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Answers about Filipino Culture and Middle Class

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

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Answers about Filipino Culture and Middle Class

Postby Winston » Thu Oct 21, 2010 8:58 pm

Hi all,
I've been corresponding with an intelligent and intellectual Filipino guy who has given me lots of informative answers to my questions about Filipino culture and people. I will post them below, with his permission, and make this a sticky thread since I believe it contains a lot of useful info for all interested in the Philippines. I will designate my comments as W: and his as V:

------------------------------------------------------------

W:
Have you lived abroad? How can you relate to the comparisons on my site to be a fan of it? Every Filipina I've met in the Philippines cannot relate to being lonely or having no dates in America. They assume that women there are just as friendly as in the PH which is not true at all, but when you've never been outside your matrix, you simply can't relate to how different other matrixes are.

V:
I have lived abroad but I was still young then (I was about 11 years old then) and moved back here before adulthood so I believe my experiences abroad did not contribute on how I can relate to the comparison in your site. As how I can relate is simple. I can see it in most Holywood films that I see here. I see the stereotypes given to minorities in every Hollywood movies. The strong accents, the short heights, the usually awkward or humorous character given, the minor roles, etc. But Hollywood is a business and like all businesses it must make a profit. I guess in their research a movie that is focused on a white leading actor/actress attracts more viewers than say an asian one. America is after all still a white majority.
I also agree that it can get very lonely in the States. I think it's because of the culture of being independent. Families are not close knit like in most asian countries. Kids are sent off on their own when they reach 18 years old and perhaps just come home to visit on holidays. It's very lonely and depressing which it totally the opposite here as you have experienced.

W:
Plus in general women cannot relate to the problems of men.

V:
-I agree as men also cannot relate to the problems of women. At least I know I can't. haha.

W:
So what do you do in metro manila?

V:
-I live and work here. Good thing I live in the middle of the metro which means I have an easier access to the surrounding cities. A lot of Filipinos live near the boundaries and have to commute daily to the center. An ex-officemate of mine travels 4 hours a day just to get to work. That's 2 hours coming and 2 hour going.

W:
Being in that area makes me tired for some reason. It takes a long time to get from one place to another. I do like having so many girls around though, that are easy to chat up with.

V:
- I think it's because of the weather (humid and warm) and the pollution both air and noise. It's just so extreme here that sometimes you just want to leave. Yeah, it is much easier to have a chat with women here but it depends on the location and the status. I'll get to it later.

W:
I know the pasalubong thing is a joke, but still it says a lot. In Taiwan for instance, no one would jokingly say "don't forget my pasalubong". It's simply too rude and outside the boundaries of what's appropriate to say something like that, even as a joke. This is true even among the poor. Thus, the poor are not the same in every culture.

V:
I agree, it's a cultural thing.

W:
In America, the beggars do not come up and touch you like in the Philippines, they simply sit on the sidewalk and hold up signs. So not all beggars and poor people are the same in every culture.

V:
Actually when you think about it the Philippine way is more effective don't you think? hehe. You either feel so sorry for the begging and give them some spare change to help them or you feel annoyed or disgusted for touching you and just want them to leave.

W:
One big culture/psychology difference between Philippines and East Asia (e.g. Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Hong Kong) is that the East Asian cultures have an extreme guilt complex over the smallest things, to an extreme degree. They are also more judgmental and picky, esp if you are Asian. And are very homogenous and racist too. But the Philippines is far less racist and judgmental than the rest of Asia.

V:
True, maybe because east asian culture have more pride compared to south east asian culture which are more relaxed and practical. Maybe east asian culture was influenced by China a few thousand years ago wherein face and honor is very important so when the foreign super powers conquered their country it was very painful and they have brought that culture until the present day.

In Philippines and I believe it may apply to Thailand as well, there is a different kind of racism. I think it is more of a discrimination in skin color and wealth. You can see in T.V. advertisments, hear on radios and see in personal care stores that whitening creams, soaps and whatnots are prevalent all over. The culture here put emphasis on skin lightness over darkness which is the other way around in the western world. Here they see dark skin as undesirable, poor and dirty. So you can be a dark Filipino but experience discrimination from a lighter skinned Filipino. Just look at all the celebrities here. Almost all are of mixed race thus the light skin.

W:
This also means that Filipinos will accept gifts without shame, and feel no shame about it. So, if I give a Filipina $100 as a gift, she will not refuse it. In the UK, a girl would refuse it out of pride, unless she was my gf. Thus there is no shame in taking at all. They never ask you, "Can you afford to give me $100? Will it hurt you financially?" They assume that I can afford anything.

V:
I think here it depends on who you give it to. If you give it to someone who sees you as a visitor then I think she won't mind accepting it. They have a notion that when you are a visitor you must have money because you will be staying in a hotel, eating out, bought a plane ticket that must have cost a lot etc. But once they find out that you will be living here permanently and will have a budget to follow like most then they will start assesing if you can afford it or not. But of course for them to know that it would mean that a friendship or a more intimate relationship has been established and not just a casual encounter. Of course if you manifest that you are wealthy by giving extravagant gift they will assume that you can afford it even if you can't.

W:
I've met those girls who talk with foreigners on webcam and get money from them. They tell me they never feel guilty for receiving that kind of money for free, when the foreigner works hard to earn it. So there is no guilt complex it seems.

