Filipino Society


Filipino (formerly Pilipino) is based on Tagalog and is the official language of the Philippines.  In spite of being the national language, only about 55 percent of Filipinos speak the language. In addition to Filipino are about 111 distinct indigenous languages and dialects, of which only about 10 are important regionally.


English is generally used for educational, governmental and commercial purposes and is widely understood since it is the medium of instruction in schools.  The Philippines are the third largest group of English speaking people in the world, after the United States and the United Kingdom.


Since English is widely spoken in the Philippines, it is common to hear Filipinos use a mixture English and Filipino words or phrases, known as "Taglish" (a mixture of English and Tagalog), in their everyday conversations. A steadily dwindling minority still speak Spanish, which had at one time been an official language.   


Filipino Family Values


  • The family is the center of the social structure and includes the nuclear family, aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins and honorary relations such as godparents, sponsors, and close family friends.

  • People get strength and stability from their family. As such, many children have several godparents.

  • Concern for the extended family is seen in the patronage provided to family members when they seek employment.

  • It is common for members of the same family to work for the same company.

  • In fact, many collective bargaining agreements state that preferential hiring will be given to family members.


Filipino Concept of Shame


  • Hiya is shame and is a motivating factor behind behavior.

  • It is a sense of social propriety and conforming to societal norms of behavior.

  • Filipinos believe they must live up to the accepted standards of behavior and if they fail to do so they bring shame not only upon themselves, but also upon their family.

  • One indication of this might be a willingness to spend more than they can afford on a party rather than be shamed by their economic circumstances.

  • If someone is publicly embarrassed, criticized, or does not live up to expectations, they feel shame and lose self-esteem.


The Filipino Cultural Awareness


Bayanihan: the creation of association with neighbors and the helping atittude whenever one is in disastrous need. Oftentimes, the Bayanihan spirit in action can be seen when a bus gets a flat tire. The by standing or surrounding Filipinos would help the bus driver in whatever actions to get the bus back on going.


Close Family Ties: Filipinos are well-known for the close family ties. The primary social welfare system for the Filipino is the family. Many filipinos live near their family for most of their lives, even as independent adults.


Pakikisama: Pakikisama, or harmony, in English, involves getting along with others to preserve a harmonious relationship.


Utang na Loob: Utang na Loob, or Debt of Gratitude, is owed by one to a person who has helped him through the trials he had undergone. There is a local saying: 'Ang hindi lumingon sa pinanggalingan ay hindi makararating sa paroroonan', meaning, 'One who does not look back to where he started, will not get to where he is going'.


o Amor Propio: Concern for self image.

o Delicadeza: Sense of honor

o Palabra de Honor: "word of honor"


Although these traits are generally positive, these practices also have the inclination to be applied in the wrong context. A debt of gratitude is sometimes repaid by giving special favors to the other person regardless of the moral outcome. Close familial ties can also lead to favoritism.