Utang Na Loob
I was reading the Encyclopedia; I have also been reading the Lonely Planet guidebook, found a lot of information, however for sure the Encyclopedia is more cogent or clear.
There are overviews and there are snippets, a snippet is maybe a sidebar or a 2-minute sound bite, when I say snippet I mean a random piece of information, however, not connected to any other information.
Paper is the problem with a guidebook, the cost of paper limits or restricts the value of a guidebook.
Nonetheless, I am sitting here reading about Utang Na Loob.
UTANG NA LOOB
- in which an act of voluntary assistance creates an obligation that the receiver must attempt to repay through reciprocal assistance.-
I would guess this is Tagalog, the local or dominant language I have discovered in the Philippines. This is all is speculation, extremely complicated to learn about the Philippines here in Manila.
There is a reoccurring them though here in this society.
- Sending money -
Western Union - The word Remittance, sending money somewhere is a way of life in the Philippines.
Utang Na Loob is than an interesting phrase or concept. I hear many Filipino persons mention,
- I must work and send money back to my family. -
I sometime feel the youth are the slaves to the adults, as if they would sell their children to any and all types of trade, including the worst if it made money. The fortunate appear to become Nurses, or maybe a Sailor. The unfortunate women or boys may be sold up the river to Angeles city or other bar centers. There is many bar stool women in the Philippines.
The phrase Utang Na Loob as said by the Encyclopedia implies that if I voluntarily help a person they will feel a compulsion to return the favor.
I do not know. I gave some time on the cell phone to the Maid in Cebu, now she is asking for time on her cell phone everyday. I have to stop replying to text messages, she has become a problem.
I personally am afraid to give anything to most of the persons; it would create a situation where I am asked daily for more.
I do see though, not between the foreigners, I believe the Philippine person could take daily and not reciprocate to a foreigner. However, there is a need of the women, I have not heard or seen this so far with the men. There is a need to help their families.
This reminds me of Mexico, maybe it is a Catholic thing, the corruptive natures of Mexico and the Philippines are very similar.
I have had extremely large numbers of people write or tell me,
- Never trust a Filipino -
I do not see this as true, they are trustworthy for at least a day, they do not seem to grab or steal everything in the Hotel or lying around.
The level of bullshit is high, however that is hard to reason with, I cannot seem to escape the tourist areas.
I am starting to think the reason is I do not feel safe. I do not know, I walk outside my door and there is a never-ending line of persons wanting to sell me fake watches or Viagra, girls, or something. I never stop and listen, they want me to come with them to enter rooms or places. They do not deserve a conversation.
This Utang Na Loob or obligation to me is a sad lack of understanding on the part of the United Nations to solve the world problems.
When you are in a country that has poverty, does not help or support the elderly or older persons. They have 10 children, then make them all feel guilty. Give me money, keep giving me money, marry someone that will give me money.
- I must have enough children, hope that one is kind, love them and will pay for them to live when they are old.
Selfish or survival, this is not a charity, this is a need. This needed compulsion must be created in the youth to survive when you are old.
I feel that population growth is tied one to one with not having a retirement plan or social security. Corruption stops social security or social monies from existing. This is a grab for the money while you can country, not wait or plan for the future. The plan for the future seems more to be how to move out of the country.
Again and again, I am in a tourist area, the worst areas on the planet for culture observation unless you want to see the bad in people, then a great place.
Utang Na Loob
sad but fairly accurate observation...
try going out to places not frequented by tourists...not all Filipinos are what as how you observed them to be while in the tourist area...
You just met wrong people am very sure about that... Am feel so sorry about what happened to you ... but i hope someday u'll find the good things about the rest of the filipinos. Thanks for the short story u've shared about Philippine people.
If they try to sell you something like viagra on the street, just say "meron na..." (I have it...) and just walk fast. Because the more you say "no" the more they will pester you. This is what I would tell my foreign friends. Then try to look busy when you walk because you are not giving them reason to holla at you on the street.
Filipinos are great people. Give them a chance and get to know them without the presumptive views underlying the impact of the social problems this country is facing. It is there because it is embedded in our culture but you know, such "utang na loob" is what keeps most Filipino families together.
i agree with wat d others said...
uv just met d wrong persons...
im sorry for what happened...pls do not overgeneralize or give conclusions based on your "one"-time experience...
thanks anyway for sharing ur story
THIS IS GERANIE
HELLO!A PLEASANT DAY TO YOU.I HAVE JUST READ YOUR MESSAGE.IM A FILIPINO TOO,A COLLEGE STUDENT HERE IN PHILS.ACTUALLY IM QUITE SAD ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE HERE IN OUR COUNTRY.YOU HAVE A POINT ON THAT BOUT THE PEOPLE YOU HAVE MET HERE BUT IM VERY SURE THAT NOT ALL DO THE SAME.EVEN IN OTHER COUNTRY,OTHERS DO THE SAME TOO.BUT WE CANT BLAME THEM BECAUSE NOBODY IS PERFECT.ALL WE CAN HELP IS TO TRY TO GIVE THEM COURAGE TO MAKE A CHANGE OR SOMETHING THAT CAN HELP TO INSPIRE THEM TO MAKE A NEW BEGINNING.LIVING IN A PEACEFUL WAY.BUT I KNOW YOU HAVE A GOOD HEART AND YOU MEAN IT.THANKS FOR BEING A BLESSING TO OTHERS YET THEY JUST DONT REALIZE ITS WORTH.THANKS!GOD BLESS!
