Filipino Values Essay Sample

Filipino Values Pages
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– refers to the set of values or the value system that a majority of the Filipino have historically held important in their lives. This Philippine value system includes their own unique assemblage of consistent ideologies, moral codes, ethical practices, etiquette, and cultural and personal values that are promoted by their society. As with any society though, the values that an individual holds sacred can differ on the basis of religion, upbringing and other factors.

Philosophical Basis

Filipino values are, for the most part, centered at maintaining social harmony, motivated primarily by the desire to be accepted within a group. The main sanction against diverging from these values are the concepts of “Hiya”, roughly translated as ‘a sense of shame’, and “Amor propio” or ‘self-esteem’. Social approval, acceptance by a group, and belonging to a group are major concerns. Caring about what others will think, say or do, are strong influences on social behavior among Filipinos.

According to the anthropologist Leonardo Mercado, the Filipino worldview is basically ‘nondualistic’. Based on his linguistic analyses of Filipino value terms like loob (Cebuano buot), he concludes that Filipinos desire harmony, not only in interpersonal relationships, but also with nature and religion, while still remaining nondichotomous.

“The Filipino wants to harmonize the object and the subject, while at the same time holding both as distinct.” —Elements of Filipino Philosophy (1974), Leonardo Mercado, SVD

Florentino Timbreza, a cultural philosopher, concludes in his book Pilosopiyang Pilipino (1982) that Filipino values are based on the significance of the world to man. Life experiences dictate the philosophy of the Filipino, augmented by other sources like proverbs, folk sayings, folk tales, and the like.

Models of Filipino Values

F. Landa Jocano identified two models of the Filipino value system. The first is the exogenous model or the foreign model, while the second is the indigenous model or the traditional model. The foreign model is described to be a “legal and formal” model, while the indigenous model is described as a “traditional and non-formal” model or guide but is deeply embedded in the subconscious of the Filipinos. The foreign model was inherited by Filipinos from Western cultures, particularly from the Spaniards and the Americans. An example of a foreign or exogenous influence is bureaucracy exhibited in the government of the Philippines.

Elements & Composition

Based on studies, surveys, opinions, anecdotes, and other literatures made by experts and researchers in relation to Filipino social values or Filipino core values, along with the Filipino character or Filipino identity of a person or an individual known as the Filipino, the Filipino value system are found to possess inherent key elements. Among them are optimism about the future, pessimism with regards to present situations and events, the concern and care for other people, the existence of friendship and friendliness, the habit of being hospitable, religious nature, respectfulness to self and others, respect for the female members of society, the fear of God, and abhorrence of acts of cheating and thievery.

The core values of Filipinos specifically upholds the following items: solidarity of the family unit, security of the Philippine economy, orientation to small-groups, personalism, the concepts of “loob” or “kalooban” (meaning “what’s inside the self”, the “inner-self”, or the “actual personal feelings of the self”), existence and maintenance of smooth interpersonal relationships, and the sensing of the feelings or needs of others (known as pakikiramdam). In a larger picture, these values are grouped into general clusters or “macroclusters”: namely, the relationship cluster, the social cluster, the livelihood cluster, the inwardness cluster, and the optimism cluster.

Gender-specific values

In relation to parenthood, bearing male and female children depends on the preferences of the parents based on the expected roles that each gender would assume once grown up. Both genders are expected to become responsible members of the family and their society. Women in the Philippines are expected to become caring and nurturing mothers for their own children. Female Filipinos are also expected to lend a hand in household work. They are even anticipated to offer assistance after being married. On the other hand, Filipino men are expected to assume the role of becoming the primary source of income and financial support of his family.


