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12 Negative Filipino Traits and Values We Need To Get Rid Of

12 Negative Filipino Traits and Values We Need To Get Rid Of

Let’s admit it; at some point in our lives, we have been guilty of one or two (or more) of the negative Filipino traits listed below. Although these negative traits do not diminish the fact that Filipinos are fantastic people, it’s sad that they have continued to pull us down personally and as a nation.

Therefore, for the good of ourselves and our country, we must discard the following negative Filipino traits and values:

1. Crab Mentality

crab mentality in the Philippines

Simply put, this refers to the behavior of preventing someone from achieving something due to jealousy or envy. Instead of praising or rendering assistance, someone with a crab mentality would think, “if I can’t have it, then you can’t as well,” and will purposely try to bring his/her victim down. And nothing ever gets accomplished, just like the crabs who could have escaped from the bucket if they only stopped pulling each other down.

2. Ningas-Kugon

ningas kugon

One reason we sometimes exert half-hearted effort in our undertakings is this attitude. Translated to “burning cogon grass” in English, this idiom illustrates how Filipinos exhibit great enthusiasm at the beginning of a project. Our eagerness, however, fades away just as quickly as the fire is extinguished, leaving our work either half-baked or unfinished.

Also Read: 11 Filipino Slang Words With Surprising Origins

3. Mañana Habit

Mañana Habit

Ironically, the Spanish would accuse Filipinos of being lazy when they taught us the mañana habit in the first place. Known as “tomorrow” in English, the practice encourages procrastination, an “ability” we Filipinos have since turned into an art form. Even the most urgent of projects and tasks can be relegated to some other time; we are only forced to work on them when the deadline is near. It’s a miracle we get things done in this country.

4. Filipino Time

Filipino Time

Regarding the mañana habit, Filipino time refers to the Filipinos’ unique brand of time, which is minutes or hours behind the standard time. In other words, we tend not to observe punctuality at all. This behavior usually drives time-observant foreigners crazy.

While we Filipinos, with our easy-going ways, have somewhat become used to Filipino time, it still is a bad habit that needs to be dropped.

Also Read: The Intriguing History of ‘Filipino Time’

5. Being Onion-Skinned (Balat Sibuyas)

Balat Sibuyas

We Filipinos are famous for being onion-skinned or easily slighted at perceived insults. While it’s perfectly normal for us to taunt and criticize others, we can’t handle the same when it’s being hurled back at us.

Incidents showcasing our extra-sensitivity to insults usually involve a foreigner making either a bonafide racist remark or a humorous jab at us Filipinos. True to form, our reactions range from righteous indignation to excessive grandstanding. While it is alright to feel incensed, throwing a fit in front of the world would inevitably do us no good.

6. General Disregard For Rules

negative traits and attitudes of filipinos

Why is it so hard for Filipinos to obey the rules? This social phenomenon is not exclusive to hardened criminals either—a look at everyday life in the country shows Filipinos from the entire social strata nonchalantly breaking the rules, whether as benign as jaywalking or as dangerous as beating the red light.

Also Read: 27 Things You’ll Only See in the Philippines

An interesting theory is that Filipinos’ penchant for law-breaking goes beyond mere lack of discipline or failure to implement the rules. It is something that is ingrained in our very culture. Being oppressed under the yoke of colonization for such a long time made our ancestors defiant of the rules they believed to be discriminatory.

Although such “self-righteous disobedience” may have been alright during their time, the behavior would continue to manifest among the later Filipinos, resulting in an utter lack of respect for the rules.

7. Colonial Mentality

colonial mentality in the Philippines

One of the most significant flaws we have as a nation is our colonial mentality, a preference for all things foreign over our own, a negative trait we acquired from our days under the Spanish and the Americans. As a result, we Filipinos have been imbued with the misconception that our culture is inferior to our past colonizers.

Glaring examples of colonial mentality include patronizing foreign instead of local brands, favoring foreign values over our own, and even desiring to look more “Western” (think whitening products).

If we can’t even have pride in our own country, we will be stuck with this self-defeating mentality.

8. Balikbayan Box Mentality

Balikbayan Box Mentality

While there is nothing wrong with giving gifts to one’s family and friends (we Filipinos highly value them), it becomes a different matter when said family and friends misconstrue or abuse the OFW’s generosity.

This has become known as the “Balikbayan box mentality” in local parlance. People ingrained with this mentality either become exploitative or jealous of the success of the OFW, not knowing that he/she is working hard away from their loved ones in a foreign country. Some also believe the practice undoubtedly contributes to the Filipinos’ colonial mentality.

9. Bahala Na Attitude

Bahala Na Attitude

Roughly translated as “come what may,” Filipinos’ version of fatalism is the belief in leaving everything to the hands of fate.

While not inherently detrimental, this attitude is still a double-edged sword. On the one hand, positive aspects of this behavior include belief in Divine Providence and national social responsibility. On the other hand, the attitude can also promote a sense of helplessness and resignation of one’s fate at the local level and a countrywide lack of empathy and collective action on the national level.

This is also why we tend to have amnesia over past wrongdoings committed by our leaders.

10. Corruption

Corruption in the Philippines

One of the biggest social ills our country has continued to face since time immemorial is the issue of corruption. Let’s face it, our “culture of corruption” is embedded deep within our system and reinforced by a complex web of economic and social factors, which include personal ambitions and a twisted sense of loyalty to friends and kin. The Philippines is in for a long haul if our officials and we do not eliminate this harmful habit.

11. Maintaining Double Standards

double standard in the Philippines

This behavior can be observed in just about every sector of Philippine society, with the most common example being the condemnation of an adulterous woman while applauding a polygamous man. On the national scale, we see politicians spouting promises of reform and good governance only to break them. Long story short, some Filipinos are hypocrites to the core.

Related Article: 15 Weird Laws Filipinos Still Have To Live With

12. Excessive Partying

bad habits of filipinos

Now there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a fiesta and party now and then; it’s just that we Filipinos tend to overdo it. 

Birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, and even sad funerals are celebrated by Filipinos like there is no tomorrow. Sometimes we even make up the slightest of reasons so that we can have an excuse to party. Moreover, a host would sometimes even strain his finances to impress his guests.

As for fiestas, every LGU down to the smallest barangay in the country has a fiesta to celebrate. As we said, it’s alright to party, but we should focus on austerity and working hard first.

Written by FilipiKnow

in Facts & Figures

Last Updated


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