19 May 2003


Growing up in the Philippines has instilled in me one actuality that only applies to us Filipinos; Time is inconsequential. Undoubtedly, the saying "Filipino time" is already known to the majority of the global population. It is a required topic whenever our culture is discussed.

To the uninitiated, Filipino Time (FT) is our perception of what actually is the time of meeting rather than what was agreed upon. This is usually around thirty minutes later than the Actual Time (AT). Confused? Well, let?s say I get a call from an Account Executive asking if I could meet her at 10am. It is understood that 10am could mean 10:30am or even 10:40am, depending on random factors such as the weather, what breakfast I had, or the name of her pet cat. It is very much instilled in us that we expect people to practice it.

There is no set guideline on FT. Here are a few "loose" rules to help you over this anomaly;

1. The Decision maker has priority over FT.

2. The Golden Rule of FT: Who has the gold controls the clock.

3. Apologies for being late, as a rule, are optional. In place of apologies are excuses such as:
a. Traffic;
b. The previous meeting started late;
c. The line was long at the supermarket;
d. The person had to have a haircut

4. It is not considered tardy if the person arrives up to one hour after. The more important the person, the more leeway he or she gets.

5. The farther one is from the Philippines, the less the difference it is from AT (Actual Time) to FT (Filipino Time). If the person to be met is of great importance or of another nationality then more so that the difference from AT to FT approaches zero.

6. If everyone does arrive on time, then something must be wrong or that someone's life or career is in jeopardy.