V:
-Girls who talk to foreigners on webcam only has one motive. That is to milk the foreigners for money or make them fall in love with them (the girls) that they will take them (foreigners) to their home country.

W:
So what is the middle class culture like? Is it similar to the middle class culture in America? I assumed it was, but it seems different somehow.

V:
-Philippine middle class is almost like those in the US except for the material possesions. They have a car but not a luxury one. They have a house but not a mansion. They can afford to send their children to top tier colleges but not to foreign colleges. They can afford to eat out once in a while with the whole family in a decent restaurant but not everyday. The middle classes are usually middle to upper management of the top 1,000 corporations in the Philippines. Some are small business owners. It is harder to become an upperclass with the price difference in material possession. The cheapest Mercedes here C180 goes for $50,000 while the top of the line S500 goes for $200,000. They don't even have a c180 in the States since the car is underpowered. Plus the fact that the average salary of a mid level manager is less than $20,000 annually after tax. To be an elite you have to be a high ranking politician or cabinet member or a very successful business owner.

W:
I've noticed that many middle class women in the Philippines get offended easily and will argue about little things without valid reasons in a sort of arrogant tone. Do you notice that too? Why are they like that?

V:
I think it is because they are insecure. Specially those that assume you have a pre-conceived notion about the women in their country. They want to show you that not all women in their country are docile or quiet or something like that. In fact most women when married are the opposite. Normally the middle class are aware of your notion because it is a reality here. We export labor all over the world. Both unskilled and skilled. We export "entertainers" (sex workers) to Japan. Nurses to the US and England. Engineers and mechanics to the middle east, domestic helpers to Hong Kong and Taiwan and a lot of sea men all over the world. They are aware of the status of Filipinos specially the women in the eyes of the world so they can be a bit defensive. The lower class however are not that well informed or they simply do not care. As long as they can make a living and care for their families they are happy.

W:
Middle class women tend to be bigger on political correctness than men. Do you ever notice that? But poor Filipinas don't seem to be politically correct at all.

V:
- Well political correctness comes with education and exposure to situation where it is a necessity. Poor ones don't get the chance.

W:
I assumed that nurses are middle class, cause I heard that only middle class families can send girls to nursing school?

V:
Actually nursing is the most taken up course in the past decade. The government knew that the developed world's population is aging and will require a lot of nurses specially those that can communicate in English. That is why there are a lot of student wanting to be nurses because that promises a brighter future. In order to secure their child's future the parents send them to nursing school even if they have to borrow money. But most have relatives abroad who are helping through remittances.

W:
I would prefer to hang out with middle class people, since they are more educated, like you, but they are not as easy to meet. They are pickier and more cliquish. You kind of have to have connections to meet them, and even then, you still gotta try to "fit in" which takes effort. It's not as easy as jiving with the lower class.

V:
-What you say is entirely true. Just like the middle class have a hard time fitting in with the lower class provided they are from the same culture. First of all the language used by the middle class is different from the lower class. The behavior and manners are different. Point of view and interest also.

Actually, the Filipino middle class is harder to approach unless you are an obvious foreigner. The middle and upper class are more paranoid. They are the least to help in case of an emergency and I don't blame them. Over the years, crime and danger have produced a generation of mistrustful citizens specially in the big cities. There are scams, petty and violent crimes everywhere. If a middle class person is approached by someone that looks Filipino he already has his guards up. I'm sure people in mexico can relate. hehe.

The only way to get to know the middle and upper class are if you work with them or are neighbors in the same gated community. If you are neighbors in an insecure communtity the minute you walk towards him he will probably has his guards up already. They also are not sociable outside their their social circle. Middle class group don't mingle with other middle class group unless they have a common denominator like they are in a company party. Filipinos are only friendly when they meet their co-citizens abroad.

W:
This is why in the SM Malls, usually the sales girls are friendlier, cause they are poor, but the girls shopping there with their own money are not very approachable. It seems that money changes a girl more than it does to a guy.

V:
Like I said above, the middle class are really snobs unlike what I see in the States and Europe. I think the middle class has always been like that and not because they know they have money. But it's true that some noveau riche have a change of attitude. They start looking down on those lower than them. But I think that happens all over the world particularly China with over night millionaires in abundance.

W:
I also can't figure out something. Since most people are poor, how do all the SM Malls stay in business? If the average salary is 200p a day in the PH, who are the people who buy all the 1000p jeans and 400p shirts in SM that keep it in business? There must be a huge middle class population that I don't see?

V:
Most people are poor. The minimum wage in the city is P404 and I think P367 for those in the province. Of course that is the official rate but many will work for a lot less. The employers who do that are usually small though.

The Philippines has a population of about 90 million with about 10% of that working abroad. That makes 1 in every 9 Filipinos having a source of income from abroad. SM malls number around 39 I think with more on the way. Of the 39 about 10 to 12 caters to the middle to upper class the rest are not doing so well relatively. You will notice that those that are located further out the city will have mostly restaurants instead of specialty stores. Majority still relies on the so called sari-sari stores or filipino convenient stores. But those that you see that can afford but does not look middle class (because they are there on a weekday instead of the office) most probably have an immediate relative abroad sending money home for her to spend unwisely on clothes. hehe.

