Saturday, June 6, 2009



is the cultural stress on either guilt or shame. Westerners have a "guilt culture" that stresses moral standards and the cultivation of moral sensitivity. Filipinos, on the other hand, belong to a "shame culture" in which the concern is to prevent others from knowing of one's sin. Due to a fragile sense of worth, we Filipinos avoid being exposed, lest we be mapahiya (shamed or put to shame). When faced with the choice of being put to shame and committing sin, the typical Filipino chooses the "lesser evil" of committing sin.

In our values Education class, our teacher asked to interview our neighbors about their views on sin. The following day we excitedly shared what are they discoveries. My classmate "Pedro, what have you learned?" My teacher said. "Well," said Pedro, "I interviewed my Cebuan, Illongo, and ilocano neighbors and guess what i found out? The Cebuan and Illongo word for sin is sala and its ilocano equivalent is basol. These two words imply that sin is voluntary, a shortcoming, or a flaw," reported Pedro.

"That is right," agreed Juan. "Sapagkat tayo ay tao lamang (because we are only human) is our natural excuse, isn't it?" Annie (my bestfriend) complemented the idea when he added a Cebuandage, "Masayop man gani ang kabaw nga upat og tiil; ang tawo pa bay dili, (if a carabao with its four feet takes a wrong step, what more for man.)" Everybody laughed.

Miss Poblete, our kind mentor, interrupted, "This means that since nobody is perfect, we should not be hard on those who fall into sin! Faults and imperfections are natural."

Me, volunteered to share what i found out. "Our behavior as Filipinos," i said seriously, "is controlled more by the group around us than by inner conviction." I elaborated. "An example of this is a jobless husband who spends time with his peers in a drinking session. The wife calls her husband to help her in the household chores, but his barkada calls him under the saya (under her skirt). His ego is touched and he beats his wife to show his friends that he is boss at home," I lamented. "But these points do not mean we have no sense of guilt," Madam Poblete injected.

"There is an abundance of popular sayings that indicate this. Can you cite one or two?" she asked in our class. My classmate Ronald stood up and said: "Ang taong sad-an maluspad (a guilty man turns pale)." My classmate Mylene recited a famous Ilocano saying, "Ti adda babakna, adda aluadanna. (whoever has sin has something to be aware of.)"

"Actually, the so-called weak sense of guilt may be checked by the Filipino concept or gaba (Cebuan and Illongo), sumpa (tagalog), and lunod (ilocano), which means divine answer to the issue of morality," commented by our teacher.

Then the bell rang..It was a profitable day for us in our class. We learned the Filipino's views onsin and transgression.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Bahala Na


is an unproductive perspective of life. It is rendered loosely as "Come what may" or Que sera, sera ("What will be, will be"). It conjures up utter helplessness in the face of difficult situations. Notwithstanding its sense of fatalism, this common idiom is also a Filipino expression of faith in a higher Being. "Bahala na" comes from "Bathala na" , where Bathala is the Tagalog name of God. Its literal meaning, therefore, would be "Let God take a charge!"
Allan was my classmate in third-year high school. He had always been the laughingstock in our class. Almost everyday he came to class late, if he wasn't late he was cutting classes and palying cards, cara cruz, with his friends near the campus. He had never been in our class as in for whole day and had never devoted himself to studying his lessons. His mother always came to school to check wether Allan was attending in his classes or not. But, sad to say, she seldom found her child in class, or if he was there, she hardly saw himjotting down notes or listening to class discussions.
One day the teacher asked, "Who of you are feeling happy today?" All of the class raised their hands. She was amazed at her students' response. But she was even more delighted to see Allan raising his hand. The teacher said, "Ok, Allan, tell me why you're happy today."
Allan replied, "Because, I have again another day to play and....bahala na!"
The teacher sort of anticipated that answer from him. Allan was very happy all the time, never dreaming of having a good life. The teacher was worried about him, so after class she asked Allan to stay behind. "Why do you remain happy even if you don't pass any test? Aren't you worried that you may fail all your subjects this year?"
Allan politely answered, "I have always wanted to be a happy-go-lucky guy since my father leave us. I always try to pretend I'm happy, but actually I'm aching deep inside when I'm alone. Because of father's loss, I have always wanted to live in the past, with my father, and forget about the future."
The teacher hugged Allan and said, "Please don't waste time by playing and fooling around. I believe your father would not be happy seeing you this way, if he were here today."
The next day, Allan came to class early, much earlier than any of his classmates. He came to realize that living in the past and not planning for the future was not the best thing for him and he can't help his family with that.
From that day he came to class early, attending classes on the whole day, participate, and studied much harder.
It was not surprise then for everybody to see Allan receive a number of honors on our graduation day. He made it to the top because of a simple hug, because of the words of encouragement from our teacher...