National Consciousness Month for Punctuality and Civility – November 2022

National Consciousness Month for Punctuality and Civility is observed in November every year in the Philippines. It’s a cultural celebration in response to the habit of Filipino time, also known as the normalization of tardiness. This holiday is dedicated to promoting the value of time in the Philippines. This applies not just in schools, government offices, and companies, but also in everyday lives such as casual meet-ups with friends and families. It’s an important reminder that time is of the essence and should be upheld with golden standards. Find out the ways you can celebrate National Consciousness Month for Punctuality and Civility here.

History of National Consciousness Month for Punctuality and Civility

Acts of tardiness and procrastination have long been established in Filipino culture and were formerly regarded as normal and acceptable — but this did not occur overnight. These customs date back to the 1500s when the Spanish Empire ruled for about 300 years. Being late for meetings and events was historically seen to be a ‘status symbol,’ denoting upper-class and royal rank. According to Dr. Louie Benedict Ignacio, a professor of sociology and political science at the University of Santo Tomas, the Spaniards established the cultural normalcy of latecomers since they were considered superior to everyone else.

However, this changed during the American colonization in 1901 when they introduced strict compliance to time, deadlines, and schedules. Most Filipinos found this a difficult adjustment because there had been a 300-year tradition of tolerating tardiness. Americans would refer to Filipinos arriving late for meetings or scheduled appointments as ‘Filipino time.’ This word has persisted in Philippine culture to the present day. For decades, Americans instilled in Filipinos a strong sense of punctuality and decency. As a result, the practice of valuing time as a responsible citizenry and respectable citizenry began.

In 2008, former Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo declared November as the National Consciousness Month for Punctuality and Civility. This was issued under Proclamation No. 1638, which denotes valuing the time of others and respecting the essence of time itself. This was officially promoted by the Organized Response for the Advancement of Society, Inc. (ORAS) — a non-government association dedicated to producing a new breed of Filipinos who completely eradicate tardiness and procrastination.

National Consciousness Month for Punctuality and Civility timeline

1500s
The Normalization of Tardiness

The Spanish regime introduced the status symbol of tardiness to Philippine culture.

1901
The Origin of Filipino Time

Americans coin the term ‘Filipino Time’ for those who are constantly late for meetings and scheduled appointments,

2008
National Consciousness Month for Punctuality and Civility

Former Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo declares November the official National Consciousness Month for Punctuality and Civility.

2013
Synchronized Philippine Time

President Benigno Aquino III signs R.A. 10535, which aims to synchronize everyone’s time to avoid tardiness.

National Consciousness Month for Punctuality and Civility FAQs

What are the examples of Filipino time?

Arriving five minutes late and being tolerated is the pinnacle of Filipino time. This becomes a habit, and the habit becomes normalized conduct with no repercussions.

When was Proclamation No. 1638 signed?

It was signed on October 8, 2008, and took effect a month later.

How do I avoid Filipino time?

The biggest challenge of avoiding Filipino time is trying to overcome a change of habit. Don’t be afraid to break a norm and be considerate of other people. It’s also good to think of the benefits and rewards of timeliness.

National Consciousness Month for Punctuality and Civility Activities

  1. Educate your kids about the value of time

    The best way to instill the value of time to kids is to educate them about the cons of tardiness. Educate them while they’re young and let them carry this virtue for the rest of their lives.

  2. Make a plan with friends

    A fun way to celebrate National Consciousness Month for Punctuality and Civility is to make a plan with friends and request that everyone is early or on time. Whoever arrives late will have to treat everyone to a meal later that day.

  3. Follow a scheduled routine

    Planning a routine is a good way to exercise to avoid tardiness. Schedule your activities ahead of time and make sure to strictly follow them.

5 Interesting Facts About Tardiness

  1. National pet peeve

    In 2013, tardiness officially became a national pet peeve among Filipinos.

  2. The ‘late’ president

    Former Philippine President Elpidio Quirino was late in receiving his honorary doctorate at Fordham University in 1949.

  3. Filipino time was mentioned in “Noli Me Tangere”

    Dr. Jose Rizal mentioned the habit of tardiness as a Spanish influence in his novel, “Noli Me Tangere.”

  4. Lower-class Filipinos were discriminated against

    During the American colonization, lower-class Filipinos, called ‘Indios,’ were discriminated against due to tardiness.

  5. ‘Filipino on time’

    There’s an ongoing movement to switch ‘Filipino time’ into ‘Filipino on time’ as a way of respecting other people’s time.

Why We Love National Consciousness Month for Punctuality and Civility

  1. Tardiness is inexcusable

    Being on time is a sign of respect and professionalism. Tardiness is just inexcusable and should be completely eradicated.

  2. Time is gold

    Time is a valuable commodity. In corporate settings, squandering other people's time implies wasting their energy and resources.

  3. It’s time to change the Filipino image

    It’s about time to eliminate others’ notion of Filipinos regarding timeliness. National Consciousness Month for Punctuality and Civility overhauls the character of Filipinos by implementing the virtue of responsible citizenry.

National Consciousness Month for Punctuality and Civility dates

YearDateDay
2022November 1Tuesday
2023November 1Wednesday
2024November 1Friday
2025November 1Saturday
2026November 1Sunday
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