October 31, 2022
Writers: Abby Alvarado, Raven Gavino
Researchers: Abby Alvarado, Raven Gavino
Editors: Rafael Reyes, Christopher Jan Dumaguin
Peer Reviewer: Jake Lester Villanueva
Graphics: Mitzy Sabellano, Jacklyn Moral, Krystle Mae Labio
Tweetchat Moderators: Marc John Paul Agbuya
Spaces Moderators: Richardson dR Mojica, Bill Fuentes
“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear, and the blind can see.” – Mark Twain
Nowadays, cultural values worldwide are growing fascinating. As the world moves forward toward social freedom and moving towards greatness, and splendor, people learn how to deal with certain situations in accordance with their values and attitudes.
As Filipinos, we are brought up with kindness as one of the values we hold dear. Filipinos are known for being hospitable, optimistic, and fun people to be with, making the Philippines so adored by other countries. Feeding you good food when you visit them in their homes, sharing fascinating stories with them, and treating you like a family even if you just met for the first time are epitome acts of showing the kindness that Filipinos have been culturally living.
FILIPINOS: WHO WE ARE
“Magpakabait ka” (be kind) is a common phrase that our elders would always remind us as we grow up. Perhaps, it is just our nature as Filipinos to care for our kapwa. Kindness has become one of the core values from our ancestors that we uphold and respect until today .
After centuries of colonization, it is no doubt that our captors have injected us with the culture of their homelands. When Spain colonized the Philippines, we were already celebrating Christmas as part of our culture and holiday stories such as giving gifts and exchanging cards . Meanwhile, some parts of Japanese culture remain today as we enjoy doing karaoke during celebrations . However, there are just old habits that we can’t let go of after many years. Even if we are not in our own country, we strongly sustain and spread our culture to others.
Pakikipag-kapwa, as upheld by Virgilio Enriquez, who declared the concept of a Filipino core value, refers to the essence of unique sensitivity towards people , . The term kapwa, or a shared inner self, lies at the core of Filipino values and psychology . A person who treats another as a kapwa has a shared sense of identity and consciousness with that other person . Recognizing our kapwa entails automatic treatment of kindness towards that person because they are our shared inner self .
FILIPINO: WHAT WE DO
Several core values of our ancestors have passed down to us which we sustained despite the varying cultures shared in our country . These core values play a big role in spreading kindness towards our kapwa , .
Hospitality. The hospitality of Filipinos manifests when we entertain visitors in our houses. We can observe that our parents or the elders in our home bring out the most expensive and beautiful tableware to best accommodate our visitors.
Optimism. Filipinos are optimistic. Despite the fact that the Philippines do not have the same resources as other countries, Filipino optimism never runs dry. They are able to see better pictures from not so beautiful situations.
Resourcefulness. Have you ever seen your parents or grandparents recycling what you thought of sending in the trash? They are able to reuse something that is not valuable to us. Our resourceful selves are the receipts of kindness towards the community and the environment.
Respect to Elders. Filipinos are known for having close family ties. Because of that we are always taught to practice a sign of respect or “pagmamano” to show respect for our elders in our family.
Helpfulness. “Bayanihan” is our iconic value of lending our helping hand to the people around us. Helping one another especially in times of need is innate to Filipinos.
Faith. Faith does not solely talk about our faith with God, although many Filipinos believe in a higher being. We can also have faith in our community. Having faith in others can make us believe and support others as a way to spread kindness.
Some of the common Filipino values that we can realign:
Bahala na Mentality (Fatalism vs. Determination). Bahala na is a phrase often perceived negatively, because at times, we say bahala na when we are being impulsive with our decisions. Some people may find it offensive if you adopt a bahala na mindset to avoid exerting as much effort as the others in a group setting. From another angle, it can be interpreted as submission to a higher being . According to the Philippines-Australia Business Council, the concept of bahala na allows Filipinos to confront difficult problems . It is a source of psychological strength when options are few and a decision must be made. In this sense, saying bahala na seems to assume readiness and confidence to attend situations.
