RT Cunningham


Filipino Time and Philippine Standard Time are Two Different Things

time You would think, after more than a few years, I would know better. Filipino time isn’t the same as Philippine Standard Time, no matter how you figure it.

Sometimes I have to be reminded like Toto that I’m not in Kansas anymore (if you don’t get the reference, shame on you).

Being on Time for a Wedding

One of my nephews called me and Josie (my wife) last night to remind us about a wedding to take place this morning. I won’t go into detail about the fact that I had no idea the wedding was today before he called.

He told us the wedding would take place at 8 am and we needed to be at the hotel at 7 am. We arrived at 7 am and nothing was ready. The groom was still asleep. In fact, I went to his room and woke him at 9 am. The pastor didn’t arrive until after 10 am and the wedding took place sometime before 11 am.

We were on time but no one was ready but the three of us (our daughter-in-law went with us). This is a familiar occurrence that Filipinos in the Philippines call “Filipino time”. What it really means is that whatever happens, happens when they get around to it.

Getting People to Work on Time

A few years ago, the President of the Philippines decreed that Filipino government employees would have to go by Philippine Standard Time and that Filipino time would no longer be acceptable. You see, even the government wasn’t doing things on schedule. Government employees were showing up late for work and going home early because they could get away with it.

It’s not just work and it’s not just the government. When I went to have dental work done, the dentist was late. What’s the purpose of an appointment if only one party adheres to it?

I can’t complain too much. I wait on other people but they never have to wait on me. There’s no place that I have to be at any particular time. That’s the joy of being happily unemployed, another way of saying “retired”.

What Bothers me the Most

I have no reason to complain about anything, yet I still complain (even if only inside my head). I don’t like being out and about for long periods of time. Riding in a car for more than an hour for any reason irritates me.

When Josie and I went to the airport a couple of days ago, we spent 10 hours in our car (I’m not counting the time when we stopped and ate and the time we waited at the airport). Half of that time was in stop-and-go traffic in metro Manila.

The flight arrived early for a change. We arrived at the airport within minutes of its arrival, so we didn’t wait long at all.

Why Filipino Time Exists

I think the problem stems from the fact that Filipinos don’t get paid by the hour. They get paid by the day. It isn’t a lot of pay to begin with, regardless of the occupation.

I’m sure this phenomena will disappear almost overnight if the way people get paid changes. Ah, but I really have no say-so in the matter. I’m not a citizen and I can only make suggestions.

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By RT Cunningham
July 28, 2016