Do Filipinos really know how to be positive?

When we here at Antipinoy come out with articles criticizing the bad traits of the Filipinos, our critics would come at us with the criticism, “why are you so negative about the Philippines? Be positive!” OK, when we try to look at the positive traits, we still come up with negativism. To be fair, it isn’t us here who are negative; the negativity of Filipinos stands out like a sore thumb.

Consider first the Adam Carolla issue. Some Filipinos today continue to flood his Facebook page with hate messages. More positive Filipinos would just ignore this and accept that the Filipinos Pacquiao fans were very negative in using racist comments against Mayweather and the American boxing camp.

Recently, the European Union banned Filipino air carriers from EU airspace. The local Tourism department cries foul. Then lately, some 12 Filipinos were detained at Frankfurt when their flight to the UK was diverted because of the Iceland volcanic eruption. Again, Filipinos cry foul, and Gwen Pimentel urges a complaint be filed. Thus, victim mentality plays up again and the Filipino cries, “why is everyone picking on me,” when in fact they’re being treated just like any other person according to the other countries’ rules. When in Rome, do as the Romans do.

What else… Chip Tsao, Teri Hatcher and Alec Baldwin. Do we have to be so balat-sibuyas about what their quips about Filipinos that are based on facts? If we react so violently to their jokes, we’re not just balat-sibuyas (onion-skinned); we’re also negative.

And look at the Noynoy Aquino campaign. Some people buy into the idea that Noynoy is the lesser evil against the “evil” choice that is Villar. They are deceived by the black propaganda, which we suspect comes from the Liberal Party, that if they don’t vote Noynoy, Villar or some other “evil” bloke will take the helm. Now what if Gordon wins, proving all the surveys as flukes? Will Noynoy supporters say that their candidate was cheated? As long as it’s not Noynoy who wins, they’ll say it’s cheating! Now why are candidates other than Aquino so demonized? Fellow blogger Ilda wrote that Noynoy and his camp are so negative. Now when you look at it, it turns out that the people who buy into their campaign are the first ones who became negative!

Negativity is actually one of the great come-ons in Filipino elections. Just say you’re against GMA or any other person in the current administration, you’re seen as a hero. Now if that isn’t negative, then the sky is pink.

Perhaps Filipinos, as well as many others around the world see this as positivism: they buy something on credit. They are confident, or even “positive” about their capability to pay when the time comes.  They’ll boast, “I’ll never get into trouble! You’ll see!” But before the time comes, they spend on credit again. And the debts pile up until we have so many Filipinos who max out their credit cards. They run from debts and leave a lot of institutions reeling, which further damages the credit standing of Filipinos in general. Thank goodness I don’t have a credit card.

There is also the tendency for Filipinos to act like Aladdin, believing that everything they want should be given to them. A drifter will bet on the lotto and say, “I’ll win tomorrow, and I’ll hold a drinkout for the whole barangay! Think positive naman!” And when he loses, he’ll say, “oh life is hard, we are so poor and oppressed.” You know a friend cheating at work or school who’ll say, “Lulusot yan (It’ll slip through)! Mag-positive thinking ka kasi!” And when he gets caught, he’ll be all the more negative than a manic-depressive.

The funny thing is this; if Filipinos claim to be positive, why are they actually so negative when it comes to serious issues? It seems that being positive for Filipinos is to escape from serious issues; wallowing in Wowowee, loud videokeing, consumerism, bisyo and partying. They avoid directly facing problems in order to feel good – which can itself cause more problems. But once the problems rear up their ugly head, they get mad and start shifting the blame to others – like the government and foreigners. Not like the government and foreigners are totally blameless… but it’s more like Filipinos have this “anybody but me” mentality when naming the culprit.

From this, can one say that Filipinos are positive? Quite the opposite is true. They are filled with negativity and create a false kind of positive attitude. They think being positive means focusing only on the pleasant and nice things. They don’t understand what M. Scott Peck, Norman Vincent Peale and Stephen Covey implied: one should take action even on the negative stuff to create positive results.

Unfortunately, what we have is a culture of inaction. The negative is there for all to see. So to cope with this, Da Pinoy goes deadma. “Kalimutan mo muna ang problema. Aalis din yan (Forget your problems. They’ll go away).” But then the problems rear their ugly head and make Da Pinoy’s blood pressure rise. “Aalis din yan” is clearly a big ugly myth.