Utang na Loob (Conditional Indebtedness vs. Gratitude). Utang na loob is commonly referred to as debt of will . Although the idea of remembering the people who help us stand where we are today isn’t absurd, the thought of having an obligation to return their good deeds throughout our lives can be crippling and mentally unhealthy . On the other hand, in Enriquez’s conceptualization of Filipino social behaviors, utang na loob came out as one of the values that surfaces when interacting with another person. It is unconditional in the sense that doing good behaviors to others does not require something in return that may be equivalent or perceived to equal the demonstrated good behaviors .
Lakas ng Loob (Indecisiveness vs. Courage). Lakas ng loob or courage refers to one’s inner self strength to the internal dimension of a person’s identity. This describes enduring a tough situation, does not give in to fear when making decisions and maintains honesty no matter what others’ opinions demonstrate integrity . In this sense, having lakas ng loob is the moral strength to withstand danger, fear and difficulty.
Being mabuti is innate to Filipinos. Although life constantly challenges kindness, and some negative traits exist within our culture, being kind is one of the core values that Filipino have kept and passed on to the succeeding generations. “Magpakabait ka palagi, hanggang dulo.”
If you or someone you know needs mental health consultation, kindly refer to our directory for mental health facilities, services, and organizations around the Philippines: https://mentalhealthph.org/directory/
List three things you observed from your kapwa showing the act of kindness.
- Share something kind that others have done to you that makes you feel good about yourself.
- What are Filipino values that need to be retained and redefined?
- How do you see the Filipino society when hindrances to showing kindness realigned?
In what ways can you teach the next generation about being a good Filipino?
- Benitez, L. (n.d) Power to the Pinoy: Kindness Stories. Retrieved from https://illustradolife.com/power-to-the-pinoy-kindness-stories/
- Veneracion, C. (2021). The Spanish Influence on Filipino Cuisine. Retrieved from https://www.thespruceeats.com/the-spanish-influence-on-filipino-cuisine-3030287
- Lifey. (2018). Japanese Influence on the Philippines. Retrieved from http://lifey.org/japanese-influence-on-the-philippines/
- Porcadas, M. (2019). Identifying Sikolohiyang Filipino in the Classroom. Retrieved from https://sfsu-dspace.calstate.edu/bitstream/handle/10211.3/214005/AS362019EDUCP67.pdf
- Concepcion, F. (2016) The myth of kapwa. Retrieved from https://www.rappler.com/moveph/124625-myth-kapwa-filipino-trait/
- Outsource Accelerator (2022). Understanding Filipino Traits, Value and Culture. Retrieved from https://www.outsourceaccelerator.com/articles/filipino-traits-and-values/
- Santillan, K. (2018). Roots of Filipino Humanism (I) “Kapwa”. Retrieved from https://www.pressenza.com/2018/07/roots-of-filipino-humanism-1kapwa/
- Owlcation. (2022). Pinoy Life: Classic Filipino Traits and Characteristics. https://owlcation.com/social-sciences/Filipino-Traits-and-Characteristics#:~:text=Respectful%20and%20Courteous&text=Children%20respect%20elders%20by%20saying,a%20bow%20to%20their%20employers.
- MNL OP. (2019). Filipino Qualities. Retrieved from https://mnlop.com.ph/2019/08/14/filipino-qualities/
- Anything Psych (2013). The Psychology Behind the Phrase “Bahala Na”. Retrieved from http://www.anythingpsych.com/2013/12/the-psychology-behind-bahala-na/
- Byskata (2017). United Nations Economic and Social Council. Retrieved on November 2017 at http://byskata.ul.pt/bitstreem/10452/18034
- Dominguez-Smith, N. (2022). Filipino Psychology 101: Utang na Loob (Debt of Will). Retrieved from https://notesbynani.com/filipino-psychology-101-utang-na-loob-debt-of-will/
- Rungduin et al. (2015). https://www.researchgate.net/publication/284433972_The_Filipino_character_strength_of_utang_na_loob_Exploring_contextual_associations_with_gratitude
- Rate, C.R. (2007) Implicit theories of courage. The Journal of Positive Psychology. Retrieved from http://www.spring.org.uk/2007/08/whatiscourage.php