Behavior Spotlight: Filipino Time

Filipino time

Let me bring a common negative Filipino trait that is still apparent in our Filipino bloodstreams: Filipino time. Oh, the typical excuse we raise whenever we are late for an appointment or an agreed meeting time or a call time or a scheduled class. Or whenever we are late from traffic. We always have to admit that it is Filipino time that it is okay.

Our signature time-delaying tactics is traced back in the Spanish times. From here, the Spaniards actually pass down this habit from generation to generation. Filipino writer Jon Royeca wrote in his article that the Filipino time habit is raised from the colonist’s mindset that being the last to arrive defines superiority. Spaniards wanted people to acknowledge their arrival by arriving late. Thus, the Filipino hungry for supremacy mimicked this act and continue to possess this habit till the American colonization. The American colonizers degraded this trait since they wanted to show superiority as well. And upon learning the fact that Philippine time belongs in Eastern time, a time period set 24 hours before Western time, the US colonizers coined the Filipino time theory. And thus sets a history that defines generations to come. And we think that the presence of these negative colonial traits will barely hold any repercussion in the future.

Well, it is more than not okay. It is only to imply that Filipinos do not give importance on time management and work discipline. And more than that, it raises a red flag that we Filipinos absorb anything foreign or global, including behaviors.

Now, this is something detrimental. Even though this is a foreign-influenced behavior, there is a shed of Filipino culture that helps its sweep through every Filipino: going with the flow. In a period when traffic is a friendly mainstay on the roads and when a workforce republic says it is okay to be late, it is easy to accept Filipino time as a passable trait. Solely, because everybody is doing it.

In this time and stage, “going with the flow” has reached the point as “destructive” or “unhealthy”. As this raises a culture that will be passed down from generation to generation, it will not be surprising to see a lot of undisciplined people in the future. That is why, starting now, I encourage every Filipino to go against the waves and never let Filipino time define your daily standards. There is a budget in time. There is a discipline in time. And most of all, there is an influence in time. And as they always say, “time is gold”. Indeed it is.


  • Royeca, J. (2010, January 19). The Real ‘Filipino Time’ [Web blog article]. Retrieved from


I am a Peterson, a Bosconian, a Lasallian, an ENC Member, a movie buff, a writer, a thespian, an optimist and a servant of God. And I will tell you a story.

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