I would dare to say the Philippines have the highest number of smiles per square kilometer in the world. I could challenge any foreigner to walk down any street in the Philippines and count the number of smiles he or she sees on the faces of the people they meet.
That foreigner would come to the conclusion that Filipinos are either stone-cold crazy or they are one of the most joyful groups of people in the world. I believe that foreigner will choose the latter. Filipinos call this special state of joy—kasiyahan.
Filipinos seem to have this magical power of finding a joke in almost every situation. They are always joking with me. Especially when I do talks in schools around the country. I have been compared with the singer Ed Sheeran, the actor Owen Wilson and even to the Alaska Kid (the brand ambassador for a condensed Milk company).
Do not get me started on the number of times Filipina moms have teased me once they found out that I am not married, yet. Filipinos will make fun of anything and anyone. Perhaps one of the reasons Filipinos are the world’s No. 1 users of Facebook, because of their constant desire to give and receive joy.
Every celebrity, every politician and every Juan can be the subject of that witty Filipino sense of humor. I think it is impossible for a Filipino to go a day without smiling and laughing.
For the first-time visitor, it may appear that Filipinos are very shy and reserved when you first meet them, but put a Filipino in front of a karaoke machine and you see a complete different side of them.
In the western world there is an unwritten rule—if you cannot sing, do not sing. Even if you consider yourself a good singer, the fear of judgment and criticism from family, friends and peers makes most westerners (including me) afraid to stand up in front of others and sing their favorite song.
But here in the Philippines that culture of judgment does not exist. There are no such limits. Everyone can sing—everyone is encouraged to sing and, unlike every other country in the world—everyone does sing. Only in the Philippines.
Filipinos love to party, they love to celebrate, they love festivals—and, above all, they love Christmas. The love of the Christmas period could be considered borderline crazy for many foreigners.
When my Filipino friends were wishing me a happy Christmas on September 1—I, too, was very confused. The Philippines boasts the longest Christmas celebration in the world, a whopping five months, from the beginning of September to the end of January. Crazy? Yes. Fun? Absolutely.
When supertyphoons hit the nation, do not be surprised that within a matter of hours after the storm, to discover sidewalk vendors with their makeshift stands smiling and singing Beyoncé’s “I’m a Survivor”.
This perseverance and determination to have fun, to be happy no matter what, exemplifies the tenacity and resilience of the Filipino. It is the “Hindi natitinag ang pusong Pilipino [Resilience of the Filipino Heart].” The idea that something good could be found in the most challenging of circumstances is a hallmark characteristic of the Pinoy.
This is the spirit of masayahin, a spirit of joy not only for self but a burning desire within all Filipinos that those around them also feel this joy. That is why I am proud to call the Philippines my home. The greatest days are ahead.
Mabuhay ang Pilipinas.
The above is an extract from Mike’s latest e-book 7 Reasons why the Filipino will Change the World. To get your free copy go to www.mikegrogan.ph/ebook.
Mike Grogan is an international speaker and best-selling author who believes in the genius of the Filipino. As a lean management expert, Irish native Mike has traveled to 39 countries, but he believes that there is something very special about the Pinoy.
So far in 2016, in partnership with People Dynamics, Mike has delivered 150+ talks, training sessions and seminars all across the Philippines.