For managers of multinational firms, recruiting Filipino professionals and technical staff means their company will inevitably and undoubtedly experience a bit of Filipino customs and culture. There’s a saying that the Filipinos have grown up 300 years in a Spanish convent, and 50 years of Hollywood, and another 70 years of trying this experiment called “The Filipino People”. This has led to a naturally warm, gentle, and hospitable nation.
For those who are not too familiar with our nation’s history, prior to the conquest of the Spanish conquistadors, there were no known “Filipinos.” The archipelago was once a mixed bag of language groups and tribes. It was only at the end of the Spanish Era wherein the local intellectual class awakened and recognized the patchwork of mini-nations is really one in character – The Filipino. The Americans built on their ideals, and transitioned the people to embrace nationhood, and upon independence, the leadership banked on it to ensure that we are one nation of many people.
One cannot find fault, but might even realize how amusing it is that The Philippines today is the only Latin Country in Asia, with a very positive outlook towards the West. We love our basketball as much as we love our chorizos and tapas. We cry over our Telenovelas as much as we are gripped in America’s Got Talent.
To define the Filipino character in a few words is like trying to describe how many colors are present in a rainbow to an unborn child. It really takes one to experience or engage a Filipino to see that we are a hardy yet warm people. One can probably look at the following:
Filipinos are slow to anger.
When crossing the streets of Manila, even at the point of a near accident and doing a Russian Roulette with the Grim Reaper, a Filipino would still smile and giggle about the incident. The opposite would have happened if one was in Singapore, Vienna, or New York, where the pedestrian would assert his rights and even slam his hands on the car that cut him off. Filipinos have a concept called “pikon”, loosely translated to be weak tempered or cranky. A person who displays this attitude would reap more teasing and be the butt of every joke – something that every Filipino wants to avoid as much as possible. This is one of the first barriers of the Filipino mindset from getting angry.
Filipinos are service-oriented.
The global phenomenon of bumping into a Filipino nurse, flight attendant, or hotel staff across the globe – from Alaska all the way to New Zealand is no accident. While the healthcare, hospitality, and airline industries have clearly recognized this trait among Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), the mindset is deeply ingrained in the national character even beyond the modern times. Being hospitable and helpful is considered as a matter of honor not just for an individual but even by Filipino families themselves. If one is not known to be helpful or is churlish, brusque, or ungracious, this would be considered by the community as shameful.
Filipinos are family-centric.
Managers who have worked with Filipinos, and have helped in their onboarding would have an experience of him crying the first 2 weeks as he would grapple with homesickness. However, that weakness is the very same strength that pulls him through this: his love for his family. His family is his primary motivation. They’re his reason why he would sacrifice to sign a 2-year contract bound to foreign and unfamiliar land thousands of miles away, bid his wife and children farewell so that he could get better chances in life and provide more for them.
Filipinos are cheerful.
This is often confused by many that Filipinos take things lightly. However, it might be seen part of the overall character of the Filipino when it comes to coping with stress or difficulties. It’s not uncommon to even visit a funeral in the Philippines and see people who would be smiling and sharing bits of laughter during the wake. While western humor might be leaning towards sarcasm, Filipino humor is more of slapstick. It’s no wonder why movies like Mr. Bean or The Gods Must Be Crazy are big hits in the country. In the workplace, one would find their Filipino staff who has gained some comfort in his surrounding as someone who could bring a joke or two for the day – or light up the office with a little funny line during a stressful moment.
Filipinos are very culturally adaptive.
Whether the OFW ends up working as a nurse in Japan, or as Rigger on an oil platform offshore Brazil, whether it’s in the tundra of Siberia or deserts of Saudi Arabia, he or she would embrace with ease the local culture. We Filipinos find it no difficulty to assimilate into the local culture. In the Philippines alone, while there might be spits of racism you will find, not a single concept of xenophobia in and among the people. Therefore, when Filipinos leave the country, you will never find them insisting their own culture upon the host country. They will learn the language, they will shadow their hosts and take on their traits as well.
While all of these are true, one would experience a bit of the Philippines when they meet a Filipino. It might not be a perfect national character, but it does work for those companies who want to improve their customer engagement or customer experience, or if a company desires staff who work with a heart. That truly becomes an asset to many managers.
Finally, there’s another saying “You can bring out the Filipino from the Philippines, but you cannot take away the Philippines from the Filipino.”
Bring out the karaoke!
ABOUT THE COMPANY: Rensol Recruitment and Consulting, Inc. is the fastest growing recruitment agency in The Philippines. A career consultant that aims to go above and beyond the level of expectations of both the aspirations of the candidates and the dream team standards of employers through providing exceptional opportunities and unparalleled quality-driven recruitment services.
Karlo is the resident chief revenue and brand strategist. He is passionate about making a difference in people’s lives. Whether it is in the workplace or in his community, he believes that we are always given an opportunity to impact others for the better. He brings with him 16 years of Business Development and Operations experience from the engineering, design, and international recruitment industries.