W:
Most foreigners only meet lower class Filipinas, not upper class ones, it seems. Poor girls are the friendliest I guess, which kind of sucks.

V:
-Again it is because of the protective nature of the middle to upper class. But the poor ones are the ones easiest to please. A simple gift or inexpensive dinner will usually suffice. Middle to upper class one are picky and want to be seen in expensive restaurants. But not all are like that. Those that you meet through work will usually be more concerned of your welfare.

I also forgot to mention, the upper classes are usually not into foreigners for fear of being mislabeled as a hooker. But I think you already know what I mean. Women specially those that go out with a white man are frowned upon. The man might not have a clue but the girls know it and it is just necessity that is keeping them from showing they are uncomfortable. They are usually the indigenous looking ones that attracts the eye of the white man.

W:
So when you read my pros and cons post about the PH, you weren't offended?

V:
Of course not. It is the truth. But it is an over generalization because it does not separate the different classes. But the other classes are such a minority that a foreigner will have to spend more time studying the different idiosyncrasies of the othe kinds of people that live here. Most tourist just stay here for a week or two and they make an opinion about the Philippines. It is usually positive because they go to the tourist spots. They don't immerse themselves in the real Philippines where the majority are poor and as such resort to that kind of demeanor as you have mentioned in your site.

W:
So you mean the girls do that to you too, even though you are Filipino?

V:
- Most of the time they don't but one time I had one who brought a friend with her without my prior knowlege. I think it was because she was shy. She wants someone she is comfortable with to be there. But I think the more pro(money milkers) they are the less chance they will bring someone with them. Because they would want all the gifts to go to them rather than share it. But that is just my guess.

W:
I have a question for you. Do Filipino men support their girlfriend or wife's family usually?

V:
-Depends on who can afford it.

W:
I suspect that they don't, right? Upper class men marry upper class women, and poor men cannot afford to support their wives' family. But if an upper class Filipino married a lower class one, there would probably be pressure for him to support her family, right?

V:
-Right. You don't marry the girl. You marry her family.

W:
Is it normal there to treat someone and then they say "Can we bring more people?"

V:
Not in my circle. But I think it could be a show off thing rather than to take advantage of you. Because if they wanted to take advantage then they would have suggested a different activity instead wherein they can get some of the money you are about to spend.

W:
Well your English is certainly better than most people I meet in the PH.

V:
-Thank you.

W:
I live in Angeles by the way. Not exactly an educated town. Most of the girls there are GRO's, or innocent Pampangan girls. So I am not used to seeing people who speak English as well as you at all.

V:
- I bet the people who work in call centers speak better English than I. haha

W:
If I hung out in Makati, there might be more like you I guess? But not in Angeles.

V:
-Yes, specially during lunch breaks and Friday nights. Upper management types normally eat out for lunch and unwind during Friday nights.

W:
Most girls I know there only speak very short and simple sentences. I wish I could meet more people like you, but I don't have many middle class connections, plus I am not materialistic, and Asia is overwhelmingly a very materialistic culture that anyone who is not doesn't fit in.

V:
- True. Kinda sad but True. I think this is mostly in emerging markets and Japan. Emerging markets wants to show that they have made it but I think Japan is simply just too rich not to buy expensive stuff. haha

W:
My personality and interests connect better with Euro women, but the problem is, Euro women's tastes are not geared toward Asian men who are 5ft 7, which is short for them. So, I could meet a Euro or Aussie girl that I have a lot in common with, enough to be soulmates (and I have) yet she cannot force herself to like me romantically cause I'm too short and white females have something in them that makes them resist Asian males physically.

V:
I agree. I think westerm women are showered with all these pop culture stereotypes in magazines, movies and T.V.s that the appropriate man is tall and muscular. After all wealth is not a priority in wealthy nations. Unlike in developing countries where a lot are in hand-to-mouth situations the priorities shift. I personally have not had the opportunity to get close to a western woman and pursue a romantic relationship but from my trips abroad I can deduce that they are indeed are more into tall and muscular white or black men. But I think a tall asian man with personality can compete though. I bet if we were taller we can probably break the stereotype ingrained in the minds of white girls when we date them.

W:
So I'm at a dilemma. My personality and race are incompatible. Sucks doesn't it? lol

In East Asia, I may look Asian, but my personality is completely different from them in every way. See here for a chart of examples:

http://www.happierabroad.com/Winston_vs_Asians.pdf

So you see, I cannot connect with most Asians at all, probably 99 percent of them. Even in America I am different than other Asians. Asians are mostly left brained and into practical things only. I am the opposite.

V:
-Then I think you should look for a Taiwanese woman who grew up in the States and moved back to Taiwan. That way she cannot relate to her countrymen but can relate to you. lol. I think the newer generations of asians (3rd generation in the U.S) are more westernized and not the typical ones portrayed as being practical and top of the class etc. They are out there I'm sure but why waste time right? haha.

W:
The PH is the only place in Asia I can truly fit in and be liked, cause it is nonjudgmental and very open/friendly, esp with the lower classes. But it is still materialistic.

V:
- You can bet on that. But you have to admit the materialism involved are still affordable. Most of the lower classes will ask for a bag or perhaps a dress but it's better than asking for a Louis Vuitton and Cartier jewelries.

