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Filipino Bashing v. Filipino Praise


I’ve received some CONTRIBUTIONS to my positive and negative lists; and the suggestion that a third list be added – “Interesting.” I’m not sure exactly what would fit under that category, but I’m gonna give it a whirl.



  1. Are hard-core catholics but believe in ghosts, reincarnation, fortune-telling, and feng shui
  2. Consider children their offspring as economic assets
  3. Indulge in a lot of pre-lotto winning spending
  4. tend to be meta-positionists, i.e., given two opposing sides of an argument (’A’ and ‘B’), he/she tends to formulate a third position (’C’)

There’ya go. Now have at it!


Socrates was considered the wisest of men because he was able to look at himself and admit his shortcomings. In particular, he was able to say of himself that he didn’t know anything and was therefore free to seek answers without prejudice as to who he sought it from.

Paracelsus was the same. He wrote:

“I went in search of my art, often incurring danger of life. I have not been ashamed to learn that which seemed useful to me even from vagabonds, executioners and barbers. We know that a lover will go a long way to meet the woman he adores – how much more will the lover of wisdom be tempted to go in search of his divine mistress!”

Taking example from these masters, I was inspired to exercise a little bit of Socratic honesty by listing down as many of the CRITICISMS raised against Filipinos that I’ve heard, and setting them alongside those things we normally cite as things we can take pride in about ourselves.


  1. are lazy
  2. accept mediocrity
  3. tend to accept petty corruption as a part of life
  4. are self-indulgent
  5. lack discipline
  6. superstitious
  7. self-centered
  8. are not team players
  9. are pretentious
  10. lack follow-through
  11. love to procrastinate
  12. tend to let envy consume them
  13. are opportunistic, sometimes to the point of being predatory
  14. are mercenary
  15. are apathetic
  16. tend to have double standards – behavior considered intolerable in others is often considered acceptable or justifiable when manifested by friends or family – or underdogs
  17. are in awe of caucasians – mainly americans – and foreigners in general
  18. are racist
  19. tend to be copy-cats
  20. are very poor at taking criticism
  21. are very easily offended – especially by criticism
  22. are too emotional
  23. tend to romanticize poverty
  24. tend to make plays for sympathy, rather than confront criticism
  25. tend to refuse to take responsibility for their own actions, preferring to blame others or circumstances


  1. tend to stare too much
  2. tend to ask over-personal questions even to first time acquaintances
  3. are political turn-coats
  4. bear grudges
  5. are self-absorbed to the point of being navel-gazers
  6. tend to be elitists – either elitists themselves, or fawning on the elite
  7. tend to bounce between overwhelming negativity and ‘world-domination’ cockiness
  8. tend to be meta-positionists i.e. given two opposing sides of an argument (’A’ and ‘B’), he/she tends to formulate a third position (’C’) – Thanks, cvj (what? no unequivocally positive traits? LOL).

Don’t get me wrong, ‘tho. I’m not saying these negative observations are unique to Filipinos, or that they apply to all Filipinos. I’m actually not ready to accept all of them as valid – some I totally disagree with. But these are the things other people say about us.

On the other hand, Filipinos often take PRIDE in the fact that we are also:

  1. wildly creative
  2. intelligent
  3. adaptable – extremely adaptable in fact, in foreign settings
  4. long-suffering
  5. hospitable
  6. resilient
  7. fiercely loyal
  8. caring and nurturing
  9. generous
  10. good lovers – especially jeepney drivers. LOL!

Man! That looks lop-sided. Still, anything you can add to either side of the equation will be welcome.


  1. tend to be meta-positionists i.e. given two opposing sides of an argument (’A’ and ‘B’), he/she tends to formulate a third position (’C’) – still from cvj
  2. are transparently spontaneous – according to a noted blogger, as pointed out by cvj.
  3. are religious
  4. appreciative of sports heroes – (3) and (4) are courtesy of benj. Thanks man!

Filed under: Filipino, , , , , ,

14 Responses

  1. cvj says:

    That’s a good brainstorming exercise although i read from Edward de Bono that you should add a third category ‘interesting’ in addition to the above ‘positive’ or ‘negative’.

    On the negative column, I read on another blog that we tend to stare too much. Also, there’s a tendency to ask over-personal questions even to first time acquaintances. A lot of Filipinos are also ‘balimbing’ when it comes to politics (as we saw during the fall of Marcos and as documented in Estrada v. Desierto). Also, we tend to bear grudges (‘nagtatanim’). We also are self-absorbed to the point of being navel-gazers. We also tend to bounce between overwhelming negativity and ‘world-domination’ cockiness.

    One other trait which is negative or positive depending on the circumstance, Filipinos tend to be meta-positionists i.e. given two opposing sides of an argument (‘A’ and ‘B’), he/she tends to formulate a third position (‘C’).

  2. cvj says:

    How could i forget! Many Filipinos are also elitists (in BrianB’s words, pathological snobs) which i think is a negative but others may disagree.

