We beg to differ.

A noted blog commentator once made an assertion that the Philippines will never be a great nation unless Filipinos learn to live by the principle of the “rule of law”. Indeed, some people even insist that none of the calls by certain sectors of Philippine society for a system change like a shift from a Presidential to a Parliamentary system or even constitutional amendments will work to uplift the status of the nation because most Filipinos simply cannot follow the “rule of law.”

Earthquake discipline: Japanese orderliness even in time of stress

It is quite certain that the success of any nation depends on the character of the head of state and the character of the people in general. A strong leader will put the interest of the nation first before anything else. A strong leader supported by strong institutions can work towards achieving social and economic stability for the people.

However, a weak leader in a country like the Philippines, which has weak institutions will tend to succumb to the world-renowned Filipino “padrino” system — a system that trumps any other system in place. Worse, such a leader will mask his weakness or understanding of the law by acting like he is above the law.

A weak leader, whether he is leading a country or a small community tends to let praises or expressions of adoration from the public get to his head. Because he is easily impressed by such accolades, he also tends to become arrogant and will see criticism of him as a mere non-constructive annoyance. Such a leader will not work towards unity and harmony in Philippine society. Unfortunately, weak systems tend to harbor weak leaders.

What is with Filipinos and following the rule of law?

There is very little evidence that Filipinos are capable of living by the “rule of law”. The society is quite extraordinary in the sense that simple rules and regulations whether on the road or in the work place are for the most part ignored. This is because each individual has this baseless sense of being more important than everybody else. It is why you see people cutting you off on highway lanes on the road or pushing their way in lines ahead of the rest in a queue. In other words, Filipinos in general tend to put their own interest first before other people.

As a blogger, I quite often come across commentators who cannot even follow simple commenting guidelines. There are some participants in the blogosphere who constantly violate the guidelines by consistently writing obscenities and foul language on forums just to give the impression that they are above the guidelines. The funny thing is, being moderated does not even stop them from misbehaving. They even cry foul for being moderated instead of conforming to the guidelines.

This brings us to another world-renowned Filipino mentality — the “victim” mentality. Filipinos are good at playing the “victim card” because they are very sensitive and emotional people. They play the victim card in front of the public to get as much attention as possible. Filipinos always try to get around following any rules and regulations or even simple guidelines by appealing to emotion.

Filipino victim mentality was quite evident in the case of a group of nurses in the US who reportedly filed a discrimination complaint when their employer called their attention for speaking too much in their native Tagalog at work. Victim mentality was also quite evident in the way the Philippine government tried to intervene and stop the execution of three drug mules that were sentenced to death in China for violating their anti-drug rule. Likewise, victim mentality is definitely evident in the way the incumbent President, Noynoy Aquino (PNoy) cries foul whenever he is criticized for decisions that were obviously not thought through very well.

It is quite interesting to note that some Filipinos would rather act like idiots than follow the rules. They always want to find an easy way out of a situation. They want to make uncomplicated things complicated. This brings us to another world-renowned Filipino trait: “lack of discipline.”

Filipinos in general are incapable of any form of discipline because they focus more on form rather than substance. In short, they want to stand out. They lack the discipline to engage in discussions in a civilized way and lack the discipline to not turn a public forum into a circus. This is why issues do not get resolved. This is a consistent observation — from every Senate inquiry being broadcast to the Filipino public down to the most benign discussions in the blogosphere, Filipinos love honking their horns.

Worse, Filipinos in general feel a strong sense of entitlement to relax or “chill-out” even when there is still so much to do to move the country forward. Instead of discussing solutions seriously and in detail during their spare time, Filipinos would rather spend it fooling around — never mind that societies from great nations like China, Japan and South Korea have historically shown that being more serious and devoting more of their time to solving problems yields better results in the long term.

From the top guys and gals sitting behind desks at the Presidential office down to the tricycle driver down the road, everyone just wants to have “fun” in the Philippines first before tackling the problems of the land in a more serious manner. You can be forgiven for thinking that one hit wonder Wang Chung probably wrote the song “Everybody have fun tonight” for Filipinos. It can absolutely boggle the mind to wonder why Filipinos cannot limit switching to party mode when they are at an actual party.

As discussed in my previous article, Filipinos are proud of being a happy-go-lucky society and make it a point to show the rest of the world that they are coping with smiling faces despite the dire circumstances they face. This mentality shows that Filipinos are satisfied with mediocrity and find striving for excellence too daunting. A few remaining Filipinos who want to engage in a more serious discussions are even labeled “kill-joy” or “librarians.” Aside from their penchant for bullying when others don’t engage in “pakikisama,” Filipinos indeed, have a tendency to discriminate against more sober ways of tackling solutions.

