We beg to differ.

Get Real Philippines (GRP) is first and foremost a media operation. So its mission is very simple: to develop and articulate groundbreaking and insightful ideas and disseminate these to as big an audience as possible. The approach to developing these ideas — critical thinking — is what unites the men and women who run the various blogs and media channels that make up the GRP Network. The dissemination of these ideas is done through a number of media forms (blogs, videos, and engaging in social media chatter) and through a number of communication techniques (literary and composition styles, icons and symbols, and illustration).

In short, GRP is in the business of talk.

Is talk cheap?

Obviously it isn’t. Otherwise every man and his dog would be running successful and widely-read blogs, e-zines, and other websites, or writing bestselling or seminal books, or running top tier consulting firms. We do what we do, not because it is an end in it self, but because it is our contribution to the effort. Not everyone can be doers (in the sense of how politicians see themselves as “doers”) in the same way that not everyone can be writers — or, for that matter, lawyers, or engineers, or physicists, or teachers, or singers, or chefs, or politicians, or great parents.

The main weakness of Philippine society lies in an imbalance in the expectations we levy upon its different sectors. This imbalance is best encapsulated in this statement:

We expect the low product of the majority to be subsidised by the exceptional output of the minority.

Back in 2003, this statement was qualified further in a whole article expounding on the Filipino’s ethic of self-reliance with its key message encapsulated in the following excerpt:

Our prospects for prosperity, however, lie within ourselves — not in a messianic bunch of leaders and exceptional few who are yet to come and not in the altruism of the more fortunate. What we need is the courage and open-mindedness to understand clearly what we need to do to re-tool our culture, mindsets and thought processes, and approach to doing things so that a nation-building machine that is truly able to compete could emerge out of the collective and quiet achievement of the majority.

Let’s change these medieval beliefs in salvation through heroic deeds and focus more on the more mundane aspects of nation-building.

Let’s allow everyone to do their jobs properly without being burdened by expectations that accompany heroic labels.

Let’s change our self-righteous penchant for calling one another to heroic and extraordinary deeds and instead find value in the collective effect of each individual doing their ordinary jobs properly and quietly.

Recognising achievement is different from lionising personalities. It takes well-thought out efforts (that requires serious evaluation of fundamental truths about ourselves) to realise sustainable development. When one recognises achievement, one expresses admiration and seeks to emulate said achievement. When one lionises personalities, one places said personality on a pedestal to worship and pin their hopes on. The earlier focuses on acquiring traits that support excellence. The latter focuses on expectations to live by and has come to acquire the stink of Erap-ism.

Pity then the person who lives by the glib dismissal of those who work towards building the intellectual foundations of a society: Puro kayo dakdak (you are “all talk”). This is an affirmation of the reality of what the Philippines has become — a nation that is the result of lots of action underpinned by very little thinking.

Core competencies

So talk — good talk — is, indeed, not cheap. The fact is, it is very difficult to find people who possess exceptional command over the two key core competencies that the people who form the GRP Network are gifted with in abundance — (1) developing insightful ideas, and (2) communicating these ideas to a mass audience. Perhaps a third is being able to do both rapidly.

The third competency proposed — being able to produce and disseminate rapidly — is not quite a competency of GRP — yet. And that is where the next big challenge lies. The job of GRP does not end with talk, but the part of the mission statement, “…to as big an audience as possible” is a capability that is still a work in progress. But we are getting there. What started as an obscure website design practice site back in 2000 is now honoured by a network of the most insightful, creative, and original men and women of the Philippine blogosphere who have opted to identify themselves with the GRP name.

Perhaps we will update our Mission Statement someday (mission statements are not meant to be set in stone). But that’s a next step in what is really a long one-step-at-a-time journey. We still have a long way to go. But we continue to appreciate the contribution of every member of the GRP community and the conscious effort it takes to maintain a clarity of purpose in our minds to ensure that we do not get lost along the way.


benign0 is the Webmaster of

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  • “Not all were asleep during the night of our forefathers!” ~ Jose Rizal

  • tsutsugamushi says:

    //This is an affirmation of the reality of what the Philippines has become — a nation that is the result of lots of action underpinned by very little thinking.//

    You are wrong there. In fact, it is rather the result of lots of thinking underpinned by little action re: “political will.”

    This country has never been short of brilliant thinking men and women in the highest echelons of power, the judiciary and the academe, yet this country has not moved because their thoughts and ideas were never put into concrete action. An example is the passage of countless laws and policies but never effectively applied or implemented. Yes, a paper tiger if one puts it that way.

    • benign0 says:

      Yes, but then those who are entrusted with exhibiting and applying political will — Filipino politicians — are duly elected by the popular vote. So guess what: Politicians merely reflect the character of the people who voted for them. In a democracy, voters cannot wash their hands off their accountability for the quality of the people who lead them.

  • Armando Kuntz says:

    As usual, puro dakdak.

  • Joe America says:

    BenK wrote a similar epistle, and rather than thinking twice, I shall repeat what I sent him:

    Having no agenda is an agenda. I understand the aim, however, of creating an open-minded forum as an alternative to media which seem to prostitute themselves to the power structure and its personal/political ambitions. However, an unfettered approach to me seems much like the Philippine condition, lots of yammer with no organized intent. Even your position with regard to FDI (“it’s up to Filipinos”) lacks . . . oh . . . commitment.

    It also seems to me that intent is best found and delivered by developing a set of principles.

    The principles can start broad . . . “a robust economy is good for the Philippines”. Certainly there will be those who disagree, those who prefer things simple and native. But where does the unified commitment of the GRP writers lie?

    As discussion ensues, it the writing collective should be able to discern some deeper findings, and from them, more particular principles. “Taxation in the Philippines is haphazard and not keyed to value; it should be keyed to value.”

    Now there is some meat on the otherwise indiscriminate pile of bones.

    The Philippines desperately needs a Fifth Estate. A POLITICAL voice of reason and principle and organized action. An open-sourced call for ideas that are organized by the editors into a viable and forceful counterbalance to the nation’s unending yammer.

    If it is not GRP, where is it to be found? I’ll go there to do real work.

    I don’t want to simply write into the Northeast Monsoon.

    • benign0 says:

      Well, that’s it actually, you are spot on when you describe this whole thing as simply writing “into the Northeast Monsoon.” There’s enough fun in that alone to make this whole thing worthwhile to us. So in my case too, rather than think twice I’ll just re-post here what BenK stated in his blog “Visualizing an Application” an excerpt that is consistent with what I think is the extent of my own personal commitment to the endeavour known as Get Real Philippines:

      Our collective work, however, is not intended as an instrument of policy but as an alternative to the otherwise heavily co-opted media that serves as the main source of information and ideas for this country. Certainly, we seek to inspire individuals – including individual members of our core group – to develop “agendas” and “apply their visions”, but there is not, and likely never will be, a Get Realist “platform”. And that’s just the way we like it; after all, we learn a lot more from disagreeing with each other (which happens more often than anyone could imagine) than we would by deciding on and adhering to a narrow set of principles.

      As we keep telling those who are looking for more: they are free to organise something and apply what we write to their actions.

      As for us in GRP? As I said, perhaps when something new and worthwhile comes up in our collective agenda (and when I say “worthwhile” it means worthwhile to us), then perhaps this Mission Statement will be updated accordingly.

  • Koko says:

    Critical thinking, pitting small thinkers from those that thinks big? The small ones monopolizes, buys off influence. And the big thinkers? They either leave or be the useless guy at the office if not with the NDF, MILF or MNLF. But we need to keep preaching critically, because we need to save lives firstly. Let us hence continue using our thinking prowess, who knows we might overcome someday, right?

  • Red says:

    Could you assimilate into this article the following: “Resistance is Futile, embrace the Filipino Borg”

  • sdassad says:

    Sorry. No offence but I found your website too much talking. U don’t help Philippines in that way!

    • ahehe says:

      Paying taxes = helping the country. And what makes you think we here are ALL TALK?

      GRP is a refreshing alternative to the retarded corporate media.

    • bulutongboy says:

      Any suggestions on how else we can help the Philippines?

      • medy ramos says:

        Help educate the masses who never do deep and critical thinking because they are so mired in the struggle of putting food on the table 3x a day. There are so many intellectuals in our country but they are drowned out by the majority who are in locked-in the day-to-day struggle just to survive. If we can engage them, educate them and mobolize them can you imagine how much power we can generate as a nation?

        • Agree, that is supposed number one priority of the government but they could hardly pay the salary of the teacher and can not even repair old school building, some of the teacher buy their on chalk because the school don’t have the fund. Those school children are the future of our country and they should be educated to be a good citizen and become an intellectual voter in the future.

    • auriga says:

      Perhaps this is another of the “we don’t need analyses; we need solutions” argument?

      • bulutongboy says:

        I think someone corrected that in another thread – we can’t formulate the proper solution if we don’t analyze what is really the problem.

        sdassad is saying theres’s too much talking here. I want to know:

        @ sdassad

        If talking is not helping, what do you suggest?

      • auriga says:

        Yes, I was being sarcastic.

    • Ilda says:

      Discussing or talking about things is good because people get a chance to hear other points of view. Filipinos shouldn’t just rely on the mainstream media for information. They have to balance it with something that’s written by people who are not affiliated with elements that have an agenda.

    • TheSenator says:

      sdassad, what do you mean by ‘too much talking’?

      This website’s mission is to stimulate exchange of ideas via critical thinking (or a Socratic discussion medium if you like) and be disseminated to the publics.

      Action is taken by the readers including you…and me.

  • Robert Haighton says:

    Is it okay if I as foreigner give my 2 cents worth to the analyzis and talk re: the mission and hopeful outcomes?

    I like to do it in a constructive criticism way according to the SWOT-method (Strength, Weakness, Opportunities, Threads). The first 2 are found from within the society, the latter two are from outside the society. On the other hand, I can also share/analyse based on my personal experiences being in the Philippines.


    • benign0 says:

      That’s great! All pertinent opinions are welcome here. I find that a lot of the really great commentary I’ve seen are from people who have an “outsider’s” perspective. This does not mean that good commentary comes mainly from foreigners or people who reside outside the Philippines, however. A large number of commenters and contributors here are native Filipinos and residents but somehow still manage to cognitively step back and regard the picture like an outsider — which is remarkable because that (moving from an insiders’ to an outsiders’ perspective) requires a leap of imagination and intuition not normally found in the average Filipino.

      • medy ramos says:

        Can you mobilize and inspire everyone with the latest electronic gadget to pan around their immediate environment and engage the people to interact politically and socially so that they can have the opportunity to voice their concerns and ambitions, that is in itself a very big first step in raising the political discourse in our country. They have dreams, too, but because their resources are limited hence they just go with the flow whatever it is. Harness the power of the youth and adults who are very much involved, that is a very good start.

    • Roper says:

      It’s SWOT (Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities and THREATS!) not Threads!

      • Francisco Servillon says:

        Do i read that that Threats Weaken the Strength and Lessen (Eliminate?) Opportunities… especially and particularly in our foolitrickal gunmen-style of setting??

  • Robert Haighton says:

    Thank you Mr. Benign0 for allowing me to vent my 2 cents. I hope you wont kill me (LOL) for the next words being part of my analyzis.

    What did I know about the Philippines and their population? I have heard of Manila, yes but only by name. Since my partner (Cebu) and I started contacting each other through internet, I became more and more interested in the country, the people, their behavior and the culture. I started reading the online versions of the PhilStar and SunStar newspapers and surfed the internet for more information. Well I can read a lot but reading doesnt beat being there and see it with your own eyes. Is it fair to compare? Comparing my own country with the Philippines? I would expect people are everywhere the same on this planet. But wow, what was I naieve and/or ignorant in that idea.

    I can sum up many, many differences (irritating, annoying, frustrating, mind blowing, not understandable differences) but maybe more important then to make that list of differences is to ask ourselves WHY are Filipinos so different.

    Okay let me quench your desire to know just one or two items of that list:
    – the inefficiency of almost everything in daily life especially the public transport (bus, jeepney etc)
    – the constant blowing of the car horns.

    What makes me so flabbergasted about all this, is that no one seems to care at all. Everybody just accepts it as if it is the most normal thing in life that things go inefficiently.

    Maybe it has to do with the culture (the High Context Culture versus the Low Context Culture); maybe it has to do with the enormous respect people pay each other (in my country you have to earn and deserve respect, even the old(er) people). If and when one achieved something out of the ordinary (rise to the occation) then that person will get respect. But if you just sleep, eat, work & breathe (regardless of age)……

    My partner wants to marry next year in the Philippines and she wants to stay and live there. I am not so sure about all of that. I find no inspiration, no motivation when I am there (been there twice now) and as long as divore is still not a legal option, I think I rather wait.

    (to be continued)

    Robert, Breda, Netherlands

    • Robert Haighton says:

      Apologies for the typos:
      occation = occasion
      divore = divorce

    • benign0 says:

      Indeed, you’re at a very critical crossroads in your life! Even the smallest things that you take for granted in Europe are monumental challenges in the Philippines.

      I think you zeroed in on one of the core pillars of the profound dysfunction that afflicts the Philippines: Filipinos have an entirely twisted notion of what it means to acquire respect. Rather than apply an ethic of earning respect, Filipinos would rather feel entitled to it. The concept of earning respect through achievement, gaining trust, being considerate, and acting honourably is a virtually ALIEN notion to the average Filipino mind.

      • Robert Haighton says:

        I am not sure to what extent the bible/religion plays a role in the aspect of respect in the Philippines or is just “just” culture/habit? Of course we are talking about the Mano po here. Some say its more done in the province/rural parts compared to the bigger cities where it is outdated. I did the Mano po during my first visit but for me it has a notion of hypocrisy. When doing the Mano I dont feel and I dont have respect but the “receiver” might think he/she is repected by me, falsely I might add. So what is wisedom? And should I continue doing things (Mano) against my will esp if it means nothing for me?
        I can give you a total overview of my list but by doing so I think I am going outside the scope of this section about the “mission statement”.

        Last but not least: after visiting Cebu City twice (2010 & 2011) all I can say is that I only like 2 things: The weather and the low cost of living.

        I have been trying to understand (the reason) why Filipinos act, behave, think that way but so far nobody could explain it to me. Not even my partner who graduated from a university. Unfortunately.

        • Datubato says:

          Robert, “Mano po” is a sign of respect for the elderly, aunts, godparents, etc. You don’t have to do it, foreigners are not expected to do it (at least in my wife’s family). But I think it’s a nice gesture so I volunteer to do it, and they always return the favor with a warm smile.

          I had a Japanese client once who flew here to the States. I was prepared to bow as a greeting just to show respect for their culture, but I was surprised when he reached out his hand first for a handshake. I then asked why he did it, he then said that he knew that we don’t bow, and that bowing is viewed as submitting to authority here. A little understanding and respect on a culture that you’re not familiar with goes a long way.

    • romrab says:

      filipinos likes masikip. in almost all lrt stations, sa limang ticket card exit machine, dalawa lang ang umaandar, not because it’s not working, dalawa lang talaga pina aandar because they are lazy to collect all tickets back again. see for yourself in monumento. ,,,,, nobody complain because everybody knows nothing will happen. nag hahanap kalang ng problema mo, o ng kaaway, di ka kikita dyan, tatawanan ka lang ng ibang tao. “astig ‘to!”

    • Blowing your horn is normal in big cities, not in the province or barrios. In New York they blow their horn every time because they are always in a hurry.

  • Datubato says:

    Ang asawa ko ay Pinay. Noon una kaming nag-date pinuri ko ang English nya, ang galing kasi. Kaya lang nung sinabi ko sa kanya na turuan nya ako ng language sa Philippines, sabi niya di raw siya fluent doon. Kaya ayun sabay kaming nag-aral ng Tagalog. Magaling na siya sa salita nya ngayon, ako naman medyo ok na.

    Nalulungkot ako para sa inyo. Bakit ninyo mas gusto ang salita namin? “Get Real Philippines” is the name of the site. A little introspection on that is needed I think.

    • Biz Doc says:

      it’s not about ‘gusto namin’ ang salita ng dayuhan, like english.

      pinoys today find that local tongues are insufficient to have meaningful discussions about plenty of things that matter. summon your newfound powers of writing & thinking in tagalog and tell us whether ‘easy’ and ‘simple’ have tagalog words that don’t mean the same thing. with english, you can tell the difference. no such distinction in tagalog

      • PHguy says:

        The government has also brainwashed society so well to think that any indigenous language in the country except Tagalog is nothing but an offshoot and sub-culture of everything from the center–that if you speak anything other than Tagalog, you’re rural, uneducated, uncultured and cheap. What a great national philosophy.

