I've spent the last week living with a houseful of Filipinos (when I say houseful, I mean 15 people). Here are a few observations about the lifestyle here:
- They value community. It is not polite to eat until everyone is gathered. They will let me, the foreigner skip a meal, but noone else can. It doesn't matter that we just ate a big meal at the training center. When we get home, we're expected to eat again to show respect for the effort of the cooks. It sounds like a recipe for obesity. They love to sit in the Sala (living room) together and watch TV in the evening. The shows give them a pretext for chatting, joking and having fun.
- They are hardworking. The sun comes up at around 5:30 and by 6 p.m. the house is being cleaned by the guests (Arrow ladies). They scrub the floor by hand, make all the beds, fold up all the clothes, even the dirty ones. One lady did my ironing and now even my underwear are pressed.
- They are careful with property. My computer and phone charger cords are carefully unplugged and rolled up everyday. I tend to dump my dirty clothes in a heap. When I come back I find them folded nicely in my suitcase. I think that people who have too many things don't treasure them. Filipinos are poor. They treasure and take care of their clothes and possessions. I bought a pair of basketball shoes for a young man who exercises and plays ball with me here in Cabuyao. When I came back on my next trip, I found out that he won't wear them. They are such a treasure to him, that he doesn't want to wear them! I have to really encourage him before he would wear them.
- They are clean. They bathe 2x a day, in the a.m. and before bed. They like their clothes to look nice, even if they are poor and worn out, they will be clean and ironed.
- Filinos, by and large, love children. Marvin, the 1 year old in the house, is passed from lady to lady. They are confident and very patient. I have never heard anyone shouting at another person, and certainly not at the children.
- They are generally God-fearing, and believe in God, even if they don't know much about him.
Of course there are exceptions, but then again we say "exceptions prove the rule", don't we?
Allan, from the Philippines