Filipino Philosophy

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Filipino Philosophy

Filipino philosophy is an aspect of Filipino thought.

Every people has its own existential postulates, as the anthropologists testify. Filipino philosophy is implied in the Filipino’s way of thinking, but the former still has to be ex- plicitated. We are at this groping stage. Hence the results are still fragmentary and imperfect. (Ctto:http://www.philippinestudies.net/ojs/index.php/ps/article/viewFile/1991/5041)

 

The following filipino Philosophies are:

  1. Kababaang loob– This philosophy shows how men are naturally good, humility or lowness of the inner self is with in each of everyone of us. It is perfectly inclined with the quote “the more you lower yourself, the more high you become”

According to Copernicus “we have the right to be humble” and this cannot be contrasted because we are free and we have the choice to do what we want and be what we want to be. But in the present reality being humble is a choice and not all of us possesses this philosophy.

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2.Filipino time– A filipino bad habit which is caused by human mentality. It is a bad attitude where filipino use the time irresponsibly. In this filipino bad habit, people are minutes or hours late to the specified time of arrival.

https://www.google.com.ph/url?sa=i&source=images&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwjnlJPFjMfdAhWQT30KHQIvCW0QjB16BAgBEAM&url=http%3A%2F%2Frelentlessryan.com%2F2010%2F02%2Fon-filipino-time-and-how-i-managed-to-break-away-from-the-curse%2F&psig=AOvVaw3UjQJ7PJLk2v69sUaAOC4T&ust=1537447497266027

The main reason of this filipino philosophy is relying to the concept of “bahala na”. The word “bahala” came from the root word “bathala” which means the supreme being and the “bahala na” actually means they rely their irresponsibility to the supreme being.

In addition there are many Gods to whom ancient Filipinos hold up to some are:

  1. Diyan Masalanta- God of love
  2. Idinayale- God of Harvest
  3. Lalahon-God of Agriculture
  4. Balangaw- God of the Rainbow
  5. Sidapa-God of Death
  6. Magwayen- God of the Sea
  7. Agni-God of fire

 

  1. Utang na loob– debt of gratitude or borrowed inner self. This is a good philosophy where people return their deep debt in an other manner in order to say thank you and show return of gratitude.

In filipino philosophy, bigay kaya is an application where parents or guardian will demand money to the man who will marry their daughter, in order for them to receive the return value of effort for raising their daughter. There are two main concept for bigay kaya:

  1. Bigay suso- is the sum of the money that the man will give to the person in exchange for the use of her breast milk for raising their child.
  2. 2.Panghimuyat- is the sum of the money that the man will give to the person in exchange for all “puyat” spend for raising their child.

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4. Bayanihan- derived from a Filipino word “bayan”, which means nation, town or community. The term bayanihan itself literally means “being in a bayan”, which refers to the spirit of communal unity, work and cooperation to achieve a particular goal.

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The Bayanihan Spirit

But according to Isagani Cruz– foundation of K-12,

 “Bayanihan philosophy in the Philippines is going to extinction “

WHAT IS FILIPINO PHILOSOPHY?

Filipino Philosophy is the attitude, worldview, and notion of the natural citizens of the Philippines towards the day-to-day experiences in life, religion, communication, survival, interrelationship with people and intra-relationship with his sakop or to oneself – the “I,” and the uplifting of one’s soul – the Filipino being. Filipinos are used to be stereotyped as the bamboo grass for it always sway with the wind. The Filipino people has gone through tough and rough times, good and bounty years, and yet they always stand as firm as it was on the day our ancestors fought Magellan. Our own worldview explains why we stand all erect despite economic downfall, political crisis, natural calamities. One thing that is to be observed, everything revolves in relationships, in the sakop, in the upliftment of one’s soul. Justice for the Filipino people is the satisfaction of the needs of the self and his relations. These and more is the pattern of Filipinos which leads to the general behavior of the nation – the philosophy of the Filipinos.

It is the critical examination of the grounds for the fundamental beliefs of Filipino being as an individual and as a universal; likewise it is an analysis of the basic concepts employed in the expression of their worldview. Included in this study is the study of Filipino worldview from different tribal groups to mainland people and to the new generation of the modern times. Since it is a study and the Filipinos have a diversity of life as it has a seven thousand one hundred islands, there should also be different branches of Filipino Philosophy of which I categorize as:

(1) Ethnolinguistic-Tribal Philosophy where Bicolano, Cebuano, Tagalog, Ilocano Philosphies would fall under;  (2) Filipino Philosophy of Religion;
(4) Animism and Practices of Filipinos; and
(5) other Filipino Phylosophies that  Filipino scholars may add and institutionalize that is not or  only partially influenced by the Western Philosophy and purely in the Filipino context.

