Finding Balance in the Philippines, Part 1of2

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24 comments

  1. Usually when I asked any filipino about their politicians, their answers were full of criticism. “They’re doing nothing to help us”, “Everyone is corrupted”, “They only care about themselves”. Once I was even told, that every high end politician has about twenty dead bodies behind him.

    1. Since I am a foreigner, it could be that Filipinos are more careful with their words about politics and nation when speaking with us Foreigners than among Filipinos themselves.

    1. @LifeBeyondTheSea – Philippines I am married to a Filipina 14 years now.We live in North Carolina,but have visited her mom in Leon Postigo which is in Mindanao.have been there 2 times no problems and very friendly people.We will be going there again last week of April this year 2014 for 2 months.Bacunan,and Sindangan both very close to Leon Postigo and small towns nothing big,but friendly people.We also have land there and plan to build our house there starting this year.It will be up on a mountain in the province,beautiful view.All we want is just a simple life nothing special.Henry we are planning to visit Bohol like to meet you when we are there if possible.My email is cherokees51@yahoo.com,if you get time,o yes I really like your vids.
                                Cheers Scott

    2. I’ve been there coupla times and had a problem in Dipolog but HE was a foreigner. Rent, don’t purchase. Visit, but don’t live far from a lot of people. NEVER have only 1 woman living in your house IF YOU must have them move in. NEVER lend your mobile even for a minute. And of course, don’t flaunt your financial success. The word “borrow or loan me” means the opposite. 

    3. Personally, after reading the warning to travellers from both the US and Australian state departments against travel to southern Mindanao.. and reading the events that go on there.. I do not see Mindanao as a good choice at all for long term living.  Anything north of Mindanao is a much better choice in my book.

  2. Henry kodos to you for once again a very spot on analysis here. Though, for your viewers’ understanding, I would like to point out couple of things why we filipinos behave in such a manner. Firstly, for most filipinos family is the center of social culture which includes nuclear family. One is expected to heed words and advices from elderly member of the family. Respect is big and demanded based on the family structure/heirarchy. Secondly, filipinos avoid confrontation as much as possible hence we sometimes are regarded to be passive and indirect. The truth is, filipinos are generally shy and overly sensitive people where directness is sometimes viewed as rude. We take offense even with the littlest things. It is a culture where even a simple direct stare can sometimes invite a fight.

    1. And this is the challenge for us expats moving to the PH.  In our culture, being vague and indirect leads to misunderstandings and false expectations.  So we avoid that by being very specific and direct in our communications.  But, as you mentioned, being ‘direct’ is perceived as being ‘rude’.  For us, being ‘vague’ is perceived as being ‘deceptive’.  It takes patience and adjustment to fit in with the culture, that is for sure.

  3. It is true that most filipinos are passionate and operates more by heart even in a day to day dealings and sometimes desicions are made based on feelings rather than by intellect. Commonly, people thrive in an interpersonal relationship and networking. Feeling of gratitude is very much alive, where there is a strong desire to return a favor.

  4. Henry:
    Thanks for your response, everything I’ve read goes right along with your advice. I will try and contact you as I get closer to my dates in the Ph sometime in May.
    Jeff

    1. Well done Henry. I’ve learnt few nuggets of wisdom around Bohol. Although originally came from the PH but already live in UK for 45 years and you are spot on about Mind & Heart analogy on US and PH mentality. Excellent video. I can not praise you enough of your good work. Deep respect and gratitude for your work and living in the Philippines. “ Well done my old boy as British saying” My Email: kingfernandez8751@googlemail.com. I am Film Editor & Commercial Photographer in London UK and hope we could meet one day in Bohol and might be of help of your soundtracks and motion graphics with your shoots. Be in PH around September 15, 2014 and looking forward to hook up soon.
      Kindest regards, Yogy

  5. The Filipinos I know working in America tell me how corrupt the PI government government is.  Maybe they are more outspoken being here than if they were in the PI.  

  6. As to government criticism, the difference is this;

    Takyo Tapulan is irked about the path hole in the road in front of his house. He complains to everyone, his neighbors, his relatives his friends even in face book. But he never file any report to any government agency. Then one occasion at a wedding the governor was there. Takyo shake hands with the Governor. The governor ask “how is life in your town” Takyo replies “excellent, your the best governor ever”

    A gay couple Peter and Paul who were recently married in California went to Massachusetts and found out that a hotel there only cater to Man and Woman married couple because it was owned by a Catholic business institution. Peter and Paul complained to the Governor and the Mayor and the Catholic business license for that hotel was suspended.

  7. Hi Henry
    I have been following your site and your videos for some time now. Thank you for the effort you put into it to share your experiences with the community. I recently watch your video about the ICM mall in Tagbilaran and I think that you have put a lot of positive spin about this place and in general Bohol and Philippines. 
    I am a communications consultant and I have traveled and worked for 25 years in all continents. Asia, Africa, Latin America, Europe, middle east; you name it. And in these 25 years I haven’t seen a more ugly little town than Tagbilaran. Totally disorganized with no basic infrastructure, roads full of pot holes where chaos and anarchy prevails with tricycle-drivers on the rampage. Completely corrupt local authority who’s main motive is how to feel their boots but put any funds to common good not even to cover some pot holes. Not to mention the power cuts from the monopoly electricity company that can last for ever. And if Bohol, a tourist destination is in such a bad state, I dread to think how much of a primitive society the rest of the country is?
    I wondered around Tgbilaran and I saw a lot of westerners especially Americans living there and I cannot comprehend why all you people have abandoned civilization to come and live in such a primitive, poor and completely corrupt environment where often people and chicken sleeping together. Is it masochism? Buzz from self-inflicted pain? 
    Yes you can see some beautiful native women walking around in the ICM mall but then again there are some pretty girls in every country. I travelled up and down in Philippines and worked in Manila before and I have noticed that especially in the provinces the majority of the girls are short, black and fat. Is it not the case? Or do I need glasses? So it cannot be the female beauty that keep people here. Perhaps the fact that a 65+ year old yank who refuses to accept that time has caught up with him can and in this country he can have a 22 year old girl who goes with him only for survival and view him as a walking wallet. I may be wrong but I cannot see why someone can leave California for Tagbilaran.

    1. I agree.  You do not see what I see, at all.  It’s a shame.  Sounds like the Philippines is not the place for you.  Hope you find what you’re looking for.

  8. You’re quite right when you say that we Westerners are much more direct than Filipinos and that is something to take into account in your dealings with these people.  For example, one day I saw the maid doing something the wrong way round.  She first cleaned B and when she cleaned A she made B dirty again.  So I said to her in a very friendly tone: “Next time you do this, would you first clean A and then B?  Because if you clean B first, A will be dirty again.”  A few minutes later my (now ex-) wife came over to me and asked: “Are you angry with the maid?”  I said: “No, why should I be?”  “She says you are angry with her”.  This really shows their sensitive nature and their misinterpretation of a friendly advice.  But, in spite of this sensitivity to our direct way of communicating, it is my experience that, if you are not direct with them, nothing gets done.  Let me explain.  In our Western culture we find it more polite and also more effective to ask rather than order.  Even when talking to subordinates at our job, we will say: “Would you please do this?” rather than “Do this!”  That doesn’t work with Filipinos.  If you ask a Filipino: “Would you please wash my car?” he will smile and say: “Sure, sir!” and two hours later your car is still dirty.  After all you didn’t tell him WHEN he has to wash your car.  Maybe he’ll do it tomorrow!  However, when you say: “Wash my car, please!” (I can’t help adding the “please” – it’s in our nature) he will know that he has to do it NOW.  As such, finding the right balance between what you call “male directness” and “female sensitivity” is not always easy when you are foreign to their culture.

    1. @BelgianTuber what can be frustrating are the evasive answers you will get when trying to uncover something. when you start getting purposefully crafted answers that make zero sense and have no logic, even defy reality.. you know they have something to hide and are just playing games. being ‘direct’ will not get direct answers, most of the time. simple questions like, “why were you looking in my wallet?”, “where were you the last two days?”, “if that guy is your cousin, why so many texts and calls you keep hiding?” i’ve found that eventually you just have to reach a limit and deduce the obvious. it’s rare you will get a direct answer to a direct question if the answer implicates them in anything. conversely, if a girlfriend notices me noticing a girl at the mall and asks, “what are you looking at?!”, i’ll tell her, “i was noticing that girl over there, in the orange dress.” big difference between east and west.

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