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Finally- my Philippine rant

Discuss culture, living, traveling, relocating, dating or anything related to the Asian countries - China, The Philippines, Thailand, etc.

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Postby ladislav » Tue Jan 15, 2013 1:00 am

Banano wrote:these filipino people are strange

if they are so ignorant and dont know nothing about nothnig,
what sort of conversation can average foreigner/american have with them?
if their men are so dumb, women must be even worse by 50% at least
how people like winston and steve hoca can ever fit in such culture??? This is a serious question


It's not being dumb, it is just that they are very much into living life here and now and concern themselves with things at hand, not something esoteric which has no bearing on their immediate lives. Well, if you want to talk to them, you just talk about daily things- jobs, money, school work, family, life in Manila, Philippine politics, Korean investment, latest movies, songs ( American songs usually) etc. There is plenty to talk about. Actually, talking with an average American is kind of similar- most Americans would know very little outside of what is practical and would not even be interested. At least with a Filipino, you can teach them and they will be listening to you when you talk about new things and new countries. They will want to see pictures and learn. But if you start talking with an American about, say, Costa Rica, they will generally frown and show scorn for anything that is not American and yawn if it is not related to some practical purpose.
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Postby Raja » Tue Jan 15, 2013 1:30 am

ladislav wrote:
Funny people see me on the street and call me Joe


And you are of what appearance? And where do they call you Joe? In Manila? Did anybody call you "Amerikano Amerikaaaaaaaano?"

Your basic mostly western African looking Black American in Maynila
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Postby Rock » Tue Jan 15, 2013 4:18 am

ladislav wrote:
No, they are not looking for another colonial power to invade. Public polls consistently show that the Philippines would like a closer relationship with the USA- like becoming a commonwealth or several states. Of course this is not likely to happen, but if statehood was voted on tomorrow, it would pass in a landslide.


The Filipinos used to be US nationals. The US has this strange division between a citizen and a national- unique concepts. Then, they were basically stripped of it around mid 1930ies because arguably they were becoming a threat to US agricultural workers- there were even pogroms against them as they were taking jobs away from Mainlanders. So, supposedly the independence was not really wanted by most people as the US was very rich at that time and replete with job and other opportunities. It was called Mother America. A child was rejected by the mother and since then has been yearning to go back to it.

Of course, it is the poor that want to be a US Commonwealth and they would benefit from it. Not the rich ones. They would lose their power and positions and become minorities and serve the Mainland overlords. Most rich people anywhere dislike America and Americans and want to keep away from them.

Funny people see me on the street and call me Joe


And you are of what appearance? And where do they call you Joe? In Manila? Did anybody call you "Amerikano Amerikaaaaaaaano?"


1. That sounds a little strange as USA had 15-25% unemployment in the mid 30s and was suffering an extreme and protracted depression. America had plenty of starving people at the time so it follows that struggling mainlanders would fight tooth and nail to cut out the Pinoys. US was much richer in the 20s and again in the late 40s going forward.

2. Why wouldn't the locals consider blacks as Americans too? After all, a lot of American military personnel on the ground there in more recent decades were black Americans.
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Postby Rock » Tue Jan 15, 2013 4:32 am

OutWest wrote:
Banano wrote:
Apart from Lad and the Adventurer, no one here seems to have much of a clue about the Philippines beyond transactions with hoes.


Outwest
Misamis Oriental, Mindanao


In last few months, I've focused some of my efforts on meeting and getting to know locals who break some to most of the the stereotypes people here often discuss. Trust me, there are some very bright and switched on people there if you look hard enough in the right places. And they can teach plenty cus they know the culture as quasi to full insiders. If you get them to open up, they can be true cultural translators.
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Postby OutWest » Tue Jan 15, 2013 5:17 am

Rock wrote:
OutWest wrote:
Banano wrote:
Apart from Lad and the Adventurer, no one here seems to have much of a clue about the Philippines beyond transactions with hoes.


Outwest
Misamis Oriental, Mindanao


In last few months, I've focused some of my efforts on meeting and getting to know locals who break some to most of the the stereotypes people here often discuss. Trust me, there are some very bright and switched on people there if you look hard enough in the right places. And they can teach plenty cus they know the culture as quasi to full insiders. If you get them to open up, they can be true cultural translators.


