Old Habits, New Media: The Digital Footprint of the Filipino

Welcome back to another exciting year here at Humaling! It’s 2018 – and we’re thrilled to feature even more of the Philippines’ rapidly evolving yet highly traditional culture. With the New Year comes new changes. As we begin 2018, we’ve decided to give each month a different theme – and for January, and there couldn’t be a better time to talk about everything “new”.

New – as the Philippines reaches new heights, and new technologies reach even the farthest-flung regions of the country. Nowadays, digital has become the status quo – as people have their eyes glued from the television to all kinds of mobile devices.

Filipinos in particular stand out from their well-connected peers in this measure. According to an internet trends report by social management report Hootsuite and UK-based consultancy We Are Social, the average Filipino spends an average of 4 hours and 17 minutes a day on social media. Impressive (or a coincidence?), for a country with notably turtle-paced broadband internet speeds.

In the midst of the digital status quo, how are Filipinos taking advantage of this technology? Let’s take a look at the various internet habits Filipinos today are known for:

A Selfie Obsession

Back in 2014, two Philippine cities were put on the map for being particularly selfie-obsessed In a report by TIME Magazine, both Makati City and Pasig City were named the “Selfie Capitals of the World”, beating out other major cities like second-placer New York City, and Miami, which came in third. Averaging 258 Instagram selfie-takers per 100,000 people, these two cities have become the 2 “selfiest” places on Earth.

With the selfie obsession spreading into other parts of the country, the country has become a major market for mobile phone makers (including Chinese brands Oppo, Huawei, and Vivo), many of which are marketed for their advanced selfie and camera technologies, feeding into Filipinos’ hunger for creating the perfect social media feed.



Memes: Making Light Out Of Daily and Dire Situations

As a culture grounded on not taking light too seriously, Filipinos tend to find humor in all kinds of situations. Combine this with their inclination to social media, and any Filipino would have a pretty interesting news feed. Whether it’s making fun of over-the-top teleseryes (soap operas), or the country’s dire lack of good governance, there are plenty of unique memes that can be found in the typical Filipino timeline.



Skype and Facebook: Connecting OFWs to Families

Nowadays, most OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers) cope with their homesickness by communicating with family via the Internet. The emergence of platforms like Facebook and Skype have kept them updated with their families (and vice versa) despite their physical distance. With over 10 million Filipinos abroad, connecting through these technologies has become more of a necessity.


Video chat-based platforms like Skype, and social media websites like Facebook have connected many Overseas Filipinos to their loved ones back home. (Image Source: Pixabay)


Grab and Uber: Coping With An Inefficient Transport System

In the last couple of years, the Philippine transport system has gone through numerous issues: from train breakdowns, to jeepney transport strikes, to various bus accidents all over the country. Moreover, concerns about unruly and unsafe taxis have become an all-too-common horror story. To cope with this glaring issue, Filipinos have taken advantage of ride-sharing apps such as San Francisco-based Uber and Malaysia-based Grab to get around in relative comfort and safety.



Still, the rise of Grab and Uber, as well as motorcycle transport provider Angkas, has not gone without its scuffles. Early in 2017, the Land Transport Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) had begun suspending approvals for the said three apps, ultimately resulting in the suspension of Angkas – which today has been transformed into a roadside delivery service.









LPU Laguna (Lyceum of the Philippines Laguna)

Manila Times