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  • Pakiramdam: The Most Misunderstood Filipino Core Value

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    What is the Filipino core value of Pakiramdam and why is it often misunderstood in the American diaspora? 

    Virgilio Enriquez known to be the father of Filipino Psychology, purports kapwahan ( merging of the you and I to we) as the core of the Filipino values. It’s in understanding this merging that you can begin to appreciate the core value of pakiramdam.

    Pakiramdam is described as the shared inner perception, a heightened sensitivity that embraces kapwahan ( being one with the other).

    This core value highlights answering the  call of the soul by attunement and listening intently with the heart. When a friend broke up with a boyfriend & without asking, you knew what she needed. You knew that staying on her side, binge-watching K-dramas with her fav ube ice cream is listening to the yearning of her soul.  This deep sensing is pakiramdam.

    At the same time, the shadow side of this core value creates dissonance in many Filipinx homes. When this core value is activated from a place of ego, meaning, a place where one is more concerned about being “right,” and maintaining position in a hierarchy, this core value shows its shadow side.

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    • warning, used of the word “killing” in the following text may be a trigger to you.

    The animal kingdom is a hierarchical system. Watching wolves in a pact and their vicious approach to keeping their territory reminds me of humans scavenging lands to gain power and mightiness. Wolves would even kill the young of mothers from another pact to maintain their position of dominion. 

    In one documentary, I watched the mother wolf watch from a distance as a pact of wolves ransack potential hiding places of her young. The mother paced back and forth and made whimpering vocalizations. At one point, she even left the area perhaps to trick the other wolves that her young may be elsewhere. It was a relief when the pact decided to leave.

    The next morning, the pact of wolves return back to finally find her young in a den, killing all of them.

    The use of pakiramdam seemingly is this ruthless use of power OF not asking for what you want and punishing the young for what it can’t decipher.  This can create a cycle of generational trauma like the wolves looking for victims to maintain its position. This is a dangerous feat that pulls life from any individual and cultural group. 

    However, pakiramdam can be deeply understood in the archetype of the mother wolf who has to maintain calm, be composed and silent as not to be discovered. She’s fiercely telling her young to be quiet, not to make a move, to be still. Mother wolves are known to be nurturing. They enjoy lazy days and cuddling with their young but once ready for training, she expects her young to do the right thing, biting ferociously to straighten them out. They aren’t a lot of room for mistakes with other vicious wolves. A wrong move can mean death.

    Speaking in codes, sensing the other with heightened sensitivity is a skill any wolf needs to master.

    To listen to the podcast topic on Pakiramdam: The Most Misunderstood & Misused Filipino Core Value, listen to the Pinoy Love Language podcast now.



    Filipinos and their physical close proximity with each other from precolonial times to today can bring light to the core value of pakiramdam. 

    One way to understand this is through our colonial history and how it has deeply influenced our speaking-in-codes communication style. For vicious wolves (colonizers), lurks around to find our young ( ancestral/ native mind) and conquer them to the satisfaction of their ego (maintaining position).  But any one way is a dead end.

    When you only see with red tinted lenses; you see everything in red. Although some things are red, most are probably aren’t.

    Seeing only through the lens of colonization is wearing red tinted lens. 

    To practice a widening of your lens, hear and expose yourself to many other stories of culture, mythology, folktales and even fairytales. 

    They will sharpen your ears to the story of humanity rather than on one single person/culture/entity. Every story told has been told before.

    The other story is that our ancestral inclination is in sensing nature, the ground, the wind. Sitting in close proximity with others, we hear each other’s heartbeat a little bit more. Scholars of Sikolohiyang Pilipino have described our depth of relationality to have a “mataas na pakikisalamuha.” This describes our learned innate ability to sense the other, beyond words.

    To learn more, check out the Masterclass on Pakiramdam: Filipinos on Affection Beyond Words. In this  masterclass, discover the unique ways Filipinx seek and express affection and negotiate new ways of communication. Get the Pinoy Love you deserve!

    pakiramdam filipino core value



    Getting a sense of how we may have developed our cultural ways of communicating both from varied aspects of influences brought about by history and the present times widen our trajectory to heal and to transform.

    Understanding can be misconstrued as accepting. Nothing is further from the truth.

    People and cultures in societies don’t change because we want them to. We might be blue in the face and still won’t get a reaction.

    People change when they ironically are understood and not pressured to change.

    One of the greatest juxtaposition in life is people change when we get to the place where we see them as they are.

    To explore about you and the art of Pakiramdam, check out the Masterclass here or listen to the Pinoy Love Language podcast.


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