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ETIQUETTE – DO WE FILIPINOS OBSERVE IT? IKAW BA AY WALANG MODO?

November 3, 2010

The Aquino government is a glaring reflection of the intellectual and cultural bankruptcy of Philippine society.

The mediocrity of the thinking process used to select Aquino reverberates throughout Noynoy’s student government:

  • Botched hostage taking
  • Botched personnel memo
  • Botched wangwang
  • Sloppy HLI land reform law
  • Idiotic confrontation with the Supreme Court
  • Rewarding military adventurism and politicizing the AFP.
  • The diplomatic ruckus from a juvenile tweet – the small things that make the biggest difference – anyone heard Pareto? Hello?

The two words that come to mind about the Aquino Student Government, the State Visit to Vietnam and how the international community looks at us Filipinos at this point… is….. LOSER and PIG. And that’s not to include the flippant SMILING DOG monicker from Hong Kong.

Mae Mislang’s tweet boils down to one thing – a lack of etiquette – http://hubpages.com/hub/Good-Houseguest-Etiquette-Dos-and-Donts – – “Chances are your hosts have gone out of their way to buy and make foods that they think would be enjoyable for the guests. And say thank you.

[iframe:src=”http://hubpages.com/hub/Good-Houseguest-Etiquette-Dos-and-Donts” frameborder=”0″ width=”100%” height=”400″ scrolling=”yes”]

***
Just got through reading this note on etiquette in the Philippines from the website – http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/resources/global-etiquette/philippines-country-profile.html

Filipino Society & Culture

Filipino Family Values

The family is the center of the social structure and includes the nuclear family, aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins and honorary relations such as godparents, sponsors, and close family friends. ( BV:It’s the Pinoy mafia.. DUH)

People get strength and stability from their family. As such, many children have several godparents. ( BV:It’s the Pinoy mafia.. DUH)

Concern for the extended family is seen in the patronage provided to family members when they seek employment. ( BV: NEPOTISMO, The meritocracy is damned)

It is common for members of the same family to work for the same company. ( BV: NEPOTISMO, The meritocracy is damned)

In fact, many collective bargaining agreements state that preferential hiring will be given to family members.( BV: NEPOTISMO, The meritocracy is damned)

Filipino Concept of Shame

  • Hiya is shame and is a motivating factor behind behavior. ( BV: di na uso, pakapalan na ng mukha – look at Noynoy Aquino, Kris Aquino, Puno, and Mislang)
  • It is a sense of social propriety and conforming to societal norms of behavior.
  • Filipinos believe they must live up to the accepted standards of behavior and if they fail to do so they bring shame not only upon themselves, but also upon their family. ( BV: “Standards? What standards? How to be a pig?”)
  • One indication of this might be a willingness to spend more than they can afford on a party rather than be shamed by their economic circumstances. ( BV: Yabang, tikal, hambugero, paporma)
  • If someone is publicly embarrassed, criticized, or does not live up to expectations, they feel shame and lose self-esteem. ( BV: Ewan ko, Pinoy politicians seem to have a hide thicker than a rhinoceros or an Abrams Tank)

Etiquette & Customs

Meeting Etiquette

  • Initial greetings are formal and follow a set protocol of greeting the eldest or most important person first.
  • A handshake, with a welcoming smile, is the standard greeting.
  • Close female friends may hug and kiss when they meet.
  • Use academic, professional, or honorific titles and the person’s surname until you are invited to use their first name, or even more frequently, their nickname.

Gift Giving Etiquette

  • If you are invited to a Filipino home for dinner bring sweets or flowers to the hosts.
  • If you give flowers, avoid chrysanthemums and white lilies. (BV: Those are used for funerals!!! Tongue out)
  • You may send a fruit basket after the event as a thank you but not before or at the event, as it could be interpreted as meaning you do not think that the host will provide sufficient hospitality.
  • Wrap gifts elegantly as presentation is important.
  • There are no colour restrictions as to wrapping paper.
  • Gifts are not opened when received.

