From 'hiya' to 'utang na loob': How digital lifestyle has changed Filipino values


Posted at Jun 15 2021 01:12 PM

From 'hiya' to 'utang na loob': How digital lifestyle has changed Filipino values 1
ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA -- A digital media agency recently released a report that looked at the way Filipino values have evolved over time.

In its latest ThoughtSparker report, AdSpark examined how the digital lifestyle has affected six values that define Filipino culture: "hiya," "pakikibaka," "pakikisama," "utang na loob," "lakas ng loob," and "bahala na."

Taking on the landmark study of Virgilio Enriquez, considered the "Father of Filipino psychology," the report showed the original definitions and how they have changed: 

- Hiya: "Not just modesty and avoidance of shame, but a sense of propriety. During the pandemic, Filipinos took to social media to call out government officials and brands for any hint of impropriety. Online communities have gone out of their way to 'cancel' a public figure or a business whose actions are objectionable."

- Pakikibaka: "Not just activism but a desire to change the world. In his study, Enriquez found that pakikibaka is not just for activists but for all Filipinos. Consumers of all ages are enjoining brands to join their crusade in changing the world for the better. A study from the Global Web Index says that nearly 60% of consumers agree that brands should have more initiative to help them during this difficult time."

- Pakikisama: "Not just conformity but pakikipagkapwa to make a difference. Enriquez explains that Filipinos are quick to help others even if they themselves are in need. We find solace, inspiration, and purpose from our family, friends, and workmates."

- Utang na Loob: "Not a debt-system but a responsibility for the greater good. It may have a negative connotation but during the pandemic, Filipinos gave the phrase a new meaning as they banded together to support frontliners, students, and other sectors. By enabling their customers to fulfill their sense of responsibility to their respective communities, brands can become a platform for change."

- Lakas ng Loob: "Not just strength but thriving in adversity. Refusing to stay down, Filipinos turned to online resources not only to survive but to better themselves in the pandemic. Many pursued upskilling through webinars and online tutorials. There were those who braved the challenges of starting a new business to generate more income for their families. More than just self-promotion through communications, brands must provide avenues for consumers to express their inner strength."

- Bahala Na: "Not fatalism but adding courage through faith. The role of the divine is deeply ingrained in Filipino culture. Some argue that Filipinos rely on the intervention of a higher power ('Bahala na si Lord') to make things right, shunning responsibility. 'Bahala na' is not resignation, rather a final summoning of courage before a certain reckoning point, according to the Enriquez study."

Gretchen Largoza, president and CEO of AdSpark, said these findings can also help employers "train and retrain value-driven workforce," and guide brands to "craft campaigns grounded in the evolving Filipino value system."

"Finding out how values have evolved helps uncover impacts of technology on similarly-changing areas of the Filipino's life. Understanding this helps businesses in different ways," she said in a statement. 

"To remain relevant and responsive to the needs of the times, brands must clearly communicate and act in alignment with these core Filipino values. We are now in the world of prediction and personalization. This is key for a brand to be part of their consumers' lives authentically," she added. 

ThoughtSparkers is a series of data-driven reports generated by AdSpark's intelligence platform.

AdSpark is an advertising technology portfolio company of 917Ventures, which is owned by Globe. 
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