Our values and traits are essential elements of Filipino culture. These Filipino values find expression in our arts, customs, traditions, institutions, and achievements. Therefore, one needs to study their culture to understand the Filipino people.

I met executives, some of whom were educated abroad, who wanted to Americanize the values of Filipinos at work. They see many things wrong with our culture, so they want to change it.

Admiring another culture is okay with me. But it is unproductive to put down Filipino culture without understanding it.

Sure, many Filipinos have negative traits which do not fit in the place of work anywhere. But there are good traits that, when embraced, will help employees and the organization grow.

I presented these Filipino values to help everyone understand the reasons behind our behaviors. However, these are by no means complete.

Visiting different regions of the country, I discovered values more expressed than others.

There is this town in Mindanao where people are known for their honesty. So many times, I left my belongings. I am forgetful. But always got them back.

Awareness and mindfulness can help us reshape our culture. We can cultivate the ones that will help us propel forward – and change those that prevented us from moving forward.

We are a product of our culture. And our culture is our product. We can cultivate the values we need. For example, we need to see more values like malasakit, bayanihan, pakikipagkapwa-tao, kusang-palo, and mapamaraan practiced at work.

We must also let go of many parochial beliefs that hinder us from moving forward. Pakikisama is a positive value. But when overused, we use it to justify tolerating wrong attitudes at work.

We can reshape our culture. Let us begin with our values.

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