  3. cvj says:

    Thanks for accepting my suggestion and contributions Rom. I would have put the ‘meta-positionist’ under the ‘interesting’ category. Ok, on the positive side, i remember Manolo mentioning ‘transparent spontaneity’ in his blog entry.

    But he qualified that this trait is found only among the ‘have-nots’ in Philippine society.

  4. rom says:

    cvj: don’t mention it, uncle. i’ll add meta-positionist to the interesting category. oh, and I’ll add transparent spontaneity too – via the link you provided.

  5. benj says:

    why isn’t “being religious” in the “pride” column? I bet that would be a popular answer given our stature as the only predominantly rcc-indoctrinated country in Asia.

    Positive traits:
    (+) appreciative of sports heroes

  6. anthony scalia says:

    bashing – Pinoy’s colonial mentality, Pinoy’s pathological propensity to migrate to a first world country

    on the “roman catholicity” of Pinoys – most Pinoys are nominal Catholics, who think that being Catholic only means going to Sunday mass regularly. yet this “indoctrinated catholicism” may be the reason for the bloodless EDSAs (another point for ‘interesting’ – the only Christian country in Asia is also perceived as the most corrupt)

  7. Dino says:

    Why is intelligence in the PRIDE column?

    Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that Filipinos are stupid. To be perfectly honest though, I don’t see any indication that Filipinos are any more intelligent that people of other nationalities.

  8. Dino says:

    I also have to question the claim that Filipinos are “wildly creative.”

    Again, don’t get me wrong. There are some very creative Filipinos out there. I just don’t see any indication that Filipinos are particularly creative in comparison to people of other countries. If anything, the whole ‘gaya-gaya’ mentality would seem to suggest a lack of creativity.

  9. rom says:

    Dino: welcome to the smoking room! Intelligence is in the pride column because it’s something we can appreciate about ourselves. There’s really no attempt to compare our intelligence with any other peoples’ i.e., we don’t have to be more intelligent than anyone in order for us to take pride in our intelligence.

    The same thing goes for ‘wildly creative.’

    As for gaya-gaya, well, there are many different kinds of creativity. I might concede that we’re not particularly strong originators, but you’ve got to admit that we’re pretty nifty innovators. And taking something basic, and transforming it into something almost entirely different to suit either our need, our taste, or even just our desire to tinker – I call that creativity.

  10. Bencard says:

    i don’t know about being a comon filipino trait but the contribution about “meta-position(ing)”, i.e. palusot, could only come from cvj, the legendary practitioner who had elevated it into an art form. watch him when he is cornered into an untenable ground.

  11. cvj says:

    Bencard, i don’t think you understood what i meant by meta-positioning. It’s not the same as palusot.

  12. Dino says:

    Sorry, but I don’t agree that Filipinos are strong innovators. If anything, I’d say that Filipinos are less innovative than other cultures, precisely because of the “gaya-gaya” mentality. (I realize that you’re not trying to compare us to other cultures. However, I don’t think that one can justify describing Filipinos as “strong” innovators without having some basis for comparison.)

    Ditto for taking pride in Filipino intelligence. Would someone of average intelligence take pride in his own brainpower? One might feel content or confident despire having average intelligence, and that’s fine. However, I don’t think it makes much sense to speak of PRIDE in the nation’s intelligence unless one can show that Filipino people have ascended beyond mere mediocrity… and at the risk of offending millions of Filipinos, I don’t think we have.

  13. rom says:

    Dino: hi. welcome back. I don’t know, dino. How about magic sing? how about the jeepney that is a metamorphosed us army jeep? how about the moon buggy and flourescent lighting? None of these were original ideas but were innovated from existing ones.

    And seriously, what’s wrong with gaya-gaya? no one has a monopoly on a good idea, and if people can come up with knock-offs, what of it? It’s an elitist who cringes at ‘hawaiianas’ and only because the intrinsic value of the flip-flop is assigned to the brand-name – which, if you’re being totally objective, has no intrinsic value at all.

    Mediocrity is not a gauge of intelligence, my friend. It is a gauge of industriousness. Even geniuses can turn in mediocre work if they’re not motivated enough.

    Leaving that aside, however, how can you say that Filipinos are only of average intelligence? Is there a racial intelligence scale that allows you to come to this judgment? I for one never claimed that we were, as a people, smarter than any other race or nationality. How can you arrive at the conclusion that we’re average?

    And even accepting for the sake of argument that Filipinos were only of average intelligence, how would you have us feel about that? Ashamed? Methinks you’re taking ‘PRIDE’ a little too literally. If we are only of average intelligence, we ought not to boast about it, certainly. But it is something we can feel good about, i.e., that we can hold our own against any other people.

  14. UP n student says:

    to Dino: If you are looking for a genius-nation with genius defined by Albert Einstein, then you should look for a people that consistently puts in 90% perspiration, or at least a people that has a high level of respect for 90% perspiration.

    Do you think it is a coincidence that the Chinese is recognized simultaneously as a very intelligent race as well as a very industrious race?

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