February 3, 2015

PSY 220L



In her study. Different situations allow us to construe the term ‘bahala na’ in many ways. he/she decides to (1) leave everything to God. that is taking initiative even when facing uncertainty. Lagmay (1977) proposed that the bahala na response is evoked when (1) it is difficult to have a foresight of results or consequences.BAHALA NA AS A SITUATIONAL EXPRESSION The ‘bahala na’ expression is very common to Filipinos. Bostrom (1968) hypothesized that the Filipino ‘bahala na’ has a counterpart in American fatalism. fatalism presents a withdrawal from commitment or avoidance of responsibility. then viewing ‘bahala na’ as fatalism reduces the meaning of the term and fails to highlight one of the most fundamental notion tied to the ‘bahala na’ expression. Another notion of the ‘bahala na’ (2) focuses on the ability of the speaker to take care of the situation despite the uncertainty of the results. Lastly. According to Gorospe. resources and . provided numerous situations when ‘bahala na’ is used. Gripaldo (2005) in his analysis of the term. still provided situations where ‘bahala na’ is contextualized with the intent of referring to another person. It is therefore only logical to emphasize the Filipino culture when understanding the term. resignation and avoidance of responsibility. when a person feels uncertain of his/her situation. ‘bahala na’ could be expressed with the (5) intent of warning someone. (2) information. this pessimistic view of the expression fails to take into account the Filipino attitude tied when ‘bahala na’ is expressed. The first three situations give emphasis on the utterance of ‘bahala na’ by the speaker for the his/her own purpose. Often. ‘Bahala na siya’ is used when (4) a person decides to tolerate another person for doing whatever he/she wants. reliance on fate. A third meaning of the term speaks of a (3) situation where the person is left to do what is needed or what he wants but must be prepared to face the consequences of the action. However. Lagmay (1977) on the other hand emphasizes an optimistic view of the ‘bahala na’ expression. The identified circumstances give evidence to the importance of looking at ‘bahala na’ in reference to a situation. BIPOLARITY OF BAHALA NA The earlier discussed fatalistic conception of ‘Bahala na’ was the definition proposed by Bostrom. Gripaldo (2005). in his analysis. However. as cited in Lara (1998). ‘bahala na’ was described as fatalism. such is when ‘bahala ka sa buhay mo’ is stated. One of the earliest literatures on the ‘bahala na’ orientation looked at it as fatalistic. In his study. If such is the case.

1998). On the other hand. lack of foresight and determination (Lara. . This then necessitates that understanding ‘bahala na’ orientation must be done with reference to the Filipino culture. 1998). is basically uncertain. (4) support or help from others are not present and (5) when one wishes to assess his capabilities. first. to take risk. laziness. bahala na speaks of a predisposition to inactivity. we can piece out carefully a definition of the ‘bahala na’ attitude. Positively viewed. Second. 1977). Only prolonged exposure to the Filipino culture could give a substantive understanding of the term. a guiding definition of the term must be that. In all the identified situations. in measuring the bahala na orientation. which is caused by a perceived sense of incapacity for the moment and lack of substantial information for determining the possible consequences or result of a situation. Lagmay (1977) proposes that this uncertainty is central to every ‘bahala na’ situation. This two views evoke an issue whether ‘bahala na’ should be defined in an optimistic way or a pessimistic way. irresponsibility.even personal capabilities are lacking. This shows that people with the ‘bahala na’ orientation can tolerate ambiguity and has an implicit trust in him/herself (Lagmay. From this. whether distant or near. it is a response to a distant or somewhat distant future. Thus. BAHALA NA AS A VALUE DEEPLY ROOTED IN FILIPINO CULTURE Much of the dynamics of ‘bahala na’ is deeply embedded in the use of the term. to initiate and move. he said. Thus. This shows that ‘bahala na’ expression could tone either of hopelessness or confidence (Lara. negatively viewed. because of some deficiency or other. to take up challenge and to assume responsibility. it is an expression of acceptance of things as they are. an optimistic perspective sees ‘bahala na’ as an inner strength to dare. as well as a definition which explains the dynamics of the ‘bahala na’ attitude in a way that is significant for a psychological theory. (3) when one is unprepared. bahala na could refer to the acceptance of past events. strengths and weaknesses. one could say that future. which takes into account the Filipino culture. belief in one’s capabilities and taking initiative.

