Friday, June 26, 2009

Definitions - Pakiramdam (knowing though feeling)

In her talk Indigenous Filipino Values: A Foundation for a Culture of Non-Violence" prepared for the forum "Towards a Culture of Non-Violence," Katrin de Guia defines several key concepts which underpin babaylan practices.


Pakiramdam is often described as an all-important “shared inner perception” that compliments the “shared identity” of kapwa. It is an emotional a priori that goes with the Filipino personhood (as Enriquez called the Kapwa Personality). Pakiramdam operates behind all Filipino values. This steering emotion triggers the spontaneous voluntary actions that come with the sharing of the Self. It is the keen deep inner feeling that initiates all deeds.

Because of kapwa, this Pinoy feeling— pakikiramdam— is a participatory process, where emotions tend to be experienced mutually. Since most Pinoys can boast a “heightened awareness and sensitivity”, Enriquez’ student Rita Mataragnon declared pakiramdam a Filipino “emotional a-priori.” Filipinos are good in sensing cues (magaling makiramdam), she said and pointed out that both, the empathic “feeling for another,” or the talent of “sizing up each other” were active emotional processes that involved great attention to the subtleties non-verbal behavior.

Heightened sensitivity is a good survival tool in a society where not all social interactions are carried out with words. Here, only the carefully feeling out another can help one navigate the ambiguities of life’s encounters— like knowing when to join a group or how to blend in with people. Pakiramdam provides the tacit leads how to act appropriately in such situations and may well be regarded as the cognitive style of Filipinos— a unique social skill that is intrinsic to the Filipino personhood.

Katrin M. de Guia performed her pioneering research on the Filipino culture-bearer artists all over the country while earning her PhD in Filipino Psychology (Sikolohiyang Pilipino) at the Unversity of the Philippines. She will be a featured speaker at the Center for Babaylan Studies 2010 Conference

Links accessed 6/24/2009

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