Living in the Philippines, you’ll understand and experience what ‘Filipino Time’ means.

It’s like DST (daylight saving time) but only backwards. Seriously, it’s about the extra 30 minutes, 1 hour or 2 hours ---being late or tardiness that is very common and acceptable in the country.

The Pinoys abroad are exempted from this phenomenon. They are always on-time. If not, they arrive earlier than needed.

So it must be the weather then? No.
The traffic? No.
Maybe it’s because of the billboards in EDSA?
Who knows why?

Someone told me it’s because of the Spaniards being laid back then? Isn’t that the Mañana habit? I’m talking about the Filipino Time here!

Let’s say you’re throwing a birthday party for your son this Saturday. 4:00pm. But in your mind you already know that your guests will arrive at 5:00pm or 5:30pm. That’s too late. Your reservation is only up to 6pm.

So you decide to invite them at 3:00 pm instead. Thinking that they will arrive at 4:30pm. Your guests confirms. The day came. They arrive the time that you have planned or maybe a little later.

Wow! What a complicated process to plan parties!

To put an end to this problem of habitual tardiness, we need to update some of our mindsets. Here are some suggestions:

(1) It’s ok to be the first one in the party. The party planner and the caterer won’t get offended in case you arrive earlier than them.

(2) Tell the traffic -- It’s not you. It’s me.

(3) Learn the Algebra:

If x is the ETA or the the estimated time of arrival then:

x = commute time + 1hr 1/2 time allowance

(4) In case you will be way too early --- Stop over, go to Starbucks or Krispy Kreme, line-up and pretend you’re a customer. They’d be glad to offer free samples to you.

(5) Just a little adjustment -- “It’s better late than never” to “Never be late -- it’s better”

(6) Always assume that the person you will meet will arrive on-time. So you better be on time. By the way, bring a book or something that you can do just in case...

(7) Conserve water -- don’t take too long in the shower.

(8) Realize that you are smarter than you think you are. Don’t try to trick yourself by adjusting your watch 30 minutes advance. It just doesn’t work. Who are you kidding here?

(9) Forget the grand entrance. Only do this if you are royalty.

(10) The first call you will receive is not the go signal to leave the house, it means you are already 30 minutes late.

(11) If you are meeting a client, try to compute the money involved. You don’t want to lose that money right?

(12) Be realistic with time commitments. If someone asks you “Are you free to meet tomorrow at 4:00pm” --- Think carefully and if in doubt, tell him that you can be there by 5:00pm. This gives you a buffer or an allowance time. Be there by 4:45 pm.

(13) Be known as someone who arrives on time --- People will then respect your time... Hopefully...

(14) Avoid the “photo finish” arrival! (5 minutes before the person waiting for you decides to go home)

(15) If you are throwing a party, playing in a concert, producing an event, doing a presentation... Please do start on time. Politely include the word “sharp” in your language.

If we value and respect other people’s time, we will arrive on time as agreed or promised. Make this conscious effort.

Thanks to my father  who taught me the value of time at an early age. Because of him, I am always on-time. (ok maybe around 98% of the time)

Likewise, let’s teach our children this virtue. It’s never too late to pass-on promptness to the next generation. We can put an end to this habitual tardiness.

Together, we can reinvent the Filipino Time!

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