Filipinos: Communication Impossible

I can understand a language barrier. I can certainly understand how sometimes communication failures can happen when using a 2nd language. But that isn’t the problem here.

Filipinos can’t even communicate in their own language. That’s not necessarily because they’re saying the wrong things. It’s another cognitive malfunction of the average Filipino mind. It’s the absence of logic and reasoning. A flaw in processing communication, so to speak.

A big problem is that they only know how to speak, but they don’t know how to listen. At best, if they do listen, it’s fragmented listening. Listening is just as important in communication as speaking. Without someone listening, there’s no purpose in speaking.

Filipinos speak but don't listen when communication is attemptedSo often I watch my friend trying to speak to a store manager about a complaint, and I can tell that both of them do not listen, they only speak over each other. There is nothing but talking going on, both of them at the same time. And when you’re talking while the other person is talking, there is no listening happening at all, and absolutely nothing gets resolved, nothing gets understood, and nothing is heard. Just words spewing forth from both of their mouths at the same time.

I’ll often ask a question, and I’ll often get a completely irrelevant answer, having little or nothing to do with the question, and my question remains completely unanswered. Yes, their attempt at an answer may be on the subject, but within their answer, it will usually have nothing to do with the question. That’s when they get the mystical “miffed” look from me.confused with filipinos This happens almost daily with the person I live with, not to mention with just about anyone else I attempt to have a conversation with. It’s like trying to converse with a 5 year old child with severe Attention Deficit Disorder. I often find myself asking him after he answers my question, “What did that have to do with my question? Did you hear my question? Did you understand it? (Usually I’ll ask him to repeat the question, but cannot.) Did you hear all the words and process them together in order to give a relevant response?”

And don’t ever try to ask a question with more than 1 idea in it. I once sent a text message that was more than 2 or 3 lines of text. His reply was that I wrote too much like a book and it was too much for him to read. I think it was about 15 to 18 words long. Filipinos do not have much processing power. They cannot handle more than 1 idea within a question or sentence.

This would probably explain why not much getsfragmented communication done here, and certainly not in any way you can call timely. It also explains why when dealing with a problem or trying to work out an issue, you just end up going in circles of illogical and confusing circles of irrelevancy.

It’s quite frustrating, and often I will just give up. There are times when I put a whole lot of effort into trying to get them to understand something like, let’s say, a requirement for a job is a simple ID. This ID must have a photo, the full name, and the date of birth. What I’ll get is, “Sir, I have a birth certificate”.

Well, does a birth certificate have a photo on it? NO. “Well sir, I can give you a photo to go with it.”


Published in Communication, Filipino Stupidity


  1. Profile gravatar of

    My Man, your blog really made my day.

    My country is awash with them !!!

    Every Sunday, LEGIONS and LEGIONS of them take to the streets.
    I can fire a cannon and the cannonball will hit at least 1 to 2 of them.

    That’s not all.
    Some of the ladies have a liaison with the Foreign Workers and POOF !
    More babies ! Guess what ?
    The state handles them or risk having a legion of street chidren over-running the country.

    I could on and on.

    I now make it a fact to AVOID all Filipino staffed joints. Why ?

    Because they would ignore other customers and go straight for their own people !

    I have no issues against people working but this is way too absurd !!!

    That is not all. I lodge a complain on a Food Joint, the frigging manager is a PINOY who tried to cover for Pinoy supervisor for a Pinoy junor staff who is more interested in asking how is it going at their province ON DUTY !

    The fricking manager tried deflect the blame on a lone Chinese staff in their branch.

    I shot back saying: “Tell me when did Kabayan, Zamboanga or Mindanao become part of CHINA ?”

  2. Profile gravatar of

    The comment about not being able to handle more than 1 idea within a question or a long sentence is too true!

    Some good rules of thumb;

    1 question per text or conversation
    Short sentences as their attention span is even shorter

    I would not even give them a list to work off of as it would get lost or thrown on the ground more likely…

    keep up the venting!

  3. Profile gravatar of Spartacus_killingus

    Ask a pinoy to do the most mundane mental processing and you will have them doing their trademarked “EHH-EHHH” while scratching their head vigorously..

    You know, I can only facepalm so much. Living here the last 12 years literally nothing has ever been made simple. Communication keeps me from going out. Its like, whats the point, the simplest task is profoundly complicated here.

    I walk into a store (sari store) but a big one, last year. I pick up a bottle of water and I see this girl watching some brainless bullshit noon time show full of shaking bodies and skinny jeans. I say “excuse me”… She looked like she literally had to pry her face off the television screen.

    I point to a Litro pack of nestea not more than arms reach from her.. “Nestea please, one..” I not only give the UNIVERSAL hand signal for #1.. I also do the Universal hand signal for drinking…

    Its not like she didn’t just see 3 Nestea litro pack commercials crammed in between the glorious talk n text bullshit which sponsors the crap shes watching.

    Never the less, she just looked at me and I swear I thought she was going to drool. Then I ask again in the exact fashion I had just asked.

    “May I have nestea please” pointing at it RIGHT THERE.

    She then tries to mimic what I said, and I can see shes struggling and then she hands me a plastic bag.

    Luckily my GF was standing by to ask wtf is wrong with her in Tagalog.. “He is asking for litro pack of nestea not a fucking plastic bag.”

    “Ahh” she says, “I thought you are asking for a Plastic.” Because the word PLASTIC sounds so god damn much like NESTEA.. Da fuq?


    Fuck my life man.. I don’t know how I’m making it through the days anymore.

    1. Profile gravatar of Eric

      LOL…I had a similar situation at MOA arena the other day when I went to see a PBA game. My friend and I went to the snack bar at ground level during halftime and that’s where the real show began. I asked the meatball behind the register for ONE hotdog – PLAIN..NO MAYO SHIT – and TWO large sprites. I could see the steam coming from the poor kids ears, and everyone else back there. He completely blue-screened in front of me. They could NOT fathom how someone would order ONE hot dog and two sprites. After some feverish tagalog and a few head pokes from the kitchen, they did what they ONLY could do. I got two hotdogs and two sprites…and then all was right with the world again. But…I paid for ONE hotdog hahaha Unreal

      1. Profile gravatar of Spartacus_killingus

        Amazing that you didn’t have to actually pay for both. The only place I have actually had luck in getting what I ask for without issue is Starbucks. I found the best thing to do in my years here is to follow the (Keep it simple stupid) rule.

        Go into star bucks and they ask me my name I say (M), because if I say my name they will shit themselves. But your story reminds me of my transparent chocolate story, that I posted in the pinoy ignorance thread.

        But yeah, I love when I ask for something “special” , like a hot dog without a mixture of mayo, ketchup and government cheese, and i see their gears come grinding to a hault. LOL

        Of course I expect they will do exactly the opposite in this Bizzaro world, where everything is ass backwards.