Ethnolinguistic-Tribal Philosophy will further explain and discuss the main ideas and the worldviews of the linguistic groups in the country. Particulars bring about the general. Each particular small group philosophies combines into one distinct philosophy which is the Filipino Philosophy. What unites it or what is common among the philosophies? The self or the “I,” or that individual characteristic – sakop orientedness.

The Filipino is more others-centered than self-centered. Filipino basic personality is made up of Filipino beliefs and knowledge that are equated and related to various rituals and formal and informal education passed from generation to generation. The family contributes to and maintains the Filipino values and to the individual self most specially that the Family is part of the “self” being the “sakop.” Filipinos value family highly and rely on family relations in defining and seeking help for problems or disorders. The family name is valued more highly than that of the individual. These values bind the individual to the family, making him/her to consider how a decision will impact the family. The Filipino cannot be discussed on a person by person basis. Unlike western practices, a Filipino is not complete   without    his  relationships A Filipino cannot be defined sans family … these are his essential relationships — with one another, with family — and no Pinoy is truly Pinoy without them.

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According to Mercado Filipino Philosophy or the people’s “diwa” is what is, not what should be, and as such it has its weaknesses and strengths. It is both dynamic and static. Other scholars do not give a definite definition of what is Filipino Philosophy. But here we shall define the terms in order for us to have a clear and determined notion of what Filipino Philosophy is all about.

            Basing from aforementioned definitions of what is “a” or “to be a Filipino” and the definitions of Philosophy, we now define Filipino Philosophy as the critical examination of the grounds for the fundamental beliefs of Filipino being as an individual and as a universal; likewise it is an analysis of the basic concepts employed in the expression of their worldview.

              Filipino Philosophy is the critical examination of the grounds for fundamental beliefs of Filipinos and an analysis of the basic concepts employed in the expression of the Filipino Worldviews.

Furthermore, I would like to define it into three dimensions:

  1. Filipino Philosophy as a discipline.
  2. Filipino Philosophy as a behavioral worldview pattern of Filipinos.
  3. Filipino Philosophy as an identity.

Filipino Philosophy as a discipline. It is the critical examination of the grounds for the fundamental beliefs of Filipino being as an individual and as a universal; likewise it is an analysis of the basic concepts employed in the expression of their worldview. Included in this study is the study of Filipino worldview from different tribal groups to mainland people and to the new generation of the modern times. Since it is a study and the Filipinos have a diversity of life as it has a seven thousand one hundred islands, there should also be different branches of Filipino Philosophy of which I categorize as:

(1) Ethnolinguistic-Tribal Philosophy where Bicolano, Cebuano, Tagalog, Ilocano Philosphies would fall under;

(2) Filipino Philosophy of Religion;

(4) Animism and Practices of Filipinos; and

(5) other Filipino Phylosophies that  Filipino scholars may add and institutionalize that is not or  only partially influenced by the Western Philosophy and purely in the Filipino context.

Ethnolinguistic-Tribal Philosophy will further explain and discuss the main ideas and the worldviews of the linguistic groups in the country. Particulars bring about the general. Each particular small group philosophies combines into one distinct philosophy which is the Filipino Philosophy. What unites it or what is common among the philosophies? The self or the “I,” or that individual characteristic – sakop orientedness.

Knowing that the Filipinos are animalistic, owing its culture to the eastern practice, ‘Filipino Philosophy of Religion’ and ‘Animism and Practices of the Filipinos’ would explain further the motives why an individual does his or her thightings or his adoration of his or her God and attributes. It will further explain the way Filipinos think or give importance to their religious experience and how orthrodox it is to the true orthrodox religion. It must be the tool in understanding the Filipino’s attitude on feasts, religious activities such as Christmas, Holy Week, Ramadan, and that amazing attitude of adoring mountains and making places sacred. Questions like, ‘Where do these attitudes come from? Is it from the hospitality?  the fear of God? or Filipino’s attitude of harmony?” are to be answered more clearly by this branch of Filipino Philosophy.

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Filipino Philosophy as a behavioral worldview pattern of Filipinos. Filipino Philosophy is the attitude, worldview, and notion of the natural citizens of the Philippines towards the day-to-day experiences in life, religion, communication, survival, interrelationship with people and intra-relationship with his sakop or to oneself – the “I,” and the uplifting of one’s soul – the Filipino being.

