Guest Post: In South Korea, Why Pinays Don’t Mix

Finally, I have a decent post on my blog. It isn’t mine, though. This article is written by Danessa Alinsug, a Filipina writer who is married to a Korean. Read on.

In South Korea, Why Pinays Don’t Mix

While it may be well-known that Filipinas are among the nicest people on earth, most foreigners don’t know how harsh (and sometimes, crazy) Filipinas can be to other Filipinas.
Take the case of Maricel, a 33 year-old Pinay who’s a regular at the Philippine Sunday Market at Hye-hwa Dong, whose “kabit” (other woman) joke got her into trouble with another Filipina and her American husband, although they were sitting at opposite ends of the same table eating some snacks.

Maricel vows she didn’t know the woman but overhearing the “kabit” joke, the woman walked towards her, pointed a finger at her and muttered under her breath, “ang tanga-tanga mo.”
The woman”s husband, on the other hand, joined in by hurling “f**k off, f**k off” over and over.

As if being verbally ganged up was not enough, the woman (still unidentified until now) took pictures of Maricel with the threat, “You’re in big trouble.” Then the woman and her husband left Hye-hwa Dong and nothing was heard again from them again. Witnesses were too shocked to say or do anything when it happened.

Although what happened to Maricel is an extreme case and rarely, if ever, happens at the Philippine Sunday Market in South Korea, it’s really only symptomatic of how Filipinos relate to each other here in South Korea. (Estimates dated 2009 put the number of Filipinos living in South Korea at 45,913.)

I have been living in South Korea since 2008 but the Filipinas that I did meet here in South Korea do NOT want to get too close or be close friends with other Filipinas. For them, Filipina friends are few and carefully chosen. Why? For the reasons I’ve listed below.

1. Tsismis (Gossip)
Apparently, while some quarters love to gossip, there are Pinays who are allergic to this pastime, for good reason. Rumors that get off the rumor mill are things that can land you in prison in South Korea if they were true, like who’s cheating on their Korean husbands, and with who.

2. Cat fights
There are many reasons why fighting would erupt between groups of Filipinas even though they’re from the same country. A strong sense of pride in their own regional identity, e.g., “Bisaya,” “Tagalog” etc. is just one of them.

3. Threat of deportation
For Filipinas who are TNT, or are living in South Korea without a visa, the threat of being reported on by fellow Filipinos to the immigration authorities is very real. There’s a confirmed case where a woman reported her lender to the authorities so she didn’t have to pay him back. She gained 100,000 won in the process.

Danessa B. Alinsug
Danessa lives in Bucheon City.

I also have an unpleasant experience with Pinays here in Korea when I was still a newbie. It’s a long story and I learned from it. Sometimes there are people who misunderstand you, but you learn to just move on. They’re just not meant to be. Now, I have a group of friends that I love. I also try to invite and introduce other Pinays to my group, but there are times when they just don’t mix ;p


  1. That is the same story I heard from Mexicans and other Latin Americans. They don’t mix well and help among themselves in the US, so although there are a large number of Latinos in the US, most of Latinos feel lonely.

    I heard that this phenomenon exists not just among the US Latinos, but also in Latin American countries. I suppose that is the bad legacy the Spanish Empire left in its colonies.

  2. If you go to Guatemala, a country of Central America, you can find many Korean factories. Korean are operating 150 factories in Guatemala and they are hiring tens of thousands of Guatemalan people.

    It should be beneficial for their economy and therefore Koreans should get praise from Guatemalan upper-class people.

    On the contrary Guatemalan upper-class people are complaining to Koreans, saying that Koreans raised the wage of Guatemalan ordinary people and that Guatemalan upper-class people can not exploit the cheap labor of their people any more like before.

    It means that they are living in 2 different world in one country. In Guatemala the class benefits of upper-class people are more important than nation development.