Unfortunately, a 90 year old study by psychologist Dr Leslie Martin and his colleagues in California suggested that “too much of a sense that everything will be fine can be dangerous because it can lead one to be careless about things that are important to long life.” Likewise, the study also showed that those who are always optimistic take more gambles with their health. They were more likely to drink, smoke and eat badly, which is a typical characteristic of a Filipino. While prudent and persistent individuals are more cautious with their health and overall wellbeing – characteristics that are less likely to be found in Filipinos.

Filipinos have so much to learn from the Japanese. Despite the devastation that the people of Japan experienced due to the magnitude 8.9 earthquake that hit country and the killer tsunami that followed immediately after, people around the world admired the stoicism and orderly reaction of the Japanese. People in most societies would have found themselves wailing in misery and chaos after such destruction.

Maia Szalavitz in an article she wrote for TIME magazine aptly described how it works for the Japanese — they follow the belief that “others are at least on par with the self, if not more important.” Here’s an excerpt:

“In restaurants, you never pour your own sake, you have to notice whose glass is empty and you serve them. It’s these little rituals [that have prepared them for this crisis] so that even if you have one bowl of rice, you share it with a stranger.

The wonderful thing about the Japanese is that they are presenting an example of the pro-social power of the group. The group as a whole is saying explicitly or implicitly, this is what we do: no looting, no horn honking even if you’re in a 12 mile traffic jam, no complaining. [CNN’s] Anderson Cooper said he’d never seen such calm in the face of such adversity.”

Not that Filipinos need copy what the Japanese do to a tee, but the most interesting thing to note about societies like Japan is that nobody has the desire to grandstand. Individuals do not want to show that they are more important than everybody else. This is in stark contrast to people in societies like the Philippines where people in general want to be the “star.” And this is the reason why some Filipinos think that they are above the “law” or above even just simple “guidelines.”

Discipline should be inculcated at an early age. If people are not taught how to follow rules and regulations when they are still young, they will be shocked to realize once they enter the “adult” world that they will have a hard time coping with life if they keep deviating from the rules that put order in society. Which is what is happening to most Filipinos now.


In life, things are not always what they seem.

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  • Jinny says:

    I’m happy to have stumbled upon this article, and I’m happy to know that someone out there have the same sentiments as I do.

    I just wish some Filipinos would be more open-minded the way they want other people to be open-minded with them.

    As much I wish I could talk about this with my friends, though I doubt any of them would ever understand or atleat try to comprehend what I’m trying to explain. I will just be accused of being unpatriotic and be told to just go to another country if I wasn’t satisfied with how things are in the Philippines. Well, it already happened once but hey… (sigh)

    Sorry about my insufficient English. I know more English than Tagalog but I’m really not good at expressing what I meant clearly through written words. But I do hope you understand.

    • Ilda says:

      Hi Jinny

      I know what you are saying. Filipinos who have misguided patriotism outnumber us. Most of them think that pointing out our cultural flaws is unpatriotic. Never mind if those flaws are getting in the way of our progress.

      Thanks for your comment.

    • Anthony says:

      It will be easier for the younger generation to understand…it’s the old people, and the old ways to change…like they say, it’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks.

  • Alicia says:

    The situations presented in this blog are really evident here in the Philippines. I hope we Filipinos would lower our pride and read and reflect on this thoroughly.

  • Pots says:

    A very insightful and intelligent article. There’s just one catch: it takes an equally insightful and intelligent mind to appreciate. Most Filipinos would read a few lines and think that they’re being bashed. That’s the problem here: ego.

    You see, Filipino pride is sometimes, hypocritical; most of them defend their ego as they see fit, honking their horns to see which honks the loudest (in what a Filipino might say, ‘nagbubumida’) but, when the opportunity comes to really stand up and make their country proud, only a few rise to the occasion – the others simply ranting in histrionics on how everything has conspired against them.

    Let’s face it: the article is a bit criticizing. But then again, we are looking at mistakes here; it’s supposed to be criticizing. I myself am a Filipino and know of a number of my countrymen who are offended by critical assessment. It really doesn’t matter if it’s offending or not, it’s how you take that criticism and make something of it.

    A very good article discussing an issue really worth looking into.
    Thank you for the very good read.

    • Ilda says:

      Hi Pots

      I am glad you appreciate the concept behind the word criticism. Most misguided Filipino patriots would just dismiss this article as being negative, indeed.

      I know of people who don’t “like” me anymore because of what I write. Some of them even went to school abroad and now live in progressive countries. I am very disappointed that they do not even apply what they have learned abroad to help change the situation in the Philippines. It’s like they are very nostalgic and do not want to change anything about the country, which includes the bad traits of our countrymen. They simply shrug it off as “ganyan talaga ang Pinoy.”

