Keeping our Filipino values alive

May is National Heritage Month. It can mean celebrating the different parts of our history and culture in many ways—visiting historic buildings, supporting the preservation of heritage areas, participating and promoting our colorful fiestas, or even just taking a day exploring our national museums. 

Beyond that, our heritage is something we carry within us, like the values that we’ve grown up with that we also associate with being Filipino. It’s no surprise that many of our makers remind us of some of these values in the way they work or in their creative works. Here are some of those Filipino values we hold dear. 

Our humor and optimism

Nothing like Pinoy humor to get us through all the craziness, frustration, delight, and confusion of living in the Philippines. From the time we commute in the morning to the circus we see on the news, living in our beloved country sure has its challenges. 

But Filipinos—for better or worse—find the humor in everything. We can expect several memes to pop up after a senate hearing interviewing a public official with a sudden bout of amnesia. We can turn often spoken Pinoy expressions into stickers like these ones from Popjunklove to help us get through the day. Yes, push mo yan. 



We’re known as one of the friendliest and warmest people. We have such a welcoming nature, you can count on this trademark Filipino hospitality to be mentioned in every PH-based travel website or travel vlog about our country. We’ll give up our comfiest bed, the shirt off our back, and make sure our guests are fed as soon as they step inside our homes. “Kumain ka na?” Is a typical question we always ask. 

Before guests leave, we make sure they have something to bring home. It’s no wonder we check on travelers and visitors if they’ve had a chance to find pasalubong. Items that speak of local culture are a good choice, whether it’s a collection of postcards depicting idyllic Philippine scenes or the ubiquitous jeepney as home decor or toy

Being industrious

We’re hardworking, we’re resourceful, we take on side hustles, and (unfortunately) some of us even have to leave our families to find better opportunities overseas. 

As some of our makers have shown us, building a business from your craft takes a lot of hard work, too. Catherine Limson started Bedazzled accessories as a side hustle while she was a preschool teacher. In her Meet the Makers interview, she shared that she would make her beaded accessories in the evenings at home or while commuting, driven by the simple fact that she needed to earn more money to provide for the people she loves. “So whatever challenges, I’d fight for it because I know it will yield results later.” 

Family oriented

For Cath and many Filipinos like her, family is at the center of our lives. We don’t consider it as something to be embarrassed about if we’re still living with our parents after we’re done with school (in contrast to many western countries). Our relationship with our family, while it may evolve as we get older, remains a big part of our identity. 

Makers behind The Attic Yarn and Craftery, Paperaica Shop, and Dear Self Beauty, to name a few, find that family—from their siblings to their parents—enable them to confidently pursue their passions. 

Bayanihan spirit

We saw this alive and well during the pandemic when almost everyone was in lockdown as neighborhoods in Metro Manila set up community pantries for those in need. It was also a time when many small businesses closed, but those that held on, even through the losses, were doing so in order to keep supporting their staff.

Louie and Ann Poco of Gouache were trying to find ways to pivot during the pandemic, which they shared in a previous interview, made them realize “that it really is the people that’s important.” The solutions they came up with to the problems the pandemic posed focused on changes in the production process, while highlighting the skills of their people.  

At around the same time, Madz Sablada was contemplating whether to close Izzo Shop or not because of the pandemic. She had a full time job she could rely on anyway, but she knew it wasn’t just about her. She had sewers who depended on her. “If you don’t have a product, they don’t earn. How do you say to your sewers, ‘We don’t have anything lined up for now, so hindi kayo kakain? It’s very disheartening.” She kept at it and was even able to think of other products and launch another retail brand. “I feel like I’m the type of person who always holds on to hope. If you see that there’s still something that can benefit you and the people that work for you, then you go for it.”

Our faith

Many of us Filipinos have a strong faith in the divine. As much as we laugh and find humor even in the face of difficulty, we also hope even when things look bleak. Many of us have hope because of our faith. 

We practice our faith in prayer, Sunday mass or service, or other forms of worship and charity. But if finding space for your faith gets a bit more challenging on some days, know that there are makers such as Hopencourage that create pins, bookmarks, stickers, and magnets that provide daily reminders and words of encouragement rooted in faith. And the values that help define us as Filipinos will always be rooted in our heritage.