Got that right...like G who finally had enough here...I have been working on a dwarf mango farm related project with two well educated farmers- one with an ag degree, and these men are true gentlemen...100% class acts.

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Postby Twobrains » Tue Jan 15, 2013 10:08 am

Has anyone read "Culture Shock Philippines - A Guide to Customs and Etiquette"? I saw it in a bookshop in Saigon and was tempted to buy it, but it was more than I wanted to pay. There are plenty of second-hand copies on the internet, so I may get one.
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Postby xiongmao » Tue Jan 15, 2013 12:49 pm

I think I read that one.

I read all kinds of books about Chinese people. Ha ha ha, they were mostly total shit.

Take one book. It said Chinese women wouldn't wear white headbands... yet my first gf wore exactly that in her Chnlove photos!

Most of these books are written by people who live in posh Makati/Shanghai condos and don't know shit about the countries they're writing about.
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Postby Raja » Tue Jan 15, 2013 2:10 pm

Twobrains wrote:Has anyone read "Culture Shock Philippines - A Guide to Customs and Etiquette"? I saw it in a bookshop in Saigon and was tempted to buy it, but it was more than I wanted to pay. There are plenty of second-hand copies on the internet, so I may get one.

Although it is aimed towards the travelling businessman it does go into the gray area of Filipino culture ignore by the marriage sites
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Postby publicduende » Tue Jan 15, 2013 2:51 pm

Ladislav, I read your "rant" with the utmost interest, because my experience in Davao revealed me quite a different picture. In random order:

1) taxis - they're all metered and the drivers always stick to the meter! They all start from 40 PHP and, as far as I have seen, never top-up the fare manually. They even tend to take several side streets to avoid the traffic on the main arteries (JP Laurel, Quirino, etc.) and be faster than the jeepneys. I have never paid more than 150 PHP on a single taxi fare. And 150 was when I had to go to the airport starting from the other side of town!

2) America-centrism - didn't say much of that, if not any. Local radios were airing a mix of American and British oldies, the usual Gangnam Style and RnB sensations and Filipino songs sung in Tagalog. I didn't gauge the balance, I would say at least one song is four was Filipino, and I didn't only hear golden age pop, but also some decent rock, funky and rap sung in Tagalog. From what I could "feel", Davao culturally panders much more to China, Japan and in part South Korea than the US. Language schools teaching Japanese and Korean abound, and even a very good international school for Japanese expat kids that is also open to Filipinos. I have spoken to more than 50 different people, either gender, age ranging from 16 to 80, and none of them uttered the "Kano" word once, or made any reference to my status of a white Caucasian foreigner. The closest to a racial-connotated comment I received in my 2 weeks was the about my (alleged) resemblance to Nicholas Cage...and I received that in every Asian country I have been to! :)

3) general culture - this subsumes several points about Filipinos being unable to talk about anything else than local TV series, their own families, and the latest pop from America, or being oblivious about their neighbouring countries. Again, it might be just my bias based on a mere 2 weeks in Davao, but I have managed to speak to about 50 Filipinos, either gender, age ranging from 16 to 70, and I did find quite a few people with whom I could enjoy the same kinds of conversations I would normally have here in London: from technical stuff related to their jobs (real estate and property management and IT, to name two), to the political and economical situation of the Philippines, to the state of foreign investment from Japan and China. With one guy we even had this fantastic convo about why, like Japanese, Filipinos still suffer from an inferiority complex towards the West, but unlike Japanese, they seem unable to leverage the Western template to develop their own models of innovation and efficiency.

I have seen a lot of poverty in the Philippines, and the quality and depth of my chats with Filipinos correlated well with the age and socio-professional status of my conversation partner. Having said that, I wouldn't rush too much into the stereotype about all Pinoys and Pinays being unable to speak good English, dive into the nuances of a tongue-in-cheek or flirtatious conversation, and talk about serious stuff.