Filipinos are used to be stereotyped as the bamboo grass for it always sway with the wind. The Filipino people has gone through tough and rough times, good and bounty years, and yet they always stand as firm as it was on the day our ancestors fought Magellan. Our own worldview explains why we stand all erect despite economic downfall, political crisis, natural calamities. One thing that is to be observed, everything revolves in relationships, in the sakop, in the upliftment of one’s soul. Justice for the Filipino people is the satisfaction of the needs of the self and his relations. These and more is the pattern of Filipinos which leads to the general behavior of the nation – the philosophy of the Filipinos.

Filipino Philosophy as an identity. Filipino Philosophy is the soul (self or “I” ) of humans living in the Philippines having “other-orientedness-centered-on-affinity-and-environment-self,” and feelings towards realities and illusions in life  and one’s entity that is obviously evident in his endurance to be with his society, live the religious-spiritual aspects imposed and expected of him,  and live-out the culture he/she has acquired from his ancestors and his current environment.

We are used to presuppose that our philosophy is a western philosophy and yet I say that it is not. It is a pride to say that we have our own, our very own identity, our sense of existence and our own line of thoughts. Having our own worldview and our own way of looking at things and experiences is a mere fact that we are having our own true identity, we have our own pride. We may owe some of its components from our past but it does not mean it conquers all. The past is only a part of it and not the whole so we can call Filipino philosophy as ours.

It is wrong to say that Filipino philosophy may not be as what it is now or before because it has its own identity. But we have to accept the fact that we have no other choice but to recognize the contributing factors to its nature. Historical knowledge as said by Croce, is considered as complete knowledge. Filipinos having his own mind and having his own way of thinking has gained knowledge. He may have gained it from his history as he judge his day-to-day life and experiences and perceptions, but we can consider it as knowledge it self.

Culture sets off from the split of a second measured in the historical timeline of an individual or of a nation. Culture brings about variations in languages and in religious notions. All of these affect in one-way or another the Filipino mind. The next chapter will further expand and discuss these major factors in the coining of a Filipino worldview.

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Major Influences To Filipino Philosophy

  1. The Philippines: Facts About The Country and People

The History of a country has something to do with the worldview and way of thinking of its citizens. It is now appropriate to lay down the historical influences and foundations of Filipino Philosophy. But first let us state the geopgraphical situation of the country.

The Philippines has a total land area of 300,780 square kilometers (115,600 square miles), and is totally surrounded by water; composed of 7,107 islands with a total land area of 296,912 square kilometers (1.6 kilometers equal 1 mile); and is about 160 kilometers (100 miles) below Taiwan, and 24 kilometers above Borneo. Being above the equator, aside from having numerous active volcanoes, the Philippines is also in the typhoon belt. The annual range of typhoon visits is 20 to 30 times.

The Philippines has a population of 82 million which is rather unevenly distributed on the larger islands due to livelihood opportunities, social and economic organizations and historical factors. Her biggest islands in addition to the three (3) main islands – Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao – are Mindoro, Samar, Panay, Cebu, Palawan, Leyte, Bohol and Masbate. Her largest cities are Manila, Quezon, Davao and Cebu.

The Philippines has for its languages Filipino, English and Spanish; it have 87 major languages and hundreds of different major dialects. English is widely spoken; in fact, this country is the third largest English-speaking nation in the world. Filipino is the current national language of the country. Philippines is the first democratic country in Asia[7] and the first Republic.

The country was inhabited by ancient Filipinos who were then called natives of the Philippines who originated from nearby lands in the South East and Eatern Regions of Asia. From the data collected during archeological excavations, Tabon cave proposes that men inhabited the country far way back 24, 000 to 22, 000 BC.[8] The pre-spanic Filipinos had established primitive norms in tribes. The primitive Filipinos behaved as its ethical and moral standards are dictated by the leader of the tribe. The identity of the individual Filipino is in consonance or identical with the group.

The country was rediscoverd by the Spaniards by the Spaniards in 1521 by Ferdinand Magellan and his men. There were fights, wars. It was a manifestation of the human instinct of man, what ever race he may be, defend his right and his own land. There were fights. Due to the arabic and islamic blood running through the Visayans and Mindanaons, war broke up upon invasion but later some submitted to the hands of the conquerors. There are two major reasons for submission, first because the Filipinos are animistic and the Spaniards made use of techniques that could encourage the natives to subdue to their powers; second is that they were defeated because of the higher technology used by the Spaniards.

