Filipino Time is On-Time

Fashionably late. “Filipino time” is equated with being late, so much so that arriving late has become fashionable. There appears to be a sick assumption that being late is a sign of power and importance — those who arrive last has the most power (or would want to appear as the most important). In the remote possibility that you haven’t noticed this practice, try to validate this observation in your next meeting or appointment.┬áTardiness may be tolerable when attending a birthday party or some other social events, but it is absolutely a no-no in business. Meetings, transactions, deliveries, and all other aspects of business require promptness. There are a number of reasons why being on time is crucial.

Gain the upper hand

In trainings that we’ve joined, we were told that going to an appointment earlier than the other party puts you in a position of strength. The other person would be apologetic, appreciative at the very least, because you arrived earlier. This means that he/she is more likely to give certain concessions, all things being equal. Arriving too early, on the other hand, has its downside. Ten to fifteen minutes early is acceptable.

Value the time of others

Time is a commodity in business. Arriving on time communicates to each participant that the business contact is important and the business relationship is cherished. Promptness is not merely about time, though, as it also shows respect to the other person.


Imagine what happens to Toyota‘s Just-in-Time (JIT) model, an aspect of its legendary Total Production System (TPS), “in which each process produces only what is needed by the next process in a continuous flow”, when parts arrive late. When the parts do not arrive on time, overall performance/delivery is affected. On-time delivery is sacred in business.


In business, tardiness or being late is not fashionable. It is highly unprofessional. Budding Pinoy Entrepreneurs should be known for their commitment in valuing time, among others. Effective time management is developed through years of experience.

Incidentally, being on-time requires a common time. A person may be 10 minutes ahead, based on his/her watch, but the other person may be 10 minutes late, based on his/her watch. So in 2013, the Philippine Congress recognized the need to standardize Philippine time and enacted a new law, The Philippine Standard Time (PST) Act of 2013 (Republic Act No. 10535; full text). This law requires the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) to maintain an official time that shall be followed throughout the Philippines. All government offices are required to display the PST on their official time devices. Owners of private television and radio stations must, under pain of penalties, also calibrate and synchronize their time devices with the PST during their broadcast. In short, there should be a common standard time anywhere in the Philippines.

You may have suggestions on how to make “Filipino time” on time or could something be done in the first place? As for our two-cents’ worth, when setting the time for an appointment or schedule, mean it. Do not set the time in advance, do not start late, and let the other participants know that you intend to start on time. Then comes the hardest and most important part — stick to the schedule. 8:30 is 8:30, for instance. A good habit consistently employed becomes a virtue. Let’s make Filipino time on-time.

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