The source of “inspiration” for this post is the fact that I have just received a phone call from my wife telling me that tonight we are invited to a social gathering although it is Monday and tomorrow I will be working ten to twelve hours.
So, while I am still trying to get my head around the idea that tonight I will be sleeping less and tomorrow I will be working a lot, I am writing this post sort of “live”.
How to balance the many salu-salo with productivity? This is a tough question.
We, in the Western world consider our career, and productivity in general, as the “bulk” of our lives while the Philippines is one of those countries where time flows slowly, many people who could be working hang out and it is quite common to spot men who drink beer or harder stuff on the side of the road even early in the morning. Doors are wide open and guests come and go and salu-salo or social gatherings take place regularly.
Filipinos who work abroad also like having regular social gatherings, even on week days.
They do work much more than their relatives in the Philippines but for many of them work is still not the “bulk” of their lives, in the sense that although they may be working long hours, they still like to spend as much time as they possibly can socializing.
Few Filipinos who live abroad are entrepreneurs or do other jobs that require much focus and concentration as they, for the most part, work as domestic helpers or cleaners.
This means that even if they go to a party on Monday evening, for example, and come home late, this is not that much of a problem because the day after they don’t have a company to run or have to do any other activity that drains a lot of mental and physical energy.
A big challenge arises when a Western husband of a Filipina is a very busy man and his wife and her friends and relatives like going to social gatherings two, three or even four times a week.
How do you balance exponential productivity with being married to a Filipina?
Well this is a very difficult question and to this day I am still moving on the razor’s edge of trying to be productive while building rapport with my wife, her family and the Filipino community.
You need to figure it out for yourself. Perhaps you can choose to reduce your working hours, change your job or change your diet to have more energy to be able to go to all the parties and still be able to be highly productive (I have chosen the third option), whatever it is that you do just remember that socializing is one of the core elements of the Filipino culture and you can hardly change that.