Dining Etiquette

  • If you are invited to a Filipino’s house:.
  • It is best to arrive 15 to 30 minutes later than invited for a large party. ( BV: Proverbial island time)
  • Never refer to your host’s wife as the hostess. This has a different meaning in the Philippines. ( BV: In the Philippines, hostess means a hooker )
  • Dress well. Appearances matter and you will be judged on how you dress. ( BV: Clothes make the man until you see the Aquinos all in yellow ala Tweetie bird  )
  • Compliment the hostess on the house. Send a handwritten thank you note to the hosts in the week following the dinner or party. It shows you have class. ( BV: Even by effed up Pinoy standards, Mislang had the nerve – I told ya it’s the Tarlac hillbillies, them varmints are riding tweeter and facebook pardner.. yeeehaw)

Table manners

  • Wait to be asked several times before moving into the dining room or helping yourself to food.
  • Wait to be told where to sit. There may be a seating plan.
  • Do not start eating until the host invites you to do so.
  • Meals are often served family- style or are buffets where you serve yourself.
  • A fork and spoon are the typical eating utensils. Hold the fork in the left hand and use it to guide food to the spoon in your right hand.
  • Whether you should leave some food on your plate or finish everything is a matter of personal preference rather than culture-driven.

Business Etiquette & Protocol (BV: This is the good stuff – somebody say MICROMANAGEMENT)

Relationships & Communication

  • Filipinos thrive on interpersonal relationships, so it is advisable to be introduced by a third party. ( BV: It’s called Padrino)
  • It is crucial to network and build up a cadre of business associates you can call upon for assistance in the future.( BV: Kamag-anak, kaklase, kabarkada – KKK)
  • Business relationships are personal relationships, which mean you may be asked to do favors for colleagues, and they will fully expect you to ask them for favors in return. ( BV: The problem is when the favors include being a pimp, being a transporter of contraband, and a facilitator of bribes)
  • Once a relationship has been developed it is with you personally, not necessarily with the company you represent. Therefore, if you leave the company, your replacement will need to build their own relationship.
  • Presenting the proper image will facilitate building business relationships. Dress conservatively and well at all times.

Business Meeting Etiquette

  • Appointments are required and should be made 3 to 4 weeks in advance. ( BV: And then they disappear into a black hole tow or three days before the confirmed appointment)
  • It is a good idea to reconfirm a few days prior to the meeting, as situations may change. ( BV: Indyanan blues)
  • Avoid scheduling meetings the week before Easter. (BV: We take vacations the week before Easter – one of our many Catholic perks – and yes – those are paid holidays – one week)
  • Punctuality is expected. For the most part your Filipino colleagues will be punctual as well. (BV: “For the most part” is defined as 30%.)
  • Face-to-face meetings are preferred to other, more impersonal methods such as the telephone, fax, letter or email. (BV: That’s because they can’t ask favors – like a movie ticket, plane ticket, hotel accommodations, car rentals – or, you don’t get to bid for the business. The favors just the entrance fee – pay to play. You actually win when you talk “WHAT’S IN IT FOR THEM”)
  • Send an agenda and informational materials in advance of the meeting so your colleagues may prepare for the discussion.(BV: Provide the rates in advance so they can advice you how much to jack up. Remember, you are in competition – if they don’t have a cut – your a dead duck. Don’t worry about the final expense – they will approve the bid anyways. Go with the flow.)
  • The actual decision maker may not be at the meeting. ( BV: What’s the point in having the meeting? Because all the godfather’s lieutenants will negotiate their share of the pie – just say yes and it will be smooth sailing all the way)
  • Avoid making exaggerated claims. (BV: Claims such as “let’s save the taxpayers money” are exaggerated and will never be allowed to participate in the bidding process.)
  • Always accept any offer of food or drink. If you turn down offers of hospitality, your colleagues lose face. ( BV: They’d rather lose revenue than lose “face”.. DUMBASSES)
  • It is important to remain for the period of social conversation at the end of the meeting. (BV: That’s when they ask you to go “get some”.. .. poonani… you know.)

