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Filipino values caravan rolls out in Lake Sebu

This year's nationwide celebration of Filipino Values Month took off in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato, on October 24 and 25. (Photo: Danilo Doguiles/PIA Region 12)

LAKE SEBU, South Cotabato (PIA) -- In celebration of November as Filipino Values Month, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), in partnership with the Local Government Unit of Lake Sebu in South Cotabato, recently rolled out the Mindanao leg of Balay Pinoy, a school caravan advancing the 20 Filipino Values.

Locally named Gono Pinoy—Gono being the Tboli term for balay or house—the two-day school caravan was highlighted by entertaining presentations, storytelling sessions, and games geared toward promoting the unique Filipino values.

“NCCA has always been at the forefront of pursuing and initiating this kind of program—the values formation program—because we aim to strengthen the fabric of our society because values are the core foundation not only of our lives as Filipino people but, at the same time, the core foundation and one of the basic rights of every Filipino,” Commissioner Carlo Ebeo of the NCCA Subcommission for Cultural Dissemination told the Philippine Information Agency.

He explained that “Balay Pinoy is not just a celebration. It's a commitment to preserving our heritage and nurturing the values that make us who we are. It is a reminder of our roots as indigenous, settler, and Muslim Filipino communities whose aggrupation of multi-peoples’ culture is resilient. We have the power to create a society built on our common values and dedication to the common good."

"Through educational and entertaining performances, local talents will make learning about these values a fun and memorable experience," he added.

Ebeo, however, clarified that although values formation program activities are particularly intensified every November, the NCCA conducts values formation advocacy throughout the year. 

Boi Myrna Pula is one of the three cultural masters who led storytelling sessions with Tboli children at Sta. Cruz Mission School - Lem-ehek Elementary School. During these storytelling sessions, which started with Tboli traditional tales, NCCA introduced its animated series, Heneral Tuna. (Photo: Danilo Doguiles/PIA Region 12)

On the second day, Gono Pinoy and NCCA personnel, along with three Tboli cultural masters, visited Sta. Cruz Mission School - Lem-ehek Elementary School for storytelling sessions, beginning with Tboli tales and ending with book stories featuring NCCA’s Heneral Tuna.

Heneral Tuna is a cat-like alien from Planet Mingming charged to invade Earth but crashed and landed in Barangay Hiraya in the Philippines. In the process of his reconnaissance mission in preparation for the eventual invasion, Heneral Tuna instead learns the values of the Filipino people, such as love for family, love for country, resilience, value of culture, and good governance.

Heneral Tuna is an animated series.

Meanwhile, Commissioner Reden Ulo of the NCCA Subcommission on Cultural Communities and Traditional Arts emphasized that promoting Filipino values among youth could lead to the development of well-rounded adults.

“It is very important to teach the young students, especially ang ating kabataan ngayon, because we want that they develop love for our country. At the same time, kailangan itutuloy nila ang tamang kaugalian noon na magagamit nila sa ngayong panahon,” Commissioner Ulo said.

Commissioner Ulo emphasized that the formation of values should not only be incorporated into school curricula but must first be fostered in the family setting.

November is declared Filipino Values Month by virtue of Presidential Proclamation 479, signed by then President Fidel V. Ramos on October 7, 1994, in line with his administration’s Moral Recovery Program.

President Ramos believes that “the celebration of Filipino Values Month on a regular basis is a desirable and effective measure to create moral awakening and national consciousness on human values that are unique, genuine, and positively Filipino."

Heneral Tuna and Tboli children gathered after the storytelling sessions at Sta. Cruz Mission School - Lem-ehek Elementary School. (Photo: Danilo Doguiles/PIA Region 12)

Following are the 20 Filipino Values as explained in NCCA’s “Filipino Values for the Common Good: A Primer” (

1. Love for the Family and Community (Pagmamahal sa Pamilya at Pamayanan). Filipinos consider love for the family to be their highest value. Many respondents still believe in the traditional structure of a family: the father as the “haligi ng tahanan” (pillar of the home), the mother as the “ilaw ng tahanan” (light of the home), and the children as the center of the family.

2. Faith (Pananampalataya). Faith refers to a belief, reliance, and relationship with a higher being. It is also interpreted as a sense of deep connection and spirituality. Filipinos have different names for this higher being. They call on God, Allah, Kabunian, Manama, and others.

3. Attaining Education (Pagkamit ng Edukasyon). Filipinos view education as an important achievement. Education lets Filipinos gain knowledge, learn values, and become aware of the world around them. It is an ideal avenue to instill values in the next generation.

4. Lifelong Learning and Adaptability (Panghabang buhay na Pagkatuto at Kakayahang Umangkop). Learning does not stop once a person leaves school. There is a chance to learn new things at every stage of one’s life. Being flexible and open to new ways of learning is important for Filipinos. This helps them adapt to changing times.