The Filipino culture is a summation of indigenous forces and foreign influences that had come to bear upon the people in varying degrees during the last centuries . These foreign influences that contributed in the shaping of a Filipino culture are as follows: * The Malays – The basic component of Filipino culture is the Malay temperament which could best be described by “niceness and pleasantness” to others rather than by virtue of law abiding features. In its fluidness of culture , the Malay family clan or unit is the world’s best security system.Chinese – filial piety between parents and children , the flexibility to go along with other people and the “ sageliness within and the kingliness without “ of the Filipino is believed to be due to Chinese influence. * The Indian influence – Indian influence is found in the languages , mode of dressing , architectural art , folk , beliefs , brass , and copperware.

The Hindu influence – is the most pervasive in the Filipino belief system . For instance is the prediction of Filipino newspaper readers for horoscope and fortune- telling sections.The Spanish heritage – it is reflective of more developed societies at their point of contact , broadened the outlook of the Filipino . Spain introduced a community oriented rather than a family- oriented religion in the form of Christianity . It contributed to an elite class . A social and political organization, according to western institutions, was brought into the Philippines. * The Americans – the United States further broadened this heritage by introducing a democracy that called for individual liberty and equality as well as a national political community to which everybody was supposed to participate through national suffrage. The Filipino has thereby a foothold in many cultural spheres: the Malay, the Anglo-Saxon, the Hispanic, the Hindu-Islamic and even the Chinese.


The Filipino culture’s existence and development is viewed and interpreted in many ways. Some of them are: * The Traditional Concept- the traditionalist holds that Filipino culture was developed due to the conglomeration of the physical, intellectual, moral, and spiritual aspects. It assumes that underneath the independent and widely divergent culture as shown in their way of life, there is an underlying basic root of unity that holds the cultural tree together and infuses one clear, distinct substance through its veins. This includes their art of living, philosophy in life, attitudes toward God, nature and fellowmen.

* The Nationalistic View- this concept regards culture as the summation of the needs of the people, the description of their past and present condition, an expression of their values, thoughts and emotions, and the depiction of their historic struggles to liberate themselves. True national culture is inextricably linked to the people’s needs, ideas, emotions, and practices. * Cultural Dualism- this theory maintains that the Philippines is a transitional society dominated on one side by the traditional culture and on the other side by the modern culture. The norms and values of these two forces inevitably oppose each other leading to conflicts in the life of individual. Because of the conflict brought by the various foreign influences into the Philippines, the Filipinos have to engage into a selective integration and modification of foreign influences into a distinct Filipino culture.

Belief System

* Filipinos are religious. They believe so much in supernatural powers and view themselves as only a speck in this wide universe. This Filipino belief in the supernatural powers taught them to trust prayers rather than hard work in the realization of their dreams. Success is considered a blessing from above, a result of good luck and faith. It also taught him to value traits like perseverance, patience, and endurance. * Good is considered relative. What is considered good to one may not be good to another. Happiness and success differ from one person to another. Elders, parents, and superiors are respected and obeyed. Hospitality is one practice Filipinos believe in because it is their way of implementing threw golden rule: “Do unto others what you want others do unto you”.

Value System

Cultural values are shared assumption of what is right, good, or important. Values actually guide man’s behavior and action as he relates himself in most situations in life. The Filipino values can best be seen from the aspects of personal and social relationships. Personally, the Filipinos value more their honor and status than anything else. Majority of them takes care of their honor (karangalan) rather than wealth. In decision making, the Filipinos usually consult and take into consideration the consensus of the family members as the feelings of those who are to be affected.

Socially, the Filipinos give more emphasis on social relationships. This can be seen through the hospitality they give to their visitors and friends. They love to mingle with people particularly with friends and relatives. They engage themselves in mutual cooperation, which is best pictured through the “bayanihan”.

In terms of emotion, the Filipinos are friendly. They smile at people, even with strangers when they are approach. They are warm and simple. Women in the Philippines are highly regarded and respected and can be relied upon when it comes to family affairs.