From what I read from Ladislav's points, it sounds like this strong referentiality to the US and their culture is probably less predominant in Mindanao, where the native identity and regional characters are stronger. Again, just my speculation...happy to be proved right or wrong :)
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Postby Rock » Tue Jan 15, 2013 3:07 pm

publicduende wrote:Ladislav, I read your "rant" with the utmost interest, because my experience in Davao revealed me quite a different picture. In random order:

1) taxis - they're all metered and the drivers always stick to the meter! They all start from 40 PHP and, as far as I have seen, never top-up the fare manually. They even tend to take several side streets to avoid the traffic on the main arteries (JP Laurel, Quirino, etc.) and be faster than the jeepneys. I have never paid more than 150 PHP on a single taxi fare. And 150 was when I had to go to the airport starting from the other side of town!

2) America-centrism - didn't say much of that, if not any. Local radios were airing a mix of American and British oldies, the usual Gangnam Style and RnB sensations and Filipino songs sung in Tagalog. I didn't gauge the balance, I would say at least one song is four was Filipino, and I didn't only hear golden age pop, but also some decent rock, funky and rap sung in Tagalog. From what I could "feel", Davao culturally panders much more to China, Japan and in part South Korea than the US. Language schools teaching Japanese and Korean abound, and even a very good international school for Japanese expat kids that is also open to Filipinos. I have spoken to more than 50 different people, either gender, age ranging from 16 to 80, and none of them uttered the "Kano" word once, or made any reference to my status of a white Caucasian foreigner. The closest to a racial-connotated comment I received in my 2 weeks was the about my (alleged) resemblance to Nicholas Cage...and I received that in every Asian country I have been to! :)

3) general culture - this subsumes several points about Filipinos being unable to talk about anything else than local TV series, their own families, and the latest pop from America, or being oblivious about their neighbouring countries. Again, it might be just my bias based on a mere 2 weeks in Davao, but I have managed to speak to about 50 Filipinos, either gender, age ranging from 16 to 70, and I did find quite a few people with whom I could enjoy the same kinds of conversations I would normally have here in London: from technical stuff related to their jobs (real estate and property management and IT, to name two), to the political and economical situation of the Philippines, to the state of foreign investment from Japan and China. With one guy we even had this fantastic convo about why, like Japanese, Filipinos still suffer from an inferiority complex towards the West, but unlike Japanese, they seem unable to leverage the Western template to develop their own models of innovation and efficiency.

I have seen a lot of poverty in the Philippines, and the quality and depth of my chats with Filipinos correlated well with the age and socio-professional status of my conversation partner. Having said that, I wouldn't rush too much into the stereotype about all Pinoys and Pinays being unable to speak good English, dive into the nuances of a tongue-in-cheek or flirtatious conversation, and talk about serious stuff.

From what I read from Ladislav's points, it sounds like this strong referentiality to the US and their culture is probably less predominant in Mindanao, where the native identity and regional characters are stronger. Again, just my speculation...happy to be proved right or wrong :)


I spent a week in Davao back last November and really liked the place. I didn't talk to quite as many people as you but I loved the safety there. The first person I met brought one of those expensive big professional style cameras and we walked several blocks and into one of the big parks. I kept asking if it was safe and she said don't worry, it's very safe there.

Nobody seemed to give a damn that I am American and I didn't get much if any of that special eye contact that some here seem to crave. But people were nice and relaxed. And food IMO was much better than other cities I've visited in Phils. Hotel price at budget end were very reasonable too for a clean modern place w/good location, air-con, wifi, cable, and own bath/shower. Davao is big enough to have a decent infrastructure.

I didn't quite analyze the place the way you did while I was there. But nothing I observed or experienced would contradict anything you wrote above.

After Davao, I bused down to Gen San and thought it was a big step down in about every way. Didn't like the place at all and infrastructure sucked.
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Postby Mr S » Wed Jan 16, 2013 12:18 am

publicduende wrote:Ladislav, I read your "rant" with the utmost interest, because my experience in Davao revealed me quite a different picture. In random order:

1) taxis - they're all metered and the drivers always stick to the meter! They all start from 40 PHP and, as far as I have seen, never top-up the fare manually. They even tend to take several side streets to avoid the traffic on the main arteries (JP Laurel, Quirino, etc.) and be faster than the jeepneys. I have never paid more than 150 PHP on a single taxi fare. And 150 was when I had to go to the airport starting from the other side of town!

