#1 Guide: Business Etiquette In The Philippines

If you’ve heard of Filipino pop-up restaurants in the USA, Europe, or Africa, don’t be surprised! Filipino businesses are thriving everywhere thanks to how Filipino culture is loved by many. The Filipino business culture stands on its love for the people and rendering service with full passion. As you may be interested in setting up a business in the Philippines, it’s best to practice these tips about business etiquette in the Philippines.

The effects of good etiquette in business situations create mutually respectful, professional, and faster progress for your business growth. It also promotes stronger ties with people that you deal with and even gives expansion opportunities. However, just like how time is of the essence for many people, business gatherings also have a limited time for conducting serious matters. Hence, business meetings are often very formal, professional, and straight to the point.

This notion is very evident in Asian culture. It’s not often you hear the same questions being asked over and over for securing your deals. Often, you’ll even get just a business card and then get enumerated with the details straight ahead.

On the other hand, a business meeting in the Philippines combines respect and lively characteristics for any of their social engagements and business arrangements. Filipino culture embellishes meetings with vibrant, exciting, and honorable gestures and actions. Some of these are giving gifts, holding a feast, and even having fun karaoke and drinking sessions after. It is even more important to uphold a show of respect as part of standard business practices.

But what about today? Is it still relevant to give gifts for meeting business partners for the first time? Get to know business etiquette in the Philippines and explore the business vocabulary.

Business In The Philippines: Highest Earning Companies

business etiquette in Philippines highest paid companies

Quick facts! People love data, and knowing the highest-earning companies is very relevant if you’re hoping to become a good business partner with Filipinos. It will prove your awareness of companies you must observe for marketing strategies. As a business person, you can strengthen your business relations if you actively understand your gaps in providing the best strategic marketing promotions to the local community.

It can also be a great starting point for conversations as you get to know your colleagues better. Since opportunities for starting a business in the Philippines are plenty, you’ll have to understand the business culture for these big-time investments.

Planning to establish your business in the Philippines? Get to know these highest-earning companies and start practicing your Tagalog basic conversations.

  1. BDO Unibank
  2. SM Investments Corporation
  3. Ayala Corporation
  4. Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company
  5. Top Frontier Investment Holdings

It’s best to conduct a competitor’s analysis for these businesses to gain an edge against them. Who knows, you might even think of colloquial words that will entice the local Filipino market. But enough about the formalities. Let’s talk more about the Philippines business etiquette if you’re serious about closing those business opportunities.

Business Etiquette In The Philippines: Tips You Should Know

There is much to see in the Philippines business etiquette that may surprise you if you haven’t dealt with many Asian cultures. First of all, manners are crucial if you want to explore the business culture of the Philippines. The culture of losing face is another example of traditional Filipino culture that still exists today.

What your Filipino business partner wants to accomplish is establishing healthy business relationships that will last a lifetime. Not only will they guarantee credibility and respect, but you’ll also feel their trustworthiness and loyalty from them.

What To Expect On The First Meeting

business etiquette in Philippines hand shake

A typical Filipino culture that has gone through many changes is when meetings start. Customarily, Filipinos have a term called “Filipino time,” where one can be late ten to fifteen minutes before any social occasions or gatherings. Did you know that this habit is not just due to generational passing down of character traits but was a sign of high status? Of course, this practice is no anymore noticeable. Today, Filipino society makes sure that they are always on time, no matter what position they may have.

First-time meetings are significant for building better communications and relationships. Filipinos expect a personal introduction for them to trust you, and you can do so either verbally or by giving a business card.

Filipinos Speak Different Languages: Know Which One To Learn

Filipinos generally can speak English as it is one of the most commonly used languages globally in business deals. Tagalog or Filipino is another widespread language that business people in parts like Metro Manila or the rest of NCR can speak. On the other hand, if you are dealing with partnerships in the Northern parts of Luzon, Visayas, or Mindanao, you may have to learn other languages in the Philippines like Cebuano, Visayan, Hiligaynon, Ilocano, or Tausug.

All in all, Filipino dialects and languages may vary, but many Filipinos can still understand English or Tagalog predominantly. So, if you want a smoother and stress-free business meeting, you should try to learn Tagalog and not rely on English only.

Remind Your Business Partner About Your Meetings Weeks Or Days Prior

No one wants to feel ashamed about not preparing for any meeting. Remember that Filipinos are now always on time? That’s because they would rather have reminders in their calendars about upcoming events so they won’t have issues with designating their tasks. Pretty familiar, right?

Filipinos find it efficient to prepare weeks ahead. Especially many business meetings have different processes or decision-making operations. So, if you like organized conferences and want to finish your collaborations early, don’t hesitate to notify them about your schedule for the week.

