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I love being Filipino. I think we are an interesting blend of different cultures and we have some great positive characteristics. However, it can’t be denied that our society has developed some bad habits in the last few years. I will attribute this to factors like the internet, media and a shift away from traditional values. That said, I’ve come up with my short, simple list on what things Filipinos can do to be better people.

1) Clean up after yourself

Practical Applications: In a Food Court, in a Moving Vehicle, In Any Public Space

What does this teach: Responsibility, Accountability and Cleanliness

We are are a service oriented culture. That’s why we make good workers. The flip side of that is we are also always used to others cleaning up after us, opening our doors, picking up after our mess. But here’s the thing. What if no one does? Then our city would be even dirtier than it already is. My take on it is, if you can be clean at home, why not be clean in public?

“This is not my area, it is the government’s job to clean this, there is a cleaner who will take care of this.” Yes, how about you put your trash away so that the cleaner can actually clean?

2) Fall in Line

Practical Applications: public bathrooms, cashiers, ATMs, in Traffic

What does this teach: Discipline and Patience

The proper way to fall in line in public bathrooms is to have one line for all the cubicles and not a single line for EACH cubicle.

The proper way to fall in line for cashiers is to find the end of the line and no matter how far away it is, suck it up and go to the end. If you do not like this then find another cashier with a shorter line.

The proper way to fall in line at ATMs is to form a single line for all the ATMs and not a line per ATM. (same as the bathroom one). Also, don’t stand so close.

Traffic is one big line, maybe you wanna stay in your lane because switching lanes just to get one car ahead makes no sense at all. And is a waste of gas.

3) Communicate Properly (NO to Jeje-speak)

Practical Applications: In all written correspondence (text, emails, facebook comments)

What does this teach: the proper use of language (both English and Tagalog), articulation, vocabulary, grammar and proper communication skills

Communication is one of life’s most critical skills. We form opinions and impressions on people based on the way they communicate – what they say and how they say it.  While some argue that Jejespeak and other newly developed slang such as Bekimon are both forms of language, I feel that people should not forget the formal and proper way of speaking (whether English or Tagalog). Maybe Bekimon and Jejemon can be with your friends but in a professional setting, it is inappropriate and sends the wrong message…literally. Start simple – spell your text messages properly and hopefully the rest will follow. (ex. “aq” or “aku” to Ako)

4) Chill out a little

Practical Applications: Everywhere in Life

What does this teach: Internal Energy Conservation, Zen, Prioritizing more important things

Filipinos are so salty about everything. When anything negative is said about Filipinos (ex. in international Media, TV shows, etc) even in jest, people get all up in arms. Take the Ms. Universe incident for example, we can’t get over how Steve Harvey mixed things up. We just need to brush it off and move on. Filipinos like to dwell. We dwell on every little thing. We get mad about random things and can’t let go.

5) Be curious. (Ask questions, engage others, constantly learn)

Practical Applications: School, Politics (Elections), Workplace, Life

What does this teach (or do): Asking questions gives us knowledge, awareness and enables us to be people that always learn and improve ourselves

Filipinos by nature are generally passive aggressive. My opinion is that we aren’t the curious type. If there’s something that we don’t necessarily understand, we do not let on right away that we don’t get it. We do not question things so much. Take school for example – if the teacher says something, we accept it as fact, we are not taught to challenge (respectfully) our teachers. We are not allowed to engage them in debate otherwise it would be seen as disrespectful. When I went to college in America, I was surprised to find that students were encouraged to engage our teacher and volunteer our own opinions even if they differ as long as we did so respectfully and sincerely.

In the workplace, I noticed here that they will not clarify instructions. Instead they will try to do them on their own and make a ton of mistakes. My first boss encouraged me to ask as many intelligent questions as I needed to get my task done properly. This isn’t done here. If it was though, it would save lots of time and energy.

In politics, we should absolutely 100% be curious about our candidates and future leaders. Listen to and dissect their platforms. Be an informed voter!

So that’s it! that’s my simple-but-not-so-simple list. If you have any good ones to add, leave them in the comments! I would love to hear from you! 🙂



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