    • Vincent Vinluan says:

      My comment is a few years late but since this is the first time I read this comment, I’ll share my idea nonetheless.

      Personally, I want to express my thoughts here in English for the sake of non-Tagalog speaking readers.

      Marunong ako mag-tagalog at sinusubukan kong tapusin ang pangungusap na nasimulan ko sa Tagalog para maiba naman kaysa sa Taglish na karaniwang ginagamit na wika ng karamihan. Pero dahil batid ko na may mga pagkakataon na dadayuhin ng taga-ibang bansa ang website na ito, pipiliin ko na lang mag-English.

  • Robert Haighton says:

    Datubato, I did the “Mano po” during my first visit to my partner’s family, her god mother and who not. And I can do it till I die (and beyond). What I dont want them to think is that because I do the Mano that that implicitly means I also respect those people. NO. It takes more than just doing the Mano. So I consider doing the Mano would be and is hypocritical to/for all parties.

    And to be very honest: there is not much in the Philippine culture to be respected.

    But let me make one point clear to you and everybody: I always treat any soul with politeness and courtesy but respect is of an higher order. Thats all.

    People just have to earn my respect as I have to earn their respect. Why cant older people do the Mano to me? Am I one piece of shit not to be respected? Sorry, but I was and am born in equality. Then at least treat me likewise.

    Sunday 1 January 2012 at 11.35PM (Central European Time)

    • benign0 says:

      That’s part of the way respect and deference is ritualised in the Philippines. Filipinos are lazy thinkers, see. Evaluating who to respect in the way you have been brought up to do it is a thinking process. The way it is ritualised in Philippine society, in effect, spares Filipinos from having to think. And that is why Filipinos latch on to those traditions.

      • Robert Haighton says:

        BenignO, if that is really the case and applicable to the overwhelming majority of the entire population of the Philippines then the Philippine culture is quite primitive (sad to say). In that case in no 100 years there will be any improvement, progress, evolution to be seen there. The latter is not a big shock for me. I told my partner many time that the Philippine way of behaving, thinking, acting today is the same we did 50-60 years ago in my country.

        – During the 1960s we had the sexual revolution (thanks to the invention of the contraceptive) pill). This made women liberal in their behavior towards sex.
        – I dont know since how long but we can divorce legally for many decades. The Philippines is the only country in the world without legal divorce;
        – We have legal abortion;
        – We have legal euthanasia.
        – we can show our affections in public places
        – All women wear a bikini, are topless or even fully naked in public beaches.
        – Fixed bus/train/metro stops with fixed time tables
        – we have a strict seperation between church and state/government. Church has no influence whatsoever in law making.
        – the dutch constitution is focused on the individual not on the family. Obviously because a family consists of at least 2 seperate entities aka individuals.
        – Same sex marriages are legally possible.
        – Family members will not interfere in each others lives. We are into privacy.
        – We dont take kids so that we will be taken care off by our kids when we are old and grey. Old age people want to live independently as long as possible.
        – Men take equally part in the raising and bringing up of all the off-spring.
        – Sex before marriage is done by maybe 90% of the population.
        – We dont raise our daughters according to the Delikadesa. Sons and daughters are raised in the same equal way.

        My country is not perfect, I am not proud to be dutch but compared to many other countries, I am glad and happy to be Dutch living in a country with options to choose from. That is almost total freedom.

        • Robert Haighton says:

          To add:
          If you marry in a dutch church then that church marriage is not legal for dutch laws. For dutch laws you are still considered to be single. To make it official you have to marry civil.

        • Your Country is almost perfect and lesser crime compare to other Countries. And I observe your red district and marijuana is legal.

      • medy ramos says:

        I like the “Mano po!” It’s respect that my elders deserve from me. My husband is American and he loves to do it with my Mom and Dad because he has respect for them. We do not thumb our nose on a ritual that can only bring respect to elders and not hurt anyone in the process.

  • Robert Haighton says:

    BenignO, for a good working relationship between me and my Philippine partner I need to be able to rely on her. That can only happen when she uses her senses (aka brain cells) in most cases. Otherwise, all I will be doing is “damage control”. Doing damage control is wasting my time instead of using my time to more important matters. Eventually my relationship will be ended because of lack of growing, improving, progress, evolve.

    – I was told that Dutch women with same age as Philippine women are much more independent, much more mature, more adult behaving, much more responsible. Sad to say but I do confirm all the above. I only wonder how that comes? Something lacking in the general way of bringing up Philippine daughters and or something lacking in the Philippine educational system?
    – I also observe that my Philipine partner has traits of jealousy. All my previous dutch partners never showed that trait. Uncertainty? Low self-esteem? Or is it because the ratio between Philippine men and Philippine women are so skewed (1:6, I was told)?

    If I am correct the norm in the Philippines is still: dating, courting and then marry. The norm in my country is: meeting, spending time with all your friends (male & female) (including your girlfriend/boyfriend), living together (live-in partner) and maybe followed by a civil wedding. Its also normal to start a family during the living together phase. No one will attack you for that. Its accepted here.

    Its also very normal that other people will address me when I did or said something stupid. Something like the “hiya” will never happen here. We speak the truth and are straight forward. You do something stupid then your friends will tell you not to do that again. Yes the person might be or feel emberassed but only he himself could have prevented that from happening.

    Tuesday 3 January 2012, at 8.47PM CET

    • benign0 says:

      The best way I can explain it is that Filipinos parents raise kids to be beholden to them while Western parents’ approach to raising their kids is to progressively wean them off their guidance by teaching them how to think for themselves.

      Many Filipino households also have live-in domestic servants. This means that kids are taught at an early age that there are people that are to be treated as beneath them simply because they earn a living off the domestic services trade. Worse, Filipino kids who grow up in households that employ servants do not learn how to contribute to doing household chores and become accustomed to being served in their own homes. They grow up feeling they are entitled to being served.

      With regard to the marriage thing, I think many urban Filipinos now are quite liberal with sexual relationships before marriage. But there is still a pall of guilt hangng over it which is an outcome of a rather primitive Catholic upbringing most kids are subject to. Marriage and its paper promises is still something Filipinos aspire to though.

      Perhaps, as a northern European, you will find all this really bewildering — kind of like walking into a zoo. But you just need to re-visit your European medieval culture and politics and you will find that contemporary Philippine society is not much different. :)

      • Robert Haighton says:


        I never saw a servant in my partner’s parents house. Only a washing lady during weekends. When I saw that lady for the first time I almost fell to the ground. I never witnessed that in my entire life. It looked humiliating to me seeing someone doing the laundry manually sitting on her knees. (Thank god we do have washing machines.)

        I also get the feeling that kids (even grown up adult kids) are not allowed to object to their parents. That is probably regarded as a sign of dis-respecting the parents even when knowing the parents are wrong. I even wonder if it is possible to have a deep intellectual conversation as kid with your parents and maybe even question a few things.

        • Carla says:

          You really have much to learn about culture per se so you’ll have an understanding of what Filipino culture is. That is what i’d call respect.

        • domo says:

          What Filipino culture? The one that always resorting to bahala na, pwede na iyan, ningas cugon, being very emo on what the foreigners criticize on them especially constructive ones only because it’s “racist”? Yeah right like that Filipino culture of yours is very rich when in fact it’s very dysfunctional. And you want Mr. Haigton here to learn and respect them? What a big fool you are carla.

        • Carla says:

          Sad, that you fail to get a grasp of what i said…culture defines a nation. It is this very culture that makes us distinct and different. If you cannot live with it or even accept it or respect it, don’t come; don’t mingle with filipinos; and most of all, don’t let it get to you, by not bothering us at all!

  • Robert Haighton says:

    LOL -> But you just need to re-visit your European medieval culture and politics and you will find that contemporary Philippine society is not much different. factually very correct.

    My question remains: why are there still many people in the Philippines who are still stuck in the medieval times regarding bringing up and all other differences mentioned before?

    I am sure the Philippine TV channels air documentaries about life abroad. I am sure Philippine news papers report about foreign cultures. I am sure with the increase of foreign tourists entering the Philippines, locals can interact with them coming to the conclusions that there is a lot of differences. And what about the internet, doesnt that result in change of behavior, ideas, thoughts, beliefs, culture?
    I know quite some pinays married to dutch guys but they will stick to their old traditions esp in the form of sending money back to her family. And all those pinays will spend their holidays going back to the Philippines and not visiting other parts of the world. The world is bigger than the Philippines.

    • benign0 says:

      That baffles me as well. There is so much foreign input and influence into the Philippines (the ones you point out, plus all the stuff learned by the armies of overseas foreign workers that toil abroad), but its society seems to lack ‘absorption capacity’ for this input and, as such, cannot digest it and nourish itself with these.

  • Robert Haighton says:

    I really wished I could be more positive about my experiences re the Philippines. But sad to say I can only mention 2: the weather and cost of living. Even the local food is not tastefull to my taste butts. Maybe I dined in the wrong restaurants but even then it also applies when I ate at my partners parents home. I once even cooked there myself for all but unable to find the right spices/herbs. In taste, my cooking was a failure.

    I really have no idea how to help promote the Philippines from a poor 3rd world country to a 2nd world country or even getting them into the men’s league, the 1st world. With their general attitude (its a very re-active or even passive country), overwhemlingly strict religiousness, I dont see any hope to achieve any promotion for the near or far future.

    • benign0 says:

      That is what I kind of alluded to when I compared the Philippines to medieval Europe. It took another few hundreds of years before Europe could extricate itself from the human cesspool of that era.

      But then you see excellent societies like Singapore and South Kora which turned themselves from 3rd World basketcases into First World countries within a generation — because the West already provided a model they could apply to some extent to themselves. Considering the awesome technology and information at the disposal of most Filipinos today (and which the Singaporeans and Koreans did without when they were crawling out of their own ratholes), it is indeed very telling that the Philippines shows hadly any sign of progress today.

      • Robert Haighton says:

        But I saw a lot of Koreans in Cebu City and there are a lot of Korean students at the school where my partner is a teacher. Maybe its cheap for the Korean students parents to send them to the Philippines but is the Korean educational system not a better one?

        BTW: I was dumbfound to see that all my partners’ female friends are working as a teacher. Not one had a job in a commercial/business environment. Even when the proffesion as teacher is regarded as an extension of the mother then for sure all those teachers need to be mothers themselves. Which they are not!

    • Carla says:

      I am sad that you seem to expect too much from the Philippines. If you step foot in a country with too much expectations, logically, you’ll only be bogged doewn with negativity. But if you come and expect nothing from a 3rd world, you’d see things afresh and be able to appreciate it more. I’ve been following your thread and as u said there are only two things you like here, the weather and the low cost of living, well precisely it is low cost because we don’t have what the first world offers. Why criticize and why come back if it appalls you so much???

  • Robert Haighton says:

    The point is how can we/you/they change them(selves)? Exchanging ideas, talking (like here) trying to convince them anything is better than the current situation, right? Lets start small: with one. Then she/he can be the oil spot that takes on the next.

    I am just so afraid that most people are afraid of change especially when one-on-one. It seems to me there is a big “social control” meaning everybody is watching everybody to see if the other is still walking the only right path.

    I have learned that among other countries the Philippines is part of the “High Context Culture” zone.

    To change a few things maybe this form of culture also has to change but then again I am not a Antropologist. But what we are doing here already seems to be part of the “low context culture”.

    Pls allow me to give you 3 examples that really happened.

    A) a young Pinay woman in her early 30s needed to go to hospital for a minor – not life threatening – surgery. She was admitted and the surgery was successful. After the surgery she had to stay a few days for observation purposes only. After these few days she was released from hospital and on that day she thanked the team of surgeons for doing such a great job and she thanked the nurses of the ward. When arriving back home she went to her Facebook in order to make a statement about her surgery. She didnt thank the team of surgeons and the nurses on her Facebook. No. Instead she thanked god many times that she survived the surgery.

    (Comment by me: If I was her surgeon I would feel insulted about what she wrote on her Facebook. So hence why god and not the medical team?)

    B) Another young pinay – also in her 30s – copies statements on her own Facebook from another Facebook titled “God wants you to know”, giving us the impression she is a god-fearing woman, strict catholic, brave and thus a good devoted woman. But I was told by a very reliable source that that same girl was in a romantic, sexual relationship (before marriage).

    (Comment: This is what I call hypocritical. I was baffled and shocked. Why the 2 faces? The latter person (B, and a friend of my partner) I met during my first visit (Sept 2010) to Cebu. Somebody can be hypocritical but it also means that person becomes less or not trustworthy anymore to me. Not a good foundation for a relationship or even to work together with such a person in a professional surrounding).

    C) During my first visit to see my partner for the very first time, my partner and I uploaded a pic with a caption on either my or her Facebook. The caption was a silly, jokingly caption. All of a sudden my partner receives a FB message from her niece stating that the family name was at stake and that I should respect my partner before anything else.

    PS: at that time my partner was 34 years, a full grown, mature adult able to make decisions on her own (a 34 year old in my country would be left alone by all of her family members).

    (Comment: I was shocked and appawled by the interference of a family member. Upon return back to my country, I sent that niece an email that just in case my partner and I would ever decide to marry she would not be invited. And if she would show up anyway I would leave the scene. When she interfered during my stay – I just arrived maybe 3 days earlier – I decided to go back home. Thanks to my sister, who I consulted about this incident, I stayed).

    • Don says:

      Brother, if that niece did to me what she did to you, I’d have told her to go to hell. People like that only look for excuses to crap on “outsiders”.

      • Robert Haighton says:

        Hi Don, hence my email to her.

        It was my first culture clash/conflict and others would follow. The niece’s message was also a compliant about/towards my partner in a way (the way I see it). Not being able to stand up for herself and stand a post. Well I think and know my partner is capable of doing that.

        My sister made me aware not to run away from incidents like that but just deal with it and eventually stay (and not leave).

        • Carla says:

          Again, that incident was an immersion to culture which could have been understood better if you came here prepared.

        • domo says:

          You’re playing the victim card there carla.

        • Carla says:

          nope, if u have an understanding of the Filipino culture, you would know that what Filipino ties are..whether you like it or not, knowing that it exists would give one a leverage of how to deal with it than being defensive and critical.

  • Robert Haighton says:

    Now where does religion fit in this equation? Roman catholicism was introduced by the Spaniards in the Philippines. But is there any movement among Filippino from being strict catholic via moderate catholic to enlightened catholic ending in maybe becoming atheist?

    Why this question? Bec I do think that religion also puts a lot of pressure to people to NOT change anything. Come on, the bible was written more than 2000 years ago by a bunch of guys who were probably bored to hell. They invented a name for their mascotte called “god”. BTW: where was god during the disaster in Mindanao or was that a punishment by god? If it was a punishment by god then what do the 10 commandments mean? (Tho shall not kill).

    My country was in the old days overwhelmingly religious but over time that changed. Now churches are almost empty, church buildings are remodeled becoming office buildings or even condos. There is also a lot of sex-abuses done by high ranked church members (priests c.s.). And Mr. Ratzinger is not very liked because of his absurd statements about non-use of condoms in African countries where AIDS is high. Many people follow the roman church very critically while it seems in the Philippines all follow like lame ducks.

    • benign0 says:

      The Catholic Church and many organised religions in the Philippines continue to be very powerful, influential, and profitable institutions. And it is in their interests to maintain the status quo and the dismal state of enlightenment of the source of their power — the average Filipino.

      Because many Filipinos continue to be beholden to Church dogma, politicians who, as in most democracies, are elected by popular vote, will continue to pander to and, worse, defer to the influence of the Catholic Church. It is an interlocked matrix of tradition that Filipinos are imprisoned within.

      I’m not an expert in world history but if I recall right, enlightenment and a re-surgence of critical discourse that started in ancient Greece (which was lost to the Arabs during the Dark Ages) somehow began to bubble up from the grassroots in Europe sometime in the 15th Century. Still it took centuries before the scientific method triumphed over religious primitivism in European governance.

      Again, considering the unprecedented access to knowledge and technology enjoyed by a broad swath of Philippine society, religious mumbo-jumbo continues to lace much of Filipino thinking and conversation. I have no problem with religious faith. But I firmly believe that religious orientation and spirituality are personal things that should be left out of matters of state. Furthermore, I take issue with people who presume to be “blessed” by their god which begs the question (as you also pointed out) of why other people may not be as blessed, such as the thousands that died in the latest “natural” disaster to hit Mindanao. I elaborate on that sentiment of mine in this article.

      Indeed, much of the reason behind why change is slow in the Philippines despite the existence of obvious solutions to many of its problems can be traced to the influence of organised religion.

