It's not so much that their imagination is bad, as it is they aren't consistent, so you can just about replace any mythological creature with any other, and have the same tale.
Even the jap stuff, of which tends to be more solid. They usually go the route of 'spirits', like you say, but that also means that just about anything can be a 'spirit' with the same effect.
Only real exception are the whole kitsunes lot.
Not heard of much from philipinos as far as mythology. What type of spirits've they got?
Just remember, a dragon's not the kind of creature who cares to argue for good.
'least, not for the sake of convincing you to do good or whatever. She may argue for fun, or to pass time, but ultimately, dragons just do
Whatever it is they desire, whatever it is they want, they just go and get it by the most direct means they have available to them.
This is not to say that dragons cannot scheme, if that's what they desire. Just that, being massive walls of muscle, magic, and deadly bits, they're not exactly going to have as much need to worry about, say, whether or not it's legal to smash apart the castle of the corrupt baron who bullied a friend.