For more interesting stories, please check out our latest book, “FilipiKnow: Amazing Facts & Figures Every Pinoy Must Know.”
Let’s admit it; at some point in our lives, we have been guilty of one or two (or more) of the Pinoy bad habits listed below. Although these negative traits do not diminish the fact that Filipinos are a very awesome people, it’s just sad that they have continued to pull us down personally and as a nation.
Therefore, for the good of ourselves and our country, it is imperative that we should discard the following Pinoy bad habits and attitudes:
1. Crab Mentality.
Simply put, this refers to the behavior of preventing someone from achieving something due to jealousy or envy. Instead of praising or rendering assistance, someone with crab mentality would think “if I can’t have it, then you can’t as well” and will purposely try to bring his/her victim down. And just like the crabs who could have escaped from the bucket if they only stopped pulling each other down, nothing ever gets accomplished.
One reason why we sometimes exert half-hearted effort in our undertakings is due to this attitude. Translated to “burning cogon grass” in English, this idiom is meant to illustrate how Filipinos initially exhibit great enthusiasm at the beginning of a project. Our eagerness however, fades away just as quickly as the fire is extinguished, leaving our work either half-baked or unfinished.
3. Mañana Habit.
It is ironic that the Spanish would accuse Filipinos of being lazy when they themselves taught us the mañana habit in the first place. Known as “tomorrow” in English, the habit encourages procrastination, an “ability” we Filipinos have since turned into an art form. Even the most urgent of projects and tasks can be relegated for some other time; we are only forced to work on them when the deadline is near. It’s a miracle we get things done in this country.
4. Filipino Time.
Related to the mañana habit, Filipino time refers to the Filipinos’ own unique brand of time, which is known to be minutes or hours behind the standard time. In other words, we tend not to observe punctuality at all. This behavior usually drives time-observant foreigners crazy. While we Filipinos with our easy-going ways have somewhat become used to Filipino time, it still is a bad habit that needs to be dropped.
Also Read: The Intriguing History of ‘Filipino Time’
5. Being Onion-Skinned (Balat Sibuyas).
We Filipinos are famous for being onion-skinned or easily slighted at perceived insults. While it’s perfectly normal for us to taunt and criticize others, we can’t handle the same when it’s being hurled back at us. Incidents showcasing our extra-sensitivity to insults usually involve a foreigner making either a bonafide racist remark or a humorous jab at us Filipinos. True to form, our reactions would range from righteous indignation to excessive grandstanding. While it is alright to feel incensed, throwing a fit in front of the world would inevitably do us no good at all.
6. General Disregard For Rules.
Why is it so hard for Filipinos to obey the rules? This social phenomenon is not exclusive to hardened criminals either—a look at everyday life in the country shows Filipinos from the entire social strata nonchalantly breaking the rules, whether it is something as benign as jaywalking or as dangerous as beating the red light.
Also Read: 27 Things You’ll Only See in the Philippines
An interesting theory goes that the Filipinos’ penchant for law-breaking goes beyond mere lack of discipline or failure to implement the rules. It is something that is ingrained in our very culture. Being oppressed under the yoke of colonization for such a long time made our ancestors defiant of the rules they believed to be discriminatory. Although such “self-righteous disobedience” may have been alright during their time, the behavior would continue to manifest itself among the later Filipinos, resulting in an utter lack of respect for the rules.
7. Colonial Mentality.
Probably one of the biggest flaws we have as a nation is our colonial mentality, defined as a preference for all things foreign over our own, a negative trait we acquired from our days under the Spanish and the Americans. As a result, we Filipinos have been indoctrinated with the misconception that our culture is inferior to that of our past colonizers.
Glaring examples of colonial mentality include patronizing foreign instead of local brands, favoring foreign values over our own, and even desiring to look more “Western” (think whitening products). If we can’t even have pride in our own country, then unfortunately we will always be stuck with this self-defeating mentality.
8. Balikbayan Box Mentality.
While there is nothing wrong with giving gifts to one’s family and friends (we Filipinos do highly value them after all), it becomes a different matter when said family and friends either misconstrue or abuse the OFW’s generosity.
In local parlance, this has become known as the “Balikbayan box mentality.” People ingrained with this mentality either become exploitative or jealous of the success of the OFW, not knowing that he/she is working hard away from his loved ones in a foreign country. Some also believe that the practice undoubtedly contributes to the Filipinos’ colonial mentality.
9. Bahala Na Attitude.
Roughly translated as “come what may”, this is the Filipinos’ own version of fatalism, the belief of leaving everything to the hands of fate.
This attitude, while not inherently detrimental in itself, is still a double-edged sword. On one hand, positive aspects of this behavior include belief in Divine Providence and national social responsibility. On the other hand, the attitude can also promote a sense of helplessness and resignation of one’s fate at the local level, and a countrywide lack of empathy and collective action on the national level. This is also the reason why we tend to have amnesia over past wrongdoings committed by our leaders.
One of the biggest social ills our country has continued to face since time immemorial is the issue of corruption. Let’s face it, our “culture of corruption” is embedded deep within our system and reinforced by a complex web of economic and social factors which include personal ambitions and a twisted sense of loyalty to friends and kin. The Philippines is in for a long haul if our officials and we ourselves do not get rid of this very negative habit.
11. Maintaining Double Standards.
This behavior can be observed in just about every sector of Philippine society, with the most common example being the condemnation of an adulterous woman while applauding a polygamous man. On the national scale, we see politicians spouting promises of reform and good governance only to break them in the end. Long story short, some Filipinos are hypocrites to the core.
Related Article: 15 Weird Laws Filipinos Still Have To Live With
12. Excessive Partying.
Now there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a fiesta and party every now and then, it’s just that we Filipinos tend to overdo it. Birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, and even somber funerals are celebrated by Filipinos like there is no tomorrow. Sometimes we even make up the slightest of reasons just so we could have an excuse to party. What’s more, a host would sometimes even strain his own finances just to impress his guests.
As for fiestas, it seems that every LGU down to the smallest barangay in the country has a fiesta to celebrate. Like we said, it’s alright to party, but we should really focus on austerity and working hard first.
About the Author: When he isn’t deploring the sad state of Philippine politics, Marcus Vaflor likes to skulk around the Internet for new bits of information which he can weave into a somewhat-average list you might still enjoy. For comments on this article, contact him at: [email protected]
Sources: Filipino American Psychology: A Handbook of Theory, Research, and Clinical Practice; Culture Shock! Philippines: A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette; The Filipino Moving Onward; Values Education II; Encyclopedia of Asian American Folklore and Folklife, Volume 1; Philippines Country Study Guide; Values in Philippine Culture and Education; A Changeless Land: Continuity and Change in Philippine Politics; Reluctant Bedfellows: Feminism, Activism and Prostitution in the Philippines; International Perspectives on Violence