Filipino Family Values: A Source of Dysfunction

We often wonder what went wrong with the Philippines. Why is it that Filipinos, even if they know what’s wrong, continue to do it, even willingly? They go ahead and hit on other women or men even when already married, and fall into petty crime even though they know the jails are overcrowded. Even on things not related to crime, Filipinos fail to practice good common sense and would rather do what they feel. They still do stupid things like max out their credit cards and feed the whole barangay during a fiesta on borrowed money. Then they complain that life is hard. But why do they still do it?

I’d like to venture a daring proposition: it’s all because of our Filipino family values. They are flawed and cause us to take the path of self-destruction. I will thus make the case that some of our Filipino family values are among the cultural baggage that we need to dispose of.


Our cultural values can be traced to the teachings of the friars or prayles of Spanish occupation, who exercised an iron hand over Filipino values then. Whatever they demanded, the people do, or else the people go to hell. But whatever they demanded was not always for the benefit of the people.

Filipino family all right... looks family... kasi where's daddy? Tsugi?

We know today how the friars of those days bedded young and pretty maidens (A Cojuangco ancestor helped smuggle these women into friars’ private quarters), giving rise to the many mestizo people among our population. But they also taught people that they should obey authority – even if the authority abuses them. Jose Rizal attacked the teachings of the friars in his books. He knew that the values taught by the friars were meant to contain the Filipino people, preventing development of intelligence and reasoning, keeping the Filipinos in slavery. The friars basically caused the Filipinos to be dependent on them.

Thing is, if the friars are now gone, why are people today still bending to their manipulation? Why are they sticking to the “values” that the friars taught their clueless ancestors? The problem is now with the people themselves, not the friars anymore. They have forgotten that the friars have left.

People are still taught to conform, not just because it is fashionable, but because conformity has been seen as a sign of morality. Somehow, Filipinos have the sense that being “in” is a sign that you are a good and compliant citizen, and “alternative” styles or lifestyles are immoral. They have been deceived that conformity to society is a sign that you are a moral person.


BongV had an excellent exploration of the subject in his article stating that our dominantly authoritarian parenting style tends to produce wimpy children. Now, I felt that there was much more I could add. The basic Filipino family values are based on conformity, and often it is conformity to anything. If you differ, you are considered a disobedient whelp, or sutil. You must conform to the will of your parents, such as dictating the college course you should take; so it you don’t follow, you are sutil.

But not only conformity to supposed values is a problem. Even conformity to culture. Not only will Filipino parents encourage, or even force, their children to obey others blindly. They may even encourage children to follow fads. For example, if they see their children as different from their peers, such as not watching Wowowee like classmates do, for preferring manga art to basketball, the parents will call their children sutil, stupid, disobedient, walang pakisama, selfish, or what abusive word you can think of for children. Parents also do this probably to avoid their children bringing them shame. They may even dictate or criticize the tastes of their children (“this is what you should like,” “rock music is from the devil!”), and thus take away any notion of responsible individual freedom.

Mano... overrated custom of respect... and submission... to elders

Even bad habits are sometimes passed through authoritarian means. Some ridiculous fathers will even chide their sons for having only one girlfriend, and will goad them to try and gather a harem. Not only will the fathers boast to fellows about their harems; they may even boast about their son’s harems. But even without authoritarian means, there are the comments and payo (advice) of the parents that tell a child to conform and be like everyone else, and that being different, even if it is right, can lead to shame or hiya.

Sometimes, these “values” are used in a manipulative way. I remember watching an old documentary on child labor in the Philippines. A man who was interviewed, probably the children’s employer, was asked whether he thought child labor was wrong (the labor was unloading sacks of cement off ships). He just kept on saying, “(ander sila ng mga magulang nila) they are under their parents.” Authoritarianism was used to maintain child labor. It’s in scenarios like these that children need to learn the value of assertiveness – that they have the right to say no.


One of the most common payo (advice) that parents would give children is, “study well, get a good job and a high salary, so you can buy good appliances and toys for your children.” This seems like a good, harmless adage. But there is a lot of harm in this payo.

Firstly, this reveals the highly consumerist nature of our culture. Filipino families continue to have the dream of upward mobility. But they don’t just want to manifest it; they want to show it. They want to have the latest gadgets, the coolest designer clothes, know the latest songs, watch the latest shows or even travel all over. Same as described above; not being “in” can be seen as a moral lapse.

Also, having all the consumer stuff is seen as a sign that you have worked hard for it. So when you don’t have the consumer stuff, you are seen as not hardworking and morally lapsed. Thus, the people who work hard and don’t spend so much on consumer goods are wrongly accused of being lazy or having no good dreams in life (That’s how some Filipinos see the industrious Filipino-Chinese!).

A seeming must-have for every consumerist Filipino family

In addition, the above payo also teaches children to be employees – and not pursue higher dreams of being an entrepreneur or self-employed person. Parents are teaching their children to be subservient or submissive, and discourage them from challenging the more likely fomenters of stagnancy in the country like our local elite. It’s as if the values taught them were meant to prevent them from growing and doing something good.

Let me quote something from another of my articles that demonstrates consumerism:

For example, imagine yourself as a working class Filipino, eldest among the children, with a job and salary. You arrive home after work, and you hear the screams of “where are our French fries!” from your siblings. Your parents, who are already senior citizens, will demand, “when are you going to bring us to Boracay?” When you reply that your salary is too low for that, they’ll scream, “then go abroad!” You’ll go abroad, you earn enough to send them to Boracay, but your family goes there without you. Lugi ka. Add to that the hassle of going abroad, adjusting to another country and culture, separation from your own, etc.

Families are forced by this pursuit to live beyond their means. When the parents or children come home to their families, their symbol of love is consumer goods. But when hospital bills come, or the credit card bill collector comes knocking, somebody gets troubled, and family tensions grow. Families would like to say that “we will bond together through hardship,” but the reality is that families in hardship are more likely to be dysfunctional.

The oligarchs or big businesses like consumerist families since these families consume their products. The 1950s depictions of “happy” families in media were associated with consumer goods. Most of the children who grew up during this time are today’s parents or grandparents, and are likely the ones goading their children or grandchildren to bring in consumer goods from abroad. Thus, our families are drawn into consumerism and further into poverty.

Teaching the Wrong Thing

Sometimes, a child would tell their parents about a friend who invites them to cheat at something, such as get a school paper from Recto. To their surprise, the parent says go ahead. “But isn’t cheating wrong?” asks the child. The parent, in their usual know-it-all swagger, says, “No, that is how you get ahead in life.” Perhaps an additional reinforcement from the parent would do it: “Look, people get rich by cheating.” And people wonder why corruption is so rampant in the country!

Another faux pas for parents is when they forbid the children from something, but they do it themselves. They tell their children not to smoke or get drunk; but they do it themselves. When the children happen upon them one day and complain about the parents’ example, the parents just throw their weight around and shout at or even hurt their children to be silent. Another dysfunctional family in the making.

Apo, don't play in the street... wetaminut, si lola pa rin nag-aalaga? Where's parenthood?

There is also the use of tall tales to confuse children. For example Benign0 would recall the grandmother who told her granddaughter about how humans are born, “galing ka sa pwet” (Click on link to read full reader’s letter to Like the tales of St. Peter playing bowling to explain thunder or may duende sa bakuran (dwarf in the backyard) to keep them from being naughty, parents confound their children about the birds and the bees. Sex education is sadly an area where Filipino families are lacking, because of absurd conservatism. And thus, our population grows like ants.

Nepotism is the obvious fault of our local Filipino families. When you have a business and are looking for the right person for the job, Filipinos often look within the family. Or even family friends. It’s not a fault by itself to consider someone because of familiarity or connections; but it is when you choose that person or service because of those connections and not because of competence.

A Testimony

Just to show I’m not the only one thinking this way, I decided to use the story of commenter Ben, who described his experience with families of differing values, to demonstrate my point. He commented in response to BongV’s posting of an episode of Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations” which featured Filipino cuisine, and upon seeing a Filipino family in the episode that seemed to show these issues in parenting:

“When I came to the Philippines and met with my family from both sides, I saw a big difference comparing where the “Filipino” culture is more dominant.

On my mum’s side, family times and Meal times are a lot more noisy and discussions are very frequent. This was because of the fact that my cousins on that side are well educated and sort of “Westernized.” They dont conform to much of the Filipino society and they dont watch local channels. This made them easier for me and my brother (who grew up in Aus) to associate with considering there was no tradition in demanding respect from older people (po and opo and mano mano and such) and we felt more comfortable because it just felt like we were talking to just the same old group back home in Aus.

On the other hand, my dad’s side, which has more of an aristocratic vibe, it was very quiet, comfortable and sometimes they were unbearable to be around. I’d hear the older people get pissed at kids who forgot to say opo, I’d be required to make mano to everyone and the worst thing about it, meal times were so fricken QUIET! As in no talking… And this was what I saw in Augusto’s family. This is the Filipinized family. Their past time is watching Eat bulaga or Wowowee or Game KNB or MTB (back in the day). They made kids dance the ocho ocho and perform for the elderly and some kids hated it and some loved it. It was so uncomfortable.

What I noticed too is that on my dad’s side, people are so easily offended. And I guess that’s one of the reasons why people were so quiet during meal times – they were afraid to offend someone on the dining table.

When it comes to small family gathering like in the scene in Augusto’s family’s house, another key point would be that there was a foreigner amongst them. Filos hate to make themselves look bad, esp the older generations. If the kids make them look bad in front of foreigner, they get banished to say the least.”

Thanks, Ben, for sharing this. And I’m sure you’re not alone. A lot of Filipino families are like his dad’s side – cold, anti-intellectual, loveless and materialistic. It shows the things that are wrong with the Filipino family. Dick Gordon said the country is dysfunctional. It’s probably because the Filipino family is dysfunctional.

It’s a good thing that the side of Ben’s mom shows better, proper family values. This is what today’s Filipino family should emulate.

The Filipino Family – a Destructive Institution

Way I see it, our family values were really designed to make Filipino families broken and dysfunctional. The Filipino family was sabotaged from within. Whatever the friars or other influencers planted in the Filipinos, the Filipinos never bothered to remove. Even if told that these were tools of deception, they still clung to these false values!

The Filipino family’s intrinsic intolerance against nonconformity causes people to not reach their true potential in this country. Thus, they seek it elsewhere. This is probably one reason why droves of people go abroad; to be “free” from this inhibiting culture. The Filipino family is clearly one of the tools to perpetuate a defective culture onto its people. The way the people vote, the rampant corruption, and people’s bad behavior and bad attitudes toward life – they reflect the state of the family. The arresting of the family has resulted in the arresting of the nation.

My sociology teacher said that the most violent institution in human society during peacetime is the family. This is because of domestic violence, “spanking,” and all that. But in another sense, in the Philippines, the family may be the most destructive institution, because all the dysfunctions of authoritarianism, nepotism, slave-mindedness, backward traditionalism and even corrupt practices stem from it.