    1. hindi lang yan Web Henyo, at a conference one time, may narinig akong ganitong usapan:

      F1: kilala mo ba si ___? ako kaya nagbigay ng english teaching job doon…

      F2: oh talaga? ako din marami na akong nabigyan ng jobs..

      only to realize later on that they shared job links to the women they were referring to. at dahil natanggap sa trabaho, sila na ang nagbigay ng job! hindi na inisip na kung hindi sa kakayahan ng kapwa pinay, hindi rin naman matatanggap sa trabaho… di ko na maalala kung sino sila, pero tumatak sa isip ko lang na mas okay pa rin pala maghanap ng trabaho sa sariling sikap…

      1. i meant, na talagang pagsumikapang hanapin ang mga job sites na ito, ishare kung maishe-share. nagshe-share ako pero di ko inaangkin ang mga “jobs” doon kase hindi ko naman academy, di ako magpapasweldo. LOL! pero kung totoong kaibigan naman ang nago-offer ng job, bakit hindi. dito sa korea, kailangan talagang kilalanin ang totoong concerned sayo…

        1. Korek…Kya it’s better to find job for yourself kasi nkakatkot ang sumbatan factor meron din mga pinay na tutulungan ka nga pero bago pa nun papa mukha muna sau na Super galing nya magturo dmo tuloy alam kong encourage o discourage ang ginagwa o di naman kaya bbgyan ka ng job na halos impossible mo nmn mtnggap dahil sa sobrang lau or baba ng sahod at mga inayawan na nilang jobs bbbgay sau …hehehe

      2. Meron din naman tayong mga friends na hindi nagku-kuwenta ;p
        At sila pa magbo-volunteer ng tulong kung kailangan di ba? Pero ang tsismisan hindi talaga yan nawawala… basta ba hindi sinisiraan, iba na yun

  3. Haiz… kalungkot naman… sa bwong mundo my tsismis pero ewan qoh kung bkt ung mga pin@y mahilig magtsismis at siraan mga tao… sayang nmn db? kaysa tulungan sa isat isa kapag asa ibang bansa ka… (sorry sa tagalog qoh, medyo baloktot eh)

    1. Hi Marife! Okay lang yan… ganun talaga. Kahit naman ibang lahi, ganun din. Sa aking pakiwari eh natural ang tsismis or kuwentuhan… pero iba na kung kasiraan or gawa-gawa. Minsan naman, second hand o naiiba ang kuwento pag narinig lang so depende sa interpretasyon ng nakarinig. Iba naman kasi pag nakikita ang ekspresyon or paraan ng pagkakasabi. Minsan naman sa sobrang dami ng nagsasalita eh hindi mo na mawari kung sino ba ang nagsabi… ay nalalayo na ako. Anyway, ganun talaga life. Basta dapat, be vigilant. Okay naman mag-trust sa mga friends pero hindi mo bibigay ang 100% mo ;p Kuwento ka lang gaya ng kuwento nila sa yo.

      1. it’s true ate Betchay.. you encounter people who show “concern” kunwari but before you know it, kulang na lang ginawwang fb status kwento mo. so ingat ingat na din lang talaga…

  4. Pinays not mixing? so true!
    but doesn’t that go with other cultures too? at the end of the day, people mix and become friends because they have thigns to share, regardless of culture!

  5. definitely true, di mo ma mix pinoys sa sarili nilang kalahi dahil narin sa mga regional identity na sinasabi mo. pag sinabing bisaya matatapang, pag mga taga cavite palaban etc etc. pano na ung laking maynila, wala na. hehe kasi tagalog lang ang alam. paminsan tuloy mas gusto ko pang isang language nalang gamitin sa pinas like korea and japan. no need to speak english na. kaya rin naman di mo ma mix kasi insecurity, comparing at crab mentality, kasi may mayaman at may mahirap, may sinwerte sa asawa at hindi, bat sya sa apartment nakatira ako sa villa lang. anong work ng asawa mo? employee lang, ikaw? sajangnim asawa ko. so, ako din i tried to not have so many friends, trusted friends lang meron ako. hehe

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