OF PAGKALINGA, PAG-AARUGA, PAKIALAM,
AND THE FEMINIST ETHICS OF CARE1
NATIVIDAD DOMINIQUE G. MANAUAT
In this article, the author looks carefully into the Filipino value system as it relates to caring. A critique of traditional value theory yields the conclusion that reason-based values have primacy over those that are based on emotion, such as caring. Feminist philosophy’s contribution is to cast a critical eye on the way traditional Western philosophy uses standards. It is revealed that philosophy and value theory are gendered. In looking at the Filipino values of caring such as pagkalinga, pagaaruga, and pakialam, the author puts them in context via her own life experiences. She argues that caring ought to be recognized and re-valued but finds that most Filipinos have yet to take the value of pakikipagkapwa more seriously. She adds that although caring is important, it is not independent of other value systems such as justice-based ethics.
Filipino values have been around throughout generations, as these are what the Filipino people deem as ideal and desirable. I maintain that such values are never static, they mutate and evolve and are subject to changes as human interactions shape them. These are values that individuals consider as good, important, proper, and suitable and there are as many Filipino values depending upon the many things that are valued (Timbreza 2001: 1). However these values have been interpreted in various ways, often in terms of consequences. That is, the result of valuing and knowing which values actually do us good and which do us harm. Many find it difficult to truly appreciate the positive functions of our traditional values because we only have a vague understanding of value system itself (Jocano 2000: 2). Some have even managed to trace the country’s current problems to our culture’s value system and pronounce it as “damaged” (Fallows: 1987).2...