Business Negotiation

  • You may never actually meet with the decision maker or it may take several visits to do so. (BV: That’s because he is so full of himself and what’s to remind you that you don’t mean jacksh*t – the way to get to the decision maker is through a padrino – or to meet him in the golf course, the sabungan, or the hotel lounges, karaoke)
  • Decisions are made at the top of the company. (BV: Micromanagement par excellence. )
  • Filipinos avoid confrontation if at all possible. It is difficult for them to say ‘no’. Likewise, their ‘yes’ may merely mean ‘perhaps’. (BV: That’s being a weasel – just making sure their asses don’t get busted or held accountable)
  • At each stage of the negotiation, try to get agreements in writing to avoid confusion or misinterpretation. (BV: Yup, that’s called a CYA – Cover Your Ass documentation – in case they start twisting the story and start spewing crap.)
  • If you raise your voice or lose your temper, you lose face.(BV: Talo ang pikon – refrain from ad hominems – keep on reading ANTIPINOY.COM.. lol  Cool )
  • Filipinos do business with people more than companies. If you change representatives during negotiations, you may have to start over. (BV: That’s because the new dude can be greedier or just wants different sh*t – a new club, a new GRO, a new johnny Walker, etc)
  • Negotiations may be relatively slow. Most processes take a long time because group consensus is necessary. (BV: Speed it up by telling the group – here’s how much each of you will make if this gets done – straight up you’ll get an approval.)
  • Decisions are often reached on the basis of feelings rather than facts, which is why it is imperative to develop a broad network of personal relationships. (BV: You have to become a pandering sonnovabitch – salesmanship at its most primeval – Pinoys are still human after all – lol)
  • Do not remove your suit jacket unless the most important Filipino does.

Dress Etiquette

  • Business attire is conservative.  
  • Men should wear a dark colored, conservative business suit, at least for the initial meeting.
  • Women should wear a conservative suit, a skirt and blouse, or a dress.
  • Women’s clothing may be brightly colored as long as it is of good quality and well tailored.
  • Appearances matter and visitors should dress well. (BV That’s how idiots become presidents in the Philippines – it’s an idiocracy:)

Business Cards

  • You should offer your business card first.
  • Make sure your business card includes your title.
  • Present and receive business cards with two hands so that it is readable to the recipient.
  • Examine the card briefly before putting it in your business card case.
  • Some senior level executives only give business cards to those of similar rank.

Good Manners

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Etiquette

Rules of etiquette

Rules of etiquette encompass most aspects of social interaction in any society, though the term itself is not commonly used. A rule of etiquette may reflect an underlying ethical code, or it may reflect a person’s fashion or status. Rules of etiquette are usually unwritten, but aspects of etiquette have been codified from time to time.

Manners

“Etiquette tells one which fork to use. Manners tells one what to do when your neighbor doesn’t”

Manners involve a wide range of social interactions within cultural norms as in the “comedy of manners”, or a painter’s characteristic “manner”. Etiquette and manners, like mythology, have buried histories especially when they seem to have little obvious purpose, and their justifications as logical (“respect shown to others” etc.) may be equally revealing to the social historian.

Etiquette in North America

In the United States, the notion of etiquette, being of French origin and arising from practices at the court of Louis XIV, is occasionally disparaged, especially by those unfamiliar with etiquette’s social foundations and functions, as old-fashioned or elite, a code concerned only with apparently remote directives such as “which fork to use”.

Some such individuals consider etiquette to be an unnecessary restriction of freedom of personal expression; others consider such a philosophy to be espoused only by the unschooled, the unmannerly and the rude.

For instance, wearing pajamas to a wedding in a cathedral may indeed be an expression of the guest’s freedom, but also may cause the bride and groom to suspect that the guest in pajamas is expressing amusement, disparagement, or disrespect towards them and their wedding.

