Daig ng maagap ang masipag is one of Filipino’s famous aphorisms. We honor proactive people. We admire those who have kusang-palo, not those who procrastinate, not the fence-sitters and the late-comers. Because of this, I believe that “Filipino Time” is a misnomer, if not an outright slander.
Daig ng maagap ang masipag is related to the saying, “the early bird catches the worm.” But it has a much deeper meaning. Allow me to explain what it means in daily Filipino life.
What is the meaning of daig ng maagap ang masipag?
Let’s start by defining three terms: daig, maagap, and masipag.
Daig may mean defeated, better, or surpassed.
Maagap is often translated as quick, on time, or prompt. These translations are correct some of the time. But as I will show later, maagap may also mean ahead of time. So, instead of waiting for the right timing, Filipinos are urged to do something at once, even if doing so is not urgent. Here, maagap describes a person who does something at once or ahead of time.
Masipag is a hard-working person. Filipinos value hard work. We celebrate our farmers and fisherfolks because we understand how hard they work. We call our OFW (Overseas Filipino Workers) modern heroes. Filipinos who work abroad are known for their hard work.
Daig ng maagap ang masipag means that proactive individuals, or those who work ahead of time, are better than those who work hard.
This does not create a dichotomy between proactive (quick starters) and hard workers. Proactive Filipinos can be hard-working people too.
Knowing when we use this aphorism will give you a deeper appreciation of Filipino culture.
Fix the Roof Before the Rain Comes
I learned an important lesson from my mother. The best time to fix the roof is before it rains.
Our roofs, like most of us in the slums, were made of thin galvanized steel. With time and weather exposure, these roofs develop rust holes.
Water drips through a damaged roof. Our house is tiny. That means that for us to be able to sleep, we must ensure that the floor doesn’t get wet. We use pails to catch the water from the ceiling.
But our neighbor has to work harder. They had to change the yero (galvanized steel), place a used tire on top, and pray that it would not rain hard and the wind won’t be strong.
You don’t have to wait for the rain to know that the roof has holes. You can see these holes on sunny days. Sunlight goes through them. You can also water your roof to find leaks.
We work harder when the storm comes. That’s because we must think of many things aside from getting wet. It is costly too. It is easier to work when it is not raining.
Daig ng maagap ang masipag. Fix your roof on sunny days.
I use the word proactive for maagap because both require anticipation. A person who is maagap anticipates that there will be storms during the months of June to November.
Can you now see why a person who is maagap is not just prompt and on time? They anticipate, so they are always ahead of time.
And anticipation does not take a genius. Rainy days always come.
One way to cure manana habit is to cram early.
Our teachers and our bosses will always give us tasks to do. We need to accomplish each task before the deadline.
You can do this by setting your deadline. You set the deadline before the rainy days. That’s how to become maagap. You work hard ahead of time.
Daig ng maagap ang masipag. Pero mas mahusay ang maagap na masipag.
Maagap Na Masipag
A proactive hard worker is a purpose-driven person. He anticipates because he has a vision. He does not wait for things to happen; he makes things happen.
Filipinos who are maagap na masipag observes, and make predictions from what they learned. They do not wait for everything to be complete to make decisions. They are agile and adaptive.
Keep this in mind, daig ng maagap ang masipag.
And this, mas mainam ang maagap na masipag.
Be a proactive hard worker.