The Genius of the Filipino Poor | Thomas Graham | TEDxADMU

  • Published on Aug 28, 2017
  • Thomas Graham was a journalist in the UK whose work brought him to the Philippines and inspired him to ditch the shirt and tie. He then ventured to the Gawad Kalinga communities up and down the Philippines in order to discover the "genius" of the Filipino poor. Thomas Graham was a journalist in the UK whose work brought him to the Philippines and inspired him to ditch the shirt and tie. He then ventured to the Gawad Kalinga communities up and down the Philippines in order to discover the "genius" of the Filipino poor. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

Comments • 884

  • sourcephil
    sourcephil 8 days ago +1

    Ridiculous video. Stop patronizing filipinos. Do you honestly they think they are genius when they are the only ones in Asia sleeping in cemeteries and eating landfill meat. Community spirit is admirable but hardly original, it exists everywhere in the world. Why don't you tell about the genius of Singaporeans and Japanese. Now THOSE people are worthy of looking up to and emulating.

  • Deybis
    Deybis 13 days ago

    12:41 he almost said bugger off LOL

  • Bryan Tadeo
    Bryan Tadeo 28 days ago

    Walang walanan and bayanihan offset by crab mentality.

  • Corliss Wanda
    Corliss Wanda Month ago

    I will retire in the Philippines!

  • You Me
    You Me 2 months ago

    The true use letter identity of pilipino is tagalog 'Baybayin' not alpabet .

  • lostinthemoonlight
    lostinthemoonlight 2 months ago

    Here is the difference: If you a Filipino in the Philippines, then you must follow strict oppressive laws. For example; they can get beheaded for smoking marijuana. If you are a white person from America visiting the Philippines, its like "Woo! I'm on vacation, lets party! Where's the drugs!" You can get messed up, bang 16 yo prostitutes, do anything you want, and if you get caught!?! Well, money is a universal language and the exchange rate is pretty good. Plus they are not going to behead an American. That would be on the news in an instant and probably justify a war.

  • Female ENTP
    Female ENTP 2 months ago +1

    WAS HERE ⚡️⚡️⚡️
    WAS HERE ⚡️⚡️⚡️
    WAS HERE ⚡️⚡️⚡️

  • IG McHeinzou
    IG McHeinzou 2 months ago

    To be honest with you, Fellow brit. Philippines is not good. It's literally the worst country.

  • DL Rich
    DL Rich 2 months ago

    Proud Pinoy here!

  • Albert Anacleto
    Albert Anacleto 2 months ago

    This made me cry 😢😭

  • Don Cedrick Concepcion
    Don Cedrick Concepcion 2 months ago

    Adunno if it's mine but the sound quality is quite poor.😎

  • Qcumber
    Qcumber 2 months ago

    If you can read French read "Concombre aux Philippines" LOL

  • Maclyn Calvo
    Maclyn Calvo 3 months ago

    Philippines..kingdom of maharlikan the land of OPHIR..

  • Nylle Xienalla
    Nylle Xienalla 3 months ago

    Minsan sa jeep, yung iba hindi na namamansin. Paalala lang sa mga sasakay ng jeep, kapag magpapaabot kayo ng bayad, magpasalamat kayo after. Kasi yung ibang tao, hindi namamansin, show some appreciation sa mga nagbibigay ng effort.

  • V1p3r21a
    V1p3r21a 3 months ago

    im filipino

  • Ettegroejd
    Ettegroejd 4 months ago +1

    There are people that start to be fascinated with different cultures except for their own.

  • A Beauty & A Beast
    A Beauty & A Beast 4 months ago

    Bayanihan is still alive in our country especially in poor communities. But what's discouraging is, corruption in the country is so rampant that people begin doubting if their efforts and hardworks are all worth it when there are only selected people who effortlessly gain better living off of the hardworks of the poor.

  • Puting Pinoy
    Puting Pinoy 4 months ago

    You were not pronouncing “bayad” or “para” properly. They are more like this “buy-ad” and para would be more like “paw-ra” the way you are pronounce it sounds like “pera” which means money. And you are pronouncing bayad like payat which means skinny. And what they did is “paabot po.”

