Reports say Filipinos are sad and depressed in the Philippines

A 2012 World Happiness Report has reportedly ranked the Philippines “among the least happiest in Southeast Asia, or 103rd out of 155 surveyed countries worldwide.” That bit of news should be as welcome as a skin rash to advocates of the Philippine tourism slogan “It’s more fun in the Philippines”. It could actually lead them to a depressive state, which could slightly increase the number of Filipinos who are suffering from depression.

No one is safe from kabuwisitan.
Incidentally, the country also “has the highest incidence of depression in Southeast Asia, according to the Department of Health (DOH).” 2011 data from the World Health Organization (WHO) showed that “the Philippines has the highest incidence of depression in Southeast Asia with 93 suicides for every 100,000 Filipinos.”

Depression is a serious issue that Filipinos need to address. But like with most serious issues facing the nation, most Filipinos tend to just shrug it off as inconsequential. Some would even insist that the study must be inaccurate because they truly believe that Filipino “resilience” can be attributed to the people’s happy-go-lucky nature despite the disasters — both natural and man-made — they have suffered.

But we Filipinos need to get real. We all know that life in the Philippines can be stressful even at the best of times. This is true even for some of those who live in exclusive gated communities. It is evident in the way famous actors like Claudine Barreto and husband Raymart Santiago got involved in a brawl with equally-famous media personality Ramon Tulfo, just because they felt frustration over the poor service of an airline and the latter’s alleged invasion of their privacy. No one is safe from kabwisitan in the Philippines.

We all know that behind the facade of smiley faces, most Filipinos have their own collection of tales of woes ready to be told. From one’s daily harrowing experience on the road going to and from work dodging potholes and irritable, unruly motorists who, if you are lucky, may even slap you in the face or if you are unlucky, may lodge a bullet in your brain. Even more distressing is the experience of dealing with neighbors who find a way to invade your privacy in the most blatant way possible; or for some, dealing with relatives who give new meaning to the word mooching. Experiencing these things on a regular basis could drive people over the edge, indeed.

One of the ways to counter being sad or depressed is being true to yourself. This means we need to collectively admit where we constantly get it wrong. Understanding why some Filipinos feel depressed may help overcome the problem. A physician could prescribe medication for those proven to have clinical depression. However, in most cases, medication can only mask the underlying issue of Filipinos’ inability to be accountable for their own actions. It will not address the root of the problem. If you voted for President BS Aquino in the last presidential election for example, you need to share the blame in the way the country is being mismanaged by your choice of leader. If he ends up running the country to the ground, it can only be because you did not take concrete steps to ensure that he performs to the best of his abilities.

What could be making Filipinos feel depressed? Feelings of helplessness and overall frustration over the lack of progress in their personal lives back-dropped by the lack of progress of their country can indeed make some Filipinos feel depressed. The current crop of leaders in the country headed by President BS Aquino is likely contributing much to making a lot of people feel depressed. A lot of people think that he is turning the Philippines into a vindictive society particularly with the way he persecutes his political enemies. This makes people feel generally “unsafe” because they think that if they do not support the President or criticize him, he might come after them too — which could be part of the reason why most Filipinos tend to shy away from politics. This is why you always here some say in resignation, “wala tayong magagawa.”

Likewise, it’s been said that some people describe depression as “living in a black hole or having a feeling of impending doom. However, some depressed people don’t feel sad at all–they may feel lifeless, empty, and apathetic.” That aptly describes the behavior of some Filipinos. No wonder Filipinos in general feel apathetic towards the problems that plagued the nation. They could be indifferent because they are depressed.

Unfortunately, this is an issue that is difficult to address because to counter depression, the individual needs to be more proactive. But how can a depressed individual be proactive if he feels empty and helpless? It’s a chicken and egg situation.

Family support can help an individual cope with stress but with more and more Filipinos leaving for work abroad, dysfunctional family units have become the norm. This increases the likelihood of many Filipinos, especially children, feeling displaced or feeling alone.