  • Shrilyn says:

    Very nice and important article to share. But I think this can only be read by 10% Filipinos.

  • clifford says:

    I appreciate your observation towards the Filipinos, Ilda. Maybe it is positive or a negative, it doesn’t matter but still it strikes me out because I’m a Filipino. I will try my best to share this post to my friends.

    PS: We have all their own lapses.

  • richard says:

    Great article! However, I believe when most Filipinos read this article, they will be angered as most Filipinos don’t take criticisms lightly.

  • GabbyD says:

    so filipino nurses may not speak filipino during their breaks? why is this pa-victim?

    • benign0 says:

      Because they made a big deal about it.

      • GabbyD says:

        big deal… by suing? when your rights are abridged, is it not rational to use legal means to set it right?

      • benign0 says:

        Of course. But dialogue is also an option. Perhaps there was less of dialogue and more of drama in that instance, don’t you think?

      • GabbyD says:

        how do you know dialogue wasnt tried?

      • benign0 says:

        Well for that matter, how would you know it was tried?

      • GabbyD says:

        i dont. but apparently, neither do you.

        so in the absence of info, you’d rather just go ahead and accuse?

      • GabbyD says:

        accuse of what? hmmm… let me remind you of what you wrote:”Of course. But dialogue is also an option. Perhaps there was less of dialogue and more of drama in that instance, don’t you think?”

        what did you accuse them of? aba! read what you wrote!

      • benign0 says:

        I asked you there to tell us what you think. So what do you think?

      • GabbyD says:

        i’m trying to understand your position. at this point, it appears you dont have one.

        lets recap:
        1) i say that speaking filipino during their breaks should be ok, and if prevented they should fight for their right
        2) YOU said they were making a big deal. YOU said they was too much “drama” coz they didnt resort to dialogue
        3) i said: how do you know they didnt try to use non-legal means to resolve their differences
        4) you said: you dont know that
        5) i said: so, IF you dont know that, then why call it “making a big deal”? or full of “drama”

        what do i think? i think fighting for your rights (whatever that happens to be) using legal means isnt victimhood. in fact, its the opposite.

        i think you believe that too. so what gives? why malign the nurses when you dont have evidence to the contrary?

        • benign0 says:

          benign0: The nurses were “making a big deal” because there was the option to engage in dialogue first and instead made a big drama of it.

          GabbyD: How did benign0 know that they did not have a dialogue first?

          benign0: How would GabbyD know that they did?

          Ergo: At face value, it was a big drama over something that could’ve been settled with dialogue. Whether said dialogue occurred or not, the result was STILL a big drama.

      • GabbyD says:

        the curious thing is that, even tho u DONT KNOW that they didnt try to settle with dialogue, you went and assumed it ANYWAY.

        why? it could have been solved, if BOTH PARTIES wanted to. it takes 2 to dialogue.

        again: they are trying to solve their problems legally. why not celebrate that?

      • benign0 says:

        And the other curious thing is that YOU wouldn’t know too that they didn’t have said dialogue and yet you made it the basis of your counter-argument.

      • GabbyD says:

        of course its the basis of the counter argument!

        without knowing if in fact there was a dialogue, you assumed that there wasnt ,and that the first thing they did was file suit.its natural to believe that they did try other means; if only because its cheaper to dialogue directly.

        hence, i THOUGHT you had inside information on this.

        i THOUGHT ilda had inside info.

        alas, no! you just assumed they didnt try to talk, and thus concluded based on it, that this is victim behavior!

      • benign0 says:

        And you built your argument on the notion that it was a worthwhile step to file a lawsuit because of the presumption that there actually was a dialogue that preceded it.

        Fact remains: big dramas for such a small slight on the fragile ego of Da Pinoy.

      • GabbyD says:

        its is always worthwhile to fight for rights. that isnt “victimization” nor “drama”

        “you built your argument on the notion that it was a worthwhile step to file a lawsuit BECAUSE [my emph] of the presumption that there actually was a dialogue that preceded it.”

        no! naku, naku… let me explain VERY SLOWLY.

        1) its worth-while to have the right to act freely during non work hours. fighting for rights legally is always good.
        2) thus, it is worthwhile to act to retain this freedom a lawsuit is PART OF IT. so is a dialogue.

        gets? now, why is it ma-drama? coz you assumed that they didnt dialogue. but you and i both believe its more logical to dialogue first (for many reasons).

        Q: if you and I believe that, WHY WOULDNT THEY?

      • benign0 says:

        See, now you add a new assumption to the discussion. So now I ask you in light of that:

        What makes you think that these nurses think logically as a matter of habit?

