World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Philippine psychology

Article Id: WHEBN0007565684
Reproduction Date:

Title: Philippine psychology  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Index of psychology articles, Juan dela Cruz, Asian psychology
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Philippine psychology

Filipino psychology, or Sikolohiyang Pilipino, in Filipino, is defined as the psychology rooted on the experience, ideas, and cultural orientation of the Filipinos. It is regulated by the Pambansang Samahan sa Sikolohiyang Pilipino, (National Organization of Filipino Psychology), in English, which was established in 1975 by Virgilio Enriquez, regarded by many as the Father of Filipino Psychology.

Basic orientation and context

Filipino psychology is usually thought of as a branch of Asian psychology, the placement, determined primarily on culture. However, there is an ongoing debate on the make-up of Philippine culture, because this will generally determine whether Philippine Psychology is to be placed under the realms of either Asian psychology or Western psychology.

The view of Philippine Psychology is largely postcolonial and is seen as a kind of liberation psychology.

Four traditions

Zeus Salazar (1985) , a historian, identified four traditions upon which Philippine psychology is rooted:

  • Academic Scientific Psychology or Akademiko-siyentipikal na Sikolohiya: Western Tradition: This follows the tradition of Wilhelm Wundt in 1876 and is essentially the American-oriented Western psychology being studied in the Philippines.
  • Academic Philosophic Psychology or Akademiko-pilosopiya na Sikolohiya: Western Tradition: This was started by priest-professors at the University of Santo Tomas. This tradition is mainly focused on what is called 'Rational psychology'.
  • Ethnic Psychology or Taal na Sikolohiya: This is the tradition on which Philippine psychology is primarily based. This refers to the indigenous concepts that are studied using indigenous psychological orientation and methodologies.
  • Psycho-medical Religious Psychology or Sikolohiyang Siko-medikal: The tradition that fuses native healing techniques and explains it in an indigenous religious context. A social scientist suggested that many Filipinos, those who belong to the poor sector, are considered as superstitious and delusional because of being dogmatic over their Catholic religion which is characterized by vague combination of Animism and Catholic beliefs. Majority of Filipinos are poor and religion has become an important facet of life to the extent that they disbelieve in Science. Many foreigners look down at Filipinos calling them slaves and alike that is why when working as Domestic Helpers, many Filipinos report cases of work-related abuse.

Basic tenets

Core value or Kapwa

Kapwa, meaning 'togetherness', is the core construct of Filipino Psychology. Kapwa refers to community; not doing things alone. Kapwa has two categories, Ibang Tao (other people) and Hindi Ibang Tao (not other people). Filipinos value conformity because unlike non-asian countries, its culture is predominantly Confucian. This runs into conflict with individualism (kanya-kanya) which was brought about by Western colonialism.

  • Ibang Tao ("outsider") There are five domains in this construct:
    • Pakikitungo: civility - In Confucian ethics, right behavior meant right demeanor towards authorities (Parents, Elders, etc.).
    • Pakikisalamuha: act of mixing - This is a social value that is primarily communitarian and Confucian. It espouses the ability to adapt.
    • Pakikilahok: act of joining - This translates to participation of the entire community to help a person.
    • Pakikibagay: conformity - This runs into conflict with individuality which many Filipinos in fact willingly throw away in favor of conformity with demands of those who are in charge.
    • Pakikisama: being united with the group.
  • Hindi Ibang Tao ("one-of-us") There are three domains in this construct:
    • Pakikipagpalagayang-loob: act of mutual trust
    • Pakikisangkot: act of joining others
    • Pakikipagkaisa: being one with others

Pivotal interpersonal value

  • Pakiramdam: Shared inner perceptions. Filipinos use damdam, or the inner perception of others' emotions, as a basic tool to guide his dealings with other people.

Linking socio-personal value

  • Kagandahang-Loob: Shared humanity. This refers to being able to help other people in dire need due to a perception of being together as a part of one Filipino humanity.

Accommodative surface values

  • Hiya: Loosely translated as 'shame' by most Western psychologists, Hiya is actually 'sense of propriety'.
  • Utang na loob: Norm of reciprocity. Filipinos are expected by their neighbors to return favors—whether these were asked for or not—when it is needed or wanted.
  • Pakikisama and Pakikipagkapwa: Smooth Interpersonal Relationship, or SIR, as coined by Lynch (1961 and 1973). This attitude is primarily guided by conformity with the majority.