      • Robert Haighton says:

        Dear BenignO,

        the more I read on your website plus I am reading your e-book now, the more I am afraid I might get (en)trapped if I decide to leave my country and live in the Philippines with my partner.

        I have no right to ask her to stop being a catholic (and even if I would/could do, I am sure it will fail miserably. Can someone stop believing in God overnight?).

        My partner wants a kid (I dont. But lets assume she can convince me in a way) I dont have any faith in the Philippine educational system.
        I told my partner that if there will be a kid, that kid will not be baptised. I want the kid to determine its own beliefs when its older and has enough informatiom to decide for itself.

        My partner wants to marry. I dont see any added value to a wedding. For the outside world (read: her family)? Sorry, I dont live for them.

        My partner knows everything about my background, she knows everything about my parents and my 2 sisters. But I dont know how and what she communicates with her family. And that scares the hell out of me.

        Making decisions based on fear is never good and never right but what else can I do?
        Everybody tells me her mother is strict catholic, my partner tells me she (my partner) is an open-minded catholic.

        My partner was the one who told me that every pinay who had the choice between rice (sex and/or money) and religion would always choose for the rice (sex and/or money) (Sorry to say but it were her own words).

        • Carla says:

          I hope your gf realizes what she’s getting into if she decides to marry you…a mind blowing massive culture shock!

        • domo says:

          And I hope dumb flips like you realize how dysfunctional and anti-intellectual you are because you are part of this country’s problem. GRP talks solutions here while you talk nothing but people.

        • Carla says:

          What solution have you offered?? Tell me!!!When you have done nothing but put down Filipinos!

  • Don says:

    I find a strange inconsistency between what I have learned in Catholic when I was young, and what kids today learn in the same school.

    Back in the day, we had Belgian priests and nuns (and some really matronly German nuns). They actually offered simple, earthly solutions to biblical miracles (i.e. miracle of loaves and fishes was actually people sharing their packed lunches), and taught that economics mattered a lot on the marital bed (if you can’t feed them, don’t conceive them). Same European priests also said modernity and faith had no conflicts if there was honesty to both (i.e. Gregor Mendel).

    Today though, the native priests that replaced them preach differently, taking a very literal slant on miracles and preaching fire and brimstone on people who don’t agree with them. And what is this issue these priests have with Angry Birds?

    I miss the Belgians and the Germans, because they made things seem sensible. Or maybe it’s because they lacked that Latin/Malay passion for unreasonable things, and offered that Teutonic way of thinking things over before doing.

  • Robert Haighton says:

    Pls give 5 or maximum 10 words synonimous for the majority of the Philippine society?

    Rice, texting, church, family, kids, marriage, sharing, in-efficiency, tardi-ness (delaying), chaotic.

  • Datubato says:

    @Robert Haighton

    Poverty, Resilient (I’d give up right away with some of the crap they put up with.), Overpopulated (especially in the Metro), Corrupt, Blase, Family-Focused, Linguists (Bi-liguals are the norm, multi-linguals are a dime a dozen.), Inept (government officials, public transportation, etc.), Hospitable (The vast majority are, I stand by this.), Church-Lapdogs

    Final point on “Mano po,” to explain it as bluntly as I can, it’s the equivalent of the handshake for parents, grandfather, grandmother, aunts, uncles, baptismal godparents. The key is the age of the person. Does it mean you’re beholden to them? No. Should you “Mano” to someone younger than you? No. Should they “Mano” to you? Yes. If they are younger close relatives of your partner. Does it mean that you are not equals? Absolutely Not. You’re not being disrespected or being treated like shit. It’s a unique cultural gesture, like a Japanese bow, nothing more, nothing less.

    I don’t think the issue here is the “Mano” itself though, but your uncomfortable relationship with your partner’s family. And based on what you wrote here, it’s unfortunate that you happened to be dealing with right wing ultra-conservative Filipinos.

    It’s not fair to paint the entire country with wide brush strokes though. Have you even travelled to the other parts of the country? Or did your experience with your partner’s place soured your view that you think the country as a whole is trash? I don’t know how much you know about the Philippines, but keep in mind that you’re dealing with a country with an extremely diverse amount of culture and backgrounds, almost 90 languages and dialects, influences from all over Asia, etc. Five-percent of the country has English as their first language, 30% of the population has a solid grasp of English, and the vast majority of the population could communicate in English. I haven’t been to Cebu, but in Manila I was surprised that English films are not re-dubbed or subtitled. That’s also the reason why Koreans are there, to learn English. English is mandatory in Philippine schools, obviously the quality varies per school. My wife told me that the exclusive schools focus on English more than public schools. I don’t know about that decision though, as Korea’s educational system is highly praised around the world.

    Which leads me to the thing that irked me off the most. The Filipinos’ worship (especially the rich) of the English language. This one I don’t get. How can you place a foreign language in such a high place when you have a rich multitude of languages? Is this true BenignO? How’s your native language writing skills? And why is this site only written in English and not in a language of your own?

    As with the other critiques, please don’t call them servants, call them “Help,” my wife is Tagalog so they call them “Katulong” or literally a “Help.” The word servant has a debasing quality to it, and you should know, the first slaves brought to my country were bought from the Dutch. And with regards to Filipinos sending money from overseas, this is not unique to them. The firm I work for has a branch in Dubai, and you see people from Indonesia, India, Nigeria, do that too. It’s mostly the folks with poor families in their native country, and it’s not something to scoff at, but to me, admired. Those folks don’t earn much, they sacrifice quite a bit so they can send some financial support to their families. My wife’s family is relatively well-off though, so she doesn’t do it. With the yearly travel back to the Philippines, we do it too. I asked her about it, and she just says that she misses her family. I can’t blame her for that, we go to my parents place every Thanksgiving, the only difference is we don’t travel thousands of miles to go there. :) I suggest you visit the neighboring countries if you have the budget, so that you won’t feel like it’s a waste to travel that far for a simple visit.

    I’m sorry that you experienced nothing but awful things in the Philippines. It’s no secret that the country has a ton of problems. The church has a tight-grip on the everyday lives of Filipinos, the vast majority are Catholics, and 95% are Christian, it will not change in the forseeable future. Poverty is everywhere. Corrupt politicians are the norm. Amenities that we take for granted here in the west are lacking. But what country is perfect? I’m American, we are the world’s only superpower. Our GDP blows everyone out of the water. And yet we elected a barely-literate former governor, twice, as president.

    • Robert Haighton says:

      Dear Datubato,

      No I havent seen much of the Philippines during both visits. I think I have seen Metro Cebu City (including Mactan and not only bec of the airport), we visited Dumaguete City and Recuerdo Beach Resort in Catmon. The purpose of both visits was to see my partner in real and to see that what I experienced during all our chtas I would also see when I am there. So the focus was her/she (and me). During my first visit she took me by my hand and introduced me to her famiily (to soon for me but okay. That made everything very official while I know a relationship can end before it even started off) including all her god’s mothers, her dearest, closest friends. The 2nd visit I asked her for more exlusivity so that we really get to know each other better and along that see more of the Cebu island (the latter was not the focus).

      In a nutshell: I just want to be treated equally. If not then I will feel like a piece of shit

      What is the proverb? Dont do to others you wont want them to do to you? -> Do I need to say more?

      As far as languages are concerned: if this website would have been in Tagalog or Cebuano I would be lost and gone. No threat just a fact. I speak more than 2 languages (learned in school and by visiting other countries/cultures) but Tagalog isnt one of them.

      I dont consider myself to be a bastard but I think I do a lot to see my partner. If her parents just realize and appreciate that a bit more then maybe they could have had a more global vision/view (and greet one with a handshake, hug and/or kiss). Do we salute/greet people everyday when they stayed at our place/house with a handshake? No (at least I never did). But they wanted me to do the Mano every morning (after waking up) and every night (when going to bed). Wow, I felt like a robot. I still consider it hypocritical bec feeling no respect at all.

    • benign0 says:

      @Datubato re:

      Which leads me to the thing that irked me off the most. The Filipinos’ worship (especially the rich) of the English language. This one I don’t get. How can you place a foreign language in such a high place when you have a rich multitude of languages? Is this true BenignO? How’s your native language writing skills? And why is this site only written in English and not in a language of your own?

      I’m fluent in Tagalog and can write a decent Tagalog essay. I even translate the President’s speeches to English every now and then (see an example here).

      I have my own personal reasons why I prefer English and also believe that English would better serve Philippine society, much of which I articulate here.

      • Biz Doc says:

        to answer robert’s question earlier,

        it’s not about ‘gusto namin’ ang salita ng dayuhan, like english.

        pinoys today find that local tongues are insufficient to have meaningful discussions about plenty of things that matter. summon your newfound powers of writing & thinking in tagalog and tell us whether ‘easy’ and ‘simple’ have tagalog words that don’t mean the same thing. with english, you can tell the difference. no such distinction in tagalog

        • Robert Haighton says:

          @Biz Don,

          Sorry to say but I am illiterate for Tagalog and Cebuano. Hence, I do not know the meaning of “‘gusto namin’ and salita ng dayuhan”. Although sometimes when I see something in Facebook (written in Cebuano) I use but no such settings for the Cebuano language.

          What I do understand and what I was told is that Cebuano has NO grammar and have no word for words like “son” (akan lalaki = “child male” and akan babae = daughter = child female).

          Now even the dutch language is full of lean-words especially from english. The word “computer” (or PC) is english, we have some kind of dutch word for it but computer/PC is so “established” here. But we do have grammar in dutch language, maybe even very complicated grammar compared to english grammar.

          The fact that Cebuano (and maybe also Tagalog) has no specific grammar speaks volumes.

          (Monday 16 january 2012 at 4.45PM CET)

        • Robert Haighton says:

          Accordiing to

          ‘gusto namin’ ang salita ng dayuhan means “‘we want’ the word of foreign”.

    • Robert Haighton says:

      Mano po vs Equality
      I was raised by both my mom and dad with a sense of equality. Everybody is the same. Being lesbians, gays, hetero sexuals, old, young, black, white, yellow. But always treat them politely and with courtesy.

      Sending money back home
      If and when my partner and I want to live in my country she has to learn dutch and pass the exam (issued at the Dutch embassey in Manila). That would cost at least 2 (maybe even 3) plane trips from Cebu to Manila (and back). Who do you think has to pay for those plane trips? Then if everything is final she needs a plane to the Netherlands. Who do you think has to pay for that?
      And then every job she will get and every salary she will earn is not achieved by herself but merely by the fact that we decided to live in my country. If after she receives her first pay AND will send money back to her family I really will feel (ab)used. What was her own contribution in this entire package?

      In any normal Dutch-Dutch relationship no one will send money back home. Folks can help themselves. Can we have some quality living here? And why send money now when she is abroad while she never paid any dime to her parents before. No sorry sir but I would really feel (ab)used.

    • Francisco Servillon says:

      I like and love your write up about the Philippines and Her Pilipinos, and I am 1,000% agreeable and ‘dealable’ with same!! TYVM for your input to me and to Mr. Dutchman if i may say the same on his behalf.

      • Robert Haighton says:

        Francisco, not sure how to read your contribuition: either ironic or genuinely well meant.

        In case the latter: then thank you.

        All I did was writing how I see the Philippines based on my own personal experiences.

    • Francisco Servillon says:

      That’s pretty good understanding of the Philippines and her Pilipinos! Not so accurate but generally sensibly right!

      • Robert Haighton says:


        I was and am just observing wearing my western glasses. Biased, naieve and ignorant of me? Of course, in a way. I am just so surprised and shocked that we are so diagonal opposite different from each other. While I always thought poeple (around the world) would have more in common.

  • Robert Haighton says:

    Dear Datubato,

    thanks for your elaborate response. Appreciated very much.

    Maybe just maybe if I had known about the Philippines what I do know now maybe I would never have visited my partner. Its funny in a way. Before my first visit she and I talked in a lengthy way how and what to do to in Cebu City, even about the local food. But unfortunately I vomitted (literally) on the day of arrival. For that I just blame the plane journey (Amsterdam – Hong Kong – Cebu), visiting a new country, a new girl, a new culture, a new cuisine, a new climate. My 2nd visit was “clean” while my plane trip was even more pain staking (Amsterdam – Dubai – Manila – Cebu).

    I dont know about you but how often did you had friends over for more than 1 night and you and them shook hands every morning (after waking up) and again at night (when going to bed)? I never did that to my friends. But my partner insisted me to do the Mano each morning and each night (each and every day) to her parents. I felt like a robot feeling absolutely nothing. Is that what they want, thinking I am respecting them? Come on that is crap, and you know that. And if they had soem sense and gloal vision/view they would know that too. I am not a bastard. I did the Mano as ordered. But if that made her parents happy then wow. Id its a handshake to them to then let them handshake me back. Come on they dont deserve more respect than I do just bec they are older. What did they achieve in their lives more than I did? Becoming parents? Bec some frigging book ordered them to do so? BTW: to mock their Mano systen I did the Mano to someone who was younger than me. In the presence of the parents. “Hiya”? I dont care.

    Before my partner and I started to chat with each other (approx May 2010) I already chatted with a lot of other pinays coming from other parts of the Philippines. Before I met my partner I knew about the Delikadesa and the Mano po, I read the Wiki re Philippines (but that is not a bonus). My partner and I mainly focused ourselves in Metro Cebu City (including Mactan: Mactan Shrine) and we also visited Dumaguete City and a place up north Cebu island. Isnt it best to see my partner in her own surroundings/neighbourhood where she works and lives rather then seeing places she might never have visited before?

    In a nutshell: I want to be treated equally. Whats the proverb? Dont do to others that you dont want them to do to you?

    As far as languages are concerned: In my country we speak dutch (of course) but almost everything is focused on USA and UK as far as TV series, movies, economic powers and imports such as McD, Burger King, Toys R Us etc. There are also some dutch (Scientific) universities that will only be talking english during classes. If this website was in Tagalog or Cebuano I would be lost and gone. Now its a source of inspiration for me to gain a lot more information about the Philippines et al.

    My country is not perfect but compared to the Philippines my country is heaven living in total freedom with options to choose from. Compared to that I regard and see the Philippines as living inside a jail.

    • Datubato says:


      A “Mano” every day and night is excessive. Tell your partner that you’ll only do it once. You don’t have to shake hands every time too. The shaking of hands is not Filipino, so there are no specific rules to it. You know what, I’m getting a more complete picture of what you’re dealing with. My assumption was right, they seem to be narrow minded ultra-conservatives. I can tell you for a fact that my experience is not like yours. The “Mano” is not “ordered,” I do it because it’s unique in that part of the world and to be more sensitive about Filipino sensibilities. I also only do it once.

      My wife’s family is Catholic, they are somewhat religious, they go to church every Sunday though (complete disclosure, I’m an Atheist). You and your partner need to have some serious talk. And next time stay in a hotel and not in their home. Also, try to minimize contact with their family as much as you can. You have diametrically opposed values, and I’m sure none of you would bend. And I know religious ultra-conservatives, my home state is South Carolina, the state that started the civil war because they want to continue owning slaves, that’s why I don’t live there anymore.

      Regarding the implicit respect for the elderly, it’s not uniquely Filipino, but uniquely Asian. Too bad it’s actually disappearing. The number of senior homes in Asia is increasing, where before it was unthinkable that you would send your elderly mom or dad to live in a place like that. I get what you’re saying, but it’s not an affront to the idea of equality. I think you’re making a mountain out of a mole hill here, I bet if your experience had been more positive, more “equal,” if they were more open minded about western sensibilities, I don’t think you would be feeling this animosity with the Filipino culture. My wife is as Filipina as your partner, and my experience there as a whole has been positive.

      The sending of money back home is an issue I’d reserve for the both of you. Just remember, it’s not uniquely Filipino, it’s evident on all overseas workers with poor families back in their home country. That’s the key there, if they were poor, if they’re getting by just fine, then there’s absolutely no need. I totally get why that is unfair, especially when you will share both your income. Add to that fact that you are not really that fond of her family.

      Regarding languages, I’m not opposed to them using English, in fact it’s great that they are, and I’m amazed that everyone seems to know more than one language. My only issue is they put English on a higher pedestal than their rich multitude of languages. I read several of benign0’s articles regarding his own language, and I can’t believe he said some of those things with a straight face. It’s like back-stabbing your own culture and extremely hypocritical especially on a site that claims to be an intellectual voice for the Filipinos.

