The Grey Chronicles


The Positive Side of Filipino Values

When we were young students, we often heard or read about the so-called Filipino Traits such as bahala na, pakikisama, ningas cogon, hiya, mañana habit, etc. Maybe our very own elementary teachers then pointed it to us that these traits were the culprits, the scapegoat of the Filipino failures, or basically the weak characteristics of being Filipinos.

When I was in secondary, although there were no Values Education taught as a subject, our Homeroom Adviser would inculcate the values of hard work and teamwork. I remember, however, distinctly in a Social Studies class that these same Filipino traits—bahala na, ningas cogon, hiya, etc.—were made the explanation for lagging behind more successful Asian neighbors.

My own martinet father instilled in me the value of discipline, palabra de honor [word of honor], attention to details, persistence, and hard work; while my mother gave me the sense of cleanliness is next to godliness. Meanwhile, while attending a military academy, the values of courage, loyalty and integrity were part of the academy creed.

Quito (1994) notes:

“It is very Filipino to stress our minus points, to find fault in our behavior, to compare us unfavorably with Westerners by using Western standards. . . It seems that we take pleasure in underscoring our weaknesses, faults, defects, etc. Our standards are smallness, averageness, mediocrity; grandeur or grandness is not in the Filipino vocabulary. . . There is something strange in the very way we look upon success. A person is not supposed to exert effort at the expense of sanity. . . Success to the Filipino, must come naturally; it should not be induced or artificially contrived. One should not be successful at an early age because that would mean exertion and hard work. Success must come very late in life, if it is to come at all.”

In Quito’s paper, she presented an exposition of the Filipino traits as an ambivalence of positive and negative aspects. I quote here only the positive aspects:

Hiya (shame): it contributes to peace of mind and lack of stress by not even trying to achieve.”

Ningas-cogon (procrastination): in a way, it makes a person non-chalant, detached, indifferent, nonplussed should anything go wrong, and hence conducive to peace and tranquillity.”

Pakikisama (group loyalty): one lives for others; peace or lack of dissension is a constant goal.”

Annotation: What is greater than peace? Peace of mind, peace with oneself, and peace with others. Peace is what most people pray or crave for.

Patigasan (test of strength): it is assign that we know our rights and are not easily cowed into submission. It is Occidental in spirit, hence in keeping with Nietzsche’s "will to power."”

Bahala na (resignation): one relies on a superior power rather than on one’s own. It is conducive to humility, modesty, and lack of arrogance.”

Mañana or Bukas na (procrastination): one is without stress and tension; one learns to take what comes naturally. Like the Chinese wu-wei, this trait makes one live naturally and without undue artificiality.”

Annotation: Strength that comes from within ourselves, or from a belief that something is more superior than us? It makes us more human and humane.

Kasi (because, i. e., scapegoat): one can see both sides of the picture and know exactly where a project failed. One will never suffer from guilt or self-recrimination.”

Saving Face: one’s psyche is saved from undue embarrassment, sleepless nights, remorse of conscience. It saves one from accountability or responsibility. This trait enables one to make a graceful exit from guilt instead of facing the music and owning responsibility for an offense.”

Annotation: Why delve into a guilt-trip? Guilt is unhealthy if it becomes our only passion. With hiya, at least we truly know our own faults and failings. That should be enough!

Sakop (inclusion): one cares for the family and clan; one stands or falls with them. This trait makes a person show concern for the family to which he belongs. ”

Utang na loob (indebtedness): it is a recognition of one’s indebtedness. This trait portrays the spirit behind the Filipino saying, "He who does not know how to look to the past will never reach his destination."”

Kanya-kanya (self-centeredness): one takes care of oneself and one’s family: "Blood is thicker than water."”

Annotation: Families make communities, without which nations cannot exist. As Dancel (2005) notes: “the Filipino is nothing if he is not grateful. . . The Filipino sense of gratitude is uniquely Filipino, just as we are uniquely Filipino because of our sense of gratitude.”

In conclusion, Quito asks:

“If for the Filipino smallness, meekness, and humility are ideals, could it not be that he is not this-worldly? Could he not perhaps be aiming, consciously or otherwise, at the life in the hereafter where the last will be the first, the weak will be strong, and the small will be great?”

Annotation: Should we be ashamed, that’s hiya again, of our Filipino behaviors, or as some researchers label them as Filipino values? All these, without exception to the color of our skin, makes us unique. Without them, are we still Filipinos? Or the question should be: Are we Filipinos because of or despite of these?


Edit: Please refer to this Reprise posted on 11 August 2009 for more details.