2) America-centrism - didn't say much of that, if not any. Local radios were airing a mix of American and British oldies, the usual Gangnam Style and RnB sensations and Filipino songs sung in Tagalog. I didn't gauge the balance, I would say at least one song is four was Filipino, and I didn't only hear golden age pop, but also some decent rock, funky and rap sung in Tagalog. From what I could "feel", Davao culturally panders much more to China, Japan and in part South Korea than the US. Language schools teaching Japanese and Korean abound, and even a very good international school for Japanese expat kids that is also open to Filipinos. I have spoken to more than 50 different people, either gender, age ranging from 16 to 80, and none of them uttered the "Kano" word once, or made any reference to my status of a white Caucasian foreigner. The closest to a racial-connotated comment I received in my 2 weeks was the about my (alleged) resemblance to Nicholas Cage...and I received that in every Asian country I have been to! :)

3) general culture - this subsumes several points about Filipinos being unable to talk about anything else than local TV series, their own families, and the latest pop from America, or being oblivious about their neighbouring countries. Again, it might be just my bias based on a mere 2 weeks in Davao, but I have managed to speak to about 50 Filipinos, either gender, age ranging from 16 to 70, and I did find quite a few people with whom I could enjoy the same kinds of conversations I would normally have here in London: from technical stuff related to their jobs (real estate and property management and IT, to name two), to the political and economical situation of the Philippines, to the state of foreign investment from Japan and China. With one guy we even had this fantastic convo about why, like Japanese, Filipinos still suffer from an inferiority complex towards the West, but unlike Japanese, they seem unable to leverage the Western template to develop their own models of innovation and efficiency.

I have seen a lot of poverty in the Philippines, and the quality and depth of my chats with Filipinos correlated well with the age and socio-professional status of my conversation partner. Having said that, I wouldn't rush too much into the stereotype about all Pinoys and Pinays being unable to speak good English, dive into the nuances of a tongue-in-cheek or flirtatious conversation, and talk about serious stuff.

From what I read from Ladislav's points, it sounds like this strong referentiality to the US and their culture is probably less predominant in Mindanao, where the native identity and regional characters are stronger. Again, just my speculation...happy to be proved right or wrong :)


He's mainly talking about Luzon and Metro Manila areas. The further away you are from Manila and main tourist destinations there will be less outside cultural influences affecting the locals outside of what is influencing them via cable, internet, malls, married foreigners who own local establishments, etc.

BTW, taxis in all other cities pretty much follow the rules. Lad is referring to the way Manila runs it's taxis and allows them to get away with regular scamming of customers.

Only a small percentage of Filipinos can speak intermediate or higher levels of English and many of them are from the higher class or work overseas or are planning to leave the country. I talk to hundreds every month and only a small percentage can rate high enough to get immigrant/education/work visas to English speaking countries cause they haven't got a decent command of the language. Like most things here in PI, there is the outside appearance of what is and then there is the actual fact or what something is. Filipinos know how to fool casual observers of most anything that whatever 'it' is, is in good working order. However when you start questioning fundamentals the whole smoke and mirror facade breaks and you see whatever it is or them for what they really are. Filipinos can trick tourists and the uninformed/ignorant into thinking they have good English skills by mastering basic parts of the language but when you start going deeper and challenge them about things they break down. The average Filipino is only slightly better at speaking English then an educated Korean for example learning the language. Filipinos just have an accent that can mimic the American one so it fools people into thinking they speak better, but they really can't for the most part.

