KNOW YOUR OFFSHORING DESTINATION: FILIPINO CULTURE IN A NUTSHELL
ASW set up its first office in The Philippines back in 2012. Since then, we’ve grown exponentially – adding new offices, acquiring more talent and investing in better infrastructure. This has allowed our partners to continually scale their teams through the years.
Now more than half a decade later, we’ve come to really appreciate the qualities the Filipino staff have that make them one of the key components to the rapid growth of both ASW as well as our clients.
There are a lot of cultural similarities across the different countries across South East Asia. While values such as hospitality, respect and diligence differ only slightly from country to country, but there are several aspects about Filipino culture that makes them truly unique.
We’ve sorted these aspects into three categories ~ Family, fancy, and fun.
They Prioritise Tradition: Family and Religion
Known for having close family ties, it’s not unusual to see adult Filipinos still staying together with their parents. There’s a distinct balance of conservative values and liberal freedom where despite sharing the same roof, parents tend to allow children the independence to explore and live a life of their own. This is often maintained even after the children grow up and having families of their own.
This sense of close, interpersonal relationship extends to those outside the family unit and forming large circles of friends, although usually confined to only within their own communities. Coincidentally, a wonderful trait to have in an office environment- our Manila branch is definitely one of our more spirited offices!
Birthdays and weddings are rarely small affairs. They are big gatherings celebrated with relatives, close friends and often the neighbourhood. Christmas Eve (Noche Buena) and New Year’s Eve (Media Noche) are usually celebrated at home, with family members flying in from all around the world returning to join the celebrations.
The Philippines are predominantly Catholic. Close to 90% of the population is Roman Catholic, 6% to various nationalised Christian cults, and another 2% belong to well over 100 Protestant denominations.
It’s notable to mention that they’ve got a lot of festival of saints. There are more than 42,000 known major and minor festivals in the Philippines, some of which include the Feast of the Black Nazarene, the Pedrista Festival (Feast of San Pedro Bautista), and the Senakulo.
The Senakulo is a traditional Filipino dramatisation of the life and times of Jesus Christ. It’s performed with singing (pasyon) and recitation and is presented in the public squares in many towns, in houses and streets during Lent.
They Appreciate the Finer Things: Art and Food
In the Philippines, there’re breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as other meals in between. That’s not to say that Filipinos love to eat, but it’s more of they have a passion for food. Filipino culture is heavily influenced by both east and west, particularly from the Spanish.
They’ve also gotten mighty creative in their menu, creating their own versions of famous dishes.
And one could never have a complete list of Filipino food without mentioning adobo. It’s recognised as the unofficial national dish.
A typical adobo is basically meat, seafood, or vegetables simmered in a marinade of vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, and black peppercorns. It’s a common dish, available everywhere from street side stalls, to the average household, to even gourmet adobos in hotels and high-end restaurants.
Their appreciation for enjoyable pleasures also extends to the arts. The creative expressions of the Filipino people reach out to various artistic branches, seen in their traditional arts such as paintings, pottery, weaving, and dances. A more noticeable sense of modern design and adaptation can be seen in their architecture, music, theatre, and visual arts.
There’s a strong sense of integration in their popular culture. You can find a distinct mix of American, European and Spanish influences mixing in with a lot of their TV shows, movies and music.
They Can Really Let Lose: Parties and Karaoke
Filipinos take the phrase “Work Hard, Play Hard” VERY seriously. With one of their underlying values is a sense of close relationships, a lot of what they do revolves around building camaraderie, which means having fun is always a shared activity.
Family reunions, company events, cultural (and religious) festivals, and national holidays always have a certain vigour to them. A big part that plays into this is alcohol, especially beer, flows freely and gets people in the mood for a good party.
Speaking of a good party, while a lot of us would regard karaoke as merely another form of entertainment, it’s a whole new ball game in the Philippines. You can’t underestimate just how much they love singing, which is why karaoke gets its own recognition here.
Almost every household has a karaoke machine. There are dedicated karaoke function rooms in hotels and civic centres. Karaoke bars are everywhere. Restaurants have them too. You can find them in remote villages and more so in big cities. They’re enjoyed recreationally after work as well as formally during events such as weddings, gatherings, corporate functions and even government meetings.
Part of the camaraderie of karaoke are the critiques. With so many good singers, everyone’s judge and jury on your vocal skills. But it’s all in good fun after all.
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Here in ASW Global, we celebrate diversity, acknowledging the many benefits it affords us. From expanding our worldview, driving ideas and innovation, and enabling professional and personal growth across the board, we’ve been able to channel these positive points towards our partners.
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