In a society ruled by the so-called padrino system, equal opportunity for everyone is virtually non-existent. Those who are not well-connected are left out because those who have associations with the right people are the ones who tend to move up the social or corporate ladder. Our clannish mentality results in unhealthy non-inclusive competition thereby perpetually creating an atmosphere of resentment. Again, the incumbent President BS Aquino has demonstrated many times that if one is not well-connected; it is nearly impossible to get an important position in the private and especially the public sector.

Some other common signs and symptoms of depression are the following.

Anger or irritability. Feeling agitated, restless, or even violent. Your tolerance level is low, your temper short, and everything and everyone gets on your nerves.

Reckless behavior. You engage in escapist behavior such as substance abuse, compulsive gambling, reckless driving, or dangerous sports.

Loss of energy. Feeling fatigued, sluggish, and physically drained. Your whole body may feel heavy, and even small tasks are exhausting or take longer to complete.


[Photo courtesy Manila Times.]

Indeed, the above signs and symptoms generally apply to a lot of Filipinos. It could be the reason why the country remains one of Asia’s basketcase. Instead of actively participating in the running of the country, most Filipinos engage in “escapist” behavior, which also includes too much partying and watching “telenovelas”. Instead of directing their pent up frustration towards their public servants, they take it out on innocent bystanders on the road and everyone else except the people who make a mockery out of our institutions in government.

If only Filipinos can realize that being more active in politics can actually make them happy, feelings of depression could go away. As a recent study shows, “participants who scored higher in political activism also reported higher levels of personal well-being.”

Specifically, political activism scores were associated with feeling more pleasant emotions, reporting greater life satisfaction, and having more experiences of freedom, competence, and connection to others. Our application of past research on “psychological thriving” further showed that 28 percent of the politically active adults had reached this highest level of well-being, compared to 18 percent of the community sample.

Our results suggest that it might also be worthwhile to highlight the internal rewards citizens can obtain from being politically engaged: A sense of satisfaction, the experience of pleasant emotions and of connection with others, and a feeling of aliveness.

In other words, criticizing our public servants can make Filipinos happy. Unfortunately, instead of encouraging the rest of the public to engage in politics, our own politicians seem to want us to stop criticizing them by passing the Cybercrime Law. This can only increase the number of frustrated and depressed Filipinos for sure.

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Post Author: Ilda

In life, things are not always what they seem.

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148 Comments on "Reports say Filipinos are sad and depressed in the Philippines"

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Aegis-Judex
Guest

“Indifference, to me, is the epitome of evil.”

— Elie Wiesel

PHguy
Guest

This is what sums up my thoughts with so many detached Filipinos. All they think about is kung sino ang katext nila mamaya o sinong kainuman o sinong isasama sa lakwatsa mamaya sa mall. Not a single idea about what’s happening around the world. Pathetic

k
Guest

hate is not the opposite of love. it is apathy.

Lord Chimera
Guest

It is true that independent blogs serves as kind of a steam exhaust vent for the various frustrations and disappointment of the people. Unfortunately the Cybercrime law will only plug said vent and all that pressure that will accumulate can result in explosions. hopefully it doesn’t come to that, but then again this admin is really dense when reading warning signs…..

SorbetSherlock
Guest

Still, the praise releases keep on saying that we’re happy.

Somebody tell the Palace miscomm group that smiling out of insanity isn’t “happy”.

They should take lessons from their boss, after all, Noynoy smiles even during a tragic event like the hongkong hostage crisis and he professes that he wasn’t happy during that time.

MR.KREIG
Guest

ya know,great observation. a guy recently saw me move quickly to avoid being run over by a jeepney heading towards me as I was fixing a tire.the guy on the back of the jeepney saw that I was not amused,fuckin pissed I was,and he smiled as if laughing.I know he did not think it was funny,but smiling as he was was soooo out of place and in other places could have got him chased and severely beaten(“You think its funny?”,would be heard prior/during the beating.).A VERY weird time to smile,and I see it all the time.What is up w/that?

