Cultural Differences Between Philippines + China

Today is Independence Day in the Philippines, it marks the day that the Americans gave the country back to the people of the Philippines – I thought I would post some of what I noticed these past couple weeks.

I wish i took more photos while in Cebu, Philippines, the reason isn’t that i was lazy….its because i couldn’t get the balls to take a photo of a 3 month old baby sleeping alone on the side of a road with a piece of cardboard as a mattress. It is much poorer here in this southern city of cebu than i have noticed in my previous time up north in manila, angeles, and Puerto Galera. Its also hotter here….and to me it adds to the intensity of the situation.

I am working on another blog post comparing cultures of USA and China – but that will be such a massive post, and since I am in Philippines now, I will try my best to outline the differences I have noticed.

  • Guns – as I showed in a previous post – guns are illegal in China, and pretty open in Philippines and this is a pretty black and white difference taht also shows you the clear differences.
  • Openness to foreign investment – chinese feel foreigners come to take advantage and dominate their market, but filipinos welcome foreigners with open arms. Again, I think this is because the Chinese market is large (like USA) and therefore, a bigger market size can be more “Closed” to foreign investment as the domestic market can be self-fulfilling.
  • Abortion (Pro Life / Pro Choice) – tied closely with religion, but as people know in China there is still the 1 baby per family law – and abortion is open and legal, while in Philippines, it is ILLEGAL and banned. After morning pills aren’t even found in the Philippines, where you can buy those over the counter in a 7-11 style store 24 hours a day.
  • Religion – GENERALLY (as people always can have their religion, and I know people in China who are Christian, and Philippines who are Muslim) the majority of Filipinos are mostly Catholic, I assume from its Spanish and American time it was ruled. China is Buddhist sometimes, but mainly there isn’t much religion at all – as I have noticed Chinese are much more logical and analytical about life and the reasons things are on this earth, “the ways things are”.
  • Music / art – Its funny, I learned that in school in the Philippines, each student is required to learn to sing and play a musical instrument, it is built into their learning program and it is what embedded in the younger generations mind as a defining point of the people and the culture. In China, there is a decent amount of musicians and singers – but isn’t much dancing at bars – more VIP rooms tables and sharing drinks. Both Chinese and Filipinos LOVE Karaoke Music TV (KTV), while its non-existent in USA.
  • Language – China has many local dialects in various regions, but they nationalized their language to be mandarin. Similar idea in the Philippines Tagalog is the national language, with almost a hundred or even more local dialects throughout the network of islands here. The Philippines has the 3rd largest population of English speaking people, after USA and UK.
  • Money – Money is very important in China (like USA I would have to say), the woman needs a man who makes a strong income as it will support the family. The man compares how much money he makes to his piers and success is measured in this way. I mean, anywhere in the world, money is important, but it seems in the Philippines, people are not so good at budgeting their money, they live from paycheck to paycheck, and they are not so pushy to compete with one another for increased income. ALSO, women in the Philippines are more independent, and often make more money then the man!

Again, this is all generalizations of events and things I have seen and noticed, and hopefully does a good job to give you a basic idea too.

Mike Michelini

Mike Michelini

Michael is an American social media, e-commerce, and SEO Specialist that has lived in Asia since late 2007. He is a passionate business connector that helps companies do business in Asia as well as Asian companies to work in overseas markets. He built the cross border e-commerce community GFA is a platform to help cross border business owners learn, network, make business partnerships, and grow global businesses.

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Comments 5

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    Cool, the photo is beautiful, I know more about Philippines now.
    I admire you can travel to different place…

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