  • Rexor
    Rexor 6 months ago

    Filipino... You should see our dota community. Salty as heck😂

  • Deus Junior
    Deus Junior 6 months ago

    Thank for recognizing that Thomas...

  • Jay Quilbio
    Jay Quilbio 6 months ago

    Haha you managed to pay on your own.then you realize you can pass it on the other people in your side. 👌🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

  • Everything
    Everything 7 months ago

    The Americans took care of us, so we go to America and take care of their elders.

  • Amandose
    Amandose 7 months ago

    Wow, so basically there's a white guy who in the end makes this story all about himself. Haven't heard that before.

  • peter almirante
    peter almirante 7 months ago

    Poor audio

  • aoeu256
    aoeu256 7 months ago +1

    I'd like to visit! I really hate feminazism in the Western world, and social media has destroyed our happiness.

  • Brent Jacob Mocho
    Brent Jacob Mocho 8 months ago +1

    Hahahaha bayad po moment. xD

  • Chayle Densing
    Chayle Densing 8 months ago

    this is amazing! thanks for sharing!

  • Just Random
    Just Random 8 months ago +1

    Kung ang pinoy magted talk babash nyo pero kung foreigner sabihin nyo great speech. Anu ba talaga? Mga pinoy ba talaga kayo?

  • Scott Johnson
    Scott Johnson 9 months ago +1

    When you invite someone to dinner and they ask if they can bring a friend.... and the entire village shows up to run up a $800 bill. LOL. yeah, they're geniuses

  • _Paws_
    _Paws_ 9 months ago

    Hmm it's like what they said in Lilo & Stitch "Ohana"

  • Crowned Clown
    Crowned Clown 9 months ago

    A/V 0/10 so sad. Cannot hear a thing.

  • carl ordena
    carl ordena 9 months ago +1

    I get a little emotional with this and have goosebumps...
    The saddest truth of being a Filipino...

  • cutie Qui
    cutie Qui 9 months ago +1

    "Like a butterfly, sometimes we don't realize how beautiful we are."💚💚

  • Dawn Ed
    Dawn Ed 9 months ago +1

    The best of tedxtalks so farr!!!!

  • Tom CryptoCurrency
    Tom CryptoCurrency 9 months ago +1

    Philippines and Filipinos like me are not actually strange...we are just different and that makes us very beautiful and a great experience to go through. Mabuhay!

  • Justme asdf
    Justme asdf 9 months ago +2

    “Nose bleed nose bleed”🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

  • la la la la
    la la la la 9 months ago +2

    I wish bayanihan is back to pilipino values not talangka hehehe

  • andrew aton
    andrew aton 9 months ago +1

    there is One best THING about the Philippines..

    Filipino Memes

  • Michael Joseph Dimaano
    Michael Joseph Dimaano 10 months ago

    I could only imagine Thomas' nipples protruding in an almost see-through barong Tagalog.

  • Awk ward
    Awk ward 10 months ago

    Oh may Gadddd!! I met him already in our school!! 😱 that's why his story was familiar.

  • MistaFadora
    MistaFadora 10 months ago

    When you said what can I do
    A message popped up from messenger saying wala

  • Cutiedoki
    Cutiedoki 10 months ago

    Some of the nega pinoy here really need to get over of themselves! This is about seeing the positive side of our culture despite all the craziness! There's nothing wrong in loving your own a little bit more, it's not boastful or some twisted pride, rather it's a simple gesture of giving thanks to your roots and appreciating both the good and the not so good side of it. Again, to all nega ampalaya here, this is not about you!

  • Yanyan kasi
    Yanyan kasi 10 months ago +3

    Acting very Filipino nowadays in our society are now seen as acting very cheap, poor, and low class. Filipinos nowadays, copies everything foreign to be "in" and accepted, neglecting their own identity. My experience being caught (because I feel like I did something wrong) being nationalistic garnered a lot of questions from both my classmates and even my professor, they questioned me like I was caught red handed. GOSH WHY IS IT SOOO WRONG TO APRICIATE OUR OWN COUNTRY/CULTURE?

