Filipino Culture: Bayanihan: The Filipino Value that Must be Retained
Bayanihan is a core essence of the Filipino culture. It is helping out one’s neighbor as a community, and doing a task together, thus lessening the workload and making the job easier. It is also called the ‘community spirit’. It is best exhibited when people wish to move locations in the rural area. The traditional Filipino house, the ‘bahay-kubo’, can be moved using wooden poles which are carried from the old place to the new one. This requires a group of people to lift and carry the house on their shoulders. Able-bodied men usually participated in such feats, while women stood and watched, casually chatting and cheering the men on. Afterwards, there will be a small gathering as a form of celebration and socialization.
But those days are gone now. Aside from the change of environment, from wooden slit-houses to concrete infrastructures, and the rural areas have adapted more and more to the urban jungles; there is also a change in people’s attitudes and disposition. It has become a selfish world. It becomes harder and harder to create and sustain group efforts. There is also another ideal that progresses among Filipinos of today; one which I think has been plaguing them since the dawn of the Spanish era… the Crab Mentality. This mentality basically displays those of a crab’s. If you put a group of crabs in a bucket, they will try to get out of the bucket, obviously, but in a manner of stepping on one another to get up. There is no cooperation and collaboration. Just plain, old ‘me first’ idealism. It’s the thought that, to get farther in life, one should step on other people; use them for one’s own benefits. After all, they’re the ones who’ll get less in life; they’re the ones who have little to begin with.
What’s wrong with the flourish of the Crab Mentality and the constant diminishing of the Bayanihan trait? Well… everything. The thought of people being lower than one’s self is already a problem. Everyone is equal in dignity and in value, no matter the class or the social strata. We all regress to being human. Second, man cannot work entirely alone. This is where work ethics and work attitudes come in. People have to be ‘team players’ in order to succeed. People shouldn’t be used and thrown away as easily as a tool. Resources are used. People are respected. And people should never be treated as material means to an end. People should be the end. Third, it is not a selfish world. Selflessness is rare, but is a must. The knowledge that the world revolves around one person, or that a country is not set one man’s shoulders is a start for transformation. Fourth, in a global world, cooperation and collaboration is a requirement more than a want. These skills (and values) are not just used in school or in the workplace, but also in life. People have to get along with each other, and co-exist, whether they like it or not.
To make the country great again, the value of Bayanihan must be re-established and reaffirmed- the value of helping one another, without expecting anything else in return. It may not be possible to lift houses on men’s shoulders anymore; instead, lifting each other up on their shoulders, in effect, lifting the country’s status, hopes and dreams. Respect and tolerance must be relearned for with the Bayanihan value to support them, Filipinos can become one of the greatest people the world has ever seen. The value is there-deep within each Filipino; it’s only a matter of resurrecting it to its former glory.