I truly believe that Filipinos are one of the best (if not THE best) people in the world. And I’m not just saying this because I’m Pinoy.
In fact, most foreigners would agree.
We Filipinos, in general, are incredibly optimistic, resilient, hospitable and happy. Though constantly battered with all sorts of challenges and obstacles, we remain joyful and unwavering.
There are so many wonderful qualities Filipinos possess that shine through and are noticed by others effortlessly. In fact, it doesn’t take a scientist to see (or analyze) how beautiful our people are.
That’s why it’s so sad that a good number of Pinoys have grown jaded and lost their way… perhaps due to problems with governement, corruption, poverty or even personal afflictions and western influence.
Recognizing and acknowledging our Filipino values is an important step to help us rekindle our enthusiasm and bring back the beauty that is best admired of our country – its people.
During the recent Alaska Krem-Top “Change for the Better” campaign launch, I was able to listen to renowned phenomenological sociologist Dr. Mina Ramirez of the Asian Social Institute. During her wonderful and very insightful talk, she identified Five Core Filipino Values that define us Pinoys.
Based on Dr. Ramirez’s study “The Filipino Worldview and Values” and her insights from decades of practice as a phenomenological sociologist, here are the Five Core Filipino Values based on the Basic Aspirations of a Filipino:
The “Five Core Filipino Values”
This is based on Filipinos’ aspiration for “Pamumuhay” (Life) and “Pananalig sa Diyos at Kapwa” (Faith in God and people). Filipinos know how to enjoy life. We have many holidays, feasts, occasions, and reunions. Filipinos are cheerful and naturally sociable. We wear smiles on our faces even in depressing situations. This is because we always look at the bright side of life. We always have a positive outlook because we always find things to be thankful for, even in the smallest things. We would always say “Salamat sa Diyos” (Thank God) whenever good things happen because Filipinos, from whatever religion, would attribute life’s blessings to the Higher Being. We also acknowledge the good deeds of other people towards us and we do our best to return the favor.
Being in a country prone to natural disasters, Filipinos have adapted and learned to be strong in times of need and in hard situations life throws at us. This strength is drawn from our love for our family and to the higher being we believe in. This is based on Filipino’s aspiration for “Kaayusan” (Order). In fact, Filipinos’ common expression is “Ayos Na”. When we are able to get through difficulties, we say “Ayos Na”. We, Filipinos long for “Kaayusan” and we will endure everything and be strong amidst hardships and challenges until we surpass the obstacles.
When Filipinos dream of something, we do everything possible to get it. We do it for our families and loved ones. This is based on Filipinos’ aspiration for “Kasaganaan” (Abundance) and “Ginhawa” (Relief). A Filipino aspires for abundance not for himself but for his family. The Filipino translation for Happy New Year is Masaganang Bagong Taon (Bountiful New Year) because we equate happiness and celebration with abundance. In Bisaya, “Ginhawa” means breath. And the smooth flow of breath is the smooth flow of life which we call “Ginhawa”. “Ginhawa” according to lay theologian Dr. Jose de Mesa is the feeling of well-being in a Filipino. An example would be Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who endure being away from home to give their families a good life – abundance and relief from hardships.
It is because of our love for the family extended to friends, neighbors and other people that make Filipinos naturally compassionate. This compassion enables us to help other people without asking for anything in return. This is based on Filipinos’ aspiration for “Loob at Damdamin” and “Kapwa” (Other People). “Loob” is the seat of Filipinos’ dignity. The personhood of Filipino is manifested in his “kalooban”. Filipinos tune in each other’s “kalooban” by checking on each other’s condition and chatting about each other’s lives. Due to our familistic culture, Filipinos use “kapwa” to refer not just to a stranger but to a relative, a next-door neighbor, a distant relative or a friend. Our “Mapagmalasakit” trait makes it easy for us to champion the Bayanihan spirit – to unite and help each other during calamities and celebrate together during special occasions.
The use of po, opo, and pagmamano (kissing of the hand) are distinct Filipino ways of respect. We say these words and use this gesture to show our respect and love for the elderly. The Filipinos’ respect is not just limited to the elderly but also to other people’s properties, emotions, and ideas. We are polite people. Our language itself is also respectful because it does not have any gender bias. Examples would be the words kapatid (brother / sister) or asawa (husband / wife) or biyenan (father-in-law / mother-in-law) or anak (son / daughter) which do not manifest differences in gender. These words are uniquely Filipino definitely respectful of the sexes. Our respect for other individuals is embedded in our culture and in our language. This is based on our aspiration for “Lakas ng Loob” or “Kagandahang Loob”.
If only we believed in ourselves more and the admirable traits we are still known to possess, then maybe we’d have an easier time getting along with one another and overcoming future challenges.
It is high time that we think of these Five Core Filipino Values and “Change for the Better”.
Realizing which of these Five Core Filipino Values have been lost or missing from us, will help us become the wonderful Filipino people we once were.
How, you ask?
By encouraging others and reminding them of what we Filipinos truly are. But most importantly, by becoming true living examples of these Five Core Filipino Values. To consciously exhibit these wonderful traits until it becomes second nature to us once again.
And it shouldn’t be hard for us to regain these Five Core Filipino Values… because we’ve always had it within us.
And so, I invite you to join me and bring back these Five Core Filipino Values. Are you up to the challenge? Are you ready to “Change for the Better”?
Of course you are. Pinoy ka, eh!
To know more about the Five Core Filipino Values and Alaska Krem-Top’s “Change for the Better” campaign, visit their official Facebook Page.