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Some identified coping mechanisms of Pinoys as listed in Table 12 in the

book From Victims to Survivors by Lourdes Ladrido Ignacio, MD and Antonio

P. Perlas, MD, MPH are the following:

1. Spirituality

2. Bayanihan/cooperative endeavor

3. Concern for the welfare of others especially family members and how they
can be helped

4. Gathering of family members

5. Overactivity (overextension of one’s capacity)

6. Doing relaxing activities/recreation

7. Creativity

8. Humor/laughter

9. Passivity/dependency

10. Anger and blaming others

11. Suspiciousness

12. Smoking

13. Drinking alcoholic beverages

14. Crying

15. Denial of the pain and gravity of the situation

In the Philippines, spirituality is a frequently observed coping style. The

intimate relationship that Pinoys have with their religion allows them to
accept reality in the context that all events are within the plan of God for the
world. Good luck and misfortune or tragedy are colored with some amount of
optimism that is found even among the most desperate. The constant use of
the phrase “bahala na” is actually not a defeatist resignation but can be
perceived as a reservoir of psychic energy, a security blanket or a
psychological crutch which Pinoys lean on in times of difficulty. Faith is the
Pinoy’s source of courage, daring optimism, inner peace and ability to accept
illness, tragedy, death and bear the grief.
The “bayanihan” (mutual assistance) spirit is considered part of the
pakikipagkapwa-tao trait which refers to the Pinoy’s natural openness to
others and feelings of oneness with others. It is also shown through the
ability to empathize through helpfulness and generosity in times of need. I
witnessed the bayanihan spirit in the long line of friends and artists who
rushed to Medical City to donate blood for Francis Magalona. Certainly, these
are all characteristics that could truly be tested and put to good use in times
of distress.

The Pinoy chronically ill patient or chronically distressed individual naturally

will turn to the family for support (emotional, physical or financial). Family
orientation refers to the genuine and deep love for family that extends
beyond the immediate family unit of spouse, siblings and parents. The Pinoy
family typically includes aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, godparents
and ceremonial relatives. The family serves as the source of strength and as
an effective coping mechanism in times of crisis.

Overactivity as a way of coping seems to show that engagement in some

activity is one way by which a person is able to demonstrate in concrete
ways that he has regained control over some aspects of his life. Doing
relaxing activity or engaging in recreation has been reported as one of the
ways by which Pinoys cope to chronic stress. Pinoys gather around to share

The Pinoy continues to express his creativity even in the most trying
circumstances For example, a cancer patient makes rosaries at home to earn
some funds for her chemotherapy. Francis Magalona continued with his
music and other creative endeavors. His wife and daughter helped update
his blog.

The Pinoy, no matter how difficult the circumstances he is exposed to,

continues to laugh at them. If the Pinoy can laugh at a situation, then he has
control over it. Creativity and humor have been identified as strengths of the
Filipino character. Anger and blaming others come naturally with the other
attribute of suspiciousness. This can be equated to scapegoating as the
method of coping.

smoking and drinking alcoholic beverages are all efforts at somehow

minimizing the effect of stress. This is somehow similar to the denial of pain
and gravity of the situation as a way of Pinoy coping. The only difference is
that in smoking and drinking, there is harm inflicted upon the Pinoy’s body
as a consequence of the efforts at minimizing the pains

suffered. These are considered immature and unhealthy defenses. Crying is

a way of coping by which the Pinoy is able to relieve the tension within and
from there go to some other ways of coping. It is okay even for males to
shed tears for the loss of a loved one.