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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
Basic orientation and
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 vast majority of Philippine
psychologists seem to prefer to classify this field as Asian, but
there is a steadily growing body that attempts to place the field
De La Salle University-Manila was one of the few universities in
the country to first offer Philippine Psychology as a course.
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
- 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.
Kapwa, meaning 'togetherness', is the core construct of
Filipino Psychology. Kapwa has two categories, Ibang
Tao (other people) and Hindi Ibang Tao (not other
- Ibang Tao ("outsider")Tao sa Bahay: There are five
domains in this construct:
- Pakikitungo: civility
- Pakikisalamuha: act of mixing
- Pakikilahok: act of joining
- Pakikibagay: conformity
- Pakikisama: being united with the group.
- Hindi Ibang Tao ("one-of-us")Taong Bahay: There are
three domains in this construct:
- Pakikipagpalagayang-loob: act of mutual trust
- Pakikisangkot: act of joining others
- Pakikipagkaisa: being one with others
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Bahala Na: This attitude, loosely translated into
English as 'fatalistic passiveness', actually describes the
Filipino way of life, in which, he is determined to do his best,
hence the term bahala na, which actually came from the
phrase bathalan na, meaning 'I will do all my best, let
God take care of the rest'.
- 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
- 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.
- 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
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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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'.
- Pakapa-kapa: In this approach, the researcher uses
'groping', or a mixture of feelings as well as circumstances, to
justify his intrusion into the life of his/her participants or
kalahok. The term kapa literally means 'to grope
in the dark'.
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:
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
Filipinos, which are for the most part, less violent.
See also: Philippine
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: The use of voodoo of
a mambabarang to conjure up a spell, which she is to
recite while piercing the body of a ragdoll, supposedly
representing that of the person she is to cause sickness.
- 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
- Gabâ or gabaa: The Cebuano
concept of negative Karma.
- Pambansang Samahan Sa Sikolohiyang Pilipino
- 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
- Orteza, G. (1997) "Pakikipagkuwentuhan: Isang Pamamaraaan ng
Sama-samahang Pananaliksik, Pagpapatotoo at Pagtulong sa
Sikolohiyang Pilipino" nasa PPRTH Occasional Papers Series 1997,
- 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.
Lunsod 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: Blackwell-Synergy and 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
- 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.