Posted by: nastypen | November 12, 2008

The Price of “Pakikisama”

There is no exact translation for pakikisama.  In a nutshell, pakikisama is what you do to have a harmonious relationship with your officemates, friends and relatives.  I simply think pakikisama is a manifestation of emotional vampirism.  Say for example you are going on a trip, people will say “Awww….good for you….pasalubong ha?”  (Give me a present, ok?)

So, now, I am about to fly home to Manila and pakikisama has a price.  It’s 1, 400 pesos in excess baggage.  That’s more than half of my round trip airline ticket.

Funny.  Because when I flew to Cebu, my luggage weighed exactly 15kg.  That means presents in the name of pakikisama weigh 14kg.  Perhaps, because I ate a lot for the past two weeks, could it have been my pants and shirts that I packed gained weight?

Too bad there are no incidental charges for trying to have a harmonious relationship.

Makes me rethink of getting a vacation or even mentioning that I’m going away.  Perhaps next time when people ask where I am going, I’ll say “I’m staying in my room.”  I’m sure they wouldn’t like dust and dog hair as pasalubong.



  1. pakikisama is the one P that i left from pinas when i left

  2. pakikisama is good, but at the end of the day, you always have a choice if you would go for it or not — the “pasalubong” thing that is. I usually just buy stuff for my immediately family because I love them dearly, and not for anything else. They know better than to ask for anything else if I am to lean or have too much baggage to carry around. I’m really surprised you even bothered buying stuff in the name of pakikisama. I mean, pakikisama should not impoverish us. God loves a cheerful giver and so should one have a similar attitude in giving. If you feel that you are obligated, I suggest that you don’t bother at all with it.

  3. God Loves a cheerful giver….

    So, if I have STD and cheerfully give it around, will God still love me?

    I kid. I kid.

    Does God appreciate political tactics and earning of favors via pakikisama? Isn’t pakikisama a bedrock of the “debt of gratitude?” You see pakikisama in the family context….how about in office politics? pakikisama takes on a different face.

  4. korek. You know, I haven’t figured everything but I do agree with your points too. Sigh. The things that we have to deal with in life

  5. Here’s what you say each time this pasalubong shit happens: “Sure, but can you just take money? It’s cheaper if I give you P200 now than if I buy something that would entail more spending for baggage.”

  6. i try to keep pakikisama to a minimum because the amount of pakikisama is directly and unfortunately proportional to the amount you have to pay for it.

    (wow. P1,400!)

  7. Pakikisama is not forced, it is not a duty, it is not an obligation. Rather, it is an innate Filipino trait, one that comes from an open, caring, loving heart. It is given not as a quid pro quo, not as a gesture of expecting reciprocity, it is given for the sole purpose of helping another person or making another happy, and the rewards are largely psychic. To the second or third generation FilAms, that were not brought up to see this as part of a national culture, nor socialized from birth to do it as part of one’s ethical behavior, it seems strange, it seems odd, it seems flamboyant, it seems superficial. But, if it is practiced authentically from the heart, and you happen to be the recipient of this unsolicited good deed, it warms your heart and you feel nurtured as part of a community of humane humankind!

    • I don’t know about you Prosy, but Pakikisama is different from Matulungin which is as you said “helping another person or making another happy.” More in point is that this is “Bayanihan” more than “Pakikisama.” Pakikisama is micro-management at best.

      The root word of pakikisama is sama which means to join or to adhere, ergo if you must be part of the group you have to do the bidding of the group or prove that you are worthy of inclusion which is pakikisama. Case in point, if your buddies drink beer, if you cherish the company of this group, you will not risk their ire by doing otherwise, makisama ka….or you augment in a way that you are part of the group.

      This is just basic social dynamics in a very society not in love with individuality which the Philippines is mostly is.

      I don’t know why you invoke the Fil-Americans, I really don’t give a shit about them. All I know is I have been part (and is still part) of the Philippine culture long enough to realize that pakikisama is a societal pressure via passive aggression to comply with the herd or those in power and not some pastel-esque greeting from a Hallmark card as you deftly colored pakikisama.

      But thanks for the comment. I respect that you want to see pakikisama in a different point of view…. so, respect mine as well.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: