Comparing Cultures – I Choose The Philippines

My Information Central!Comparing Cultures.

Sitting here inside information central, and with the television news always on behind me, it’s not hard to stay informed – in just about anything. As I scan the web with Google and Bing, from Facebook to news sites, one thing seems to permeate the headlines with more consistency every day. Well…okay, two. The economy and the continued decline of America (freedoms, morals, ethics, bigotry, racism, mass murders, flash thieving, standards of living…pick any category). The demise of America is not a topic of discussion that is endeared these days, and it’s downright depressing to many that know it’s all too true. It’s becoming a hot button topic for many a debate at just about every level of society. Just ask anyone and nearly all will agree that America is in decline…but they will also be the first to state that it’s not their fault! It’s becoming almost customary to point the finger at just about anybody these days. Don’t believe it?….just Google “American Demise” and you should expect to see about 22,400,000 search results. Nope…that’s not a typo…it’s 22 million! When a single topic provides that much conversation and exchange, it’s not just silly banter. It should be considered serious.

Today I came across a video where a group of people was arrested while visiting the Jefferson Memorial in Washington DC. The reason: a visitor wearing headphones was moving to his grove – and while he was getting into the music, he was approached and harassed by the Park Police. When his group as a whole was given a warning not to “dance or demonstrate”, they all began dancing and the result was several arrests and the monument being locked down. People with video recorders were asked to leave. I don’t know if these people were antagonists and I’m no expert on the freedoms of expression (dancing in public), but this seemed over the top by the Park Police. They could have simply escorted them out. Watch the Video.

Rodman Found in Contempt
Rodman Found in Contempt

Yesterday, another video went viral about this young 18-year-old girl who, at her bond hearing for possession of drugs, disrespected the Judge and the court and subsequently had her bond increased, and then was further cited for criminal contempt (for flipping the judge off) and given 30 days in jail. The attitude and strange personal behaviors being displayed here

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– are a more serious issue than that in the first example where it was just a bad decision made by authorities (IMO) – are becoming more commonplace and problematic today. Never in my life would I ever show this kind of disrespect to the court, or a judge, especially if I was guilty! Call it dumb, ignorant or stupid – they all fit. Watch the Video.

The point I’m attempting to make here, in summary, is that more and more people are making really dumb decisions as they go about their daily lives. And society just rolls with the punches with seemingly no repercussions. There doesn’t seem to be anybody willing to be held accountable for anything – on the personal level or government level. While these declines in behavior, in general, seem ever more prevalent in the western and European societies, they don’t seem to dominate the news cycles in the Philippines. I’m not saying that these problems don’t exist in the Philippines, but whenever I visit the Philippines, I don’t see this level of in-your-face disrespect given to elders, strangers, authorities, institutions, etc. It’s the bad attitudes and personal disrespect that bother me the most. While I know that everything from immorality to violent crime exists everywhere, these incidences per capita in the Philippines are very low. When one arrives in the Philippines for the first time, cultural differences are very noticeable, and know this – it’s genuine. In a society where 95% of the people are Catholic, the culture is a reflection of its complex history, with a blend of the Malayo-Polynesian and Hispanic cultures, and influence from the Chinese.

The following concepts are very important in Filipino culture (Kulturang Pilipino):

  • I'll Stay with Culture
    I’ll Stay with Culture


  • Trust in God
  • Being respectful, especially to older people
  • Perseverance, forbearance
  • Fate
  • Debt of gratitude
  • Self-esteem
  • Showing compassion and sympathy
  • Helping neighbors
  • Community Spirit
  • Getting along
  • Discretion
  • Word of honor
  • Hospitality
  • Superstition
  • Shame

It’s funny but when most westerners and Europeans look at these elements, they seem to all agree that they hold some significance to them, either individually or as a whole. We will each think to ourselves, “…yes, that’s how it was when I was growing up…or, that’s how I was raised…or, that’s what I believe in!” Well? The big question is who is to blame for the evaporation and disappearance of all these values we hold so true?

Respect Given
Respect Given

When I am there, I appreciate the respect and admiration shown to me by my wife’s family, whether it be immediate family, or even distant relatives. The respect and admiration I see shared at all levels of the family hierarchy and in society provide me with a good feeling, to include a certain warmth and acceptance. The feelings and the respect gave me are mutual and the respect I have for Philippine society and culture are genuine. Choosing to move to and live in the Philippines is more than just some wild decision based upon the cost of living and nice beaches. For many of those that come to the Philippines to live, it’s the return to all the basic principles that are the real motive. It’s also about having and sharing in this deep respect for the culture. Honesty, integrity, and respect are all results of adhering to time-honored cultural values and practices and mean so much more to those enjoying their Golden Years. There is so much more to understand about Philippine culture so I encourage anyone that is interested in visiting or living in the Philippines, or meeting and marrying a Filipina, to do the research and do the homework. It can be complicated – yet so simple. But you must be sure that what you seek is a simple life and the peace of mind of living in a culturally minded world.

Roy and Dale Rogers
Roy and Dale Rogers

When I was little, I stayed glued to movies with Audie Murphey, Roy Rogers & Dale Evans, and Gene Autry, and watched all the old western shows like Gunsmoke, Have Gun-Will Travel, Maverick, Big Valley, Wild Bill Hickok, and who could forget The Lone Ranger! I always wished I could turn back the clock and thought it would be so cool to return to the days of the wild, wild, west. Bank robbers, train robbers, and good guys in the white hats. All the cattle and horse roundups you could swing a lasso at. The campfires and chuckwagons, all the fancy shootin’ and gun slinging, the circling of the wagons and all the adventures of cowboys fighting Indians. All that buckaroo stuff! Well, I’m learning that one must be careful what they wish for. As life goes on in N. America and the western world, the cultures are changing…quickly. This time though, as I think about turning back the clock, it will be in my favor. I’ve grown up to realize that I no longer hold the desire to go back to the wild, wild, west. What I really want is peace, love,

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and serenity…oh yeah, and I’ll take my simple freedoms back.

14 thoughts on “Comparing Cultures – I Choose The Philippines

  1. What surprises me randy is how many expats on other sites claim that Filipinos are rude and if poor character. My experience is so far only as a tourist, but it is that most are gracious and respectful. I can’t say the same thing in my culture. Even I act rudely sometimes and it bothers me. One reason I want to retire in PI.

  2. HI W.A.Dave, I hope people don’t misunderstand the point I was trying to make. There are bad people everywhere, but at least in the Philippines, basically a single culture society, the divisiveness and complexities of a multi-cultural, multi-race, mulit-religion society really doesn’t exist. The Filipino people are all tuned-in to the same wavelength so to speak and totally understand each other because the all have the same common denominator. What I’m not saying is that all Filipinos walk around with a patron saint on their shoulder. Some will do what they feel they must do to survive and feed their family and if you happen to be victimized by local citizen, at least they will probably be smiling when it goes down. The strengths of family, caring and compassion for each another are key, and if and when the Filipino culture begins to unravel like it has in the west, they to will experience a demise of their own. Only I hope it doesn’t begin until I’m long gone. Hope to see you here again and hope you get to the Philippines for more than just a visit someday.

  3. Well that’s true about being respectful to elder sir Randy, I think our parents made an imprint on our brain to respect them haha, even if i think i was right i cannot just say it to them face to face in a rethoric manner, i need some diplomacy or a third elder wise man or a divine intervention lol! i need to do something, an output that they would believe that i am right like an ‘i told you so’ moment. We have a lot of traditions that i think is crazy and most of us new moderny xgen pinoy don’t believe in already. Anyway i hope America economy pick up, they are our allies hehehe, we always look up on you’re culture, i think your country is still the best in terms of innovations, technological advancement, education. My boss who have advance studies at MIT said america has the best research program and i hope it stays that way.

  4. Hey W.A. Dave. I was wondering if you have the links to the websites that you say people are calling Filipinos rude and of poor character. I’m not doubting you, but I have not seen such a website. If anything I have seen people that try to make Filipinos and the Philippines into a paradise full of people that like to serve you and are always smiling. While for the most part Filipinos do smile, they have problems like everyone else and the Philippines is not really a paradise, but it is a pretty nice place to live. I mean unless you have a boat load of money and live on the beach or a condo, then it’s just a good place to live with less problems then the ones that have developed in the US.
    I tried to check out your blog, but it says it is a protected blog and I need permission to access it. I guess that is something you did on purpose. If it is a blog about the Philippines, I’d like to read it and maybe even add it to my expat links on my site.

  5. Trust me Michael, smarts never outdo wisdom, at least that’s from the perspective of your elders. To argue with wisdom is foolish, and will never yield the results you expect. I would never argue with my grandparents and as a teen, I would attempt to argue with my father, but I would always be on the losing end (it was painful sometimes!) It’s better to just wait and grow old so then you will have the upper hand! hehe I agree with you about American innovation and research and all that stuff, but things are changing rapidly here and I’m afraid our once great country is loosing her greatness. Sad but so obviously true IMO.

  6. Hey John, I too from time to time have seen remarks from some disgruntled expats where they will rant about how bad Filipinos can be. My guess is these guys are just hanging with the wrong crowd. When you surround yourself with good people, you see the good in all of them. As the old saying goes “Bad taste in pants can be forgiven. Bad taste in friends cannot.” Most Filipinos I have met in my lifetime were a pleasant and happy bunch, always willing to please, and their hospitality is second to none. My wife’s family is no different…respectful, good and honest people I would trust my life with.

  7. I think your right Sir Randy, i just realized how many times my parents save me from troubles with their wisdom when i was living in manila alone when i was still in college. Maybe i watched too much US sitcom/movies that depict the modern America, which are very popular here, that we think its “cool” but then i realize, if ever i will have a son/daughter i realized that i don’t want him/her to be like stevo of jack ass, he’s funny as hell but i would’nt do those stupid stunt ha ha.Maybe I do not understand American culture, i was just merely observing it from 10000 ft view. theres one thing i cannot comprehend, the school shootings, we have lots of illegal guns out here but we do not have school shooting we respect teachers because they are our 2nd parent, here teachers gave us advice not just school stuff but life in general, i just don’t understand why those kids do those horrible stuff.

  8. Michael, IMO, mainstream America was never what you would witness on television, but today the imaginations of both producers and viewers is being stretched more than ever. Many believe that TV is molding society into something that was never envisioned. More and more non-conformance to ethical and moral standards is continuously pushed to the limit, and eventually seems to become an accepted practice. Even the rules of simple communications are changing, denigrating that entire skill set among the younger generations. As we all age, we eventually learn that “being cool” is simply a stage in life, and it has no relevance to future earnings and living and enjoying life. Many kids today are doing things that they could eventually regret in later years, unless of course, society as a whole succumbs to new sets of standards. Hopefully not. Take that guy “creature” on the new TV series “Freakshow” (Google it). Soon America and the West will be filled with freaks of all kinds and “normal” – well eventually, there will be no “normal”. As far as the gun culture here in the U.S., it is very comparable to the Philippines except that the element of respect and culture in the Philippines seems to prohibit this violence from spilling over into the schools. There is also a widespread mental illness problem in America and no one seems to (officially) acknowledge how bad the problem is, let alone the dismantled mental health industry that should be responsible in helping identify and house these persons. Many that acknowledge the rise of mental illness and point to the resulting long term problem of large numbers of young children in America who are on prescription medications, mainly for A.D.H.D. And now, stimulant prescriptions are the trend and being prescribed in favor of boosting academic performance. My wife first came to the U.S. back in 1986 and was surprised to find that we have poverty in this country. TV has always sensationalized the American way of life very similar to the way Filipino Soap Operas on TV sensationalize everyday life in your country. Always remember there are always two sides to that shiny delicious looking apple!

  9. I’am Married to a Filipina and her family are as Loving as my own..I have made many vacations over there and after 18 years there is NO REASON why I should not finally Move there…i have experienced ALL the good and Bad of that Place and the Good Far out weighs the Bad in our little remote Fishing Village on the Island of CEBU….Over there I’am still a loving Uncle and held high up in there Family..Here in Canada my family never visits much and would just as soon put you in a Home when you get old….God Bless,,,Bob..

  10. I have to agree with You Bobby. My wife’s biggest fear here in the U.S. is that she would wind up forgotten in some dark corner of some nursing home somewhere. My family would never step up to take care of her/us. It’s just better to be loved and cared for at home in the Philippines. At least I can be certain that I will be taken care of also, and that’s all the peace of mind I need. Thanks for your comments.

  11. Randy I have a person on my facebook who grows Asparagus near Batangus..I tried to send it to you but it never went..Its on my facebook for you..

  12. hi randyl its really true that filipino are trully very respectful and very hospitable. Eventhough the philippines is not much a richer country but its really nice to live here.

  13. Robert, that is what makes the Philippines so special. The richness of the people is not measured in Pesos, but in their cultural pride.

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