I wrote an article about 30 Filipino values. I realized during my research that some authors mix up values and traits. They describe many Filipino values like hospitality, family orientation, and utang na loob as traits.
I cannot blame them.
Our Filipino values influence our traits. Probably, next time, I will write about admirable Filipino traits. However, since you are already here, let me help you distinguish Filipino values and traits.
Filipino traits refer to the patterns of behaviors, thoughts, and emotions.
One example is ningas kugon. It is a pattern of behavior, not values. It is not a negative value but a lack of skill to finish what one has started.
I say that Filipinos tend to “forgive and forget.” Some say that we have a very short-term memory. That’s how they explained the return of Marcoses to power. Although we knew they had not returned the loot, Marcos Jr was elected.
We can blame the troll armies, of course. But the truth is we are too easy to forget.
Here’s another example.
Though we have laws that protect women and children, we will still shell out money to ensure that a wife-beating uncle won’t stay in prison. No, we do not condone that deed, but we can’t help but protect our kin.
Sure, I have given you negative Filipino traits as examples. That’s intentional. I show that Filipino values and Filipino traits do not always go together.
Filipino traits are patterns, while Filipino values are choices. Sometimes, our actions do not reflect our values because of our habits as people.
I remember a friend who said he wouldn’t vote for a plunderer in the Presidency. But he campaigned for one. And that’s because everyone in his hometown will support anyone from their province.
Do you see the distinction?
We can replace and choose our values. But our traits, both good and bad ones, will take a long time to change.