Traditional Filipino Family Values That Define Us

We must preserve traditional Filipino family values for future generations as they embody the ideal blueprint for building a resilient family life and fostering social stability. These are positive Filipino values and character traits passed down to us by our ancestors, shaping our identity as a people.

traditional filipino family
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What are the traditional values of Filipinos?

1. The virtue of self-sacrifice

Known for their enduring and close family ties, Filipinos always put their family first. Thus, self-sacrifice is a common trait for Filipinos, as they’re willing to endure hardships to provide a better life for their family.

Nothing shows this more clearly than when we hear of heartrending stories about Filipinos dying at the hands of ruthless employers while working abroad to support families in the Philippines.

It is also not uncommon to see Filipinos work themselves to the bones even when afflicted with illness and despite barely earning an income to support their loved ones.

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2. Honoring our elders

A trait Filipinos possess is their respect for elders. People of all ages know how to show respect and courtesy. The use of “Po” or “Opo” is just one of the ways we show our respect for older people.

Honoring our elders goes beyond how we address them, we are also duty-bound to provide care and financial support in their old age.

As well as showing respect for the elderly, we are also taught to respect older siblings and cousins by respectfully addressing them as ‘Ate’ or ‘Kuya.’

3. Filipino hospitality 

The Filipino culture is characterized by a strong sense of hospitality that dates back since time immemorial and is ingrained in our DNA. Thus, Filipinos are distinguished wherever they are in the world for their exceptional warmth and hospitality.

Filipino hospitality is truly unrivaled; from serving food and drinks, and offering guests a place to stay to treating visitors like old friends, there is nothing quite like it.

4. Filipino generosity

Filipinos are known for their generosity which is evident through their tradition of sharing with family, friends, and even strangers.

We can attribute such generosity to Filipinos’ innate compassion, embodied in the phrase “malasakit sa kapwa.” 

Such remarkable generosity did not go unnoticed when a prominent CNN correspondent, Anderson Cooper came to the Philippines to cover the aftermath of the strongest typhoon that ever hit the country, hurricane Yolanda. 

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As he was wandering through the hurricane-damaged areas, the kind gestures of the survivors touched his heart. Because despite the locals’  dilapidated makeshift shelters and meager food supply, they still offered him whatever little they had inside their humble abode.

5. Filipino ingenuity

When things get rough, Filipinos always manage to figure out a way to make things better. You can describe Filipinos as “maabilidad” or “mapamaraan”.  As one iconic brand advertisement famously proclaimed, “We always find ways.”

I believe such positive traits cannot be solely credited to Filipinos’ inherent creative nature but also to their unrelenting efforts to make life better for their loved ones.

6. Filipino resilience

Filipinos are lauded for their resilience, humor, and optimistic disposition despite enduring hardships and adversity. 

Thus, even in the face of life’s formidable hurdles, they remain unfazed. Their strong sense of resilience fostered by their love for family and steadfast hope in God allow them to power through adversity with courage and grace.

You would hardly see Filipinos languish in self-pity and despair but are more likely to take action and devise solutions, addressing the problem head-on rather than shrinking back from it.

7. Fear of God

The Philippines is the only country in Asia where most of its citizens adhere to Christian principles and beliefs. Thus, the profound fear and reverence for God are deeply ingrained in the hearts of our people.

Our country’s rich spiritual heritage has produced a culture steeped in hope, resilience, and a conviction that God’s grace will guide us through life.

Therefore, it suffices to say that Filipinos’ resilience can largely be attributed to our strong faith in God. We turn to the Almighty for solace in times of need, fully trusting that He will help us endure life’s turbulent storms.

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7. Debt of gratitude

As a people, Filipinos have this enduring adage passed on by our elders:  “Ang hindi lumingon sa pinanggalingan ay di makakarating sa paroroonan” 

English translation: “Anyone who fails to look back at his roots cannot achieve great success.”

Being ungrateful towards elders or people who have helped you on your journey to success is considered unethical and disrespectful, especially if the people who supported you in difficult times are in dire need of help.

8. Adaptability is one of the traditional Filipino traits that make us unique

There is perhaps no better example to demonstrate Filipinos’ remarkable adaptability and flexibility than when they work abroad. They deal with people from myriad cultures and traditions, yet, they can assimilate seamlessly into the new culture.

Such admirable ability to adapt to any culture reflects the Filipino’s firmly-held value of positivity in all circumstances and affinity for comradeship and community [pakikisama]

9. Natural empathy and compassion for others.

This has been a topic of contention even among Filipinos. Some Filipino writers think Filipinos are less compassionate than other nationalities. I beg to disagree. Filipinos aren’t all compassionate, but many of them still are. 

Anthony Bourdain, one of the most famous chefs, extolled the compassion and generosity of Filipinos when he visited the country years ago. Anderson Cooper, a CNN journalist, echoed the same sentiment during the aftermath coverage of the strong typhoon Yolanda.

Despite their poverty, Filipinos would chip in however little to help a sick relative or an impoverished neighbor.

Though not all Filipinos give alms to beggars, many still do.

10. The Filipino work ethic

Due to their inherent commitment to quality work, Filipinos have earned a reputation as highly reliable, detail-oriented, and diligent professionals across various industries. 

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With their keen organizational skills, tenacity, and passion, Filipinos excel at tackling any job, whether they are engineers, nurses, entrepreneurs, or blue-collar workers.

Along with their dedication to producing excellent work, I believe their commitment to their families is one of the reasons for such exceptional work ethics. Filipinos work extremely hard for their loved ones. Their sense of duty to their families spurs them to achieve more in their careers.

Key Takeaways: Traditional Filipino Family Values Must Be Preserved

As Filipino traditional values go against the grain of modern societal norms, preserving them is crucial. And what better way to keep these values alive in the hearts of future generations than to lead by example.

Filipino parents should be at the forefront of preserving these positive traits for their children, ensuring our traditional Filipino family values flourish for generations to come.

And one of the ways by which we can instill these Filipino values is through play. Here is a link to traditional Filipino games where children learn the virtues of respect, sportsmanship, and cooperation.