Personally I don’t see anyone as a singular although there are many traits that seem to be apparent in many people it isnt in all. I have met some people here in Cebu for example as well as OFW’s who are very business minded and switched on to the problems the country face and how its intergrated into cultural society. As you spend more time in the Philippines you start to learn to take everything with a pinch of salt the same you would anywhere in the world. Most people will treat you as a tourist for a long time the people who know you best will be more likely to intergrate you into their own lives. If anything I find the expat communities harder to deal with than locals. For example my local community where I live I know most people and generally they are all nice people. I haven’t had any hang-ups that others may have experienced with rivalry with neighbours maybe because so many are connected with my wife over generations or are related. Only thing that involved someone assuming I was someone they could rip off was a Mah-jong player who assumed he could add a bit extra to a lot price nearby to skim off the top yet the realtor had already over valued it. Result being I just sat and finished my beer changing the conversation. No point being aggressive as you know this guy was trying to rip me off because as I hear from so many people lately “every man and his dog is a realtor or agent here”. Its true and the point is if you want land look yourself or with people you trust there may not be many sharks in the water but there are plenty on land.
What is good about Filipino culture though is because your a foreigner you can avoid all the bits you don’t like. Someone tries to overcharge you just walk away and often I will just say mahal (expensive) its unlikely I will buy there in future and in most cases its likely I walk straight passed them going to buy the same goods elsewhere. Taxi drivers in Cebu believe they are law unto themselves sometimes trying to overcharge or “forgetting” to put the meter on but simply I stopped using taxis completely as its cheaper to drive and less hassles if its late at night. The big thing or should I say most important thing is being able to remove things you don’t want in your life. I don’t like haggling with taxi drivers or even vendors I want the price on goods not goods that fluctuate with the colour of my skin or because I have expensive clothes. So we buy in the supermarkets and Aprils parents grab fresh produce from the market although to be honest I have never been overpriced in the market once. I think a lot revolves round the fact my scooter is off the road and its a pain to turn the Jeepy round in the town due to the road layout.
The fact of the matter is just pick at the things you want here If you don’t like it cut it out off your life because many things will never change which is unfortunate but generally its not your problem either. Most people here are friendly but will often find a way to try and make money out of you. Could be trying to sell you an insurance policy, a lot etc. but simply just say “if i need one i will ask” and change topics.. I cant be bothered with the pushy sales that goes on so often and it makes me question why do some people really want to associate with me?
In general I have no problem with the people of the Philippines because I can work round most things if not can just as easily stop listening. There are a lot of positives as well like playing airsoft and recently being invited to play football (Soccer as Americans call it). Which I will probably take up for something to do, we have a lot of real friends here as well as smiling sales people who call us friends. I can live happily here as the only drunks I have seen causing problems have been expats and the neighbours although have loud music once in a while are pretty much keeping themselves to themselves. All in all very little hassles.