Sunday, December 30


Another cultural difference between Filipinos and Americans I have noticed is that Filipinos share almost all personal information with each other. They will not think twice about asking how much your salary is, how much you paid for an item (whether it be house, car or television set) or details of an illness.

The first time I encountered this was one of my very first weeks here. The kids & I were experiencing some cabin fever since Sam was gone to work every day, school had not yet started and we did not have any way of getting around town. So, one day we decided to visit a well known park in the area, along with another family who moved here from Texas. We thought it would be great to let the kids get out, get some fresh air & wear themselves out. While I was watching the two younger boys slide down the humongous slide over & over & over, a friendly Filipino father struck up a conversation with me. He asked me where we were from, how long we had been here, how I liked it so far, etc. Then, when he started asking about my husband's job, he caught me totally off guard when he questioned, "How much money does your husband make?" Ummmm... uhhhhh... That was my exact response until I realized that he was serious & was waiting for me to answer. So, I answered honestly, "I don't know. Enough to pay the bills, I hope." I tried to laugh it off & turned my attention back to the boys. Later, when I relayed our chat to one of the relocation ladies who was assisting with our transition overseas, I was told that this is very common among Filipinos. It is not considered taboo to talk about your salary. Since then, I have been asked similar questions, but have been prepared to ward off the questions with a vague answer.

I have also been asked numerous times how much we make in car payments, condo payments, etc. Although this information is not completely taboo in America, it is something usually only shared between good friends... not complete strangers, as is the case in the Philippines.

By far, the strangest bit of personal information shared among Filipinos is the details of illnesses. I would NEVER, EVER call in to my employer to tell them I was sick at home with diarrhea, but that is exactly what they do here. I received a text from my driver last week stating that he could not drive for me on that day because he had diarrhea. (This post is going to make for more disgusting google searches, I'm sure! I can't wait to see...) It's just way too much information than I really need. Sam has also experienced this with some Filipino workers on his project. It's funny how something that is just not talked about in America is so freely discussed in the Philippines.

These are just a few of the many cultural differences I've experienced, but overall, the Philippines has truly been an easy adjustment for our family. We do live in a very Americanized city, so it hasn't been a terrible transition. Once we move to the small resort town of Subic Bay, that might be a completely different story...


Becky said...

So, how much DOES Sam make?

just kidding.

Akilez said...

I am part Filipino and was born in Manila, me too I still don't understand why they always ask personal questions. I always ask my girlfriend how come you always tell everyone about our love life? The Filipino attitude is like peeing on the side of the street and always see the negative side of a person not the good side of a person. That's one of many factor of being a Filipino you should know everything about that person.

Try buying a tabloid or Magazine you will see thousands of articles about gossips and rumours.