So You Want To Own A Business Huh?


So You Want To Own A Business Huh?
Jobs here are done ever so slowly, as the thinking of the workmen is, if we finish the job, there will be no more work to do. In any other country, of course they know if they fiinsh quickly, they can move onto the next job and their reputation for doing the work fast will help get them more work. Let’s examine this further:

On a daily basis, many comments are uttered, sometimes in a constructive manner, sometimes just as a complaint or expression of frustration directed at foreign business owners and managers, as to job performance or customer service. I wanted to shed some light on the “WHY” of “why can’t this place be run professionally”.

You may come to the Philippines from ANY backround in ANY business, military, entertainment, human resources, whatever. You have NEVER run into what you will experience here.

Believe me or don’t, as a business owner or manager you are dealing with a whole new dynamic, and whole new set of rules in dealing with people, that you cannot fathom. At first you go into denial, then shock, and usually fall into apathy when trying to accomplish the simplest compliance to RULES and REGULATIONS with Filipinos.

I’m generalizing here and there are exceptions to this. And I generally LIKE Filipinos and hold no ill will against them.

You, coming from any western society, have some basic tenants. After getting the job, you show up on time. You work while you’re on the job. You learn as much as you can about every aspect of the job so that you can handle anything that comes up. You make suggestions to make the workplace, product, delivery, and customer service aspects BETTER, etc, etc…You strive to make your customers happy so that they wil return again and again, and you do all of the above in an honest and pleasant manner, and take pride in doing so…


Imagine living and working in a society where they have not learned these things, and do not necessarily agree with them, or even understand why you would want to act in that way, and in fact, it’s DISCOURAGED!!!!!! You know that little talk your parents gave you when you were about 9 years old, about growning up and acting like an adult? THAT NEVER HAPPENS HERE.

The Filipino work dynamic goes more like this:

1. Having a job is the goal….not actually performing any tasks.
3. It is perfectly acceptable to lie, cheat, steal, bare false witness, even sabotage the workers, and the workplace if you feel in ANY WAY, you have been insulted or asked to DO SOMETHING beyond or different then what you (or others before you) have been told in the past, or if being told makes you lose face, in the slightest way.
4. If you DO a good job, you will be told you are boastful, or a showoff, and you will be alienated from the rest of the employees, and attempts will be made to get rid of you.
5. ANY CHANGE is immediately rejected and complained about.
6. Getting the salary is the MOST important aspect of having a job, with no thought to earning it, or deserving it.
7. Show up late, if at all, then take a meal, take as many breaks as you can get away with, and sit on your ass as often as you are not being directly supervised, then leave work early.
8. Do not find out about, or learn anything else about your environment, so you will have fewer responsibilities.
9. When asked ANYTHING, say YES, or OK so you will stop being asked, with zero intention of carrying out the thing asked of you, or knowledge of what was being asked.
10. There are no consequences for doing things that would normally get you fired in western society, so do whatever you want to.
11. The BIGGEST CRIME you can commit as an employee is RAT OUT ANOTHER FILIPINO for doing something wrong.
12. Yelling ANYTHING across a room is the norm.
13. Interrupting is normal and the next person to say ANYTHING misdirects the conversation or task. If called to task for interrupting, saying “excuse me” FOR THE PURPOSE OF INTERRUPTING will now be standard.
14. At any point from A to B during a task, the task may be interruped or even forgotten about if ANYTHING occurs in the environment, such as, a friend talking, a loud noise, a sudden movement, or anything else deemed more FUN occurs etc…
15. Tagalog ALWAYS takes presidence over ANY other language especially if there is an ongoing conversation.
16. Cutting in line, or bumping others to get to where you are going is normal.
17. The foreigner owner or manager is “RICH” so this justifies any theft or income related problems.
18. It’s all up to “GOD’S PLAN” anyway, so there is nothing one can do to change anything and ZERO precautions should be taken
19. If it rains on Monday, Tuesday many persons will be absent because of the changing weather.
20. Reasons to be late or absent for work: too much traffic, rain or puddles of water, washing clothes, it was dark, no transportaion available, no electricity, no money, dead, sick or hungry baby or relative or next door neighbor or the slightest fever, headache, runny nose, or bad mood, had to travel somewhere to give money to family, or friend.
21. Superstitions are TRUE and the REAL reason for bad performance or low income is due to whatever superstition was not observed.
22. The environment MUST be noisy.
23. If told to do the duties of the job too many times, a mutiny, coup, or strike is necessary.
24. If Friday is a Holiday, then expect things to start falling apart on Wednesday, as workers get ready for the Holiday. BTW, they won’t ALL return to work until sometime around Tuesday.
25. If your business closes at 9pm, then wrapping up work and getting ready to go home begins at 8pm-8:30pm. This includes putting the cash in the safe, so no change is available, all the way to locking the doors, or pulling down the security shutters. AT 9pm the building will be absent of employees
26. If you try to fire someone from their job, they must be given verbal warnings, written warnings, and suspensions, and all have a certain number of issuances that comply with the Dept Of Labor, or the person can sue for damages.
27. Staff is to work no longer than 90 days or 6 months on the job (depending on the job) so that they are not eligible for benefits. This explains why it’s no one knows what they are doing, since they are new.
28. Anything considered childish in Western society, is cute and fun and desired in local society.
29. Anything not chained down or padlocked is free for the taking.
30. Any new manager or owner that asks anything of any employee is now the target of gossip and rumor. Usually along the lines of, the new manager/owner is not nice, and I wish the old one would come back.
31. If employees are EVER rewarded by management, it will now be EXPECTED and comments will fly about as to management being cheap if the same reward is not repeated. No thanks will be given for the reward.
32. If something gets broken or is stolen, there will be NO witnesses. If broken in the vicinity of a customer, the FIRST thing that happens, is a long pause in activity to determine who is NOT at fault so as to avoid blame and re-payment.
33. If a regular customer orders the same item/drink/food, time after time, no matter what he orders on his next visit, he will get what he ordered last time.
34. When spoken to by management, staff really hear something similar to the Peanuts TV series when adults are talking. Imagine a muted trumpet/trombone wa-wa sound….”Ok, here is what I want you to do. Wa-wa-wa-wa-wa-wa-wa-wa-wa-wa-wa. Ok?” “Yes sir.”
35. Every comment/request to get compliance will be answered with a justification or excuse.
36. An argument with staff, will escalate to “Go Back To Your Country”, or “I will report you to Immigration/NBI/Police” within seconds to get you to back off.
37. If items A/B/C are sold in the store. And those items are the main thrust of the business’ sales, unless acted upon by a manager or owner, those items will not be re-ordered, or “in-stock” and no one will notice or comment on the fact that there is an upcoming shortage of those items.
Hope I haven’t left anything out, and the longer you live/work/shop here, the longer your list…

