Is there a Filipino Philosophy?

I am encroached by a shrouded philosophical spell. I am first and foremost a devotee of philosophy. I was infatuated with theology then the law.

I am pleased I was given a chance to be introduced to her because my infatuation just grew and my passion invigorated like a lover obsessed to the loved.

Fortune and abundance it is for me to love many disciplines and ways like the Greek thinking, Indian thinking, Chinese, American, British, German etc. There must also be Filipino thinking!

With this, let us ask our own selves if what philosophy do we have as Filipinos? What school of thought are we going to show the world as our own? In fact, the main question I want to ask or set is: IS THERE SUCH THING AS FILIPINO PHILOSOPHY?

According to Feorillo Demeterio, a philosophy professor and chairman of the Philosophy Department at San Beda College in Manila, in his comparative study entitled Thought and Socio Politics: An Account of the Twentieth Century Filipino[1] said:

…in the late twentieth century…our Filipino
philosophers at that time wielded enough
 power and opportunity to chart a more
progressive pathway for Filipino philosophy.[2]

From this statement we can say that there was that opportunity as regards Filipino philosophy. And we can also deduce from the above statement that there was a problem, something wrong happened. It seemed that the wielding of power by Filipino philosophers resulted to no avail. At this point let me again ask a question (though the previous one is yet unanswered): WHAT HAPPENED TO OUR OWN PHILOSOPHY?

In his comparative study of two essays, one by Fernando Nakpil-Zialcitya entitled Mga Anyo ng Pilosopiyang Pilipino and the other by Romualdo Abulad entitled Contemporary Filipino Philosophy, there are astonishing revelations and opinions regarding the state of affairs and problems of PINOY PHILOSOPHY.[3]

Nakpil-Zialcita claims that there are three forms of Filipino Philosophy:[4]

  1. Isang pamamaraang Pilipino sa pilosopiya (Filipino Methodology for Philosophizing).

This one could be promising hallmark of what Filipino philosophy should be. But this is still in its infancy stage. But according to Nakpil-Zialcita “ngunit ito’y tiyak na lilitaw gaya na sa pintura at eskultura, sa musika at sa sayaw”[5]

 2. Isang pagsusuri sa mga saligan ng pulitika at ekonomiya ng lipunang Pilipino (Critique of the Political and Economic Structures of Philippine Society).

This second form is very dependent on other philosophies like that of Marx, Lenin, Mao Zedong and others. Hence its originality is in question. It could not be the hallmark of Filipino philosophy.

3. Isang interpretasyon ng PANANAW-SA-MUNDO ng Pilipino (Interpretation of the Filipino WORLD-VIEW).

This one can be the hallmark of Filipino philosophy and according to Nakpil-Zialcita: “Mas maliwanag ang pagka-Pilipino sa ganitong anyo ng Pilosopiya…”[6]  This one is not infant in its stage and not dependent on others, and so this one transcends the two others. But there is another problem here, its purpose.


[1] Published in The Thomasian Philosopher: Vol XXVI. 2005  pp.54-79. The study presents what happened to Filipino philosophy in the 20th century and attempts to rehabilitate it.

[2] Ibid. p. 54

[3] cf. Ibid. p. 55

[4] cf. Ibid. p. 55

[5] Fernando Nakpil-Zialcita, “Mga Anyo ng Pilosopiyang Pilipino,” Trans. Nicanor Tiongson, in Virgilio Enriquez, Mga Babasahin sa Pilosopiya: Epistemolohiya, Lohika, Wika at Pilosopiyang Pilipino (Manila: Philippine Psychology Research and Training House, 1983) p. 318.

[6] Ibid. p. 323.


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