Filipino Family Values

Updated on August 25, 2015

The Importance of Family Values

While many values can be taught or instilled over time, they are arguably more enduring when they are picked up on their own. The formation of many values is vital to the socialization of an individual. These are often developed and nurtured by one's family, in school, and through one's environment. Some of these values may include obtaining knowledge, wisdom, and necessary skills, and then using them in your home and living out the values you acquired within the family.

The Filipino family consists of many traditional values that have been treasured and passed on for many generations already. These values are incredibly beneficial.

Read more below in this article to learn about traditional Filipino family values.

All happy families resemble one another, but each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.

— Leo Tolstoy

A List of Traditional Filipino Family Values and Traits

1. Paggalang (Respect)

  • The English translation of paggalang means to be respectful or to give respect to a person.
  • Filipinos are accustomed to using the words “po,” “opo,” and “ho” when they are conversing with older people or, sometimes, with those who are in a high role or a prestigious member of society. Using these words is customary in the Philippines, and it shows a sign of respect if you do so.
  • Paggalang can also be shown toward your elders by kissing their hands before leaving/to say goodbye and upon arrival/to greet them.
  • The younger members of the family can show respect toward older siblings by calling them kuya (older brother) or ate (older sister).

2. Pakikisama (Helping Others)

  • Pakikisama has the connotation of getting along with people in general.
  • There is a general yearning to be accepted and well-liked among Filipinos. This applies to one and his or her friends, colleagues, boss, and even relatives. This desire is what steers one to perform pakikisama.
  • The word pakikisama literally translates to "helping others." Therefore, this trait usually fosters general cooperation and performing good or helpful deeds, which can lead to others viewing you in a favorable light.

3. Utang na Loob (Debt of Gratitude)

  • Utang na Loob means to pay your debt with gratitude.
  • With utang na loob, there is usually a system of obligation. When this value is applied, it imparts a sense of duty and responsibility on the younger siblings to serve and repay the favors done to them by their elders.

4. Pagpapahalaga sa Pamilya (Prioritizing Family)

  • Pagpapahalaga sa Pamilya. In other words: putting importance on your family.
  • This implies that a person will place a high regard on their family and prioritize that before anything else.
  • For example, this is why it's not uncommon for a father or a mother in a Filipino family from the Philippines to seek employment abroad or a job they don't want just to earn a decent wage for their family. They've placed the utmost priority on meeting the family’s basic needs and toward practicing pagpapahalaga sa pamilya

5. Hiya (Shame)

  • Hiya means shame.
  • This controls the social behaviors and interactions of a Filipino. It is the value that drives a Filipino be obedient and respectful to their parents, older siblings, and other authorities.
  • This is also a key ingredient in the loyalty of one’s family.

Video: Respect in the Filipino Culture

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers


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      • profile image


        2 months ago

        Respect isn’t a hierarchy

        Helping others should be a selfless act

        Shame is manipulative

      • profile image 

        20 months ago

        Nakaka - touch

      • profile image

        lorejane achivar 

        2 years ago

        wow! its a great and good idea for us,,how to learn to this kind of filipino culture values...its nice to show it to evryone.thank u


      • profile image

        Princess Nicole Salta 

        2 years ago

        its great idea and i love it

      • profile image


        2 years ago

        wow nicecomment

      • profile image

        analyn cabatingan 

        6 years ago

        it nice to read about Filipino culture values but please, cite some references for the validity of infomation. Thanks!

      • profile image


        7 years ago

        am very proud of our filipino values. its an inspiration to every family.

      • profile image

        man lupet 

        7 years ago

        lagi namn yan ang nakikita ko

      • baby-care profile image


        7 years ago from Philippines

        It's a great idea to share our important values as a filipino and really feels great to be a filipino citizen

      • profile image

        Dynaliza Pamaylaon 

        7 years ago

        i am so really proud that i am a filipino citizen.... All i can proud off is the filipino values... My parents keep on inculcating me to value the filipino values..

      • profile image

        cool guy 

        7 years ago


      • profile image

        dane dyvid calabria 

        7 years ago

        im very proud to be a filipino!seing those filpino values make me so proud.

      • GeneralHowitzer profile image

        Gener Geminiano 

        8 years ago from Land of Salt, Philippines

        Have a good day too, Thelma and thanks a lot for dropping by...

      • Thelma Alberts profile image

        Thelma Alberts 

        8 years ago from Germany and Philippines

        Hi Emilgen2011. It is good to read a great Hub about our Filipino Family Values. Yes, family is very important to us whatever happens. As what I heard before "Blood is thicker than water." Have a good day!


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