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Filipino Business Culture – Part 1


If you are in the Philippines to do business but have no previous experience in dealing with Filipinos, you will need some help on getting to know how business dealings are done in this part of the world. Here are some tips for a better understanding of the Filipino business culture.


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Firm handshakes are important in the Philippines in the same way as they are in the western world. Filipinos generally value good relationships and as such, they may be quite inquisitive. You might be feeling invaded if colleagues inquire about your family and your personal life. They usually don’t mean any harm and the inquisitiveness comes from wanting to get to know you better on a personal level so that the next time you meet, they will have a conversation starter. Still, if you are uncomfortable with talking about your personal and family life, you can politely dodge these questions without building any bad rapport. You may simply say, “My family is doing good. How about yours?” to divert the topic towards them and less towards you. Another way is to answer their question briefly but politely and then smoothly talk about work-related topics. Most likely, your colleagues take a hint that questions about your personal life is something that makes you uneasy, thus they will avoid the topic next time. Either way, just keep in mind that most Filipinos ask questions about one’s personal life out of sincerity and concern, so don’t feel annoyed if people will keep asking you about your family or what you do on weekends. It is sometimes a sign that you are accepted and welcome in their close circle. Generally, small talk is good for building rapport with your colleagues.

Business relationships in the Philippines depend a lot on personal relationship so try to establish good personal relationships. This is easy to do with Filipinos since by nature, Filipinos are friendly.




Whenever possible, introductions should be done through a third party, which should be followed by some form of socialisation. While Filipinos have a tendency to be late for informal gatherings, punctuality is important for business meetings. Whenever possible, also as a form of courtesy, confirm the date and time of the meeting a few days before the meetings. Also, it would be best to provide materials for the meeting such as handouts and presentations a few days before the meeting. After business meetings, don’t leave right away as meeting usually end with 15 to 20 minutes of socialisation and usually with some food or coffee. Don’t decline the food as it might offend the host. 


Next time, we shall discuss more useful tips about working with Filipinos.



Author: Expatch Editorial Team






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