From what i can tell Filipino English language skills are actually getting worse rather than better in comparison to years ago, you can see it in their English tests each year. The good teachers have mainly left to work in Western English speaking countries and the country employs the leftovers. Also many schools give sliding grades so that Filipinos think they are good at a particular subject and in actuality next to their international peers they aren't. You should see their writing, most can't write a simple 250 word essay about a basic topic. These are supposed to be university graduates mind you which are supposed to be graduating "nurses" for example. You want a nurse that can't read or write or listen properly taking care of you or one of your relatives in the hospital? I think not. I'm one of the gatekeepers preventing this and it's not just that profession trying to inundate Anglo countries either. They all went better lives and all that, I understand that. But you can't have people working in professional or skilled labor fields who don't have the proper command of the English language.
Last edited by Mr S on Wed Jan 16, 2013 1:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Jester » Wed Jan 16, 2013 12:55 am

publicduende wrote:Ladislav, I read your "rant" with the utmost interest, because my experience in Davao revealed me quite a different picture. In random order:

1) taxis - they're all metered and the drivers always stick to the meter! They all start from 40 PHP and, as far as I have seen, never top-up the fare manually. They even tend to take several side streets to avoid the traffic on the main arteries (JP Laurel, Quirino, etc.) and be faster than the jeepneys. I have never paid more than 150 PHP on a single taxi fare. And 150 was when I had to go to the airport starting from the other side of town!

2) America-centrism - didn't say much of that, if not any. Local radios were airing a mix of American and British oldies, the usual Gangnam Style and RnB sensations and Filipino songs sung in Tagalog. I didn't gauge the balance, I would say at least one song is four was Filipino, and I didn't only hear golden age pop, but also some decent rock, funky and rap sung in Tagalog. From what I could "feel", Davao culturally panders much more to China, Japan and in part South Korea than the US. Language schools teaching Japanese and Korean abound, and even a very good international school for Japanese expat kids that is also open to Filipinos. I have spoken to more than 50 different people, either gender, age ranging from 16 to 80, and none of them uttered the "Kano" word once, or made any reference to my status of a white Caucasian foreigner. The closest to a racial-connotated comment I received in my 2 weeks was the about my (alleged) resemblance to Nicholas Cage...and I received that in every Asian country I have been to! :)

3) general culture - this subsumes several points about Filipinos being unable to talk about anything else than local TV series, their own families, and the latest pop from America, or being oblivious about their neighbouring countries. Again, it might be just my bias based on a mere 2 weeks in Davao, but I have managed to speak to about 50 Filipinos, either gender, age ranging from 16 to 70, and I did find quite a few people with whom I could enjoy the same kinds of conversations I would normally have here in London: from technical stuff related to their jobs (real estate and property management and IT, to name two), to the political and economical situation of the Philippines, to the state of foreign investment from Japan and China. With one guy we even had this fantastic convo about why, like Japanese, Filipinos still suffer from an inferiority complex towards the West, but unlike Japanese, they seem unable to leverage the Western template to develop their own models of innovation and efficiency.

I have seen a lot of poverty in the Philippines, and the quality and depth of my chats with Filipinos correlated well with the age and socio-professional status of my conversation partner. Having said that, I wouldn't rush too much into the stereotype about all Pinoys and Pinays being unable to speak good English, dive into the nuances of a tongue-in-cheek or flirtatious conversation, and talk about serious stuff.

From what I read from Ladislav's points, it sounds like this strong referentiality to the US and their culture is probably less predominant in Mindanao, where the native identity and regional characters are stronger. Again, just my speculation...happy to be proved right or wrong :)


THANK YOU for the positive post.

Not discounting the negatives, we need them too.

But thank you for the cup-is-at-least-half-full!
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Postby publicduende » Wed Jan 16, 2013 8:08 am

Mr S wrote:He's mainly talking about Luzon and Metro Manila areas. The further away you are from Manila and main tourist destinations there will be less outside cultural influences affecting the locals outside of what is influencing them via cable, internet, malls, married foreigners who own local establishments, etc.

BTW, taxis in all other cities pretty much follow the rules. Lad is referring to the way Manila runs it's taxis and allows them to get away with regular scamming of customers.

