Punctuality: Forgetting the “Filipino Time”

Punctuality shows that you are responsible, trustworthy and can follow directions. Punctuality isn’t just an order that the Army requires, but also a good personal trait that is a reflection of a person’s character. It shows that you have personal integrity and self-discipline. While some of us are occasionally late due to circumstances beyond our control, repeated tardiness shows a lack of respect for other people and their time.

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(Photo credits: venezuelaexperience.blogspot.com)

If you don’t use your time wisely, you can never get it back. It is a very special resource which you cannot store or save for later. Promptness is not only a duty, but is also a part of good manners; it is favorable to fortune, reputation, influence, and usefulness. Lack of punctuality is a theft of someone else’s time and a complete lack of respect for others.

While researching these later-than-late tendencies, I have learned about 2 possible origins and causes of the so-called “Filipino Time”.

1. The roots of “Filipino Time” transcend hundreds of years and the term was coined to mean Filipino Indios Time. During the Spanish colonization period, whenever there were social events and parties, there was a need to distinguish time between the Seniors & Senoritas and the Filipino Indios (or Second Citizen) time.

During the events hosted by the Spaniards where the Spanish mestizos would all have been properly seated, the late arrival would allow the Filipino guests to humbly say they had already eaten. They would then quietly socialize and make their own connections on the sides of the party. They would provide applause and dance as directed by party organizers and they were also often used as after dinner entertainers to their colonizers.

2. As we all know, the Spaniards wanted to be superior to the Filipinos and in everything. They wanted to be served, adored, and given all the attention. On occasions, they wanted everyone to notice their arrival and the importance of their presence. Arriving late was of importance to them.

As this became evident through time, it became tradition and culture. Let us not forget that we were colonized by the Spaniards for 300 years.

Moreover, whatever may be the true roots between the two stories of “Filipino Time”, it all boils down that it all started during the colonization of the Spaniards.

Whoever created the term “Filipino Time” would today probably realize a blunt contrast from its original use. While it originally described the Filipino’s inclination for arriving 15 to 30 minutes later than scheduled, it has become a notorious habit which contributes significantly to this country’s overall lost productivity.

Forgetting the term “Filipino Time” isn’t simple since it was well dispersed for hundreds of years now. But then let us be reminded that punctuality is important for several reasons:

1. It shows respect and consideration for others

2. It shows that you are disciplined and dependable.

3. It gives a good impression.

4. It makes a less stressful life.

Never will it be late to change what has been a “habit”. As the quote says “If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?” -John Wooden

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22 thoughts on “Punctuality: Forgetting the “Filipino Time””

  1. It is so sad to think that the Spaniards had caused this kind of value to our ancestors that we even inherited ’till the present time. But you have a point that if it is not right, we need to change it. I just wonder why the Americans were not able to eliminate the practice of getting late when they colonized the Philippines after the Japanese regime. Anyway, everybody hates getting late, but why is this happening over and over again?

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  2. ow! right in the feels! I am also guilty of being LATE back in college but when I started working, I realized that it is NOT a good habit to keep, especially when you’re an employee.

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  3. Filipinos made this so called “Filipino time” as an excuse for laziness. We should practice punctuality and turn our “Filipino time” into something that is positive.

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  4. Everybody must always be punctual because it shows how you respect the other people’s time. Traffic is not an excuse for tardiness because it’s happening everyday.

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  5. Interesting topic. Learned something new here about the origin of the term.

    You know what irks me more than people who are late for business deals? Friends who show up late for meetups, or any social gathering, thinking it is acceptable since their friends will understand. I say no to this. At my (my friends’) age, everyone’s busy and I expect everyone to respect this. We have to squeeze in any free time we can get from out family and professional life and it sucks that people come in more than an hour late in an agreed time. Agreed time – doesn’t that mean anything?

    I was amazed when I once witnessed a group of around 7 Caucasians who met up at a resto. Everyone was there in 15 minutes. Wonderful. Everyone was able to make the most of their time.

    This Filipino time exists here in the country I’m based right now – Indonesia. They call it ‘jam karet’ or rubber time since a given time is ‘stretchable’.

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  6. Well, since last year, at the inception of the so-called “Philippine Standard Time,” let;s hope that being late is far from being a “standard” trait we usually have.

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  7. It’s interesting to find out the origins of the term “Filipino Time”. Maybe it will also help us change its negative meaning. It’s really irritating when people are constantly late. I actually try to arrive a little early and not just on time. It’s less hectic for me.

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  8. Punctuality is one of Filipinos habit. It really runs in our blood but it can be correct if our family also practice the value of time. Time is really important to all people especially in our work.

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  9. I back up every single thought in this entry. And with the advent of the so-called “Philippine Standard Time,” I hope the negative connotation won’t be part of our “standard” of a typical Filipino at all.

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