Only upon dumping obsolete family ideals can we have more Filipino families as happy as this one

You know, if Filipino society wants to weed out corruption, the government is the last place to start. The right place is the family, where it starts. We clearly need to reform traditional family values. But how do we make these reforms? I’ll be sticking my neck out when I say that children can “go against their parents.” But there are parents who can certainly change their parenting style and teach their children to be more assertive. BongV’s article on assertiveness has all the material to help teach children the right values.

We must remind people that the “friars” are gone – and should not be revived. Catholic priests and authorities, highly conservative religious and other parties cannot dictate your personal values. A person must now evaluate morality based on not one religion or school of thought, but on universal principles of ethics and a study of each and every belief system.

We also have to draw from other countries on values. Now why should we draw from other countries? Isn’t that “un-Filipino,” some may accuse? No. In fact, it may be better for our country. We need to acknowledge that the Philippines does not have a monopoly on what is right or wrong. Heck, our “Christian” values come from abroad.

We need more anti-traditionalism and liberalism. We need to shake off the chains of bad family values and restore the Filipino family in this 21st century.

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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107 Responses to Filipino Family Values: A Source of Dysfunction

  1. J.B. says:

    I read somewhere in a history book ages ago about a big turning point of catholic dominance in the Philippines after the revolution when the Aglipayan had recruited enough number to their flock.

    Vatican was so concerned about this exodus so what they did was they filed a law barring the priest from their diocese and their turfs including control of their lands.

    It was quite unusual that the Philippines granted the envoy’s demands which was based on law and not on justice.

    Had the priest leave in mass exodus, the control of Spanish friars could have at least transferred to the local.

    But then again there is no guarantee that the learning itself of the Filipinos wouldn’t be as bad as it is today.

  2. Rom says:

    Very nice read! lots of points that I actually can relate to. I’m a Filipino-Chinese and thankful that we didn’t grow up in a super traditional Chinese or Filipino culture.

  3. Jett Rink says:

    On drawing values from other countries, from where should we get these? I am asking in the context of a Southeast Asian country. We feel sorry and disappointed with our nation, because as compared to our neighbors we are considered laggard. The statistics and facts always bandied out are the year-after-year and decades long greater performance of GDPs and FDIs and tourism receipts of countries like Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam compared to poor-old Philippines. Are the family values of the citizens of these countries different or superior than Filipino family values? I may agree that they foster better entrepreneurship, but do they have non-conformits and assertive citizens, less corrupt, more intellectual, less lazy, less consumerist? Or they also have the same family dysfunctions but were able to do other things better to improve their lot?

    • ChinoF says:

      I admit not getting into detail on this and letting the reader think for themselves, since I feel this can be a complete article in itself. I’ll just give as a quick answer: take your pick. Obviously, many Filipinos are abroad and can see what values families in other countries practice. Many Filipinos today talk about the independence of children in America; we could take that and apply it in our own setting. There’s more of course. But I agree that there are also wrong family values in these cultures. Arranged marriages for one, and strict control by religious of one’s life. We just need to be discerning to know what we should pick. I also gave that suggestion on the premise that our own local values are too diluted and corrupted to trust fully.

      I’ll point back to BongV’s article on assertiveness; that already incorporates a lot of foreign ideas. Even assertiveness itself is arguably a concept foreign to our indigenous culture.

    • ChinoF says:

      Forgot to thank you for your comment. 🙂

    • Jay says:

      Every culture has some form of a ‘wrong’ thinking habit about them that is hard to break. Thing is some of these more, resilient cultures know how to promote the right habits that seem to create better people to fit in society than destructive ones.

      I may agree that they foster better entrepreneurship, but do they have non-conformits and assertive citizens, less corrupt, more intellectual, less lazy, less consumerist? Or they also have the same family dysfunctions but were able to do other things better to improve their lot?

      Non-conformists? I know Japan is big on conformity but nowadays its view on society is slacking. But I don’t think really affects their society as much in terms of what they value. Assertiveness? The results are there! Assertiveness is a much easier result to distinguish in my opinion since it has a lot to do with making the right choices. Less corrupt? Corruption exists in all forms of government and even in society. However, societies that wish to strive for excellence won’t condone or necessarily tolerate it.

      The other asian neighbors also face their own social issues, as someone gave a link regarding singapore and their lack of dreams, being a society that ultimately is built on a rat race. However it doesn’t affect their views necessarily on what kind of values are respected and why it works as a whole for the society. They can have their cake and eat it too.

      • ChinoF says:

        Two things I can gain from Jay’s post:

        – Each society is still evolving, even advanced ones, and is experiencing cultural changes.
        – The more successful societies still have corruption, but know how to handle it better than our own.

      • Ma Xianding says:

        Well, the Japanese values are one good to conform to. The Pinoy ones are not. Therefore conformity is good for the Japanese, bad for Da Pinoy.

      • HusengBatute says:

        That’s because Japanese society strives for competitive excellence, while Pinoy society is happy with “pwede na yan” mediocrity.

      • NotMasochisticFilipino says:

        I suggest we dig into that ‘pwede na yan’ mentality deeper one of these days.

        Reasons why it’s very easy to fall for the ‘pwede na yan’ trap:

        1. Not all people like to work hard.

        I was presented an example about investing a money either on casino or a business venture. While it looks better in choosing the latter, both presents risk (well in business venture, there’s no risk elimination, only risk management). So since choosing either options will have risk (of money loss) involved, it falls on which is easier to do so yeah, casino (or lotto) is the easier choice.

        “pwede na yan, sa casino ka na lang kaysa mawala pa yung perang pinaghirapan mo sa business. At least, di ka pa pagod kahit matalo ka. E sa business? Matalo ka na, pagod ka pa.”

        2. Lack of appreciation/recognition

        This may not happen a lot but it happens (not that excellence should be constantly rewarded everytime). There are cases that better work and normal work recieves the same recognition so the ones who did the better work will say: “E ganun din naman pala kahit pagbutihin ko”.

        Another scenario much worse is that you get scolded or something similar if you do more than what is asked for the sake of excellence for various reasons. So instead of risking your job by trying to impress your superior, just stick to the boss’ order.

        The problem I see about pinoy mediocrity is that they don’t know when to strive for excellence and when to ‘be assertive’ about “pwede/tama na yan”.

    • Miriam Quiamco says:

      Well, let’s look at the countries you mentioned that have outperformed the Philippines in the economics game. We have to emphasize that it is only in the economics game because most of these countries still have dodgy political institutions. I guess, they started out by knowing what goals to set for their country to be politically stable. Marx is right in saying that the base of society is economics and everything else depends on it. Vietnam and its proximity to China has understandably benefited a lot from the double-digit economic growth that the Chinese economy has fostered. Even for mer communist countries now realize unless a country has a strong economic base, political stability will not happen. Do we ever hear these countries hysterically tackle issues of corruption? In Thailand, the recent red rebellion could be attributed to this, but for the longest time, the country has rallied behind the kind as a show of unity in national development.

      In China, they just execute ministers who are directly responsible for corruption that jeopardizes their trade policy. There is clear policy goal setting then, it is economic growth. Thailand, Indonesia and others have been successful at setting goal targets because these countries have parliamentary forms of government that make it a lot less complicated to set development agenda and to hold leaders accountable for not reaching these development goals. Do we have the same ethic in government? I have this feeling that the government in the Philippines is under siege by its prententious and hypocritical culture. Every time the government presents growth achievement in the economy, the critics are one at discrediting this achievement, which makes us a nation of ingrates. The people in other countries are thankful every time their government is able to produce economic growth because this means some alleviation of poverty. Now, it is true in the Philippines the poverty rates have not come down, even with growth rates, we have to understand why, instead of lambasting the government for its mediocre performance. The mass media should analyze why this is so, and not only harp on corruption.

      Mind you, Indonesia was rated number one as a corrupt country and yet FDI there has been averaging 7 billion dollars a year, China is also corrupt, but FDI in China has helped the economy grow. In the Philippines, we have deep structural problems that make us unable to enact laws to grow the economy and reduce poverty. It is definitely to Thailand’s advantage that their population control policy starting in the 70s has been able to reduce their reproduction rate. Thailand is corrupt and does have glaring social inequalities, but there has been serious attempts on the government level to come up with public policies that work. If we want to reduce poverty, we need to reduce our birth rate temporarily, cause no matter how high our economic growth, we will never be able to reduce poverty rates. We also need to professionalize and increase the budget of our defense capabilities to promote a peaceful environment, exactly what Teodoro has articulated in his policy vision for the country.

      There is nothing magical as to why we haven’t been able to realize our potential, it is that we as a people have failed at serious policy-making and it is because of our media institution that fails to help the people think of solutions to our problems. The kind of politicians we elect are reactionary, and celebrities who do not have any knowledge in policy-making. In other countries, those who have held positions in the bureaucracy like Gibo, a former defense chief are preferred as candidates in elections, and their parliamentary form of government could serve as a guard against electing mediocre celebrities in office. I must say though that contrary to BenK’s presentation of a parliamentary system discouraging the election of celebrities into government, there is still that possibility as can be gleaned from the Japanese example. Still, this celebrity-driven electoral campaign in Japan is not that significant as the bureaucracy has a stronger voice in policy-agenda setting here.

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  5. Nitramy says:

    Maybe it’s not the values themselves per se that’s that real problem here; but rather, the way that they’re interpreted AND implemented into the young serve to perpetuate the dysfunction.

    I mean, respect for those older than you is swell and all, but when it’s being used as a source of power to beat you around with, there’s a problem right there.

    And then you take it out on the next generation, which means we’ve just witnessed the birth of a vicious circle.

    • ChinoF says:

      This is a good point. How we see respect, how we see honor, how we see cheating, that’ll rub off on the children.

    • J.B. says:

      The way I say it is respect takes precedence over everything else. Even if the grandchild failed in his personal life as long as he’ll do the usual ‘po’ and ‘opo’, he still remains a valuable asset to the family in terms of virtues.

  6. Iskra says:

    Do you know that the word Po and Opo comes from the old malayan word EMPU meaning Master?

    • ChinoF says:

      This is interesting. It’s proof that even indigenous Filipino culture is not free from foreign influence.

      • Ma Xianding says:

        Well, Filipinos are Malay so I don’t think that influence is foreign but indigenous to Pinoy ancestors.

      • Ma Xianding says:

        Among the Melayu Babi societies, Malaysia is the most progressive one. Mahathir took CULTURE heavily into consideration in crafting his policies. Pinoys should follow his lead and work with culture as a factor taken into account.

    • GabbyD says:

      the word “mister” also has the same etymology.

  7. ilda says:

    Some ridiculous fathers will even chide their sons for having only one girlfriend, and will goad them to try and gather a harem. Not only will the fathers boast to fellows about their harems; they may even boast about their son’s harems.

    I didn’t know this. That’s really bad. I think Filipino men call the shots at home and women have very little say in the household. That’s where most of the problem originates.

    Most Filipino men are so full of themselves. They easily get intimidated too. It’s because they are used to being treated like a king at home. A lot of Filo men I know just want to hear themselves talk. I start talking and then they butt in. I can’t even get a word in sometimes. I don’t like guys who think that they can impress me with their cars. It’s such a turn off. What’s up with Filipino men who stare? They are not very subtle.

