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Top 10 Toxic Filipino Traits - A Discussion

10 Toxic Filipino Traits - A Discussion + Podcast

Filipinos are very much well-know for a lot of positive things such as singing, pageants, hospitality and beautiful beaches, but we are all aware that perfection is an illusory concept, and that comes in a form of some traits that we may find a bit toxic. In this blog post, we're going to talk about 10 recognizable toxic traits of us Filipinos.

Disclaimer: Traits discussed in this post are not be generalized to all Filipinos. As a matter of fact, some of these traits may be universal

#1 - Crab Mentality
This trait is characterized by not wanting other people to rise above you, and whenever they do, you try to bring them down so that it does not happen. It's also can be in a form of "misery loves company". 

Sample Manifestation: When someone is more successful than you, you begin to spread rumors about that person to dim their light. 

Subtle Manifestation: Remember the times when you feel like skipping classes, and you want your friends to do the same? Yes, this is some form of crab mentality. 

#2 - "Noong panahon namin..." (During our time...)
This trait is characterized normally by someone who is way ahead of your generation, and keeps on comparing the things and so-called "truths" of their time with the younger one's. Whenever there's something that deviates, he/she sees it as something "not right".  

Sample Manifestation: People of older generation saying how younger generation are "too sensitive" because during their time they experienced worse.

Why is it toxic? It often disregard the fact that what worked before may no longer work now. Plus, it is often a way to invalidate someone else's feeling.

#3 - "Bakit 'di mo gayahin si..." (Why don't you be like...)
This trait is characterized when you are being criticized for something, and they want you to emulate someone who exhibits something they are looking for. In the end, you get compared to someone.

Sample Manifestation: A parent scolding his/her second son for not passing a subject, and telling him to be like his brother who always lands in the honor roll.

Why is it toxic? There is a presumption that you are being inferior to the person you are being compared to you in that aspect, and it discounts the fact that each has his/her own uniqueness (e.g. varying strengths and weaknesses).

#4 - Kids as "retirement benefit"
This trait is characterized by having a mindset that there is a need to have a child, so that there will be someone who will take care of you when you grow old. It may also come with the expectation that the child will always support the parent financially as he/she grows old.

Sample Manifestation: A couple wanting to have children hoping that at least one of them becomes successful, so they can eventually have a better life. 

Why is it toxic? Children may feel pressured to give back even at their expense to their parents, and failing to do so will brand them as ungrateful

#5 - Excessive "utang na loob"
This trait is characterized by expecting that all the good favor you provide/show to someone gets returned back to you

Sample Manifestation: Your tita (aunt) pressuring you to give her large part of your salary, as repayment for taking care of you.

Why is it toxic? This is somehow similar to #4, wherein you get pressured into helping back someone who once gave you a favor. Failure to do so brands you as someone without gratitude. 

#6 - "Bawal mangatuwiran" (Not allowed to reason out)
This trait is characterized normally by someone older wherein the younger one is told not to reason out when being scolded/talked to. This may also happen at work exhibited by those with longer seniority. 

Sample Manifestation: Your co-worker quickly dismissing your ideas saying that he's been there in the company for so long and telling you that they won't work even without giving it much thought.

Why is it toxic? Being older or more senior does not necessarily mean that one's stance/idea is immediately right or more superior. Plus, this trait often disrespects the opinion of others purely out of sheer bias.

#7 - Belittling of arts/music and careers related to it
This trait is characterized often in a form of discouragement to someone we know who shows inclination toward taking art/music courses or careers stating that there's not much future in it. 

Sample Manifestation: A parent discouraging his/her child who is thinking of enrolling in a music school, and nudging him/her to take a business course instead.

Why is it toxic? It often kills dreams and puts heavy limit on what a child may achieve. Also, the mere sizing up a person's worth/future just because of his course/career choices is already toxic in itself as it puts heavy prejudice to the person's capabilities and intelligence. 

#8 - Unappreciative of privileges
This trait is characterized when you still complain a lot despite the privileges given to you instead of appreciating and/or being thankful about it. 

Sample Manifestation: You attended a friend's birthday party at his home, then you complain in your mind that the food is not great, and there was too few of an option.

Why is it toxic? It appears selfish wherein a lot are working/hoping too hard to get even a piece of that privilege. Often times, it may also seem rude.

#9 - English as basis of intelligence
This trait is characterized of putting judgment as to a person's intelligence merely by how well he/she speaks in English.

Sample Manifestation: A student who grapples explaining his ideas in English will seem like someone who is not "good" whereas when asked to explain in Filipino does it so well.

Why is it toxic? English is a tool for communication, but it does not have anything to do with the content and even intent of the message being conveyed. Hence, judging the person or even his statement purely by how well (or poorly) he delivers it in English is toxic.

#10 - Filipino time
This trait is characterized by padding 1-2 hours from the agreed time, and therefore ending up very late for events or meet-ups. 

Sample Manifestation: Dinner with friends is set at 7PM. It's currently 7PM, and you are still on your bed still hesitating whether you shall now get ready. You arrive at the venue at 8:30 PM. 

Why is it toxic? It disrespects those who have high regard to time, and there is a subtle assumption (be it unintentional) that the time of those who waited too long does not matter. 

There you have it. For sure, there are still a few that we've missed in this list, so feel free to share them by commenting below. 

Plus, I'm urging you to listen more about the discussion regarding toxic Filipino traits here in this podcast: 

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