The Grey Chronicles


Learning from Hofstede: Filipino Immigrants

“The Filipinos are found in almost every corner of the planet, as their passports and visas have become their ticket to economic bounty,” reports Ammado (2009) based on the Migration and Development Statistical Almanac, a statistical compendium through a collaboration of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, UST’s Social Research Center, and Institute for Migration and Development Issues [IMDI]. The highlights of this compendium (PDI, 2009) are:

“… [F]emales dominate permanent migration (that includes marriage migrants who have married foreign partners)
Regions located in Luzon island —the National Capital Region, Southern Tagalog, Central Luzon, and the Ilocos Region— have consistently emerged as the top origin areas of temporary and permanent overseas migrants, as well as the hubs of many households receiving assistance from abroad;
Overseas workers have the Middle East and Asia as the leading regions of destination for temporary migrants, while North America is the leading region of destination for permanent migrants;
The Philippines-Saudi Arabia corridor is the biggest migration corridor for temporary migrants, while the Philippines-United States migration corridor is the biggest for permanent migrants. … ”

The United States [USA], Canada, United Kingdom [UK], Australia and New Zealand are the all-time popular destinations of Filipino permanent migrants (IMDI 2009; CFO, 2008). Although Germany is among the top five in 2007 (PDI, 2009); New Zealand featured among the popular destinations after it changed its immigration policy by introducing the Skilled Migrant Category in 2003, thus doubling Filipino permanent migration there in the last decade, 1996 to 2006 (2007).

Niel G. Ruiz brief (2008) provides a glimpse of the institutions built to manage Philippine migration.

The Labor Code of the Philippines in 1974 established the Overseas Employment Development Board [OEDB] … implemented a variety of incentives to lower the cost of emigrating. … The OEDB, the National Seamen Board, and the Bureau of Employment Services were consolidated into the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration [POEA] in 1982. … The Magna Carta of Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos [R.A. 8042] enacted in 1985 and by 2003 provided for dual citizenship and absentee-voting. … [T]he Citizenship Retention and Re-acquisition Act allowed former Philippine citizens to obtain their Philippine citizenship even if they had previously relinquished it to obtain a new one. … The Overseas Absentee Voting Act allowed overseas Filipinos to vote in Philippine elections through their embassies, consulates or via mail (Ruiz, 2008).

Using the Geert Hofstede™ Cultural Dimensions web site, this particular post will delve into the perceived congruence of Filipino culture with that of their adopted countries.

Hofstede Five Cultural Dimensions: Philippines and Immigrants Destinations


Of the five Hofstede Cultural Dimensions, the Philippine Power Distance Index [PDI] and Individualism [IDV] are at odds with their host countries. The variance of remaining three dimensions: Masculinity [MAS], Uncertainty-Avoidance Index [UAI], and Long-Term Orientation [LTO], between Philippines’ scores versus the top five host countries are not so great.

[PDI] Power Distance Index. Filipinos are likely to migrate to countries where the PDI is much lower than that of the Philippines [94]. The destination countries are usually in the First World, where power is perceived to be shared almost equality among various society actors.

[IDV] Individualism. The collectivist Filipino is most likely to migrate to individualist societies where the ties between individuals are loose: everyone is expected to look after themselves and their immediate family (Hofstede, 1993). Compared to the Philippines [32], the hosts have higher individualist scores: USA [91], Canada [80], Australia [90], UK [89], and New Zealand [79].

[MAS] Masculinity. The Filipino immigrant could fit perfectly in their adopted countries where masculine values of assertiveness, performance, success and competition are moderately present (Hofstede, 1993). The Philippines [64] and host countries: USA [62], Canada [52], Australia [61], UK [66] and New Zealand [58] are within a narrow band.

[UAI] Uncertainty Avoidance Index. The Philippines [44] and the host countries: USA [46], Canada [48], Australia [51], UK [35] and New Zealand [49] are in the median range of UAI, where a balance between avoidance and acceptance of uncertainty is the norm (Hofstede, 1993).

[LTO] Long-Term Orientation. The Philippines’ [19] short-term orientation: respect for tradition, fulfilling social obligations, and protecting one‘s ‘face’ (Hofstede, 1993), is similar to some extent, to the orientation of most host countries: USA [29], Canada [23], Australia [31], UK [25] and New Zealand [30]. Although lower than most, Filipinos would not have a hard time adjusting to virtually similar societal orientation.


The Filipinos migrating to these popular destinations would be in for a culture shock in specific terms of cultural Power Distance and Individualism. Of the latter, it is fitting to ask: Could it be that Filipinos migrating there are also individualists by nature? Unfortunately, this writer has yet to come across a research probing this deduction. For the remaining three Hofstede cultural dimensions, Filipinos would blend in these countries almost to a tee, thus success stories of these migrants litter the news. Obviously, there are some aspects in the host culture which are not congruent to the Philippine psyche, thus some sporadic gory anecdotes about Filipino immigrants might surface but these incidents are the exceptions to, and hopefully not, the rule.


Ammado (2009). ‘8.7 million Pinoys are in 239 countries’ — databank on Filipinos abroad. Dublin, Ireland: Ammado Internet Services Ltd, 03 January 2009. back to text.

Commission on Filipinos Overseas [CFO] (2008). Stock Estimate of Overseas Filipinos, As of December 2007. Manila: Commission on Filipinos Overseas [CFO], June 2008. back to text.

Hofstede, G. (1993). Cultural constraints in management theories. Academy of Management Executive, 1993. 7:1. pp. 81—94. back to text: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4.

Hofstede, Geert (2001). Culture’s Consequences: Comparing Values, Behaviours, Institutions and Organizations across Nations. 2nd ed. Place: Sage Publications, Inc;, April 2001. 616pp. back to text.

Institute for Migration and Development Issues [IMDI] (2009). Top-5 OFWs Destination, Philippine Migration and Development Statistical Almanac. Permission to use material from IMDI on request. OFW Philanthropy, 07 January 2009. back to text.

Philippine Daily Inquirer [PDI] (2009). Filipinos found in every country. Manila: Philippine Daily Inquirer, 12 April 2009. back to text.

Ruiz, Neil G. (2009). Managing Migration: Lessons from the Philippines, Migration and Development Brief No. 6. Washington, D.C.World Bank, 11 August 2008. pp. 1—3. back to text.

Statistics New Zealand (2007). Permanent and long-term migration from the Philippines, International Travel and Migration Articles. Wellington, N.Z.: Statistics New Zealand, October 2007. back to text.

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 LicenseDisclaimer: The posts herein do not necessarily represent any organization’s positions, strategies or opinions. Read the full version of self-imposed rules for this blog: A New Year; New Rules. Unless otherwise expressly stated, the posts are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.
Comments are moderated to keep the discussion relevant and civil. Readers are responsible for their own statements.



  1. […] 5.Learning from Hofstede: Filipino Immigrants « The Grey Chronicles The Philippines [44] and the host countries: USA [46], Canada [48], Australia [51], … Obviously, there are some aspects in the host culture which are not congruent to the Philippine psyche, thus some sporadic gory anecdotes about Filipino immigrants might surface but these incidents are the exceptions to, and hopefully not, […]

    Pingback by nurse web » Filipino Immigrants in Australia — 2010.July.27 @ 16:06 | Reply

  2. Your blog appreciated, keep it up! For exchange of notes on culture & Philippine reality, pls visit:


    Comment by Erle Frayne Argonza — 2010.March.24 @ 07:33 | Reply

  3. The tragedy of Canada today is that just when we need a country that’s pulling together in common cause, we have one that keeps finding new ways to pull itself apart.We peer so suspiciously at each other that Canadians are standing on the mountaintop of human wealth, freedom and privilege.

    Comment by Bob kalangi — 2009.November.18 @ 20:01 | Reply

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