Welcome to the Philippines! You’ve probably noticed that Filipinos are friendly, accommodating, and nice all around. For starters we are always smiling. It is not true that we are always smiling, but it is likely we do it more than your people. This is because it is so much more pleasant than frowning or scowling. And people generally look better when they’re smiling, no? Here in Manila there is so much aggravation to put up with. It’s sweltering even when it’s rainy, the traffic is horrendous, it’s noisy and poverty is widespread. Smiling is the last thing one feels like doing under these circumstances. If you think about it, smiling in these conditions is a form of protest. It is a way of rising above the situation. It is not, as you might think, a vapid reflex.