It’s about time to create an effective counterculture (I really love this word) to combat the culture of the false positive. For example, we here at Antipinoy reject the negative campaigning of Aquino and laud the positive campaigning of Gordon. We are against the protectionism of the 1986 constitution which can partially be traced to a negative distrust of foreign institutions, and we promote the more positive action of reducing such restrictions and letting foreign investors come in more freely. We are against the Philippine mainstream media who continue to paint negative pictures about veering away from popular opinion, and promote the more positive action of non-conformism and critical thinking.

In order to be positive, one must first know what positive really is. True positivism lies in knowing the negative and fighting it, not avoiding it. Of course, while chasing after the positive. Unfortunately, as the Carolla affair and the recent spate of foreign bans show, Filipinos do not want to eliminate their negative traits; they instead embrace these and get mad at all those who have a different idea.

For Filipinos to be positive, they must release themselves from the narrow-minded perspectives within their own borders – both territorial and cultural – and embrace what good can be offered from without those borders.

If Filipinos see that their life in the country is so negative, they have no one to blame but themselves.


About ChinoFern

Just another nobody on the Internet who believes even nobodies should have a voice... because the Internet provides that.
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27 Responses to Do Filipinos really know how to be positive?

    • ChinoF says:

      Hey! Now that’s a positive approach! 😛

      Did you see Lourd De Veyra’s video Word of the Lourd: Balat-Sibuyas? Yep, we are so perfect that the world has no right to satire us, while we make satires upon satires of them. 😉

  1. Jay says:

    Change is very difficult without positive reinforcement. One word I’m curious that doesn’t exist in the Filipino/Tagalog language is efficient. Apparently mabisa doesn’t cover it necessarily as to how the English dictionary uses it. However the Japanese, Korean and Chinese have a word for it. So if they don’t understand what efficient is and the high value of the word, they’d never know how to apply it for themselves and around them.

    But as I have seen in the older articles, some post claiming the old ideology of we can’t do anything because they have resources and what not. It can’t be done! Impossible only exists in the mind. Its a safety net for those who have long abandoned critical thinking and haven’t even used their creativity to entertain every possibility to a certain situation.

    I mean honestly, regarding Carolla and every other situation like this many and INLUCDING the more logic/reason based Filipino Americans final solution was an apology. Much like the apologies, the Pinoys in total aren’t sincere with the real change so in the end, they never were sincere about changing the country. If they did, they would look at those stack of solutions and tell themselves that maybe, just maybe, this isn’t working out and it isn’t the real problem.

    (Yes I’m fanning some flames here but this isn’t flaming. At least I would have loved to be proven wrong if they went the more rational/logical choice. I would have been very proud of my country-men if they did. So till this day, I’ll just live with accepting the shame and guilt with everyone else).

  2. ilda says:

    When Filipinos say “just look at the positive things about the Philippines”, they’re just under pressure to maintain this image of a people who are happy whatever the circumstances. Never mind that we look stupid for looking happy even if our country is already in deep sh1t.

    What most Filipinos don’t realise is that the international community can see through this veneer. We can’t hide the misery that is evident in every corner of the Philippine archipelago. The positive image these people want to project is just for show. They want to sweep the problems under the carpet so outsiders cannot see it. Those Filipinos who are into this kind of cr@p are the same ones who get extremely defensive when an outsider or a fellow Pinoy points out the obvious. Because they take pains in hiding the flaws, they feel offended when someone mentions it. I heard that Imelda Marcos started the trend when she had fences put up to hide the squatters from the international visitors during their time.

    I don’t think Pinoys are aware of the fact that we cannot keep running away from our problems. It does have a way of catching up with us really fast.

    • ChinoF says:

      The challenge, as even Joe opined below, is to redefine what positive is. It can’t be just “positive according to Filipinos perspectives.” What is really positive for everyone? So yes, to stop running away from problems and facing them squarely is positive for everyone. Facing can still be positive… and yet Filipinos say it is negative. That’s a lot of misguided thinking we have to square off.

    • bokyo says:

      Or on short , simple explanation: Ayaw ng mga Pilipino ang mapahiya.

      Hiya is such an overrated Filipino value nowadays. At least to foreigners , that is.

      But when it comes to their kinsmen, “Hiya” is thrown out of the window, and “Kapal-ng-mukha” sets in. 😀

      • ChinoF says:

        Hiya… why call it a value? It’s just an emotion. Yeah, Filipinos are afraid of being shamed. They’d rather be poor than shamed. They’d rather be poor than be made to admit they’re poor because of their own laziness and stupidity. No wonder our nation is like this. Pinaninindigan ang maling bagay.