Libertas
Guest

no rh bill so suicide is a self regulating solution to population control.

Tibak Kista
Guest

i have many recent photos of “street families” and beggars taken during my commute. depression is rampant especially when you are always hungry.

Hyden Toro
Guest

Depression is a serious mental illness. Noynoy Aquino has suffered from it; and still is suffering from it. Most Flipinos, just accept Depression as fate, or being helpless. It needs Medical diagnosis and Therapist healing. Our modern medicine can easily heal Depression. People suffering from it, can live a fruitful life…

Aegis-Judex
Guest

“…accept Depression as fate, or being helpless.”

Reminds me of a quote from Gabriel Angelos (Dawn of War series):

“It is a sign of strength to cry out against fate, rather than to bow one’s head and succumb.”

laban
Guest

ikaw ba naman ang mamatayan ng ama na bayani eh. At tignan mo naman ang galit nya sa mga corrupt. Kasama na sa kanyang buhay ang depresyon pero tuluy tuloy pa din ang pagasam nya sa hustisya

Daido Katsumi
Guest

Lies. Even Noynoy is corrupt despite of your fantasies. Hey, why did he and his family get away with Hacienda Luisita and having the biggest pork barrel ever? Don’t you know that pork barrel is the source of corruption in the legislative?

I know you won’t answer my questions dahil TANGA ka. 😛

Alex
Guest

all over the internet, whenever i read comments or reactions to news/blogs/write-ups by the jaundiced hordes in defense of their deity in malacanang, it’s becoming more apparent how right you are about them (TANGA) lol.

domo
Guest

Why hello there vincensus ignoramus. Still “murdering” us with your stupid delusional “tactics”?

upnngrad
Guest

ang inasahan ni F.Sionil Jose, isa sa unang-unang gagawin ni PersiNoynoy ay TruthCommission para ibunyag na for history to close the on “… Who Masterminded The Assasination On the Tarmac?”. Hindi ko maintindihan, bakit ayaw harapin ni PersiNoynoy ang tanong na ito… para bang he had already made accomodations.

TaengGorbachev
Guest
Seems that the usual Filipinos are too influenced by Taoists… Acting by not acting, and lo and behold, nothing is done, despite what Taoists say that everything is done through acting through not acting. Also, I believe Immanuel Kant is to blame for their inaction, because of his emphasis on duty, and the Filipinos took it seriously, but then again, no one will seriously do his duty unless he knows what rewards(or punishments) it can bring. Filipinos do their duty of following their “heroes” without thinking of profit, and lo and behold, there is no profit for them. In short,… Read more »
Felipe
Guest

Unfortunately, instead of encouraging the rest of the public to engage in politics, our own politicians seem to want us to stop criticizing them by passing the Cybercrime Law.

Instead of trying to address the dissatisfaction aired by netizens of their country or get to its root, politicians would rather close their eyes and ears and simply collect their checks and continue their disservices to their own people—a very depressing thought indeed.

MR.KREIG
Guest
It would be way too easy to jump on the bandwagon here,but no.Ilda has done a fine job.It is going on decades,this charade of a country and it gets tiring,same comedy routine acting as if it is a government. Before I make my way to N.A.I.A. for what is likely the last time,for a long time anyway,I would like to know what is it about S.E.Asians,Filipino’s in particular,that make them happy to accept a shit job like ‘call center agent’ and think it is a good job? or how they can possibly not do something about the slave wages paid… Read more »
Felipe
Guest

@MR KREIG

I think what TaengGorbachev was saying is that Filipinos are rather indifferent towards Kantian principles—Pinoys just do things simply because they have to or are duty-bound to perform—They generally are passive or uninspired at best. Contrary to Kant, they are not genuinely motivated to act or perform for the common or greater good as their end-in-view.