Etiquette may be enforced in pragmatic ways: “No shoes, no shirt, no service” is a notice commonly displayed outside stores and cafés in the warmer parts of North America. Others feel that a single, basic code shared by all makes life simpler and more pleasant by removing many chances for misunderstandings and by creating opportunities for courtesy and mutual respect.

Pinoy etiquette, just like Pinoy culture – is evolving. The upside to the Mislang incident, perhaps, is our greater awareness that such behavior is not acceptable when building bridges and respect between two sovereign nations.

Epilogue

Didn’t you notice how for the most part – Da Pinoy’s self-esteem is tied to emotion-centric group approval – feelings – not facts – emo politics, emo business? If we do business like infants – we will be slaughtered in the global market. Grow up!

Impunity apparently isn’t a monopoly of the Ampatuans. Impunity, bahala na, incompetence stem from this archetype of “the common tao”. We don’t need the common tao in this uncommon times – we need an uncommon tao with common sense – lots of em.

18 Comments
  1. There’s a reason why the brain is above the heart. If only the average Flip would realize just that…

  2. ulong pare permalink

    … daaaaang… flips were/are molded to be gung gongs y balasubas, so as not to battle intellect for reasons… ay sus ginoo, flips puro kayo mga hindots at, mga walang-hiya… bwi hi hi hi hi…. no rules… no responsibility…

  3. Sareet L permalink

    Your opening statements sum up my thoughts exactly – how everything bad about Pinoy culture and society really are on display with the Noynoy ‘government’.

    Matututo kaya ang mga ito sa maiksing panahon? Hindi, sa tingin ko. I’ve no false hopes that anything will really change substantially for the better with these hubris-laden incompetents and fools in government – they do not have the humility to accept their weaknesses and failings, so here they are, continuing to bungle their way through the next six years of Hell for Pinoys and other unfortunate victims of their kabobohan and kapalpakan.

    Good reminders, these. I think the true decay of society globally began with the movement some decades ago to give so much importance to ‘self-expression’ – over and above the common good. So we have a boatload of selfish, arrogant and juvenile narcissists everywhere, in the corridors of power and in humble streets.

  4. ako ang simula ng pagkabobo permalink

    Err. It’s Mai Mislang po. Yun lang.

    Just keep ’em coming. Them douchebags.

  5. Francis permalink

    Mae Mislang never learn what is meaning the word “RESPECT” towards others including the foreigners. That’s why many other country hate this place because of our culture of mediocre.

  6. MKDL Studios permalink

    Would the “Kamag-Anak/Kaklase/Kabarkada” system of business partnerships be much sensible if they have higher standards of morality and etiquette (on par with the Japanese and Koreans), are of the intellectual type, and avoid indulging in myriads of vices?

  7. blueredicedtea permalink

    @bongV(topic starter)

    cause “suckcess” is relative lol
    that just shows that pinoy standards are still in the medieval ages (nepotism)

    “Avoid scheduling meetings the week before Easter. (BV: We take vacations the week before Easter – one of our many Catholic perks – and yes – those are paid holidays – one week)”

    i wonder why a secular country(that is the Philippines) still holds holy week a national holiday?

  8. Homer permalink

    Could you imagine the idiotic ruckus it would cause if there’s a proposal to make Good Friday as the only non-working holiday for the holy week? I feel this makes more sense, but I can imagine the brickbats coming from the hotel owners of Baguio for starters.

  9. That primer on doing business in the Philippines in Kwintessential (I won’t pan it, it’s quite accurate) shows how grave our cultural flaws are. It’s a culture based on face-saving, stuffy pride, showing off and insularism. Not only is getting things done inhibited by the cultural traditions: getting things done may even be seen as an offense under such traditions! Thus, if we don’t change some of our cultural traits, we’ll remain backward and poor. Sometimes we have to throw aside these things that we are led to believe as “Filipino.” 

  10. For me, it’s also because we have an underlying culture of hatred toward foreigners. We love to imitate their stuff (i.e., American Idol, Survivor), but we hate them mismo. 

