What Is the Filipino Philosophy?

Some of the primary elements of the Filipino philosophy, or cultural worldview, are resiliency, patience, determination and endurance in the face of adversity. This is not, however, reflected by a need to possess power or exhibit forceful aggressiveness, but rather it exemplifies the strength of resiliency represented by the Filipino term “katatagang-loob.” The metaphorical use of natural elements, such as storms and river currents, in Filipino proverbs relating to katatagang-loob represents a kinship with nature, and it also reflects a worldview in which adversity and challenge are natural components of the world rather than contradictions.

In the Filipino worldview, transience is accepted as a natural and cyclical aspect of life. As expressed metaphorically in Filipino proverbs, enduring the storm leads to the relief that comes with the fair weather that will inevitably follow. A more favorable rather than a pessimistic outlook results from the understanding that the world is both cyclical and holistic. Neither good fortune nor suffering will be permanent, and the traits of resiliency and patience are key requirements that are needed to flow with the world’s natural transitions and remain in harmony with them.

One of the core elements of the Filipino philosophy is the need to survive the present conditions of life, with pessimistic humor if needed, while maintaining a firmly-held understanding that the transient nature of the world will cause things to change for the better. This Filipino element of survival, however, is not of the Darwinian “survival of the fittest” type, but rather it incorporates the elements of non-violence, prudence, calmness, hard work and co-responsibility. In many respects, the Filipino worldview draws much from Chinese philosophers such as Mencius and Lao-tzu.