      The language that some Filipinos are fond off is my language, it’s American English, the English force fed upon them when my country colonized the Philippines (the name “Philippines,” my country gave that). The English forced on Native Americans to convert them from savages to “civilized people.” Unlike some Filipinos though, the Native Americans are proud of their languages, and would die for it. Putting a higher emphasis on English rather than putting it on equal footing is as unpatriotic and as un-Filipino as you can get. Now it all make sense that most Filipinos who were born here in the US don’t know a thing about their native language. It’s unfortunate that a subset of educated Filipinos look down on their own language. I think sociologists call this “colonial mentality,” and it’s a damn shame. One thing’s for sure though, when we have a kid, he/she will be bilingual, with English and Tagalog on equal footing.

      • Robert Haighton says:


        My partner’s dad still works in the city government and it seems he owns a few rice fields and a few lots; my partner’s mom recently retired as a state teacher; my partner’s only sibling is now in his 6-month training (boot camp) for the PNP.

        Both my parents died many years ago and I still have my 2 (older) sisters.

        Her parents and I once had an animated talk and evidently it was about religion. Mom strict religious, dad “neutral” (his own words) and me atheist. Can one be “neutral” as today there is a god and tomorrow he is gone? We would call that probably maybe a moderate or enlightened catholic. But dad always goes to church during saturday 8PM mass.

        My partner and I have had many serious talks/discussions/conversations. She knows my principels. Compromise my principels? In favour of religion? In favour of culture? In favour of what? Whats the compromise between wanting 5 kids and wanting 0 kids? Compromise for complaince sake? Come on, can we have some quality here?

        What are my principels?
        a) starting a relationship (they call it boyfriend/girlfriend); followed by
        b) living together
        If B) goes perfectly then why go for a marriage? As long as there is no way out (divorce) I feel like tied for good. Although I can always pack my bags and go back home.
        c) maybe a civil wedding
        d) maybe a kid
        1) both she and I will work for our earning
        2) we will both do the house hold chores
        3) I still want to travel bec I still want to see other parts of the world.

        My partner praises my intellect (IQ) where as she is a very emotional type. What I do miss in her is the useing of her senses. She graduated from San Jose – Recoletes but to be very honest I dont see any academic, scientific skills.

        I surely can bend re Mano but I will be doing something that is so empty to me and it should also be very empty for them, knowing that I dont actually respect them by doing the Mano. Who’s fooling who? Again you have to earn my respect as I have to earn yours (based on achievements and not based on age. Age is NOT an achievement, being a parent is NOT an achievement. The examples are no principels but facts of life).

        So because they are narrow-minded they wont have to take the first step and who is making a mountain out of a mole? At least I am able to see the view of both parties; will/can they?

        If my partner would be donating/sponsoring her parents even now for lets say PHP 1000 per month then she can continue doing that when she is in my country with the same amount. But I think the bank cost of transfering (Internet Banking) that amount of money will be probably much higher than the amount transfered.

        All I hope for is that my partner will not be put under pressure by her family to do religious things – fuck to pro-create – or – baptise a possible future kid. In my society such things never happen. Can we have some (e)quality here (in the relationship) pls?

        Saturday 7 January 2012 at 00.20AM Central European time)

        • Sphynx says:


          About her dad’s predicament, he goes to church because the mom says so. He is ‘neutral’ in the sense that he knows/is aware of the teaching but is really non-practicing, other than going to church with the family.

          In this case he is neutral because if suddenly Armageddon is upon us, he can suddenly and quickly shift gears out of neutral to a preferential non-neutral state.

          Hope that cleared it up.

          There are some/lots of people who view that non-alignment with the same/similar religion as a reason for seeing you differently. I am not a Christian (Catholic/Protestant) so I have had my fair share of “looks” and “the talk” of converting. Anyway, another issue for another time. =)

          About your dilemma.. Well you have to weigh it and what their merits are to you.

          Think about it, if she really wants to make a big deal of what is to you (and me) a trivial matter, then what else will she make a fuss about in the future and what else can she not learn to understand and just tell you to deal with it every single time.

          Sometimes, when they are irrational in one side, it tends to reflect on how they will respond to a similar instance with a different setting. What if her parents wronged you, who will she side with? Can you live with that knowing her decision?

          I know it paints a negative light on the person/relationship, but what I am trying to say is, if these major issues are really major dealbreakers for you, especially if they are compounded all together into one lump, then maybe it isn’t really meant to be with this girl.

          But if you think you can compromise and her as well, or if you can compromise (by yourself only) and live with it because you really don’t want to lose her, then it’s ok as well.

          It is entirely your decision and as long as it will make you happy and complete, then there shouldn’t be a problem, as you did it for something noble to you and you didn’t step on anyone in the process.

          Good luck!

        • americanincebu says:

          Marrying or a long term relationship will only work if there is a melding of cultures between yourself and your partner. Melding means bending. Likewise, marriage isn’t about a rational arrangement between two adults. Love is irrational, and its only in that where marriage can be successful. You are one of few europeans who dont want to seem to bend. I don’t think you are cut out to be married to anybody. Im sorry bubba, but thats how i genuinely feel. Man up and go back to the netherlands if you cant stomach your future wife’s culture. Yapping aboout it only adds lines to yours and BeningNos face. Find someone you genuinely care about… thats a start.

    • medy ramos says:

      In the Philippines we have so many dialects that’s why we have to use English even for us to understand each other. Also, speaking English is good for international exchange (remember you won’t have met her if she can’t communicate in English). A lot of foreigners want to marry Pinays because they just want a simple wife, who cares for the home, take care of the family and not demand much of his time and money. If these qualitiea are not enough for you and the differing culture is too much to handle then don’t marry her. I am a Pinay and I am married to an American and he loves that I possess the above qualities. However I have travelled extensively so I was never barefoot and pregnant only but have a career of my own. The trick is I keep the parts that work for us and then go beyond the ones that are restricting. Love is fine tuning, if both of you are not willing then this relationship is doomed. We are married 28 years and counting.

  • Robert Haighton says:


    Pls give me advice what to do in the future re the Mano po?
    I can do the Mano po to my partner’s parents, her god’s mother (BTW: is there never a god’s father?)and everybody who is (considerably) older than I am. But pls also be aware: doing the Mano means to me being or feeling not respectfull at all to those folks.

    So who is fooling who?

    During my first visit (Sept 2010) I (48) was more or less ordered (or maybe more politely: she insisted) to do the Mano by my partner (35). But no one – who was considerably younger than me – did it to me, only 2 kids (maybe 6 & 8). What I understood so far: the mano ‘has to be done’ to each and everyone who is older than I am. I dont know if it is that strict. But each and everyone I met who were younger than me, never did the Mano to me. Is it bec I am a foreigner?

    • Sphynx says:

      @ Robert Haighton

      Well, I don’t know the issue of Mano.

      I have rarely used mano even to my friends relatives, be it Filipino or Fil-Chi or Fil-(whatever).

      As far as I think, the mano shouldn’t be an issue. Perhaps here parents yes, if they are really that strict in the whole concept of it. But greeting the uncles or aunts with a handshake is not rude by any culture, especially at this day and age.

      Other than mano, there is also the “beso” which I really don’t do and avoid. It is not something I would care to do, and doing it just isn’t my cup of tea and I simply choose to opt out of it, even my closest friend do not ask this of me.

      And that should be something to note. Granted, it is good to be aware of someone’s culture and not be ignorant (which clearly you have done). It is an entirely different matter if she forced the issue on you.

      Since this is a relationship thing, then she should emphatize, how does would she feel if she were to “strictly observe” your cultures and act of them with no hesitation? How would she feel?

      It is not an issue of disrespect to the culture really, but an issue within the realms of the relationship the both of you have.

      Perhaps telling the parents up front with a handshake in a polite way like “I hope a handshake is okay as this is what we do in my part of the world.” It should be quid pro quo. They should know your end as well.

      Cheers and good luck! =)

      I know it’s kind of wierd maybe if you are getting some type of relationship advice from a commentor on a blog that is slightly on a tangent with the topic but hey, I feel for you and I wish you all the best.

      If you really are not comfortable with it, you should be upfront with it and she should also understand and explain it to her family. It is by no means disrespectful and you did try it. And you still respect them it is just the “expression” is different from how they regularly receive/perceive it and its presentation.

      • Robert Haighton says:


        I am totally unfamilair with Filipino word “Beso”, It looks a bit like the french “bisous” (kisses; kissing).

        Anyway all this (Mano) made me so nervous for my 2nd trip (last Nov 2011) that I totally freezed when meeting her parents again.

        During my first visit my partner insisted me doing the Mano to all oldies. I just think – although she doesnt live with her parents during weekdays – she still feels very obligated to them.
        I just have a very simple view on all this: My parents (and so/thus any parent) were so selfish to pro-create and I am just the result of that. It takes a lot of responsibility to have kids. To demand to be respected (from the parents off spring) for a selfish deed goes beyond my senses. I was never asked to be put on this planet, right. Or am I looking at it too clinical now? I will only pro-create when I am dead sure my kid(s) will have a better life then I ever had (even considering the threats of war, economic downfall, housing, fixed income, my health, my age).

        I do appreciate my partner’s parents, I dont hate them, I dont dis-like them. It just needs time to get used to each other, isnt that just normal?

        Sphynx, its okay. I am open for suggestion and advice. I am already in the process, since quite some time to find websites where I can find stuff where it is explained why the Filippinos are who they are and why the behave, think they way they do. When it is explained to me it will lead to understanding. Understanding will lead to (more) appreciation and finally I will get less shocked and less irritated/annoyed. But for now I can write my own book (or Blog or column) regarding all the incidents I encountered.

        I really think my partner is still very dependent on getting her parents “okay” about every (next) step. While in my country we can even do the exact opposite of what our parents would like us to do. But in most cases our parents will say “Hey, if that makes you happy, then go for it” We are not dependent on the “blessings” of our parents. Why? Because we were already raised (by them) to become – emotionally and otherwise – independent individuals. After high school – at the age of 18 – most kids will leave their parental home. They may only visit their parents for their birthdays or stay over to see friends.

        • Sphynx says:

          @Robert Haighton

          Beso is this thing they do (I think also done in other countries), where they go side to side cheek to cheek and “kiss”. It’s an example I can relate to with your mano issue so I mentioned it.

          Well you’re view on what it means it be a parent is really responsible. And I actually applaud that you have that mindset on you.

          But if you are still okay with trying to get used to giving “mano” to the parents, then good on you. It just puts them more in the context of being the more “traditional” type of parents in the Filipino context.

          As for views on parenting, well, sadly there is a sad twisted view of what it means to have a family here. It was actually shown in a few interviews throughout the course of my adult life (not consecutively). The interviewer asked the parents, why do you have so many children? (parents were living in poverty/below the poverty line)

          The answer/idea behind the statement of the parent wsa: “The more children we have increases our chances of lifting our quality of life in the future.” Kind of life increasing your odds in the lottery by having more bets on the line. Now, that’s just wrong.

          As for Philippine culture on seeking approval of family regarding the partner, well, that issue I believe is spawned from the idea of the Filipino extended family. The extent it extends is more than 2 generations and not just 1 family but more than. The idea of this type of family unit has its good and bad points but with the issue of approval, it is because the disapproval of the parents/patriarch/matriach will spread throughout the whole family. If it does, then she risks isolating herself from the family group or creating great tension which most are not willing to risk here. Some do, most don’t as choosing the easy path is a quicker decision in both risks and weight.

          About the issue of getting to know the parents, I believe that is normal. Not knowing someone and getting to meet them (especially parents/uncles/grandparents) takes time and sometimes can be awkward (depending on how they react to guests of the romantic nature).

        • Robert Haighton says:


          my partner is now 35 years, I am 48. I see myself as (too) old to still start a family. If my kid is 20 I will be 68 and by then he/she can call me granddad. I may be blind, deaf and in a wheelchair by then.
          My partner has to hurry up to have a kid. If she waits too long she might be phrone to get a kid with Down syndrome or worse. I dont want to waste my time being a dad of a kid with Down. I rather hope and wish that I am infertile then having a kid with Down or worse. So when it comes to kid(s) its all up to her. Plus – and not unimportant – my dad was not the dad I hoped for. No he was not an alcoholic nor drugs user. And no he never did hit on my mom. Lets just say I missed some “things” in my dad but also in my mom. Now I am just afraid and scared I might be a copy of my own dad. I dont want to put that to any kid of mine. My partner knows this.

          My parents marriage wasnt also not the best “in town”. So all in all I am skeptical about the institute marriage and pro-creating. Other than that my partner is a great woman, a bit too emotional. But hey arent all women emotional?

  • Robert Haighton says:


    What you adress, we call the harmonising modell. To try to please all. In my “world” thats un-doable. We have to make choices in life. We cant be “all buddies friends” just for the sake of it.

    This actually reminds me of the moment when she shocked me during my 2nd visit. We talked aboit all the next steps elaborately but then all of a sudden she disclosed the idea of marrying. Marrying out of compliance sake. Compliance sake means to me to “please all others”. Sorry but I come from a different world. I can never do such things. I am not born to please others. Harsh? Maybe. But I have to be honest to myself first and foremost and ask myself what will make me happy. Egoistic? Maybe. But for sure I know what will work for me and what not!

    BTW: her very first statement/argument about marriage and why was: “to legalize the fucking” (her exact own words) after that it became the compliance issue. Her initial argument made me actually a little bit angry. As if all the time she did things against her will/religion/tradition/culture. We communicate open with each other. I always told her to not do things against your will and if we go to fast then pls tell me. Its even not my style to put pressure on her. I am more the guy of “step by step”. Although intimacy is an integral part of a romantic – boyfriend/girlfriend – relationship in my world.

    “Beso” is done here but only with girls and women (just “touching cheeck to cheeck”). Its their way of greeting each other. Male friends meeting female friends will hug and kiss either once or twice or thrice on the cheeks.

    BTW: why is it almost impossible in the Philippines to show affection in public? Whenever I see 2 lovebirds in a park or street kissing each other it makes me soft. <y partner is very reluctant to show any affection to me in public. Every time when my partner and I go out (during day time or night time) it feels like I am going out with my sister. Do the Philippine society have an issue with affections in public?

    • Sphynx says:

      @Robert Haighton

      The reality of it being un-doable will still not suffice in the explanation for them as it is what is accustomed. Pleasing everybody else other than what you really want to do (in this context) is viewed as more appropriate by family and friends of the family (in general). As such, it is the culture of how the family works that drove it to such an extent.

      About the PDA thing, well, it is the ingrained imagine of “Maria Clara”. Some have of course a more westernized approach in showing their affections for their partner nowadays, but majority stick to the idea that PDA is bad and/or unacceptable. For me also, I avoid PDA as it is uncomfortable for those around me and if I myself were in front of someone engaging in PDA, I would find that an uncomfortable place to be. But that’s me.

      I do not view holding hands or a peck on the cheek/lips as PDA though, but that depends on what the person’s environment has “dictated” as PDA so I cannot answer that for you in detail.

      Hope that helps you a bit in understanding somethings. =)

      • Robert Haighton says:

        I will marry – if – when I am ready to take that step. I will let myself not be pushed by her (extended) family. If I am not ready or if I know I dont want to marry ever (regardless of who my partner is at that time) then I wont marry. Its as simple as that.

        re PDA:
        holding hands is the most basic form of PDA. But me living in my country and my partner living in Cebu AND not being able to visit each other each weekend I am sure I will kiss her french in the airport arrivals building. Wow pls come and visit Amsterdam Schiphol airport and you will see that scene almost maybe every minute. Pls visit my city on a sunny summer day and you will see youngsters kissing french daily. Like I said before, it makes me weak and soft in my knees. It never makes me feel embarrased. Its beautiful even to see.

        Like I stated before in another post: it feels like being in a jail (or Stone Ages) when being in the Philippines.

        When ever I see or hear a pinay/pinoy use the word FREEDOM, it makes me puke. They dont know what they are talking about.

        • Sphynx says:

          Most still do not have as liberal a view as you point out when it comes to a relationship here. Although some are Live-in Partners and I know legally they have a “protection” to the partner and the would be offsprings should issues of seperation arise. I don’t know if that law was passed though, I forgot.

          Re: PDA

          Well, that is the norm here, and I myself admit to the fact that anything above that would actually make me uncomfortable. PDA when not in plain sight however is something that is done more “regularly” where public view is hindered/obstructed. Which in turn ruins the whole “Maria Clara” image of the “Filipina woman” that is being emulated/conveyed. Defeats the purpose quite nicely, although not in other’s eyes. =)

          It is just engraved I would say as yes or no mostly. Black or White, no gray areas most of the time. And if gray areas are to be discussed, expect a shutting of the door about the discussion.

          You are more liberated in your expression of love as opposed to how it is expressed here by the majority. So if the two cultures clash, there really needs to be compromise and both your parts. A middle ground if you will. She can’t take the full leap and should it be expected of you.

