21st September 2020 | Culture

The 'Masipag' Filipino Trait

Celebrating the best Filipino trait 

What do you notice about Filipinos when you spend time with them? We’ve all heard the saying ‘It’s more fun in the Philippines!’ Of course it is - there are so many characteristics and traits that are unique to Filipinos that are so worth celebrating! 

Here are my favourite traits that Filipinos possess:

1. Filipinos are joyful and welcoming

Whether you get invited to a Filipino gathering or jump on a Philippine Airline flight, you’re going to almost always be showered with such warmth and friendliness. It's a value that's considered central to the Filipino identity -- whoever you are, Filipinos make sure you feel welcome. 

2. Filipinos are absolute “foodies”

‘Marami pang pagkain!’ ('There's still so much food left') is a phrase you may have heard time and time again if you go to a Filipino household. We even make sure that you don’t leave without taking some food home!

3. Filipinos are hardworking

This trait in particular brings me so much pride. The Tagalog word for this particular characteristic is ‘masipag’. Across the world, Filipinos are known for their resilience, their spirit and their hard work which is roughly what ‘masipag’ translates to. Here’s an article celebrating Filipino excellence, highlighting why so many recruiters prefer to hire hardworking Filipinos. These values and traits are deeply rooted in Filipino culture. Our sense of respect for our elders and our sense of duty to our families propels this particular trait. 

The ‘Masipag’ trait 

From a young age, this trait has always been at the forefront of my upbringing. ‘Mag-aral ka ng mabuti anak’ ('Make sure you study hard') is a piece of advice, that I would not only hear from my parents, but from every family member. Its common to have a family member or distant relative living or working abroad to send money to their families back home. As mentioned above, our sense of duty to our families is the motivator to make sure hard work is put in so we can give back to our families. Filipinos strive to do their best, valuing integrity and reputation  - whilst rising up to the challenge - elements that contribute to the image of the hardworking Filipino.

Recently, it is this characteristic - the 'masipag' trait - that has received so much press, though unfortunately, not for the better. News reports in the UK highlight that it is the Filipino community, that has been hit the hardest during the Covid-19 pandemic. It is a priority for many Filipino individuals to provide for their families, sacrificing their own health and wellbeing for others – a trait of true heroism.

Despite these news reports, I don’t think we should lose sight of that pride that we are a hardworking society. We should never lose the Filipino pride in our hard work and resilience. However, I would take these news reports as a warning. As we slowly phase out of the pandemic, let us reflect on our own personal performance and look at where we may be overworking. Whether you’re starting a new job, a new year into your degree or whatever you are going to venture into for the rest of this year, make sure you remember to look after yourself (here are our top tips!). Remember to take regular breaks, switch on your fave TFC programme, get a blanket with a hot bowl of arroz caldo and relax! 


Introducing your Filsoc: University of Reading