Filipino Family Values
The family is the center of the social structure and includes the nuclear family, aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins and honorary relations such as godparents, sponsors, and close family friends often called aunts and uncles though they are not.
People get strength and stability from their family. As such, many children have several godparents, the more the better.
Concern for the extended family is seen in the patronage provided to family members when they seek employment.
It is common for members of the same family to work for the same company, more likely than not. Jobs are hart to get and you can trust you relatives almost always.
In fact, many collective bargaining agreements state that preferential hiring will be given to family members.
Filipino Concept of Shame
Hiya is shame and is a motivating factor behind behaviour.
It is a sense of social propriety and conforming to societal norms of behaviour.
Filipinos believe they must live up to the accepted standards of behaviour and if they fail to do so they bring shame not only upon themselves, but also upon their family.
One indication of this might be a willingness to spend more than they can afford on a party rather than be shamed by their economic circumstances.
If someone is publicly embarrassed, criticized, or does not live up to expectations, they feel shame and lose self-esteem.
General Etiquette & Protocol Guidelines
It is believed that young people should not marry before they have completed some kind of educational preparation for a career so that they will be economically self-sufficient. They also should be sufficiently mature to assume the responsibilities of raising a family. The typical age for marriage is thus 20-25 years for Filipino women and 25-30 years for men. Once married, Filipinos are expected to start their families within a year or so. The birth of a child fixes the ties between the married couple's respective families. The bond of marriage also is considered permanent; Catholicism and Philippine law prohibit divorce except among Muslims and some unassimilated groups (PAPEP, 1982).
Although the father may be ostensibly perceived as the main authority figure in the nuclear family, the mother has considerable authority and influence. She generally controls the finances, may work full time (even with many children at home), and earns as much as or more than half the family income. Women enjoy high status in the family and in the society at large. Bilateral lineage attests to this higher status of Filipinas compared with women in more patriarchal Asian countries. The long accepted phenomenon of the "working mother" in the Philippines thus does not pose a drastic role change as it does for other recent Asian immigrant families in the United States (PAPEP, 1982).
Egalitarian roles and relationships between men and women are further reflected in family decision making processes. Family authority is based on respect for age, regardless of sex. Family decisions are made only after a consensus has been reached to ensure that the ultimate decision will be representative of and acted on by all family members. Family disagreements are avoided, if possible; when disagreements do occur, they are kept strictly within the family (PAPEP, 1982). Children are the center of the parent's concerns. They are viewed as an extension of the family and recipients of the family's good fortune. Many adults may assume responsibility for a child within a family but do not strictly adhere to the Confucian expectation of unquestioning child obedience. Parents are expected to persuade a child to accept their point of view, rather than impose their authority on the child without consideration for the child's preferences or wishes. The child, in turn, is expected to show proper respect and obedience, to compromise, and to maintain good relationships with all other family members (PAPEP, 1982).
The receiver oriented and relatively indirect style of most Asian languages is characteristic of communication patterns. These patterns are integrally related to primary values such as family, authority, interpersonal harmony, concern for others' well-being, and the importance of "saving face." Similar to other Asian ethnic groups, Filipinos typically employ formality and honorific language that conveys proper respect for authority, status, and positions by terms of address and titles. For example, a physician or a lawyer will continue to be addressed as "Dr. Cruz" or "Attorney Ramos" by clients, friends, and colleagues well after more personalized and informal relationships have been established (in contrast to the American tendency to move more rapidly toward a first name basis) (Santos, 1983).
Respect for authority and concern for "face-saving" further reinforce the frequent use of euphemisms, third parties, and saying "yes" when the opposite is meant (Santos, 1983). Filipinos often will go to great lengths to avoid making a direct appeal when they have encountered a problem or wish to convey an important request. They instead prefer to introduce a go between "to cushion the transaction and escape the embarrassment that might result from presenting the matter face-to-face with the other person" (Gochenour, 1990, p. 50). In their wish to be accommodating,
Filipinos also may find it impolite or embarrassing to decline social invitations or to respond directly to other requests that might elicit a negative answer or contrary opinion. Although apparently concurring in some manner (through failure to express or defend an alternative point of view) or ostensibly indicating agreement, Filipinos may actually be privately opposed to the issue or question at hand. They generally will make an ambiguous statement rather than say "No," or say "Yes," but mean "No," "Maybe," or "I don't know." They find it hard to reject or disagree, especially when conversing with someone considered superior. When they feel the truth will offend or embarrass, they answer indirectly. The purpose of an evasive reply is not to deceive but to please or avoid confrontation (Harper & Fullerton, 1994). Thus, as a result of values such as paki kisama and amor propio, mistakes will go unmentioned, questions unasked, and issues unsettled (PAPEP, 1982). This communication style obviously may challenge a more Eurocentric orientation that values frankness, directness, honesty, and sincerity and potentially contributes to a perception of Filipinos as being two-faced (Gochenour, 1990).
Consistent with other high context cultures, Filipinos have a highly developed sensitivity to the nonverbal aspects of communication (Gochenour, 1990). Filipinos are considerably less dependent on spoken words than are European Americans; they watch their listeners carefully and identify body language cues to assess what the person is feeling. The essence of this more intuitive and affective sense that guides nonverbal communication is captured in the phrase "talking with one's eyes" (PAPEP, 1982). Pilipino sensitivity to context thus "extends from a keen awareness of appropriate speech and behaviour in a given situation to a well developed instinct for what is implied and not stated" (Gochenour, 1990, p. 61). This sensitivity is further complemented by a high tolerance for ambiguity that enables Filipinos to respond calmly to uncertainty or lack of information. Again, however, this orientation may conflict with the characteristically Eurocentric utilitarian emphasis on forthrightness and achieving and results in the least amount of time (Gochenour, 1990).