  • Caelan Raegn
    Caelan Raegn 10 months ago

    If our government officials were better, our country could be a little bit better, too.

  • Smol Bunny Cat
    Smol Bunny Cat 10 months ago

    I’m disappointed in people saying “You only experienced good things cuz you’re white!” But I would like to challenge maybe it’s you who treat Filipinos differently than foreigners. Not to form an argument but I strongly disagree. Please perceive Filipinos more positively. As a Chinese Filipino, I’ve experienced both sides of the story, native and foreign treatments. Consider maybe it’s you who treat Filipinos differently? Since you seem to agree to bowing to whites, try to change that? Please po. I’ve had Chinese relatives taken in during storms. I’ve had Filipino friends take in Filipinos during typhoons and funded beggars through social welfare. It’s not exactly a matter of nationality but a case of being humane and civil. Don’t you dare downgrade Filipinos as if they’re only nice to whites. If you’re so against that, I hope you, as a Filipino, would treat your own kind equally. And maybe widen your experiences.. 😞

  • Smol Bunny Cat
    Smol Bunny Cat 10 months ago

    I live in the PH. My school actually sends us to three day retreats (grade 9 and 10) to poor communities to live with them and experience their experiences. Now, my school is actually pretty prestigious meaning several of my classmates have never experienced the things done there. I woke up at 5 to boil water for the bath (they don’t have heaters or a proper faucet so we had to carry large buckets to the bathroom), swept the floors, some of the boys went to help farm, I helped cook for the family, some went swimming at a stream, the kids (who were way younger than me) taught me how to cook dishes, we went to a marketplace riding a tricycle, in the afternoon we had the same idea to go to the barangay hall and play games. There was little to no signal there. It was a really great experience despite being a little hard. A friend of mine went to the market with his mother one day and his mom was pushing for a discount on the prices of bamboo (which was p40, less than a dollar) My friend told his mom “Ma, don’t push for a discount because I actually collected bamboos during the retreat and I had to climb hills and carry them back. I would pay p200 for that kind of work.” Never ask for discounts in poor markets, NEVER.

  • Smol Bunny Cat
    Smol Bunny Cat 10 months ago

    When my teacher was a rather large, Chinese student in the Philippines, he was stranded on a poor area during a storm. He knocked on big houses for help however they never answered and it was only desperation that made him ask for help from a poor house. They welcomed him and for dinner, had sardines from a can. Fun fact is that he HATED sardines because it’s what they fed the dogs and so he grew up with a mindset that it’s only for dogs. Then he realized the mom gave him two big pieces and a cup of rice while the family each got one piece with their rice. He slept in the masters bedroom that night while the family stayed in the living room. It’s good to say that he now actually eats sardines with that memory.

  • Edi Lyn
    Edi Lyn 10 months ago

    nice video! very true

  • Jason Brody
    Jason Brody 10 months ago

    Whats the problem with this "bayanihan" and "walang iwanan" thing is the other peoplr who abuses it. It makes sense to do so but still.

  • Albert Marion Lim
    Albert Marion Lim 10 months ago

    after Haiyan/Yolanda. Affected places had People come together to help each other. Some did recovery and rescue. Some went for establishing communication. Some went to scavenging for food. A lot of people helped dig out a massive grave for our dead. We helped carry our dead. We helped carry each other to survive. One town that did not get hit as much as we did, cleared the highway for everyone. That is bayanihan. That is walang iwanan. You could say at the time when supplies were short,people would be stingy... people actually opened their doors to serve food and shelter the homeless. I also had my fair share, established comms for Malmouth Doctors with the army. Sent out comms to a list using my phone with only a certain place that had a signal with only so much battery power to spare. Helped in applying first aid to someone who had a piece of wood inside him from septic symptoms.

  • ivan bernardo
    ivan bernardo 10 months ago

    Fix the audio

  • Travis Marshall Signo
    Travis Marshall Signo 10 months ago

    i wonder when their gonna upload the tedX talk of my college

  • Lliamiw Osdoalb
    Lliamiw Osdoalb 10 months ago

    Lol so where is he now? I feel sorry for this guy for being brainwashed but he dont really have to quit his job.