    But most of the regular male commenters here are so cool and obviously intelligent. They make me laugh with their wit and humour. It’s obvious that men who are well read have an open mind and can accept that women have an opinion too.

    • Ma Xianding says:

      So you do not get impressed by goot Englitszches and 1980 model SAAB Turbos?

    • brianitus says:

      Um, those fathers who prod their kids to gather numerous girlfriends and then boast about their “accomplishments” should be taught a lesson — be discreet naman! Babaero ka na nga, pagyayabang mo pa. Konting suave naman. Plus, it is counterproductive. Like, tuturuan mo mambabae, tapos mahuhuli lang dahil tinuruan mo by example rin na magkalat sa tao ng sikreto. Where’s the “fatherly” wisdom in that?

      My take: If papa DOM is teaching future DOM the hard way to be a castrato, then he’s doing one heck of a job. It’s one thing to influence someone to cheat. Teaching a lousy way to cheat is another, sheesh! LOL.

      I guess it’s all primitive behavior — the best way to demonstrate your “Alpha-maleness” is to have a lot of chikas and then brag about it. Just wait till the alphalady comes in with a pair of scissors.


    • maikimai says:

      I do remember a comment made by Mrs. Annabelle Rama in the heat of their debacle with Lani Mercado, she said, “Kahit anong higpit ang gawin mo sa lalake, mambabae at mambabae pa rin yan” or something like that. I was wtf?!? Some people needs to get their lips stapled.

      Also, I think the “alpha-maleness” isn’t only limited to the Philippines, its all over the world. However, in the Philippines it is dominant and widely accepted.

    • Miriam Quiamco says:

      Iida, if you are this pretty in person, I can’t blame Filo men staring at you, not to be disrespectful, but it is the exact opposite here in Japan, the men are sooo shy and lacking in self-confidence that they refuse to look or acknowledge a beautiful woman, kinda culturally encouraged not to be transparent with their emotions. I never get gawked at when I go home by men probably because, well, there is really nothing to marvel at me physically. But being a resident of Japan, i sometimes wish there is that modicum of honesty from the opposite sex. Japanese women almost bare themselves in public with their tiny, tiny mini-skirts and plunging necklines, but the men just don’t look. This country does not encourage flirting, and so there is a lot of sexual perversion.

      • brianitus says:

        Um, maybe that’s part of the reason why the old sex tours was popular with the Jap men. Might as well release all that sexual tension in a country where they won’t be chastised for expressing a natural biological need…less the perversion, of course.

        and if that’s the case in Japan, the Jap guys should be afraid of the alpha male Pinoy. 😆

  8. Ma Xianding says:

    Melayu babi’s cultures are bad therefore they need to be altered so the societies of the Melayu Babis will improve.

  9. Hung Hang says:


    I think your analysis in this article is somewhat flawed.

    Filipino family values like respecting elders and authoritarianism are really more like Asian values rather than exclusively Filipino. Chinese, Japanese, Indians etc practice this as well. Indians are much worse with their arranged marriages as dictated by their parents.

    Consumerism is present all over the world so this is not exclusively a Filipino trait. Shopping malls are big business in most parts of the world today due to consumerism, with people’s inherent desire to keep up with the Joneses or to have the latest gadgets and material trappings in today’s hyped-up material world. The heavy influence of Hollywood worldwide, the rapid advancement in information and communication technology and affordable air travel, and with the 20th century being the American century have much to do with this global consumerist phenomenon.

    Teaching the wrong things is also common in other cultures around the world, like overt and covert racism.

    Western family values are also not that great considering more than half of their marriages end up in divorce. Pre-marital and extra marital sex is also quite rampant among Western countries.

    Let’s just say each culture has their own strengths and weaknesses.

    A better analysis (you can write a blog about this too and you can thank me later) is the effect of the major religions in the value formation and progress of each country.

    Have you noticed that all former Spanish colonies which are all predominantly Catholic countries (Philippines and South America) are still poor today? Have you noticed that most predominantly Protestant countries (UK, US, Canada, Australia, NZ, most of Western Europe) are rich countries? Have you also noticed that most Confucian culture (Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, Korea, Japan, even Vietnam) are also developed or rapidly developing countries? What about Islam and Judaism? Have you noticed that majority of the billionaires in the world today have some Jewish extraction? If the Arab countries did not have massive oil deposits, will they be as dirt poor as the non-oil producing Muslim countries? What values do Calvinism, Judaism or Confucianism teach its practitioners that are far superior than Catholicism in terms of achieving “heaven on earth” status?

    Now that would be a nice mentally challenging blog to write about and one that I would enjoy reading.

    • Jon Abaca says:

      It’s safe to say that even predominantly Catholic countries in Europe are economic laggards. Both Italy and Spain are in financial trouble.

      I think the only predominantly Catholic country that isn’t in as much trouble as the others right now is France.

      But anyway, that was an great observation that you pointed out.

      In a culture book, there was a paragraph about punctuality in Germany. It was supposedly the product of the Protestant culture there.

      Compare that to the seven gifts of Catholic canon. While these gifts sound good, they are highly internal. Unless the ideas behind them are actively skewed, they won’t really amount to practical, worldly benefit.

      I remember reading a passage in the Bible where people complain to Saint Paul. They said that some of them don’t contribute anything to the community, but eat a lot in communal meals. Saint Paul said “He who refuses to work is not allowed to eat.” I have NEVER heard that passage in mass.

      I think the clergy here know that it will hit a lot of people where it hurts.

      • Dr. José Rizal II says:

        From my observations, the question is more about the “hot (southern) versus cold (northern)” countries. The warmer countries of Southern Europe have developed cultures that are comparatively more complacent than the cultures from Northern Europe, while those from the North tend to be more focused on solving problems rather than just letting things be.

        The Catholic versus Protestant issue is slightly derived from the hot-versus-cold (or South-versus-North) issue because the complacency of the warmer countries of Southern Europe made them stick with their traditional faith (Catholicism), while the Northern countries which are colder ended up seeing “kinks” and little problems with the traditional Catholic dogma (they were Catholics too, originally) and that caused them to question these and find a solution to these kinks and little problems. The solution? Secession from the Papacy and the creation of their own churches.

        In other words, the religion aspect is just a manifestation of the North-versus-South and cold-versus-hot divide. Northern Europe isn’t more economically dynamic than Southern Europe because they’re Protestant and that Southern Europe is Catholic. It’s more because Northern Europe’s cold has created a culture that forces people to think, analyze, and plan in advance (to combat the problems of a harsh winter) while Southern Europe’s warmer climate has created a culture that allows people to survive with less thinking and analysis. Essentially, complacency is not harshly punished with death, so complacency can become more common.

        This complacency is also what makes people “stick with tradition” even if tradition doesn’t seem to make sense. The Protestants of Northern Europe are essentially people who broke with tradition and created a newer one because they felt that the older tradition didn’t make sense.

        Ergo, it’s not so much “Protestant versus Catholic”, and instead, it’s more likely to be “Colder North versus Warmer South.”

      • Miriam Quiamco says:

        “Guns, Germs and Steel”? Luckily, the ideas emanating from the North have been spread around and have proven effective in improving governance even in hot countries, like in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, still struggling economies, but ones that have clearly made gains in improving their economies. Do you think we can somehow get out of our complacency as a people and adopt the ideas from the North effectively to move the country forward?

      • Dr. José Rizal II says:

        Not exactly “Guns, Germs, and Steele.” Jared Diamond was very careful to elaborate in his book (and other essays floating around in the internet and other journals) that he didn’t have that much of a North-South (Cold versus Warm) dichotomy, but instead, his idea centered around the “Eurasian East-West Axis Advantage” and the fact that it was this area that had a huge variety of flora and fauna that proved advantageous to the civilizations that developed in that area.

        It is, on the other hand, Montesquieu who makes the North-South/Cold-Warm dichotomy in analyzing societies.

        Montesquieu does NOT, however, condemn warm countries to mediocrity. His ideas, in his masterpiece “L’esprit des lois” (The Spirit of the Laws), state that while it is easier for Cultures from Cold Climates have a tendency to build successful societies under a liberal and/or democratic framework, Cultures from Warm Climates can be as successful, but they need to make use of a despotic/authoritarian framework.

        This makes sense.

        In Cold Climates, people are FORCED BY THE COLD to be self-disciplined, punctual, analytical, long term-planning oriented and self-regulating because without such self-discipline, people cannot easily survive the winters in cold climates where there is an obvious need for stored food, saved/stored resources, shelter/heating, clothing, etc. Lack of self-discipline and all the other types of behavior that lead towards success lead to failure, and thus, end up in death or extinction.

        In Warm Climates, people can afford to be a bit more complacent and happy-go-lucky. As such, people tend to be more “puede na yan” and tolerant of irresponsibility and tardiness.

        However, the behavior needed for success remains the same. Success is always a result of punctuality, long-term planning, better analysis, better self-discipline, etc. So while the people from Cold Climate Cultures have the natural tendency to have the habits needed for success, people from Warm Climate Cultures don’t. On the other hand, those habits can be developed. But they can be developed through EXTERNAL IMPOSITION FROM AN OUTSIDE AUTHORITY.

        In other words, if the Climate won’t force you to do the same things that are necessary for success, then the Government should do so.

        In short, the Governments of people from Warm Climates need to be “despotic and authoritarian” in coercing its citizens to behave in “successful ways.”

        This is why Singapore (a successful nation from the Tropics) continues to need its “draconian-like” laws and its somewhat “top-down” management approach.

        While LKY, his son LHL and the PAP do not always talk about the “Hot-Cold dynamics” (well, Lee Kuan Yew talks about it extensively in his memoirs), the Singapore-pattern is extremely consistent with Baron de Montesquieu’s observations. Likewise, Malaysia has similar ideas (borrowed largely from Singapore as well as Mahathir bin Mohamad’s ideas) in how Malaysia tries to achieve success.

        The key idea is that the Philippines needs to get its act together by focusing on ensuring that those behavioral “basics of how to achieve success” are instilled in the Filipino People. Competence, Self-Discipline, Economic Focus, Continuous Improvement, not resting on one’s laurels, etc are necessary.

        Sadly, most of the Filipino People continue to prove to the entire world that they would rather be monkeys and proto-humans than successful and civilized Homo sapiens sapiens.

      • Miriam Quiamco says:

        Thanks for responding Dr. Jose Rizal, perhaps, the Montesquieuan view could be applied to the Philippine case. Well, Marcos tried and failed to instill those values that spell success for a nation. Didn’t he make “sa ikauunlad ng bayan, disiplina ang kailangan” kind of slogan ubiquitous during his administration? Twenty years after, he was thrown out of office for abuse of power. I think that the Chinese work ethic has made it a lot easier for LKY to turn his two million city state into a success story in a hot climate area. In case of Malaysia, it does have oil as an important resource and Mahathir’s Malay first policy, discriminating against the Chinese population there seems to have worked. It is pragmatism that has brought success to both these countries, recognizing the weaknesses of their cultural traits and the strengths of course, and with government pursuing policies that harness these cultural biases to pursue developmental goals.