          Hope all goes well and a middle ground is eventually found.

          Good luck in your quest for happiness/fulfillment in life. =)

        • Sphynx says:

          *there really needs to be a compromise on both your parts/ends.

          *she can’t take the full leap nor should it be expected of you.

          Sorry for the typos, my mind is outputting faster than my hands can keep up nowadays. I am losing my accuracy in my WPM.

  • Robert Haighton says:


    To add: In our western society its very likely that the girl will start the topic of marriage (almost comparable to the “proposal”). This is done after living together successfully for so many years. So if my partner is waiting till I will propose her then maybe she has to wait another 100 years. If and when the “living together” phase is going great and smoothly then I see no point in marrying. What is the added value? I cant divorce anyway. I dont need a marriage certificate as proof that she loves me or I love her.

    And just in case she thinks she will get my savings, assetts, real-estate and what not then she is wrong again. She contributed nothing to the accummulation of those.

    • Sphynx says:

      Marriage here (to be blunt and hopefully not rude) is also considered a safety net.

      Some families go as far as saying, “You’ve been together for so long, when are you getting married?”

      A typical view of a couple here is always to take the next step, which is marriage. This externally assures the public, that the union/relationship is secure, given that we have no divorce here and that (in concept) the newly formed family will be in good hands. That is what is generally accepted.

      The decision of living-in or moving-in together only rarely strikes the concept of friends/family members. Marriage is only delayed whilst the couple/family saves up for it. But in the meantime, some opt to be hold a civil ceremony and the marriage rites/ceremony simply becomes a formality that needs to be done in front of friends/family and the religious group they are aligned to.

      So rarely, do people here consider your options as it is outside of the box or “not in our mountain” (as some could jokingly respond to your idea of how a relationship functions/works without marriage)

      All relationship will/should lead to marriage, that is the norm here and I doubt that would change, especially that Church has also limited it to that option for the past 500 years or more.

      So I doubt a major shift would happen anytime soon and as long as the church holds its place in society, in terms of the relationship, specifically.

      • Robert Haighton says:


        they may ask me/us that question but they have to wait and see if it really will happen or not.

        As I am not religious (I am an atheist) I dont care what the church says. If I am not happy for sure my partner is also not happy (and probably also vice versa).

        You know what “secure” is in life? That one day I will die. The rest is a bonus and not foreseeable.

        I happen to notice your style of writing is very much towards others:
        “it assures the public”, “needs to be done”, “should lead to marriage”, “the norm here”. I miss the “I”-person (or my partner & I) in your statements. May I ask you bluntly? Do you have a mind of your own? Dear Mr Sphynx, a marriage is done by 2 people out of mutual consent, even a relationship starts with mutual consent. I didnt ask nobody if they were okay to start a relationship with my partner. I will not ask them if they are okay to end the relationship. Then why should I/we ask them about any next step? If they want me to marry July 2012 but I am not ready then for sure it will become a farce. Will they also order me to pro-create in August 2012?

        Like stated earlier in other posts: the Philippine society lives today as we – the dutch – did 50-60 years ago. I want to move on (progress, improve, evolve), I dont want to go back in time.

        If my way of living & thinking cant be coped up by my partner then she should end it. Maybe eventually I will end it when more things will surface that will choke & paralyze me.

  • Robert Haighton says:


    Why am I so liberated about “love”? Because that was exactly what I missed from my parents while growing up. There was no love. Maybe you now would expect me to be an animal and a bastard. Au contraire, I am a passionate, sweet, loving guy. I dont push. But damn sure I know what I want. I rather commit suicide then ending the same way. I just dont want to end up like my parents. Again all this is disclosed to my partner. Only now I am facing a cultural barriere re PDA. We actually dont care what other people might feel or think even more when we are in a “strange” city where nobody knows me. But my partner remains hesitant even in places nobody knows her and nobody can track (and trace) her down.

    Again it feels like walking in a park with my sister. How passionate can love be? How is love manifested? Goose bumps, butter flies? Did they ever feel and sense those things? Probably not. Or are they that brain washed, that conditioned (like the Pavlov dog)? Where are the standard normal human natures?

    • Robert Haighton says:


      Re: PDA
      You can look away from things you dont want to see. But pls dont forbid/prohibit it. Its like images or nudity. If you cant stand it then pls walk away. But again pls dont forbid for people who have no problem with it.

      We have public beaches where both genders can sun bathe and/or swim fully naked simultaneously. I never went there for the simple reason I live (too) far from the beach. And/But I dont condemn them.

      I know that things that are forbidden by – for example – the parents will still be done my their kids when the parents are not watching or not there. I am not that ignorant to think that kids will be brave all the time (goody goody two shoes). Kids want to explore. Its their nature. Adults are not much different.

      • Robert Haighton says:


        The more I look back at my 2 visits and the more I read about the Philippines the more I come to the conclusion that the Philippines is a “cold” country. It is only disguised by their always smile and their hospitality. But underneath/behind those smiles and hospitality hides a thick layer of demanding cultural rites where there is no room for personal freedom, no room for personal self-actualisation, no room to think different. Any person who even thinks opposite/different is already chained before he/she can even start how to achieve her/his personal dreams.

        It must be very paralyzing for someone who is and thinks different in the Philippines maybe even leading to becoming an outcast, being rejected by each and everyone. And because of that grooling picture everyone will keep on walking the same path/road. Hence nothing will change.

        I know a few dutch guys – married to Pinays – the age gap (20 years is not uncommon) is considerable, they will go back to the Philippines every possible holiday and she will send money to her family. She has no active hobby and with a little luck she will be working – as a cleaning lady or in a pie-factory.

        You said so eloquently that the reason why they all will visit the Philippines for holidays is bec she misses her family. What about Skype, what about MSN? And she didnt need to hook up with that foreigner.
        I wonder what that dutch guy and his pinay will talk about after coming back from work? The weather?

  • Robert Haighton says:

    Below you will find something that I found on a different website narrated/written by a American living in the Philippines.

    My comment to the part where it says:
    ** To understand a culture, a culture needs to be explained.
    Filipino culture and reasons behind the misunderstandings
    Thursday, May 5th, 2011 at 12:00 am

    Filipino culture often causes misunderstandings
    Filipino culture is Asian based and of course Philippines based. It goes deeper than thought. A couple of months ago I discovered the thoughts on two different culture styles known as “high context culture” vs “low context culture.” The term and observations were introduced by Edward T. Hall, and developed by anthropologist in his book “Beyond Culture.” You can buy it for less than $12 at Amazon with that link. I’d like to have it but it isn’t on Kindle so I won’t buy it. I’d really like to have it. Even though it came out in 1976 it seems very interesting. There is also a lot of free information on Wikipedia.

    High context versus low context culture
    High Context Culture – Found in less diverse localities or countries.
    Low Context Culture – Found in more diverse localities or countries.

    The Filipino culture is one of high context while the USA and most European countries are considered low context. The USA is the great melting pot of cultures. People from all over the world live there. There are huge difference in the culture of black people and white people though those differences have become much less dramatic in the last 10 years, they are still present.

    When people have similar backgrounds, they don’t need to say as much to make their selves understood. A high context culture will allow the culture to do more of their speaking.

    When a people have a huge diversity more needs to be said to ensure the same level of understanding.

    Filipino culture vs western culture
    Does your Filipina girlfriend seem secretive? Do you have to pry information out of her? Is it hard to get her to expand on what she means?
    I have found this to be very true. I observed this, even before I was actually living in the Philippines. I was sometimes frustrated with trying to understand things.
    Filipino often sees Americans as loud and obnoxious. Unfortunately, many times I see them the same way. We certainly are more outspoken and that includes myself too. I use to think it was the rebellious nature of Americans and it might be part of it. Also, Americans have a keen sense of not accepting and blindly following our political leaders. It seems to me that we are far less accepting of “Well, that’s just the way it is.”
    I’ve heard that term many times since I began living in the Philippines. I think Filipino culture being a high context one gives rise to the perception to Westerners that that Filipino are “highly compliant.” That was a term I heard from a foreigner living in the Philippines soon after I arrived.
    I somewhat accepted that but at times it just didn’t seem to apply at all. I think now it really just more of our own perceptions due to our lack of understanding what goes unsaid in Filipino culture.
    I also think difference leads some to question the honesty of Filipino. Now, I know there are some lying Filipino, trust me I know. Especially Filipina you will meet on the web. That’s not the Philippines, these are scamming Internet girls. It isn’t the same thing.

    Lovers quarrel
    Since the Filipina may leave much unsaid, it can and does lead the appearance of dishonesty. Now there are other reasons for their brevity which is often to avoid conflict. Sometimes it is they do not wish to bother their man with problems. And yes, sometimes it is just pure conniving lying. But don’t assume your loved one is lying to you when she leaves things out. It could be all of the reasons I’ve talked about above.
    The differences between Filipino culture and Western culture are vast and often lead to those in both cultures drawing inaccurate conclusions.
    If you want to be happy living in the Philippines it really behooves you to understand Filipino culture**.

    Related content:
    Serious negotiations in Filipino culture
    Silent suffering in the Philippines
    Filipino culture – Pasalubong
    Filipino culture
    Filipino culture – cave dwelling filipino

  • Robert Haighton says:

    @american in cebu,

    I think you are an intelligent guy probably a little bit too much in the Cebuano sun. Probably I am not cut out to marry anyone. BTW I like the word “bend”. Does that also apply to both parties or just to only one?

    • Robert Haighton says:

      @american in cebu,

      Thanks to the freedom of speech you are entitled to say what you think. But you have no idea who I am, not even based on what I disclosed myself here. I will always choose for a quality life. The way I see it the Phili culture contains no quality and no freedom.
      I even think its a very COLD culture (my partner addresses her younger brother with ‘dong’ and never by his 1st name), with things one HAS to do and is expected to do (by others). Have you ever seen a Pinay/Pinoy do something out of the ordinary? Something off the paved paths?
      Does an individual Pinay/Pinoy have a free will of her/his own? (No, bec that person is so conditioned and brain-washed)
      Can a pinoy/pinay object to his/her parents?

      And pls stop talking about weddings (if that is the only thing 2 people can have on their minds) bec marriage is not on top of my priority list, probably not even on the last spot of my priority list.

  • A Fine Jologs says:

    TAKEN FROM ILDA: “Discussing or talking about things is good because people get a chance to hear other points of view…”

    TAKEN FROM BENIGNO: “…All pertinent opinions are welcome here.”

    I really do hope that you stick with your words. The principle behind the freedom of expression IS NOT the freedom from things you do not want to hear. DO NOT CENSURE COMMENTS, which in your opinion, counter your standpoints. You should actually be delighted that opposing views enter the realm of your blog to ascertain the balancing of views!

  • Robert Haighton says:

    @Sphynx on January 8, 2012 at 4:26 am

    Pls allow me to continue a bit re: PDA.
    PDA is nothing else then when a person is so much in love with another person that that one wants to let the entire world know it. S/He may do that by screaming/shouting/yelling it of the roof of a building. The guy/gal is so happy being in love. S/He wants to share that with the world. Now because we cant climb every rooftop we have to use other ways. So, we will walk hand in hand, touch each other’s back; kiss; lift each other up; hug; embrace each other; flirt a little maybe. Ever heard of goose bumps and butterflies?; adrenaline pumping through your veins; being on a high?

    If no pinay is allowed to have those feelings (or simply dont even have such feelings & emotions), those emotions, then I really wonder how she is able to engage in any next step in the relationship. For me PDA is a kind of fore play. If the PDA sucks then for sure the sex life will also suck big time. Unfortunately, I was right in that latter field. Pinays have no (sexual) fantasy and imagination. I have to feed them with that. I can tell you that that is a big turn off.

    • Robert Haighton says:

      To add: Dear Sphynx, have you ever met, witnessed, heard of a pinay with libido? With sexual urges, sexual needs, wishes, sexual lust? No!!! Because her culture made sure those human feelings got killed. They are all indoctrinated, brain-washed, conditioned by the Maria Clara image (aka the Delikadesa) by their own culture and thus during their upbringing by their parents. So every time a pinay (or pinoy) uses the word love, it makes me sad because they dont know what they are talking about. They can maybe just write that 4 letter word, but for sure they cant feel and sense it. That is poor & and that is emotional poverty. Thats why all women in beaches are fully dressed while boys are there in their swimming trunks. They portray no feminity at all. So now I have covered both aspects of love, the physical (sex) and the emotional (PDA and others). Both are sedated and killed. That is cold, Mr. Sphynx. How do you feel making love with a corpse, a machine, a robot?

      And for exactly this the national government gives a rat’s ass about their own flock. Their flock is just busy with surviving and not with living, really genuinely living. So even what Benign0 c.s. is doing here can be stopped immediately. It serves no purpose. Its the culture that will make that no change is imminent. And the flock doesnt give a rat’s ass about the government. The flock is too busy with supporting their own family instead of becoming more an individualistic society. Only with an individualistic society people can grow to their individual real potential. The current culture will never promote/encourage individual potential and for sure the individual is too scared to develop its potential. Then it wil be casted out of the in-group. With its current culture not many can afford it to be out casted.

      Wednesday 25 January 2012 at 08.53PM dutch time

  • nadnad says:

    Naging parasitiko na ang website na ito. Hindi naman ito nakakatulong, nakakalala pa nr problema. Sinisiraan ng mga eksaheradang pahayag dito ang bansang Pilipinas hindi lamang sa mga Pilipino kundi lalo na sa mga dayuhan. Bakit hindi gawing Tagalog ang mga pahayag upang ang mga Pilipino lamang ang makabasa, hindi naman lahat ng Pilipino ay marunong bumasa ng Ingles pero halos lahat ay nakakabasa ng Tagalog. Sa pangalan pa lang ng website, makikita na natin na ang nais nito ay matauhan ang mga Pilipino pero nagiging negatibo ang epekto dahil ito ay nakasulat sa wikang Ingles. Kung sa tingin ninyo ay maganda ang ginagawa ninyo para lumikha ng kaalaman at pagmumulat sa gobyerno, sa tingin ko, matagal na nilang alam yan, at hindi naman ganun kadali solusyunan ang mga ito. Madali manlait, mahirap tanggapin sa parte ng nilalait, pero kung alam naman ng nilalait ang sasabihin ng nanlalait sa kanya, wala ng kwenta pa ang papel ng nanlalait. Hindi ba natin alam bilang mga Pilipino ang ating pagkukulang, kahinaan o kasamaan? Malabo. Imposibleng hindi natin ito alam dahil nandito tayo sa Pilipinas at araw-araw natin kasalamuha ang masasamang bagay na sinasabi dito sa website na ito. Hindi naman masama na magpaalala, wag lang sana ito makakasama sa imahe ng bansa na pilit nating pinapaganda na pilit namang sinisira ng iba.

    • DaidoKatsumi says:

      “If someone wants to educated Filipinos, they will take it as an insult to their intelligence.”

      Sorry, but YOU are the parasite.

    • Ilda says:

      Hey nadnad

      Your argument is flawed. Do major media networks like the and GMA publish their articles in Tagalog? The answer is NO. Does Conrado de Quiros or Raissa Robles publish his or her articles in Tagalog? The answer is still NO.

      So why do you insist that we publish our articles in Tagalog? Even if we publish our articles in Tagalog, news about our country like man-made disasters and our public servant’s shenanigans including Noynoying, will still reach the international media. It’s better that we also publish our own interpretation of why things really happen in the country lest the foreigners think that everyone in the country doesn’t use their head.

      • shipuden technique says:

        Sa tingin ko mali kayo pareho.
        Una, Dapat may bersyong tagalog itong sinusulat ng GRP o Correct Phil para maunawaan lalo ng mga Pilipino lalo na sa mga ordinaryong mamamayan tungkol sa adhikain niyo.
        Pangalawa, sang-ayon ako sa layunin ng CoRRect Philippines at ng GRP, Kaya lang madami pa kayong dapat ayusin, tulad ng paghingi ng supporta mula sa kumunidad ng mga negosyante, kuminidad ng mga unibersidad sa Pilipinas, mula sa masang pilipino at sa mga makapangyarihang tao sa pulitika na nakabase saanman sa bansa.

        Wala pa akong nakikitang galaw na maaayus mula sa grupo niyo. Di kayo maramdaman ng mayoryang pilipino.

        At isa pa, dapat niyong isipin karamihan ng mga pilipino hindi nila gusto tong CHACHA.

