Filipinos are everywhere. In almost every country that I have been to, I have always met a Filipino. I have never been to Antarctica, but I am sure that if I did go there I would meet a Filipino.
What greatly impressed me about the Filipinos I met in these foreign countries is how important it is to them to connect with their fellow Filipinos. Unlike many other expat communities around the globe, these overseas Filipinos have a real sense of comradeship, fellowship and brotherhood that is uniquely Filipino.
From how they celebrate, to how they commemorate, to how they encourage each other is something that greatly impressed me.
The most dramatic evidence of this is every Sunday in Hong Kong’s Statue Square. There you will meet thousands of Filipinas (mostly employed as domestic help) coming together to enjoy their one and only day off a week.
They spread newspapers on the cement floor to sit on, and then spend the afternoon eating, visiting, playing cards, styling one another’s hair and trading romance novels. I later discovered this beautiful act of solidarity is what Filipinos call kapatiran. This Filipino value is defined best by the proverb “Matibay ang walis, palibhasa’y magkabigkis [Ang silhig tukog lig-un kung hinigot nga h got/A broom is sturdy because its strands are tightly bound].”
The spirit of kapatiran is everywhere in the Philippines. The vast majority of fishermen in the Philippines fish not as individuals but as a team. Whatever they catch, they share equally among themselves.
When it comes to saving and lending money, Filipinos have a unique tradition called paluwagan—wherein you save together with a group and reap what you saved on a specific date and time.
The idea revolves around a group of people paying the same amount of money on either a daily/weekly/monthly basis, wherein each member is being paid (mostly the total amount of money collected on the given pay in) on the desired date and time by the group.
Filipino teams achieve amazing results when the spirit of kapatiran is embraced. A group of college students will help each other on their thesis project until the late hours of the night to ensure they meet their deadline.
In organized groups, like Tau Gamma Phi (Triskelions), Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen and Professionals (BCBP), Junior Chamber International (JCI) and Rotary International, Filipino come together to create outreach programs that make a life-changing impact on the communities they serve.
History teaches us that, perhaps, the greatest example of Filipino kapatiran is from the days of the Philippine Revolution—the Katipunan—led by the heroic Andres Bonifacio.
The Katipunan was a movement of Pinoys and Pinays, that sought the independence of the Philippines from Spanish colonial rule. Bonifacio called on his fellow Filipinos to “be united in will, united in thought, and united in purpose, and that we might have strength to combat the prevailing evil in our nation”.
So much great things can be achieved when Filipinos are united by the spirit of kapatiran.
So as we begin another year, my great wish is for Filipinos to be united on this journey of creating a First World Philippines in our lifetime where no one is left behind.
We must believe that it is possible. As I travel across the nation sharing our message, I repeat over and over why I believe Filipinos are so unique and so special.
These unique values, like kapatiran, we do not have in other parts of the world. I really believe that if Filipinos continue to leverage their unique strengths, then this year can be the greatest year ever for this country.
Through the spirit of kapatiran, that is why I believe that 2017 will be the year of the Filipino. The greatest days are ahead.
Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!
The above is an extract from Mike’s latest e-book 7 Reasons Why the Filipino will Change the World. To get your free copy go to www.mikegrogan.ph/ebook
Mike Grogan is an international speaker and best-selling author who believes in the genius of the Filipino. As a lean management expert, Irish native Mike has traveled to 39 countries but he believes that there is something very special about the Pinoy. Last year, in partnership with People Dynamics, Mike has delivered 183 talks, training sessions and seminars all across the Philippines.
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