        I say the Philippines could be in the Montesquieuan world too, in that the government could come up with policies to make its people work towards progress. This seems easy to say as first we need to have a government that is wise, goal-oriented and truly endowed with strong leadership. Montesquieu was right in saying that in a hot-climate zone, people tend to be lax and care-free, but a government can whip its people to be the opposite and that is only possible if the people are united in pursuing common goals. The problem with our country is that, there is so much disunity, crab mentality has been the order of the day, the government cannot even make that simple single step to attempt to pursue development, there are already loud voices through the media criticizing a policy. An authoritarian government that stifles dissent in the case of Singapore or the paternalism of the government in Malaysia will not work in our country, but a similar political system could be put in place. Meaning, a parliamentary form of government could be put in place, kinda similar to what Marcos had installed except the Martial law part, to make legislation faster and to make the leaders be accountable for failed policies.

        Next time around, we really need to elect wise leaders. I am crossing my fingers with the newly elected president, I am soooo full of misgivings, but his administration may yet prove to be a boon, we don’t know. . . sounding fatalistic here.

      • J.B. says:

        I saw this one argument also in Indolence of the Filipinos.

      • J.B. says:


        Montesquieuan view is no longer needed. We’re really are albeit on oligarchic scale on each island community.

        An all powerful person in the palace cannot easily lord over the Philippines because of the archipelagic separation of islands. He can’t easily amasses his power to force his will on every region where an oligarch reign supreme.

        That’s what happened with Marcos. He’s not alone. He had his cronies to administrate. Floriendo in Banana, Benedicto in Sugar, Danding in coconut, etc.

        Even with someone who has the military might and obviously come from the ranks of the men in uniform cannot stream roll anyone as he may never had the numbers to do so.

      • Hung Hang says:

        This hot-versus-cold divide may be valid during the 19th century in Rizal’s time with his “Indolence of the Filipino” essay. But with the advancement of technology and the advent of cheap HVAC (Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning) systems made in China, Korea, Japan, etc, and where factory workers and office employees can now work productively in the comfort of air-conditioned buildings or can travel comfortably in air-conditioned vehicles and public transport, I think temperature and weather have less effect now on value formation in a country compared to religion.

        If temperature is still a strong determinant for a country’s progress, then countries having similar temperature and weather profile to the Philippines (e.g. Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam) will not be experiencing the rapid economic growth that they are now enjoying.

        Karl Marx once said that religion is the opium of the masses. If that is true then Catholicism and Islam must be like LSD with its strong reality-distorting and hallucinogenic properties while Protestantism, Confucianism, and Judaism are probably the milder brew psychidelics, akin maybe to marijuana. 🙂

      • J.B. says:

        @Hung Hang

        If we go by the history of US considered the most democratic country in the world, we can see how the protestant experience and doctrine affects the followers view of their government and their responsibilities.

        Early in their history, these people were likewise victims of religious persecution in England and when there was a rumour the US would install a religious belief to be the state religion, the early settlers who were likewise had bad experience way back in England protested in the belief that state religion wrangling the affairs of men is not all good — hence the separation of church and state.

        Protestantism as it is practised in the last 2 centuries are more of like independent federated local groups not unlike the division of a federal states in the US hence the dictatorial tendencies of only one group, which are always prone to abuse, is lesser.

        Literature study is fairly higher in the sense that as early in the young attended church, his brain is somewhat subjected to the millennial problem of freewill vs determinism. Bible reading is a must which require some cultivation of rational faculty going through reading of books of old and new testament.

        Other may never like this form of religious practices but reading the bible as young created some intellectual heavyweights to few e.g. Paul Ricoeur and enlightenment to the ordinary folks.

      • Dr. José Rizal II says:


        I’d say that in the case of Malaysia, Mahathir’s policy wasn’t so much “discriminating against the Chinese” as it was “making space for Malays/Bumiputras to have the opportunity to work alongside the more hardworking Chinese.”

        For sure, the system in Malaysia entailed affirmative action in favor of the “indigenous” Bumiputras, but Mahathir’s vision for this wasn’t meant to “put down the Chinese to raise up the indigenous.” It was borne out of the fact that the Chinese population in Malaysia is huge enough to be able to rely on itself. As such, it is big enough for a Chinese entrepreneur to hire only Chinese workers/staff members. One of Mahathir’s contentions was that the Malays/Bumiputras needed to have direct exposure to how the more economically-successful Chinese worked and did things. But unless there would be opportunities for mingling in the work environment, the Bumiputras would not have direct exposure to the work ethic of the Chinese. That’s why the affirmative action scheme was put in place: Companies needed to hire a mandatory percentage of bumiputras , and the end result would be that eventually, bumiputras would be able to directly observe and imbibe the work ethic of the Chinese (and Indians).

        In most other areas, Malaysia followed Singapore’s model: strict implementation of laws (albeit not as easy to control as Singapore), economic focus, etc.

        In Truth, Marcos’ martial law wasn’t wrong by itself. The Philippines could have pulled itself together if Marcos actually saw it through and did the most important thing: delivered on the Economy.

        Unfortunately, Marcos’ economic policies were flawed. He borrowed massive amounts of money which he pocketed, and some which he distributed to cronies for them to “develop the economy.” But he chose the wrong cronies: majority were incompetent and had no real intention of developing the economy. Many of them only put up façade companies that were there as fronts, but they didn’t make any money and didn’t have any real operations. By the time the loans were due, Marcos had nothing to pay and in the end, the repercussions of not paying manifested themselves in currency devaluation and economic collapse.

        That was truly the one mistake of Marcos: having the wrong economic policies or implementing his economic policies wrongly by choosing the wrong cronies.

        – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

        Hung Hang,

        The air-conditioner is indeed one of the greatest inventions. Lee Kuan Yew himself praised the air-conditioner for its ability to counteract the “misfortune” of being in the tropics, and as such, his memoirs and other speeches actually reveal him to be very Montesquieuesque.

        You need to read my exposition carefully, though. It seems you missed a lot of points: Temperature is a strong determinant for the kind of culture produced in a particular region, not a “strong determinant for a country’s progress.”

        Montesquieu’s views made it extremely clear that he never condemned “hot countries to mediocrity” because he said that cultures from hot climates can still compete with the cultures from the cold climates if their governments are strict and disciplinarian and induce them to develop a strong work ethic (possibly through coercion).

        Did you look at your examples? Singapore, Malaysia, and Vietnam… Are those countries as Free-wheeling and Liberal as the Philippines?

        Obviously not!

        They’re countries that have implemented Montesquieuesque ideas so that the relative complacency developed in tropical climates would be counteracted by disciplinarian governments that properly manage the people in a top-down fashion.

        You should have also looked at the obvious cause-and-effect exposition I made on why most Protestant countries in Western Europe are in the North and why most Catholic countries in Western Europe are in the South. Religion, per se, is more of a correlated symptom that goes along with the climate of a country. A people’s character is often determined by the type of environment that people develops its culture in. People from colder areas that experience winter tend to become more serious, more planning-oriented, and more self-disciplined because those traits are necessary in order to survive winter, while People from warmer areas that don’t experience cold winters (or have no winters at all) tend to become more complacent as compared to the people from colder areas because the milder climate does not require them to plan as much. (In the tropics, you can find food anytime and anywhere, unlike in temperate zones where there’s nothing to find during winter)

        The fact remains that culture develops over centuries, and the recent pervasiveness of airconditioning technology in the mid 1900’s is not enough to change the tropics-based cultural tendencies of Filipinos which have been around for millennia.

        In the end, religion can have an influence, yes. But I also need to make it clear that most of our ideas about comparing Protestant and Catholic come from attempts in the past to correlate economic performance with culture, such as the work of Max Weber. The problem I see, however, was that no attempt was made to go even deeper and look at the fact that in Western Europe itself, this Protestant-versus-Catholic dichotomy also roughly coincided with the Cold North versus Warmer South dichotomy.

        By looking at both, we do find that they are related. I posit that Protestant countries turned Protestant because they’re from the Northern part of Western Europe: their people saw problems with certain aspects of their older Catholic faith and decided to do something about it and rectify such problems according to their own interpretation. Catholic countries in Western Europe remained Catholic because they’re from the Southern part of Western Europe: their people probably saw some problems with certain aspects of Catholicism but STILL DID NOT do something about it and thus were more tolerant of the status quo (aka “complacent”).

        In other words, the work ethic may still have been influenced more by the underlying effects of climate as Montesquieu clearly presented. Of course, there will be influences from religion as well. Some Protestant groups might have been more predisposed towards wealth accumulation than Catholics, for instance, due to certain teachings (prosperity gospel, for instance or ideas like “God favors the hardworking”) But notice again that where Protestantism first developed and became common in Western Europe was precisely in the colder Northern regions, while Catholicism remained strong in the relatively warmer South.

        (We could argue that a Catholic Spaniard who converts to a Protestant sect that heavily emphasizes a prosperity gospel may end up becoming richer than a Catholic Spaniard who remains Catholic. But then again, maybe that first Spaniard who converts to the prosperity gospel Protestant sect already exhibits traits that make him more predisposed to success to begin with: he was willing to make a major change in his life by conversion. That “major change” idea is an indicator of a willingness to turn around one’s life. Then again, it’s still worth looking into the origins of the sect: Was it developed in the warmer South or in the colder North?)

        As such, there is strong reason to review Montesquieu’s views on “hot-versus-cold.”

        By the way, Confucianism is NOT a religion. It’s a philosophy.

      • HalleluyahHymen says:


        Good “theoretical digging” into the classics. I never knew “The Baron” who classified and clarified the three functions of the branches of government and expounded the phrase “spirit of the laws” was also into the observation and analysis of the aggregate behavior of the citizens of the state. The hot-versus-cold makes sense and can be connected to the Utilitarians’ “pleasure and pain”. Halleluyah Hymen!!!

      • miriam quiamco says:

        It is a pleasrue exchanging ideas with you Dr. Jose Rizal, now I am convinced this is a blog I really want to stay blogging. Your exposition on the Malaysian case and why the Malays were given preferential treatment by the Mahathir government in public policies, like preferential educational loans, quotas in institutions of higher learning, bank loans, etc. is very enlightening. It did seem necessary to have that progressive policy to make sure the Malays do not lose out to the Chinese, given the human
        tendency to be cliquesh, and to give economic opportunities only to people of our tribe, with the Chinese dominance in the business sector, the Malays could have easily been marginalized in their home country. Mahathir was truly a wise leader.

        Marcos attempted to push for a Montesquieusque form of governance to bring about progress to our land, but he failed miserably, why? Perhpas, it was because during his time, cheaper air-conditioning mahines were not yet readily available to the average Filipino. Just kidding. . . There is a book “In Our Image” written by Stanley Karnow that somehow details our impotence as a people in pursuing common national goals. He also wrote about Vietnam and how the Vietnamese despite having been a colony of the French has been able to show success first in evicting their colonizers , in fighting off Chinese aggression and in defeating a superpower in its most recent history. There seems to be something worthwhile in his argument that the two countries verge in their cultural pride as a base of unity for the two peoples. Whereas in Vietnam, there is cultural unity, though influenced by Confucianism and the French Catholicism, before the foreign cultural intrusion took place, the Vietnamese already had a thriving cultural identity to withstand the French influences.

