It is a fact that one can get to know a country better by looking at the things that they value and cherish the most. In order to look at these things, one should take a close look at what is evident in the cultural facets that are tangible like consumer goods, art, and other products. Likewise, intangible products say a lot more and can be found in music, poetry, customs, tradition, and values.
A Filipino is never an individual. He or she is usually defined not as a single person but is defined in the context of his or her community. Zoom in and one can find the Filipino that is best defined by his or her family.
From the pre-colonial Philippines to even the 21st century, a Filipino is known not through his or her first name through his or her parents’ names. As an example, Juan Dela Cruz lives in a small rural village. A friend from the city looks for him in their community. His friend tries to look for him via his first and last name. The people from the rural village tell him, “Ah, the son of Tasyo and Maria.”
In the above example, Juan is not known as Juan himself but as the son of his parents. Filipinos are best known through his or her family of orientation.
Filipinos highly value their familial relationships. From the bigger scope to the minutest details, a Filipino shows his or her familial worth.
A Filipino’s value to his or her family is evident in occasions. Unlike in the Western culture, holidays in the Philippines are spent with one’s own families. Going home to their respective families in the provinces is a normal situation in the Philippines come holidays. In fact, the Philippines has a lot of holidays and most use these to be with their families. Whether it is a family picnic or swimming, hiking, karaoke, and a lot of other activities, the only important thing for the Filipino is to simply spend time with his or her family.
Every holiday is a reason for a family reunion. Even the most solemn and saddest occasions are excuses for merrymaking with the family. In the culture of the Philippines, no one should get offended when a family member starts to joke around with another family member during funerals.
A Filipino’s value for his or her family is not only evident in the holidays and family reunions. It is also evident in the material culture.
Visit a Filipino home and one will be greeted with a lot of family portraits and framed pictures. Pictures span from the wedding to the birth of the first child to the school days to anniversaries- and if one is really fortunate, one will get to see pictures of even the grandchildren!
Look a little closer and one can see school diplomas and academic medals that are hung on the wall. A Filipino parent deeply values his or her children’s accomplishments. Hanging the symbols is a way to show the significance of what their children can do.
In addition to material culture is a very distinct Filipino cultural material that shows its value to his or her family: The family calendar.
Yes, this is a normal calendar and no, it is not the usual one. Filipinos love to purchase customized calendars and put their family name in the center. “Santos Family” in bold letters is the first thing that one can notice upon seeing the calendar. Year after year, this calendar is a hit in the stores and the market as a lot of Filipino families purchase them for themselves or be given as a gift to another family. In a certain extent, a house can be labeled as owned by a certain family only when the family name is visible somewhere in the home.
The love for the family is not just confined to a Filipino’s home. He or she also makes it sure that the world knows about his or her value for the family. Visit an office space of a Filipino and one can see that it is an extension of the family gallery in the home. Different framed photos are seen in the workspace. Moreover, digital copies of the family pictures are seen as wallpaper in the computer screen and played over and over again. For a Filipino, pictures are very significant since they affirm his or her family as the inspiration to be working hard.
A Filipino’s ties with his or her family orientation are never cut by his or her marriage and the building of one’s own family. Contrary to the usual Western culture of independence by age 18, a Filipino usually stays in the home of his or her parents even after the wedding. The reason behind this is both economic and cultural.
It is economic as the parents and the newlyweds would decide together that living in the parents’ house is more cost-efficient, especially in the part of the newlyweds. The parents would want them to be established first before building their own house. Most of those who live with their family of orientation after marriage usually stay for a minimum of five years. Some grandchildren eventually would be raised in that home. The nuclear family becomes an extended family.
This setup is also cultural in the sense that the separation anxiety is high among parent and child relations. Most parents would ask their children to stay with them for a period of time allowing them to adjust to the new fact that they already have a new family to build. For most, this setup is temporary, but to some, it becomes permanent.
A Filipino is never his or her own. He or she is best defined in one’s familial orientation. The Filipino family values are one gem of the Filipino culture that is worth keeping and passed on to the next generation.