Dancel, Francis. (2005). Utang na Loob: A Philosophical Analysis, Filipino Cultural Traits: Claro R. Ceniza Lectures. Rolando M. Gripaldo, (ed.) Washington, D.C.: Council for Research in Values and Philosophy, 2005. 205p. back to text

Quito, Emerita S. (1994). The Ambivalence of Filipino Traits and Values, Values in Philippine Culture and Education, Philippine Philosophical Studies I. Manuel B. Dy, Jr., (ed.) Washington, D.C.: Council for Research in Values and Philosophy, 1994. 205p. back to text

Disclaimer: The posts on this site does not necessarily represent any organization’s positions, strategies or opinions; and unless otherwise expressly stated, are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Philippines License.



  1. haha. yeah thats right :))

    Comment by keyah — 2012.August.9 @ 06:17 | Reply

  2. who wrote this blog? :)

    Comment by kaye — 2012.July.4 @ 09:42 | Reply

  3. KOREKEK!! :)

    Comment by burat — 2012.July.2 @ 07:13 | Reply

  4. salamt po! may proj. na ako sa philo

    Comment by john paul pinsoy — 2012.March.13 @ 04:20 | Reply

  5. Hello po! Those Negative Filipino Values are NOT WHOLESOME AT ALL therefore must not be given positive outlook since it could not be tolerated but it can be changed. THank you for your negation but personality should not be negated. Though I am a Filipino, I never adopt these values since even in offices or workplace these were not helpful at all. Thank you and I’m sorry.

    Comment by Sinned — 2012.February.15 @ 04:09 | Reply

    • Thanks for your comments! I appreciate that another reader totally grasped the idea of the post.
      Yes, I do agree with you that these “values” are not helpful, but having a positive outlook on these “negative traits” is only a way of saying that these traits are contextually not negative per se but rather they afford us Filipinos some mechanism to cope with everyday life. Denying that they are NOT part of our Filipino psyche, consciously or unconsciously, is like denying that Filipino blood runs in our veins and arteries.

      Comment by reyadel — 2012.February.16 @ 03:19 | Reply

  6. to those who take this blog as negative MAHIRAP BANG AMININ NA PINOY KA

    Comment by ASTROBOY — 2012.January.16 @ 02:54 | Reply

  7. i hope meron dn negative aspect kc kasali dn un z assg. qu. but tnx 4diz blog pa rin.

    Comment by ainie — 2012.January.16 @ 01:30 | Reply

  8. negative and p0stVE filipin0 values nga po kht 20 .neED KO po ksi with sugGesti0n sa negative. T.y

    Comment by jesic. — 2011.October.16 @ 14:50 | Reply

    • Jesic and Racyl,
      Sorry, I’m too old to be doing assignments for secondary or college students! Do your job, i.e., studying is your job, not mine!

      Comment by reyadel — 2012.February.16 @ 04:37 | Reply

  9. 8 help meh so much n my homewrk!!!! hehehe tnx so much!!!!! mmmuuuuaaaahhh :)

    Comment by racyl manero — 2011.September.7 @ 09:07 | Reply

  10. thanks sa blog na to!! my assignment na ko!!
    i love the title!! irony xia!!

    Comment by jasmine dela cruz — 2011.July.26 @ 09:03 | Reply

    • Thanks for your comment! At long last, somebody got the irony!

      Comment by reyadel — 2011.August.21 @ 13:25 | Reply

  11. damn walang english hihi^^

    Comment by roan — 2011.June.15 @ 09:51 | Reply

  12. these post is a big help especially to students not just for supplying answers for their papers but letting them be aware of what filipinos should be or should have been from the very start.
    kung babasahing mabuti akma namn ang titulo ng post sa mga detalyeng nakasaad.magandang pamamaraan na nagsaad ng mga sabihin natin negatibong bagay at ipinakita ang kapositibohan ng mga ito ironic kung baga.
    hindi ako kritiko para sabihin ang mga bagay na ito pero ayon sa pagkakaintindi ko”the ositve side of filipino values”ung mga “hiya”,”bahala na”,”ningas kugon”,”pakikisama” at iba pa yung tinutukoy na values at yung mga annotation yung nagpapakita ng positibo.masyado kasing issue yung title.mas maraming dapat ikomento para mas lalong mapa unlad ung mga impormasyon sa post na ito.
    sana lang mas maarami pang maidgdag dito..salamt GODbless…

    Comment by shalom — 2011.March.15 @ 07:38 | Reply

    • Salamat sa comments! Salamat din sa pagkakaintindi mo nga ironic title. Kaya nga The Grey Chronicles ang napili kung site title para pag-usapan ang mga bagay-bagay na di naman puro puti o kaya puro itim.