        In the two books, Karnow emphasizes that whereas in our cuntry, we have a foreign god, Vietnam does have well-defined cultural identity before the western power colonized it and thus could easily mobilize its people for any national agenda. Catholicism does bind all Filipinos from the upper to the lower classes, but this religion as practised in the Philippines insists on having a say in most of our secularized undertakings. How else could the RH bill not go through to the annals of our legal system , after 7 congresses, it is still a divisive issue, it is the influence of the Catholic Church on our lawmakers that is to blame. The masses may be less religiously ideological, the elite however is under a strong grip of the medieval form of Christianity in our country. This is partly true in the U.S. where God finds a space in their public discourse too, however over there, there is a strong intellectual tradition that can temper the bigoted religious sentiments. In our country, we are truly helpless in that we don’t have a thriving intellectual tradition, by this, I mean the serious space of ideas in our public sphere. Thus, the bigotry of the religious influences persists.

        The left could potentially contribute to the solution of our problems but we don’t even have a viable leftist political party. Why? In many countries in Latin America, equally Catholic as us, there are leftist parties that push for radical reforms. And the people are receptive to these leftist political parties. In the Philippines, to be associated with the left is immediately a turn-off because it comes with that prejudice of proximity with a godless communist ideology. Brazil and Chile are two Catholic countries that have been shining in economic development charts, why are they succeeding in public policy-making? Perhaps it is because in these countries, ideas are not shunned and religious ideologies are not the medieval kind, this region did produce the famous “Liberation Theology”, again, it does seem apparent that because most of the people are of European-stock, they are able to develop an intellectual life that is open to ideas in their public discourse of their developmental agenda.

        The Philippines is lagging behind because even though there is this foreign religious ideology that binds us, Filipinos, it is not a rational ideology and there is no competing ideology that is rational enough to take us to progress to the 21st century. Gordon or Gibo could have given us this no-nonsensical leadership that is truly secular and befitting of the 21st century politics, but instead, the candidate who had to consult the gods to succumb to the pseudo demand for him to run won. Where does indeed this one more politically suicidal tendency will take us in the future?

      • Dr. José Rizal II says:


        I’m very happy to see your views here. We’ve read a lot of the same stuff, it seems. And yes, I have read Stanley Karnow’s “In Our Image.” (In case you haven’t read it, look for a copy of Dr. Mahathir’s “The Malay Dilemma.” It’s essentially Dr. M’s “Get Real, Malaysia” mega-essay.)

        One of the best things I first gathered from it when I read it more than 15 years ago was the idea that it caused “confusion” for Pinoys that the predominantly Anglo-Saxon Protestant Americans tried to impose their Anglo-Saxon Protestant Ethic and Northern European-derived Democratic ideals on a predominantly Catholic and Hispanicized Malayo-Polynesian people.

        The other key idea there too was that Karnow revealed that his personal friend Benigno S. Aquino, Jr aka “Ninoy” was actually a fan of Lee Kuan Yew and did not necessarily disagree with Marcos’ authoritarianism. Ninoy even said that if he was in Marcos’ place, he’d have probably done the same. The main complaint Ninoy had was what I mentioned earlier: That Marcos failed to deliver economic prosperity and material progress to Filipinos. Truth be told, people actually tend to tolerate authoritarianism if it delivers. Marcos failed to deliver (on what else? THE ECONOMY!), and that’s essentially what got him out.

        You are right also in looking at the fact that many of those more progressive countries in Latin-America have elites that are largely European-stock and thus have the same (or similar) intellectual life that is open to ideas. The Filipino elite (oligarchs plus the unintellectual “intelligentsia”) is composed of people who would actually be middle class if they were in the First World. They don’t have the ability to really think in real rational terms. All they can do is follow other peoples’ ideas.

        As for Vietnam, it has to be mentioned that Vietnam’s culture is essentially Chinese-derived. They were a Chinese vassal-state (with some political autonomy) for a little over a millennium. That very long time of being highly influenced and in contact with the Chinese made them develop a solidly “Chinese-derived” culture which the more recent and short-lived European colonial period could not erase. Contrast that with Filipinos who were essentially fragmented small primitive tribes not under a strong central authority that would build up a Civilization with stone-based architecture for the longest time, you can see why it was easy to replace the older culture with a newer “more superior” one.

        With the French (and other Europeans) going into Vietnam, they had what was essentially a strong Chinese-derived or highly Sinicized identity that had the trappings of Civilization. That’s why it was much harder to “erase” the Vietnameseness of the Vietnamese. The gap between the level of civilization of the Vietnamese and that of the foreign colonizers wasn’t that “wide.”

        Truth be told, it’s not so much the “originality” of the culture that is the issue. Vietnamese culture is essentially Chinese-based (even reaching Qing Dynasty influence), just as Korean and Japanese are Chinese-based (largely around the Han, all the way to the Tang, and pre-Ming dynasty influence) in terms of culture. Thais do not have an original culture at all. Instead, what we all refer to as “Thai Culture” is essentially Khmer (Cambodian) culture which the Thais (or the “Siamese” as they were earlier known) adopted for themselves in a similar way that the Romans adopted Greek culture.

        Whatever it is, all these cultures stuck to what they defined as “their culture.” Nevermind that they were initially BORROWED (or perhaps imposed from outside) from foreigners, the Vietnamese, Thais, Koreans, and Japanese essentially identified with the cultures they made their own and by the time they came into contact with Westerners, they were well aware that who they were was defined by the culture and the cultural trappings and manifestations (clothing/costumes, art, music, architecture, etc) that they had made theirs. (The Japanese, during the Meiji Restoration, decided to REDEFINE THEMSELVES into Westerners who just happened to be of Asian racial ethnicity by adopting Western systems, clothing, architecture, technology, etc, turning them into Asia’s most modern nation and first non-white country to be invited into international diplomatic leagues such as the Treaty of Versailles and practically be treated as equals of the Whites.)

        The Philippines is in a major rut because our elites are of low quality. (I really mean it when I say that they’d be Middle Class in the First World) That’s why they’re “oligarchs” (few who lead) instead of “aristocrats” (The powerful Best). Go to our universities, listen to the way most of our academics reason. Low quality. They even spend a lot of time making up lame excuses for why they were “justified”‘ in voting for an incompetent person into the Presidency. All the Philippine Intelligentsia seeks to become good at is pambobola and sophistry instead of finding the Truth.


        Yes, Montesquieu’s “L’esprit des lois” (The Spirit of the Laws) was very voluminous and “comprehensive.” He talked a lot about comparing societies versus others and cultures versus others. He also looked at the whole idea of “proportionate rewards and punishment.” He saw, for instance, that if all crimes were punishable by Death, then the crimes would become more and more heineous. If the penalty for hiway-robbery and murder was both Death, then hiway robbers would rather kill their victims, knowing that these victims could later identify them and get them convicted and killed. Since the penalty for murder is the same as robbery/theft: Death, then what’s the use of keeping the robbery victims alive? Montesquieu observed that this was how the laws worked in China: proportional punishment. Hiway robbers in Imperial China may have robbed travellers, but they never killed them, since killing them would have meant death, while merely robbing didn’t translate into Death.

        It’s a really good read. Lots of insights. Of course, in light of today’s findings, the understanding of certain phenomena needs to be upgraded. But overall, it was very sound and logical. Lightyears ahead of the kind of thinking that modern day Pinoy so-called intellectuals are capable of. (Save for the real intellectuals who make antipinoy their home who – sooner or later – should be discovered for being the real intellectuals they are and dislodging those pretentious fools who populate Philippine universities and Pinoy newspaper columns.

      • Miriam Quiamco says:

        Thanks Dr. Jose Rizal, I love writing your blog name, imagine having a conversation with Jose Rizal, my ultimate hero in life. JB says, there is no need for a Montesquiesque form of government on a naitonal level since this is already existing on an island to island basis. I beg to disagree, I think that a leader who is determined with policy implementation and one that should include strengthening the fangs of the state to lessen the powers of local warlords could prove effective on a national level of governance. Marcos failed because he was self-serving in his pursuit of economic gains for the country, despite his intelligence and strongman image, he was actually culturally subservient to the worst in Filipino culture. He used certain oligarchs to be in control of the economy, his brand of crony capitalism should have been clearly a doomed policy from the start. Marcos was only interested in consolidating power and did not really realize the importance of building a strong economy. He was simply interested in wresting control of the economic levers of power from his enemies and had given the same levers to those he deemed loyal, but he did not set clear economic goals for the country.

        Why else would he let his wife get away with kleptocracy, if he was indeed a strongman that he portrayed himself to be. Strong leaders are never subservient to their wives, they will stick to the goal and not let any member of the family sabotage their goals. Marcos was a power hungry politician who was probably suffering from some personality disorder, despite his political genius, he failed in making his policies work for the country because he chose to be blind to the machinations of his cronies and his wife. How could anyone call this leader strong and principled? As Karnow said he was ruined by the Filipino culture of putting premium more on narrow special interests based on personal relations over national interests. The Filipino people would have tolerated the kleptocracy and it could have gone on indefinitely had he delivered on economic development goals, but instead, he lost sight of the very reason he switched the system to authoritarianism, he was a weak leader, and his despotism was impotent.

        I think that a truly strong leader would still use the oligarchy but would make sure they would tow the line that the government has set to ensure success in public policies. This government would be interested in results and would employ all sorts of pragmatism in policy-making. While warlords are difficult to eliminate drastically without disturbing local peace and order, there is a way of using them to pursue national goals. A Thai scholar friend did research in Thailand on how warlordism has helped the government maintain peace in the countryside, and this despite the fact that Thailand does have a defense budget that is 4 times as big as ours. Marcos did have good technocratic people around him, but all those policies, like masagana 99 did not produce lasting beneficial effects on the economy, because in the long run, the kleptocracy of his family came to be matched by those he embraced as cronies.

        It was doubly bad that martial was in place, and so the culture of corruption was sooo pervasive, and with minus 10 economic growth and burgeoning foreign debt, there was no other way but for him to go, Aquino’s assassination was just a catalyst for his downfall, but even before that, he was already on his way out. In other words, there was no honest to goodness Montesquiesque governance during the time of Marcos, it was all form without substance. Strong leaders LKY and Mahathir really provided this no-nonsense leadership and were quite clear in not letting family members or their cronies ruin the policy direction they have set for their country. I still think that Gibo Teodoro could have been this strong leader for the nation, for he will be clear on the goals he would pursue and would provide focused governance.

    • Hung Hang says:

      I forgot to mention that if you look at the European Union, the predominantly Protestant countries are generally economically stronger than the predominantly Catholic countries.

      In the current EU financial crisis due to the PIIGS countries (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece, and Spain), all these countries are predominantly Catholic except for Greece.