  11. I just finished reading sa “student government” part. Have to eat dinner. Will continue reading later. Student government haha!

  12. Hyden Toro permalink

    If you are there in foreign countries; representing your country, in governmental function or business function. There are PROTOCOLS, to follow. These are the DOs and DON’Ts ( no-no). Example in Islamic Country. Women must wear long sleeves, and button up their dresses , up to their necks; to cover these body parts. Or they have to wear head scarfs. You must not hand over things, with your Left hand. Your Right hand, must be used. Because, doing so, is considered an insult. On men, kissing on the cheeks, is considered an act of friendship and honor to your host. Ask if this protocol is acceptable, before doing so… Buzz left cheek; then right cheek, three times…. It is unfortunate that these Communication Group were not advised with the proper Protocol. “Kaya nagkalat na sila”. I blame their Boss, Noynoy Aquino and Ricky Carandang…

  13. Jay permalink

    It would still be a fine line to walk. Even in western business culture, the hiring of best friends still means you have to look at them as a professional colleagues. No outward display of bias, only preference for the person who is more than qualified for the responsibilities. Of course some nepotism also exists, but they put even higher standards for themselves. Family owned businesses who are usually working in the higher management positions have to show what their values and etiquette stand for so settling for less would mean a total disrespect on their part for those who aren’t part of the family and working the middle tier to low positions, who also strive to go above.

    At any rate, if such a culture does not exist yet, it is best to create it first within as much as possible, before trying it with those who are close to you.

  14. Jay permalink

    You mention this and how ironic that I read an ABS-CBN publication, business magazine (was it?) and 3-4 years ago they also had a one page article regarding customs and protocols when dealing with foreign businessmen.

    A Filipino comm group with a Pinoy mentality? Why am I not surprised. The same station keeps harping about the wherewithall awareness of global pinoys so why didn’t they take one to head the job of the comm group instead, at least for foreign affairs?

  15. anonymous permalink

    A massive load of irony. Love the culture, but hate the people.

  16. The Lazzo permalink

    I’ll be honest, I’m in a bit of a predicament.

    I got my education in California in my early years, then in International School when I moved here for high school. I was taught to “be assertive,” “be on time,” etc. While I was also taught to respect family members and be polite, it hasn’t yet extended itself to business, where they thankfully focused on being PROPERLY professional in behavior as well as appearance.

    In fact, while searching for OJT I actually became very disappointed that the only company I could find was only because my cousin had a job in that same company rather than actual professional reference from, say a teacher in my department. This despite shooting thoroughly-written resumes like Bob Lee Swagger to the respective HR departments as I’m supposed to do in “American business.”

    I also happen to have what the psychologists call Asperger’s Syndrome. It’s some sort of autism, though I think it’s probably an invented excuse for less responsibility and more meds. But that’s besides the point, as this particular syndrome indicates a lack of social skills, likely really chalked up to me being the classic shut-in nerd type. I’ve rubbed a lot of people the wrong way because I acted a bit ‘too’ professional toward them in instances that weren’t.

    Therein lies the rub. I often arrive an hour early to classes that can start up to half-an-hour late. I have to deal with a college system that still has me run between buildings just for unofficial transcripts (whereas a community college in Sacramento had an intranet system that allowed you to click one up for free) and takes 90-minute lunch breaks.

    Maybe my only solace is that I’m graduating at the end of the year and jumping the lake with my mom gaining permanent residency in the US (I petitioned her, being born in San Francisco) soon. But I still feel almost like a traitor just for trying to maintain behavior standards that are more acceptable THERE than HERE. Even more than my difficulty in learning Filipino. What’s a guy like me to do?

  17. anthony permalink

    wow, bumira na naman ang mga ex-pinoys

    kakainggit talaga kayo. you have all the time to bash the country you abandoned and still get your welfare checks

  18. See, you need to get a second phone line on your smartphone. Let all those calls go to voice mail if you want.

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