TaengGorbachev
Guest
I meant the few Filipinos who knew Kant only taught Kant and left out most of the others, leaving Kant’s influence dominating the Filipinos without them really knowing who Kant is. As it is, they only think of duty, even though duty is not benefiting them in the long run, and even though they don’t know who Kant is. Perhaps, Christian influence is also abound, good action is good, regardless of consequences? And doing wrong action despite good consequences can send people to hell? And also, thinking of material goals can send one to hell? They did not think much… Read more »
MR.KREIG
Guest
I appreciate the response.The fact that there is a thought behind it and it is devoid of insults is appreciated as well.You sir,have something to say and do not resort to insults,like some others,when asked to clarify,are questioned or even disagreed with.There are some who,unlike yourself,can not defend themselves intellectually and resort to insults at the first sign of any discordance not in-sync with their own thinking. Blind obedience to a ‘morality based’ concept is bound to produce social lepers(the ‘non-believers’),a few winners(the creators/proponents of the concept)and many losers(the ‘blind’)of varying degree.I am quite stunned by the amount of superstitious… Read more »
TaengGorbachev
Guest

@MR.KREIG
Thanks. Perhaps, true, but in the usual Filipino mindset, they will say I am insulting Kant. But then again, let me put some ideas of the Legalist philosopher Shang Yang: One who behaves as an outstanding man is not in harmony with the people. The people’s ideas are just like the ideas of the man-in-the-street.

TaengGorbachev
Guest

But then again, @Felipe, you are probably right about what I am trying to say, but I just don’t agree with the notion of being just passive, I think they are actively passive(paradoxical statement), they are inspired in their passivity in life. Mo Zi(Ancient Chinese utilitarian philosopher who became the first rival of Kong Zi/Confucius)would be probably laughing at Filipinos due to the impracticality of such strong passivity, and to just simply doing duty without thinking of consequences.

K3
Guest

Who wouldn’t?

nikedadoug
Guest
I believe that during the elections it can be said that the majority of the upper middle class to elite supporters of the almost bald man in yellow were bullies in some way. They forced their ideals on others much like how the Catholic Church has a tendency to do on occasion. I admit that I did vote for El Presidente BS Aquino and all the others that came with him. I consider it, to my shame, as one of the biggest mistakes of my life. We didn’t need a mere icon, we needed someone that could get the job… Read more »
laban
Guest

you must not regret because you voted for the right one.

Daido Katsumi
Guest

Nope. He should regret it because he chose the wrong one.

17Sphynx17
Guest
Just a thought but.. Isn’t this because majority are stuck in the underdog mindset or “inaapi ng mundo” as the way they see life. As such, the tendency of how they uplift their mindset to keep on living is they cling to false hope, a better afterlife (brought about by blind religious faith), or clinging on to the success of others (directly by way of handouts or just the thought that they are of the same “blood”). I think they blame that things are the way they are because they are outside their control and such can not change their… Read more »
chonoon
Guest

humbug! depression? what is this? depression in the Philippines? I’ll be happy to be depress..lol.. meaning I’m alive and sane knowing I still have a emotion ahihihi…as long as I have my cell phone, a bird bath a week, clean underwear…lol I will not bother with this depression thingy.

DaidoKatsumi
Guest

And your comments are filled with EMOTIONS. I never see something… INTELLIGENT.

Mirror Force
Guest

@chonoon: “I’ll be happy to be depress,” she says.

Yep. Your grammar depresses me, indeed.

domo
Guest

So you’re happy to eat pagpag everyday even if it kills you? You need a life idiot.

chonoon
Guest

I see, I should be un-depress when my blood relatives arrived in the city from the province with one way ticket…and I will be happy to scrounge tickets to send them home after my refrigerator went into depression.