Face-To-Face Meetings Are Very Much Appreciated

business etiquette in Philippines culture

Although the pandemic has halted an enormous chunk of the economic sector worldwide, the Philippines is slowly rising again. Virtual meetings are very much welcome if you prefer to be safe at home and take your meetings from the comfort of your home. But Filipinos love to see you in person and chat. Sessions outside usually occur in a restaurant, a local coffee shop, or a private venue. It will always be your partner that will be the host for an appointment.

As you go through your usual meetings, Filipinos will eventually introduce their family members and even initiate deeper personal relationships as friends.

Initiate Courteousness And Showing Respect

Filipino culture is distinct from other countries’ shows of courteousness and respect, even if it’s someone they’ve met for the first time. It is often hierarchical, and most of the decisions made in a company come from the highest position or someone that holds the most significant financial stock in that brand. Coincidentally, these two positions are even just one person.

A routine when meeting an associate is usually shaking hands. Even if you’ve met your partner as a mutual friend, it is still customary to be respectful. Other kind gestures that are very appreciated are smiling, offering drinks to the most important person in the group, or just not being late for the meeting.

Filipinos Love Giving Gifts

Gift-giving is another Philippine culture common in many situations. Whether you’re a guest, a close friend, or even just a business collaborator, gifts will always be a small portion of their appreciation or a token of gratitude. Don’t worry; you’re not obliged to give gifts back. But it is highly valued for anyone to bring a small gift.

Don’t Be Surprised When Filipinos Ask Personal Questions

Most Filipinos build rapport through personal relationships. You’ll notice more interactive gestures when meeting your Filipino business partner in the form of questions. Unusual to many, Filipinos like asking questions for a sense of friendliness and closeness. Many initiate small talks just to find common ground.

Additionally, small talk can range from talking about your marital status, hobbies, and family history. Even many of these talks make Filipinos overly inquisitive but purely intend to strengthen interpersonal relationships.

How you politely decline or say no to set boundaries as a business relationship is also set in the professional setting. Filipinos might feel embarrassed at first, but they are not one to deny appropriate advice when given. Being honest about what you think about the small talk will benefit you in the long run.

What To Wear In A Filipino Business Meeting

business etiquette in Philippines What To Wear

Business arrangements in the Philippines require one to dress conservatively, as Filipino society is reserved. What you wear is a direct reflection of how you respect your Filipino colleagues.

Men are often dressed in suits, including a necktie and a handkerchief in the pocket. Nowadays, Filipinos wear Americanos, modern tuxedos, and formal office attire. Women wear formal office blouses, polos, skirts, and slacks for very formal business meetings. But it depends if you’re dealing with a partnership with variously themed parties. Filipino culture loves parties and enjoying themselves. You may also have to look for the right attire accordingly.

A very traditional and formal business attire would be men wearing Barong Tagalog and, for the women, Baro’t Saya. These garments are reserved only if you’re meeting a government official or if it is required by the venue where the meeting will take place.

Don’t Miss Out On Business Vocabulary In Tagalog

Learning Tagalog is easy, and as we mentioned, it’s crucial to learn this language as many of your kasosyo speak Tagalog or Filipino. So are you looking for more words to know? We’ve already compiled a list of 100 business vocabulary in Tagalog that you can practice with.

But if you’re looking to learn more about the Philippines and its languages, there are many online resources to help you. Some are subscription-based, some have a monthly plan, and most are free on websites, podcasts, and YouTube.

What’s the best solution, you might ask? Learning it free from an online language learning app! Read more, and you’ll find out how Ling can help you memorize words and phrases faster than anything else!

Learn Philippine Culture Words And Tips From Ling

business etiquette in Philippines expand vocabulary ling

Traveling is necessary for businesses as there can be anything for everyone for financial success. Like the Philippines, Asia is filled with dynamic people, traditions, personalities, and perspectives. Other Asian cultures may have different ways of treating their business associate in terms of gifts and showing respect.

Of course, learning their language is the fastest way to build a steady relationship with potential clients and associates. That includes you, accomplishing a business meeting, and knowing more about the Philippine culture simultaneously.

Download Ling with over 200+ lessons for Tagalog that touches not only on boosting business relationships through words but also on learning more vocabulary about their family members, how to hold a social conversation in Tagalog, and more good quality grammar tips.

Learn more about other countries with 60+ available languages, including less spoken ones that you can only find in Ling. If you’re very attracted to Asian businesses, you’ll find various languages useful for conversations like Japanese, Korean, Tagalog, Hindi, Cantonese, Chinese, Khmer, and more!

Leave a Reply