Note: To retain one’s sanity, you are only allowed to ask ONE “why” question per day…

Published in Blatant Stupidiy, Filipino Stupidity


  1. angelesdog

    Been there, done that.
    One of my rules was “Your Grand Mother can die once a year.”
    They are there own worst enemy. I had 23 workers. Increased the pay of my best 3 and 19 just didn’t show up to work. So I fired them. Hires all new. Then they took me to “labor court”. Said I was unfair to them. Had “Letters of counseling” for them and the case was dropped.
    For construction type jobs, agree on a time period and price first. Take less time get a bonus. Take to long, penalty. Never advance pay. Close supervision. avoid kick backs. Buy all the supplies yourself. Bring your own tools. (So they don’t steal yours.)
    The way trades men know what God wanted them to do is: If you find a nail on the side of the road, He wanted you to be a carpenter. Otherwise you would have found a piece of wire. Which means God wanted you to be and electrician.
    If you find a condom… well.. guess…

  2. James Roa

    Hey hey hey,
    I hear you man. this country is filled with dumdum stupid fucks who are lazy and born with the filthy spoon of lies, cheats, cons. However they are blessed with the catholic church who supports their cause of being ignorant, stupid and afflicted with the curse if you may of being taught that a Filipino is only a Filipino if he/she stoops down to lies, cheating, conning, stealing and being lazy and that he/she can always go to the catholic church, go to the confessional to confess with gusto their “sins” and GOD will forgive him/her and will expect them to continue.
    The Catholic Church demands this – look at their catholic priests, fucking healthy bastards, well fed right in the midst of all the poverty of this great nation and the Catholic Church is the root cause of the afflictions, curse of this beautiful country.

  3. filofail

    They truly are the most superstitious, and think that god will just do everything for them, and if he doesn’t, they expect someone else to, and will never look to themselves to think, take personal responsibility, nor will they ever be, or hold anyone accountable for anything. It’s truly unbelievable here. Just utter and complete idiots, really.

