Filipinos’ formula for fun: Faith, family, fiestas, and Facebook
WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty Josephus Jimenez (The Freeman) - June 9, 2018 - 12:00am

Yesterday, we mentioned the phenomenon of the Filipinos being adjudged by Gallup International and the United Nations as among the happiest people on earth, despite our poverty incidence and unemployment rates. Today, we shall explain our analysis of this paradox. Other races are simply astounded, but we know the answer. We have very strong faith in God. We have close family relations. We have a lot of diversions like fiestas, festivals, and Facebook. We do not dwell on the negative. We are incurably optimistic.

Faith in God teaches us to pray hard, work hard and leave everything to God. We attend masses and prayer meetings. Filipinos who can afford to go on pilgrimages. For the masses, there is a church in every corner, a chapel in every barangay. We even have chapels in our office buildings. We have office masses on first Fridays and special occasions. There are saints for every intention and affliction: for the sick, for the victims of crimes and diseases, for those who lost money, etc. There is even a saint for hopeless cases.

The family is the strongest support system for Filipinos. When one is down and out, lost a job, was jilted, or facing any difficult predicament, there is always mom, dad, a “kuya’’ or an “ate” willing to lend a shoulder to lean on. There is always somebody willing to listen and counsel. When all friends are gone, the immediate members of the family are always available.

This is only true to Filipinos. Other races do not do that. Only Filipinos can make a lot of sacrifices for a family member. Only a Filipina can work as a maid 18 hours a day just to send her child to college or pay for her mother’s medicines.

Fiestas and festivals provide the Filipinos with an occasion to link with each other and distract themselves from sources of depression. In the Philippines, even the poorest squatter areas have fiestas where they have ‘’ferias’’ and singing and dance contests, even beauty contests for gays. Added to these are our hundreds of festivals like the “Sinulog” and “Ati-atihan.” Lastly, Facebook. Nobody can disregard the extent this social medium has helped Filipinos everywhere in the world. They organize social gathering, mutual help, and even religious activities through Facebook. Facebook even helps OFWs link with the embassy, DOLE, POEA, OWWA, DFA, even Malacañan.

All these combined: Faith, family, fiestas, and Facebook, are the Filipinos’ formulae for fun and happiness. Although with the highest poverty incidence, they remain one of the happiest in the world. This is not a paradox, it is so natural to Filipinos.

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