Random Musings

5 Things Pinoys Do Abroad That They Should Do in the PH Too

By January 1, 2015 22 Comments

We travelled quite often in the last 3-4 years and we’ve noticed that Pinoys behave much differently when they’re outside the Philippines. They follow the rules and are much more disciplined (which is awesome). We rounded up 5 habits that we believe Pinoys should embrace and follow religiously in the Philippines. Following these would most likely reduce accidents and help make a more productive and healthier society.

I. Escalator Etiquette: Single File on the Right Side
When riding the escalator, stick to the right side in single file. This gives people who are in a rush to walk past you on your left side. This never happens in the Philippines, hehe.

II. Follow the Pedestrian Stop Lights

People follow pedestrian rules in the busy streets of HK

People follow pedestrian rules in the busy streets of HK

I think just by following the pedestrian stop lights we would reduce accidents and hotter heads drastically in Metro Manila. Those lights are there for a reason and they’re not just decorative stuff, hehe. Other than the lights, we should also start using the pedestrian lanes more and not just randomly jaywalk all over the streets. That said…

III. Drivers Stop and Give Priority to Crossing People on Pedestrian Lanes
We noticed this a lot in London. Drivers really make it a point to stop when there is a pedestrian lane and someone is about to cross. Here majority of drivers probably don’t even know what a pedestrian lane is for and they are just pissed that people are blocking them from moving forward. When we were in London we were actually surprised that cars would stop on their own and we could cross the street without worrying about getting killed, hehe!

IV. Elevator Etiquette: Let People Out First Before You Go In
Now this is my personal pet peeve here in the Philippines. Proper elevator etiquette is to let people go out first before you go in. You do not rush in the same time as people are going out nor should you BLOCK THE WAY of people who are going out. Stand aside, let them get out, and then you go in the elevator. This actually happens often locally and even here at our condo in Greenhills. One time I couldn’t help myself and I had to talk to a couple of teenagers who were rushing inside the elevator without letting people go out first. Here’s how the conversation went:

Me: Excuse me, you should let everyone out first before you go in the elevator.
RSK (Rich Spoiled Kids): Huh? We’re not security guards, we’re also residents here.
Me (thinking to myself — Sarap batukan ng batang ‘to): Hindi ganun ‘yun. It’s proper etiquette and being respectful to the people who are inside.
RSK (looking amused): Ok, ok.

In my mind I imagined picking the kid up and then powerbombing him through the wooden table in our lobby. Kinda like this:

V. Smoke Only in Designated Smoking Areas

We don't smoke but the smoking area of Coffee Academics is super cool we just had to take a pic!

We don’t smoke but the smoking area of Coffee Academics is super cool we just had to take a pic!

The recent local city ordinances have actually started making this better so it’s not as pressing as the other four. While people should be free to smoke, they should really take the health of those around them into consideration when they do. Second hand smoke is harmful. Don’t reduce the lifespans of those around you.

Oh, and one last thing:

VI. Don’t Piss All Over the Place
There was one time we saw a driver actually get out in the middle of the road and piss via his door on the street. My friend wanted to go down to smash his head through the window of his car, haha! Seriously though, if you have to go, then bring a friggin’ bottle and piss in your car. If you can hold it, wait ’till you get to a gasoline station.

And that’s pretty much it! If you guys also have observations that you want to add to the list just leave a comment below. Cheers and Happy New Year!

Editor’s Note: Thank you for the response to this post! We’ve gathered your suggestions and put them in a separate article which you can find here.


  • sherwood says:

    dapat pag sumasakay sa elevator pag lalabas sa right side dapat, then yung mga papasok always sa right din nila maghintay at papasok. para maganda ang flow.

    • Carlo Ople says:

      Pag malaki yung elevator, ok yan. Pero most of the time maliit lang mga elevator. If small size, best to let the people out first. Thanks for the comment!!

    • Babesbot says:

      Hindi sa right, dapat sa left sa elevator sa mga pook na left-hand drive ang daan.

  • Hi Carlo,

    Nice read. If I may add, hindi lang elevator but pati na din ung LRT/MRT. Those waiting in line (if there’s a line at all) barge in the same time people inside get off. Talagang tulakan!

