Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. It is our nature as humans to categorize people for their race, culture or gender. But stereotypes are just stereotypes. Having been traveled to many countries, I get used to those misconceptions about Filipinos. But for newbies it might ruin or make your day. Being a Filipino, I have experienced stereotypes from the people I met on the road and even from the immigration officers. Traveling has thought me how people perceived us abroad. Many Filipinos wanted to travel the world so bad but only a handful actually do. I’m not going to say that all stereotypes about Filipino’s that prevail down here are all true. It took me a while to learn how tourists, travelers and the rest of the world view us. What is important is that we always put our best foot forward no matter what they say.
Check out these 7 common stereotypes and why they are so wrong.
Filipinos are one source of immigration fraud or marriage fraud.
You are holding a Philippine passport, expect you’ll find it hard to get tourist visa to Europe or USA.
Holding a Philippine passport is really a struggle. I was refused by the German Embassy when I applied Schengen visa for the first time. The decision is based on the reasons “your intention to leave the territory of the Member States before the expiry of the visa applied for could not be ascertained” and “the information submitted regarding justification for the purpose and conditions of the intended stay was not reliable”. I was like duh? I have a stable job in Kuwait so why would I immigrate? I know sometimes Schengen refusal can be difficult to understand. One of the staffs told me that there’s greater chance of denial having someone else paying you stay or having sponsors that sends invitation. Well, I don’t question that, it’s because the way some Filipinos behave (or misbehave) abroad has made a bad reputation. That experience though doesn’t stop me from trying again. I applied the second time and provided necessary documents, this time with no sponsorship or invitation and it luckily was granted. I did the same in applying for my USA tourist visa and I got 10-year multiple entry so easy. It wasn’t that difficult after all as long as you are honest about the purpose of your travel.
Filipino travelers are well-off or might have won the lottery.
If you are Filipino who traveled 15 countries in Europe, visited different states in America, backpacked SouthEast Asia and took days off in most countries in the Middle East, then you are wealthy.
We are no rich. Yes, we all dream about winning the lottery but there’s a saying, “You don’t need to be rich to travel the world”. For the record, I personally fund my travels and I work hard for this b*tch! I always return home without debts. Traveling can somehow be expensive but there are a lot of ways to make it cheaper. For example, you can use Couchsurfing for accommodation and hitchhiking for your transportation. It’s all free. I have done Couchsurfing when I traveled Europe and I find it useful. People are so kind, you will be able to live like a local and that’s the essence of traveling. Booking your air ticket ahead of time will also save you a lot of money. Taking hostels instead of hotel is a nice idea as well. Avoid fancy restaurants and opt for authentic street foods. If you are traveling on a long term, you can fund your travels by doing online jobs or find a part time work in a country where you are. All you have to do is to research on how you can travel on a budget without compromising comfort and happiness.
All Asians speak Chinese.
When your fellow traveler know that you are Asian then you are Chinese.
First and foremost, not all Asians are Chinese, Japanese or Korean. I may have a small almond-shape eyes but I’m not Chinese. It’s crazy and I just can’t stop lol-ing. This stereotyping has put me into some uncomfortable situations. For example, when someone comes up to me with Chinese characters and ask me to read it. My usual response is, “I am a Filipino and we commonly use Roman alphabet.” One of my couchsurfer friends used to tease me “Oppa! Gangnam style!” I’m like, hey! Im not Korean. Well it’s okay, I understand that most people (especially Americans) are ignorant when it comes to race and ethnicity. Thais, Vietnamese, Indians etc. may have different physical features but they are Asians.
Filipinos are drug mules.
As a Filipino jet setter, expect you’ll have a hard time passing through immigration than English-speaking whites.
This stereotype pisses me off and I can’t figure this sh*t out. Coming from a developing country, I always experienced being labeled in one point or another while traveling. I always fear of passing through immigration booth. In my mind, immigration authorities are such prejudiced, intimidating and bullies. When I arrived in the JFK Airport in New York, the first thing you must do is to pass through immigration because having a valid visa is not guaranteed entry to the country. The queue was fast except during my turn, the officer ask a lot of questions like who’s paying for my trip? How much cash do I have right now? Did someone gave me something to transport? They even asked about my travel history like what did I do in Turkey? I just answered them calmly and with all honesty. I was thinking if they have asked the same questions to the white guys before me as it took them only about 20 seconds. In my case, it took me 5 minutes in the area and people behind me started to wonder. In the end I was able to pass didn’t think I was harassed or treated unfairly. It’s their duty anyways.
When I was in Cairo Airport flying to Kuwait I was the only Filipino onboard. After passing through a lot of x-rays, we were on the ramp about to board the aircraft when suddenly an officer came running towards me with a huge sniffing dog checking my hand carry bag. Dude! My world stopped. Whatever superlative adjective there is to describe how embarrassing that was is an understatement. He has no courteous manner to approach me. People look at me like a terrorist as if I have something in my bag. I have already passed 3 x-ray terminals and still it wasn’t enough? In the end they found nothing suspicious. I was like, why me only? I may look tired then but I dressed smart. I hope they did not do it because I am Filipino. This kind of stereotype must be stop. We are no drug courier.
We eat rice wherever whenever.
Filipinos when they travel, they always look for a restaurant that serves rice.
I first laugh at it. This is so true *hyena laugh*. It may sound strange to others but we eat rice during breakfast, lunch, (include snacks) and dinner. Sometimes it is challenging for me to find food whenever I’m in a country where rice is not common.
Filipino travelers are bunch of servers, store employees and domestic helpers.
Sadly, if you take vacation especially in the Middle East where there are huge number of Filipino expatriates you’ll be stereotype as a server.
This stereotype is very common but it’s a no. “I’m sorry? I’m a paying customer.” That was my response when I got mistaken for a server in a fancy restaurant in Dubai. I also experienced being stereotyped when an Arab guy came to me and asked for a shoe size while I was shopping my favorite pair of kicks at Emirates mall. I responded with a smile, “excuse me, I’m a shopper too but you can ask the guy in uniform to assist you.” Well, you can’t be mad at them but I feel sorry for they are not expose with the Filipino doctors, nurses, and other professionals. To be honest, it feels annoying and sometimes can ruin your trip when people categorized you for your nationality. I mean, it doesn’t hurt me when I get mistaken and I have nothing against Filipino servers, helpers or store employees for they made the country successful. I am a proud Filipino.
Filipinos are the greatest travelers.
You may not always see Filipino travelers in the hostels (unlike Germans and Australians) but once you meet them, they are one great travel companions.
I agree with that. No doubt, this stereotype is the best thing I’ve ever heard. Filipinos are the happiest and most adventurous travelers you’ll ever meet on the road.