Estelea's Blog

French Mum, humanitarian, restless explorer and doer on sabbatical in Cebu (Philippines): one Attila in each arm, I am exploring the “toddlers safe” corners of the region, while trying to keep some room for Me.

Inspiring Monday: if I had to define the Filipino attitude

This picture sums it all:


This taxi driver has two daughters and like most of his colleagues often struggles to make ends meet. There is no such thing as maximum hours of work a day in the Philippines. You have to work, so you work. Trade union doesn’t mean anything. Sometimes the driver is so tired that he can fall asleep at a red light. How many times did I hear “is it ok Mam if I put the music louder to keep me awake?”. The cab drivers spend endless hours in the traffic, and while us French would insult all the other drivers and the traffic police for being so useless, Filipinos don’t waste their time on complaining. They seize the opportunities, like this driver who opened a little sari sari in his taxi. Who would not buy sweets or something to eat when stuck in traffic?

The most striking difference between Filipino and French attitude is that those guys do not complain for nothing nor share their misery as we would. The Filipino attitude to me is “we’ll make it”, and they are very resourceful. If plan A doesn’t work, there is a plan B. If plan B is not good either, let’s have a San Mig and plan C will come tomorrow. There are 23 other letters in the alphabet and I bet they will explore them all if they have to!

Around Christmas, many taxi drivers are returning from Saudi Arabia and the Emirates to spend their annual leave with their families. They always have so many stories to tell. Again, I never heard anyone complaining.They are proud people, dedicated to their family, and while we French would feel it so unfair to have to live so far and blame it on the Government, the politics, the foreigner neighbour…. All the Filipinos iI met are thankful for the chance they have to offer a decent living to their families and be able to send the kids to school.

Icing on the cake, it is all wrapped with genuine smiles ! Thank you Filipino for hosting us, we still have lots to learn from your very positive and resilient attitude 🙂


21 comments on “Inspiring Monday: if I had to define the Filipino attitude

  1. rosemawrites
    September 7, 2015

    Uhh. These are just so sweet words. ❤ As a Filipino, I am really really happy to read this from you. Our country is not perfect. We, Filipinos, aren't flawless as well. But our endurance and work ethic is really at its best. Primarily because we are working for our family. 🙂

    • estelea
      September 7, 2015
    • estelea
      September 8, 2015

      You said it perfectly: it also seems to me that Family is at the centre of everything. It is very different in our countries where we are so much more individualistic. And your endurance is very special too. When I traveled to interview people affected by Hayan, I was really surprised to see how you guys were up and willing to make it again/better. Again, maybe because it is never only about you as individuals but as family.

      • rosemawrites
        September 8, 2015

        Oh, that is just so sweet of you. People in Visayas were all devastated by super typhoon Haiyan. I am far from them but their pain is just so unbearable. Thousands died actually.
        Yes. We value family a lot. That’s why we endure everything. 🙂 Thank you so much, again! 🙂

  2. anroworld
    September 7, 2015

    A very interesting story! It’s good to hear that these brave people do not give up! We can learn from them! Very positive!

    • estelea
      September 7, 2015

      If you want to see resilience at work, this is the place to visit. The fact that its endless summer makes the visit really worth it 😉 Have a lovely day!

      • anroworld
        September 7, 2015

        You too have a love day!

  3. LDG luciledegodoy
    September 7, 2015

    It’s inspiring to read about your experiences in this country. Whereas many other expats would complain about the loud music and selling items inside the taxi, you show your open mind and open heart to learn and embrace differences. Brava!

    • estelea
      September 7, 2015

      We have so much to learn from each other! We can learn from their resilience and high spirits but they can really learn to turn down the karaoke music 😉 especially on WE when most singers are drunk – and I know most of my Filulino friends share this view

  4. nhiques
    September 8, 2015

    Cool taxi! It’s my first time to see a taxi with a sari-sari store inside! Nice idea 😉

    ..blessed to be a Filipino 🙂 i believe that attitude is also the reason why there are so many Overseas Filipino Workers in almost all countries of the world.. 🙂

    • estelea
      September 10, 2015

      Of yes! There are so many Filipinos working in my home town in Paris, and I can tell you that they are known as being the “creme de la creme”. People who can afford to have staff will fight to get a Filipino, especially as a nanny, because of their reputation to be the most honest, caring and gentle. We were living in Thailand before, and when we started looking for a nanny, every single perso we met told us “if you want the most trustful people, you need to find a Filipina’> And I am so glad we did, we have recruited her 4 years ago and she is indeed part of our fam 🙂

      We too feel blessed to be around you guys! X

  5. that traveling nurse
    September 8, 2015

    Aw, this post makes me happy! Thank you for sharing this Estelea. Yes, Filipinos are resilient and a happy breed of people. No calamity, natural or man-made can affect the Filipinos ability to smile and be gracious. But, this taxi driver is indeed uber resourceful! He may be starting a fad.

    • estelea
      September 10, 2015

      Hope he will, how smart is that? you guys are so resourceful and naturally smily ! I told my daughter she could have some chips but not in the car, I did not want her to leave crumbs every where. The driver said “M’am, this is a taxi for princesses! ” and gave her a tissue. Love that !
      That’s what I call a genuine businessman 🙂

  6. lexklein
    September 9, 2015

    It takes a great attitude to see a good attitude … you may have been born a French complainer 🙂 (haha), but there is surely an innate goodness and resilience and positivity in you, too!

    • estelea
      September 10, 2015

      Oh thanks so much! You made my day 🙂 Big warm hug X

  7. Fabio
    September 10, 2015

    Love everything you write, dear Estelea! And this post is super – no question about that! Life is a learning process – your text is a lesson of resilience and optimism. Thanks so much, my dear friend! 🙂

  8. AldrinRuedaLicayan
    September 14, 2015

    Thank you so much for writing kind words about Filipinos.

    • estelea
      September 14, 2015

      Thanks to you all for being so inspiring! I did not invent anything, did I ? 😉

      • AldrinRuedaLicayan
        September 14, 2015

        No you didn’t. I’m proud that we are resilient. I just hope that we can use our good traits in getting back the Rich Philippines we once had few years back.

      • estelea
        September 14, 2015

        You for sure will! it strikes me how the new generation of Filipinos is so goal orientated and down to earth. So many of my French fellows would learn from you…

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This entry was posted on September 7, 2015 by in Culture shock, Inspiring Monday and tagged , , , , , , , , , , .

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