pretty much throughout Asia, that is not so much the case. People go out of their way is not to be critical of others, and for good reason. Causing someone to lose face is very serious, it could even be deadly.
As a foreigner here in this culture, this is a lesson that you really need to learn, and learn quickly. You don’t want to criticize somebody publicly in front of other people. If you do so to severely, it could result in serious problems. Last year, American Lola wrote an article on this topic. I wanted to revisit it, and maybe highlight it a bit. The reason for this is because this is such an important topic in living here that it is something we all need to remember, and follow as much as possible.
When you cause a Filipino to lose face in front of his friends or family, you are in for trouble and you need to figure out what to do. If you don’t, there’s no telling what could happen, including death. That would be extreme, but it does happen. Basically, I would suggest that you need to show some humility, and apologize in front of the same people that witnessed the event. If you don’t do that, the person who lost face will not regain his honor. Basically, if you take no action to correct the problem, revenge might happen, and it might happen even years later. These things are not easily forgotten.
American Lola’s article is very good and quite complete. I recommend reviewing it from time to time, and try to take the lesson to heart. I know that in the past I have acted in ways that caused people to lose face, and that’s not something I’m proud of, but it’s also good if I can take my lesson and grow, and avoid the problem in the future. That is something I think I’ve been able to do, and hope I will continue to do in the future.
Saving face is very important here.