Doing Business in the Philippines | Philippine Social and Business Culture A Philippine Overview Fact file o o o o o o o Official name – Republic of the Philippines Population –97,976,603* (July 2006 est.) Official Languages – Filipino (based on Tagalog) and English Currency – Philippine peso (PHP) Capital city – Manila GDP – purchasing power parity $320.6 billion (2005 est.) GDP Per Capita – purchasing power parity $3,300* (2005 est.)
Overview The Philippines, an archipelago republic comprising of more than 7,000 islands, is a geographical and cultural meeting ground of east and west that has emerged from a unique blend of foreign influences, native culture and an illustrious colonial past. This eclectic cultural heritage, a mixture of Malay, Spanish and American cultures, has created many ethnolinguistic groups that are divided by their own distinctive traits and dialects, but together form a unique Filipino identity that must be understood in order to successfully do business in the Philippines. Philippine Culture - Key Concepts and values Face - Maintaining ‘face’ and upholding an individual’s reputation is a vital component of Philippine culture. In the Philippines, expressing anger, negativity or experiencing public embarrassment results in a “loss of face” and as such has negative consequences. Filipinos will try to remain calm and in control of their emotions at all times and avoid direct confrontation. When doing business in the Philippines, you should avoid causing embarrassment or offence whenever possible and make an effort not to be too direct when communicating with your Filipino counterparts. Communication style - Closely related to the concept of ‘face’, the Philippine style of communication is indirect and takes into consideration the perception of the recipient. In order to save face and remain courteous, Filipinos rarely give a direct answer of ‘no’ and will avoid disagreement, rejection and confrontational behaviour, especially when a superior is involved. The word ‘yes’ is often used to disguise more negative responses and avoid causing embarrassment or offence. ‘Yes’ may mean ‘maybe’ or ‘I’ll think about it’ or even an outright ‘no’. As a business person in the Philippines, you will have to be more alert to the subtle cues hidden in conversation, such as nonverbal communication, to help decipher meaning. This ambiguity in response means that it can take longer to get a firm negative answer. Pakikisama - This Philippine cultural concept, loosely translated as “group loyalty”, is an important cultural value in the Philippines and defines the social need for comradeship and general consensus. Pakikisama is closely linked with maintaining harmony and as a result, Doing Business in the Philippines © Communicaid Group Ltd. 2009
disagreement and interpersonal tension are considered negative aspects of behaviour. In business terms, it is often necessary to gain a group decision before proceeding further which can make negotiations seem more indefinite and take more time. Doing Business in the Philippines The Philippine Islands, named after King Phillip II of Spain, were officially discovered in 1521 and soon became part of the Spanish colony. Following the Spanish-American war, control of the archipelago was transferred to the United States in 1899. Shortly after, the nation became a selfgoverning commonwealth, but soon fell under Japanese occupation during WWII. On 4 July 1946, after more than 300 years under foreign rule, the Philippines became an independent democratic republic. The country has since experienced a period of volatile governance and a series of economic problems and instability. However, from the mid 1990s onwards, the Philippines has made a steady recovery, boasting an economy that now matches those of the more industrialised countries in east Asia. Today, the Philippines is a flourishing nation attracting much interest from abroad and continues to seek greater integration into Asia...
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