        And the “debate” thickens… :D

      • GabbyD says:

        what new assumption?

        is believing that other people would want to achieve their goals in a quick a manner and as costless manner “a new assumption”?

        is this all new to you?

        what motivates you?

        how do you think people behave?

        indeed this is what you dont want to talk about: when you dont know the details of something, why assume they’d prefer the costly drawn-out way, to a (possibly) easier way to achieve their goals?

        indeed, by calling this “a new assumption”, the mystery of how you view society becomes murkier by the day!

        • benign0 says:

          Here is the snippet where you made this assumption I was referring to:

          but you and i both believe its more logical to dialogue first (for many reasons).
          Q: if you and I believe that, WHY WOULDNT THEY?

          You seem to be under some sort of assumption that these nurses see dialogue as the logical path to take. How sure are you that this assumption is sound?

      • GabbyD says:

        mali ulit!

        what i said was, if dialogue was available or useful, they would have used it. the fact that they are suing means they tried it and it didnt work, or it wouldnt have worked at all.

        “You seem to be under some sort of assumption that these nurses see dialogue as the logical path to take. How sure are you that this assumption is sound?”

        now, it is you that raised dialogue that is something they ought to have done! on april 4 you wrote: “But dialogue is also an option. Perhaps there was less of dialogue and more of drama in that instance, don’t you think?” i agree with you that dialogue, when and were available, should be used.

        you were the one who assumed they didnt dialogue first. why?

        now cmon, this is simple: why did they exhibit victim mentaity? why did you think it was a “big deal” ? what is the “drama”?

        these are super simple questions. are they so hard to answer?

        • benign0 says:

          “what i said was, if dialogue was available or useful, they would have used it. the fact that they are suing means they tried it and it didnt work, or it wouldnt have worked at all.”

          How do you know that they tried dialogue?

      • GabbyD says:

        i think this is the core of your attitude:

        “What makes you think that these nurses think logically as a matter of habit?”

        by asking the question, you DOUBT that they thought logically.

        but if YOU think logically, WHY WOULDNT THEY?

  • krutMan says:

    really good article! i couldn’t agree more. One thing I noticed is that the people who break the rules are the same ones who cry they are the victims. we really can’t progrees with this kind of attitude. and the one thing i hate about it, is that they always get away with this bad attitude. this makes me remember the principle of sowing and reaping. sow bad seeds, eventually they will get back at you and even worse than what you did.

    • Ilda says:

      Tell me about it. The squatters and the street vendors cry foul when they get evicted by the authorities. They have this misguided sense of entitlement. Which is why the authorities don’t bother to act until the problem is already out of control.

      Thanks for the input!

  • Harper says:

    very well-written article. harsh truths but not expressed offensively. it’s so sad to see how people claim that they are so proud to be Filipino but fail to act like they want the best for their country. nationalism is much more than just telling whoever will listen how much you love your motherland. and it’s definitely not cussing out those who criticize your people.

    Filipinos have many positive traits at well. I wholeheartedly hope that they – we – will someday all learn to shelf our blind pride and get to work on fully utilizing our skills and resources. then hopefully we’ll also make a good impression on people from other cultures who have been led to believe that there’s nothing good about us.

    cheers to the future and please keep writing.

    • Ilda says:

      Thanks for the comment Harper

      We Filipinos need to learn to look at both our negative and positive traits. Just like when you go for a job interview, you get to discuss both your strengths and your weaknesses. We should be able to discuss our society’s strengths and weaknesses without feeling like we are being unpatriotic. Unfortunately, what usually happens is that most Filipinos tend to exaggerate our good traits. A classic example of this is when we boast about being “hospitable.” I’ve met a lot of people from Thailand and I can confirm that they are also friendly and hospitable. If not more


      • BadKarma says:

        A relative of mine lived in Thailand for a long time. He has lived in Malaysia as well. He is in the best position to compare. I vouch for the guy’s objectivity. According to him, these countries still don’t compare to the Filipino hospitality.

    • Anthony says:

      It will open happen with the younger generation. With the older generation still at hand, it cannot happen. And only, when, this will happen too is when the Phillippines starts inventing products such as a car or something scientifically that will alter our course. For now, we still have to adhere to uneducated presidents, the popular vote, the crappy tfc, and lawlessness. Sorry guys…if you wanna bash me, go ahead…

  • GabbyD says:

    so ilda, why are the nurses victims?

    seriously. is suing for freedom of speech “victim” behavior?

    • Ilda says:


      I didn’t say the nurses are victims. I said they have a “victim mentality.”

      And the issue was not about freedom of speech but it was actually about the nurses’ violation of the hospital guidelines.

      “The hospital’s policy states that English is the principal language and must be the exclusive language spoken and written by all employees while on duty in the emergency department”.

      • GabbyD says:

        thats certainly ONE side of the story. hence, the conflict! from your own link:

        “However, the nurses, who are being represented by the Migrant Heritage Commission, said that they do not recall speaking in Tagalog in front or while providing patient care in the Emergency Department. They admitted speaking in their native language only during breaks at the Nurses’ Station.