      [Rough Translation for the benefit of non-Filipino readers]
      Thanks for the comments. I also thank you for understanding the irony for the title. This is why I chose the site title: The Grey Chronicles as a venue to discuss things that are not purely white or or purely black.

      Comment by reyadel — 2011.March.15 @ 15:50 | Reply

  13. well, ano meron.. nagkakagulo kayo, cool lng kayo mga kababayan. everyone of us has its own values though we’re all filipino. Thank you nga pla sa article na ‘to. assignment ko ‘to sa Philosophy of Man..

    Comment by betty — 2011.February.15 @ 11:12 | Reply

    • Thanks sa comment! At least, may purpose din pala itong post! Para reference sa assignments!

      Comment by reyadel — 2011.February.15 @ 15:55 | Reply

  14. nd naman yan positive eh

    Comment by ailene — 2010.October.2 @ 05:27 | Reply

    • Aileen and Jolas:
      Basahin nyo nga ulit! Baka di nyo masyadong naintindihan ang title.
      [Trans: Kindly re-read the post! Maybe you mis-read the title.]

      Comment by reyadel — 2010.October.3 @ 12:57 | Reply

  15. baliktad di nmn yan positive ee,,

    Comment by jolas — 2010.September.12 @ 07:52 | Reply

  16. baliktad ata .. ???????????????????????????????

    Comment by jolas — 2010.September.12 @ 07:51 | Reply

  17. like any other human beings, Filipinos are no exception to have negative traits…. at least they are all bearable..and our positive traits…. everyone can be proud of being a FILIPINO

    Comment by aimee — 2010.August.11 @ 06:53 | Reply

  18. We all know Filipinos are good people even though it has negative traits still nobody is perfect so in appreciating ourselves as a real and pure Filipino learn to have good manners and mind the positive of us nor not disgusting ones.


    Comment by jeda mohamad — 2010.July.23 @ 04:04 | Reply

  19. anu buh yan??? : (
    positive buh yan???
    baliktad ata>>..
    pakicheck nga nung nalagay mong title
    nang mga nalagay mong detalye mohhh???!!!

    Comment by ezra — 2010.July.19 @ 07:29 | Reply

  20. salamat sa article… meron na akong masasagot sa Humanity subject namin… thanks… =D

    Comment by arvin — 2010.July.19 @ 00:52 | Reply

  21. ty laki help to sa assignment ko

    Comment by alex — 2010.July.14 @ 08:12 | Reply

  22. tEnx .. aSSignment nmen eeHh..

    nEqztYm uli<,

    Comment by JUSTINE — 2010.July.6 @ 02:30 | Reply

  23. I am proud to be a Filipino!!

    Comment by Emmanuel john l. germino — 2010.April.28 @ 04:11 | Reply

  24. Thank you for giving us important information..
    And please continue doing it..

    Comment by Emmanuel john l. germino — 2010.April.28 @ 04:09 | Reply

  25. hey guys…the blog is about positive side of Filipino values..pero nag aaway kayo dito..tsk..ano ba naman yan?..kapwa pilipino nag aaway..hindi naman sa nagmamalinis ako pero hello naisip niyo ba na sa ginagawa nyo nakikita tuloy ang negatiive side ng pinoy…anyway,sa gumawa ng blog na’to thank you..kasi meron pa plng nagpapahalaga sa values ng pinoy..tnx..more blogs to come..hehehe

    Comment by jay_anne — 2010.March.16 @ 14:19 | Reply

  26. oa, ok, kala puro na lang negative ang traits ng pinoy, yun nga lang nature talaga ng tao magemphasize ng negative traits kasi yun ang mas kita at yun din ang gustong iwasan.

    Comment by rita aringo — 2010.March.3 @ 07:19 | Reply

  27. For me this blog is right…but I want to know how it strengths/weakens the Filipino people…

    please add some example of Filipino traits….thank you…

    Comment by lion king — 2010.January.28 @ 13:10 | Reply

  28. first i’d would like to thanks the person that giving me a change to prove it my self.i hope can everyone has know how values are good to evryone,how to help this,can u know values are important our daily life, without values there are no posibility that can give to us other people for loving,the good manners,ryt,,,,,

    Comment by brien atelle — 2010.January.28 @ 07:23 | Reply

  29. sana ang mong ipopost ay mga trivia

    Comment by eryell — 2010.January.27 @ 09:17 | Reply

  30. thanks i learned a lot bcoz of this website

    Comment by eryell — 2010.January.27 @ 09:15 | Reply

  31. …. thank you for doing this because this page helped me to our group project

    so yung mga pilipino dyan na kung cnu kung magsalita wag kaung gnun kxe makakacra sa values ng mga pilipino natin

    ps: hndi sa nagmamalinis ako alam ko rin na may pagkagago ako pero nagbago na na me somagbago na rin kau

    Comment by eukryzz morales — 2010.January.19 @ 07:21 | Reply

    • Thanks for your comments. At least nakatulong pala yung post ko to clarify some misconceptions on our Filipino values!