  4. Profile gravatar of

    no.4 got me out of my job,Hotel and Restaurant industry here is so fucked up. It made switch into a different career and decided to become a freelance designer working on clients outside the country… Why? Once, a Filipino asked me to make a design for something, I asked for a reasonable amount of payment, he was bewildered and told me that as an artist I should be doing it for the sake of art not for money and the job, according to him is easy since I use photoshop and illustrator he then argued that the payment for it should be 80% less than what I asked… I got pissed and told him to find someone else, and then I magically turned into a villain

  5. Profile gravatar of

    Wait until you read the CA (court of appeals) decision on Federal Express operating in the Philippines. Then read the comments under the article, the comments mirror exactly what has been said here about Foreign Investors staying clear of the Philippines. Another “head banging against the wall” filogic. Go to this link: http://www.philstar….mit-operate-phl Sorry, I don’t know how to attach the article here. If someone knows how, the article is titled “CA voids FedEx permit to operate in Phl”.

    1. Profile gravatar of

      dude that is AWESOME….another ass-backwards decision made in the interest of the anti-progression movement that is obviously in play here. I am convinced that is the strategy..when you look around the government (senate, house of representatives) and the complete morons that occupy those seats there is no other explanation. I wish I was a Senator SOOO bad. I would literally stand up during my first session and shout “WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU NIMRODS DOING??!!”. Then file my son’s kindergarten’s class in to show them how to properly run a government. Those kids rock and are running their classroom like a brand new benz

  6. Profile gravatar of 30-30

    They hate foreigners and do everything possible to screw up their lives.
    perfect example = beurau of immigration, wtf with all the red tape…..
    land of smiles,, my ass

  7. Profile gravatar of heyjoe

    Immigration. Don’t get me started. Went down last week to pay my annual fee. It’s always a pain in the ass but the last few years hasn’t been so bad compared to normal Philippine standards. This year they have a new procedure. BTW I am paying my annual fee for my I-Card. So I walk into the building of mass confusion and ask where I need to go.”Follow the blue line sir.” This is something new. So I follow the blue line and end up in an area outside the building. The blue line ends in another area of mass confusion. No signs to tell you where to go and no one to direct you. So I ask an immigration officer. He repeats to “follow the blue line” I show him that the blue line ends at the door with no explanation of what I am required to do. He shows me where to go. Turns out everyone with an I-Card has to fill out a new application. I ask the guy why? He said there are a lot of fake cards and they need to update the information. I show him my I-Card and ask why they can’t tell it’s fake when I pay my fee. I get the blank stare. So after filling out the application which is just a repeat of all the information they already have in the computer system and a real pain in the ass they tell me I need one new picture. But I have to buy six pictures even though I need only one. I complained to the immigration guy and he said they have a complaint box if I have a complaint. That drew histerical laughter from me and he again has the blank stare. After all of this you need to be interviewed by an official which means waiting in another long line. This was a complete waste of time for them to get the same info they already had. Of course you need more fingerprints also. It seems they go out of their way to inconvience you

    Before they had the Balikbayan visa for foreigners traveling with their Filipina wives that allow you to stay for 12 months I always had to renew my visa because I spent the entire winter here and went to the immigration office to do that. The first year I got the Balikbayan visa I didn’t realize I was allowed to stay for a year so I went to get it renewed. The official I was dealing with was asking me for an exorbant amount to renew my visa. Very typical of govt. employees here trying to rip you off. I was by myself and deceided not to pay and came back the next day with my wife. That’s when we found out that there was no need to renew my visa. It was good for a year at no extra charge and the guy the previous day was just to shake me down.

    Once about 20 years ago I was leaving to go back to the states. I had paid my visa extension and it was in order. After paying the embarkation fee some immigration crook hurriedly sets up a table just past the area you pay the fee to leave. He demands another 500 pesos from every foreigner for some type of made up charge. Explaining that my visa was in order did no good. Threats were made and I ended up paying even though I knew I was getting ripped off because it wasn’t worth the hassle to possibly miss my flight. So that dude collected 500 pesos times however many foreigners were on the flight and just put it is his pocket. Typical Filipino scam artist.

