Nowhere else in the world are you going to find such a unique culture to work with as
you will in the Philippines. Filipinos are globally known for their values, loyalty and
determination to do the best job possible. Coming from a Western culture (as I have)
you will immediately see the differences in how they work, live and play. But don’t be
The Philippines is rich with culture and traditions that date back hundreds of years.
Even through four hundred years of Spanish occupation, they have held onto their way
of life and remain tied to their ancestral roots.
So what should you expect from an outsourced Filipino staff? Here are some of the
awesome qualities I have encountered working with Filipinos over the last nine years.
Filipino Pride – Filipinos are proud to be Filipinos and very proud of their 7,107 island
archipelago nation. The National Anthem is revered across the county and sung by
school children every morning to halted traffic before classes. Other patriotic songs are
often sung and cherished just the same. Make no mistake, they are willing to accept
constructive criticism, to an extent, but are just as willing to defend to the death, if
necessary, their family and the land of their ancestors. However….
Filipinos find prestige in working for foreign investors – Jobs with foreign
companies are coveted by Filipinos. With the rise of the BPO industry and the
importance it plays on the strengthening economy, Filipinos enjoy a certain social status
among their peers and family when they have a position with a foreign company. Also,
you will find the loyalty to the company unbreakable.
Filipinos hate to disappoint – This is why they work so hard and are extremely
careful about what they put out. When a Filipino is delegated a task, consider it to be
done to the best of their ability and sometimes even beyond. They do have a tendency to
take correction to heart, but this is only because they have an excellent service-oriented
Filipinos are very family oriented – It is not unusual in the Filipino household to
find many extended family members living together. From great-grandparents on down,
they have large family bonds cemented in love and respect. In the Philippines, it
becomes the duty of the children to care for the aging parents, and this is a
responsibility they accept with seriousness and honor and will even put themselves and their own needs aside to take care of a family member in need. I put this in here because
I find it quite admirable.
Filipinos are “techy”- When it comes to computers, gadgets and technical
components, Filipinos know their stuff. They can easily memorize specs, brands, wiring
(especially for Videoke machines!) and figure out the most complicated technical
situations. They are more content to fix something themselves than take it to a repair
shop. And in most cases are successful.
Filipinos know how to have fun — and they know how to work. In fact, they have a
unique ability to balance out work and fun to remain productive. They understand the
value of “rest days” and take advantage of them to the fullest. By taking the time to rest
and rejuvenate they remain overwhelmingly productive rather than working until they
burn out like many Western workers (including yours truly) are guilty of. However…
Filipinos are always willing to work extra — Even thirty minutes of overtime is
like gold to the Filipino. As stated above, many Filipinos live with extended families
which means more money coming in is more money for the family. Not only that, they
do not like to leave tasks undone. So given the choice to stay and finish a task or leave on
time, Filipinos will chose to stay.
Filipinos are chameleons – I don’t mean Filipinos are a race from outer space.
However, they do have an adaptive ability which allows them to adjust to different
cultures. You don’t have to worry about too much “culture” shock when working with
Filipinos. They are always willing, and slightly fascinated to learn all they can about
other countries, especially when it will help them assist customers.
Off topic fun facts about Filipinos
Filipinos think it’s easy to learn Tagalog – after all they learned English right?
Well, it’s not that easy to learn Tagalog. But as well as they grasp the English language
and embrace it, they still love their native tongue and will not pass up an opportunity to
teach you a word or two. Don’t get offended when they laugh when you butcher their
beautiful language, they are just having fun. Take note: The Philippines hosts over 170
languages and dialects.
Filipinos LOVE to sing - You would have a better chance of growing flowers in the
desert than finding a Filipino who doesn’t love music and is ready to grab the microphone and sing. A favorite evening for the Filipino is either Videoke, or hanging
around with friends playing guitar and singing into the night.
Filipinos LOVE food – Filipinos love to live life to the fullest and that includes
enjoying every meal, like chicken or pork adobo, sinigang, and kare-kare, But not only
meals, they have amazing merienda, or snacks, here in the Philippines. From lumpia to
bananacue to my personal favorite, banana turon (bananas and brown sugar in a spring
wrapper fried to a crisp golden brown) they each have their special recipes and take
pride in cooking and serving food. Do not be surprised if you visit a Filipino at home, no
matter what time, if they don’t feed you a full meal and then pack a box for you to take
home for later. You may even find yourself tempted to try balut!
Filipinos LOVE basketball – Want to know the standings of any basketball team
worldwide (especially NBA)? . Want to know if LeBron James played last night? Just ask
a Filipino. Filipinos are passionate about the sport nationwide and organize their own
team and leagues from 5 year olds to Senior Citizens. Flood, rain even typhoon won’t
stop the balls from bouncing. All through the country you will find covered courts where
intramural leagues gather to play year round.
And yes it’s true…
Filipinos love to talk! – Striking up a conversation with a Filipino is not difficult and
very enjoyable. Not only are they great conversationalist, they are excellent listeners and
they will focus all of their attention on you as you speak. This is a powerful asset when it
comes to customer service and this is why customers go away from the call or chat
feeling fulfilled and satisfied that their issues have been heard.
There are many more interesting, fun and even quirky traits of the Filipino culture and I
challenge you to find out for yourself how rewarding it is to work alongside these
amazing people. Their dedication, loyalty, and sense of respect alone will bring great
value to your company.