A legacy of Virgilio G. Enriquez*
The University of NewSouthWales
University of the Philippines
Sikolohiyang Pilipino (Filipino psychology) refers to the psychology born out of the experience, thought and orientation of the Filipinos, based on the full use of Filipino culture and language. The approach is one of ‘‘indigenization from within’’ whereby the theoretical framework and methodology emerge from the experiences of the people from the indigenous culture. It is based on assessing historical and socio-cultural realities, understanding the local language, unravelling Filipino characteristics, and explaining them through the eyes of the native Filipino. Among the outcomes are: a body of knowledge including indigenous concepts, development of indigenous research methods and indigenous personality testing, new directions in teaching psychology, and an active participation in organisations among Filipino psychologists and social scientists, both in the Philippines and overseas.
The beginnings of Sikolohiyang Pilipino (Filipino psychology)
From the beginning of the periods when the Philippines was colonized by Spain, and then the USA, academic psychology, or the psychology taught in schools, was predominantly Western in theory and in methodology. Many Filipino intellectuals, notably the two Philippine heroes Jose Rizal and Apolinario Mabini, expressed dissatisfaction at the pejorative interpretations of Filipino behavior by Western observers. This disenchantment continued as Filipinos struggled to assert their national and cultural identity. In the 1960s, many Filipino intellectuals and scholars were already sensitive both to the inadequacy as well as the unfairness of the Western-oriented approaches to psychology. For instance, in the area of personality, the Western approach in research of not being enmeshed and bound by the culture being studied has resulted in a characterization of the Filipino from the ‘‘judgmental and impressionistic point of view of the colonizers’’ (Enriquez, 1992, p. 57). For example, the predisposition to indirectness of Filipino communication was regarded as being dishonest and socially ingratiating and reflecting a deceptive verbal description of reality (Lawless, 1969, cited in Enriquez, 1992) rather than a concern for the feelings of others. (There are many other examples which are discussed further in this article.) Thus, using American categories and standards, ‘‘the native Filipino invariably suffers from the comparison in not too subtle attempts to put forward Western behavior patterns as models for the Filipino (Enriquez, 1992, p.57). However, there was no concerted effort in the 1960s to reject and correct the traditional way of teaching and studying psychology. It was in the early 1970s that this was initiated when Virgilio Gaspar Enriquez returned to the Philippines from Northwestern University, USA with a Ph.D. in Social Psychology and lost no time in introducing the concept of Sikolohiyang Pilipino (Filipino Psychology). Together with then-chairman of the Department of Psychology at the University of the Philippines (U.P.), Dr. Alfredo V. Lagmay, Enriquez embarked on a research into the historical and cultural roots of Philippine Psychology. Subsequently, the research included identifying indigenous concepts and approaches in Philippine psychology and developing creativity and inventiveness among Filipinos. From these researches, a two-volume bibliography on Filipino psychology and a locally developed personality test, Panukat ng Ugali at Pagkatao (Measure of Character and Personality), were produced. In 1975, Enriquez chaired the Unang Pambansang Kumperensya sa Sikolohiyang Pilipino (First National Conference on Filipino Psychology) which was held at the Abelardo Auditorium at U.P. In this conference, the ideas, concepts, and formulations of Sikolohiyang Pilipino were formally...