A STUDY commissioned by a money transfer service firm has found that Filipino workers abroad end up adopting a host country’s best practices when they return home.

The study conducted by Synovate Inc. was commissioned by the Western Union Company and sought to recognize the contribution of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) not just to the country’s economy but to its culture as well.

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Entitled “A Peek into Socio-Economic and Cultural Transfers (A Study on Cultural Transmission by OFWs from Host-to-Home Country),” the survey also learned that even if they brought in cultural changes back to their home, the OFWs “remain Filipino in heart and in mind and, in some instances, become even more than fiercely Pinoy in spirit than before they left.”

The survey showed that when they were faced with the challenge of making a living in a foreign land, OFWs adapt by learning particular aspects of the foreign country’s culture to adjust to their life overseas.

If they find some of these practices advantageous, they practice the same things when they return home.


Respondents were 300 OFW beneficiaries between 15 and 65 years old in Metro Manila and Batangas that had at least one OFW in the family who worked in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Oceania for at least two years.

They found that 97 percent of the respondents noticed a change in their OFW member and they attributed the change to being influenced by the country they worked in.

Though the most obvious changes noted were in food and fashion, they also noticed influences in attitude and behavior.

The study found that 48 percent of the OFWs developed a penchant for gadgets while 43 percent began to prefer signature clothes and 37 percent preferred signature bags and shoes.

About 37 percent became more conscious about health and began visits to the gym and practiced healthier lifestyles while 33 percent adopted new grooming and beauty practices.

Some 17 percent learned new recipes, 12 percent began to appreciate dishes from their host country, 33 percent changed their food preference and six percent changed their manner of cooking.

The study showed that 49 percent of the OFWs had new attitudes and behavior, 29 became more independent, 22 percent became more punctual and time-conscious and 17 percent were now observant of laws and were upfront about sharing their thoughts and feelings.

Forty-three percent were more morally conscious. Twenty-three percent of the OFWs were morally conscious concerning family, 17 percent with the environment, and 14 percent with parenting and child-rearing.

Thirty-five percent were observed to have new practices in housekeeping.


As for the beneficiaries, 71 percent of them claimed they were also influenced by these changes.

“With over 10 million or so Filipinos abroad and counting, Synovate foresees socio-economic cultural transfers to continue unabated in the coming years. The Western Union study has helped reveal this rich fabric of cultural exchange.

While the impact to Philippine culture may be masked by other means of socio-cultural transfer such as media, it is there, and will change our lives in both obvious and subtle ways,” said Carole Sarthou, Synovate Inc. managing director.