Four Filipino values kept alive by Pinoys in Spain

Giving importance to education and the Filipino language, Respect for elders, Gender equality, Bayanihan or mutual help

By Daniel Infante Tuaño

SPAIN – Wherever Filipinos go or wherever they settle to start a new life, they take Filipino values with them and even pass them on to the next generations. 

Like three Filipinas–Rebecca, Jennifer and Krystel–who shared their life experience in a workshop entitled “Migration and Gender in the Philippine community,” organized by Casa Asia in Barcelona.


Krystel, Rebecca and Jennifer

Casa Asia, an institution which promotes understanding of the Asia-Pacific in Spain, organized a workshop where Spanish and migrant women could understand more the gender dimension of Filipino migration based on the stories of three Filipinas who represent the three generations of a Filipino family.

The workshop turned out to be a tearjerker as the women became emotional when they started to look back what the whole clan had to go through to seek a better future in Barcelona.

But despite all the sacrifices and the pain of recounting the family’s struggles, the three women highlighted Filipino values which had been passed on to the three generations, namely giving importance to education and respecting elders.

Supporting the education of a family member is one of the primary reasons why Filipinos seek greener pastures abroad, according to Professor Maria Jesus Izquierdo, one of the workshop’s resource speakers who also made a research on Filipino migration entitled “Servidoras sin Fronteras. Migración Filipina Femenina y Redes de Cuidados.”

Jennifer Masilang, one of the three Filipina speakers, said that she makes sure that her children value education and learn Tagalog by speaking the language at home.

She has also frequently taken her children to the Philippines to make them more aware of the difficult situation in the country and appreciate more of what they have.

Jennifer’s mother and the family’s matriarch, Rebecca Masilang, who has been living in Barcelona for more than 25 years and was among the first Filipinos who came to the Catalan capital, placed importance on parents’ fundamental role in inculcating values to their children born abroad.

“Yang pag-opo, pagmamano, hindi dapat natin alisin sa kanila. Kaya sa ating matatanda, sa ating mga nauna dito, sa ating mga magulang, nasa atin talaga ang paghubog sa mga kabataang Pilipino. Respeto sa matatanda, respeto kahit sa mga hindi natin kalahi, wag natin gayahin dito ang kultura nila ang matatanda bina-balewala, sa atin mentras tumatanda, lalong pinapahalagahan,” Rebecca.

Her granddaughter, Krystel Cayari, who grew up both in the Philippines and Spain and works as a nurse in Barcelona, has shown respect and expressed profound concern for her elderly patients.

“Yung values na itinuro sa akin ng mga lola ko, ng mga parents ko, na-apply ko siya sa trabaho ko as a nurse. Minsan may mga pasyente ako kailangan lang nila ng respeto, ng konting pagsasalita, konting kausap at kung minsan yung hindi nabibigay ng family nila dahil nagtatrabaho,” Krystel said.

Casa Asia Workshop

Casa Asia Workshop

Admiration for Filipinas

The three women also showed that Filipinas, though they can be emotional sometimes, are strong, brave, intelligent and play an important role in family and nation-building.

Izquierdo expressed her admiration of Philippine society in terms of gender equality, which she experienced first-hand while doing the research in the country.

Jennifer said that Filipinas don’t want just to be left at home. What they want is to work, earn and also contribute to the family.

And like most Filipinas in Barcelona, the three generations of women Rebecca, Jennifer and Krystel have been also active in the Filipino community, especially in one of the Filipino Catholic Church choirs.

Such activities of the Catholic Church were also part of Izquierdo’s study. In fact, another UAB professor and resource speaker Enrico Mora emphasized the important contribution of the Filipino Catholic Church in organizing the Filipino community in Barcelona.

Mora further recognized the existence of mutual help in the community, which Filipinos would rather call “bayanihan.”

Originally published on


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