The year 2014 is about to end and we will soon be excited to welcome the new year. It will be another season and reason for us to reflect on our lives in the past year and plan for a better future. This is the time when we list our resolutions to start things right for the entry of the new year.
This inspired Krem-Top coffee creamer to launch an campaign to kindle and challenge individuals to exercise a habit of changing for the better. Dubbed as Change for the Better, the campaign that started in 2012 is a call to action for people to commit and sustain the change to become better individuals, not just during the turn of the year but all throughout the year and beyond.
The campaign has grown from being a personal call to change to being nationalistic as the mission is not just on one’s self anymore but on the entire nation as the Filipino spirit has been put into tests with the onslaught of recent calamities in the recent past. Krem Top’s Change for the Better campaign reminds us of the small distinctly Filipino traits that when rekindled can make our country better. This is coming from the idea that even small changes when put or done together can create a huge impact in the community. Change for the Better campaign reminds us of the innate Filipino traits that when practiced every day, can make our lives and country better.
This year, Krem-Top’s Change for the Better campaign looked at the values that are natural among Filipinos that will remind us of our identity and can strengthen our nationhood. Krem-Top’s Change for the Better campaign, with the guidance of renowned phenomenological sociologist Dr. Mina Ramirez of the Asian Social Institute, identified Five Core Values that defines the Filipino people. These core values make Filipinos different and stand out from the rest of the world and are vital for nation-building. Based on Dr. Ramirez’s study “The Filipino Worldview and Values” and her insights from decades of practice as a phenomenological sociologist, here are the Five Core Filipino Values based on the Basic Aspirations of a Filipino:
This is based on Filipinos’ aspiration for “Pamumuhay” (Life) and “Pananalig sa Diyos at Kapwa” (Faith in God and people). Filipinos know how to enjoy life. We have many holidays, feasts, occasions, and reunions. Filipinos are cheerful and naturally sociable. We love to connect to people. We are a happy race. We wear smiles on our faces even in depressing situations. This is because we always look at the bright side of life. We always have a positive outlook because we always find things to be thankful for, even in the smallest things. We would always say “Salamat sa Diyos” (Thank God) whenever good things happen because Filipinos, from whatever religion, would attribute life’s blessings to the Higher Being. We also acknowledge the good deeds of other people towards us and we do our best to return the favor.
Being in a country prone to natural disasters, Filipinos have adapted and learned to be strong in times of need and in hard situations life throws at us. We continue to stand up, be firm, and fight because we have our loved ones and life’s aspirations to be strong for. This strength is drawn from our love for our family and to the higher being we believe in. This is based on Filipino’s aspiration for “Kaayusan” (Order). In fact, Filipinos’ common expression is “Ayos Na”. When we are able to get through difficulties, we say “Ayos Na”. We, Filipinos long for “Kaayusan” and we will endure everything and be strong amidst hardships and challenges until we surpass the obstacles.
When Filipinos dream of something, we do everything possible to get it. We do it for our families and loved ones. This is based on Filipinos’ aspiration for “Kasaganaan” (Abundance) and “Ginhawa” (Relief). A Filipino aspires for abundance not for himself but for his family. The Filipino translation for Happy New Year is Masaganang Bagong Taon (Bountiful New Year) because we equate happiness and celebration with abundance. In Bisaya, “Ginhawa” means breath. And the smooth flow of breath is the smooth flow of life which we call “Ginhawa”. “Ginhawa” according to lay theologian Dr. Jose de Mesa is the feeling of well-being in a Filipino. An example would be Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who endure being away from home to give their families a good life – abundance and relief from hardships.
It is because of our love for the family extended to friends, neighbors and other people that make Filipinos naturally compassionate. This compassion enables us to help other people without asking for anything in return. This is based on Filipinos’ aspiration for “Loob at Damdamin” and “Kapwa” (Other People) as explained in Dr. Mina’s The Filipino Worldview and Values. “Loob” is the seat of Filipinos’ dignity. The personhood of Filipino is manifested in his “kalooban”. Filipinos tune in each other’s “kalooban” by checking on each other’s condition and chatting about each other’s lives. Filipinos reach out to other people. Due to our familistic culture, Filipinos use “kapwa” to refer not just to a stranger but to a relative, a next-door neighbor, a distant relative or a friend. Our “Mapagmalasakit” trait makes it easy for us to champion the Bayanihan spirit – to unite and help each other during calamities and celebrate together during special occasions.
The use of po, opo, and pagmamano (kissing of the hand) are distinct Filipino ways of respect. We say these words and use this gesture to show our respect and love for the elderly. The Filipinos’ respect is not just limited to the elderly but also to other people’s properties, emotions, and ideas. We are polite people. Our language itself is also respectful because it does not have any gender bias. Examples would be the words kapatid (brother / sister) or asawa (husband / wife) or biyenan (father-in-law / mother-in-law) or anak (son / daughter) which do not manifest differences in gender. These words are uniquely Filipino definitely respectful of the sexes. Our respect for other individuals is embedded in our culture and in our language. This is based on our aspiration for “Lakas ng Loob” or “Kagandahang Loob”. Malakas and Maganda, Filipinos’ original creation story brings dignity to both the Filipino and Filipina. Both the man and the woman sprang from the bamboo. The man bowed to the woman. They held hands and went off together. Dr. Ramirez said, “This is a very non-sexist indigenous version of the creation story.”
Dr. Mina Ramirez explained, “If you want to get to know the Filipino, learn the language. Most of our values are deeply rooted in how we express ourselves. The Five Core Filipino Values based on the Basic Aspirations of a Filipino are in Filipino language because there are no direct translations of these traits. The words are unique to us. Understanding these traits would mean dissecting the soul of a Filipino.”
“Filipinos may be hard pressed at times, but in general, we are rich. We are rich in natural resources; we are rich in our people. If we can just get to know more ourselves clearly and use our values to our advantage, we will become a better nation. It’s time to change for the better,” said Dr. Ramirez.
Alaska Milk Corporation’s Vice President for Marketing and Krem-Top Change for the Better campaign lead, Blen Fernando, is optimistic that this project will help create awareness about the need to keep or enrich or restore these core values of Filipinos. “We hope that Krem-Top’s Change for the Better campaign will inspire us to be the better version of ourselves for the benefit of our families and our country. The public can count on our continued support to champion the Filipino spirit that will help make us a better and stronger nation.”
For more information about Krem-Top Change for the Better campaign, visit www.facebook.com/AlaskaKremTop or follow @kremtopPH on Twitter.