To gear away from the sad truth. & Haight (1983) showed in their correlational study that the orientation of external locus of control is negatively correlated to coping styles. Liwag & Dela Cruz. The resignation of fate to Powerful Others is an indication of defensiveness. than coping when faced with a complicated situation. people will more likely manifest defensiveness. Conway. Vickers. Bahala na therefore is taken as the last resort. LOCUS OF CONTROL Generally. This act of self-preservation enables them to find no need to strive harder and instead establish a happy-go-lucky attitude. On the other hand. and is seen as one way of regulating intense emotions that transpire through the transitions of a Filipino’s life. . COURAGE 4. Many Filipinos use predominant Catholic and Christian practices. Bahala na is a factor for survival since it is depicted as a defense mechanism from harsh realities. RISK TAKING The Filipino courageousness to take risks is supported by their idea of invulnerability. 3. TOLERANCE FOR AMBIGUITY 5. nor there is a future at stake (Alampay. 2. The bahala na orientation encourages them to take risks because they believe that there is nothing more to lose. but is positively correlated with defensiveness.FACTORS DEFINING BAHALA NA 1. ????). and consider a Supreme Being as a significant external source of strength to manage daily challenges. as they have this optimistic view that they are immune from the consequences of their behaviors. or “leave it unto God” (Lagman. Bahala na in this notion is being used as a defense measure which may be translated as “it’s in the hands of God”. Levine & Donnel. DETERMINATION According to Tiangco (2006). people adapting the bahala na would be willing to distort their perceptions. others view risk-taking as the point of complete vulnerability. Yoo. enabling them to maintain a better state of mind (Tiangco. survival as a core value includes surface values such as determination and bahala na. or escape mechanism for such a hopeless state. 2006). 2014). reaching to the extremes of hopelessness.

This orientation considers not only the risks and consequences for one’s actions.6. Perceptions of self-efficacy allows a person to formulate realistic assessments of the future. HOPEFULNESS 8. when taken to the extremes. including the limitations a task may set. 2010). OPTIMISM Menguito and Teng-Calleja (2010). views optimism that is produced by the bahala na attitude. nor do they engage in escapist activities. 7. . SELF-EFFICACY Bahala na provides avenues for visualization for a person with high self-efficacy will more likely perceive scenarios where he/she will acquire success. Bahala na operates as an “implicit trust in one’s capacity to face the future situation” (Menguito & Teng –Calleja. Fortunately. as optimists do not indulge in activities that promote self-blame. sees optimism as an effective counteraction to the fatalistic adaptation of the term bahala na. since it urges Filipinos to be complacent about their work. they use humor. passive acceptance of limitations is not an option because it is instinctual for him to utilize his inherent capabilities. positive reframing and problem-focused coping as tools to deal with unfortunate events. for a person with high self-efficacy. may have devastating effects. Casino (200?) on the other hand. Instead. but also one’s capacity to perform tasks satisfactorily. or their future.

Bahala na: A Philosophical analysis. A.. Reyes & M. Filipino bahala na and American fatalism. 15. 128-140. (pp. Ceniza lectures (pp.). Gripaldo (Ed.A. E. R. Washington. . J. Validation of the panukat ng mga katangian ng personalidad (PKP) Self-Assurance (Tiwala sa Sarili) Subscale. S. (1998). (2010). Silliman Journal. self-efficacy and search for the sacred. Filipino cultural traits: Claro R. Lara. L. Menguito. DC: The Council for Research in Values and Philosophy.120-130). J. M. 2(1). 1-26. A. Bahala na as an expression of Filipino’s courage. hope. 9(1). V. 203-220). Lagmay. Philippine Journal of Psychology. & Teng-Calleja. M. Convergence between Filipino philosophy and Taoism on the value of resiliency: Katatagang-loob and the way of the Tao. Antonio. M. (2007). Paguio (Eds. (2006). In R.).. Tiangco. R. Ulat ng ikalawang pambansang kumperensya sa sikolohiyang Pilipino [Proceedings of the second national conference in Filipino psychology].43 (1). (1968). F.References: Bostrom. D. Philippines: Pambansang Samahan sa Sikolohiyang Pilipino [National Association of Filipino Psychology].N. Bahala na : an experimental study. (1977). Unpublished thesis. 19-35. Shu-Te University Online Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences. L. Quezon City. optimism. L. Resurreccion. T. Gripaldo. (2005). “Bahala na”. & Reyes. Philippine Journal of Counseling Psychology. In L. Samson.