W:
Anyway, this letter is long enough.

V:
It is indeed but I think my reply was longer. haha

W:
I look forward to hearing your insights on the above. It is great to get an insider's view, esp one who can understand my points.

V:
-My pleasure.
Last edited by Winston on Fri Oct 11, 2013 12:16 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Postby Winston » Thu Oct 21, 2010 9:16 pm

Here is the next set of questions and answers with him.

-----------------------------------------------

W:
Sorry for the delay in my reply.

V:
-Don't worry about it. We all get busy sometimes.

W:
Do you mind if I put you on my mailing list?

V:
Sure go ahead. I don't mind.

W:
I think you're the guy that posted those comments on Ladislav's blog, right? I exchanged some responses with you in that one post.

V:
I don't recall ever posting there but if I did it should have my name on it. Can you send me the topic where I posted so that I can read your response?

W:
Do you post on Pinoy Exchange? I sometimes post in the "Realm of Freethought" board there.

V:
-No I do not post there. What is that website about?

W:
How can you relate to loneliness though, if you never have? I mean it's one thing to understand something mentally, but experiencing it is something else. Being in America and experiencing it through Hollywood movies is very different. People are way too friendly in movies. In real life, people are uptight and only old people and little kids are truly friendly and talkative with people. That's how it is in richer workaholic countries like US and Taiwan.

V:
-I've never really experienced loneliness in your context. While in America I experienced the need to exert more effort or perhaps to be someone famous to get the same desirability as other dominant race in America (white and black). In my experience it is harder to get the attention of a white and/or black american girl than an asian girl. First of all I am shorter (5'8 without shoes) than most white and black dudes. Secondly since I went there as a tourist so I do not have a local friend who can be a bridge in introducing me to women. Because that would be easier. If introduced through a bridge I may not attract them physically but perhaps through humor and intellect. But sadly I did not get the chance to test that out with a white/black girl.

W:
Have you ever been to Angeles City? Do you mind going to bars? Or are you the kind of person who is against them? Many decent Filipinos are repulsed by the whole bar girl scene.

V:
-Yes, I have been to Angeles in the past. However, Angeles is well known as a go-go bar zone among the locals frequented by mostly American and British people. Mainly due to it being an American air base in the past. Yes I do go to bars. Like most countries in the world there are 2 kinds of bars right. Decent and go-go bars. I enjoy going to both. But I go to where most of the locals go or where foreign tourist (first time tourist) go which are located mostly near hotels in Makati, QC and Pasig. It' s tiring and frustrating to go to "decent" bars because you have to invest time and money that is if you even get a chance to pick a girl up. While in a go-go bars we all know that money talks there so it is easier and saves you the guessing and thinking. In the end you will spend the same amount but with less time and effort. The difference is of course the type of girl you get.

W:
Do you befriend foreigners? When I am in restaurants, I notice that middle class Filipinos who can afford to be there are never with foreigners, only with other Filipinos. Is your family like that too?

V:
-As you know most Filipinos in my strata are not friendly to strangers unless there is a common friend involved but whenever we are in bars the tourist (straight male) seems to be friendly towards my group. Perhaps they are just enjoying themselves and are polite to all. As for foreign girls, those that I do see are either with foreign male friends or are not that receptive(koreans) because of the language barriers. They are just there to dance and not to meet new friends I guess. It is understandable though. After all they are visitors in a foreign country notorious for violent crimes.

W:
So do you work in your family business or are you a corporate drone?

V:
-I used to be in corporate but now I work for my family business.

W:
Do you drive around Manila in a car or use public transportation?

V:
-I drive around manila. Although logic says it is faster to take the public transpo it is the opposite here. Buses have to endure traffic jams and multiple stops. Trains have to endure long lines and also multiple stops. And there are plenty of parking anyway so the real disadvantage of owning a car is just the cost.

W:
I have a curious question. In a Filipino workplace environment, if something goes wrong, how do they find out who to blame? I mean, usually Filipinos do not like to admit fault or take responsibility for mistakes (in my experience). If you confront them, they usually deny it and pretend nothing happened. They don't say "I'm sorry, it was my fault. I am to blame. I will take the penalty." So, if something goes wrong and there are consequences, how would a Filipino manager find out who's fault it was and penalize them, since no one likes to admit fault and will deny it?

V:
-I think these all boils down to training which is dependent on company culture. Take for example a large corporation be it foreign or local will have some sort of protocol when it comes to all kinds of scenario (PNP obviously do not or is misguided.). They know how to handle customer complaints or isolate variables to determine the cause. But for the typical small scale business be it a restaurant or auto repair shop, they will most likely be unequipped with the necessary protocol or departments that deals with training and complaints. Usually when no one admits a fault the whole group pays for it just like in the army. Fault of one fault of all.

W:
Are these good questions? I hope you don't mind them.

V:
-All questions that are not borned out of sarcasm are good.

W:
Btw, in Angeles I met these middle class artistic Filipinos through a friend. They were very different from the common Filipinos, in several ways. First, they hated the word "Filipino" and do not like to be called that word since it came from Spanish occupation. They said that Tagalog comes from an Empire in Manila that is trying to make the country uniform. Second, they are very judgmental about a lot of things, including saying that people who sing karaoke are low class. They told me that a lot of upper class people there are part of the communist party or the People's Liberation Army or whatever, which is ironic since usually upper class people do not like communism cause it brings them down.