        Anu ba ang mga dahilan bakit hindi nila gusto ito?

        una. bandwagon effect bias.
        pangalawa. kamangmangan.
        pangatlo. kulang sa malinaw na pagpapaliwanag ukol sa “HINDI DIREKTANG PAGBOTO SA GUSTO NILANG IBOTO” at dito pa lang iniisip nila na hindi na ito demokrasya.
        pangapat. Paulit-ulit na pagpapalit palit ng konstitusyon sa pilipinas mula sa taong 1935, parang nakakasawa na tong ginagawa natin, na hindi natin to magawa ng maayus ang sistemang pamamahala sa bansa.

        Di natin kelangan magsalita sa pamamagitan ng Ingles o gumawa ng kung anu-anung kaartehan para matugunan ang layunin na mapaunlad ang bansa.

        Sana gawa to ng simple at nararapat, na magkaron ng resulta sa mas lalong panahon.

        yun lang


    • santi says:

      you are quite wrong and you are at the wrong site for posting comments such as yours nadnad. this site is meant to educate us Filipinos of how it is here in our own country because sadly, being told what our eyes behold, is still necessary. the comments/insights here are not meant to malign our country. if someone takes it that way, then there is something wrong with that person. i have read all comments here and i can say that it hasn’t affected me in a negative way but rather, it has opened my eyes to certain truths that i have not realized until now.

      again, my comment is in response to your question, “Hindi ba natin alam bilang mga Pilipino ang ating pagkukulang, kahinaan o kasamaan?”. we do know but either easily forget or do nothing. hearing them over and over again from an OBJECTIVE point of view might just push some of us into action.

      do not go to this site if you don’t appreciate. why read the comments here if they hurt you so badly. just shut your eyes and deafen your ears because as you claim, you already know everything that is wrong with our country.

    • andres says:

      The truth sometimes hurt but you’ll just have to suck it up. When foreigners, and other Filipinos, talk bad about the Philippines it is for good reason. Perhaps it’s time the Philippines and its people realize that and don’t take it personally. This is the reason why Filipinos are call “Makapal, Manipis.” They pretend to be over-sensitive over comments towards, but are actually strong-willed, know what they want, and go after them without caring about anything but themselves.

  • stickinthemud says:

    @Robert Haighton. I found your observations about the Philippines quite interesting, particularly re: Filipinas. I’m a Filipina married to a European. I showed PDA, wore a bikini, an atheist, was not obliged to send money back home, spoke my mind when I didn’t agree with my parents. Outcome: I’m a pariah. I totally agree with your views. I guess I’m not as Filipina after all.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hanga ako sa mga post niyo! Maganda, may ibubuga. Buti pa kayo hindi pa sumusuko gisingin ang Pilipinas kasi ako inabandona ko na ang lupang aking sinilangan. Wala na. Wala rin naman mangyayari e. Kasi kahit ung mga tv stations na akala ko kakampi ko sa paglaban sa corruption ay yun pala mga corrupt din. Wala nang katotohanan sa Pilipinas, sarado na rin ang isip ng mga tao, AYAW NILANG TUMANGGAP NG PAG BABAGO AYAW MAG TIIS kaya ayun inabuso nang inabuso … Ngayon hindi ko na alam kung ano pa kahahantungan ng bansa niyo… Oo “NIYO”.

  • Kurt Rama says:


    I have stumbled upon your blog by accident (as I was browsing the net for some commentaries regarding the Corona Impeachment trial).

    And to say the least, I was impressed. Impressed in the clarity in which people here demonstrated as such.

    Keep up the good work. In this age and society, where ignorance and mediocity is fastly becoming the norm, you guys are a breath of fresh air.



  • Pancho says:

    The Philippines needs to get back to it’s ancestral mindset. By doing that, revolution needs to happen. The abolishment of the church for one, the abolishment of the oligarchy, strong nationalism, one national language, expunge imperial influence (the US), reduce population through child reduction policy programs, strong education, nationalize land and take back property from foreign thieves, a right of return for overseas born Filipinos to help build back the country, etc. Complete eradication of all colonial influence. Man, my revolution would be bloody.

  • FBautista says:

    Your soundbites are extremely mundane, noisy, lack critical thinking, and pseudo intellectual gobbledygook.

    There are no “articulate groundbreaking and insightful ideas” to be found on this website.

    • Gogs says:

      God bless you sir, and your children and your children’s children. Stay well.

    • leahpar32 says:

      I agree, all I see in this site are pseudo-intellectuals who can’t and dosen’t accept ideas contrary to theirs. In other words, closed-minded high-handed people, a far cry from the critical minded people they are trying to portray themselves to be. Never in this site did I see them concede a point to anyone with a different opinion to theirs, which raises lots of red flags. Too much bashing Filipino culture. Too much belittling other Filipinos (as if they are not Filipinos, or maybe they think they are super-Filipinos ala super-saiyan? Elitist much?) and too little constructive criticism/solutions suggested for the “problems” presented.

      • Daido Katsumi says:


        If there is a definition of ‘close-minded high-handed’ people, it’s YOU.

        Onion-skinned people are soooooooo annoying. And we’re bashing the Filipino DYSFUNCTIONAL culture, not Filipino culture itself.

        TROLL HARDER, pretender. 😛

  • Fred says:

    I find it hard to believe that Mr Robert hateon
    has discovered so much about the Philippines after only 2 visits!
    I am also a “European” (Not proud to be) and find some of his so called observations very offensive personally.
    If indeed the European model is so superior then why is Europe facing economic and social calamity now?
    Perhaps Mr Hateon can explain that if indeed he can get over any denial issues about just how perfect his country is first!
    If Dutch women are so much more suitable then Filipino women to a Dutch man then why travel thousands of miles to a dysfunctional culture, 3rd world country in order to meet and perhaps marry one?
    Im sorry,but it just doesn’t add up.. There really must be issues with Mr Hayton that even Dutch women find distasteful. Perhaps he is just not that good looking? Which is it Bob?
    To the poor girl I say this. Run Forest…Run!!
    In England we are taught to respect our elders.This respect is not required to be earned and is a definite given and a right.. Over time it can be lost or taken away by the respectee.
    I have been to Holland a few times when I was a teenager when we heard about your cafe`s and Marijuana smoking establishments. I spent most of my time there completely stoned and my memory of your place and culture is hazy to this day.
    For this reason I will not make any further comments in regard the place,culture or people .
    I am not here to disagree with everything that I read on this website,indeed, I agree with much of it but you sir are an absolute Cretin.
    See.. I told you respect can be lost in my culture!!

    • Robert Haighton says:

      Mr. Fred,

      You have the right to think your way. My observations are not based on 2 visits only but also what I read here and there and what I am told by other pinoys and pinays.

      I understand that 2 countries are and will be different in their behaviors, traits, thinking, traditions and all that.

      All I have said and stated is that the Philippines compared to the Netherlands (or compared to me) is diagonal opposite different. They still think and live the way we – Dutch – lived 50, 60, 70 years ago.

      When I met my partner, I was not looking for someone who would clean my house, cook for me and treat her like a slave. I was lookiing for my equal (in all or most aspects) as if she was a dutch woman.

      Respect is something that has to be earned and deserved, Its not granted. You may think differently about that. Thats okay with me. We all are entitled to have our own opinions.

      If you cant stand the heat, leave the litchen.

    • Robert Haighton says:

      If you cant stand the heat, leave the kitchen.

    • Eve says:

      Couldn’t agree more with your statements. May the Philippines stay as sweet as it is. We love it here and don’t want to live in Europe. We love the culture and the people. ‘Foreigners’ have a lot to learn. This country belongs to the Filipinos, we are all just ‘visitors’ here and who are we to tell them how they should run their lives and their country!!

  • Fred says:

    That sounds like the kind of advice that you should heed for yourself Mr H..

    I have been experiencing Filipino culture for 33 years so I can see through your naivete.
    Im only warming up here,so bring it on if you wish.
    Im secretly wishing that you are for real and not merely a local sock puppet! lol.

  • Fred says:

    All I have said and stated is that the Philippines compared to the Netherlands (or compared to me) is diagonal opposite different. They still think and live the way we – Dutch – lived 50, 60, 70 years ago.

    That is very true..In many ways it is VERY different and is at least 80/100 years behind the general development in comparison to the country in which I was born..

    For me,that is the main attraction!

    my Grandmother always told me of just how happy she was when she was a child and growing up,being alive 50 years before I was born.
    Back then,I listened to her intensely and have often thought that I was born in the wrong era..
    I solved all that by deciding to live in the Philippines with my wife and 2 kids in an absolutely fantastic community here in the Visaya region..
    I have watched with utter dismay and sadness at the economic and social destruction of my country since it decided to join the common market and then ultimately a member of the European “Union” with our laws being dictated from Brussels!! What a crock of shit!!
    The Filipinos would never put up with that..They would be in rebellion for crying out loud!!

    I used to moan and groan about the unfairness of the Filipino constitution and family laws that prevent foreigners(even married ones with families) owning a half share in land purchased within marital union..Also the difficulties of foreign nationals wishing to become dual citizens etc.. A right that our spouses have been allowed in European countries.
    But I no longer feel that way..

    After witnessing the way that indigenous Europeans are now being treated in their homelands and with the new open border policies allowing poverty stricken Europeans to work and claim British benefits,I for one am glad we made the decision to get out whilst the going was good…

    Sad but true.

    If you wish to discuss the degradation of social culture and how we are being watched by CCTV cameras just about everywhere in Europe then please…Lets go,
    just dont suggest that Filipino`s should imitate the European model!!

    Where would I go to escape to then?

    • Robert Haighton says:


      Most dutch older people will say and do say: “when we were young, everything was better”. I cant compare for the simple fact that I wasnt there yet. What I do know is that the world cahnged and still changes (rat race?).

      I also dont like all those cameras around me. But I have nothing to hide. So if I am on one of those cameras then so be it.

      I am used to a lot of freedom (having an aweful lot of choices to choose from) here in the Netherlands and what I feel, sense and think is that the Philippines (again compared to the Netherlands) is like living in a cage, being shackled (chained), in a jail.

      Maybe I am able to bypass all those written and unwritten Phili laws, regulations, rules and traditions but I will worry most about my future kid, raising her in the Philippines. If a kid is eminent I will give her a Dutch/European upbringing. But I am afraid then that she will become an outcast in the Philippines (being too liberated, too free, too open-minded, too open, too critical).

      I dont have to remind you of that STC (St Theresa’s College, Cebu Ciy) incident, do I? But everybody (well almost everybody) in the Netherlands would laugh at such an incident. Such incidents make me scared while raising my own future daughter/son in the Philippines.

      • C. Spud says:

        I found that your views regarding us (filipinos) are very blunt and even more disrespectfull of our cultures. Our Country is consist of 7107 island and visiting the philippines only twice,probably in a few islands only will not suffice to comment on what your negative views had seen so far. My country may not be a perfect place as it has some flaws as well as other countries including yours but, I say youre not seeing the beauty of it through your own opinion I guess the proverb’ saying “We dont see things as they are, we see them as we are ” is just a remarkable truth! You have come to a country with a good christianity relegion so, respect that!

        • Robert Haighton says:

          Mr/Mrs./Ms. C. Spud,

          Whether my views are blunt, harsh and/or disrespectfull is not important. The question is: are my views true or not?

          And because you are not denying my views in your response, I can only assume they are true.

          In my country, christianity also exists and is practised. Respect is a huge, big word to use. I accept it as a fact that its there.

  • grahamw says:

    Fred, as a fellow Brit, also with many years experience of LIVING in the Philippines I have to agree with all you’ve said here.

    How this Dutch person can hope to have any understanding of Filipino culture after his 2 visits and (quote) ‘also what I read here and there and what I am told by other pinoys and pinays’is simply laughable.

  • C. Spud says:

    I found that your views regarding us (filipinos) are very blunt and even more disrespectfull of our cultures. Our Country is consist of 7107 island and visiting the philippines only twice,probably in a few islands only will not suffice to comment on what your negative views had seen so far. My country may not be a perfect place as it has some flaws as well as other countries including yours but, I say youre not seeing the beauty of it through your own opinion I guess the proverb’ saying “We dont see things as they are, we see them as we are ” is just a remarkable truth! You have come to a country with a good christianity relegion so, respect that!

  • Fred says:

    Quote.I am for real and god is my witness./quote

    Mr H.

    I thought you said that you were an Atheist?
    What are you really Bob?

    • Robert Haighton says:

      Is it important to you, what I am?

      But I will disclose it to you as it seems so important to you: I am a convinced atheist since birth.

  • grahamw says:

    Well Mr. Haighton,

    After having read your ramblings on here and given them careful conideration, I have now come to the conclusion that you are a person with some sort of ‘personality problem’.

    • Libertas says:

      Making constant comparisons between philippines and holland seems a bit futile. It is apples and pears. That is accepted, but all the time!!!

      If you simply want to promote/boost holland pride at the philippines expense then it does not achieve a great deal, and also whilst you are perfectly entitled to be an atheist ( i am as well), it seems to be your main agenda/focus, and underpins some distorted thinking/logic.

      I am not sure what your main points are, unless your partner does not stimulate you enough, and you just like being argumentative and want chatmates, or are feeling frustrated.

      Clearly you are better off in holland and have no intention of moving – the culture shock would be too much, – so why the obsession with philippines, beyond a curiosity because your girlfriend is filipina.

      If you want to learn – and there is little credibility without experience – read and research and live here but do not prejudge on little/no experience, then you might have something meaningful to say.

      Confusing when your sister is your mother, and your brother is your lover. Freud would have had a field day in holland.

      P.s. peace and free love. Send me your daughters phone number.

      • Robert Haighton says:


        You may call me ignorant and sometime naive. I just didnt think – before hand – that the differences were so huge and that many.

        I sometimes do lay out/explain (here in GRP) how we do things here in my country. I dont want to judge but bottomline: I do think my country is more relaxed about things and that makes living a lot easier, whether one is gay, lesbian, single, virgin, widowed or heterosexual.

        I just wonder why it has to be so complicated for themselves. I will bypass all those laws, regulations, rules and traditions (written & unwritten) with my partner bec she said many times she loves the dutch/european culture much more. And her brother told me the same.

        • Libertas says:

          I didn’t call you ignorant.
          I simply questioned your world view, and whether you represent the other side of the very same coin which you criticise. A product of your own culture to such an extent that your view and perspective on other cultures always starts with a closed and critical mind.
          It sounds like the result of a narrow life – ? Small town/village, not a global traveller or corporate man
          No doubt a farmer – that would explain a lot!!
          Try getting a russian or cuban girlfriend next.

    • Robert Haighton says:

      I will ask my GP (general practionior).

  • Robert Haighton says:


    I just made a mistake thinking that most people on this planet would think and feel more the same. That is not the case as it turned out. My naive mistake.

    The people of the Philippines should never change their behavior bec I like to see that happen. All I think is that if they change their behavior in a more modern way, it will make their own lives more comfortable. Thats all.

    Reading all the Blogs here, I dont see that happen very fast. Not my loss. Far from it, to be my loss.

    And even without reading those Blogs here, I cant imagine it will happen within within one century.

    And let me remind you of the fact, The Netherlands lived almost the same way as the Philippines do today. Only that was 60-70 years ago for us.

    I am trying to show my partner how we live and how she can live as well. For the rest, its up to her what she wants. I am not gonna force her into something she doesnt want.

  • Robert Haighton says:


    btw: I am not a farmer/peasant. Born in Amsterdam. And there is nothing wrong with Russian women. They too want to get away from their Russian guys. They are fed up of getting beaten up and the guys being drunk all the time (wodka).

  • Fred says:

    [quote]btw: I am not a farmer/peasant.[/quote]

    And God is his witness!!


    Excellent posts!!..
    You have filled in the blanks quite nicely!!

  • Dan says:

    I’ve read most of the comments on here and I somewhat agree to an extent that the Philippines has a “dysfunctional” government, therefore is considered a dysfunctional country and only by means of change can come to the standards of what the world currently calls a “First World Country.” But I don’t think bagging on it’s Religion and Culture will change it at all.

    I am a Filipino-Canadian, and being born and growing up in Canada I had that “outsiders” perspective of the Philippines and of Canada as well because at first glance I was considered an outsider here as well. Going back to the Philippines several times made me realize how different Philippines and Canada are and while growing up, I wanted the Philippines to be just like Canada. I wanted it to change because Canada was what I was used to. Growing up in Canada made me arrogant towards the Philippines because Canada was considered a first world country (yes, I know now it’s shameful to think like that), but, you know what, I believe that arrogance is the sort of mentality the colonists had when they were colonizing the Philippines and after reading your comments, Robert, is what I seemed to sense in them. Of course, I could be wrong, after all I don’t personally know you, I only know of you from what you’ve written here. But, you also seem like a nice guy who’s just trying to understand your girlfriend’s Country. Hopefully, you will be able to travel to places other than Metro Manila and get to know the Philippines more than what is in Manila and written on the news. Even my mother would rather live in the Visayas Region than in Luzon, Metro Manila, hahaha.