        The nurses’ lawyer, Atty. Arnedo Valera had asked the EEOC to investigate the complaint and if the hospital’s English-only rule in the workplace violates the Civil Rights Act.”

        again: fighting for one’s rights is victim mentality?

      • GabbyD says:

        ah, maybe its this: its victim mentality IF you disagree with another person? so in this case, you disagree with the claim of due process and civil rights — thus its victim mentality?

        thats why its victim mentality?

        • benign0 says:

          Nah. It’s victim mentality because these people convince themselves they are victims and because they appeal to Filipinos’ innate inclination to routinely feel like victims.

      • GabbyD says:

        “It’s victim mentality because they created a big drama where there could’ve been DIALOGUE first.”

        again, why assume that they didnt attempt 2 resolve this via dialogue?

        we’re back to this thing… :)

        reading the news story again: can you dialogue with someone who unilaterally fires you?

      • GabbyD says:

        “It’s victim mentality because these people convince themselves they are victims”

        wow! we are at the end of your rope. now its down to semantics and circular reasoning…

        anything that a “victim” says is victim mentality… coz they are victims…

      • thinkthenblog says:

        In the US it is our right to speak whatever language we want to in our downtime! Speaking up for oneself is also a right.

        So please, that’s not victim mentality–that’s having a conscience.

    • Suing for freedom of speech in this instance IS victim behavior. There I said it. The proof is in the dinuguan. If you don’t have freedom of speech, you won’t be allowed to have the opportunity to sue in the first place. Only an open progressive society would allow such countermeasures. Victim mentality enabled them to think they could skirt the rules and then cry foul when they got caught. Do I believe they have the right to speak Tag at work? Sure. English is not written anywhere in federal American law to be the official language. But let’s be honest, this is not about legal matters;this is about social manners..and the lack thereof.

      In conclusion, these nurses were testing the system, were being used as pawns by their legal defendants and ultimately making a mockery of the US court system.

      • GabbyD says:

        thanks hungry! at least thats an honest opinion backed by arguments.

        its possible for people to disagree with you (namely the nurses that work there), but at least its forthright.

        much better than ” It’s victim mentality because these people convince themselves they are victims ” which is the most circular of circular arguments.

      • Ilda says:

        @The hungry traveler

        Thanks for the comment Nate. I’m glad GabbyD takes your word. Even though what you are saying is basically the same as what we have been saying. ;)

  • Anthony says:

    This is very true. Only very few Filipinos have changed, and those are the Filipinos born outside of the Philippines. Most of the time, the filipinos born here are always complaining and so ashamed of what they see when watching current Filipino shows…Filipinos are one listens to Filipinos throughout the world. Yeah, they are smart but don’t use it, especially when it comes to ethics and principal. All you ever here are, Filipinos are the backbone…and thats it. Filipinos only kiss ass to Filipinos that have money, and don’t do enough to join in the green movement. All they want is mediocrity and don’t want to get their feet wet when it comes to voicing in other countries or showing that there is unity amongst filipinos. Filipinos in the Philippines must change and it has to start in the media. Usually, what you see in the tv, will show the kind of mentality the society has.

    So what is it you see in Filipino TV. All you see are variety shows where most of the time the announcers dont have scripts and just wing there shows. Seems like all the Filipinos are pure music lovers. All they do is Karaoke and know almost every dang song there is in the planet. And the movies, please…is there a dailogue..most of the time all you here is shouting, gun fire, crying, and more shouting. No story line at all. No acting at all.

    Education folks. Filipino’s, wake up and get rid of that stupid pride personal pride you have. Stop copying the rest of the world and show some originality. Filipino’s are smart. How come they cannot manufacture cars, or something scientifically that will benefit the world. All we do is export nurses,religion (no matter what church you go to throughout the world, you will see a filipino) which is good, but it shows too that we are insecure too much and are idolaters (catholics and using the the santo)..i mean come on…that is big time idolatry.

    And balikbayans, stop bringing back all those balikbayan boxes with all those goods. Just give your relatives money. Because that’s all they really want to do is take your money and be dependent on you. Contributing to laziness.

    Wow, look at this forum..all the filipinos replying here using educational and big words, sounding very educated and in fairness…that’s all it is, is mouth. Good talking…but how about action..But when it comes to you, that’s it, it’s all about you and not others…The Filipino is all about , I , I, and I. I’m totally confused now…well, that’s what the filipino will give you…make you confused.