V:
- I agree and disagree with your artist friend. I agree that usually it is the lower class who sings karaoke but also the upper classes as well. They even have establishment that are designed and priced to attract the upperclasses. These are usually located in Makati and Ortigas. But the proportion of lower classes who sings karaoke is way larger compared to the upperclasses.

Most Filipinos do not find it offensive to be called Filipinos. In fact most do not even remember that the word comes from Spanish occupation. Filipinos are simply people born in the Philippines or from a Filipino mother or acquired Philippine citizenship. I don't hear American complaining that the word Americans came from British occupation or from an Italian explorer (Amerigo was it?).

As for communism, most upperclasses are against communism. The left leaning organizations like KMU, Akbayan, Gabriela etc are all representing the lower classes. Communist rebels give the Philippine tourism industry and macroeconomics a bad name thus the upper class (capitalist) are against them.

W:
Do you know what type of people these are? Have you met such types?

V:
Your artist friend sounds like a left leaning individual. Perhaps it is because they see that communist doctrine as the utopic guide for nation building. But as proven by history it does not work. I know there are a lot of them in State school U.P (University of the Philippines) but I do not have friends who are like that and I would probably steer away from them since I am not left leaning.

W:
I seem to be caught between two extremes, in a lot of ways. In the Philippines, the low class is very friendly and open, but it's hard to find anyone you can have an intelligent stimulating conversation with. So I don't exactly "fit in with them". Do you? When you hang out with poor families in poor neighborhoods, do you feel kind of out of place, like there's nothing to talk about with people there?

V:
-As much as possible I try to go down to their level by joining in conversation that I can relate to. These are normally local celebrity gossip or recent headlines. But yes I do feel out of place because of the way I dress and talk. Even my skin color stands out as I am quite fair. We have certain accent that can determine if you are from the city or the province just like Americans have southern or Jersey accent. So if you talk provincial they will know you are not from the city. Most lower classes talk like that.

W:
The middle class is more intelligent and educated, but they are also more closed minded, cliquish and judgmental, and picky too. I am not like that either, so it's hard to fit in with them too, though I can make polite conversation with them of course.

V:
-That is true but that is because the middle class is small in proportion compared to developed countries. I'm sure the elite in U.S. and Europe are like the middle class here, also close minded and judgemental. I think the middle class here think like the elite in the U.S or Europe while the lower class here think they are normal just like the middle class in the U.S. or Europe think they are normal. The lower class here just don't have as much possession/assets).

W:
It's lonely being an independent thinker who lives for truth, isn't it? You either act fake and go through the motions with people in groups, or you are alone. Kinda sucks huh?

V:
-That's life my friend. You have to go with the grain not against it in order to have a higher probability of survival. But it is those who go against it that changes the world. That is if what you preach gains critical mass. Idealism vs Realism.

W:
In America, I am also caught between extremes. On one side are the majority left brain dominant conformist/follower types who have no freethought, follow the crowd, and ridicule anyone who doesn't fit in. They are workaholics, enjoy being slaves and robots, need structure and like being told what to do. They would not know what to do with real freedom, and are paranoid and live in fear, as conditioned by the system. You can get along with them by being polite for a while, but when they find out that you are nonconformist and think outside the box, they become uncomfortable and avoid you.

V:
-That is why there are clubs and forums for like minded thinkers. It just depends how many you are and how to find one another.

W:
On the other extreme are the right brain dominant artist/hippie types who smoke pot and wear eccentric clothes. You find them often at concerts that try to mimic Woodstock, and at Rainbow Gatherings too. These people are more interesting to talk to, since they are counter culture and rebellious and hate the system, but it's hard to call them your friends because they are flaky, irresponsible, moody and do not follow through on plans and promises. They often disappear over time, even if you connected with them for a while when you met them. Plus they often exude fake optimism. Or actually, they are either angry rebels, or rosy overly optimistic type who are that way because they religiously believe in the "law of attraction" bullshit which teaches that if you are always positive and optimistic, then you will attract only good things to you. While there is partial truth to that, they take it too far and exude fake optimism and positivity all the time, denying a large portion of reality. For that reason, I don't consider them to be real truthseekers.

V:
- I agree, and they change minds and principles often.

W:
It's hard to find someone in the middle, who is a freethinker, truthseeker and nonconformist but is responsible and reliable too. That's the type I am, but I rarely meet anyone who is like me. So what can I do? Do you fit into either extreme?

V:
-I'm a moderate. I rather be an observer than a participant in a major event. I rather lay low than hug the spot light. After all we live in dangerous times and being in the Philippines dangerous place as well.

W:
If I were more attractive in US cultural standards, people would not care that I was different of course.

V:
-Yes probably. You'll be among many normal americans and not labeled as a minority not happy with the system.

W:
So what attracts you to my website? Is it cause it is more truthful and honest than other sites? Does that appeal to you?

V:
- Remember I told you that it was a long story? It's actually by accident. I was answering a query posted by an expat in a site which incidentally has a link of "expatriate observation". I clicked the link and read some one Ladislav's insights and was amused. He is a good writer or at least I like his style of writing. Then one of his blog was in response to you so I decided to check it out. And it is more honest and truthful and no political correctness bullshit.