Confrontative surface values

  • Bahala Na: Bahala Na translates literally as "leave it up to God (Bathala)" and it is used as an expression, almost universally, in Filipino culture. Filipinos engage in the bahala na attitude as a culture-influenced adaptive coping strategy when faced with challenging situations.
  • Lakas ng Loob: This attitude is characterized by being courageous in the midst of problems and uncertainties.
  • Pakikibaka: Literally in English, it means concurrent clashes. It refers to the ability of the Filipino to undertake revolutions and uprisings against a common enemy.

Societal values

  • Karangalan: Loosely translated to dignity, this actually refers to what other people see in a person and how they use that information to make a stand or judge about his/her worth.
    • Puri: the external aspect of dignity. May refer to how other people judge a person of his/her worth. This compels a common Filipino to conform to social norms, regardless how obsolete they are.
    • Dangal: the internal aspect of dignity. May refer to how a person judges his own worth.
  • Katarungan: Loosely translated to justice, this actually refers to equity in giving rewards to a person.
  • Kalayaan: Freedom and mobility. Ironically, this may clash with the less important value of pakikisama or pakikibagay (conformity). Yes, it clashes with conformity and sadly many Filipinos would rather conform rather than to resist. Sex is shunned by the illiterate majority, making the Philippine society an illiberal, bigoted state.

Approaches and methods

Approaches, or lapit, and methods, or pamamaraan, in Filipino Psychology are different from that of Western Psychology. In Filipino Psychology, the subjects, or participants, called kalahok, are considered as equal in status to the researcher. The participants are included in the research as a group, and not as individuals - hence, an umpukan, or natural cluster, is required to serve as the participants, per se. The researcher is introduced to a natural cluster by a tulay (bridge), who is a part of the umpukan and is a well-respected man in the community. Some of the many approaches and methods used in Filipino Psychology are:

  • Pakikipagkuwentuhan: In this method, the researcher engages in a story-telling with an umpukan. The researcher merely serves as the facilitator, while the kalahok or participants are the one who are to talk. The term kwento, from the Spanish word cuento, literally means 'to tell a story'.
  • Panunuluyan: In this method, the researcher stays in the home of his kalahok or participant while he conducts the research with consent by the host family, whose head serves as the tulay to an umpukan. The term tuloy, which is the root word of the term panunuluyan, literally means 'to go in'.
  • Pagdadalaw-dalaw: In this method, the researcher occasionally visits the house of his host or tulay, as opposed to staying in the house. The term dalaw literally means 'visit'.
  • Pagtatanung-tanong: In this method, the researcher undergoes a kind of questioning session with his kalahok or participants. In this method, however, 'lead questions' (those questions which directly refer to the topic being studied) are not supposed to be asked, instead the questions to be asked are supposed to have been derived from the kalahok's answers themselves. The word tanong literally means 'question'.
  • Pakikiramdam: In this approach, the researcher uses entirely his/her own feelings or emotions to justify if his participants or kalahok are ready to be part of his research or not. The term damdam literally means 'inner perception of emotions'.


Filipino psychopathology, or sikopatolohiya in Filipino, from Spanish psicopatologia, is the study of abnormal psychology in the Filipino context. Several mental disorders have been identified that can be found only in the Philippines or in other nations with which Filipinos share racial connections. Examples of such are:

  • Amok: Malayan mood disorder, more aptly called 'Austronesian Mood Disorder', in which a person suddenly loses control of himself and goes into a killing frenzy, after which he/she hallucinates and falls into a trance. After he/she wakes up, he has absolutely no memory of the event.
  • Bangungot: A relatively common occurrence in which a person suddenly loses control of his respiration and digestion, and falls into a coma and ultimately to death. The person is believed to dream of falling into a deep abyss at the onset of his death. This syndrome has been repeatedly linked to Thailand's Brugada syndrome and to the ingestion of rice. However, no such medical ties have been proven.

Filipino psychopathology also refers to the different manifestations of mental disorders in Filipino people. One example of such is the manifestation of depression and schizophrenia in Filipinos, which are for the most part, less violent.