      Mere coincidence? Or is this another proof of the weak or wrong values inculcated by the Catholic church?

      • Jay says:

        And let me just add that Ireland’s history as a country is somewhat similar to the Philippines. I’ve long been familiar with the Irish Curse and have in a couple of months been familiar with the Pinoy Curse.

        Well Hung Hang, it is a potent theory. If regulars at AP reflect at the changes of our neighbors who respect different values than the Philippines, it may just be due to religion that influences culture and not necessarily ethnic of origin.

      • GabbyD says:

        Ireland’s been doing well over the past few years.

      • Jay says:


        Ireland, much like the Philippines was based off an agrarian society and similar social structure where the rich owned the land while the poor didn’t. Read it up. Yes they have been doing better and still struggling with social issues regarding explosive tension between catholics and protestants, but financially they are doing better.

    • ChinoF says:

      Good points. I still think there is culture that is influenced by non-religious factors. Arranged marriages for example don’t seem to have a religious basis. Teaching one’s child to cheat certainly has no religious basis. But I agree religion is a significant factor in failed families. Probably a religion which encourages unthinking obedience and aids a colonist in “dumbing down” the people in its colonies leads to societies like ours. We could say that about the Catholic church.

      • HalleluyahHymen says:

        The Roman Catholic Church (RCC) has the proclivity to react slowly on global changes and developments. When Galileo cried “the world is not flat” he was condemned incomunicado. When Marx and Engels published the communist manifesto that cited the disequilibrium and ills of society during the industrial revolution, it took four decades for the RCC to come up with ambiguous counter measures through its first papal encyclical… the rerum novarum. The simplification of the first and the succeeding social encyclicals came a century after through the National Conference of Catholic Bishops in the US through the definition of what ECONOMIC JUSTICE is… and it is century and a half after Marx defined the hardships of men, women and children in the factories during the industrialization period…. patay na ang kabayo… ngayon pa lang nagkadamo.

      • Pastor_Art says:

        The issue with Galileo is about the geocentric vs the heliocentric model. By that time, they already knew that the world is round. Ptolemy and Copernicus depicted the earth and the other heavenly bodies as spheres.

      • HalleluyahHymen says:

        @Pastor art

        Thanks for threading. Model theories you’ve cited are addendum to the notion that the Catholic church is really “slow”…. one of the major dysfunction of its hierarchical structure. The biggest difference between Galileo and the heliocentric theorists is his TELESCOPE.

      • ChinoF says:

        Seems that the Church was making pahabol with that decades-late encyclical. In addition, the Catholic church tends to be a real fomenter of status quo – no change is moral, even if people are dying from it.

      • HalleluyahHymen says:


        The reason for posting these facts on how the Catholic church behaved on the socio-economic changes is the context on where Karl Marx is coming from. The opium element comes from the dogmatic view point of each and every religion…. they are slow to react because they have to consult “the book” and debate how they can connect “hard” realities to the DIETIES… whatever changes in the dogmas HAS TO TO BE THEOLOGICAL.

      • ChinoF says:

        Hehe, you know Hallelujah, it’s funny they have to consult the Book for each change when the Book only says one thing… support social justice. Ang labas, parang tanga eh. When they supported monarchs like King Philip II and genocidal programs like the Inquisition, they say the Book justifies it. Then centuries later when they’re proven to have done wrong and they backflip, they say the Book supports them still. Parang iba-ibang Book ang gamit nila. 😛

      • HalleluyahHymen says:

        religions and cults are dogmatic… and more than that… it’s ritualistic. everything is related to the cosmic creation achuchuchu…

        marx’s argument is on the context of the political economy… it does not match with the concept of how religions work. when adam smith, an eclectic who tried to converge all the existing materialist concept of the political economy… the church did not react. when marx wrote about the ills of oligarchy and captalism and created an alternative paradigm for the working class… the church reacted not to marx’s writing but on the behaviour of significant number of laborers who’ve been “brainwashed” by the new concepts of the “working class”, politburo, bourgeoise and it’s “supposed” interactions in the political economy of “the State”.

        RCC reacted because alternative concept of pro-full-interventionist-socialism called communism is sweeping europe’s peasant class’ psyche. Then comes its fear of loosing properties, territories and other assets. Ergo, the RCC reaction in the late 1800s is purely materialistic in nature… not spiritual.

      • Miriam Quiamco says:

        You have a point, a religion that encourages non-critical thinking is a bane to national development. In the Philippines, this is pretty apparent, even among the so-called intelligentsia, if you read comments of Filipinos even those based in the U.S., presumably, not your typical, ignorant and uneducated peasant, they do reflect this uncritical tendency to view the world. I was just reading a news story on MB this morning and was struck by a quoted opinion from a Filipino paper in Northern California: ” even amidst all the black propaganda, Noynoy has won, let us hope he will be a healing president, the country needs healing badly, let us pray that he will listen to the people’s call for national healing”. I mean, how fatalistic could that statement be from a paper. OMG, how could they not see the fact that Noynoy’s platform of government or lack thereof is based on hatred and vengeance and that he is full of venom and hatred himself, probably because of the political tragedies his family has experienced. I grant that to Noynoy, this could be really the reason for his psychological troubles, but for the electorate to wish him to be an enlightened politician even with a prima facie case of his utter psycho dysfunction just makes me wince in pain.

        I think we should ban all this god-talk in our politics, so that our politicians are forced to articulate what they stand for on issues that matter to our country. The problem with a political system that does not have a developed intellectual class and has not gone through some form of historic revolution, the fatalistic-religious sentiments tend to dominate, to the disregard of rational discourse. France is a Catholic country that definitely does not shirk from rational discourse of issues. Spain and Portuagal, I don’t know, but there is only so much you can attribute underdevelopment to culture and religion. At some point, we need to do something concrete to serve as ballast to all this fatalism borne from a backward religious tradition and our colonial history. Brazil and Chile are two Catholic countries that are rising, we can learn a lot from them. There are political thinkers that attribute Japan’s success not simply to its cultural tradition, although it may have played a role, but to concrete public policies that have worked. We need to create an intellectual class that talks about policies and underdevelopment in our country.

        I am thinking of a mass media that look at government not as enemy number one of the public but one that tries to help the government grope for solutions to our problems. Our media practitioners are too hysterical, very few have connections with the academe and would like to evaluate policies objectively. We are into emo politics too much and the problem is that, this emo-politics is dominated by negativism and a cry for vengeance which is a blind and useless emotion.

    • ChinoF says:

      BTW, on consumerism… it was discussed in the comments of my first article here that Filipinos seem to be the only one bringing home balikbayan boxes. Imagine how much you pack in one box. Isn’t that a uniquely Filipino form of consumerism? Or are their other “box collector” cultures?

      • Miriam Quiamco says:

        The balikbayan boxes are a good deal for OFWs when they want to send their excess baggage home. Books, old clothes, shoes and anything else of value that OFWs want to keep for future use but don’t have space at their current residence abroad may avail of the balikbayan boxes. They don’t only serve the demands of consumerism, although, during Christmas and New Year, many send their gifts via this form of shipping things. To some extent, consumerism is really not a bad trait, the world economy is driven by consumerism, mostly the American variety. In our culture, we just wan to share some of this with loved ones, unlike other more individualistic cultures. Frankly, I have nothing against balikbayan boxes, they are great for Filipinos living abroad like me. And the only reason our economy is growing even though we don’t have the same levels of FDIs like Thailand, China, Malaysia and Indonesia is that our people love the mall-life with their loved ones, all on the backs of OFWs of course.

        OFWs remittances may come at such high psychological cost and may not seemingly enough to sustain our economy, but they could be a stepping stone for a vibrant economic future. Ireland used to send their people abroad too to work and support their families, but now, the Irish economy is picking up and thus, their people don’t need to go abroad anymore to earn. We could be the same, I am hoping that the government will come up with a rational industrial policy so that we are able to build a manufacturing base either with agricultural products or heavy industrial stuff. We could focus on specializing in IT related goods, just like India, but experts need to do a detailed study on sectors where I can still compete and stick to developing those sectors. Our OFWs could be providing the financial backbone for this, and of course FDIs too. We really need to straighten out our peace and order problems and remove protectionist laws to welcome FDIs, these are the main obstacles to FDIs trooping into the country. It is ironic that we are such an open market when it comes to consumer goods from abroad, and yet, we are keeping foreign capitalists out, it means, we would rather buy these imports without enjoying the benefits of employment windfall from producing these consumer goods.

        In short, we need people in government with a vision, with keen experience in policy-making and a leader who can unite the country in reaching specific and common goals to bring progress to the Philippines in the 21st century.

  10. Ryan Bosco says:

    “(A Cojuangco ancestor helped smuggle these women into friars’ private quarters)”

    LOL, sounds like the Cojuangco family started human trafficking in the Philippines. I guess what ever makes money to become rich and powerful.

    But, I absolutely disagree when you say, “if Filipino society wants to weed out corruption, the government is the last place to start.” Here’s why:

    1. In any family from any creed, culture and country, there will never be an ideal or correct way of raising a family. No matter how we are raised, good or bad, backward or forward, englightened or intimidated, we all have to leave our homes to interact and to function as a nation. That is why we have laws and the constitution—to govern the different families that make up the country.

    2. The country is the microcosm of the millions of families in our society. Yes, to a certain extent the family is the place to nurture discipline. But in case there is a family breakdown, the government is there to contain individuals who disrupt society when we step out of our homes (whether it’s an ideal home or a dysfunctional one). When we leave our homes, we function as a country. And if we don’t have a functional, orderly government to guide us, our country or society becomes chaotic. Therefore, the government is the excellent place to start setting an example for the rest of us—by punishing those who are corrupt in our government. Otherwise, we might as well not elect politicians as stewards of our country. Instead, every family should just hire a psychologist or family therapist.

    3. America is the perfect example of diversity. There are Catholics, Protestants, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhist, blacks, whites, Asians, heterosexuals, gays, divorced, Mormons, atheists, conservatives, liberals, and the whole shabbang! America is THE most diverse country on earth—even more dysfunctional than the Philippines! And it makes you wonder how a country with such an array of families can be as one great nation. It’s because the government is the people. The law binds everybody in black and white. Like the family, the government has rules. If you break the rules or the law then you pay the price. Those who disregard and disrespect the law are severely dealt it.

    So the problem in the Philippines is not the dysfunctional family values. The problem is that we simply do not enforce the punishment these corrupt family members deserve. One of my favorite movies is “Lean on Me” with Morgan Freeman. He plays a principal of a high school filled with dysfunctional children from dysfunctional families with no values. Well, watch it. It proves my point.

    Thanks for reading 🙂 I really enjoy this blog.

    • Jay says:

      Just my 2 cents Ryan

      1. Society can still have an impact as to pushing what is effective to raising a family and what isn’t by creating societal norms and stigmas. I mean if no one learned from raising 10 children with insufficient budget to do so, that society has doomed its future. So then it goes to basics, like respecting certain values while reinforced with proper education.