W:
Btw, there is a debate between expats about whether the poor Filipinas we date like us for money only, or for love too. What do you think? I think it's a little of both. They might like a man with more money, but personality counts too. A poor girl doesn't like everyone with money. He needs to have a decent character too or pleasant to be around. Poor people have preferences too, so they can't be all about money.

V:
-I agree they want someone with looks and money but the latter is more important. They see a foreign man as their ticket out of the Philippines or poverty at least. Let's be true to ourselves, it's not rocket science to figure out what a young, hot Filipina doing with an old, overweight white dude, right?

W:
I do sense that most Filipinas are genuine and honest, but their "love" seems to be motivated by survival needs than the "true love" as defined in the Western World. Thus when I receive it, it's not as "special" for some reason.

V:
-True if you hang out with the group that are motivated by survival like you have mentioned. You have to hang out in a different crowd that is more financially stable and thus not motivated by survival instinct and have a different outlook in life. Perhaps enrolling in a second degree course or joining a gym that caters to the upper class.

W:
Of course all Filipinas will deny it and say that they do not love men for money, and that "other girls might, but not them" lol. But women aren't as honest about these things. They are more politically correct and less truthful.

V:
-Right you are. Even we don't admit to women that we love them for their looks.

W:
How do you tell when a Filipina likes you for you or for your money? Any signs and clues?

V:
-Well this is what my friends do but not because they wanted to test the girls' motive but because they do not want to be milked financially. When they are out "slumming" pardon the term, they always say that they are just employees/students (although they drive fancy cars but the girls have no clue how much they cost) and have to live within their means in the form of small allowance or salary etc. They show the girls some affection through text and small gifts. Show more on the effort exerted rather than the cost of the gifts. Then the girls confess their love even though they think my friends are just ordinary people and not well off. Food for thought.

W:
Do your parents tell you not to date poor girls?

V:
-No, but they know I am mature enough to know the consequences.

W:
Are there any middle class girls that you know, or among your relatives, that you can introduce me to?

V:
-Unfortunately I do not know any girls that are single at the moment that share the same perspective as us. Most are either married (mostly are my age) or like you have described before (judgemental, insecure, idealistic etc) But let me know what kind of relationship you are into so in case I meet anyone that meets your criteria.

W:
The ones on Friendster.com don't seem to write back. They are kind of stuck up. probably cause they are middle class? Are they?

V:
-They used to be middle and upperclass because friendster first became popular here 10 years ago which means those that have access have a pc and internet access. Both realms of middle and upperclasses at that time. Now that pc and internet access are ubiquitous the lower class can now join in the social networking norm. Friendster and Myspace are usually for the lower-middle to lower class while facebook is more on upper-middle to upper classes.

The pretty ones don't write back because they think so highly of themselves with all the men adding them as friends or messaging them. They get to choose who to reply and not reply to. Try to put a unknown foreign celebrity that looks genuine (not studio shot) and see if they reply back.

Now the ugly ones will reply. But you also have to check when they last logged in. Because a lot are dead or fake accounts.

W:
You describe the middle class in the Philippines very well. May I share what you wrote with my forum or friends?

V:
-You can but please leave me as anonymous.

W:
I also noticed that Asians are more friendly abroad. For example, Taiwanese people do not talk to strangers, but when they are overseas, they are more glad to see another Taiwanese and talk to them. They are in transition between cultures and so they are forced to be more open during their adjustment phase, plus it's refreshing to see your own kind in another culture where you are not the majority anymore. Same with Americans. They seem friendlier abroad in other countries. Example - If two white people see each other in a remote African village, they are likely to introduce themselves, but if they see each other in a normal public place in America, they will not talk to each other unless there is a business related purpose. I hate how that is.

V:
- I know what you mean. Filipinos as well. They will behave in a foreign country but not in their own. They are also friendlier abroad sometimes going out of their way to ensure that their countrymen are well taken care of. At least that is what I experienced while I was in Europe.

W:
I heard that the middle class in the PH are not stuck up cause of money, but cause of "class mentality". They feel their family surname entitles them to a higher level of being. What's ironic is that middle class people tend to dress casual with little fashion, while the lower class try to dress nice to "up" their class cause they feel they have to improve themselves. lol

V:
-I don't know about that Winston. The middle to upper class people don't dress up extravagantly but they do wear designer labels from jewelry to apparels. These are labels costing $60 to $200 shirt and $2000 to $20,000 jewelry. I guess their fashion sense tend to lean more on the basic and plain rather than the trendy and loud. Philippines fashion is aligned with American fashion(plain and safe) while those in east asia are aligned with Japan (high fashion).

As for the surnames, most Filipinos have common surnames thanks the to the Spaniards so it does not entitles them. Unless their surnames are the unique ones that have a high place in Government or soceity like Cojuanco, Enrile, Gokongwei, Aquino, Laurel, Osmena, Araneta to name a few. These are clans that are influencial and whose surnames were preserved and not used liberally by the Spaniards to be given to the Filipinos during colonizaton.

W:
The girls who work at SM told me they make 300p a day, some say 200p. How are they being paid less than minimum wage, since they work for a corporation?