      • BO says:

        Sobra naman. Maganda ang hiya. Ano to, lahat na lang ng maganda mula sa ibang bansa tapos lahat ng pangit at kapalpakan sa Pinoy? Di ba parang colonial mentality naman yan? Other brands and nations are better than us? Meron tayong mabubuting asal at masasamang asal na pinaninindigan. Sa palagay ko hindi lang emosyon ang hiya kundi sagradong prinsipyo na parte na ng identidad natin. At tsaka yung pagkasabi na pinaninindigan ang maling bagay — tatlo kasi pagkaintindi ko dun: pinaninindigan ang mali as in see it through because this is my choice and thus I will bear the consequences, pinaninindigan ang mali as in I think I’m correct therefore I will see this to the end at pinaninindigan ang mali as in I’m a truly rotten crook who thinks he will get away with this no matter what. Nasabi ko lang kasi I think that statement is very powerful pero taken alone iba-iba ang impact depende sa pagkaintindi ng tao. Taken from that context though, I guess it’s the last. Oh well. Pero ang gusto ko talagang malaman ay kung ano sa tingin nyo ang mabubuting asal at gawain ng mga Pinoy? Hehe.

      • Jay says:

        Maganda ang hiya.
        At Bo, bakit sa palagay mo maganda ang hiya? Ano ang nagagawa ng hiya sa Pilipinas?

        Di ba parang colonial mentality naman yan? Other brands and nations are better than us?
        Uh duh! Tignan mo results dahil sa kanilang mga values. Ang punto kasi, may mga ugaling mga pinoy na pinagmamalaki na walang kwenta, tulad ng pakikisama na double edged, kay sa western concept ng ‘teamwork’.

        tatlo kasi pagkaintindi ko dun: pinaninindigan ang mali as in see it through because this is my choice and thus I will bear the consequences, pinaninindigan ang mali as in I think I’m correct therefore I will see this to the end at pinaninindigan ang mali as in I’m a truly rotten crook who thinks he will get away with this no matter what.

        The first one is based off stubborn thought and a traditional mindset. So its pretty much saying ‘staying the same for the sake of the tradition of staying the same’. See how lame it is? The second is similar, but more a matter of opinion and the problem is, people ignore the results and instead trust their ‘kutob’. The third is what you see in the Philippines anyway. Neither of these 3 are in a sense, honest to the spirit of what a person wants to do except defend silly old tradition that sets people back mentally.

        Pero ang gusto ko talagang malaman ay kung ano sa tingin nyo ang mabubuting asal at gawain ng mga Pinoy? Hehe.

        Smile through any form of disaster or calamity? Thing is, smiling only gets you so far and if anything, is superficial than acting upon on things. And finding positivity even to go far as to use those values to justify positivity blindly while disregarding facts and logic.

  3. mahboula says:

    hmm…what i’ve noticed in our society is that we try too hard to be ‘positive’. dapat makisabay para masaya. easy lang daw para wala problema. o isa Diyos lang yan. when you don’t join the bandwagon, you’re a kill joy.

    again, another good piece here in the AP. more power to you guys.

  4. J.B. says:

    If AP is PP (pro-pinoy) I wont be here on this site.

    It should be a fact/fiction polarity rather than positive/negative dichotomy.

    Noynoy is portraying himself as clean as he can be but the facts shows he even lurking in LP where trapos live there all their lives.

    • ChinoF says:

      Fact/fiction is certainly what some Filipinos twist into fact=negative/fiction=positive. LP is certainly making use of that.

      Hmmm, actually, we’re pro-Pinoy here, though it’s not the sablay na Pinoy that we like, it’s the maayos na Pinoy. Then the sablay na Pinoy will call us “Anti-Pinoy” for being different… 😉

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  6. Joe America says:


    I think a key question is, what do Filipinos hold up as positive, or honorable? My take on it. Philippine society is an amalgamation of families and clans and city-states, each more dedicated to itself than to the whole of the nation. Honor is found in loyalty to family and the trade of favors that occurs within the “small nation”. You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours. This derives from custom and from poverty, as so many simply have never had, and still don’t have, money to trade. Therefore, barter of favors is a common currency. Furthermore, the drive of INDIVIDUAL ambition that is the undercurrent of modern Western society is not as strong, having been roundly squelched by authoritarian rule, whether that be heavy-handed barangay captains, the police, Marcos, or colonial powers.