      2. Well that is going back to the argument of who elected these ‘corrupt officials anyway?’ Especially if its pertaining to the democratic government that the Philippines runs. There is always going to be a measure of corruption in ANY FORM OF POLITICS. The difference is how people respond to it, either with pure morals and ethics or efficiency and fairness. The corrupt politicians aren’t the root of the problem and seeing their reason for being able to exploit the system with no checks and balances mean anyone elected can do it, given enough motivation.

      However I do agree with creating an atmosphere where people can respect the rules and laws and not be subject to its consequences in a totalitarian way. And it has to come from values, which as I have read now may be beyond a family being influenced by culture, but a culture also influenced heavily by religion.

      3. Well, I’m going back to the concept AP was throwing about oligarchs and civic virtue or what I believe in is Noblesse Oblige. The government are the people but despite the diversity, they understand the values of civic duty which even the American Oligarchs (some immigrants themselves to begin with) believe in. Those values also include respecting the law but also questioning its meaning and its purpose in society.

      Don’t you think the corrupt, elite families themselves are part of the system? The only difference is instead of following the values of civic duty, they play on the same mindset of the people that has not changed since the turn of the century and they did themselves a disservice to dumb themselves down throughout the generations. Instead of progress and peace, they focus on propaganda and palusot. And even their actions have had a bad influence with society in the long run since they seem to tolerate their behavior.

    • ChinoF says:

      Hey, thanks for your comment. I actually thought of saying “government as the last to work on” in response to people insisting that government corruption be cured first so that the people will follow. That is my view of the Noynoy anti-corruption platform, and I don’t think it’ll work. The late George Carlin said that it before people became politicians, they were also ordinary people who worked, voted, and studied just like anyone of us. Thus it implies that corruption starts at the bottom; corrupt politicians were once corrupt ordinary people. My premise is that corrupt habits are passed on in the family… so addressing family values is one way of addressing corruption in society and government.

      However, I do agree about your point about corrupt elite families. If anything needs to be worked on, they do. I do have a theory that the poorer people started by hearing tales of corruption about the elite families, and for some want reason want to be like that. I may just write an article about it.

      • Miriam Quiamco says:

        Corrupt values being passed on by family to its members is not uniquely Filipino, even in developed countries, family wealth is enough encouragement for the succeeding generations to be just as corrupt. The family is the conduit of values to the younger generation, it is true, but a family does not exist in a vacuum, it is part and parcel of a bigger reality. If the system encourages corruption, sure enough, families will pass on the same values to their children. The Aquinos’ haciendero legacy that is truly corrupt by all objective standards of decency has not been viewed as such by the wider public because of our lack of rational intellectual tradition. The political, social and cultural contexts in the country encourage worship of this class and so the Aquinos behave like this historic land-grabbing is not wrong and they are indeed entitled to the material benefits of being members of this class. An intellectual who used to blog on FV criticizes Villar’s corrupt business practices, but hails the Aquino’s enterprising business acumen as the source of their wealth. What a bogus argument, corruption whether historically sanctioned or its modern-day version is true to form, it causes enormous pain and suffering to the victims, not to mention the stink it leaves to the system.

        What we really need is serious legislation to combat corruption along the lines articulated by Gibo Teodoro, and with sustained economic growth that should empower a bigger portion of the population, the middle class, we should be able to root out our culture of corruption in time. I laud the decision of the Supreme Court making sugarlandia part of the Agrarian Reform Agenda of the government, a 2007 decision challenged by the oligarchs. Now, why doesn’t our respectable media institution focus on the ramifications of this decision for our development instead of quibbling on the bratty antics of the new president-elect. If more meaty policy issues are included in our media coverage, there wouldn’t be much room for opinions of the fatalists and religious morons even if they are based in the U.S. of A!

      • ChinoF says:

        The family is the conduit of values to the younger generation, it is true, but a family does not exist in a vacuum, but a family does not exist in a vacuum, it is part and parcel of a bigger reality…

        There’s a good point. Like a knife. Whether it becomes good as a tool to cut food to cook and feed people, or whether it becomes evil as a murder weapon, depends on the holder and not on the knife itself. Our society that has some general ideals and practices that rub off onto the family, and thus the family becomes a good social barometer.

        And on oligarch family dominance… we really need to convince the masses that this is a bad thing. They probably don’t realize it or know the details.

      • Jay says:

        Actually I liken the better analogy to people who actually believe Money is the root of all evil. Money is an inanimate object that can be used for benevolence or for destruction. It is merely a tool used by means to get to an end.

      • ChinoF says:

        Took a while for me to acknowledge this, but that’s a good analogy too, Jay. Just to clear it up with those not familiar, money as the “root of all evil” is wrong. It is the “love of money” that is the root of all evil. Note, love of money.

        I hope readers don’t mistake it as “love is the root of all evil.” 😆

    • baywatcher123 says:

      I agree with much of what you say. I’m American and I must say the people are the government however in your words, I do sense that you were describing the symbiotic relationship the people have with the government a.k.a the authorities. We vote for who runs the government and many times they are assholes but plain and simple, we put them-asshole or other-in office to make decisions for us. “Lean on Me” is my all-time favorite movie since that movie released decades ago. I grew up in lower Manhattan, on a military island so unless we took a 5 minute ferry ride, we were sheltered from the civilian world. But when you’re a military brat, your parents do find value in immersing you into being independent and getting outside your comfort zone for a number of reasons. Mr. Clark had no choice but to call out the parents because he knew that they were the problem. He also knew that his students were raised in an environment where they could not call out their parents. But he was right. In relation to this article, I completely agree. There is no “punishment” for destructive behavior from a family member. When there is no consequence, people typically continue this behavior.

  11. guilbautedsookie says:

    When I was like…a little kid our family was SO CONSERVATIVE and yeah studying in a conservative Catholic school it was a nightmare. But you know, when my sister and I began being assertive, telling our parents what change there is to be and how things they do hurt us, and also feedback from them, it was good. Now, our family is more open, but still not there.

    Sad to say, even if we’re pushing forward, this article quite paints our picture

  12. guilbautedsookie says:

    Regarding the “po” and “opo” and the mano…to be honest, from where I am from, we don’t see it as sort of submission. We see it as you know, a sign of respect. Just that. Reverence.

    What hurts me until now is how my relatives from the father side ganged up on me for not being a maka-Noynoy, of how they made me look like an embarrassment to our family and how they said “marami na kayong nurse di ka aasenso”. It hurts [tear moment joke]. My mom and my dad might have been the iron-fisted parents when we were young, but they always told us things that they wanted us to practice in adulthood– GOOD THINGS. Like my mom tells me…”I’ll allow you to be gay or bi or whatever, but don’t emulate your uncle’s example of wasting away his money…” or my dad says…”Ikaw, do what you want, just do it well and learn”. However, as parents they tend to manipulate us parang telling us “dapat maging ganito ka, ganyan” and when I did assert something, they said “sana sinabi mo ng maaga. wala kang paninindigan”.

    Anyhow, I love my family. We’re not your typical backwards Pinoy family. After coming out, my parents were ever more supportive and more understanding, unlike some who’d probably kill their sons. Also, we’re more open we tell each other if things we do hurt. My sister and I have learned to reason out more…

    Yet, sad to say, it’s the family that rips Filipino society apart. If a family lives in bad examples, no wonder everyone becomes one.

    • ChinoF says:

      Thanks for sharing this. I agree that each one’s family is very different. I still believe though that a common theme exists of resistance to change and refusal to be modern even if the times call for it, whether in this country or in other countries.

      And on your family, Guilbauted… it’s wonderful to hear. Who said this… Better moving forward slowly than not moving forward at all.

  13. ChinoF says:

    I recently heard of a whole family in Cavite having been arrested for drug dealing. Can anyone confirm? Sure is a sad example of a whole family gone corrupt if true.

    • UranusHertz says:

      I remember watching the entrapment operation last night on Imbestigador. Maliit pa nga yung number nung mga family members niya compared to other families caught by IMB, yung iba kasa-kasama pa yung mga anak.

    • barbara says:

      isang buong pamilya na puro pulitiko ayun ang example ng whole familt gone corrupt. 🙂

  14. JC says:


    • jethernandez says:

      damn!!!! halleluyah!!! a one liner moron!!! would like to elaborate JC? pwede kang gumawa dito ng mga kwento tungkol sa one liner moronism mo. san mo ba yan nabasang komiks?

  15. maikimai says:

    I don’t know if I’m gonna laugh or gonna be pissed when my Grandma called me from the Philippines. Here’s the story;

    My uncle lost his job last year, they decided to do a sari-sari store business at the moment by borrowing the capital from me. After 2 weeks they finished building a small store and transferred all their belongings there. However, things got weird afterwards, they felt that they have an unwanted housemate and is haunting their sari-sari store. They decided to call a pastor to bless the store to hopefully remove the unwanted being, however, because this is Philippines, the pastor may bring lots of people and they don’t have anything to serve them, my mother got pissed and told them to just make sandwiches, however my grandma said, they’ll just wait until we come home for vacation on October to bless the building.WTF?!?

    • Miriam Quiamco says:

      Typical story of folks living in the rural areas, we are still a very superstitious country, novelists or creative writers will have a lot to write about life in the Philippines. Why haven’t we produced a Gabriel Garcia Marquez, this is exactly the stuff to write about if you have an active imagination. I would just laugh off these things, except that here, we are talking about pretty rational stuff. I don’t think pre-modern attitudes like this should necessarily impede our road to progress, you wonder though, here again, that sense of dependence fostered by a dysfunctional Filipino family is evident. Being a Filipino, I have experience this myself too.

    • ChinoF says:

      Family superstitions = family in the dark. LOL

      Pastor will bring lots of people… ano yan, traveling circus? Wow

      • maikimai says:

        Isa akong occult fan at naniniwala ako sa mga multo pero hindi kaagad-agad sa mga kinukwento sa akin. Gusto ko rin sanang mabless yung building na yon para magkaroon ng psychological effect sa tito at tita ko na ok na tumira doon kahit wala naman talagang elemento doon kesa naman masayang yung capital na hiniram nila sa akin.

        Sabi nga ng mama ko mag sandwich na lang para mura, pero ang gusto ng lola ko bongga kaya ipagpapaliban na lang sa October. Parang ayoko tuloy umuwi.

      • ChinoF says:

        Wala pa yung faith healer para ma-double-bless, malaki pati yung professional fee nun. hehe

      • HalleluyahHymen says:


        kami na lang ni Chino ang mag be bless ng building… gagawin kong sakristan si Chino… para mawala ang multo lalagyan natin ng sign “BAWAL UMIHI DITO”. hehehe… (joke lang maikimai)

  16. JC says:

    Yung mga tao na involve dto sa anti-pinoy is yung mga taong di napapansin sa society and di tinatanggap sa society dahil sa pang-sariling interest at hangarin.

    • HalleluyahHymen says:

      nagpapansin ka ba? o ayan napansin ka na.

    • ChinoF says:

      OK ng definisyon mo ng anti-pinoy a. Puro sariling interes at hangarin nga. Pero we’re not it. Tingnan mo kung sinong mga pinaguusapan namin. Mga oligarko, mga kurakot, mga sinungaling na media at mga taong bayan na di nag-iisip. Sila ang anti-pinoy.