5. Health and Wellness (Kalusugan at Kagalingan). Health and wellness are top priorities for Filipinos. They consider it their “puhunan” or capital to be able to accomplish their goals in life. A good life for Filipinos means being healthy, living clean, and maintaining high standards for health.

6. Addressing Basic Needs (Pagtugon sa mga Pangunahing Pangangailangan). Addressing basic needs is key to sustaining life and achieving security. Some of these basic needs are food, shelter, clothing, education, and medicine.  According to the study, basic needs may now include necessary technology such as appliances, mobile phones, and internet connections.

7. Ensuring Work and Livelihood (Pagtiyak sa Trabaho at Kabuhayan). Having work and livelihood helps one sustain personal and family needs. Being able to work also gives a person self-esteem and the opportunity to show one’s skills and talents. 

8. Self-Development/Self-Improvement (Paghubog ng Pagkatao/Sarili). Filipinos find it important to express themselves and show their true selves. It is also important to display the values learned from family and community. To do this, a person must be able to develop their self-esteem and cultivate a strong sense of character.

 9. Life, Purpose, and Happiness (Buhay, Tunguhin, at Kaligayahan). Life and purpose refer to a person’s existence and reasons for being in this world. It means having significance, direction, or fulfilled goals.

10. Resilience (Katatagan). Resilience is a much-needed value. Filipinos remain resilient despite the hardships and disasters that often strike the country.

11. Honesty and Integrity (Katapatan at Karangalan). Honesty and integrity are values connected to upholding the truth and being just and fair to others. It also includes sincerity and faithfulness. These values measure the right behavior among citizens and public servants. 

12. Peace and Development (Kapayapaan at Kaunlaran). Peace and development mean having an orderly community that is free from crime and warfare. They go together, whether it refers to a person or to a community.

13. Respecting and Upholding Human Rights (Paggalang at Pagtaguyod sa Karapatang Pantao). Filipinos believe that upholding human rights is important. Various sectors expressed their belief in human rights based on the challenges they faced. There are three aspects of human rights that help Filipinos understand their values. First, people must recognize that having rights is essential to being human. Second, giving human rights to people means respect for the sacredness of life. Third, there should be equality among people and there should be equality among people, and this should be the basis of how a person will determine the fairness of human rights.

14. Shared Responsibility for the Common Good (Pakikipagkapuwa). Pakikipagkapuwa comes from the word kapuwa, which means shared identity with another person. It is one of the core values of Filipinos. This so-called Kapuwa is significant to Filipinos as it is important for them to relate well with others. They believe that “Ang kapuwa ko ay ako rin” (“The other person is the same as I”).

15. Care for the Environment / Ecological Integrity (Pangangalaga sa Kapaligiran/ Pagpapanatili ng Integridad ng Ekolohiya). Filipinos have different names for the environment. They refer to it as kalikasan in Tagalog, kinaiyahan in Bisaya, and aglawilaw in Ilocano, among others. The environment is important as it is a source of life and livelihood. Culture and health also depend on nature.

16. Love for Country (Pagmamahal sa Bayan). Love for a country is defined as concern for the nation and serving the country. It also means taking pride as a citizen of the country and having a sense of patriotism.

17. Good Governance (Mabuting Pamamahala). Every sector values a strong and reliable government that demonstrates good governance.

Good governance is about providing effective service and basic needs to its people. It is about providing effective service and basic needs to its people. It is about effective leadership, providing direction, and establishing discipline. It is also about ensuring equal implementation of the law along with knowledge and respect for indigenous people’s traditional governance and leadership.

18. Upholding the Rule of Law (Pagtaguyod sa mga Panuntunan ng Batas). The NEDA study revealed that there is a need to emphasize upholding the rule of law among Filipinos. The rule of law can be treated as separate from good governance. It is important to recognize this value as it pertains to discipline and citizenship.

19. Valuing Culture, Arts, and Sciences (Pagpapahalaga sa Kultura, Sining, at Agham). Culture encompasses history, identity, and expressions such as songs, dances, or literature. It includes the related domains of heritage, arts and sciences, and creative expressions. Culture also includes indigenous knowledge systems and practices, which should be safeguarded. Language (the use of local languages and the mother tongue) is a reflection of one’s culture. Hence, the use of local languages should be promoted. Heritage as a reflection of culture includes tangible (such as buildings and other objects) and intangible (such as social practices, arts, and crafts) expressions. Heritage is valuable because it involves skill and a system on how to pass culture from one generation to another.

20. Creative Excellence and Innovation (Kahusayan sa Paglikha at Inobasyon). Creative excellence refers to the drive to create something with passion and high quality. Innovation is the ability to generate new ideas, methods, or devices. Filipinos are known to be inherently creative. Thus, embracing creative excellence and innovation is important for identity and the improvement of one’s self and skills.

The 20 Filipino values were identified on the basis of research conducted by the NCCA and the National Economic and Development Authority. (DED – PIA SOCCSKSARGEN)

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