    1. Profile gravatar of 30-30

      hello hey joe
      Once you got your balikbayan visa ,, you did not have to go out of the phils evey year to get another one?
      Can you go out by yourself and return by yourself and still have the balikbayan visa?
      How much to renew the balikbayan visa every year?
      sorry to bother you but the kano never gets the same answer from these thieves
      thanks for any info you may give me

      1. Profile gravatar of heyjoe

        Hello al. The Balikbayan visa is only good for 12 months. Then you have to leave. I’m not sure if you can get an extension or not. I never had to do that or asked anyone. I think if you leave by yourself and return the Balikbayan visa is no longer valid. You have to be accompanied by your wife to get that and it is free. Again I’m not sure if you can extend that but if you can I’m sure these thieves will charge you. On the other hand, I was surprised that they actually offered this visa for free in the first place so maybe there would be no charge. I always traveled with my wife coming and going so that was my experience. I do not claim to be an expert on this and there are probably things about this visa that I am not aware of. I have an I-Card now so I don’t use that visa anymore. So I guess the only thing you can do is go to the immigration office and ask. I know that’s a scary thought. I use the office in Manila. When I’ve had questions I go to the information counter and they have actually helped me a few times without a lot of bullshit. I know that’s hard to believe. If you live in the Visayas or Mindanao I’m not sure how well those offices work. I would say your best bet overall is to get an I-Card if you spend a lot of time here and make frequent trips out of the country without your wife

        One other subject. My wife is Filipina but a U.S. citizen. We are retired and spend most of our time here. So she became a dual citizen of the Philippines and holds a Filipino passport. That way she doesn’t have to go thru all the B.S. at the immigration like other U.S. citizens. She can stay here as long as she wants and leave anytime. If any of you guys are in that same situation and would want your wife to be a dual citizen I would strongly recommend that she applies in your home country at the Philippine consulate there. It is much easier to do there instead of dealing with all of the shit that goes on at the immigration office here.

  8. Profile gravatar of

    I sympathize with you all. I just recently got into the transport (bus) business here. I have never met so much corrupt government officials,police, mmdas, cheeky bastard, thieves, liars, drug addicts and con artist in my whole entire life. I wish I can shoot these fuckers. Can you imagine, just this holiday season, the chief police of Saryaya in Lucena stopped us along with 5 other buses. His name tag was tucked in so you can see his name. He was threatning everyone that he will impound the bus because license plate is fake. I talk to him over the phone and he wouldn’t give his name. He just kept on repeating how he is going to impound the vehicle. All he wanted was 3000php from each bus. That fucker did that for 3 months. Oh yeah, its always fun in the Philippines…

  9. Profile gravatar of heyjoe

    Arch. I feel your pain. My wife and I also tried the bus business back in the early 80’s. Constant headache. Not only from the govt. officials and police but also employees. It was hard to find drivers and conductors that wouldn’t steal right and left from you. Also you can see how bus drivers drive their units. Like complete morons. So naturally this puts a lot of extra wear and tear on your bus which means high repair and maintenance cost. Since trying that business I’ve always felt the only way to actually make decent money would be to drive the bus yourself so you could control the situation. But who would want to spend their days driving around in this traffic for a living. You would end up in the nuthouse.

  10. Profile gravatar of

    Hello heyjoe. Yeah I am finding that out now. And the lessons being taught in this business are brutal. At first I wanted to do everything legal and by the book but after dealing with LTFRB (who teaches/forces you to corrupt) and dealing with very SHADY people, you learn to grow fangs and become an asshole. Now I realize why some bus operators wouldn’t even smile at their drivers and enforces cut-throat deals. Well, let’s see what happens…its too early for me to call it quits.

    P.S. I am glad I found this blog. Thanks! Its good to know I am not the only one who put up with these yahoos.

  11. Profile gravatar of 30-30

    My wife likes business,, so she ctarted cel fone loads????? Perfume making???? Jeepney????? Candey making,,,,, needless to say,that lasted 2 weeks and the crap is stll hanging around the house and also a computer shop which i finally had to shut down…
    The only business we r making a little money is rentals of apartments and the land is rising in value.
    I asked where the books of expenses and income???? What is that????
    Me ,, u know how much how r u making???? Dunno
    They try everything under the sun to make..?money,,,, of course it helps if u rhave an oofw or kano atm,
    Water bottling stations and laundry shops are real easy toget into,! They set aĺl machines up,!,, and u can start losing money becos will copy u in the block,
    Sorry sorry stores are a real money and time waster,,,,
    sorry for the tping,!, been der and done that