Understanding Social Values in the Philippines

Understanding Social Values in the Philippines

The Philippines is not preferred by many businesses to outsource their processes to BPO companies for nothing. There are plenty of reasons why the Philippines has become a popular outsourcing destination. They include, among others, the high linguistic and cultural compatibility between Filipinos and their clients.

These factors impact more than just the quality of service provided by the workforce. It also has an impact on workplace dynamics operate. To maintain a healthy and effective working relationship, both parties should learn about the culture and values of their working people.

It would be helpful if you understand the Philippines first before you jump into outsourcing to talents in the country.

To comprehend Filipino talent and the BPO industry in the Philippines, one must first understand the country’s history, Filipino culture, and traditional values.

National and Local Identity

Given the Philippines’ diversity, determining the unifying element of Filipino culture is a difficult task. The long-running struggle for independence gave rise to a sense of national identity. Many Filipinos in the modern Philippines are acutely aware of their colonial history.

However, a sense of national identity is fragile, with loyalty first and foremost residing in their kin group, province, or municipality. The Philippines is a collectivist society where people see themselves as members of a group. 

For Filipinos, the interests of the collective frequently take precedence over the interests of the individual. Filipinos have a strong sense of belonging to their community, telling stories or sharing information about their family, barangay (village), or town.

The Philippines’ lengthy history of engagement with Spain and the United States has left an indelible mark on their culture. One example is the effect of American beauty standards, which are often judged in the Philippines by the possession of Western physical features such as light complexion and curly hair. 

Another example is the rise of Christian ideology since the introduction of Christianity by the Spaniards. The Philippines has one of the highest Christian populations among Asian countries.

Geographic and Linguistic Diversity

Geographic and Linguistic Diversity

Over 7,000 beautiful islands make up the Philippines, with about 2,000 inhabited. Luzon is located in the north, the Visayas is in the center, and Mindanao is in the south. 

The island clusters have different cuisines, languages, and customs. One of the most crucial distinctions is religion. Christians make up the majority of the population in the northern islands, while Muslims are significantly more prevalent in the Philippines’ southern regions.

The country’s linguistic landscape is also diversified, with eight significant dialects and approximately 170 languages spoken across the inhabited islands. Filipino is the national language of the Philippines, which is a mix of Tagalog (the central and southern Luzon language) with terms borrowed from other languages. 

For example, in the Philippines, English is widely spoken, and it is typical to hear Filipinos talk about a blend of English and Tagalog in ordinary discussions (dubbed ‘Taglish’). Depending on where they live, Filipinos may not speak the national language. 

To keep their native identities, many Filipinos communicate in their regional languages and dialects. It is normal to hear Filipinos from all across the country chatting in English rather than their native tongue.

ALSO READ: Characteristics of a Filipino Family That Every Company Should Apply

What does it mean to be a Filipino?

Filipinos are best known for their hospitality and warm personality. Their shared values and traditions unite most of the Philippine population. But other positive values also characterize Philippine society today. These values include family-oriented, the utmost respect for authority, high regard for amor proprio (self-esteem), and harmonious interpersonal relationships.

The concept of kapwa, or a shared inner self, is central to Filipino values and psychology. A person who treats another person as a kapwa shares a sense of identity and consciousness with that person. 

Individuals and communities alike place a high value on social acceptance and maintaining social harmony. As a result, social approval and concern for what others will think, say, or do strongly influence social behavior.

Here are some of the values for which Filipinos are known:

Filipino Family

Family Oriented

The Filipino family is the basic unit of the community. Children are not set to leave their parents’ houses until they marry, and many couples choose to live with or near their spouse’s parents even after they have married. 

They are also expected to look after their elderly parents instead of sending them to a retirement home. As a result, it’s not uncommon to have numerous generations of families living in the same house.

The importance of Filipinos caring for their family is why Filipino nurses and caregivers deliver outstanding care to their patients and clients.


In the Philippines, optimism, humor, and positivity are highly valued characteristics. There is a long list of national holidays in the country, and many provinces and cities have their own set of local holidays. At the same time, community members are encouraged to look on the bright side of things when confronted with challenging situations.

The country’s propensity for finding the good in the bad can be traced back to its experiences, which lie in the path of typhoons and along the Pacific Ring of Fire.

In a place where natural disasters are common, humor and positivity serve as coping mechanisms, similar to how some children laugh to hide their embarrassment after slipping or falling.


Respect for authority in the Philippines is based on special honor. It is accorded to elderly members of the family and, by extension, anyone in a position of power. 

This trait is generally beneficial to the smooth operation of society, but when taken to extremes, it can develop into authoritarianism, which discourages independent judgment, individual responsibility, and initiative.

Versatility and Adaptability

Bahala na, which translates to “whatever occurs, happens,” is a popular expression. It is perhaps the simplest example of how Filipinos place a high priority on adaptation and fast thinking. Faith in a higher power and surrendering one’s fate to forces beyond one’s control are exemplified by this statement.

People who use the term bahala na don’t perceive anything wrong because it serves as a positive affirmation to cope with an issue right away. Those who perceive it as a negative Filipino trait, on the other hand, often consider it as a form of fatalistic resignation or a way to absolve oneself of responsibility for one’s actions.

Religion and Faith

Filipinos are deeply spiritual people. Many pre-colonial societies practiced a form of animism, and Islam was well established in the southern islands even before the pre-Hispanic era. Religion plays a vital role in Philippine society and people’s daily lives.

The Catholic Church’s views still influence some laws. Most towns still hold fiestas to honor their patron saints. Many regular non-working national holidays celebrate various religious activities and events.

Religion influences many Filipinos’ values and principles.


Filipinos are naturally friendly people. Regardless of where they’re from, how well they know their host, or why they’re visiting someone’s home, guests can expect a warm welcome from their hosts.

Hosts usually provide food, entertainment, and, if time allows, a tour of the local attractions to their guests. Before leaving, guests are encouraged to take home pasalubong or keepsakes, which are frequently in the form of delicacies and local sweets.

Filipino Work Ethic

If you are thinking about hiring from or outsourcing to the Philippines, it is critical to understand the cultural differences to get the most out of your workforce.

The Filipino workforce comprises some of the most hardworking and loyal individuals on the planet. They have a strong sense of community and family, reflected in the workplace and management styles.

It is not easy to generalize, but Filipinos excel in more creative and communication-focused roles, such as design, content production, the arts, and customer-facing activities. They are also very proficient in English (both spoken and written), although it is technically (historically) a second language.

ALSO READ: Filipino Values That Every Freelancer Should Possess

How Filipino Values Contribute to Outsourcing Success?

Many businesses outsource their processes to BPO companies in the Philippines for various reasons, including the high linguistic and cultural compatibility between Filipinos and their clients.

This factor influences the quality of service provided by the workforce and impacts how the office dynamics function. To have a harmonious and effective working relationship, both parties should learn about the culture and values of the people with whom they are working.


Businesses worldwide recognize that the Philippines is one of the best options for their outsourcing needs. Not only can they rely on highly skilled workers to deliver the best results, but they also know that positive characteristics are ingrained in every Filipino, which can help them take their businesses to the next level.

The Filipino people can stand tall and be proud of their culture and values. For the people of the Philippines, this is an exciting time of rapid growth and relative prosperity. And it couldn’t be more deserving or hard-won.

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The VA Reviewer

The VA reviewer is an avid traveler, a licensed accountant, practicing corporate and tax lawyer, and an online entrepreneur. He has leveraged his online job experience and professional qualifications to provide solutions to problems hounding businesses.

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