10 Things You Need to Know About Filipino Business Culture Before Hiring an Amazon FBA Virtual Assistant

Hiring a Virtual Assistant (VA) from the Philippines can be a highly effective way to manage your Amazon FBA business. However, understanding Filipino business culture is essential for building strong working relationships and ensuring smooth operations. Here are ten things you need to know about Filipino business culture:

1. Importance of Relationships

Building Trust and Rapport
In the Philippines, personal relationships and trust are fundamental to successful business interactions. Establishing a good rapport is often prioritized over formal agreements.

How to Build Relationships

  • Engage in regular, friendly communication.
  • Show genuine interest in your VA’s background and personal life.

2. Respect for Hierarchy

Hierarchical Structure
Filipino business culture is hierarchical, with respect for seniority and authority being important. Decisions are often made by the most senior members of the organization.

Practical Tips

  • Address senior members with appropriate titles and honorifics.
  • Recognize the chain of command and communicate accordingly.

3. Communication Style

Indirect Communication
Communication in the Philippines tends to be indirect and polite. Filipinos often avoid confrontation and seek to maintain harmony in interactions.

Effective Communication

  • Use respectful and courteous language.
  • Avoid direct criticism; offer feedback tactfully and constructively.

4. The Concept of “Hiya” (Shame)

Understanding Hiya
Hiya, or shame, is a significant cultural concept in the Philippines. Causing someone to feel embarrassed or lose face is considered highly disrespectful.

Preserving Hiya

  • Show respect and consideration in all dealings.
  • Handle conflicts privately and sensitively to avoid causing embarrassment.

5. Punctuality and Time Management

Flexible Approach to Time
While punctuality is appreciated, there is often a more relaxed approach to time in the Philippines. Meetings and tasks may start later than scheduled.

Time Management Tips

  • Be punctual, but be prepared for some flexibility.
  • Schedule tasks with ample time for potential delays.

6. Hospitality and Socializing

Importance of Hospitality
Hospitality is an integral part of Filipino culture. Building rapport through social interactions is common and often includes sharing meals.

Embrace Hospitality

  • Be open to socializing and building a personal connection.
  • Show appreciation for hospitality extended to you.

7. Dress Code

Modest Attire
Filipino business attire tends to be conservative. Dressing appropriately shows respect for local customs and business norms.

Dressing Tips

  • Men should wear formal or semi-formal attire.
  • Women should opt for modest clothing, avoiding revealing outfits.

8. Religious Sensitivities

Importance of Religion
The Philippines is predominantly Catholic, and religious practices and holidays significantly influence business activities.

Respecting Religious Practices

  • Be aware of major religious holidays and schedule tasks accordingly.
  • Respect religious practices and traditions, such as attending mass.

9. Patience and Persistence

Patience in Business
Business processes in the Philippines can be slower than in Western cultures. Patience and persistence are key to successful interactions.

Practical Tips

  • Be prepared for prolonged discussions and decision-making processes.
  • Show understanding and flexibility in negotiations.

10. Gift-Giving Etiquette

Cultural Significance
Gift-giving is a common practice in Filipino business culture and symbolizes respect and goodwill.

Appropriate Gifts

  • Choose small, thoughtful gifts that reflect respect and appreciation.
  • Avoid overly extravagant gifts that may cause discomfort.

Five Definite Dos

1. Do Build Strong Relationships
Invest time in building trust and rapport with your Filipino VA. Personal relationships are the foundation of successful business dealings.

2. Do Show Respect for Hierarchy
Always address senior members with respect and acknowledge their authority. Understanding the hierarchical structure is crucial.

3. Do Communicate Clearly and Politely
Use respectful and courteous language. Be mindful of indirect communication styles to avoid misunderstandings.

4. Do Respect Religious Practices
Be mindful of religious practices and holidays. Schedule tasks around major religious events.

5. Do Be Patient and Flexible
Expect business processes to take time. Patience and flexibility are key to building a strong working relationship.

Five Definite Don’ts

1. Don’t Rush Business Discussions
Avoid diving straight into business matters without first establishing a personal connection. Relationship-building is essential.

2. Don’t Be Confrontational
Steer clear of direct criticism or confrontation. Use polite and indirect language to address issues tactfully.

3. Don’t Ignore Hierarchy
Never bypass the chain of command. Always communicate with the appropriate level of authority.

4. Don’t Be Impatient
Avoid showing frustration or impatience during business processes. Respect the time it takes to build trust and reach agreements.

5. Don’t Disregard Cultural Norms
Respect local customs, traditions, and sensitivities. Avoid actions or behaviors that may be considered disrespectful or inappropriate.


Navigating the business culture in the Philippines requires an understanding of these key cultural nuances. By building strong relationships, showing respect for hierarchy, and communicating effectively, you can establish successful and lasting working relationships with your Filipino VA. Embrace these insights to enhance your business interactions and achieve mutually beneficial outcomes in the Filipino market.


By integrating these practices into your business strategy, you can effectively navigate the Filipino market and build a solid foundation for successful business ventures.

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