    Anyways, when I realized my arrogant thoughts, I’ve been able to come to terms with the Philippines or at least the part where my family lives, I’m even trying to learn Tagalog and Illongo now.

    Anyways, I wish you good luck with whatever you choose!

    • Robert Haighton says:


      I have only been to NAIA (for reasons of transit). I always was and am in Cebu. I would never use the word “dysfunctional”. I would only say that the Philippines (as I know and see it) compared to my own country, differs a great deal from each other. There were/are things that annoyed and iritated me (the inefficiency of the public transport in Cebu, to name just one) but all I could and can do is accept the things how they are going. Am I a priviliged guy living with comfortable transport mechanisms? I dont see it that way. After WW2 my parents generation fought for new elan/zest, after first rebuilding the destroyed cities. What I miss in the Philippines is fighting for a better environment, for a better, more efficient transport system. A more efficient transport system will benefit the entire population. People will be home earlier and can leave home later to get to work. It seems to me, they dont care about that.

      • Mharc says:

        Well Mr.Haighton, let me enlighten you a little bit. Though first off, I want to agree with you. Yes, the government is dysfunctional. Yes the transport is shit. When travelling, you always have to consider “traffic” to your schedule. I know because I’m from the Philippines (and a proud Filipino). It’s not that “they don’t care about that”.

        It’s just that, it’s one of the last things that “they” would think about and try to figure out. Most Filipinos are living by the month, some even by the week. By that I mean, wage comes in then immediately goes out (because of bills. electricity, water, rent, food, transport etc.). Most people have to the “sari-sari store” and put noodles and canned foods on a “tab”. Then pay for it later when they get their wage.

        So what I am trying to say is that, most Filipinos are too busy trying to figure out how to get enough income to eat/live another day/week/month/year. Figuring out how to have a better transportation mechanic for the whole country just doesn’t go through their heads every day.

        This is a likely thing they think of when they’re in a Bus/Jeepney/LRT or whatever. “Am I gonna be late?”
        “Did I do enough O.T. (Over Time) work?”
        “Is my wallet still in my pocket?”
        “Why is it so hot in here?”
        “Is the aircon on?”
        “Ohh I wish there isn’t a traffic jam on my next stop when I catch a Jeep!”

        A whole lot of other stuff. So yeah, it’s not that they don’t care. It’s just that they really have a lot more to think of and worry about.

        Cheers for wanting better things for the Philippines though. I know you’re probably just a straight up and honest guy. Just be sensitive and pick your words next time. :) have a good day.

  • Mharc says:


    See here we go again. Don’t say “the Philippines”.. If you go back to my comment before. I stated “Most Filipinos”.. keyword “most”.. but not all.. That’s why I said pick your words. haha And we were only talking about the transportation right?? I wasn’t describing a typical Filipinos thought for the whole day. They also think about they’re security and family. That’s why they go to work and think about their wage. They need to feed their children or relatives.

    They have to go to school. They have to be safe, because they love them.

    I only described their thoughts during travelling, since we were talking about transportation.

    Imagine worrying about your children/s’ safety, your food, your bills, your own health and keeping your work, pretty much everyday. Imagine if you were in that position where you have to worry almost every little thing in your life. How often do you reckon would you think about solving the transportation problem in the Philippines??

    My point was, there’s way too many things that a typical Filipino would worry about and “it’s one of the last things that “they” would think about and try to figure out.” (by it I meant solving the transportation chaos happening).

    Also stop Generalizing my friend. have a good day Robert. :)

    • Robert Haighton says:


      Maybe my statement doesnt qualify to the rules of statistics (N (= the number of people in the random survey) must be high enough to be valid and representative for a population) but I spoke and saw/see too many Filippinos (male & female) who do qualify for my remarks/statements. And by the way, it all comes down to “who the shoe fits” doesnt it?

      I cant speak on behalf of all of them but if I were in their shoes, I would certainly stop procreating and maybe even consider suicide. What you are talking about is not living. You are talking about surviving. Surviving does not equal living.

      Why stop procreating? Because I would want to give my kids a better future (in all aspects. Emotionally, financially, efficieny-wise etc) than I had/have. What is the use to procreate knowing that my kids will have the same lame, sassy, boring life as me? Thats not progress, my friend!!!!!! That is standing still. And standing still is going back(wards), knowing that the rest of the world will/does evolve, improve and progress.

      Like that incident/story about that young woman who comitted suicide a few months ago. She had to carry a heavy burden bec she was designated to support her family. That kind of pressure is sick. But thats the price kids pay in the Philippines. Oh sorry, many kids have to pay bec that is part of the Philippimne culture (to support the family). Kids (sons & daughters) are not encouraged to go for their own happiness, their own success and strive their own personal individual goals in life. The abnormality becomes the norm(ality) in the Philippines. A few years ago, I spoke to a Philippine woman who had only one wish. And that was to get pregnant so that she (the woman) would be looked after when she is old. Wow, how selfish. And what about the future kid? Nobody cares.

      To whom it may concern:
      – If you cant give your kids a better, brighter future than pls stop procreating.
      – Stop thinking in terms of “family”, start thinking in terms of the individual and the quality she/he has. And encourage that quality.
      – Life doesnt start with having a family
      – Happiness does not come from a marriage or having kids. Happiness should already be inside you.
      – Pls go for quality in life, for facts, equality, “knowledge is power” (and not “to know too much, can be dangerous”) and criticism.

      Thank you. Amen

      Cheers, Mharc
      have a great and fantastic weekend!!!!!!!

  • Mharc says:

    wow. you sounded aggressive. or maybe that was just in my head.

    How did we even get to this subject? I thought we were really just talking about the transportation problem? wtf??

    To be honest, maybe you misunderstood that lady that you talked to. I don’t know what she sounded like, I don’t know if she was well spoken in English. But in the Philippines, Family does comes first. Sorry for not having the same mentality as yours, but we do love taking care of our elders when they get very old.

    That’s our way of paying them back to what they have done for us. Obviously that goes for those parents who are taking care or took care of their children very well.
    I know what my parents and grand parents have done for me and my brothers as we were growing up. They gave us food when we didn’t had any, they both us medicine and took care of us when we were sick. Taught us between what’s good and evil. Taught us a lot about giving and enjoying that feeling of being able to be helpful to others.

    And to be honest with you, I will never ever put my parents in a Nursing home/Aged care/Home for the aged. Especially if I know I’m still capable of taking care of them myself.

    Maybe you saw that as her being selfish, but if you think about it. Wouldn’t you like your kids to take care of you when you’re old? Wouldn’t it be nice to have those people you took care of, now take care of you??
    Wouldn’t it be nice to feel loved that way?

    Sorry to hear about that woman who took her own life because of pressure. But that is not always the case. A lot of parents does sacrifice for their kids too. Some even sold their own land and borrow money from someone else just for their kids to go abroad and hopefully have a better future.
    Well on behalf of most Filipinos, sorry if they don’t think the same way you do.
    And those who procreate without thinking about the future of their children, I hope it stops too.
    That’s why I educate my own cousins, nieces and nephews about it. Also a lot of friends.

    I myself is working hard not just for myself but for my whole family too. Because really at the end of the day. Who’s gonna help them when they need help? Who’s gonna help me when I need help? I can always rely on them, bot just financially but emotionally and in every little way. And I love being there for them as well. We don’t expect nobody else to help us but our family.
    Especially in the Philippines, the government doesn’t really help you with things. So it’s up to you and your family to get you through life. Living for your love ones is living a life. In the Philippines, most of our family members are there. First cousins, second cousins Uncles and Aunties.
    Most of us live in a house as a extended-family. We learn how to love and take care of one another. We would help each other out to get through life.
    Just like in my case, I now live a secure life here in Australia. A beautiful country with a lot of opportunities, I still haven’t stopped thinking about how I can help my cousins back in the Philippines. I still think about how I can help my Uncle with his medical bills, I still do that because they are my blood. They loved me not knowing exactly how I gonna turn up as an adult. It was unconditional love, loving them back and taking care of them weighs more for me than anything else.

    Personally I call it being grateful for what they have done for me and my family. I personally call it being there for my love ones when they need me. Because I know for a fact that if one day I cannot take care of myself anymore, they would be there for me.

    • Robert Haighton says:


      not aggressive, just sad.

      I admit we (or better said: I) stray from the actual topic.

      The way most people think here is that what you described is the parents task and duty to do. Otherwise then pls dont take any kids. It sounds to me like an emotional, psychological blackmail. I put you on this world and so you have to repay that by taking care of me till I die. Most parents here love their kids and are busy raising them them so that they can stand on their own 2 feet. Most kids will leave the parental home by the age of 18 (when they attend university. And then they will live in a kind of dorm). Kids here want to leave their parental home bec they are ready to come out under “mother’s wings” (so to speak). Its their first journey into adolenscence and maturity/maturehood. The big difference here is not only individuality but also privacy. Parents will eventually get their pension money when they are 55-60-65 and when they (the parents) cant look after themselves they will go to an old age center. Why? Because they dont want to put up the burden of taking care for them on the kids. Their kids have their own life (with maybe their spouse and maybe off spring).

      It is exactly those 2 things (individuality and privacy that I miss, being in the Philippines. At least in Cebu.

      And then there is another huge thing that I dont understand about (parts of) the Philippines. That is addressing your own sister and brother not by their first name but using words like “dai”, “ate” and “dong”. Jesus Christ, why on this god’s green earth did I give my kids first names? So that everybody can address them with “dong” and ate”? That unbriddled respect is based on thin air, on nothing.

      Marc, you want me to address you with “kuya” or “dong”? Why? It all gives me a very cold, detached, aloof impression.

      In short: In most European countries we are very good able and capable of looking after ourselves. We dont need our kids to look after us. We will NOT put that burden on them. It will limit their mobility, it will cost them money and it will cost them time. Our health insurance will pick up the bills for which we paid our monthly fees. My kids are the future. I am the past. I will be proud seeing my kids excell in their job, as being a good man/woman (single, married, lesbian, gay, whatever). They will come and visit me on my birthdays, Xmas, New year’s day and a few sundays. Thats enough. They have their own lifes to live.

      I am sure we agree to disagree. But In fact I do believe this is also a part (a cause, a reason) why the Philippines is still a poor 3rd world country. No individuality and no privacy. This is exactly why the PH government can do what ever they like to do because like you stated: the Philippine people have other things to worry about. That is exactly what the government is exploiting.

      Again your country is NOT living, its surviving, its struggling. And that is why nothing will change soon. If that is what you want (no change soon) then pls continue what you are doing.

      • Brock MacLean says:

        Robert…I could not agree with you more…hopefully things are improving slightly and women are not having 8 kids anymore, but I joined a dating site and there are still thousands of not millions of single moms in the Philippines, whereby the men run off with no consequences of paying any child support (which is absolutely mandatory here in Canada) For the most part, Filipinos are very family oriented, but also not afraid of having the responsibility of having children. I married at 25 and my son was born 3 years later, and I was scared as hell with the responsibility of having to raise this little rug rat for the next 20 years…he turned out well and now is a doctor, but I didnt want to have 6 kids so one will turn out to be a doctor to care for me when I am old…that is still the prevailing attitude among very many in the Philippines…especially the uneducated. When I was growing up, it as an-written rule that I will have to self sufficient after high school. It is just a differnt mind set there in the Phil…doubtful they will change. They are still producing a million new babies every year!! They complain all the time about the government. Perhaps they should have a leader like Chairman Mao to rid them of the Catholic Church and its strangle hold and all the BS against family planning. They are forcast to be up to about 140 million in another 20 years….just bizarre!

  • Mharc says:

    I’m actually smiling right now because I see that you’re taking this by heart. I respect and adore you for having compassion for my country and countrymen. It means a lot to me knowing your not a Filipino. You don’t have to care but yet you do anyways.

    That being said, that is the mentality that we have. We don’t have to take care of them but we do anyways. It’s out of love. Most Filipinos would like to stay with the family because in a way it’s cheaper. You all cheap in for bills, for everything. Everyone is in it. Helping each other out. Because if you can barely afford living with your family, how can we do it on our own?
    It’s really hard to find a proper job in the Philippines, I had a classmate in high-school who graduated as a Magna Cumlaude.
    Received astonishing amount of awards, best in almost every subject apart from Maths, Her boyfriend got it.. haha
    But even though she’s very smart, it’s still very hard for her to get a job because she has to compete with others who also graduated as a Magna Cumlaude.

    I do agree with you about the problems of our country. I still consider myself as a part of the Philippines even though I’m already living in a far away land. I can turn my back on it, but I just can’t.
    Helping other unfortunate people in the Philippines is a part of my goal in life. After I have accomplished helping my family, I will jump over to helping others who needs it the most, and of course deserving ones.

    And I actually wouldn’t mind you calling me “kuya”. If nobody has explained to you why, it’s because it’s a sigh of respect. It means older brother. It’s acknowledging that you have respect for that person. It’s a way of humbling yourself to your elders.

    And “ate” of course is for older sisters. “dong” I guess is like “mate” here in Australia. Like “buddy”, “man” or “homie”.
    Let’s say if I was to ask a stranger what time it is, or for direction. If this stranger happens to look older than me, I would call him “kuya” or “ate”. First because I don’t know his/her name and also because it’s polite. So don’t take it too personally.. :)

    In a small country with 90 million people, it really is hard to find privacy, so all we have learn to adopt the environment and share.
    Yeah it does sucks not to have as much privacy as you want in the Philippines, but it’s also nice to have that strong bond with other people. Sharing the bed with them, eating in one table touching elbows, learning how to cooperate and pretty much working as a team. :)

    About the pensions too, I believe most people don’t receive pension because they really haven’t had a proper job. Most Filipinos can’t afford to spare money for insurance or funds.

    Well thank you very much for caring so much for my country.
    And we would really rather survive than give up. More and more Filipinos are waking up to the truth too. So I do expect to see a lot of changes in the next coming years. People are getting more and more educated about how the government system works. Hope it all works out for the better. Cheers Robert! :)

  • Robert Haighton says:

    Kuya Marc,

    I will respect you without using that word “kuya” unless you say and do stupid, really stupid things. Then you may ….. (lol).

    Anyway, I do think if individuality would overwhelm then that person would sooner stop accepting the coruptive behavior of her/his government. It will stop accepting the inefficent public transport. Why? Because it hinders her/him in his progress. But now he/she is too much occupied to think about her/his parents, brothers, sisters, uncles and aunts first. You see my point?

    Furthermore, the overall educational system in the Philippines sucks. I cant emphasize this enough. My partner graduated from USJ-R (Cebu City) but she hasnt got the intellect compared to any European university graduate. I really dont know what students are taught there but compared to here it seems nothing. I dare to compare USJ-R with any dutch secondary school (level wise, quality wise, knowledge wise). That is a sad conclusion. If every PH school put God in the center of education then again I am not surprised that students learn nothing in order to excell.
    I am sad to say but my partner has little to none common knowledge, she has no acedemical skills/knowledge. Students graduating from a university are trained/educated for policy making jobs/employment, not on the “work floor”. Mind you, I didnt meet one intelligent person while being in the Philippines and most friends of my partner graduated from the same university.

  • Mharc says:

    Well it’s just what we grew up knowing, it’s a sign of respect. I’ll make tradition as an excuse. hahaha but it is nice to hear it though, especially if you know what it’s really used for.

    Yeah I totally get what you mean, but what can you expect from someone who is not earning enough money? I understand their situation because I have experienced it first hand.
    I do hope so too that it’s that easy for them to have individuality, but it’s too hard to grasp when there isn’t no one to look up to.

    But that being said, that’s where the activists comes in. Mostly in universities, they are the ones who seems to understand more about going against the wrong doings of the government. I guess it’s because of the education too..

    I do agree with you about the educational system in the Philippines. Because I have experienced it, and compare to what I did here in Australia. It really is more about individuality, I had the choice of what subjects I am interested in, they interviewed me about what I wanted to become when I finish school and suggested some subjects. So I definitely know what you’re saying.

    It makes me sad too, but I can’t blame it straightly on the people. They already lack the right knowledge, so most don’t really know any better. So I’m pretty much going to point to the government, I do hope that the current president does good though.

    I don’t want to doubt him yet, I wanna see what he’s capable of before calling him corrupt or evil. Just to be fair. hahaha

    And a little insight about the educational system in the Philippines, I think it’s because we really don’t have control of the subjects we are studying. From primary to secondary education, we have to do every subject, we don’t get to choose what we really are interested in or good at. But the really smart ones excel on every subject.

