Chismis and other culture

I had a subject in grade school (in Rafael Palma Elementary School) called Sibika at Kultura (Civics and Culture), wherein we students would differentiate the culture and traditions of the Philippines and compare it with other countries like the USA. Culture is defined as the beliefs, customs, arts, etc., of a particular society, group, place, or time, according to Merriam- Webster.


Internet photo. Students of Rafael Palma Elementary School listening to their teacher.

My teacher once said that we, Filipinos, are very fond of chismis (gossips) which is not a good Filipino culture. Also according to her, we have this thing called “crab mentality/ ugaling talangka”. When someone is successful, another person can be jealous to him and will try to pull him down. We also discussed in the class that we Filipinos have  very close family relationships. One example is how we take care of our grand parents. We don’t send them to senior facilities when they get old. We take care of them in our house for the rest of their remaining lives. Another example is with the kids. Most Filipino parents do not ask their grown kids to move out of their house after college graduation. Like in our home in Manila, most of the kids stay in their parents’ house even though they already are married, have kids and also building a family of their own.

victoria court

Internet photo. A logo of a motel in Manila, saying hush.

In the US culture, they too engage in gossips. People can be nosy at times. One example is at Gary’s job on the railroad. He said multiple times, “there’s no secret on the railroad”. At my previous work too specially on break time, they talk about a lot of stuff and everybody else’s stuff. It is the same as the Filipino culture.



Joice Kristine Santos’ photo. Students listening to the speaker on the stage.

The racial divide here is strong. Although they say, we have equal opportunity for all, but sometimes it does not happen. An example is when a person of different race, age, sex or religion is being interviewed by someone different from the interviewee. Most likely the interviewer will prioritize his own people over the interviewee. This also applies when a superior of different heritage do not care about the safety of his crew because they are different to him. But cares more to his crew who share the same heritage as him. When you don’t want someone to be successful, by not giving them the safety that they need at work to perform their job well, that is crab mentality.


Internet photo. This is the store across Rafael Palma Elementary School.

Once a grown kid here turns 18 or graduated from high school, most of them look for a job and try to support themselves. There are kids here who still stay with their parents because they are going to college. There are also some who stay with their parents because they have certain disabilities. Those two mentioned are different issues. With the high cost of living, everyone should do their part and earn money for buying the basic needs. With the older people going to senior care facilities, their family members (kids and grand kids) need to go to work too. But it does not mean, older people are not loved.

Like Gary always tell me, “People are the same no matter what country they are from”. It is a human nature to communicate and compare, to feel envy, to live and to love.