Values may be defined as those standards of which a group or society judges the desirability and importance of persons, ideas, actions and goals. Values are shared convictions or beliefs in what are considered contributory to the welfare of the group. From these definitions, we can clearly see how values are affected by society and, in turn, how society can be affected by the values held by its members.
Two of these traits are positive traits and show the strengths of the Filipino character: Katapatan and Pakikipagkapwa-tao. The other two seem to hinder the advancement of the Filipinos. These are the “Bahala na” attitude and the “Kanya-kanya” syndrome.
Pakikipagkapwa-tao and Family Orientation: This indigenous Filipino trait is the regard for the dignity of others and being with them. It consists of all levels of interaction with one’s fellowman in times of crisis, like illness and death. This is embodied in the concept of neighbourliness like mutual visiting and exchange of food. Pleasant attitudes are also exhibited towards relatives and friends such as extending moral and emotional support. This is also evidenced in the insertion of many light scenes wherein there is light-hearted bantering, jokes among friends and kin.
Because of the Filipino’s collective nature, they have a deep sense of concern for one’s dignity and respect. This pakikipagkapwa-tao is manifested in their sensitivity to other people’s feelings. This is often evidenced in the relations among the characters. Polite language, soft pleasing voices and meek manners are employed to avoid open disagreement with others. Personal relationships are likewise almost always important in any transaction among the characters.
Katapatan: The Filipino virtue of righteousness in thought and deed. In a person, this virtue strengthens him against cheating and lying. It results in the cooperation and trust among neighbors, friends and co-workers. This positive character trait is dominantly displayed in Philippine movies and television by its leading characters. Viewers are attracted to the character and story because righteousness is considered a rare trait nowadays and the expression of this in the leading protagonist gives them hope in siding with the good.
Bahala na: Extreme reliance on higher force or fate. Bahala na is a common expression among Filipinos which rests on the fatalistic outlook and strong dependence on spirits. It literally, the Bahala na means “Leave it to God.” The abundance of superstition can further encourage the superstitiousness of the Filipinos. This can promote the lack of initiative among Filipinos. Rather than relying on one’s own effort and industry to solve problems, one leaves his fate to gods or “spirits”. This trait also encourages the Filipino to be matiisin or being too patient for long suffering.
Kanya-kanya: A negative Filipino trait is a selfish and self-serving attitude. This is often elicited when one’s peer has gained honor or prestige. Most if not all of the conflicts in the Filipino stories are a result of envy and jealousy. This “crab mentality” that characterizes many Filipinos is counter-productive.
Certain negative behaviors may be picked up by the youth if they are consistently exhibited and are not shown in the end to have negative consequences. At the same time, an understanding of the strengths of the Filipino character would help in recognizing the traditional and positive Filipino values that should be perpetuated.