Only a small percentage of Filipinos can speak intermediate or higher levels of English and many of them are from the higher class or work overseas or are planning to leave the country. I talk to hundreds every month and only a small percentage can rate high enough to get immigrant/education/work visas to English speaking countries cause they haven't got a decent command of the language. Like most things here in PI, there is the outside appearance of what is and then there is the actual fact or what something is. Filipinos know how to fool casual observers of most anything that whatever 'it' is, is in good working order. However when you start questioning fundamentals the whole smoke and mirror facade breaks and you see whatever it is or them for what they really are. Filipinos can trick tourists and the uninformed/ignorant into thinking they have good English skills by mastering basic parts of the language but when you start going deeper and challenge them about things they break down. The average Filipino is only slightly better at speaking English then an educated Korean for example learning the language. Filipinos just have an accent that can mimic the American one so it fools people into thinking they speak better, but they really can't for the most part.

From what i can tell Filipino English language skills are actually getting worse rather than better in comparison to years ago, you can see it in their English tests each year. The good teachers have mainly left to work in Western English speaking countries and the country employs the leftovers. Also many schools give sliding grades so that Filipinos think they are good at a particular subject and in actuality next to their international peers they aren't. You should see their writing, most can't write a simple 250 word essay about a basic topic. These are supposed to be university graduates mind you which are supposed to be graduating "nurses" for example. You want a nurse that can't read or write or listen properly taking care of you or one of your relatives in the hospital? I think not. I'm one of the gatekeepers preventing this and it's not just that profession trying to inundate Anglo countries either. They all went better lives and all that, I understand that. But you can't have people working in professional or skilled labor fields who don't have the proper command of the English language.


I had suspected that. This just reinforces what I felt when booking my 2 weeks in the Philippines: Mindanao is "purer" or "more native" Filipino culture than what one could find in the Luzon region, both on positive and negative aspects. I had read a few stories about Rodrigo Duterte and how his utterly fascist rule had brought Davao from terrorism-laden backwater city to the status of best managed and fastest growing city in the country. It looked quite obvious to me that Davao either had never been too much into the US cultural orbit, or it left it in favour of the Chinese and Japanese ones.

As for the argument of Filipinos not being able to speak good English, it's a valid point that some of the best talents (those with arguably the best command of English) have left or are about to leave the country. It's also true that, speaking to people in Davao, I mostly heard stories of talented young people moving to the Middle East (Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, etc.) and other SEA destinations (Singapore, Hong Kong and most importantly Japan). I think I told you I met two young women, two friends, from Digos City who were far more fluent in Japanese than they were in English. And that didn't seem to bother them much. Another girl I met, from a middle calss family, was extremely articulate in English and told me her brother was a top CompSci student and was immediately snapped up by Lenovo to work in a R&D centre in Japan. I even saw his photos on her mobile, the guy mustn't have been older than 25!

Now, you may not agree with me and I may be wrong anyway, but from what I could see in Davao, I would consider Filipino's lack of interest in speaking English more of a (worrying?) sign of cultural detachment from Mother America than a sign of intellectual poverty or laziness. I wouldn't be surprised if, 20 year from now, Mindanao and perhaps Visayas became to Japan what Mexico has been to the US: a rich pool of resources and cheaper labour, with relatively healthy trade and cultural ties.
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Postby publicduende » Wed Jan 16, 2013 8:10 am

Jester wrote:
publicduende wrote:Ladislav, I read your "rant" with the utmost interest, because my experience in Davao revealed me quite a different picture. In random order:

1) taxis - they're all metered and the drivers always stick to the meter! They all start from 40 PHP and, as far as I have seen, never top-up the fare manually. They even tend to take several side streets to avoid the traffic on the main arteries (JP Laurel, Quirino, etc.) and be faster than the jeepneys. I have never paid more than 150 PHP on a single taxi fare. And 150 was when I had to go to the airport starting from the other side of town!

2) America-centrism - didn't say much of that, if not any. Local radios were airing a mix of American and British oldies, the usual Gangnam Style and RnB sensations and Filipino songs sung in Tagalog. I didn't gauge the balance, I would say at least one song is four was Filipino, and I didn't only hear golden age pop, but also some decent rock, funky and rap sung in Tagalog. From what I could "feel", Davao culturally panders much more to China, Japan and in part South Korea than the US. Language schools teaching Japanese and Korean abound, and even a very good international school for Japanese expat kids that is also open to Filipinos. I have spoken to more than 50 different people, either gender, age ranging from 16 to 80, and none of them uttered the "Kano" word once, or made any reference to my status of a white Caucasian foreigner. The closest to a racial-connotated comment I received in my 2 weeks was the about my (alleged) resemblance to Nicholas Cage...and I received that in every Asian country I have been to! :)