When the country was rediscoverd, a new religion was introduced which is contrasting and conflicting to the animism and the islam present in the south and in the archepelago. Catholic Religion was introduced to the pagans and from this religion rooted the many “now attitudes” and Psyche of the Filipino people – due to the lenghty years of Spanis rule. Today we have the folk Catholicism that may be divided into two – official and unofficial – leading to many questions on the authenticity of the faith of the individual Filipinos.

Oppressions stimulated revolts until the country became a United States colony after it bought the Philippines from Spain to finish the Spanish-American War in 1898. Filipinos were under Spanish rule for 333 years before Americans came to the Philippines. The United States stayed in the Philippines until 1946. As a result of 48 years of American rule, most Filipinos know English and are familiar with American culture.

The Americans introduced education to the Filipinos and mostly introduced  their culture and values. It is to be noted that most of the Filipinos except for those who were in the tribal uplands and lowlands where no Americans were able to go, became American in ways, lifestyle and in living. Filipinos got the sense of pragmatism from their American colonizer.

The country suffered from the invasion of the Japanese and its involvement in the World War II where many were shocked and many were deprived of freedom and dignity of life. Later when the war was over and when the Filipinos found out that they were just used by the Americans during the war, their war, comes the attitude of disapointment and grievances of some national leaders that compelled the nation to eliminate the American presence in the country.

Communism, and Narcicism came about in the Philippines as well as Marxism which changed the view of Filipinos towards National freedom and national identity. Morality, on which before streams from the Church, was then started to be based from the relationships between workers and the employees, landlords and tenants, and from the societal laws.

In order to get the main trend and the main thinking brought about by the revolutionaries and insurgents, we shall take note that the rise of the philosophical trends in the world particularly in Asia, also influences people’s behavior most especially the lowland who went upland.

In todays part of History, we see the rise of individualism among Filipinos brought about by the emergence of technology – cellular phones – where one can be alone and have a friend without seing him  – true to the urban and civilized rural areas; and the emergence of the information superhighway.

The changes in politics and the corruptions there are; the debt of the country to the World Bank; the political instability and the malfunction of the functions of the different branches of the government have lead the people to unite themselves and go back to the main behavior of Filipinos – to have harmony in the community; sakop orientation is evident in the political arena, euphemism.

As the Church of the Philippines is rocked, so is the religiosity of the people most specially the Catholics and the Protestant Christians. But despite the changes in times, there still exists the tribal minorities who preserve their identities and their way of life.

The Filipinos are being divided by the changes of times as the country passes through the timeline of History of today. But regardless of this dividedness, the identity of a Filipino – the self as other centeredness – is there, well preserved and shining.

Among the major contributing factors to the nature of Filipino Philosophy are the religious inclinations, educational system and the way of value transmition, pragmatism of Americans as practiced by Filipinos specially in the modern times, attitudes towards nationalism, communism of the insurgents and of the separatists, and the inclination to freedom demonstrated in the recent revolutions at EDSA . Likewise it is evident in the societal laws and the way Filipinos treat their fellow “ka-barangay” or “kabayan.”

The differences of contributing forces from different colonizers and from the different deposits of time, one can say that the philosophy of Filipinos is fragmented and indifferent. In the surface level of understanding and analyzing, it may be true but as we can see the present philosophy of the Filipinos is unique to other nationalities. One perfect manifestation of this is our own way of changing the Government and the peaceful revolutions made in the country. “Filipino is the end-product of his historical past.” [9]

Aside from the historical factors that contribute to the formation of our Philosophy, we have to consider the cultural or the anthropological factors contributing to it. In the next part, we shall discuss briefly the culture of the Filipinos that contributes much in the shaping of the Filipino self and the society.

  1. Distinct Elements of Filipino Culture

The Filipinos are a happy blend of several races, basically Malay with Chinese, Spanish, Indian and American admixtures. Their values and ways of life were shaped by several, sometimes-conflicting cultures and the resulting blend is what makes their own uniquely Filipino. In their veins run the rich Christian values of Spain and Europe, the pragmatic and democratic values of America, and the spiritual and animistic values of Asia.

Filipino elements of culture are: values, basic personality, basic social unit, politics, economics, technology and ecology. The content of the Filipino social unit is the family, groups and community life while the structure is the lineage, marriage descent, neighborhood, peer group and villages.

The Philippines, since it is an agricultural country by nature, her inhabitants values temperature, type of soil, amount of moisture, types of crops that can be grown or types of animals and other environmental features – these become part of their concept of time, distance and relations. Filipinos value nature and its structure including hunting, fishing, nature worship and irrigation.

  1. Filipino Personality

The Filipino is more others-centered than self-centered.[10] Filipino basic personality is made up of Filipino beliefs and knowledge that are equated and related to various rituals and formal and informal education passed from generation to generation.

