How come some Filipinos don't say "you're welcome"?

@gicolet (1704)
United States
February 9, 2010 10:26am CST
Everytime I visit Philippines i give gifts to my relatives over there. Some of them say "thank you", some of them don't...and when they don't, they have this shy expression on their faces...like "oh no she gave me a gift what do I give her in return now?" lol I'm never worried about getting something in return though but when they do give me something and I say "thank you" I usually don't hear "you're welcome" from them. This gives me an awkward feeling. Once my relatives took us to this restaurant and they didn't want to let me pay. So me and my 2 daughters said "thank you so much" and there was that awkward silence again. I kind of brought myself to get used to it already but my 2 daughters felt "unwelcome" from not hearing "you're welcome" from my aunts. So my question is why is "you're welcome" so hard to say over there? And here's one more thing. When they say "thank you" to me and I say "you're welcome" it seems like saying you're welcome to them makes them feel awkward too. Is this how it really is over there? I've been away from the country for so long. I still understand some of the culture though but I don't get this one. What about you? Do you say "you're welcome" when someone says "thank you" to you?
8 responses
@tholitz (1127)
• Philippines
12 Feb 10
Hi gicolet! I would agree with "xtedaxcvg" that is a matter of difference in culture. I would testify that I randomly used the expression "You're welcome" whenever someone thanked me. I would rather say "It is okay" or "It is nothing" to return the compliment back to him. We Filipinos associate or used the word "welcome" in other things, particularly in greeting our visitors. I think it is very common for us to think of how could we return the favor whenever someone have given us, just like what your relatives immediately think when you gave them gifts. I think the "smile" on their face would definitely means they are returning or giving thanks back to you. Have a nice day!
1 person likes this
@gicolet (1704)
• United States
16 Feb 10
very well said. i like how you explained it...it's so true. thank you for your response.
@eileenleyva (10984)
• Philippines
10 Feb 10
I would surmise that the reason for the silence is because they wouldn't know how to respond. They must as well keep quiet. There is no direct translation of "you're welcome" in Tagalog. We say "Salamat" (Thank You) and gets "Walang anuman" (that is nothing) for an answer. Many Filipinos, too, feel a little inferior towards their alien relatives especially when it comes to speaking. Or sometimes, we do not understand the words because of the accent. So, the silence. But it does not mean you are not welcome.
1 person likes this
@gicolet (1704)
• United States
11 Feb 10
good point. thanks for your response :)
@Ritchelle (3797)
• Philippines
15 Feb 10
maybe it's because filipinos are shy (not inferior) in a way that we always feel that we could've done better. this extends to giving gifts. ever noticed that we say (pag-pasensyahan mo na nakayanan ko?) please do accept what i was able to get you. (that's all i can do.)
@gicolet (1704)
• United States
16 Feb 10
majority of good filipinos are shy indeed. thanks for your response.
1 person likes this
@nykel88 (1003)
• Philippines
11 Feb 10
I say "you're welcome" when someone thank me and I'm full blooded pinoy! Filipinos are kinda shy in expressing feelings. We usually have blunt affects. Besides I don't think there is a word in tagalog "you're welcome". We only say "Thank you" and like wise same to you. If you know the word please do share because I really don't know. That is why maybe Filipinos don't say the welcome word. I'm sorry but in all our hearts we do say "you're welcome" we just can't express it overtly. ^^
@gicolet (1704)
• United States
11 Feb 10
yea i thought about that too. there are a lot of english words without tagalog translations....like computer, printer, shampoo, camera, pizza...and so on. thank you for responding.
@ybong007 (6658)
• Philippines
10 Feb 10
Its perfectly normal so don't worry yourself too much about it. Most Filipinos are just shy if not intimidated with anybody who has a "twang". don't take it against your relatives if you don't hear the word "your welcome". It's just a language barrier and nothing more. I'm sure they are all proud to have someone like you as a relative.
@gicolet (1704)
• United States
11 Feb 10
oh i wasn't taking it against them. my relatives in the philippines are very nice and accommodating...it's just more of a curiosity on my part. thanks.
@xtedaxcvg (3190)
• Philippines
10 Feb 10
The answer is simple - two different cultures clashing. Well, not really clashing but merging. I guess the reason for that is because some Filipinos are really shy in saying "you're welcome". Or maybe some just didnt get used to saying it. It's like they're expecting you to "already know" what they mean when they become silent. Not because some Filipinos dont say "you're welcome" that it means you're not really welcome.
@gicolet (1704)
• United States
11 Feb 10
the being shy part i totally understand and that's what i've presumed all along and you're probably right that some filipinos just aren't used to saying you're welcome. thanks for responding.
• Philippines
9 Feb 10
I'm a full blooded Pinay and I do say welcome to those who thanked me for some reason.
@gicolet (1704)
• United States
11 Feb 10
i'm thinking maybe it's about regional culture differences in the philippines? what do you think? thanks for responding.
@heroshen (146)
• Reunion
9 Feb 10
yup usually if someone say thanks to me, i will reply back ''you are welcome''.
@gicolet (1704)
• United States
11 Feb 10
that's actually the norm but for some filipinos i don't understand why they don't say you're welcome. thanks for your response.