17Sphynx17
Guest
So basically your first comment expresses discontent with life stuck in a repetitive routine wherein you have become numb and you would greatly appreciate any grain of emotion that can be emanated from you that is genuine, regardless whether positive or negative. Then your do get your wish (supposedly) and you are now basically in a negative mindset that you have given up. Yup, that’s how life should be lived, accepting what comes your way and not bothering to change it so something different could come your way. Yep yep! That’s how it is and should be (note that it… Read more »
laban
Guest

ating tandaan na tuluyang winasak ng dating administrasyon ang ating bansa na siya namang inaayos ng ating pangulo benigno aquino. Bigyan lang natin sya ng sapat na oras sapagkat hindi maaayos agad agad ang bansa. Dapat pagaralan nyo mahalin ang pangulo at itanim sa isipan ang mga kapabayaan ni Arroyo

Daido Katsumi
Guest

Lies. In the past 2 years I have seen nothing but gaffes, blunders, and blame games.

How can you say that Arroyo is ‘ruining’ the country? Sorry, but your EMO is showing full force. Nothing INTELLIGENT. I’m sure you won’t answer since you’re a certified MORON.

Mirror Force
Guest

Of course, he wouldn’t answer. He’s too busy snuggling with one of P-Noy’s campaign tarps while listening to Typecast’s “The Boston Drama”.

CAN YOU TELL ME HOW BOSTON IS LIKE WITHOUT MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE lol

Felipe
Guest

Mas marami pang pakinabang ang aso kaysa dyan kay AbNoy, hindi pa natin kailangan sweldohan ng ganun kalaki galing sa kaban ng bayan. Kung sabagay, “smiling dog” tawag nga kay AbNoy.

Showbiz lang yan si AbNoy BS Aquino.

domo
Guest

And like your dumb president, you morons are always thirsty for revenge. Ano ba kasi ang pinakain ng magulang sa iyo’t ang hilig mong gumanti? Masyadong miserable ang buhay mo ano since pinanganak ka? You’re just being an example of what Ilda said on this article moron. Anyway, hindi ka rin naman sasagot kaagad nang matino kasi isa kang dakilang duwag at tanga. If you still continue to attack us with your yellow delusion then you deserve to be tied up with a straight jacket and sent to a mental hospital.

Anonymous
Guest

IDK man, but your thoughts remind me of joe rizal casips in baron buchokoy’s page

ChinoF
Member

An example of “kabwisitan” while just going around:

When I got on a jeepney this afternoon, the handle I grabbed so I can get on had some sharp weld beads (weld spikes is more like it). I got a small wound on my finger from them. I told the driver to smoothen them later, and he merely smiled.

So you get wounded because of someone else’s carelessness, and he just smiles. So that must be the Filipino’s way of being happy.

upnngrad
Guest

Pinoys of Pinas like to smile or ignore. Like this question — has the Noynoy admin held some ceremonies to pay respect to the memory of those who were killed at the SuperFERRY terrorist bombing?

Thomas Jefferson
Guest

As an aside, here is something from the Daily Tribune to be sad and depressed about:

http://www.tribune.net.ph/index.ph/commentary/item/5531-noy‘s-puppy-dog-in-the-sc

Thomas Jefferson
Guest

There was a typo here it is from the Daily Triune:

http://www.tribune.net.ph/index.php/commentary/item/5531-noy‘s-puppy-dog-in-the-sc

Gogs
Member

I read it before you posted the link. Its sad yes. But par for the course. The course that is the Yellow Monarchy.

Allen Severino
Guest

Not only that they are content to live in a state of denial and delusion, they are also anti intellectual.

FallenAngel
Member
Ilda, Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t our culture/society have some sort of tendency to frown upon individual happiness? It would be something like a manifestation of that crab mentality we know only too well. “Wala kang pakikisama” if one is happy but the rest are miserable. That is sure to make people depressed and predisposed towards making wrong decisions, especially for those who consider peer acceptance important. Of course it is depressing for Filipinos that they put such high expectations on someone who is going to be different, or is going to be an agent of “change” but… Read more »
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