The family contributes to and maintains the Filipino values and to the individual self most specially that the Family is part of the “self” being the “sakop.” Filipinos value family highly and rely on family relations in defining and seeking help for problems or disorders. The family name is valued more highly than that of the individual. These values bind the individual to the family, making him/her to consider how a decision will impact the family.

There are three Filipino characteristics: (1) personalism, which can be explained as the placement of the subject over the object; (2) authoritarianism, which refers to the high value placed on a person in authority — the boss or the expert; (3) small-group centeredness where the unit thought and actions within the nation is not so much of the individual, nor of the big group but of the small primary group. Filipinos like to have or are self-loving, getting along, individuality, embarrassment, euphemism, cleanliness, and reciprocity.

The Filipino cannot be discussed on a person by person basis. Unlike western practices, a Filipino is not complete   without    his  relationships A Filipino cannot be defined sans family … these are his essential relationships — with one another, with family — and no Pinoy is truly Pinoy without them. This relationship-seeking attitude is most evident when introducing Filipinos in every corner of the country.

The basic unit of the Philippine social organization is the family that includes the mother, father and children, and the bilateral extended family that embraces all relatives of the father and the mother. Of special importance is the sibling group, the unit formed by brothers and sisters. There are no clans or similar unilateral kinship groups in the Philippines. The elementary family and the sibling group form the primary bases of corporate action.

The Philippine society is characterized as familial. This means that the influence of kinship, which centers on the family, is far-reaching. The Filipino family is the nuclear unit around which social activities are organized – it is the basic unit of corporate action. The interests of the individual in Philippine society are secondary to those of the family.

Filipinos have a unique way of establishing kinship without actual blood relations. “Pakikiramdam” or known as Smooth Interpersonal Relationships is the core identity of the Filipino. It is a natural skill for all Filipinos to read between the lines. He has this internal language to sense the surrounding.

Filipinos rarely get involved if they have no personal concern regarding the activity or the project. A Filipino will exert more effort when he/she is related to that specific given task or his name and the name of the “sakop” is involved. Along with this also arises the need for a personal touch. A simple personal invitation is a hundred times more regarded than any formal written invitation. Filipinos likes to be invited even if it is only a joke and even if it is an occasion within the clan or nearby neighborhood. A neglect of this personality leads to misunderstanding or “pagdaramdam.”

Filipinos usually like to associate themselves with a higher power and, in return, submit to this higher person if the need arises. This is most likely true to the “Masa” and even to elite people of the Philippines. It becomes the source of their strength and the source of a wall to lean on in times of crisis and in job seeking opportunities.

Filipinos value small-group centeredness which can be seen from the word of kami. A Filipino has a “barkada” aside from his immediate family where he/she can pour out his/her angst and happy moments with. It is the ultimate manifestation of small-group centeredness because it is a tight bond among friends which dictate what the group would think, do or say.

Amor propio, the stubborn pride that Filipinos possess and hold on to despite the situation is another distinct element of being a Filipino. The expression wala ka namang pakikisama easily coerces Filipinos to act in peculiar manners especially if the pakikisama is determined by the barkada. Pakikisama is very important in a group, in a workplace, and in areas where there is a social group.

Another characteristic is that Filipinos seek to succeed and make himself a person in his own right. It may be a show of being bida and sikat all the time that is a manifestation of pasiklaban, the Filipino does this only to share his glory with his family. Therefore, the Filipino is not inconsistent with the established fact that Filipinos are others-centered because his pagsasarili is a result of his desire to uplift his family or his loved ones – others-centeredness-responsibility.

Hiya is a Filipino social behavior regulator that prevents a Filipino from violating a norm, a family value, and a group goal. This is also the root of the Smooth Interpersonal Relationships that Filipinos highly prize. This is the golden rule among Filipinos in the sense that a Filipino makes it a point not to intentionally embarass a person just as he wouldn’t want to be embarassed by another.

Euphemism is an important Filipino procedure for all relationships. This tactfulness mirrors the Smooth Interpersonal Relationship that Filipinos highly regard.

In the interdependent Philippine society, reciprocity is an essential to all relationships. Utang-na-loob, a Filipino is indebted to another until such a favor is returned in kind. This utang na loob is very much rampant in 95 % of Filipinos specially those who are native of the Philippines and among Filipinos in other countries. Utang na loob may stem from Hiya or mainly from the uniqueness of the Filipino “self.”

Your Blogger,

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Daniel Ronquillo III

“The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.”

-Vince Lombardi

(Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/vince_lombardi_125250?src=t_best)

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