3) general culture - this subsumes several points about Filipinos being unable to talk about anything else than local TV series, their own families, and the latest pop from America, or being oblivious about their neighbouring countries. Again, it might be just my bias based on a mere 2 weeks in Davao, but I have managed to speak to about 50 Filipinos, either gender, age ranging from 16 to 70, and I did find quite a few people with whom I could enjoy the same kinds of conversations I would normally have here in London: from technical stuff related to their jobs (real estate and property management and IT, to name two), to the political and economical situation of the Philippines, to the state of foreign investment from Japan and China. With one guy we even had this fantastic convo about why, like Japanese, Filipinos still suffer from an inferiority complex towards the West, but unlike Japanese, they seem unable to leverage the Western template to develop their own models of innovation and efficiency.

I have seen a lot of poverty in the Philippines, and the quality and depth of my chats with Filipinos correlated well with the age and socio-professional status of my conversation partner. Having said that, I wouldn't rush too much into the stereotype about all Pinoys and Pinays being unable to speak good English, dive into the nuances of a tongue-in-cheek or flirtatious conversation, and talk about serious stuff.

From what I read from Ladislav's points, it sounds like this strong referentiality to the US and their culture is probably less predominant in Mindanao, where the native identity and regional characters are stronger. Again, just my speculation...happy to be proved right or wrong :)


THANK YOU for the positive post.

Not discounting the negatives, we need them too.

But thank you for the cup-is-at-least-half-full!


LOL just recounting what I saw. Thanks.
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publicduende
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Postby Mr S » Wed Jan 16, 2013 12:38 pm

publicduende wrote:
Mr S wrote:He's mainly talking about Luzon and Metro Manila areas. The further away you are from Manila and main tourist destinations there will be less outside cultural influences affecting the locals outside of what is influencing them via cable, internet, malls, married foreigners who own local establishments, etc.

BTW, taxis in all other cities pretty much follow the rules. Lad is referring to the way Manila runs it's taxis and allows them to get away with regular scamming of customers.

Only a small percentage of Filipinos can speak intermediate or higher levels of English and many of them are from the higher class or work overseas or are planning to leave the country. I talk to hundreds every month and only a small percentage can rate high enough to get immigrant/education/work visas to English speaking countries cause they haven't got a decent command of the language. Like most things here in PI, there is the outside appearance of what is and then there is the actual fact or what something is. Filipinos know how to fool casual observers of most anything that whatever 'it' is, is in good working order. However when you start questioning fundamentals the whole smoke and mirror facade breaks and you see whatever it is or them for what they really are. Filipinos can trick tourists and the uninformed/ignorant into thinking they have good English skills by mastering basic parts of the language but when you start going deeper and challenge them about things they break down. The average Filipino is only slightly better at speaking English then an educated Korean for example learning the language. Filipinos just have an accent that can mimic the American one so it fools people into thinking they speak better, but they really can't for the most part.

From what i can tell Filipino English language skills are actually getting worse rather than better in comparison to years ago, you can see it in their English tests each year. The good teachers have mainly left to work in Western English speaking countries and the country employs the leftovers. Also many schools give sliding grades so that Filipinos think they are good at a particular subject and in actuality next to their international peers they aren't. You should see their writing, most can't write a simple 250 word essay about a basic topic. These are supposed to be university graduates mind you which are supposed to be graduating "nurses" for example. You want a nurse that can't read or write or listen properly taking care of you or one of your relatives in the hospital? I think not. I'm one of the gatekeepers preventing this and it's not just that profession trying to inundate Anglo countries either. They all went better lives and all that, I understand that. But you can't have people working in professional or skilled labor fields who don't have the proper command of the English language.


I had suspected that. This just reinforces what I felt when booking my 2 weeks in the Philippines: Mindanao is "purer" or "more native" Filipino culture than what one could find in the Luzon region, both on positive and negative aspects. I had read a few stories about Rodrigo Duterte and how his utterly fascist rule had brought Davao from terrorism-laden backwater city to the status of best managed and fastest growing city in the country. It looked quite obvious to me that Davao either had never been too much into the US cultural orbit, or it left it in favour of the Chinese and Japanese ones.