  • Mike McGrath says:

    I read the article, very interesting. I do not agree with everything that was said in that article about the Filipina personality and behaviors and responses. I cannot speak for Pinoy living in Philippines I (I do not have exposure to them) but as an American Nurse who worked on both East and West ends of America and interacted with thousands of Filipina RN’s I see things differently. Also being married to a Filipina RN adds to my perspective. I have known Pinay RN’s as friends, co workers, staff RN’s as well as Supervisors and Administrators.
    I see the Filipina Nurse in America as very dependable, prompt, punctual and organized. She is an individual who is a team player and takes constructive criticism well and is very intelligent and dependable. The Fill/AM Nurse is very proud of the work she does and shows a great deal of respect for her patient. The Fil/ Am Nurse is refine, well manered, very clean and immaculate and dresses very nicely. They are also well focused, take things seriously and are not a bunch of Chismosa while art work (although they do have very bright cheerful personalities).

    As far as the article talking about Filipina Nurses feeling victimized about being criticized for speaking Tagolog at work. Happens everywhere. In NYC in the ED I worked we had Haitians speaking Creole, Chinese Nurses speaking Cantonese, Mandarin, Puerto Rican Nurses speaking Spanish, and they all feel offended when told not to speak their language around Patients
    After having been once treated by a Filipina RN Pt’s always look forward to being treated by them again because they provide a very high standard of care.
    AS far as Drama queens I agree with that! But then so are Italians (my ex wife) and most other races.
    So all in all perhaps one the Filipina transitions to and assimilates American Culture they change in responses and behaviors and adapt and act differently then they had in Philippines.

    • Ilda says:


      It’s good that you met some Filipinos whose behaviour we can definitely be proud of!

      Thanks for your comment.

    • Damian says:

      come to the Philippines with those very nurses n see how they behave here . You’ll be SHOCKED ! ! !

  • GabbyD says:

    thanks mike. filipino RNs are quite good. definitely dont have a victim mentality (whatever that means)

    • Ilda says:

      The article did not say “all nurses.” It actually said “a group of nurses.” There is a big difference. Unfortunately, it’s something that you CAN’T get your head around to understanding.

      • GabbyD says:

        i’d have more sympathy with this if you hadnt rushed to a generalization on “THE FILIPINO”

        — EX: “This brings us to another world-renowned Filipino mentality — the “victim” mentality””

        … which you supported based on a biased reading of ONE news article about a “group”. a biased reading that mike gladly corrected.

        But i’m happy you wont generalize about “the filipino” now. i look forward 2 articles where statements like i quoted above will be a distant memory.

      • Joe America says:


        The victim mentality and excuse-making exist around the world in every culture when people can’t, for one reason or another, grasp their own responsibility for outcomes and try to pust responsibility on others. A thief generally uses the excuse “I am poor because the world treated me wrong; they forced me to become a thief”.

        Well, no doubt, those kids born into poor Filipino families have a harder time than those born into middle-class American households. Also, those kids whose parents sit them down in front of the TV have a harder time than those kids who sit on their parent’s lap, reading.

        The latter invariably has fewer excuses to make, because they learn to carve out their own place in life.

        There are more of the former in the Philippines.

      • Parallax says:

        “But i’m happy you wont generalize about “the filipino” now. i look forward 2 articles where statements like i quoted above will be a distant memory.” -GabbyD

        gabbyd, gabbyd. when was the last time a commenter’s personal approval dictated the validity of a statement? when was the last time this huwag-no-naman-lahatin mode of argument actually prospered? answers: first, it doesn’t; and second, it might have in a now-dead blog we had fond memories of.

        kick that tail-chasing habit, keep the eyes on the prize. (unless for some people the prize IS the tail.)

        victim mentality perpetuates filipinos’ wasted potential to become what they wanted to be in the first place. it’s always coupled with the innate ability to come up with excuses. it develops the practically automatic tendency to reach for an excuse first before a coming up with a solution. it also drives the irresistible urge to argue in circles.

        and for once i agree with joeam. read his comment and weep.

      • GabbyD says:

        ” when was the last time this huwag-no-naman-lahatin mode of argument actually prospered?”

        hey, if you believe in broad generalizations, go ahead! make broad generalizations, live your life according to these generalizations. judge people according to these generalizations.

        if you think thats a valid argument, fine!

        oh, and when does agreement validate an statement? it depends on many factors! one is, it depends what the statement is.

      • Parallax says:

        hey you wanna lecture somebody on generalizing? try that one on joeam because he made one trying to explain to you a good point, gabbyd.

        this sort of discussion blows your skirt up? sheesh, dude. you can’t let all the criticisms on da pinoy hit you like it’s all about you p’re. unless the shoe fits.

        • Ilda says:

          It is easier for some people to remain in denial. They’d rather blame something or someone for their misfortune. They’d rather play the “victim card” so they can get sympathy or compensation instead of quietly working on achieving their goal.

