By Jade Martin
June 21, 2007 4:24am CST
Common Traits 1. There is no doubt that the Filipino spirit is alive and strong. The Filipino's identity is evident in the traits, traditions, passions, and attitudes of a people with a diverse and unique culture. 2. Filipinos are generally known for their hospitality. Although they are not the only people in the world who can be friendly, warm, and welcoming, their attitude toward other people is said to be unique. The foreigner will experience being "at home" almost anywhere in the Philippines. If he happens to drop by a Filipino home, the family will normally offer him something to eat. The host will not complain that he's being disturbed and will not boast that he has offered the best that is available under the circumstances. 3. Another important Filipino Trait is close family ties. In a conventional Filipino family, the father is the head and the mother is the "light," the teacher and manager of the household. Due to the closeness that this unit maintains, the grandparents live with the family for as long as they like. More than that, the Filipino values the relationship of their relatives, even down to their third cousins. 4. Another major trait incomparable to other races is respect for elders. In the Filipino setting, the parents are accorded the highest respect in the family. Hence, it is a moral rule for children to talk and behave respectfully. The constant use of the words po and opo is a sign of respect for the elderly. Even parents are obliged to use these words when talking to their elders. 5. If you want a Filipino friend, it would not be hard for you to gain loyalty, which is another strong trait among the people. The term utang na loob (being grateful) implies a strong sense of gratitude and loyalty to a person who did a good thing for someone. Filipinos treasure their friendships under any circumstances. The Filipino's trust becomes evident when he shares with you both his joys and sorrows. A Filipino friend is someone you can lean on. 6. Another trait of the Filipino is pakikisama, which can be roughly translated as comradeship or being cooperative. It has many manifestations in Philippine society, one of which is extending support or offering help to neighbors who are in need. Pakikisama reflects the bayanihan spirit, which involves cooperation among fellow men to come up with a certain idea or accomplish a certain task. While bayanihan refers to a community-support deed, pakikisama has a more individualized sense. 7. Filipinos too are known for being sensitive to insults, criticisms (constructive and destructive), racial discrimination, and other small issues cropping on occasion. Amor propio, or pride, connects the traits pakikisama, hiya (or shame), and utang na loob (or debt of honor). All of these affect his amor propio. If you have helped him in a way that cannot be repaid materially, he will constantly thank you for the favor done. The pride to return the good deeds he received nurtures his amor propio, which sometimes leads to showing off especially in the presence of peers and subordinates. His amor propio propels him to be overly of sensitive. 8. There is a popular saying, "The Filipino is as pliant as a bamboo." The bamboo is a tree found in tropical and subtropical regions. It is known for its flexibility and versatility. It can be used in making furniture, kitchen utensils, and other items for practical use. There is even a organ made from bamboo at the Las Pinas church, the only one of its kind in the world: The properties of bamboo, according to Tomas Andres in Positive Filipino Values (1989), are "low modules of elasticity, poor bond with concrete, tendency to absorb moisture, high absorption strain, and variations in mechanical properties." The bamboo is generally considered pliant, and symbolically it has been compared to the Filipino character because it has flexibility, endurance, and harmony with nature. It bends with the wind, but can survive a storm. Just like the bamboo, the Filipino nation goes along with the forces of nature and politics. It copes with "fate" rather than fights against it. The Filipino mind is pliant in the sense that it is open to new ideas. Although the Filipino is trusting, he is also capable of standing up for his own beliefs. He will not tolerate betrayal and oppression. Filipinos in general are protective of their hard-won independence, and they will fight for their freedom at all costs. I am truly proud to be a Filipino.