* Utang-na-loob – it is a technique of reciprocity of debt of gratitude to others within the family circle or primary group, sometimes unlimited in nature, emotional rather than financial or rational. It is a sign of marginal economy where no place is available for bargaining, formal agreements, written contracts, specific rights, and responsibilities. Inability to repay “utang-na-loob”will result in the individual being labeled as “walang utang-na-loob” or “walang-hiya.” * Pakikisama – this is closely related to utang-na-loob. It is the value of belongingness and loyalty to the small in-group with sensitivity to the feelings of others on the principle of “give and take.”

Pakikisamais a folk concept of good public relations and avoidance of conflict with the leader or majority of the groups. Hiya – this controls to a large extent the behavior of the individual and most likely, is generally dependent on what others will think, say, and do. Because of hiya, a Filipino cannot say “NO” even if it is against his will to do what is being requested. * Bahala na – a common expression among Filipinos in this rest on the fatalistic outlook and strong dependence on the “spirits’ who will take care of everything if they are really meant for a person. * Authoritarianism – it is the dependence of Filipinos in a paternalistic rather than in a stern way upon the elders of the family, upon their boss, if employed, and upon people in authority as their father figure. * Individualism – it is a pattern of behavior which characterizes the Filipino as a self-centered. The desire to make a name for himself becomes the primary motivation for success.

* Amor-propio – it is the individuals highly emotional reaction to protect his honor and dignity when they are threatened or questioned and to retaliate. Common forms of amor-propio are “helehelebago quire,” or “pakipot” which shows at the outset a person initially refusing an offer even if he really wants very much to accept it. * “Paggalang” – In English it means being respectful or giving due respect for a person. Filipinos are accustomed to using the words “po,” “opo,” and “ho” when they are conversing with older people or sometimes to people with higher position or status in the society. Using these words is customary in the Philippines and it shows sign of respect. Paggalang can also be given to the elders by virtue of kissing their hands before leaving and upon arrival.

Younger member of the family gives due respect to older siblings by calling them kuya (older brother) or ate (older sister). * “Pagpapahalaga sa Pamilya” or Putting importance to family – This implies that a person will put a high regards and concerns over the family before anything else. This is one of the reasons why a father or a mother in a Filipino family will seek employment abroad just to earn decent earnings for their family, to meet the family’s basic needs and want. * “Hiya” or Shame – This controls the social behavior of Filipino. It is a value that makes a Filipino be obedient and be respectful to parents, older siblings and authorities. It is also a key ingredient to the loyalty of one’s family.

1. Home and Family
2. Media
3. Church
4. Community
5. Tradition and Culture


* Non- rationalism involves the belief in the supremacy of nature and forces outside of oneself like the belief in ghost, spirits, gods or deities, and other supernatural beings. * Rationalism – Involves a belief that by systematic planning, studying, and training, one can actually control and manipulate his or her destiny; one is thus greatly responsible for his or her own success or failure. A rational person is scientific- oriented, liberal and skeptical * Nationalism- The advocacy of making one’s own nation distinct and separate from the others in intellectual, social, cultural, economic, political, and moral matters. It is the feeling of oneness among the nationals who seek to establish the identity and the good of the nation in these matters. * Personalism- Filipino view the world in terms of personal relationships, and the extent to which one is able to personally relate to things and the people determines the recognition of their existence and the value given to them.

There is no separation between the objective task and the emotional involvement. Thus personalism is manifested in the tendency to give personal interpretation to actions, i.e., “take things personally.” Thus, a sincere question may be viewed as a challenge to one’s competence or positive feedback may be interpreted as a sign of special affection. There is in fact some basis for such interpretations as Filipinos are quite personal in criticism and praise. * Bayanihan – is a popular Filipino ideal that refers to the communal effort necessary to move a house. It is a Filipino tradition that arose among indigenous populations where community members would band together to relocate one’s home by placing it on a grid of bamboo sticks and lifting together. * This tradition began in small villages throughout the country even before Spanish colonization, and has been an important part of Filipino culture ever since.

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