As for the argument of Filipinos not being able to speak good English, it's a valid point that some of the best talents (those with arguably the best command of English) have left or are about to leave the country. It's also true that, speaking to people in Davao, I mostly heard stories of talented young people moving to the Middle East (Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, etc.) and other SEA destinations (Singapore, Hong Kong and most importantly Japan). I think I told you I met two young women, two friends, from Digos City who were far more fluent in Japanese than they were in English. And that didn't seem to bother them much. Another girl I met, from a middle calss family, was extremely articulate in English and told me her brother was a top CompSci student and was immediately snapped up by Lenovo to work in a R&D centre in Japan. I even saw his photos on her mobile, the guy mustn't have been older than 25!

Now, you may not agree with me and I may be wrong anyway, but from what I could see in Davao, I would consider Filipino's lack of interest in speaking English more of a (worrying?) sign of cultural detachment from Mother America than a sign of intellectual poverty or laziness. I wouldn't be surprised if, 20 year from now, Mindanao and perhaps Visayas became to Japan what Mexico has been to the US: a rich pool of resources and cheaper labour, with relatively healthy trade and cultural ties.


They don't have a detachment from learning English as it is mandatory curriculum in the country and most foreign jobs require some to be able to be hired. The main problem is lack of educational standards and more TV available translated into Tagalog rather than staying in English. So basically the lower classes will be inundated with Tagalog or Visayan regularly cause that's all they are mainly exposed too while the upper classes know the value of education and either send their kids off to private schools where the education is halfway decent and in English as well as usually forcing their kids to mainly speak English in the home rather than the native languages. Filipinos have the capability to be highly educated and intelligent but the government, culture/society and lack of opportunities make mastery of any subject out of reach for the average Filipino for the most part. If you were to compare a Filipino that went to a public school with one that went to a private it is almost night in day in regards to their educational abilities. (Public schools here have between 50-100 students in one class room with only one teacher, so you put two and two together with that one) However the well to do Filipinos nowadays generally don't stick around to help their countrymen but rather go overseas to work or immigrate cause the opportunities are better for them than in the Philippines. Right now most Filipinos are either going to Canada or Australia to work and live.

Mindanao as well as rest of the Philippines have a lot of problems to deal with before they can become some kind of major economic powerhouse or pool of decent skilled workers. Too much corruption, red tape and ridiculous business requirements need to be met for international companies to set up shop here. Neighboring countries have much better economic and business deals so that's where international companies are going. Actually, many countries are pulling out of the Philippines and going to say Vietnam for example. I think Philippines will have a lot of problems in the future because of their over reliance on remittances and lack of flexibility for international businesses to set up shop in the country. Including the graft that goes on as well with all the potential quality citizens saying F' this country and moving overseas, leaving the uneducated or already corrupt to continue on with the show. They don't learn from mistakes and just keep spinning their wheels, it's part of their culture. I don't see the Philippines going anywhere, they are mostly stuck in neutral. It's been like this ever since I got here and I've been here a while. Things don't change here, that's why old Western retirees like it here cause they don't have to learn much of anything new in their life other than how to operate those new fangled touch screen phones for instance. The Philippines is roughly around 10 years behind the rest of the world when it comes to implementing technology and other things. They can't even decide whether they want to make divorce legal or not, last country on Earth right now. It took them 20 years to decide whether they want to make affordable reproduction health care available to the poor and teach it in schools. They don't even have a major Newspaper in Tagalog, they are only available in English. And the list can go on ad infinitum...

The country would run better with a benevolent dictator running the show, Filipinos can't run a proper Democratic type government. But until China eventually decides to invade the Philippines due to a potential war in the Pacific with the States in the future and place a puppet government at the helm, I don't see things changing anytime soon. The elites are currently thriving here and they are the ones who run things. They need the poor to do all their menial tasks for them at slave wages.
"The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor and stoic philosopher, 121-180 A.D.
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