Not all of us.. but yes, they are bad apples of this society. there are people that seem not to know the word ENOUGH. I am in the same situation, My car just got smashed by own relative because he claims that I can't HELP my own kind my family..why should I? It's not my obligation at all. HATE THIS UTANG NA LOOB THING. Thats why some people here are darn useless. take note i am not even a foreigner but these sort of people really exists.
I agree with AkOSIANN..you just met the wrong people.. just like in every nation or country..people are different from each other.. The word utang na loob is something which is cannot be measured through actions.(well for me)..Utang na loob for me is simply repaying the VOLUNTARY kindness that a person has extended unto you.. I'm sure that you will be able to visit the Philippines again someday and have a pleasant stay.
It was difficult to tell from your article whether YOU actually spent time in the P.I. or whether you copy/pasted from an article you referenced in the beginning. Either way, Id like to comment on/add to the article.
I am an American and lived 4 years in Manila from 1999 to 2003. I traveled to other islands some and paid close attention to the culture, with the intent to blend in better and offend less. For the first 2-3 months after we arrived I was really bothered by how defective and misguided the Filipino were. I remember looking for the good and thinking if only they could be more American theyd be great. In spite of myself, I made a few very close Filipino friends who had a lot of exposure to foreigners and were ale to see both sides of the coin culturally speaking.
When we only look at WHAT a person does but dont know the motivating factors behind WHY they did that thing we tend to decide what would have made US act that way and credit that person with those motives. #1 When we do that, we will always be wrong #2 we misjudge peoples motives and view them in a negative light #3 we live in a world that is a lie, that isnt real. This is why it is never acceptable to judge someones motives. No man knows the heart of another.
The maid who repeatedly asked for more minutes for her cellphone was not responding to utang na loob but to another cultural factor. I dont know a name for that but it is the perception that because you are rich and can easily afford it, then it is okay for her to ask you for it. Similarly, you may find poor people take things that are yours without asking. As Americans we call that What? Stealing. They do not see themselves as thieves. If they are neighbors or maids they did not see themselves as taking permanent ownership of it but rather indefinite use of it. To an American its all the same but to the Filipino it is not. Not at all.
The rich are fully expected to help the poor regardless of the nationality if that rich man. Since almost all foreigners are perceived as rich (since most who set foot on Filipino soil are, at least at that moment) they are looked to for handouts. It is important to treat these people with the utmost dignity and kindness. A response such as, Ohhh, Im sorry but I just had to pay ********* and I dont have any money with me. Im sorry. will go a long way and lets that person off the hook kindly and you havent actually said no. But the end result is the same for you. Not only will this keep you from creating enemies but you will feel much better about yourself.
Where you have to beware utang na loob is with the person who gives you a significant gift that seems very out of place. They MAY be setting you up for a favor. It may be nothing more than a little insurance policy on their part, just in case they need it, but it may be something more. Also be aware that when people bring you gifts they will expect it in return. Right, wrong or indifferent, this is the way it works, not only in the Philippines but in most of Asia.
Many times you can mess things up by giving someone a gift that (to them) is huge that they could never repay. They may feel indebted to you so deeply that they are ashamed to come around anymore and they may actually disappear on you.
The bottom line is that the Filipino people are the sweetest, most generous, most gracious people you may ever meet. When you watch them they appear very much in love with western culture and may even seem like American wanna bees but make no mistake. If they are Filipino, they are not American and you cannot expect them to think like or respond like an American. That doesnt make them wrong or less than, it just means they are not exactly like you.
Pagpalain ka ng Diyos!!!
I have discovered a cycle that needs to be broken in the Philippines unbiblical and backward looking culture. Philippine parents give to their children even if their children are already old thinking they can demand it back later on in their old age. Children even when they are old keep asking from their parents thinking it will be demanded back to them later on in their parents old age. What is wrong in this scenario? Parents thought that once their educational obligation is finished they can just live life easy through gambling, drinking and so many other ways of wasting money and time. While the current generation children will help the remaining kids (siblings mostly 3 or more) to finish school to the point of marrying late or not marrying at all. The next generation will suffer greatly because of lack of forward looking preparation of the past/old generation. Utang na loob or hindi marunong tumingin sa pinanggalingan causes more sorrow and corruption in our country. Because of this idea in the long run the country will become poorer and weaker. Because of backward thinking, the old generation will pull down the current generation. The current generation will pull down the future genration. And the cycle will repeat itself. We call this talangka mentality.
Let me explain. In the first world country like Canada, this how they see life. The parents will raised up children and prepare for their childrens lives up to the age of 18 years old or once finish university (some only upto high school). They are trained and expected by society to live on their own by the age of 18. After finishing school, children are expected to live for themselves while the parents will prepare and save for their old age and prepare to live an inheritance to the future generation (grand kids). The parents will not demand or obliged their children because they know that their children will build a family and to raised up their own children. The old children will not asked from their parents because society expects them to live on their own. No strings attached and no one is obligating no one except providing for the future generations. The mind set is that, the future generation should be better that the current generation.
The first world mentality has a closer biblical way in raising a family, a society and a nation.
The sooner the children can live on their own the sooner they can build a family of their own. While the grand parents by this time are already finacially prepared for old age and had save enough to leave an inheritance not for their children but for their childrens children.
Our duty is to prepare the future of the next generation, our children. When its our time to grow old, we will not be burdensome to our children in our old age because we have prepared for that time.
lageh yah sad kol ka tuju uman mag boud man dajun kaw balik god kay ka gana da an pilipinas...