While Filipinos are known for their friendliness and warm hospitality, there’s a dark side to Filipino culture that not a lot of people know about.
When crabs are placed in a pit and when one of them tries to climb out, the others try to drag it down. This is where this term comes from and sadly, it is seen in many Filipinos. When they see a former equal trying to succeed and do better in life, they degrade that person saying they’re too ambitious and selfish. They downplay achievements and even backbite the person. This mindset means “if I cannot succeed, others should not”. However, once the person actually does make it far in life, that leads us to our second toxic trait.
This is especially seen between parents and their eldest children when a relative is doing well financially or is working abroad. They start asking for money and the most popular for OFWs is chocolates (There’s even a song about this!). It goes to an extent where they simply rely on the wealthier person to cover all expenses like tuition fees for their younger siblings, bills, and even funds for shopping. They say that when you marry a Filipino, you marry their entire family as well, and this is true for many Filipinos to some degree. The most toxic part comes when the more well-off person refuses to give money to their relatives and they are hated for being selfish and rude when really, they are not obligated to give.
Filipinos are labeled to be one of the happiest people in the world because they are resilient and can be content with simple pleasures. Filipinos tend not to save for the rainy days and easily spend the money they earned on luxuries (sometimes before necessities) like there’s no tomorrow. When the time has come to pay for bills, they pay with money they do not have; usually through utang (debt). Since availing of credit cards is a privilege in the Philippines, common folks often resort to borrowing from relatives, friends, and neighbors thus, loaning with interest is a common business in the country. Some even scam others to fund their extravagant lifestyles in order to show off their wealth and enjoy the finer things in life. While it is not wrong to enjoy, it is also important to save for the rainy days.
Filipinos pride themselves in respecting their elders as they use honorifics and even have the mano po gesture. However, this establishes the mindset that the older you are, the more experienced and correct you are. This happens a lot to children who cannot defend themselves when they’re scolded or insulted. This is sadly also seen in workplaces where older, senior employees’ ideas and demands are more prioritized than newbies. Age is not always a measure of respect and while it is a reason to give up your seat for an old lady, it should not allow older people the superiority to just say whatever they want that may degrade their younger listeners. Respect is something we can give to anyone regardless of age.
This trait is the most popular one, also known as being late. While this is often something we laugh about, it is something that we all need to work out seriously. If we consider that time is precious and then we need to learn to honor everyone’s time also.
While no culture is perfect, there is always room for improvement. The Philippines is a developing nation with so much to offer and with an improved attitude and mindset which usually defines our culture, we can go far as a nation.
A medical student who is passionate about writing and loves to travel in her free time.