That so-called “Filipino Time”

Why do I really SUCK at being punctual in terms of typical “social gatherings?” Well, here’s the straight-to-the-point scenario we (Filipinos and non-Filipinos) would often observe: The kick-ass party starts at 6pm with nobody inside the room, later, guests arrive at 7pm, and then best pals arrive at 9pm with hard-to-believe reasons. Sounds familiar? Blame that on Filipino culture. Haha!

Whether you’re late or not as long as the plan is still on, why not? LOL! Filipino Time Mystery!

So you think I could explain this to you thoroughly? Frankly, I couldn’t. Boo! To give you a life event with this in mind, when I turned 21 last July, I invited my fellow friends to come to my karaoke party at exactly 6pm (because I booked the venue at 7pm) and I expected them to arrive at around 7:30pm – and they did! Even in my own party I arrived late, say 8pm? Haha See? Who does that hocus-pocus of adding and subtracting, huh? I know! Me! Because I grew up with the Filipino Time.

It is an invariable joke among any Filipino organizing an event that it is wise to state the commencement of that particular event half an hour to an hour earlier than the actual time intended. Filipino Time, you know. It is a well known fact and an exasperating subject most Filipino Americans have taken with resignation. “Filipino Time” is the coined phrase for the embarrassing affliction of tardiness among Filipinos. It is curious and mind boggling how the general population of a certain nation could possibly be chronically late. And yet, it has been tried and tested to be true to this very day. Try having a party with the invitation stating an arrival time of 4 pm, and people will start trickling in at 5 or 6 pm.

– Johanna Francisco

I may have a few “theories” that, based on my experience, being an Ilongga and a proud Filipino, could justify this weird culture. Let’s keep that drum beatin’! Here goes:

  • THEORY#1: BEING THE FIRST ONE TO ARRIVE AND WAIT FOR YOUR FRIENDS IN 30 AGONIZING MINUTES, IS JUST TOO UNBEARABLE! Who can relate? 😀
  • THEORY#2: OUR TIME HERE IN THE PHILIPPINES IS NOT SYNCHRONIZED. We don’t have a standard time, really. There’s always a 15-30 minute difference.
  • THEORY#3: “BETTER BE LATE THAN ABSENT” MENTALITY. Need I say more? Haha 🙂

But really, to encapsulate everything mentioned here, I might safely say that this is (personally) applicable to social or friendly gatherings – like those local town fiestas, friends’ night out, or whatever. It is not totally generalized that Filipinos are tardy. Hey, on several occasions, we usually arrive earlier than others in, well, IMPORTANT affairs: say Class, Job Interviews, Recitals, Court Hearings, those stuff. Quite a nice way to tackle culture, right? Ciao Mr./Ms. Punctual! 😀

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