Why You Gotta Be So Rude Filipinos?

A curious thing about life in the Philippines is how the people can be so friendly, and yet so rude all at the same time.


If you are having a conversation with someone they are likely to be very happy to talk to you and very kind.  But out in the day to day world when you are running errands you will see people doing rude things all the time.  Some of it is a lack of awareness of their surroundings, other stuff is just plain rudeness.

The lack of awareness is simple things like getting on an elevator before people have had a chance to exit, or stopping in front of an escalator in a busy mall to talk with friends or answer a text.  Don’t get me wrong these things happen all over the world….. they just seem to happen a bit more often here.

Life in the Philippines – ‘Lines’

Once you have lived here or done enough tourism in the Philippines you realize that lines mean nothing.  If there even is a line people are going to cut and that is just the fact of the matter.  Say you are waiting at the meat department at a grocery store and are the next person to be served.  You have waited your turn and have been standing at the glass for a few minutes and the guy working is just finishing up with the other customer.

If a 40 year old woman walks up to the meat counter at that time you can bet that she will start saying her order before the guy has a chance to walk over to you.  It is almost a certainty.  Does she not notice you? Or does she just not care?

Another place this happens all the time is at the package counter at the malls.  Say you want to go into a store and already have a bag with you and aren’t allowed to bring it inside so you leave it with them.  There are clear places for lines but half the people just walk up and start trying to get the guy to either take their bag or their number so he can get their bag.  It doesn’t matter if it is just 1 person or 10 people waiting some people just pretend that there is no one else around.

In situations like this the worker usually just ignores them but not always.  I am a very non confrontational person and sometimes let it slide, or sometimes say something to the worker like “excuse me I was next” in a polite way.

However there are times (usually if I am in a bad mood or have a headache) where I want to make the other person ‘lose face’ and will make a bit of a scene so people stare at them.  I don’t do that often because I hate confrontation, but from time to time I will.  The thing is I doubt it really bothers them that much because they clearly don’t care about anyone else.

I used a 40 year old woman as my example because I have found they are by far the worst perpetrators of this.  They certainly aren’t the only ones, but they definitely do it the most often.  I also could have listed 20 different type of line examples but I think you get the picture.  I am sure it sounds petty, and it is, but time after time after time seeing it can wear on you.

On the Roads

This is another place  you will notice that people just really do not care about anyone but themselves.  They will cut you off, drive in your lane, pull halfway out and stop traffic…… they don’t care they just do what they want to do. That’s just how it is living in the Philippines.

It can make for some very dangerous situations and is one of the main reasons I won’t get a motorbike.  You really need to have your head on a swivel at all times because some drivers here have no awareness at all.

One time I am walking on a sidewalk and have to cross this small street.  There is a jeepney waiting to turn on the main road but the main road is very crowded.  I am approaching from his right and can see right into his window at his head.  He is looking left the entire time and right as I am 2 feet from walking in front of him he pulls out.

He never looked right once in 20 seconds.  He had zero clue that I and other people were about to walk in front of him.  If it had happened 2 seconds later he would have hit us.  The old “look left, look right, look left again” thing is not something that gets taught over here apparently. Maybe he thought the next typhoon was about to hit.

Riding in jeepneys is another place where you will see frequent rudeness.  Many of the jeep stops don’t have lines and during rush hours there will be lots of people waiting for the next jeep.  When one shows up the most aggressive people just crowd the exit making it hard for the people on it to get off, and then there is a fight for any open seat.

If you are timid you may wait for an hour or more while someone who just walked up takes your seat.  I kind of will feel like an a-hole at times when I get on one after just arriving, but I’m also not gonna sit there and wait while others take my spot.

Don’t get me wrong life in the Philippines is great, overall Filipinos are very friendly.  You can walk up to one and start a conversation about anything.  But it is also a dog eat dog world here in some ways and you really have to stand up for yourself because no one else will.

11 Responses

  1. jspill jspill says:

    same thing in Thailand

  2. Skins says:

    Haha same shit in Vietnam too. I swear people here don’t give a single fuck about your comfort or personal space. Some guy will stand right next to me while I’m eating at a food stall and start hacking and spitting on the ground. Then blow his snots out, light up a smoke and start screaming into his $2 nokia phone. The locals don’t even flinch! This is considered normal behavior.

  3. John Pierre says:

    They eat dog food because they are small pussies.

  4. Jay says:

    Its the culture. Parents say rude things to their kids like “you are ugly and will never marry” and this passes along generation to generation.
    They don’t know any different. In their eyes its not rude but just everyday conversation.
    Pathetic? Absolutely.
    Having children is a status for them. And most want male babies for whatever screwed up reason.
    My advice…..stay away from this place.

    • thibault says:

      err.. we aint saying we want to perfectly mingle with filipino at all cost; there are good reasons to go there; and , well, they are detailed enough in this blog.
      i mean, people are less rude in the west? hum. comunitys are dissolving quickly, due to liberal economics and politics. compare this with duterte, that tries to keep order at all cost.
      and it works. proof that our weak societie are doomd, you cant be non rude and not require from others to do so. it can only happen when people are very pressured by law.
      europe is devastated by immigration, and you wantthem to be weak ? they are not stupid like us. they wont accept anything.

    • kick2dante kick2dante says:

      the funny thing is the type of rudeness you just described (telling people they are ugly) is not the type of rudeness i am talking about at all

  5. MadPat says:

    I am a foreigner living in Manila and thought that i was the only one who noticed the rudness like being stared at like i am from another planet. Just going to the mall is a challenge for me. I am at the counter buying something and a filipino will just cut in front of me like i am invisible.

    • chris says:

      i am also foreigner living in manilla. and you are soo right! sometimes i feel really akward when they are staring for ages without blinking. i also have a miserable neighbour who is always telling me what to do like shes my mother or something.

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