V:
-Those that work out of the metro have a lower wage. What they told you could be net and not gross amount. Because there are a lot of deductions like witholding taxes, SSS, Pag-ibig and medicare etc. Those that work for a small company ( I forgot the criteria for size) and are consignors or tenants in SM don't have to pay the minimum wage. Or they are simply being cheated and should report to the local labor department.

W:
Yes I know that Filipinas with foreigners are seen as prostitutes. Isn't that less true in Cebu though, since Cebu is more pro-American?

V:
Cebu and Manila are the same. Foreigners in Cebu are mostly tourist though since the main business center is still in Manila.

W:
What about Asian foreigners? Are Filipinas with them also seen as prostitutes?

V:
-Yes specially with Japanese tourist. Plenty in Roxas Boulevard (Pasay) and Cebu as well.

W:
No, the girls who work in call centers do not speak better English than you. No way. I've made many calls that went to call centers overseas and their English is only passable.

V:
-Are they calls to large American companies? Were you able to ask where the call center agents are based? Because sometime when I'm out and I overhear them talking during breaks I would have thought they were full blooded Americans if not for their physical appearance.

W:
Btw, I have this problem in restaurants where when my usual dish changes or tastes not as good, and I complain to the Filipina waitress, she always denies any changes and claims that that's the way it's always been. I can't remember to take a picture of every dish to prove to them what I mean. How do I deal with this? Have you encountered this too?

V:
-It depends on where you are eating. If its a chainstore like Macdonalds, Pancake house etc. then I can guarantee you that they will refer you to the manager as waitresses have clear directions regarding their function and duties. But smaller mom and pop restaurants probably just say something to appease you and get it over with.

Filipinos are normally very tolerant people so they let it go if no harm is done. However, when the food served is spoiled or has some kind of debris or contaminant then that is the time they complain and it is usually replaced. Unlike in the U.S where everything you eat becomes on the house. 5 star hotels here also follow the American practice.

W:
It's funny how these waitresses have a photographic memory of your face which they will remember after 2 years of not seeing you, but if a dish in their restaurant changes the next day, they will claim that they do not remember that it changed. It's esp annoying when they change to a smaller plate that makes the meal smaller, but then claim that it's always been like that. It's an example of a change for the worse - higher prices and smaller portions. Kinda sucks huh? Change should be for the better, not for the worse.

V:
-True, it's because of the inflation and cash flow problem. Inflation rate is higher than wage raise all the time so business have no choice but to cut corners. They can't increase price because that will scare away customers so they decrease portion to save cost instead. If you make a historical comparison of prices you will be surprise that the retail prices of goods did not increase that much compared to the inflation rate. Quality suffers though.

W:
What I hate is that when you point it out, they deny it like nothing has ever changed.

V:
-It's the easy way out(if deep inside they know you are right) rather than agree with you which will not change anything but just bring more awkwardness.

W:
Whew. I finally made it to the end of this letter. Sorry it was so long and sorry for so many questions. Hope you found my questions interesting. I appreciate your insight and time.

V:
-That's alright. I enjoy answering them.

W:
When I am in Manila next time, I hope we can meet up too.

V:
-Not a problem. If schedule permits why not.

W:
Have you read any posts in my forum? Maybe you can go there sometime and give advice about the Philippines? I can introduce you as a Filipino Intellectual Advisor. lol

V:
-Yes I have read many post in your forum. Thanks for the offer but I rather be invisible like I mentioned earlier.
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Postby momopi » Thu Oct 21, 2010 9:54 pm

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Postby The_Adventurer » Mon Oct 25, 2010 12:55 am

A lot of what this guy says are the very reasons I question if I ever want to return to the Philippines. I had some good times, but on the whole, I just don't know if it is worth it.
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Postby zboy1 » Tue Oct 25, 2011 9:19 pm

portuguese_logic wrote:I work with some Filipinos. They're great people, but they seem overly polite and don't really stick up for themselves.

Most of the Filipino girls, especially in Florida, date guys outside their race. Fil-am girls tell me they aren't attracted to Filipino guys because there is so much competition and choice for them.

My opinion is that Filipinos are too nice and adapt way to well, especially in American society.


Yep, Filipinos are way to adaptable to American society. That's why many Filipino Americans are way to Westernized for my liking. At least with Koreans, we try to maintain a semblance of our culture and pride in the States. The more Americanized an Asian person is, the more f***ed up they become for some reason?
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Postby lavezzi » Tue Oct 25, 2011 9:46 pm

zboy1 wrote:Yep, Filipinos are way to adaptable to American society. That's why many Filipino Americans are way to Westernized for my liking. At least with Koreans, we try to maintain a semblance of our culture and pride in the States. The more Americanized an Asian person is, the more f***ed up they become for some reason?


I recently chatted with a Korean girl who spoke fluent English because she had moved to Singapore. The conversation was identical to as if I was chatting with an American or Irish girl; in other words not really existing due to them seeming closed-off, cold and boring. It was such a massive change from chatting with other Asian girls (Filipino, Thai, Indonesian etc).

