Habits are hard to break, and many people who have them are not even aware they possess them. We encounter them everywhere. We read them on the social media, in the comments left by Filipinos on a timely and popular post on Facebook, on a blog, or on a news website.
Oftentimes they are irritating, especially if you are a positive minded person because these habits are oozing with negativity. However, we must admit, we could also be guilty to having any of them. Of course Filipinos have good habits too. We are known to be hospitable, resilient, creative and many more.
But the situation of our country reflects the majority of our citizens. Face it, the Philippines is still a developing country, which means a less developed country compared to our neighbors Singapore, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea and Brunei. As a developing country, we still have many citizens who are suffering from poverty, starvation, homelessness, and lack of education.
You may agree or disagree with me, but I believe that the bad habits are overcoming the good habits among Filipinos. And in order to make our country, all its regions and provinces, and every Filipinos wherever they are in the world truly rise and experience, not only national development, but also human development, we have to break our own bad habits.
If the following habits or attitudes will be removed from most of us, I believe that real progress will inevitably follow the Philippines:
1. Crab mentality
There are some of us Filipinos who got a bitter view at competition—that if we cannot win, then no one will. Instead of helping each other to be successful, we even make ways to pull them down like discourage them from taking great opportunities, or destroying their image. This is because we want to be the only one at the top. If only we would see the achievements of our neighbors or colleagues as an inspiration to reach our own goals instead of considering them as threats. We should realize that the success of each Filipino will contribute to the improvement of the country, and this can help all of us to be successful as well.
2. Procrastination or “Mañana Habit “
This is another habit which keeps the development of our country slow. Look at the government projects which have been left undone for years. If only they were completed immediately, then many Filipinos would have already benefited from them. This is also true with many of us. Instead of working on a task while there is much time, we wait for the deadline because we feel lazy to start on them, or we want to use the time in other things. Of course, the outcome of our completed work would not be of high quality because they were rushed.
3.”Bahala na” or “come what may” habit
This is another habit that destroys the image of Filipinos. Instead of doing something to make things happen, we tend to just leave the outcome to whatever that could happen—come what may—we say. For instance, instead of studying for exams, some students may spend more time in computer games and gimmicks, while leaving their chance of passing the midterms to luck. We could attribute this habit to faith, reasoning out that God will help us become successful. However, as the Christian saying goes, “faith without work is dead”. If we have some goals, then we need to work in order to achieve them.
4. Hypocrisy (being a double-faced person)
As a country which claims to value morality, most of us try to live up to the standards set by the traditional society. However, as no one is perfect, many of us are not actually able to sustain these standards. The fear of being an outcast has forced a lot of people to live a double standard life. To hide our failure in following a norm, we tend to be condemning to those who are caught red handed. A perfect example could be the criticisms faced by those who become pregnant outside marriage. The sad fact behind this scenario is that some of these critics could have actually engaged in premarital sex too—only that no proof is visible.
5. Ningas cogon
In Spanish, “ningas cogon” means a burning cogon grass. This flaming grass quickly burns out—and this best describes one of the worst Filipino traits. Most of us are very good at this. We are excellent at starting projects or idea execution. Nevertheless, after a few hours or days, we lose the excitement, and we become too lazy to finish what we have started.
6. Filipino time (tardiness)
Instead of being something to be proud of, ‘Filipino time’ brings a negative impression to our people. The Filipino time is usually associated with tardiness. When the invitation says the program will start at 7pm, it is expected to begin at 9pm. When the date is set at 3pm, the partner will arrive at 5 o’ clock. This has not only caused conflicts in relationships, it also discourages others including foreigners from getting involved in supposedly productive activities as too much time can be wasted on waiting.
Filipinos are fond of talking about others’ business. It is not true that only women are into gossiping. Even men can also be nosy on other people’s lives. Sadly, this does not bring any good to the subjects. Secrets are brought out; failures and flaws are emphasized; and relationships are destroyed. Worse, as gossips are passed around, they tend to be twisted until the final story becomes too far from the original—thus, causing more damage.
8. Blaming others (irresponsibility)
We, Filipinos, can sometimes be too self-righteous. When mistakes happen, we do not want to take the blame, so instead we point at others. This shows how we can be irresponsible for our actions. This attitude destroys team work, and reliability becomes an issue. This habit is also popular among our public officials. I know you know what happened during the Yolanda crisis. The rescue and rehabilitation operations in the Yolanda affected areas became slow, courtesy of the blaming habits of our politicians in position.
9. Inconsideration (being thoughtless of others)
This habit could be a result of having too many things on mind—have to find money for kids’ tuition, need to look for a better job, stress over a drunkard or unfaithful spouse, and other problems. We become insensitive to the needs of other people because we need to focus on ourselves first. However, this country could be an easier place to live in if we were thoughtful enough to show kindness to one another. These problems will be easier to deal with if we will help each other get over them.
10. Ignoring or not following simple rules and instructions
Laws and regulations are created to make communities harmonious. However, how can we achieve that peaceful neighborhood if we cannot even follow the simplest rules like crossing on the pedestrian lane and not loitering around? It is not enough that we demand change in our government. We should also strive to start change in ourselves by being disciplined citizens even in the smallest ways.
11. Attention grabbing (being an ‘epal’)
It is natural for Filipinos to attract attention by standing out as we are a fun and people loving race. Nevertheless, it is a different thing to be an “epal” or “kapalmuks”—simply, being an attention grabber. Sometimes, in our desperate need to be the center of attention, we do things that are already embarrassing like butting in conversations as a know-it-all or by being scandalous. This habit is also common to our politicians. Instead of prioritizing their duty to give the best service to the people, they rather prioritize their thick faces to grab attention that will bring them more chance of winning in the next election. But thanks to our vigilant netizens, this kind of politicians earn more shame than fame.
12. Being onion-skinned or too sensitive
Another habit or attitude that we need to change is our being too prideful which usually results to being oversensitive. If we think highly of ourselves, then we have the tendency to put a wall around us and that signboard on our forehead saying, “I must be respected.” Therefore, when someone makes a joke or a not so positive comment about us, we feel like we are not respected and we get offended. If all people in the country do not know how to accept constructive criticism, then we can never expect unity.
13. Living beyond their means (social climbing)
One of the reasons why a lot of Filipinos live in poverty is because of overspending. Since most people want to live an elite lifestyle, many resort to social climbing or living beyond their means. Sometimes, some of us think that as long as we wear designer clothes and shoes, and we send our children to the most expensive schools, it is alright to be swimming in credits and loans.
14. Passivity (lack of leadership)
Filipinos’ lack of initiative for change is also one reason why our country does not progress. We keep on complaining against the government and other societal issues. However, we do not do anything about them. One of our excuses is the lack of faith that our small actions can bring change. However, the worse reason for this could be our lack of care for what is happening around us. Common Filipinos also lack courage and confidence. If you can notice it, in classrooms, churches, or conference rooms, most of us don’t like to sit in the front seat.
These 14 bad habits are among the hindrances to the progress of our country. The Philippines is rich both in human and natural resources. Also, Filipinos are intelligent and we have the capability to compete globally. Therefore, if these weights will be removed, then we can advance higher and faster. Everything will only be possible if each of us will start the change.
Of course on the brighter side, we, Filipinos, also possess positive traits and habits. We’ve also published an article about the 14 good habits of Filipinos, which we should maintain and always practice to make our country even better. You may read it and discover the hidden moral treasures of many Filipinos. If we can eradicate our bad habits, we should also preserve our good habits.