      Comment by reyadel — 2010.January.20 @ 17:33 | Reply

    • piling mo naman bkt my G.M.R.c. ka ba

      Comment by jane chan — 2010.January.21 @ 14:50 | Reply

    • are u xure that u r already change,ur atittude.before u said ‘magbago na kayo’first u clean ur environment so that the people can make a chismis 4 u.

      Comment by james madrigal — 2010.January.28 @ 07:10 | Reply

      • Jane Chan,
        I did not claim to be an expert on Filipino values, and it’s not a feeling for me because I am a true-blue Pinoy myself! I only asked: Are we Filipinos because of or despite of these [values]? Maybe you should also ask yourself if you have good manners and right conduct [GMRC] in commenting a blog post.

        James Madrigal,
        Did I asked anybody of us to change or in vernacular: magbago na kayo? The post is not about me, although I included some introductory parts about the values I learned in the past, but the highlight of the post is the POSITIVENESS of these Filipino values!

        Maybe both of you should read first the post (maybe for the second or third time) and UNDERSTAND it, in terms of viewpoint or the issues tackled, prior to commenting. I also recommend that you read the reprise of the same post.

        Comment by reyadel — 2010.January.28 @ 07:36 | Reply

    • can i ask a question? tnx
      Can you give some positive Filipino values.

      Comment by lion king — 2010.January.28 @ 13:16 | Reply

  32. maramimg salamat naka tulong ka sa akin kasi PROJECT namain eto sa values 1st year na ako sa city high 1-aquino

    Comment by jimuel — 2010.January.18 @ 04:35 | Reply

    • Mabuti naman at nakatulong yung post ko sa project mo! Keep on reading!

      Comment by reyadel — 2010.January.20 @ 17:34 | Reply

  33. can u pease pass me a 150 word values !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!pls pls tlnx just comment it or send me a message to may fs ynx

    Comment by anthony — 2010.January.17 @ 07:09 | Reply

    • Sorry, I don’t do other’s assignments.

      Comment by reyadel — 2010.January.20 @ 17:31 | Reply

  34. ……hmmm i think kulang ang mga info na ibinigay niyo
    sa susunod pwede bang how to maintain positive filipino values naman


    Comment by kazumi143 — 2010.January.4 @ 10:18 | Reply

  35. nu pong rference 2 knuha b s mag or periodicals?tnx=))

    Comment by paolo b. — 2009.December.13 @ 05:37 | Reply

    • The reference is in the Notes section below the post. Primarily web-based or online.

      Comment by reyadel — 2009.December.13 @ 15:30 | Reply


    Comment by ERYELL PETIL — 2009.December.12 @ 08:15 | Reply

  37. hey! listen up! those words listed up are true!

    KUNG KAYO DI KAYO FILIPINO, E DI IKISS NIYO! pa english2 pa iba jan kala mo magaling MUKA mo!!! haha . :)

    ayos mukha! wag inis .

    patanggal mo na internet connection niyo kung di mo tanggap ang site na to! haha .

    Comment by potpot! — 2009.December.6 @ 11:52 | Reply

  38. . heY .. SOme oF THem aRE wroNG BUt soME are riGHt ..

    Comment by demi — 2009.November.30 @ 02:57 | Reply

  39. …picture naman po diff.filipino charactrristics…thanks po

    Comment by joanna mae ronquillo — 2009.November.28 @ 12:26 | Reply

    • I will have to do a research for that. Probably the references in the notes have some illustrations.

      Comment by reyadel — 2009.November.28 @ 13:54 | Reply

  40. hi”thanks 4 the information its help me 4 my assgment’

    Comment by lyn — 2009.November.23 @ 12:46 | Reply

  41. asa kamo

    Comment by ble — 2009.November.12 @ 11:32 | Reply

    • Please read it once again. Also refer to another post linked below.

      Comment by reyadel — 2009.November.12 @ 13:21 | Reply

  42. to all the filipina haters….please dont generalize. I have to admit there are alot of ow-life filipina women that take advantage of foreign men but you also have to know that there are also a lot of well-bred Filipinas existing.

    Follow me on my new personal blog about Filipinas in my own perspective.