Are Korean women extremely bad like Anglo woman, or are they more semi/moderately bad like women from other well-off non-English-speaking countries/regions such as the Netherlands/Scandinavia?
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Postby Repatriate » Wed Oct 26, 2011 4:46 am

lavezzi wrote:
zboy1 wrote:Yep, Filipinos are way to adaptable to American society. That's why many Filipino Americans are way to Westernized for my liking. At least with Koreans, we try to maintain a semblance of our culture and pride in the States. The more Americanized an Asian person is, the more f***ed up they become for some reason?


I recently chatted with a Korean girl who spoke fluent English because she had moved to Singapore. The conversation was identical to as if I was chatting with an American or Irish girl; in other words not really existing due to them seeming closed-off, cold and boring. It was such a massive change from chatting with other Asian girls (Filipino, Thai, Indonesian etc).

Are Korean women extremely bad like Anglo woman, or are they more semi/moderately bad like women from other well-off non-English-speaking countries/regions such as the Netherlands/Scandinavia?

I dated two Korean girls before (Korean-American actually) and i'd say they can be just as cold as Anglo women but one thing you have to understand about Koreans is that they come across as cold with initial impressions. That's just how the culture rolls. Once you get to know them a little they become a lot better which is unlike Anglo women.

I think Americanized/westernized Asian women are pretty terrible all around though and if there are multiple options always take the native born asian woman. I liked the relative educational level, the average intellect, etc.. with the Korean-american girls but the problem was they were carrying deep insecurities and lots of personal baggage.
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Postby Repatriate » Wed Oct 26, 2011 4:58 am

W:
Well your English is certainly better than most people I meet in the PH.

V:
-Thank you.


Winston this guy is most likely a white Philippines expat pulling your chain.

Just telling you now.
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Postby Winston » Mon Nov 14, 2011 11:34 pm

Repatriate wrote:
W:
Well your English is certainly better than most people I meet in the PH.

V:
-Thank you.


Winston this guy is most likely a white Philippines expat pulling your chain.

Just telling you now.


Why do you think that? Based on what?
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Postby Winston » Wed Nov 16, 2011 6:58 am

Repatriate wrote:
W:
Well your English is certainly better than most people I meet in the PH.

V:
-Thank you.


Winston this guy is most likely a white Philippines expat pulling your chain.

Just telling you now.


Here is his reply to your observation.

Hi Winston,

Each person is entitled to his or her own opinions. It is up to the reader to believe them or not. If he believes that I am a white expat and dismisses my insights and opinions then that is his loss. On the other hand if he thinks I am a white expat but finds my insights helpful then it should not matter what my race is. What is important is that I am able to help understand the Philippine culture more. But for the record I am a Philippine born Chinese.

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Postby Winston » Wed Nov 16, 2011 10:43 am

Here is my next email exchange with the educated Filipino.

V:
Hi Winston,

The answer to your question about how they can afford ceasarean are many. First, part of the cost was borne by the government through medicare if he is employed. The remaining was paid by immediate relatives. Another reason is through high interest loans from loan sharks (mostly indian nationals). These loans are called 5-6 because of the interest. For ever P5 loan they must pay P6. Terms are weekly or monthly depending on arangement. Another possibility is he pawned some of his valuables or like what was written loaned from his employer. There are employers who do that (us for example). But our wages to the employees are 3 to 4x higher.

W:
What about the second question here? See below:

http://www.happierabroad.com/forum/view ... hp?t=10614

Also, what if they run away from the loan sharks? Or move away? How can they be caught?

V:
Hello Winston,

Although I may not entirely agree with Philosophical Filipino and Sexter's answers their's are the closest ones that I agree with. Over generalization should be discounted though as there are middle classes who own small businesses or have high ranks in the corporate world that can afford to splurge. But those are concentrated in luxury areas like Makati and other posh places. A local should be able to tell who has money and who gets money from abroad. Yeah prejudice like that exists here.

As for the loan sharks question, if the person moves away then the loan shark won't be able to collect from them. It's that simple. They don't get any collaterals anyway. They just lose their credit rating and won't be able to loan again in the future.

V:
Yes it is possible for them to lose a lot of money if they lend a lot. Normally only small amount are lent. These are usually informal agreement without binding contracts. They usually report to barangay captain or police if there is a breached of agreement or if their jeepneys are stolen and usually it is not recovered. That is why the lenders are usually careful and may demand collaterals. Borrowers usually pays since they have nowhere else to go.

With tons of people riding the jeep it is relatively easy to make that amount. These jeepneys do not follow the laws and pay no taxes.

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W:
But don't the loan sharks lose a lot of money? So the loan sharks can control one's credit rating? How?

Tons of Filipinos must escape somehow?

What if a trike or jeepney driver steals the vehicle they are renting everyday? Or a taxi drive? The taxi drivers in Manila told me that they a fee of 1600p a day and then get to keep whatever they earn on top of that. Geez. That must suck. Who would enter a deal like that? Wouldn't they lose money on most days? 1600p in fees a day is hard to surpass isn't it?

W:
Usually the police don't care unless you bribe them right?

I see, so they can't go anywhere cause they would lose their homes and can't afford to get a new house right?

I was talking about the taxi drivers though. Why would they be willing to pay a 1600p fee just to work? Isn't that a ripoff? Don't they lose money from that?

V:
They lose money if they don't make.more than 1600 a day after gas. That is why the public transportation vehicles with the exception of the trains drive like mad men. They want to make as much as they can while disregarding the welfare of others.

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