Filipino psychomedicine, or sikomedikal na sikolohiya in Filipino, is the application of basic psychology to native healing practices loosely considered as 'medicine'. These practices are closely tied to the faith healers, as well as to the native pagan priestesses like the babaylan or katalonan, who were suppressed by the Spaniards during their colonization of the Philippines. Examples of such practices include:

  • Hilot: The use of massage to aid a pregnant mother in the delivery of her child.
  • Kulam: Hex or bewitchment.
  • Lihi: An intense craving for something or someone during pregnancy. Faith healers or manghihilot testify that if the craving is not satisfied, abnormality of the child may result.
  • Pasma: A concept that explains how init (heat) and lamig (cold) together can result in illness, especially rheumatism.
  • Susto: Soul-flight. Derived from Latin American traditions.
  • Pagtatawas: A method of diagnosing illness wherein alum (called tawas) is ritualistically used by the albularyo or medicine man for diagnosis of a variety of health conditions. The tawas is used to 'cross' (sign of the cross) the forehead and other suspicious or ailing parts of the body as prayers are being whispered (bulong or oracion). It is then placed on glowing embers, removed when it starts to crack, then transferred to a small receptacle of water. As it cools, its softened form spreads on the water surface and assumes a shape that may suggest the cause of the illness, often one of several indigenous forces: dwarfs, devils or other evil spirits (na-nuno, na-kulam, na-demonyo). The water in the vehicle is then used to anoint the ailing part or parts of the body to counteract the evil forces or illness. The tawas is then discarded and thrown westward, preferably into the setting sun.
  • Usog: A concept that explains how a baby who has been greeted by a stranger acquires a mysterious illness. Apparently derived from the Spanish tradition of Mal de Ojo.
  • Gabâ or gabaa: The Cebuano concept of negative Karma.


  • Pambansang Samahan Sa Sikolohiyang Pilipino
  • Bukluran sa Sikolohiyang Pilipino
  • Tatsulok

See also


  • Casuga, S., Rhodius, A., & Vogel, E. (2011). The experience of the bahala na attitude among Filipino athletes in international sporting competition (Doctoral dissertation). John F. Kennedy University, Pleasant Hill, California. ISBN 978-126-745-839-1
  • Enriquez, V. (2004) "Indigenous Psychology and National Consciousness" Chapters 1, 2, 3 & 6 in From Colonial To Liberation Psychology: The Philippine Experience. De La Salle University Books, Dasmariñas, Cavite. ISBN 971-542-002-8
  • Enriquez, V. (1976) "Sikolohiyang Pilipino: Perspektibo at Direksiyon" pp 5-21. Sikolohiyang Pilipino: Teorya, Metodo, at Gamit. Inedit ni R. Pe-Pua. Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 1995.
  • Guanzon, M.A. (1985) "Paggamit ng Panukat na Sikolohikal sa Pilipinas: Kalagayan at mg Isyu" pp 341-362 nasa New Directions in Indigenous Psychology: Sikolohiyang Pilipino, Isyu, Pananaw at Kaalaman. Inedit nina A. Aganon at M.A. David. Manila: National Bookstore.
  • Orteza, G. (1997) "Pakikipagkuwentuhan: Isang Pamamaraaan ng Sama-samahang Pananaliksik, Pagpapatotoo at Pagtulong sa Sikolohiyang Pilipino" nasa PPRTH Occasional Papers Series 1997, No.
  • Orteza, G. at D. Tuazon "Ang Pagmamasid Bilang Katutubong Pamamaraan ng Pananaliksik sa Sikolohiya" pp 74-90 nasa Mga Piling Babasahin sa Panlarangang Pananaliksik. Tinipon ni R. Pe-Pua. Lungsod Quezon: Unibersidad ng Pilipinas.
  • Pe-Pua, R. at E. Protacio-Marcelino (1998) "Sikolohiyang Pilipino (Filipino Psychology): A legacy of Virgilio G. Enriquez. Papel na binasa sa International Association on Cross-Cultural Psychology Conference sa Bellingham, Washington State, USA, 3-8 August 1998. Fulltext at: IngentaConnect
  • Pe-Pua, R. (1985) "Pagtatanong-tanong: Katutubong Metodo ng Pananaliksik" pp 416-430 nasa New Directions in Indigenous Psychology: Sikolohiyang Pilipino, Isyu, Pananaw at Kaalaman. Inedit nina A. Aganon at M.A. David. Manila: National Bookstore.
  • Salazar, Z. (1985) "Hiya: Panlapi at Salita" pp 288-296 nasa New Directions in Indigenous Psychology: Sikolohiyang Pilipino, Isyu, Pananaw at Kaalaman. Inedit nina A. Aganon at M. A. David. Manila: National Bookstore.
  • Sta. Maria, Madelene and Carlo Magno. Dimensions of Filipino Negative Social Emotions, 7th Conference of the Asian Association of Social Psychology, July 25-28, 2007, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia,

External links

  • Washington, Brad D. Understanding Nonverbal Communication of Filipinos: A Traditional Form of Literacy, Journal of Filipino Studies, California State University East Bay,
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.