  • GPE
    GPE 10 months ago +1

    "So much fun out of so little resources" - This sums up how the typical Pinoys lives . You can get drunk and full stomach by just joining with your friends binge session.

    MOUNTAIN BIKING IN CEBU 10 months ago


  • Mary Sanchez
    Mary Sanchez 10 months ago

    What about all the orphaned kids who have to take care of themselves? The ones who mine and extract gold with a technique that uses mercury, which poisons them and the environment? What about the fact that they're decimating wildlife and eating some of them? You can count on three things in any Filipino village or town: a Catholic Church, a town hall... and a cockfighting ring. Their leader, as of this comment, has extrajudicially murdered nine thousand people, so far, with the justification that Duterte is wiping out drug dealers. It won't work, they'll be replaced quickly, like digging a hole in the ocean... and many aren't dealers. What about due process? What about the social acceptance of husbands abusing wives? What about the rejection of their mixed-race children?

  • MiyamotoMusashi76
    MiyamotoMusashi76 10 months ago

    I watched this video a few days ago on THU AUG 2. I’m a Filipino American living in San Francisco and drive for Lyft part time. I picked up Thomas and his friend yesterday, SAT AUG 4. l should’ve asked for a picture, but instead asked for a business card. Such a nice guy. The world is small, isn’t it?

  • Lilihya Sakimaki
    Lilihya Sakimaki 10 months ago

    Thank you for your inspiring speech. I am a filipino. And i love my country.

  • el el Batel
    el el Batel 10 months ago +1

    Hopefully standard iq test is free

  • gedLi
    gedLi 10 months ago

    I had NSTP with GK. they are very nice people.

  • wendy 77
    wendy 77 10 months ago

    Low volume

  • Hey!
    Hey! 10 months ago


  • BD2DK
    BD2DK 10 months ago +1

    Goes to show, people accumulate wealth, yet they become the most unhappy people in the world. They have everything they could want yet become so disconnected from people. Yet the simple things in life are what drive the hearts of so many Filipinos. Sure there's corruption and bad people everywhere you go. Poverty makes people do crazy things sometimes. But for the most part Filipinos are just satisfied with the simple life. If blessings of money and food come along, they are more than willing to share in the community. Our Western mentality can learn a lot from those who come from humble beginnings! God bless and salamat po sa inyong suporta sa ating mahal na bansa! Pinoy pa more!

  • thisisnewld
    thisisnewld 10 months ago

    So beautiful! Why I will always be proud of this true Filipino spirit. God bless you 💕

  • Prix Nige Cyan Malik
    Prix Nige Cyan Malik 10 months ago


  • RandomCraft Jr
    RandomCraft Jr 10 months ago


  • SevenDeMagnus
    SevenDeMagnus 10 months ago

    wrong spelling: Amerikano (with a k) in tagalog:-) Salcedo Village - quite a posh village in one of the most posh district in the most posh city (financial center).

  • SevenDeMagnus
    SevenDeMagnus 10 months ago

    Cool. You'll truly learn efficiency for sure. God bless, Proverbs 31

  • william d
    william d 10 months ago

    For those who admires and thinks that it's more fun in the Philippines and the Filipino culture I suggest you to watch this documentary, " Give Up Tomorrow " you can easily search it on youtube. Also the book " Shooting The Moon " by Gracia Burnham.

  • foxmatte
    foxmatte 10 months ago +1

    I would rather call it the mindset of the Filipino poor. Because what I see is the resiliency and adaptability of marginalised people collectively thinking that they sre trapped in a hopeless situation.

  • Boogey MANN
    Boogey MANN 10 months ago

    All these years I thought those things he mentioned was also normal for other countries

  • Jino Espera Burgos
    Jino Espera Burgos 11 months ago

    These was too funny. I love you. 😂😂

  • Jino Espera Burgos
    Jino Espera Burgos 11 months ago

    Joe the Amerikano. These are what Filipino call white foreigners to get their attention. Don't worry, it's pretty normal. :)

  • Jen Shi
    Jen Shi 11 months ago

    The Barong tagalog and jeepney story is very funny lmao

  • jake sarms
    jake sarms 11 months ago

    It's perfectly normal in that culture to borrow money with the intent of never paying it back. Getting money that's not yours seems to be a national sport over there- and people are actually proud to have a family member killing themselves overseas to give them charity. People have a different survival strategy in the Philippines- It's very twisted from Anglo thinking in the USA.

