I was talking to my son, Austin, a few weeks back. He mentioned something interesting that I had never heard of before.

In Marinduque, where he’s assigned for his mission (for the Church of the Latter-Day Saints), they don’t strictly follow time.

They have watches and clocks, and they know the time. But for them, everything is scheduled around morning, noon, and night.

I asked Julia about this. And she said this.

This is more common in the more rural places and sleepy towns in the Philippines.

For example, my father-in-law’s hometown (Luna, La Union). It’s really small; you can hear the church bells and PA system wherever you are. We noticed that most people (and some businesses) base their schedules on the morning prayer, noontime prayer, early afternoon angelus, etc.

Strict schedules don’t make much sense when you’re in a sleepy town. There’s no need to rush. It makes more sense just to start working at sunrise, rest when it gets too hot (noontime), and stop working when it gets too dark.

Another reason why schedules don’t make sense is the public transport system here in the Philippines, specifically the jeepneys and tricycles.

Jeepneys don’t have timetables. They only make a profit when they’re full. In small towns, if we need to go to the market or the provincial capital, we have to go to the terminal and pray that when we get there that the jeepney is almost full and about to leave in a few minutes.

If we find a mostly empty jeep, we can always eat, nap, read, check our phone, etc., while waiting. Patience is needed because it can take a significant amount of time if there aren’t enough passengers.

The closer you get to the city, the stricter schedules are followed. When I was living in Manila, I knew the MRT schedule by heart. There are buses round the clock. And traffic apps are good at estimating ETAs.

But not the jeepneys. They have always operated on their own time.

I know a lot of things about the Philippines from my team. It still surprises me when I learn something new.

And you get frustrated when someone doesn’t “show up on time” to an interview.


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