Where are You, Filipino Values?


I was sitting comfortably in the MRT last Friday when a middle-aged woman walked in front of me. I contemplated on whether I should I give my seat but I ended up offering my seat since I can barely stand watching her wobble while the train is in motion. She got off earlier than I did but when I was about to reclaim my seat a mother and child came in. I offered them my seat again.

While standing and enduring the long ride from Trinoma to Ayala, I resorted to my usual habit of observing people to kill time. I sad realization struck me. Young people these days, especially the female ones, barely exhibit the “mapagbigay” attitude. Almost the MRT riders were scramming for a seat. Some barely recognize other people who might need the seat more than they do.

Upon arriving at Ayala, I saw a family of four. I think the two kids were around 5 and 7 years old. They were talking to their parents in English and they sounded very demanding. I thought back to the days when kids use po and opo and their mouths were firing Filipino dialects and not strutted English statements.

When I got home, I looked for my aunt “para magmano”. I thought again, “How many people still do this?”

Pagbibigay, po, opo and pagmamano. Where are you, precious Filipino values? It seems the improvement of this country is inversely proportional to your existence. Is it inevitable? As people improve, do they care more and more about themselves and less of other people? As much I love advancement, I miss the days when people do not stare at me pag nagmamano, when offering a set was not a second thought, and when the use of opo and po was a subconscious habit.

The more we advance, how many more precious Filipino values will become extinct?

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4 thoughts on “Where are You, Filipino Values?

  1. As an Australian engaged to a Filipina I enjoyed readi g your paper, which I found while trying to learn more about the customs of my intended and her family. I’ve spent a fair bit of time in Manila and Cebu and have seen the lack of formality you speak of (except by sales assistants who are still required to po like crazy). I’ve also spent a lot of time in smaller areas.such as Bacolod, Dumaguette, and mostly in Davao City where my fiance lives and Davao Del Norte to see her family.

    Many of the traditions you miss are still alive and well in the more provincial areas. I’ve had to learn how to do Mano Po to her Lola (first time I did it backwards…. putting my hand to HER forehead… oops!). I’ve also had to overcome my discomfort and learn how to respond when the seemingly hundreds of small children in her family’s village perform this gesture to me. Even though my fiance will be living in my country I intend to teach our kids as many as possible of the traditional Filipino values and language as we can. They may grow up as Aussie but I want them to know they are also Pinoy and be proud of it.

    • Thank you for that wonderful comment! I grew up in the province, Camarines Sur to be exact, and I still go home several times a year. I can say that, yes, most of these values are still alive in the province. Sadly, I can’t say the same for Metro Manila. A hardly see people here who still do “pagmamano”, And people are getting ruder and ruder. They take advantage of weaker people. So I really miss living in the province and experiencing bayanihan and the likes.

      So thank you for for expressing your intent to teach your kids these values. 🙂 It’s puts many of us into shame because some of our own doesn’t even bother to pass these values to the younger generation.

  2. it is still alive. i have been living outside the country for a long time and my kids are born in two other countries for we have migrated twice and yet we have instilled in their minds the pagmamano and po and opo which me and my wife have practiced with both our parents and relatives. i am fortunate to say that most of my caucasian/other foreign friends and co-workers, or even people who see us in public/churches admires how filipino’s attitudes to their family and elders are exemplified by what they can see, even with the simple gesture of pagmamano. i have been approached several times just to be asked what it meant to hold an elderly’s hand and tap it to your forehead and be praised on how much respect that we offer to our elders when i try to explain this to them. what is funny is that i have observed a lot of pinoys are more embarrassed to practice these gestures in front of other filipinos .

    • I agree with your last sentence. It saddens when i try to approach an elder then gives me a quizzing look on what I am about to do. Then, after I explain that “magmamano ako”, they breathe a huge sigh of relief because they thought I was going do something. I mean c’mon, are people here in the Metro really that paranoid?

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