Ever heard of the saying “Manners make the man”? Filipinos are so dedicated to being world class but sadly, often overlook the basic codes of courtesy. It’s the little things such as etiquette that creates a great first impression and what strong relationships are founded on. Something as small as impeccable manners is actually what leaves the biggest impression to those we interact with. If only Filipinos take the time to correct these common etiquette blunders, it just might spark awareness & initiative in other areas of our life. Here are the most common etiquette blunders I have observed with Filipinos:
RSVP- Répondez s'il vous plaît, literally means "Reply if you please" and is something we acquired from the French: the lords of etiquette. We encounter RSVPs when we are invited to formal functions such as a wedding or a business event. RSVP is requested because of the expense of the seat being reserved for you. Hosts pay their caterer a hefty fee per head and your non-response to the very important headcount is not only rude but inexcusable. How hard is it to check your calendar and commit to making the event? If you are unsure, it is best to not keep the hosts waiting and decide to send your regrets. Showing up without having made a confirmation will also be embarrassing to you and will put your hosts at the inconvenience of finding a seat for you. Changing your mind at the last second when you have already sent your regrets is just as rude. Formal events take weeks (or even months!) of preparation for costing and seating charts to be done. Another big and embarrassing blunder is asking your host if you can bring a “plus one” or worse, “plus twos” or more! Your seat allotment and name/s are clearly stated on your invitation. It should go without saying that those are the only people invited to the event. Consider that events take money and time to plan and your hosts are already kind enough to be inviting you to their affair. Spare them the hassle and the embarrassment of having to say “no” to you because they cannot afford to have added expense. You’ll know this soon enough when it’s your turn and believe me; you wouldn’t want this situation happening to you.
Dutch Pay- Granted it’s a “Dutch thing” but Filipinos are so fond of this fair payment system that we might as well acknowledge how we should correctly be doing this. “Going Dutch” pertains to paying for your own- whether it be the meal you ordered, a movie ticket or even gas. It is a healthy way of keeping expenses shared between couples or a group. Filipinos often overlook that when we split the bill, we must account for service fees, tax and tips. In the Philippines, It’s good to count your pennies but letting others scramble over the bill while you remain uncaring is not only a hassle but quite an embarrassing statement itself of your character. Remember, your friends may not be geniuses at Math but most get surprisingly good when it comes to money! While your friends or family are figuring out why the collected money is short, eventually some, if not all of them, will know that it’s you who’s shortchanging the gang!
For your reference:
Tipping- 10% of the total cost of the meal- This should become a practice and should only be skipped if you got extremely bad service.
Service Charge -10% of the cost of the meal and sometimes included in the bill. Majority will skip leaving a tip if there is already a mandatory service charge but others still leave loose change or opt to give extra tips.
Tax- In the Philippines, VAT is 12% of the total cost. Most restaurants are VAT exclusive in their menu prices so always be aware of this when you compute for your bill contribution.
Keep right- Staircases are made to be a two-lane convenience. Most stairs, whether it be an escalator or a fixed one, accounts for two people being able to fit at the same time. It is good etiquette to stay on the right of a staircase for the ff. reasons:
The left lane is kept open for anyone going down the stairs.
On an escalator, keeping the left lane open gives an option for those in a hurry to pass everyone else while they climb up the steps.
Restroom Lines- Something as basic as lining up to use the toilet in a public restroom is just as frustrating in the Philippines and is a personal pet peeve. Multiple stalls do not mean multiple lines. There should only be one line for the restroom because the logic of lines is that it is “first come-first served”. Not only is this system fair, it will eliminate crowding and confusion in the restroom-which is supposed to be “restful” in the first place!
Remember, it’s the little changes we make that make for a collective change. Being mindful of your manners will not only make you more perceptive to the needs of others, it will ultimately boost your image and character to such great heights that you become a person people look up to and wish to emulate your class.