    And when riding mass public transport, commuters often crowd around the doors. In other countries like Taiwan and Hong Kong, papasok sila sa loob para mas mabilis ang entry and exit ng mga tao.

  • Jonah Lalog says:

    #4 is my pet peeve as well. In 2009 and 2012, my family and I went to Pinas, and I felt really annoyed riding the elevator anywhere. We had a baby stroller in both trips, and at first I was impressed because there was usually a line where people would file but when we started to board, the people behind us just ran for it and even hit our stroller with our sleeping baby, and I’m talking about a whole family of adults — no “excuse me” or whatever. The elevator should be meant for people who are handicapped, or families with strollers. This was at a very prominent mall in Alabang where there are escalators in every corner. On every occasion, I never cease to speak up, although the reactions I get often are no less than rude smirks or ‘pfft’s and seldom any “sorries”. What has happened to morality and etiquette in my motherland? I remember as a child, I was taught good moral values that I actually carried on into adulthood. Anyway, that’s a different story for a different day.
    On another note (#3), it is taught in driving classes to, when approaching a pedestrian lane, look ahead and if there is a pedestrian about to cross, stop and let them cross. This is what I learned when I migrated.

  • Tyler says:

    Filipinos are an undisciplined bunch i’m sorry to say. How else can you explain the fact that they are at their best behavior when living abroad, but once the same people set foot in the Philippines once again they revert back to their old ways. This isn’t just true for the less affluent Filipinos, i also observe this is the so called rich and educated.

    • Carlo Ople says:

      The run-in I had with the kid in the elevator in the post above is from a rich family so yes agree with you here!

  • Stephanie says:

    When abroad, I noticed Pinoys take it upon themselves to clean up their mess after eating at fast food joints like Mickey D’s. Don’t see that happening in MNL.

    • Alex says:

      That only happens in the US, and not because Pinoys become more disciplined when overseas, but because everyone does it. Several countries in Europe have people who bus the tables.

      • Jonah Lalog says:

        Actually, Stephanie and Alex, during one of my trips to the Phils, I tried to clean up after myself in a Jollibee and one of the crew told me not to because that is his job. It was funny because I was doing it instinctively and also that person was so nice to even take our scraps from my hands. I think in the US and Canada it’s normal to see people clean up after themselves.

  • Jake Alvarez says:

    Our fellow filipino citizens should learn to throw trash in trashcans. I observed many filipinos do that even the kids would just drop candy wrappers pretty much anywhere. And those plastic and straw for coke or rc from sari sari stores. I really hate it. Parents should teach this to their kids.

  • thomasmmm says:

    poignant, entertaining article. don’t have to go far – SBMA transforms commuters and drivers when visiting the Subic Bay freeport. where does all our awareness of discipline go?

    • Carlo Ople says:

      True that. Everyone is so disciplined in SBMA.

    • Jonah Lalog says:

      I agree, too. Driving in SBMA actually feels like home to me. I even know someone who got caught and ticketed simply by rolling over a STOP sign (it’s actually a real driving offense).

  • John says:

    Leaving a proper tip when going out at a restaurant. C’mon guys our servers are hardworking just like the rest of us. It’s common practice in Toronto to tip 15% or more.

    • Jonah Lalog says:

      John, You’re right! I remember dining at Seafood Island and when I tipped our server even just 10% of what our bill (10 ppl) was, he was shocked and said, “this is too much! just 20 will do!” and then he continued to tell me that the tips were “centralized” meaning they put it in a jar so that all the staff, kitchen staff included, can divide it amongst themselves equally. I was kinda sad that he couldn’t have all of it but at the same time I was happy that the behind-the-scenes people can have part in the gratuity.

    • Dodge says:

      ‘Proper’ tip should be defined better – in other places, servers make money solely off tips. In other countries, no tips are accepted.

      I feel sad when people around me don’t tip well – and by well, I mean give an amount that is not the smallest amount available in your wallet, just to say you left something out of ‘hiya’ – but I also believe there is no absolute required amount.

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  • Paolo Zafranco says:

    One of my pet peeves aside from those mentioned above is spitting everywhere! It’s so disgusting. I had bad experience from those people who love to spit. I was on my way to work and the guy in front of me suddenly spit. And yeah, too bad, his slimy and bubbly saliva (ewwww) went straight to my black leather shoes. I asked the guy to wipe it off!

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