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The Filipino Toxic Culture and How to Deal With It.

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I have been married to a Filipina for 20 years now and I know a thing or two about the Philippines and its culture. I do love the Philippines and its outstanding landscapes, its mixture of Spanish, Asian and American architectures, its cuisine and so much more, and I would go back there one million times to explore every nook and cranny of the archipelago. What are some of the toxic traits of the Filipino mentality? But, unfortunately, the Philippines is not just those amazing and fascinating things. It is also some of the nasty things that, from time to time, I mention in my blog and that qualify as "toxic". These include: Bahala-na (basically leaving things to chance and then expecting a higher power to take care of the consequences) Ningas kugon (when Filipinos have no clear plans or goals and their plans and goals easily fizzle out) Filipino time (the habit of always showing up late at an appointment or not showing up at all)

The "Bawal Umihi Dito" Sign as a Metaphor of the Pinoy Mentality

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One of the many "bawal" signs in the Philippines I remember riding on a trycicle with Tito  Benje, my Filipina wife's uncle.  After overtaking a bus on a double solid line (as Filipinos always do), he said something along the lines of " sa Pilipinas lahat ay pwede", basically meaning that in the Philippines you can do whatever you want and that road signs and markings are, more often than not, mere decorations. Bawal Umihi Dito, Bawal Magtapon ng Basura Dito.... One of the features of the Philippine landscape is the huge amount of signs that remind people that urinating against a public or private wall, on a sidewalk or against a pole and disposing of the garbage on the side of the road, in a river or a canal is not socially acceptable and that the offender might (theoretically) be given a multa, should a  buwaya be around. My bayaw told me in a very straightforward manner that Filipinos love urinating and disposing of their garbage exactly there where a sign s

Kung Bakit Takot sa Akin ang mga Unggoy sa Pilipinas

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Karamihan ng mga lalaki sa Pilipinas ay walang balahibo sa katawan. At, syempre naman, ang mga unggoy na nasa kagubatan sa Pilipinas ay sanay sa mga lokal na tao at hindi sa aming mga foreigner. Sa aking bansa maraming lalaki ay may makapal na balahibo sa katawan. Ako ay may tunay na gubat sa katawan at makapal pa! At syempre, kapag nakikita ng unggoy na nakatira sa gubat ang isang taong may makapal na gubat sa katawan, medyo takot iyon..... Unggoy na nasa gubat malapit sa Biak na Bato Ang makapal na gubat sa katawan ko Biak na Bato

General Gregorio Del Pilar & General Del "Pilay"

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The famous Filipino general Gregorio Del Pilar was born in the province of Bulacan. My wife was also born in the province of Bulacan, so I am half Bulaquenyo. Now, because last November I stumbled and fell very badly and, as a result, had a 5th metatarsal fracture in my right foot and had to spend 5 weeks at home, unable to go anywhere, I became "general" Gregorio Del "pilay". Pilay is a Tagalog term for "lame" and, because I have experienced what it is like to be "pilay", I am Gregorio Del Pilay, the bayani ng biak na "buto", a play of words for the "Biak na Bato" National Park in San Miguel, Bulacan. While in Bulacan I visited the famous "Biak na Bato", a historic place where another bayani, general Aguinaldo, hid in the "kuweba ni Aguinaldo". So I have become another Bulaquenyong "bayani", si Heneral Del Pilay from "Biak na Buto", because biak na biak ang aking buto....at masakit pa..

Why Filipinos are Coping with the Pandemic Better than Others

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I live in a country that has completely been turned upside down by the pandemic. Millions of people are mesmerized and immobilized by the pandemic and its destructive effects on the economy. Much of Italy hinges on tourism and entire regions of the country rely almost exclusively on it. For example in the area my parents are from, the Amalfi Coast, the bulk of the working population works in hotels, B&Bs, restaurants, travel agencies and the like and, right now, all of that is almost dead. But, apart from the businesses that are directly or indirectly linked to tourism, a lot of other activities have been heavily affected by the pandemic. What about Filipinos? How are they coping? An expression that I like to use to describe them is: "kahit bumabagsak ang mundo ang mga Pilipino ay lagi nakatayo". Yes, Filipinos are bulletproof and fireproof and "even if the entire world around them collapses they figure out ways to remain standing". But why is that? Mental flexi

Filipino Body Language and the Importance of Non-verbal Communication with your Filipina

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 As you may have gathered, if you have been following my blog for a while, I can speak Tagalog, and I have even created a series of blog posts that touch on the subject of Tagalog grammar. Because I am interested in making my marriage with my Filipina not only work but actually thrive, I have been taking the study of the Filipino language and culture very seriously since I entered this relationship back in 2000. Now I am at a point where my wife and I can quickly and easily switch from Italian and English to Tagalog. Yet, being able to communicate verbally is just a tiny part of the equation of effective communication. Many experts talk about the idea that around 93% of human communication occurs through non-verbal cues and only the remaining 7% is accomplished through words. When I look at this issue through this lens I realize that my efforts to master the Filipino culture and language count for very little if I don't work on improving my non-verbal communication. So in this post

Joe the "Amerikano" in the Philippines

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  Officers carefully screening everyone entering a shopping mall...except Joe ang Amerikano A "Joe Nobody" in his country becomes "Joe Somebody" in the Philippines I remember walking down the streets of my wife's barangay alone and everyone would greet me with the expression "hey Joe". Filipinos automatically assume that if you are a Westerner your name is "Joe" and that you are wealthy and "Amerikano" . I also remember all Filipinos and their bags being thoroughly screened at the entrance of each shopping mall I went to. However the officers would just greet me and smile, as you can see in the picture above (that was at the SM in Rosales, Pangasinan), and say to me "welcome Sir". And there is nothing like hearing a Filipino call you "Sir" wherever you go, especially when you come from a country where your neighbor treats you like nothing. Indeed, the Philippines is the place where a Joe Nobody becomes Joe Somebo