The main cornerstone of the Philippine society is the family. It's a safe haven and social security system where many family members are dependent on the income of one person´s wage. For Filipinos, it's very difficult to refuse a family request like children are cared for by aunts, uncles and grandparents, and the elderly are given care by their children. For this reason, retirement homes are nonexistent.  Kinship ties by descent and marriage are kept strong. Marriage in the Philippines is more then a binding of two individuals, especially in the case of rich families where it is used to gain political influence and improve business opportunities.

Utang na loob or literally translated `inner debt` is an important factor in Philippine society. Favors are never forgotten and one of the characteristic of utang na loob is that it can never be completely paid back. At the heart of it lays reciprocity and implies loyalty and might involve covering up for the mistakes of a co-worker or helping somebody to get a promotion.


Another thriving force behind the Filipinos is Bayanihan, originating from the term "bayan" which means community. It's about supporting fellow community members when they are in need. An example is the sending of relief goods to Japan in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami disaster in 2011. 

Hiya or loss of face is another aspect of Philippine society. The worst thing that can happen to a Filipino is loss of face, which happens when shortcomings or failures are made public. Filipinos always try to remain calm and stay in control of their emotions and live up to the expectation of their family. For this reason Filipinos for example have a hesitancy to ask questions when they don't know or understand something in order to avoid embarrassment. Closely related to hiya is amor propio which means a sense of self-esteem or self-respect. When someone's amor propio is offended, the balance must be restored or else this could even result to violent actions.   

Pakikisama and pakikikapwa are two other important factors in the life of a Filipino. Pakikisama is about the desire to get along and to let go of your own views and opinions in order to fit into the community. Pakikipagkapwa concerns the ability to relate by sharing and cooperating with others.

A lot has been written about Filipino time. The habit of Filipinos to be late for appointments. When invited to someone's home, you are expected to arrive late for at least an hour. It is a custom derived from the Spanish, where the most important guest would arrive last. Punctuality for business meetings is taken seriously and you are expected to arrive on time.

The attitude of Filipinos towards foreigners is very welcoming. All (white) foreigners are considered to be American, so prepare for some explanation if you are from another country. Foreign goods are considered of high quality and the stereotype belief is that all foreigners are rich. They can be quite frank about your marital status, children and even how much money you make.