      • Parallax says:

        right, ilda. even for the president himself (who seems to always be a victim of gloria’s legacy, the words of his critics, the incompetence of his palace messaging group, the hounding of the press on his dubious lovelife about which he could hardly be called discreet, the stress of the job, and the tremendous expectations of the same people he promised the garden of eden to, but never his sorry self), the victim card is the easy way to avoid having to do the real work and paying the true costs of substantiating what he calls his matuwid na daan. every other pinoy does it so why can’t pnoy who is most definitely tops in pinoyness, right?

        blaming everything else certainly beats being courageous enough to publicly admit “i’m just too incompetent/lazy/ignorant/clueless for this job, folks.” poor mister kawawang president who actually asked for the job by promising vaporware.

        hey who was that guy who was a participant in the whole zte broadband thing but snuck under nuns’ skirts and played victim to be da pipol’s weaselblower? there’s a victim right there. ;)

        who are the victims in your neighborhood?
        in your neighborhood
        in your neighborhood
        so who are the victims in your neighborhood?
        they’re the people that you meet
        when you’re walking down the street
        they’re the people that you meet each daaaaaaay!

        buhay pinoy talaga.

      • GabbyD says:


        i know! there was a time when i was curious how you can make broad generalizations with a straight face.

        but now, all i ask is for evidence that supports that kind of thinking.

        unless you just WANT to make that argument regardless of the evidence.

      • GabbyD says:


        who’s lecturing? if you wanna hold beliefs based on broad-brush generalizations, go ahead.

        be proud of it!

        all i ask is for some evidence.

        • Ilda says:


          I don’t know what it’ll take for you to realise that our generalizations are spot on. It seems that you need to wait another 5 more years just to accept that PNoy’s win was a huge mistake. PNoy’s ascension to power is a classic example of mediocrity. Mediocre is what best describes most Filipinos.

      • Joe America says:

        I don’t believe in facts, myself, for they generally divert one from the essence of the argument, and half of them are lies and concoctions anyway. I believe in ideas and principles, and even fiction if it has meaning.

      • Parallax says:


        well, here’s the thing.

        first, a functioning brain fills me with gratitude to the lord who blessed me with it, not pride.

        second, if you seek evidence of these things from other people then you’ve been living under a rock, which i’m sure you’ve been told as many times as you’ve forgotten it. experience (and congnitive function to appreciate what the hell is happening around you) is non-transferrable, sorry.

        third, we’re not talking about beliefs. it’s all happening, dude.

      • thinkthenblog says:

        what a condescending comment.

  • Win says:

    I’ve lived in the Philippines for 4 years now. It always appalls me how so many people here have a total inability to feel any lack of shame. That makes them almost sociopathic in a way.

    Plus it’s hard to communicate in English here above the simplest questions. Many people seem to be on a “happy ignorant” pill where they are unaware of anything and don’t care. When you try to get them to explain things, they act like they are retarded or brain damaged. It’s really annoying and aggravating.

    It’s not surprising that world IQ statistics show the Philippines as very low, only 77 on average. Only Africa is lower.

    • Damian says:

      I totally agree with you Wen . I’ve been here for 5 years now , n ALL a person can talk about to a filipino is cockfighting , tv shows , or other childish n senseless things .
      No wonder most of the foreigners living here hardly made ANY filipino friend in years .
      the level of stupidity here is just mind boggling .

  • Win says:

    After living in the Philippines as a foreigner for a few years, I’ve concluded that other than open friendly sweet girls, there is NOTHING good in the Philippines that is worth staying for. The air and streets are immensely polluted, the food is horrible (every traveler says it is the worst in Asia, hands down). There are no quality standards, skill, refinement or art in cooking.

    To live well, you gotta pay overly high prices (compared to other developing countries like Thailand or China). And so many people have no shame, think it’s not wrong to lie, lack common sense, and act retarded. It’s aggravating to deal with.

    I wrote up a list of pros and cons of living in the Philippines in this forum thread. Check it out:

    And if interested, see if you can answer my questions about middle class Filipinos here:

  • Marc says:

    Konti lang ang binasa kong comment, hanggang dun lang sa ng suggest na i-translate mo sa tagalog ang article na to. Tama ka na medyo walang papansin nito kung tagalog mo isusulat pero most Filipinos don’t have access to computers. So mas magandang suggestion ay i-translate mo sa tagalog at i-publish mo sa newspaper. with that way mas marami ang makakabasa nito at makakaintindi. Baka sakaling magbago pa ang mentalidad naming mga Filipino.

    • Ilda says:

      Hi Marc

      Thanks for the suggestion. Siguro nga sulit i-publish in Tagalog because this article has been published 4 times and a lot of people agree with it.


