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The Filipino value system or Filipino values 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.

As a general description, the distinct value system of Filipinos is rooted primarily in personal alliance systems, especially those based in kinship, obligation, friendship, religion (particularly Christianity), and commercial relationships.[1]

Philosophical basis[edit]

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 section against diverging from these values are the concepts of "Hiya", roughly translated as 'a sense of shame', and "Amor propio" or 'self-esteem'.[2] 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.[3]

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.[4]

"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.[4]

Jeremiah Lasquety-Reyes has recently argued for a shift from Filipino values to a Filipino virtue ethics.[5] According to him, though it is understandable that early Filipino anthropologists and psychologists used a values theory which was immediately available within their disciplines, from a philosophical and ethical point of view many Filipino concepts reveal more similarities to the virtue ethics tradition of Aristotle and Aquinas.

Models of the Filipino values[edit]

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. The indigenous model is described as a "traditional and non-formal" model or guide but is deeply embedded in the subconscious of the Filipinos.[3]

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.[3]

Elements and composition of Filipino values[edit]

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.

One can note how Hiya (propriety/dignity), Pakikisama(companionship/esteem), and Utang na loob(gratitude/solidarity), are merely Surface Values- readily seen and observed values exhibited and esteemed by many Filipinos. This three values are considered branches from a single origin- the actual Core Value of the Filipino Personality- Kapwa. It means 'togetherness', it refers to community; not doing things alone. Kapwa has two categories, Ibang Tao (other people) and Hindi Ibang Tao (not other people). The Surface Values spin of the Core Value through a predecessor or the Pivotal Aspect of Pakikiramdam or shared inner perception; "Feeling for another."

Other notable key elements or motivations 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.[6]

The 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.[6]

Enumeration of Filipino values[edit]


This is the shared sense of identity and consciousness of the 'other'. Ito ang pagtatanggap at pakikitungo sa ibang tao bilang kapantay, katulad. It is treating others with the respect and dignity as an equal- not someone below the individual.

Family Orientation[edit]

This value is the importance given to the basic unit of a Filipino's life- the family. Unlike in Western countries, Filipinos upon turning the age of 18, are not expected to move out of their parents' home and get a place to himself/herself. When a Filipino's parents are old and cannot take care of themselves, they are very rarely brought by their children to Homes for the Aged, and often this practice is looked down upon. Family lunches with the whole clan with up to 50 people, that extend until the line of second cousins are not unusual. The Filipino puts a great emphasis on the value of family and being close to one's family members.


Hospitality refers to the relationship between guest and the host. The host entertain and give comfort to the guest while staying in house of the host.

Joy and Humour (Biro)[edit]

This famous trait is the ability of Filipinos to find humour in everything. It sheds light on the optimism and positivity of Filipinos in whatever situation they are in so as to remain determined in going through struggles or challenges. It serves as a coping technique, the same way a child who has fallen laughs at himself/herself to hide his/her embarrassment.[7]

Flexibility, Adaptability, Creativity[edit]

Studies show that Filipinos often have an aversion to a set of standardised rules or procedures; They are known to follow a Natural Clock or Organic sense of time- doing things in the time they feel is right. They are present-oriented: which means that one attends to a task or requirement at the time it is needed and does not worry much about future engagements. This allows the Filipino to adapt and be flexible in doing the tasks at times not bound to a particular schedule or timeframe. This allows them think on their feet and be creative in facing whatever challenge or task they have even when it is already right in front of them.

Faith and Religiosity[edit]

The Philippines is approximately 92.5 percent Christian (mostly Roman Catholic), 5.6 percent Muslim, and 1.9 percent 'other' religions, including the Taoist-Buddhist religious beliefs of Chinese and the 'indigenous' animistic beliefs of some peoples in upland areas that resisted 300 years of Spanish colonial rule.[8] This is a reflection of the Filipinos' strong faith in God as seen in their various practices. This includes the numerous Church Holidays they observe, the customary (and obligatory) Sunday Mass, the individual's basis of their moral standpoints, the influence of the Church on the minds, actions, and opinions of the majority, importance of the Sacraments, Praying at almost any possible time of the day, the extreme practices during Holy Week,[9] etc.

Ability to Survive[edit]

The Filipinos as a people who have been constantly under the rule of numerous powerful countries has over time, developed a sense of Resourcefulness or the ability to survive with whatever they have. They have the extraordinary ability to make something about of basically nothing. Give a Filipino a screw driver, plastic bags, and some tape - someway, somehow he will build you a bird tree, given that you allow him to scrap some other surrounding material. I don't know exactly how, but he will, especially if it's for the sake of survival.[10]

Hard Work and Industry[edit]

With resourcefulness comes hard work. Filipinos are very determined and persevering in accomplishing whatever they set their minds to.

Filipinos over the years have proven time and time again that they are a people with an industrious attitude. Sadly, this is seen by others as Filipinos being only useful as domestic helpers, working abroad to help their families in the country. This is also present in the country’s workforce particularly the farmers. Even with little support, technological weaknesses and the country’s seasonal typhoons, the Filipino farmer still strives to earn their daily meal.[11]

Gender-specific values[edit]

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.[12]

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.[12]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Social Values and Organization, Philippines, country studies.us
  2. ^ Chris Rowthorn; Greg Bloom (2006). Philippines. Lonely Planet. ISBN 978-1-74104-289-4. 
  3. ^ a b c Hallig, Jason V. Communicating Holiness to the Filipinos: Challenges and Needs, The Path to a Filipino Theology of Holiness, on pages 2 and 10, http://didache.nts.edu.
  4. ^ a b Rolando M. Gripaldo (2005). Filipino cultural traits: Claro R. Ceniza lectures. CRVP. ISBN 978-1-56518-225-7. 
  5. ^ Reyes, Jeremiah (June 1, 2015). "Loob and Kapwa: An Introduction to a Filipino Virtue Ethics". Asian Philosophy (Taylor and Francis). Retrieved April 21, 2016. 
  6. ^ a b Talisayon, Serafin. Filipino Values, Chapeter XIII, Teaching Values in the Natural and Physical Sciences in the Philippines, crvp.orgp
  7. ^ Maggay, Melba (1993). "Pagbabalik-Loob". Moral Recovery and Cultural Reaffirmation. 
  8. ^ "CHRISTIANITY IN THE PHILIPPINES". www.seasite.niu.edu. Retrieved 2015-12-04. 
  9. ^ "Will these 10 traditional Holy Week practices survive? | News Feature, News, The Philippine Star | philstar.com". www.philstar.com. Retrieved 2015-12-04. 
  10. ^ "Life and Times of the Filipino-American: The Resourcefulness of the Filipino". Life and Times of the Filipino-American. 2012-07-10. Retrieved 2015-12-04. 
  11. ^ "ASIAN JOURNAL | The best traits of Filipinos that we should be proud of". asianjournalusa.com. Retrieved 2015-12-04. 
  12. ^ a b MLY. Keynote Speech, City College of San Francisco in the Conference on "The Filipino Family in the 21st Century: Issues and Challenges", ccsf.edu, October 27, 2001

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filipino_values — Please support Wikipedia.
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