  • Ace Andrei Mirandilla
    Ace Andrei Mirandilla 11 months ago

    Petfect experience.. I hope ur not gonna meet the bad guys in PH. U r always welcome here brother 😊

  • dead wish
    dead wish 11 months ago

    nah, he missed something really important and maybe sad, he just experienced the indiana jones effect, coz pinoys wont really do the that to kapwa pinoys.

  • Little Yeoja
    Little Yeoja 11 months ago +1

    *poof* I saw another debate because of "proud to be filipino"
    Guys, nationalism is glorified in our country the reason why we are just too proud to be Filipino, the reason why Media make us proud to be Filipino.
    And we are constantly searching for foreign people taht are amazed in our culture as an approval to be proud as Filipinos. Why can't this just be a reminder that we can be something else other than being a corrupted and cancerous country?
    Every single one of us, really, is just cancerous.

  • Mae Boiser
    Mae Boiser 11 months ago

    Volume 😔

  • Spam Sandwich
    Spam Sandwich 11 months ago

    this dude has no doubt consumed too much coffee

  • tweety carmona
    tweety carmona 11 months ago

    I just love your accent sir cool

  • Aibelle Dela Cruz
    Aibelle Dela Cruz 11 months ago

    Audio is so bad

  • mo bene
    mo bene 11 months ago

    Ever heard of "walang gulangan? Well, there is. That's why the country will never ever emerge from the way it is.

  • Saul Simon Tan
    Saul Simon Tan 11 months ago +1

    When someone refers to the W.C. as the C.R., you know that person has been in the Philippines for quite a while.

  • rhey mark mijares
    rhey mark mijares 11 months ago

    I’m so glad I clicked on the video. Exactly what I needed to see. So MAD was his idea.

  • nilika
    nilika 11 months ago

    Nice! Thanks for sharing your experience.
    Hope this vid can be reuploaded w/ better audio though.

  • mistyflare19
    mistyflare19 11 months ago

    They were hospitable because you were a foreigner. If it was another filipino asking for help, would they have been treated the same way? Don't think so. Filipinos like kissing the asses of foreigners- particularly, caucasian ones.

  • rhyumi03
    rhyumi03 11 months ago

    Filipino Hospitality😊

  • David K
    David K 11 months ago

    Never mind the poor communities, fix the poor audio! LMFAO

  • glady penalosa
    glady penalosa 11 months ago

    Too bad. I can't hear the audio well. I want to watch it😞

  • Grace Antonio
    Grace Antonio 11 months ago

    Ah well... yes there is this about the Phils. & there is also a "that" - something else, just like every country in this world. Foreigners looking for alternative reality that touches deeply, there's plenty of this in the Phils. as Filipinos are usualy people of high hopes in low places.

  • Christopher
    Christopher 11 months ago

    It’s called God - it’s important to have faith, hope, and charity

  • Warren Ugbinar
    Warren Ugbinar 11 months ago +1

    The town this guys is talking about is my town!! Bantayan Island!


    i want to cry as a Filipino...because of happines and being proud for this

  • Zoran
    Zoran Year ago

    Filipinos are the best!

  • Nico Bryan Siason

    I teared up. Thom's Speech is an enlightenment

  • Manfred Schmid
    Manfred Schmid Year ago

    Thank you Tom for seeing the positive side of our culture, country and its people especially the poor.

  • Ameen Campano
    Ameen Campano Year ago

    I'm a Filipino and I hate almost everything in my country like poverty, ignorance, corruption, slow justice system, slow internet connection speed and unupdated systems. But I love the Philippines. Seems impossible, huh?

  • Mohammad Nezam Asarie

    Thomas I am in Philippines help the poor Filipinos

  • elias perdedor
    elias perdedor Year ago

    I find it odd that the subject for his speech is poverty while the venue where this was held is a school where the rich and powerful send their children to.