    • enteng says:

      Pansariling interes at hangarin?? Siguro nga, pansariling interes at hangarin namin na magbago ang bayan na sa tingin namin ay matagal nang nagiging “dysfunctional”.

      Hindi ba’t sa kasaysayan ng daigdig, ang mga taong hindi pinapansin ng estado, ang mga nagpapapansin para marinig, naging motibo nila ang mga “pansariling” interes at hangarin nila para magbago ang pamumuhay nila ay mas nagdulot ng ikabubuti para sa nakararami?

      Dude, kung sa sarili mo sapat na ‘yang nangyayari sa buhay at palgid mo, kawawa ka.
      Habang buhay kang magpapadala na lamang sa kung ano ang meron? Sa tingin ko, ikaw ang talgang may pakealam lang sa sarili niya, sapat na ba sa’yo na nabubuhay ka lang ng maayos sa ngayon?

      Kung hindi kami magpapapansin (kung walang magpapapansin), kawawa tayong lahat, titigil ang kaunlaran dito (sa Pilipinas). 🙂

  17. palebluedot says:

    tama ka…pansariling interes at hangarin nga namin —> (1) na maging livable place ang pilipinas para sa totoong pinoy na katulad namin, (2) na mawala ang corruption at pagsasamantala sa lahat nang levels nang ating society, (3) na marealize nang ordinaryo at uneducated pinoy na sila’y ginagamit nang media na ang hangarin ay lumobo ang pera sa bangko, (4) na magkaroon nang solusyon kung bakit di tayo nagmu-move on kagaya nang neighbors natin sa southeast asia, (5) na mahanapan nang rationalization ang walang sawang social issues surrounding each and everyone of us…same issues since i was born in fact, wtf!

    ‘tangna nga namin, sobrang selfish…

    (piskut ba sad! hurot akong tagalog…)

  18. fullofhatred says:

    hooooooooooooooooooooo. it sucks to be trapped in a dysfunctional country. aarrrrrrrrgggggh. I wanna play bagong bayan theme song at full volume when aquino’s day of epic failure comes. hahahaha

    • ChinoF says:

      Let’s just wait till the really big mistake comes up… then we come out with a BULAGA! style of “I told you so.” Imagine the impact of that. nyahaha

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  20. enteng says:

    I grew up in a household where half listens to what the children’s got to say and half where the children still have to obey the parents ’cause they’re still under their supervisions. Half don’t go for the popular beliefs, and half follow. Though as a whole, my family’s a non-comformist to the whole lot.
    My family actually, I think is a paradox itself :|.

    Bagamat ang mga magulang ko ay parehong lumaki sa sobrang “dysfunctional” na mga pamilya, ako ay nagpapasalamat at nalaman kong hindi pala ganun ka “dysFunctional” ang aking pamilya(konti lang talga).

    Bow. 🙂

    I see myself as a “hybrid”, lol. “a non-conformist among the non-conformists”.

    So does that make me a conformist to the whole lot? 😀 ”

    I don’t think so. 🙂 I think too much.. 🙄

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  22. ejra says:

    I am so loving this site..

    Let me say that after reading this post, I am glad that my parents are far from the people described in the post. Maybe being born abroad and living there for a long time allowed me and my brother to stray away from the traditional Filipino values.

    I admit I do not know a lot about Filipino values and traditions. When I hear my friends talk about something and I would ask “ano yun?” They would disbelievingly look at me and say “ano hindi mo alam yun?” making me feel stupid every single time.

    I am happy to say that my parents are far from those dumb parents. They never obliged us to memorize the Lupang hinirang just because we were Filipinos or attend the mass every Sunday because it was mandatory. My father had a different way of thinking. He even hated shows like Wowowee and PBB which according to him had no values whatsoever. They taught us to be assertive. According to my mother “Matuto kang makipaglaban dahil kung hindi wala kang mararating.” We can wear anything, listen to anything, act and think the way we like. I remember my aunt saying when she heard that I was listening to some Metallica music “hoy patayin mo nga yan, wag ka makinig ng ganyan kanta yan ni Satan..” or “masama magbasa nyan Harry Potter, withcraft yan eh..” Puuhleeassee.. My brother and I were laughing afterwards.

    My parents never dictated what I should take in college. I remember when I was having trouble deciding what I should take in college and when I asked them “Bahala ka, bakit kami ba ang magaaral?”

    During the years that I was studying, I always heard that phrase “Study well” but not so that I could buy the latest in fashion or technology. “Magaral ka ng mabuti para hindi ka matulad sa mga tao dito, magaral ka ng mabuti para may marating ka, magaral ka ng mabuti para hindi ka mukang kawawa pagdating ng araw.” Advising your child to study well so he could someday buy the latest cellphone is like saying to your child that you’ll buy him a bike if he gets high grades in his math test.

    Although I do remember my relatives scrambling to get their hands on the very first balikbayan box e have brought. Then I would often hear them “ay eto maganda ito dahil imported. Ito signature sigurado matibay..” I also saw my mother and my aunt quarrel just because a balikbayan box was opened without the presence of my aunt.

    Now that we’re no longer balikbayans, when my other relatives who are in the States ask us what we want, my cousins would rush to the phone to say what they wanted but my mother would often say “wag ka na magpabili, hindi naman kailangan”

    I also remember asking my brother before “Kuya, ikaw na ba magpapaaral sa akin pag nagtrabaho ka na?”
    Upon hearing this, my father scolded me and said ” hindi obligasyon ng kuya mo yun..”

    Teaching the wrong thing
    No, my parents never led us to believe in Santa Claus nor in any other mythical creatures existing in this country. Although my mother is a bit superstitious, she never believed in Tikbalang or dwende or other unknown creatures. I don’t believe in scaring a child just to discourage him in doing the wrong thing. ” wag ka pumunta jan, may mumu jan” 😆

    I see now that following old traditions does no good. I am lucky to have open-minded parents who stray away from the usual traditions. If it weren’t for them, we might have ended up having the ideal Filipino thinking. 🙂

    Sorry for the long comment but I couldn’t help but compare 🙂

  23. down syndome chekwa says:

    masyado namang sobra OA yun ibang pinoy d2. vietnam,indonesia etc.. the philippines is a middle income newly industrialized country. at now s aquino administration they will continue the progress of our economy..
    so wag sobra OA yun iba dyan..vietnam is not even a niddle income country… crab mentality nga namn ng iba dyan…the fact is wer getting better and better economy wise..kun love nyo vietnam dun kau tumira mukha namna kau tsekwa na may down syndrome hehehe…

  24. averageJoe says:

    @ejra: Our parent’s are just the same except for the “po” and “opo” part which I think is a good thing. We are raised in a semi traditional environment although we are entirely brought up in the Philippines with no foreign influence.

  25. Hyden Toro says:

    The Filipinos has a lot of relearning to do. Most of the values imposed to us were acquired during their colonialism. The Spaniards were under the Ottoman Empire for many centuries. You can see a male “macho” ; Church educated; and authoritarian oriented mindsets of the Filipinos. Patronage of all kinds, are in our culture. Our politicians take advantage of this mindsets. They build political bulwarks, political family dynasties, and provincial warlord bases. This is the reason our politics are violent. Followers kill each other, to satisfy and show their loyalties to their political masters.

    Our next generation should take what is good in us; improve them. Then, discard what is bad. Determining what is good, and what is bad is the hard part. What works and give us, good results is good.

  26. potaters says:

    When I am having a hard time with my family, I read this and it helps. Thank you and hats off to ChinoF. 🙂

  27. Pingback: Is Being Broken now a Part of the Filipino Identity? - Get Real PostGet Real Post

  28. Seeking advice says:

    This is 100% the truth! My parents who were born and raised in the Philippines think it’s totally okay to verbally, mentally abuse and manipulate me and my siblings. We are grown adults now and they are still doing the same crap and treating us like dirt. If we ever try to speak up all heck breaks lose and “disowned” for “being disrespectful”, even when doing nothing wrong!
    What is the advice for North American children of these brainwashed parents? Do we just continue being abused our entire lives and constantly manipulated and controlled, even as grown successful smart adults?! I found this blog after searching for help on how to deal with these stupid “values” as I just got (another) mellow-dramatic Filipino movie drama-type text from my parents…so exhausting.

    • baywatcher123 says:

      Try counseling. My husband moved here to the US when he was 5, he married me, a white American. I’m a military brat and was raised in a very strict home. My parents raised us with the military code of conduct that is based on respect, loyalty and assertiveness. Also, standing up for ourselves and others- IN A RESPECTFUL WAY. Even when that meant we disagreed with them. Fast forward to my mid 30s and I’m dealing with a Filipino mother in law telling her son and I that she is the authority. Needless to say, counseling is the only way to deal with such dysfunction and really discover what the best way to individually deal with all the other bs.

      I give you credit bc you see that the behavior is destructive. That understanding speaks volumes for your ability to deal with it. I am grateful for my unique upbringing bc shit the brats group is a very small percentage of US population. Nonetheless, I realized the things I was not cool with and not going to perpetuate as a parent. In my early 20s, my mom made a comment to me about the way I was talking to my boyfriend. She said sweetheart, whatnyou just said sounded like things your dad would say and they were hurtful. It was a reality check and I immediately found a therapist. So it’s the recognition of bad behavior that is the foundation for change. Give yourself some credit for that.

  29. Pingback: Stop looking for the “pure” Filipino | Get Real Philippines

  30. Pin says:

    A bit pssimistic but thank u

  31. Erin says:

    I’m married to a filipino man who moved to the states the age of 5. I’m white and was raised in a strict military family. I was raised to respect authority, not just my parents and to respect myself authors well. My husband and I dated for nearly 4 years when we got married. We were friends and worked together for nearly ten years before we dated.
    I have 2 children from a previous marriage. Once we were married and I became pregnant, his family turned on me. Never a problem before although looking back I realize that my husband hid although lot of his parents contempt. During my pregnancy they attacked me with gossip and lies, even threatened to blast my 10 year old on social media, with FALSE ACCUSATIONS saying she was molested bc it would “teach me although lesson although out talking about the family”. All this bc my mil and bil felt I was “controlling” of my husband who was simply doing what married men should do-focus on the family he is buiding.
    When I defending myself, my husband and our family, more smear campaign and telling my husband he wasn’t a good son. Their family values don’t include you if you are not related by blood. It’s sick and disgusting.

  32. baywatcher123 says:

    I completely agree. My husband is Filipino and he was raised to not just ignore but make excuses for his family’s bad behavior. There is always a double standard. He and and his sibling erupt in rage over the smallest of slights yet when I try to address an issue like their mother lying, manipulating, showing favoritestoward children, gossiping, etc. I an not the healthy adult my parents raised me to be, I’M RUDE AND DISRESPECTFUL. When they communicate discourse amongst themselves they yell, curse, break things but my approach is a problem. Why? Bc I call out their mother on her behavior. It’s insanity.

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