    Comment by joia — 2009.October.20 @ 19:59 | Reply

  43. For me this blog is right but I dont think all filipinos have this all behavior.. It is depends on their race because filipons compose of many races…

    Comment by Raven — 2009.October.15 @ 07:40 | Reply

  44. Excellent site, keep up the good work

    Comment by Bill Bartmann — 2009.September.4 @ 02:39 | Reply

  45. sorry … * understanding – understand

    Comment by gwen — 2009.August.11 @ 14:52 | Reply

  46. i thinks some of you did not really understand what the author was trying to point out. Being a Filipino myself, i understanding what he was trying to present here. The values stated above are really true to Filipinos, however, Filipinos coming from different familiy background, orientation and even culture somehow also differs in how these values are manifested. That is why it was also stated there that there is the positive and negative side of the filipino values.

    Comment by gwen — 2009.August.11 @ 14:51 | Reply

    • gwen and charles,
      Thanks! At least somebody out there got the point of the blog!

      Comment by reyadel — 2009.August.12 @ 09:37 | Reply

  47. yeah it is very nice for we can reAlize the values of individual as a filipino.,.,!

    Comment by charles — 2009.August.11 @ 13:16 | Reply


    Comment by !!SEcREtlY coNceRn!! — 2009.August.11 @ 07:36 | Reply

    • I am a Filipino, and very proud of my race!
      I guess I do have the advantage of knowing the truth first hand, while you are basing your arguments on second-hand knowledge. Furthermore, I believe you totally missed the point in this blog. Kindly re-read it again, please, before shouting.

      Comment by reyadel — 2009.August.11 @ 09:03 | Reply

    • Reyadel is right. I am a Filipino also. You do not understand this blog because you are not one of us. At least try living with us. Even though you know some people who are Filipinos, you must know better than to shout and suck the shit of the one who made this blog. You do not have the moral to say liar to this person, pointly because you do not internalize the concept of this blog.

      Comment by AkoMismo — 2010.January.26 @ 19:46 | Reply

      • Thanks, AkoMismo! You wrote of what I had in mind, but you did it more eloquently than I could have written!

        Comment by reyadel — 2010.January.26 @ 23:50 | Reply

  49. annyong haseyoo… make your day olwees great! strive hard to fulfill all your goals in life.

    Comment by broken~19 — 2009.July.31 @ 11:28 | Reply

  50. hey!!!!!!!

    I think most of ur featured valueses are negative values of a filipino

    — it seems i’m still not satisfied..

    –but anyway thanks!!!!!!!

    Comment by jomark — 2009.July.27 @ 04:31 | Reply

  51. Thanks for all your comments, guys! For me: the title The Positive Side of Filipino Values still stands. It encapsulates the theme of the post.

    The links given below the post would have enlightened you on the NEGATIVE side. I wanted to highlight the POSITIVE side, and hope the two links provided the other side!

    Belle and Cathy:
    Yes, as most writers—foreign and Filipino—alike would consider them as NEGATIVE VALUES of the Filipinos. But why focus of the negative side, when there is also an inkling of the POSITIVENESS of these same values? Have we become so pessimistic that we can’t see the POSITIVENESS in any «so-called» NEGATIVES? As they say: a coin has two sides, and I maintain that these same Filipino values exhibit the same. Incidentally, the post did not equivocally proclaimed that these were the POSITIVE VALUES per se, but rather offered the POSITIVE SIDE of these Filipino values. Please re-read the post, in a positive-leaning thought, rather than basing your take on your past experiences of the negativeness of these values.

    Comment by reyadel — 2009.July.18 @ 08:02 | Reply

  52. i think these are all the negative values of filipinos and not that positive valu . should’ve change ur title :)

    Comment by belle — 2009.July.17 @ 17:05 | Reply

  53. hey..i think the information you share is the negative values of filipinos…

    Comment by cathy — 2009.July.7 @ 02:43 | Reply

  54. lack of information.. where’s the negative aspects.?

    Comment by jason — 2009.July.1 @ 04:52 | Reply

  55. tthis website help me much about my research and assignments

    thank you so much

    Comment by russiel — 18 June 2009 @ 12:29 | Reply

    Comment by MasterAga — 2009.June.19 @ 12:37 | Reply

  56. this website help me much about my research and assignments,.,


    Comment by russiel — 2009.June.18 @ 12:29 | Reply

  57. This is very hot information. I think I’ll share it on Delicious.

    Comment by Ex Girlfiend — 2009.April.9 @ 23:58 | Reply

  58. This blog’s great!! Thanks :).

    Comment by matt — 2009.March.29 @ 02:57 | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: