Although it has been frequently pointed out that the Philippines is the most western country in the east, its business practices are still far from how it is in the United States. This is especially true in business writing. One must be sensitive to business culture in the Philippines in order for one to write an effective letter to a Filipino business person. It goes without saying that how business letters are written reflects the general business norms and practices of the addressee – in our case, the Filipino.
First are the names. Most Filipinos have more than one name. It is advisable to find out how he prefers to be called. Sometimes it may be embarrassing for a Filipino to read a letter where he is addressed with a name he rarely uses. It is best to use titles when the addressee has them. Filipinos are very status-conscious (Henderson, 1999, para. 2). Instead of using Mr. Santos say Dr. Santos if he or she is a doctor. It is better to address the recipient as Attorney Lopez rather than Ms. Lopez. This will serve well for the sender because it shows that he recognizes his addressee’s accomplishment.
Americans like concise and direct-to-the-point letters that immediately state the purpose of the letter. Filipinos are not the same. They value interpersonal relationships so it is not uncommon to begin the letter with an anecdote about a positive experience the addressor had with the addressee. At times, it may even start with a subtle reminder to the addressee about how they are connected such as “From our meeting with Engineer Reyes, it was recommended that…” Henderson (1999) also adds that one must refrain from using the word “no” outright when rejecting something because Filipinos dislike tension and conflict. It would be better to write something positive first then delicately state the negative like “your ideas look very promising, but perhaps it would be best if we use them for another project.”
When writing business letters to a Filipino, he should remember that Filipinos value respect and harmony. These must always come out in correspondences with them.
There is a new tropical vacation spot that you surely must not miss! It combines the party vibe of Cancun and the tranquil atmosphere of the Maldives. I’m talking about none other than Boracay, Philippines! It’s more than half the cost of the Maldives, and more than twice the beauty of Cancun! Boracay’s fine white sand is like no other in the world. Accommodations are cheap, yet boast of first class amenities and services. The locals are among the most tourist-friendly in the world. Best of all, there are so many new adventures!
First class resort hotel accommodations abound in Boracay for as low as $50.00 for a party of 4 per night. This includes a 2-bedroom suite with a king-sized bed each, a living room, kitchen, and toilet and bath. All guests are welcome to use the gym, spa, and pool that are available in almost all resort hotels in the island. Foreign tourists need not worry about rude locals in this happy island for Filipinos are known to be the most hospitable in the world. 90% of the locals are fluent in English and know their way around so there’s no need to worry about getting lost.
Mornings in Boracay are as peaceful as you can imagine. You can lay on its white powdery beach while getting a massage, or sip on fresh tropical fruit shakes while you read your book. For the more adventurous traveller, you can ride the banana boat, snorkel, parasail, or jetski. It’s really up to you. Nights in Boracay can be quite the opposite as bars and clubs along the beach start partying until the break of dawn. There is something for everybody.
Thank you for trusting us to repair your microwave oven. We do appreciate you coming to us for your equipment repair needs. Unfortunately, we can not accommodate your business at this time because of 3 outstanding bills you have with us.
Last month we recorded a service fee against your name for the toaster we repaired amounting to $30.00. Two weeks ago, you came and had your refrigerator fixed to which we charged you for $40.00. And last week, we sent a bill amounting to $20.00 for the dishwasher. We have yet to receive payments for the 3 services rendered.
Perhaps it may have simply been a case of forgetfulness on your part or inadequate reminders from our end, but unsettled bills make it difficult for us to run our business and continue serving you.
Attached are copies of the outstanding bills you have with us. We ask you to settle them as soon as possible. The sooner it gets settled, the sooner we can start work on your microwave oven.
Henderson, Clarence. (1999). Filipino Business Norms, Etiquette, and Style. Retrieved October 12, 2007, from http://www.apmforum.com/columns/orientseas6.htm.