    And when it comes to university, we can choose the course we want to study, but every course has Maths and English in it still. It’s really not concentrating on the actual course. I agree, it is educational but it’s not really getting the student ready for the workforce.

    I guess we agree to one another after all.. hahaha Nice meeting you Kuya Robert. 😀
    I enjoy the chat.. hahaha

  • Robert Haighton says:

    Okay kuya Marc, so now we both respect each other I am still left with one question for you:

    what must happen to make the Philippines a better country? Or are you satisfied as it is today? When will it happen? How will it be achieved?

    To be honest: I think, you and I chatting here wont help one bit, all those Blogs here wont help a bit. No country ever changed through a weblog but merely by action(s). Now, if GRP would start as a political movement or political party then we are talking (maybe).

    The woman here (in my country and probably other European countries as well) fought for their (sexual) freedom in the 1960s and it worked. (this is also known as the sexual revolution). Since a decade we have the (legal) same-sex marriages.

    What about the PH constitution and some PH laws? Isnt it about time to be changed for the better? What about religion and the RC church? Isnt that a hindrance for progress and prosperity?

    BTW: The Netherlands (my country) is a real small country with only a 17 million population.

  • Mharc says:

    That is not just one question. hahaha just kidding.

    “what must happen to make the Philippines a better country?Or are you satisfied as it is today?When will it happen? How will it be achieved?”

    First of all. I am not satisfied in anyway about the current condition of my country. I deeply believe that there is a lot of things that needs to be change.

    In my own opinion, I believe that every Filipino should wake up to the fact that the country is in really bad shape and just sinking more in more into hell.
    The whole system is not working. It needs to be changed.

    From my perspective, I believe that educating everyone about what it takes to be a better country is a lot. Let everyone know what the government should be doing for it’s people, and of course the people should also understand that their cooperation is critical.

    A good leader is not gonna change a country, it’s up to the followers too.

    Everyone should be educated more about things like tax, what tax is and what is it good for. Everyone has to work and luxury has to be earned.

    Educate people more about the family planning, let everyone know about how important it really is to not have children when it’s not affordable. Put in to everyone’s mind that it is not alright to bring up a child in a poor condition.

    That being said, one child policy is what the Philippines really need. 90 Million people in that small country is just too much. There’s too many people which results to unemployment.
    Unemployment = no money, no education which eventually leads to getting bad habits such as stealing and drugs. So pretty much end up being a criminal.

    The rich people should stop being more greedy, they too should also be a part of how the Philippines is going to change. The so called “Public servants” should start acting and living up to the title. They should be educated too about how they should be running the government.
    First by following the law, most Public servants are corrupt. They should understand that it’s a big part of why the Philippines is not moving forward. They might be powerful right now and getting richer, but they don’t realize that it’s really gonna leave a bad environment for the future of their kids.

    These Public servants might feel all so powerful right now but they’re not really thinking straight for their kids and the Filipinos for the long run. They haven’t experienced what it really is to live in a nice and working country. That’s why I think they should be educated too.

    Education for the residents of the Philippines will give them more understanding and hopefully get their cooperation. Because they really are the main piece that builds the country.
    Maybe going into a Parliamentary system is the go. Aimed to really decrease the amount of people in power. Less paid officials for the country. Because obviously they’re not all working anyway.

    All in all, both the officials and the public should be educated about how important it is to have a good working system for the government. It is not going to be easy because it is going to take time and a lot of cooperation, patience and trust is key. Honesty is the best policy.

    Maybe someone powerful and well respected all over the world could work with the Filipinos or the president. Someone really influential.

    But that’s the last resort.
    Us Filipinos should just work all together to change our country for the better, but it’s going to be really difficult. I can’t really say that it’s just either the Officials that should take charge and hold accountable or just the Filipinos. It has to be both.

  • Robert Haighton says:


    You said you live in Australia, right? Why – you think – is everything working smoothly there? Wouldnt you like the Philippines to be just like Australia? Like in any other country, Australia also has its Upper Class, Middle Class and (social) lower class.

    You are there and you could be one of the frontrunners/innovators for the Philippines. To tell your family (back home), to tell their barangay chiefs and clans to do things differently, to start thinking differently, to start doing things differently.
    Maybe you have kids who attend Australian Kindergarten, primary school, secondary school: that means you can compare the 2 systems.

    I would actually expect from people like you to make a difference, by changing things back home (in Phili). People like you should have seen the light and inform the folks back home how heaven (australia) really looks like.

    I think change has to come from within the people and from “bottoms-up” and not from “top-down”. So forget about your local/city government (LGUs), your provincial government and the national government and also the elite. They want you to stay poor (so that they can gain/earn/get all the real big money) and the church will keep you dumb and stupid.

    Dont wait for your government but next time vote for someone who has a plan, a good plan focused on the near and far future of the entire country.

  • Robert Haighton says:


    if you think a one-child-policy is the best for the country, then I am sure you will tell that to all your nieces, nephews, cousins, your own kids and who ever wants to hear that.

  • Ming says:


    Just stumbled upon your site and I had to share that I have spent a large part of my morning sifting through your blog.

    I’m half filipino, half british and, well, sadly, fully agree with nearly all your points.

    The Philippines IS at the lowest tier of Maslow’s pyramid, but ofcourse, who would want to admit that?

    The discussion between you and Marc has been interesting. Some of what he has written (wanting to take care of elders, sharing expenses etc) clearly shows how we have been brainwashed into following the culture and thinking its great. Don’t get me wrong. I want to care for my parents too, and I have. My father had pancreatic cancer and I cared for him for two years. how? I live overseas and traveled home each month, pregnant, to be able to stay with him, hang out and do basic care to relieve my mum of the work and to spend time with him. I WANTED to do this. I even spent a large chunk of my savings for his medications and expenses at home. Not because they couldnt afford it but because I wanted to. I share this because I agree that we want to care for our parents, but its different if you HAD to. majority of the families in the philippines NEED their children to care for them. They cant survive comfortably otherwise. I have two kids and I want them to WANT to hang out with me. Never to feel obliged to give me money, nor obliged to care for me.

    Anyway..thanks for the insightful read and the interesting comments section. I am sure you have a lot more to share with the new (?) developments that highlight the greed of the filipinos (pdaf)..I’m appaled but after some thought, we need to change the entire system. We need better educated people (so better education) so that they can vote for people that can make a difference, not take 5,000 pesos to sell their vote because a house of 5 will make a quick 25,000 on election day. but right now, the 25,000 is more enticing than a useful public official.

  • Ivy says:

    you have given me alot to think about. One day a teacher told me to search about the Porkbarrel scam, and I stumbled on this site. Although at first I found this blog insulting, the more I though on it, I came to realize even more than what I knew. I am a Full filipino. Just a teen actually. And most of these stories I’ve found made me sob a bit. Not because of how harsh (not saying that they are THAT BAD, just saying they’re, just enough to get the message into the head) but because its the terrible truth. Lately, the Philippines seems so doomed. We’re warring against some of our own people, our government is corrupt and they won’t admit it, the people? Makes it even worse, we are acting like EVERYTHING IS NORMAL. It hurts even more that we think its normal. I pass by informal settlers when I go to school, and I see kids running like there’s nothing to stop them, the men drunk on beer, gambling and doing nothing, the women there are either pregnant or old. Then I see lately the teens I see are doing drugs, having sex, joining gangs, stealing, it just smacks me right in the face that it leaves me stunned for days. I find your concern and your observations for the Philippines insightful, even if a bit hurtful. Maybe it is better that these slackers would just POOF! Away. I’m terrified just of what’s coming, and these people who are far too lazy and irresponsible are not making it better. I’ll try to reflect on what you’ve said lately and tell others about this, just to give them a SMACK of what is truly happening.

    Much regards and Thanks for the Eye-Opener,

  • lady rara says:

    You are just a cockroach sent by a PR agent

  • lady rara says:


  • kid123 says:

    Corruption plus influence of European or Western Politically correct and American Liberals leaders are the cause of downfall of 1st World and 3 rd World countries. Im happy for a site like this. Filipinos need to have more discipline and be open to self criticism so that we can uplift ourself more quickly economically and politically. We are always sheltered and easily accept loosing. We must inject a little ambition and aggressiveness in our culture to uplift our country from poverty.

  • i can see that many filipinos hate you. but i think you are right most of the time. keep it up.

  • NED says:

    This GRF site is such a wonderful, entertaining and enlightening find.

    Let me say I first found it by Googling….’the romantic notion of Filipino love’….and have never looked back.

    It should be made compulsory reading for all high school students….but I fear it would never be allowed or it’s value even understood by most authorities.

    Long live GRP…as an expat it will keep me sane and balanced in a foreign world.

  • Rap says:

    1) you develop ideas 2) you communicate these ideas to a mass audience 3) what happens next?

    It’s one thing to communicate; it’s another to communicate effectively to reach a certain goal.

    Why do you want to give us all these “good talks”? Do you want to encourage us to make a change or you just want to instill in our minds that yes, we are all hopeless?

    Your way of communicating seems to be a one-way street — you talk, we listen. So Filipinos are this and that, now what? I like that you’re reminding us of what we’re lacking, of how we’re keeping ourselves from progressing. But at the end of the day, no matter how intelligent your opinions are, they’re still just opinions. And everybody else has that. They may not be able to discuss it out loud the way you do, but one way or another, you’re just gonna have to agree to disagree.

    “When one recognises achievement, one expresses admiration and seeks to emulate said achievement.” Yet your articles never seem to recognize any form of achievement, but always the lack thereof.

    “We expect the low product of the majority to be subsidised by the exceptional output of the minority.” Why then, do your writers choose to dwell on the former instead of creating pieces that would magnify the latter?

    Has anybody ever told you that he/she actually tried to fix this country because he/she read your opinion about it?

    Don’t you think your purpose should go beyond feeding your audience with your own perspective of the world?

    • sharond says:

      Yes, I feel this way too. I mean, Every Filipino is street smart (if not academic),madiskarte,creative and opionionated. We dream big,we talk loud but when its time for action, we step back..out of fear,ignorance,poverty,insecurity. What we need is action, an active follow through.not another protest or alay lakad prodding the government to do something, we already know the response to that,a lenghty chit chat of who knows what.Such a waste of time.If I believe it and you believe it, lets look for the means we can do something about it while along the way encouraging people to join in.

    • Anton says:

      Mr Rap, I believe your concern of “what happens next” was addressed above. Mr Benigno expressed that this site is concerned with encouraging critical thinking and discussion, and he explained why the focus was on “mere” talking and not “action”. As for the many critical articles on this site, I work for government and can assure you that we print dozens of publications that will tell you what a good job we are doing, whether or not we actually are. If a criticism is true, it shouldn’t shame us, but push us to improve, whether as individuals, employees, or citizens. Finally, while everyone has opinions, we certainly shouldn’t value them equally. But I guess that is a reflection of how much we trust our leaders and literati today.

  • Fred layno says:

    If by critical thinking, you mean attacking an entire culture, then you are seriously, obscenely retarded. What you actually have in your sorry excuse of a commentary site are actually school-girl rants of whatever trending showbiz news is on, slapping whatever socio-political gravitas you can find. Not to mention that your articles are poorly researched, rely mostly on personal sentiments of the writers, and…i must say, under-edited. Get real indeed you pseudo-intellectuals.

  • knightx says:

    It would be good if you’ll come up of an idea for reform. (if i got you right, you want reform in the culture and values of our country, right?)

    So… my suggestion is come up of an action plan. From perspective to practice.

    • benign0 says:

      We already have one here.

      • sammie says:

        I should have read your “Solutions” page a long time ago, but I didn’t so, “boo” to me.

        Magtatagalog ako kasi mga Pinoy naman kayo at kayo yung kailangan kong sumagot. Hindi nga pala ako nang-aaway. May gusto lang akong sabihin.

        Tama naman yung mga nasa “solutions” nyo, pero ito lang ang tanong ko, framework nga yun, kaya paano nyo nasabing solusyon na yun? At hindi nga ba sa kahit anong plano, pagkatapos gawin ang pagpaplano, paghahandaan na yung mga susunod na hakbang patungo sa pagkilos? Sa pagpapatupad ng aksyon base sa plano?

        Sa nakikita ko, hindi epektibo ang paraang ginagamit ninyo sa paghikayat ng mga target ninyong “mabago” ang pananaw ukol sa lagay ng bansang to.

        Sabi ni Ilda (yata, hindi ko matandaan) sa isang sagot nya sa isang comment, mga makapangyarihan, may pera at nasa posisyon ang target ninyo para magising sila sa kapalpakang dinaranas natin ngayon sa Pilipinas. Kung ganoon, bakit hindi ang mga kapalpakan nila at kamalian ang pinupuna ninyo? Hindi nyo rin ba naiisip na baka (baka lang, ha?) masyado nang makapal ang balat at mukha ng mga nasa sektor na yun ng lipunan at wala na silang nararamdamang mali sa mga ginagawa nila sa kapwa nila tao?

        At kung target nyo ring mambabasa ang mga karaniwang mamamayan, mali pa rin ang ginagamit nyong approach sa mga artikulo nyo. Para kayong nagbebenta ng tawas sa isang tao at sasabihan nyong, “HOY! MAY PUTOK KA, PUNYETA KA, BILHIN MO TO PARA MAWALA YAN!” O di hindi bibili yung tao. Baka murahin ka pa pabalik. Kasi ganyan ang nakikita kong reaksyon sa inyo eh. Maliban na lang sa “iba.”

        Sabi nyo rin sinubukan nyo na yung “malumanay” na paraan, pero hindi gumana. Gaano nyo ba katagal yung ginawa? At ano ang basehan nyo (bukod sa mga komento sa site) para sabihing wala ngang epekto ang paraang yun?

        Hindi masama yung ginagawa nyong pagnanais na mabago ang kaugaliang mali ng mga Pilipino, pero hindi kayo makahahakot ng makikinig (o magbabasa) sa mga sinasabi nyo kung ipipilit ninyo ang ganitong paraan.

        Kung sasarkastikuhin nyo ako at sasabihing “di ikaw ang gumawa,” bubuntong-hininga na lang ako.

        Yun lang naman.

  • Maria Virginia Remo says:

    I stumbled on your site last night and kept me awake till 1:00 a.m. reading all the commentaries. I have been away from our country for 32 years and decided to come home to retire early this year. I have to admit that I am experiencing a reverse culture shock since arriving here; dealing with the different government offices like the Bureau of Customs and SSS is such a frustrating experience. Corruption is so rampant from the highest government offices down to the Barangay Level. The over all attitude of civil servants and the people themselves is appalling to the ordinary Pilipino’s sensibilities. The lack of individual discipline is the most glaring example of the change in the Filipino culture! Or, should I say the disappearance of the customs and tradition. The blatant disregard for our laws and inconsistent enforcement of these said laws is just one example of undisciplined masses. Our beloved country have deteriorated down to the level of Law of the Jungle, To each his own and survival of the fittest and greediest species! I try to maintain my optimism in the midst of this hopeless situation. Thank goodness, there are still a few people of integrity and self discipline, a rare find in the current state of the country. There is a strong clamor for change! But the change that is badly needed must start from within each one of us. Only then, can we influence the change in the system. The blame for the current crop of corrupt elected officials lies squarely on the shoulder of the people who elected them! We get what we vote for! Just saying…..

  • Manang Mambobola says:

    Kung gusto niyo ma reach ang masa at mga bobotante, baka dapat meron din in Filipino. Magaling kayo magsulat pero bale wala din kung hindi naman binabasa. Also, sa aking napapansin, kahit pa anong antas ng pamumuhay, ayaw magbasa ng sobrang mahabang article. Mas effective kung mag bullet points with simple explanation. By the way, ako halos lahat binabasa ko article niyo kasi interesado ako so sa tingin ko isa ako sa target market pero para mas lumawak ang target market yan lang po ang suggestion ko.

    • domo says:

      Ano kamo Filipino? O Tagalog? Baka hindi mo alam hindi lahat ng Pilipino ay nakakasalita ng Tagalog.

      • sammie says:

        Bakit ka ganyan? Sana matuto kang sumagot nang maayos. Lahat na lang inaatake mo nang pabalang.
        Sa sinabi mong, “Baka hindi mo alam hindi lahat ng Pilipino ay nakakasalita ng Tagalog.” ipinamukha mo na ron sa taong tanga sya.
        Ah, teka, hindi nga ba’t yan ang trabaho mo? Ang manlibak ng kapwa mo?
        Kung plano mong magkaanak, wag ganyan ang ituro mo sa kanila. Hindi magandang asal.

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