  • some similarities says:

    This is pretty interesting commentary. I’m an expat living in a South American country, and I have to say there are some strong similarities with what you described with society here (at least in the main urban area, I don’t know what it’s like out in the rural states). It makes me wonder if some of it does have to do with the legacy of Spanish colonialism. If you notice the countries that resulted from British colonialism turned for the most part, okay. Rule of law seems to go hand in hand with Puritan values. (However, the British examples also tended to kill off a lot more of the indigenous, hence removing opposition to their societal rules and values – but the system you see today, overall, immigrants comply). On the other hand, the French colonies – Haiti, etc. ugh – makes Phillipines look like Disneyworld. In all cases, however, gaining independence from colonial powers, unfortunately, did not better the lives of the indigenous that survived. Regardless, it does beg the question – why *is* it so hard to follow a rule of law?

    Just to mention as another point – a few upper-class Filipinos that I have known pretty much only go to Phillipines to vacation, visit, etc. Where I am now, there is still a visible upper-class(in their gated communities of course, and private country clubs and such so they don’t have to mingle with the unwashed masses), but when things become unstable all the elites have an out (many have dual/triple citizenship in US and various Euro. or Skand. countries) and they flee. It’s sad, actually, no sense of nationality or feeling that it’s “worth it” to stay and fight for their standard of living. No sense of country and demanding to stay in that country. More like, “okay, the riff-raff have taken over, I’m out.”

    I don’t have an answer to any of this, and obviously a zero-tolerance attitude of “just do it already” doesn’t register with the masses who don’t necessarily feel the need to follow rules out of virtue or fear of being penalized with fines, etc. The unofficial caste system which generates resentment (I also have seen people close up when they see my more “white” looking spouse try to ask a question), class tensions, corrupt and inefficient legal/law enforcement system are all at play. Remember US is a middle-class majority nation, so middle class values prevail (and injustices still occur, of course). So imagine – I don’t know about Phill. majority, but here, it’s 35% poor, 10 of that considered extremely poor. The majority is shades of grey, but pretty much people living hand to mouth for the most part. So you have a nation that is predominantly have-not, and the behaviors you see are not too concerned with ethics, it’s very much grab-what-you-can-at-the-moment. But obviously as someone pointed out – it’s not that they aren’t capable – those who go to the US seem to have no problem conforming to a rule of law.

    • Ilda says:

      @ some similarities

      While to a certain degree, it is true that having been under a colonial rule or two could have possibly wrought havoc on the Filipino mind in general, but we Filipinos cannot keep using it as an excuse not to be able to move forward.

      The simple fact of the matter is, Filipinos cannot and refuse to follow the rule of law because impunity rules in the land. Those who violate the law particularly those in the public sector do not get prosecuted and keep getting away with their crime. This is the reason why the average Filipino has low moral and can never trust their public servants and worse, each other.

      When a society does not have trust in the system or their compatriots, it is very hard to implement any kind of reform or changes, which could help move the country forward.

      And it is no surprise that those who can afford it, have their second passports handy just in case the “riff-raff” take over. :)

      Thanks for your comment.

  • some similarities says:

    and … what exactly is happening the photo above?

    • Ilda says:

      That is a photo of a group of Japanese people taken after the recent earthquake that struck a part of their country. Despite the devastation, they still manage to fall in line and observe courtesy. In the above photo, they are sitting at the edge of the stairs patiently waiting for something but are mindful not to block the way for others. I should really put a comment under the photo. Thanks :)

  • The Tagalog speakers of the Philippines seem very interesting people. If you look up Google Trends for the word ‘Aristotle’ one gets the surprising result that the biggest group searching for this word on the web were Tagalog speakers. English comes second. Repeat the search for ‘Stoicism’ and you will get the same result. This seems to indicate another quite remarkable dimension to the culture.

    • Ilda says:


      I’m sorry to say that I cannot associate the terms “stoic” and “philosophic” to Filipinos in general. As discussed in my article above, Filipinos have a penchant for playing the “victim card”.

      • thinkthenblog says:

        @ Ilda
        do you have scientific data or empirical evidence for such statement?:

        “Filipinos have a penchant for playing the “victim card”

        …as if it were in their DNA?

        Really, you perpetuate the cycle of negativity that festers in that country.

  • Allan says:

    These Filipino characteristics as you have mentioned can be attributed to the Spanish regime w/c lasted for 333 years. Imagine the number of generations of Filipino families that somehow inherited or absorbed such traits during those times. I’m in the premise that our society is still young and somehow still trying to find/look for its identity.

    Countries like China, Japan, Korea, France Germany and even US didn’t mature or prosper overnight. Change takes time, the question is are WE Filipinos are up to the challenge that change will be bringing to us? Right now we’re not. But I hope and pray that we will someday. But it has to start of each of every Filipinos around the world.

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