Hello! This is Lara Titan from Manila, Philippines. And I am here as your guide to introduce my exotic and tropical country – the Philippines – to all of you. Hope my articles will help you know Filipinos better. smile

  1. How do Filipino people value Friendship?

  2. How do Russian people value Friendship?

  3. Friendship is a universal thing

In every part of the world friendship is something that most people value regardless of the age, race, gender, nationality, social status, etc. It is even celebrated in some countries such as the United States known as “National Best Friend Day” which is celebrated annually every 8th of June. They say that true friends are hard to find like a gem so it is considered as a treasure as well that you need to take care of and to treasure.

How do Filipino people value Friendship?

In the warm and sunny Philippines many foreigners say that Filipinos are some of the most giving and TRULY friendly people in the world.

I remember I met this Qatari guy when I was doing a teaching internship in Poland two years ago. He spent some time in the Philippines for an internship and he told me that his experience in the Philippines was “amazing”. He told me “It seems to me that all Filipino people are born with smiles on their faces”. 

Only with that statement you can imagine how friendly and warm we are even to complete strangers. Thus the term “Filipino hospitality” is well known. They LOVE sharing what they have. They want to share their culture, their customs, their festivals, food, everything whether they are poor or rich. For example even if a family only has sugar to eat with their rice for a meal, they will still prepare a guest some coffee and find something for him to eat.
Most friendships are formed from childhood whether the kid from your neighbor, the children of the friend of your parents, your classmate from high school, etc. It is because we see friendship as something for the long term even for a lifetime. Thus having “reunions” among peers every year, every 5 years, 10 years and so on is a very common practice in the Philippines. However if things turned bad between friends it can be very bitter for both of the parties.

Bitterness is deep when friends turn against one another or family. It is betrayal of the lowest order to go against the grain of allegiance and respect.

How do Russian people value Friendship?

The Russian counterpart of the Filipino warmth and friendliness is the Russian coldness and their “unfriendliness”. Probably the most common stereotype of the Russian people is that they don’t smile and they are “cold” people, they also don’t easily trust.

My Russian tutor before told me that for them if you smile to a stranger he/ she will think you are crazy. Smile is something you only reserve for your family and friends or for something that there is worth. I remember reading an online article about the first McDonalds that was ever built in Russia (then the Soviet Union) in 1991. All of the cashiers and waiters there smile to the customers and many people thought the staffs in McDonalds were all crazy. Having gone through a lot of wars in the past especially the Second World War where Russia suffered the highest casualty in the world and dealing with communism for more than 70 years was not easy, you cannot just easily smile.

Like the Filipino people they also see friendship as something for lifetime and are usually formed since childhood. Closest friends are usually friends made in school, university of even kindergarten, people whom you know for many years. There is a Russia saying – One old friend is better than two new friends.

Having the life-long friendship is indeed priceless, because the collection of shared memories goes back to the time when you both were kids. If Russian people do not easily trust strangers it is the exact opposite how they trust their close friends. They trust their friends too much and I think because of that, the level of friendship in Russia is more deep and intimate even in the Philippines. 

If there is one thing that I cannot believe that exist in Russia is the disbelief in true friendship between men and women. In the same time majority believes that friendship between men and women does not exist, that there is always a sexual context in such “friendship”. It is unheard of in the Philippines and until now I did not know that such thinking could exist.

Friendship is a universal thing

To sum it all up, even if at the first glance Filipinos on the one hand is friendly and warm and on the other hand Russians are cold and do not smile, they both see friendship as something for a lifetime and they do treasure it very much. It is like at the outside they may be totally different from each other but inside they are just exactly the same. laughing Friendship is a universal thing, but how you form and value it differs from country to country I believe. But in this instance I believe that Filipino and Russian people have something in common and can share with each other.


© Lara Titan for 7mango. Manila, Philippines

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