Dressing well is a sign of success and respectability in the Philippines. A conservative suit and tie make a good (and expected) first impression; soon after, however, it is acceptable to dress in less formal (and cooler) attire. Women should dress conservatively but standards of modesty are not as strict as elsewhere in the region.
Shake hands with men and women during introductions; handshakes are firmer than in other Asian countries. Introductions are always ordered by rank or age. Like in many places, an introduction by a local or mutual friend makes business dealings smoother and faster.
In negotiations, be prepared to move at a very slow pace. Be patient and take the opportunity to build genuine personal relationships; it will be beneficial to the business relationship. Personal questions about life and family reflect the warm side of Filipino culture. Stay behind for social talk after business talk finishes.
The exchange of business cards in the Philippines is less formal than in other Asian countries, but it is still a good idea to treat them respectfully. Local custom calls for the visitor to offer a card first. The gesture may not be reciprocated unless you are of an equal or higher rank than the person to whom you give your card.
Don’t be pushy, don’t say no explicitly or aggressively, and don’t cause others to lose face. Filipinos are patriotic so do not do or say anything that criticises the nation or landmarks. If locals discuss politics or religion in your presence, listen, smile and do not take sides.