Filipinos are inherently wonderful people, but we can’t deny that we do have some unhealthy practices that are deeply ingrained in our culture.
Here’s our take on 12 Filipino traits that need to change.
1. Crab Mentality
Filipino Crab Mentality refers to the tendency for Filipinos to pull each other down instead of lifting each other up. This can manifest in the form of jealousy, envy, or a lack of support for one’s peers.
These actions can take many forms, from a colleague refusing to share valuable information or resources to a friend spreading negative rumors about another person to undermine their reputation and relationships.
Even family members can engage in this behavior by diminishing the achievements of a relative and saying things like “anyone could have done that” or “it was just luck.”
2. Filipino Time
The concept of Filipino time (Why do FIlipinos follow Filipino time) is one that is unique to Filipino culture and can be difficult for outsiders to understand.
This refers to the chronic tardiness of Filipinos to engagements, which is rooted in a more relaxed perception of punctuality.
This behavior can be frustrating for those who are time-sensitive, particularly some foreigners. It is vital to recognize that this habit affects not only one’s own productivity but also the time of others.
3. Colonial Mentality
The Philippines has an extensive history of being colonized. As we all know, it was once a Spanish colony from 1565 to 1898, then becoming American territory from 1899 to 1946.
Colonial mentality is an internalized belief that the colonizers’ culture, values, and practices are superior to local customs.
This leads to a lack of self-esteem, self-worth, and self-respect. It can perpetuate a cycle of oppression and marginalization.
It also results in the devaluation of Filipino culture, traditions, and history, which can lead to feelings of inferiority, a lack of pride in one’s culture and identity, and a lack of self-awareness.
4. Religious Fanaticism
Filipinos can be overly enthusiastic about their religious beliefs, which has negative consequences. It can lead to an intolerance of those with different beliefs, leading to conflict and division.
Additionally, it can lead to an attitude of judgment and hypocrisy, where people are quick to judge and criticize others based on their religious beliefs yet do not practice what they preach.
This combination of intolerance, judgemental attitudes, and hypocrisy can lead to a lack of understanding and respect for others and contribute to societal conflict.
It’s important to note that having a religious belief is not inherently catastrophic, but the way it is expressed can become a problem.
5. Balat-Sibuyas (Onion-Skinned)
“Balat-sibuyas” is a colloquial phrase used in the Philippines to describe someone who is easily offended. They are likened to onion skin, which is fragile and can easily be torn apart.
For example, we tend to get a little touchy when Filipino culture is portrayed comedically in American media or when our accent is poked fun at. Instead of having a sense of humor, we usually take things personally and demand an apology.
Moreover, Filipinos are often known for being sensitive and easily affected by criticism.
6. Balikbayan Box Mentality
Balikbayan boxes are a Filipino tradition. They are usually filled with food, clothing, and other items for family members back home.
It is a way to show love and support for family members in the Philippines.
While it’s normal and acceptable to send gifts to one’s family and friends, it becomes a problem when said family and friends misuse or take advantage of the generosity of an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW).
This is known as the “Balikbayan box mentality,” wherein people may become envious or exploitative of the success of an OFW who is working hard in a foreign country away from their loved ones.
7. Marites Culture
The term “Marites” was coined by content creator Justine Luzares, which was derived from the phrase “Mare, ito ang latest” (“Sis, here’s the latest”). In a nutshell, “Marites” refers to a gossiper.
Many Filipinos love to talk about the affairs of others. From the neighbor’s teenage daughter getting pregnant to a celebrity’s bad breath, no topic is off limits.
This is evident in the high sales of tabloids and gossip magazines.
This tendency to gossip can also contribute to a lack of privacy and respect for personal boundaries.
It can also foster a culture of backbiting and talking behind people’s backs, leading to a lack of trust and cooperation in communities and workplaces.
8. “Bahala Na” Attitude
When faced with a challenging task, many Filipinos tend to say “Bahala na,” which roughly means “Come what may” in English.
The phrase is often used as an excuse to procrastinate or avoid taking responsibility for an action.
Some may see it as being religious or spiritual, leaving the outcome to fate, mainly since Filipinos are known for being religious.
It can also be seen as a form of resignation, where individuals give up on finding an answer or resolving a problem.
This attitude can lead to missed opportunities, poor decision-making, and, ultimately, failure.
9. “Mañana” Habit
“Mañana” is a Spanish word for “tomorrow”.
It also reflects a common tendency among Filipinos to procrastinate and put off important tasks for later. This often leads to last-minute scrambling and rushing when deadlines approach.
This tendency is also reflected in the Tagalog phrase “mamaya na,” which means “later.”
While it may seem harmless, this habit can lead to laziness and being perceived as a slacker.
10. Freebie Hunting
Then there are the Filipinos who will take what they can get – even in the most inappropriate and cringe-worthy fashion.
Some tend to show up uninvited to weddings or birthday parties, expecting to be able to partake in the celebration.
They also take advantage of illegal connections for electricity or free water from broken pipes instead of reporting the waste of resources.
They don’t pay fares for jeepneys driven by friends, assuming that it’s implied they can ride for free.
Sometimes taking advantage of the generosity of families during wakes by coming not to pay respects but to get free meals.
They tend to visit the houses of balikbayans/OFWs who have just arrived and ask for gifts without waiting to be offered.
When invited out for lunch by a foreigner, they may bring along a large group of family members without prior notice.
11. Ningas Cogon
“Ningas cogon” is a phrase that describes the Filipino tendency to start something with great enthusiasm, only to end up not finishing it or not putting in the effort to do it well.
This phrase is derived from the image of cogon grass, which burns quickly and easily.
It reflects a common problem among Filipinos, where they tend to start projects or tasks with great passion and energy but eventually lose interest or give up on them.
This can be seen in various aspects of life, from schoolwork to personal projects and even in professional endeavors.
12. Using Personal Connections as Leverage
A bright and talented Filipino may miss out on a job opportunity because it was given to a family member of an official or a reward for a political supporter.
This individual may then have to seek employment abroad, where foreign companies benefit from their skills.
Meanwhile, well-connected individuals may receive preferential treatment, such as special lanes at the airport. In the same breath, hardworking OFWs sadly have to wait in long lines.
This leads to having unqualified personnel in critical roles and encourages corruption in government service, which society continuously tries to fight against.
As a society, it is essential to recognize and address these negative traits in order to work towards personal growth and advancement as a community.
Which negative Filipino traits do you hate the most? Share your thoughts on this topic by leaving a comment below.