    Within this framework, positive is to be found, not in western ideals, but in Filipino ideals, and it is hard to deny that the dedication Filipinos give to their families is far superior to what, say, Americans give. I know of few American children who would go work, isolated and lonely, in a strange foreign country so that their parents back home could have the basics of a reasonable life, a home and food. In the Philippines, achievement is most often found in what one does for the family, not what one does for self. Being of the selfish type myself, I find this devotion extraordinarily honorable and “positive”.

    If you want Western-style individual ambition and achievement to become the ideal, encourage the Philippines to adopt new social fundamentals so that ambition is encouraged and can flourish. The nation needs to end the appointment of friends, family and favorites to important jobs where they block careers and assure mediocrity. It needs to enforce laws so that cheating does not undercut individual aspiration and the playing field is level, to build a deeper economy with foreign investment and competitive moxie so poverty is not so dominant in defining ideals, and to educate the kids about competing on the basis of individual skill and good thinking. Not teach them by rote how to follow the rules.

    That said, there are many, many Filipinos who do find ways to achieve positive success as individuals. Often, it is in countries such as the US that welcome it.


    • ChinoF says:

      Joe, I agree with that angle; what is really positive? In Filipino society though, “honor” has its own meaning. I think Filipinos see it more like, “do not offend my honor,” rather than “It is honorable to do right.” The barter of favors is understood, but not properly valued, in Philippine society, which want to get away with everything as a freebie as much as possible.

      No doubt Filipinos are dedicated to their families… but in a way this dedication seems misdirected, and taken advantage of. Misdirected, in that the OFWs sustain families who would rather abuse their benefactors’ gifts and indulge in consumerism. Taken advantage of, in that the oligarchs prefer that OFWs leave the country and collect money to send home, since it is the oligarchs in the end who collect this money, in exchange for crappy services that just give the basic needs with little dignity to spare. The oligarchs do not like the idea of a well-paid middle class in the country, because it makes them feel like they’ll lose control of the country.

      I agree with your assessment of solutions. More foreign investment and education on “foreign” ideas of achievement and individual skill. For that, we need a thick change in culture.

      Thanks for the comment.

      • J.B. says:

        There must be solid evidence if the majority of loving children are abused in one way or another by their benefactors (parents, siblings, relatives). If there are only few, then the value of service of children to their families must be given importance how it affects the nation overall.

        I personally know lots of people who like a water tank which has an inflow, has their families also as an outflow thus the net effect to their total value is the differential difference between the inflow (work local or overseas) and the outflow (remittance).

  7. benign0 says:

    I’ll jump off from what Jay said here and further the concept of how Pinoys are so unresourceful from an efficiency perspective. We are good at making do but seem to be utterly unable to take making do to the logical nexus which is to scale up from merely making do.

    Ambeth Ocampo described how a lack of an ability to imagine and dream is readily evident in Philippine industry in an Inquirer article he wrote in September 2005 after a visit to the marble-producing Philippine island of Romblon.

    Of this island’s craftsmen, he wrote:

    What did the people in this sleepy town do with their marble? They made them into tombstones, mortar and pestle. As a tourist, I asked myself: How many “lapida” [tomb markers] and “dikdikan” [pestle] do I want? How many lapida and dikdikan do I need? Come to think of it, how many lapida and dikdikan do they sell in a year? Here is a region that has skilled manpower and an almost inexhaustible natural resource, but their products are unimaginative. If culture comes in to introduce new designs and new uses of Romblon marble, that would go a long way in developing the industry and the province.

    Indeed, one can draw similar analogies in the Filipino entrepreneur’s penchant for following a “me too” approach to getting into business. There is an almost lemminglike behaviour in the way Filipino entrepreneurs get on a business model bandwagon. This behaviour accounts for the lechon manok (roast chicken) and shawarma (Mediterranean wrap) booms in the 80’s and 90’s. The proliferation of jeepneys and tricycles also illustrates how such safe but low-returning (and, in the long run, unsustainable) ventures are among the favourites of individuals with a bit of capital to apply.

    As Albert Einstein say:

    Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.

    The Philippines has indeed grown into a big and noisy nation. But has it increased its product proportionately? It’ll take more than a positive attitude to do that.

    • J.B. says:

      Law is one of the most profitable career in the Philippines.


      Because of years of misuse, Filipino lawyers have engineered how to leave no trace behind their tracks thus it’s very had to track down erring elected officials.

    • benign0 says:

      Indeed. And here’s some more food for thought:

      In Japan there are very few lawyers and the codes are mostly unwritten, but they are binding, nonetheless.
      – Greg Sheridan, Asian Values Western Dreams

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