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Angela McDonald – Cultural Differences in Work and Lifestyle in the Philippines

Today, Derek and Angela will talk about work culture and generally the culture of Philippines and Filipinos, and how it differs from the west.



  • One of the things Angela found hard to get used to from the start was the “Ma’am and Sir thing”. It’s in the nature of Filipinos, it’s the way they were brought up. Anyone in a higher position or older would always be respected with a Ma’am or Sir.
  • The Philippines has a softer culture, when you are handling people from the West, people can be a lot more direct, even if you are disciplining someone. However, here, it is a very different approach, you wouldn’t shout at someone in public or embarrass them in public.
  • A lot of potential employees in the Philippines market their contract and take it to their family to review because, for Filipinos, it’s a family decision wherein they take jobs because it has an impact on their families.
  • Filipinos are Facebook crazy. Facebook is useful from a recruitment standpoint.
  • The bureaucracy in the Philippines is phenomenal. According to Angela; the biggest headache and challenge she had in the nine years of being here, are the paperwork, the rules, and regulations. Whereas in other countries everything can be applied online. Unlike here, you’re gonna be submitting a lot of documents and investing time.


Key Points

  • Sometimes Filipinos’ sense of subservience can hamper how they approach and communicate with clients or prospective clients.
  • Business owners have to be very careful when Filipinos agree all the time because Filipinos normally aim to please and saying no is frowned upon.
  • The concept of family has a huge impact on the culture of Filipinos.




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