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Filipino Family Values

We're a couple in the Philippines. Gener is an instructor and Emily is a public high school teacher.


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.

5 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 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 to 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.

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

— Leo Tolstoy

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.


Ha on January 23, 2020:

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Helping others should be a selfless act

Shame is manipulative on August 05, 2018:

Nakaka - touch

lorejane achivar on January 24, 2018:

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


Princess Nicole Salta on July 11, 2017:

its great idea and i love it

mj on June 08, 2017:

wow nicecomment

analyn cabatingan on April 22, 2013:

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

lina on September 18, 2012:

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

man lupet on July 09, 2012:

lagi namn yan ang nakikita ko

baby-care from Philippines on July 04, 2012:

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

Dynaliza Pamaylaon on June 27, 2012:

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..

cool guy on June 25, 2012:


dane dyvid calabria on June 13, 2012:

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

Gener Geminiano from Land of Salt, Philippines on July 29, 2011:

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

Thelma Alberts from Germany on May 10, 2011:

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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